Every week I'm going to present a hand to you and explain why I played it the way I did. At the end, I'll try to present a lesson I learned from the way the hand turned out. This is how I've improved over the last year, by examining how I played a certain way and what I could have done better.
Sometimes I'll have played the hand well in this weekly series, but they all won't be "hero" hands, and this hand is a great example.
I'm in a MTT (multi table tournament), and there are 40 players left out of 80. I have about 1,500 more chips than the average stack.
One thing I'm working on is finding opportunities to steal more often than I do (which, to be honest, isn't very often), especially in the later stages of the tournament, when the blinds really matter and any pot won is a good pot.
I'm generally a tight, conservative player, and while that style has served me well, I'm inspired by Erick Lindgren's "Making the Final Table" to play more aggressively. When I'm dealt 9-3 os, I'm prepared to fold it, until it's folded around to me, and I have the button.
I thought this was a good time to steal. I raise about three times the big blind, to 900 chips, a standard raise, but ChapelncHill calls me. Rats!
The flop comes - - .
ChapelncHill, out of position, checks his hand. ChapelncHill is an aggressive player who defended his big blind often.
I've had a lot of success with tournament continuation betting, which is why I tend to play tight early in tournaments. I like having a tight image because my bets and raises, later on, get more respect than they deserve.
I'm not ready to give up on this hand, especially since I caught a piece of it, so I bet near the size of the pot, 1,800 in chips.
ChapelncHill pauses and shoves the rest of his 5,435 chips into the pot. If I call and lose, I'll have only 500 chips left and essentially be out of the tournament.
What's your move?
I folded, of course, but this move hurt me, and I was knocked out 10 players later.
Lessons learned: It's perfectly fine to try to steal, but it always looks suspicious when you steal from the button, and you need to pick on tight players, not loose aggressive players who don't mind defending their big blind.
Pick on tight players when you're trying to steal.
The other thing I should have realized is the board was pretty scary. That's just the kind of board that could hit someone willing to call a raise out of position. There were straight and flush draws out there, so he might hang in because of a draw, even if he's not getting straight odds to call because the implied odds are there. There was a Queen out there, so he might have called with a big face card. It's perfectly fine to continuation bet a lot of hands, but in this case, a check would have been better.
Result: ChapelncHill showed me Q-8 for two pair after I folded. I hate his call out of position to a big raise, but that's what loose aggressive players sometimes do, and in this case it worked.
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