Poker Update: Tournament of Champions

I started as big stack, with about 20% of the chips in an 8-person table. After an hour that was closer to 25 or 30%. Then it started going bad. I’m still not sure how. Hands like this I suppose.

I have Q-8 as dealer. What the heck, I’ll raise and see what happens. I get a caller, and the flop is J-10-8. He raises. I have an inside straight draw and bottom pair. I have outs, and he may be completely bluffing, ok I call. The turn is the same kind of logic and I lose a bunch by the time I am forced to fold on the river. I suppose I shouldn’t have played the Q-8 in the first place. Another time I go in with K-10. The flop is 4-5-6 and the same guy raise big again. Argh! A few hands like this and I am just one of the players, no longer big stack. (As it turns out he had big hands on both of these so my eventual folds were correct.)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I had A-9. The flop was 10-9-x. I bet, was re-raised and called. The turn was… I don’t know. I forget. Anyhow we got to the river (another 10), he raised big again. I there were a lot of things that could beat me, but the betting pattern didn’t add up. I called, he had a set of 10s. The betting pattern didn’t add up because he changed to slowplaying me in the middle and I fell for it. Dang.

The key hand of the night:
I am big blind. The first person, who is short-stacked. goes all in. Everyone folds to the small blind, who also goes all-in. I have K-Q suited. It’s about a third of my stack. After thinking it through I decide I can afford to go in and see what happens. A win on this hand puts me back in control. I also call.
The flop is Q-x-x. Small blind checks. I am sure I have the best hand. But.

Tournament strategy says that I should check. Tournament strategy says I want me and the small blind in the hand, so the odds are good than one of us knocks out the small stack. In other words, I give up some chips (or expectation of chips) in favor of gaining position. I decide to call. The turn is an Ace. When we show cards at the end, the small blind has jacks (losing), I have queens (losing), and the small blind has A-x. He wins it. I guess it worked as planned, I gave up chips and got tournament position. I guess.

Readers poll!

1) Should I have played the K-Q in the first place, or just let them fight it out?
2) When the queen came up, should I have checked with the top pair, or made a big bet to push out the small blind?

After that, things just didn’t go well. I didn’t get any good hands, didn’t connect on any flops, didn’t have enough chips left to push people around. The end was anti-climactic.

One thought on “Poker Update: Tournament of Champions”

  1. 1) Yes, you should have played your premium hand
    2) You should have raised. I believe tourney strategy is checking if yo don’t have anything, but if you flop top pair, raising is legit

    On your 1st hand you described, you could have raised to semi bluff (unless you didn’t have position of course).

    In a previous post, you said you went to a bar to play to get better experience…well if people didn’t have to pay to play, I’d argue people aren’t trying as hard so it’s not indicative of higher level play.

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