Terrific Tournament
On most Wednesday nights and on some Fridays, I play a live 60$ NL Texas Holdem Freezeout tournament here in Ottawa. I look upon it as a good opportunity to practice my live play and to socialize with a lot of members of the poker community with whom I have become fast friends. Lately I have typically done well in these events usually making the final table and often cashing when I get there.

This week, the same venue decided to host a Sunday 100$ tournament. With a field of 21 people that included some really good players and lots of familiar faces (including my pals Adam and Kristen) I managed to take 2nd place.

Before I get into specific hands, I just want to say that this was probably the best final table I've played in this venue in a long time. Usually the FT takes forever because people get super tight on the bubble. Luckily at thos FT there were enough players there playing to win and the action was good. People were not afraid to re-raise or make calls with good but not monstrous hands.

The key hands for me were as follows:

  1. During the first level, I limp on the button with A6 off suit following an early position limper. The SB folds and the BB checks. The flop come A 3 5 with 2 clubs. It gets checked around to me and I fire a 2/3 pot bet. Both players call and the turn brings another Ace. The SB makes a smallish bet and the EP limper calls. I raise 3x their bet and the SB pushes. The EP limper calls. I think for a minute and then fold. Turns out the SB flopped the wheel and the EP limper had the case Ace with a 10 kicker. That hand cost me almost 1000 chips and so I was down to 1500 from ouroriginal 2500 starting stack.

  2. Kristen opened the pot for a raise from the button. Adam folded in the SB and I called from the BB with A-T offsuit. The flop came A-T-x with 2 hearts and I check-minraised Kristen. She went into the tank for so long that someone called clock on her. She finally mucked her hand but before doing so, she showed me an Ace. I looked at my cards and flipped over the 10 before mucking. Right after that hand she was moved to a neighbouring table and I was suddenly overcome with a bit of guilt for needling her by showing off the 10. I turned around and let her know that I actually did have Ace-Ten. She said the min-raise threw her off and (now over my guilt) I lied and said it was meant to be a bigger raise but I miscounted the chips. I did not want anyone to know that I sometimes use a check-min-raise against aggressive players looking to entice them all-in. Of course, now the cat is out of the bag and I'll have to be careful when using this technique against players whom I know are reading this blog. Yes, that means you!

    The most interesting part of this hand came after I told Kristen what I had. Both Adam and our boy Stu stated that they did not believe me. I love when this happens because it gives me insight into how other players see me. If one of them had been in the hand, I would have doubled up. Unfortunately, Kristen is too smart a cookie for that.

  3. The next key hand came at the final table. My "M" was about 9 and I found myself in the BB with blinds at 150/300. An aggressive player in middle position min-raised and the button called. The SB folded and I looked down at Q2 off-suit. Now, many people might toss the rags immidiately whithout giving it a second thought. But, I hate when people raise my BB, especially a MIN raise. And with the caller and the SB, it was costing me 300 to see a flop on 1650 pot. Getting 5-1 on my money really justifies a call with any 2 cards. So, I called. The flop came Q-2-7 rainbow. Jackpot! I checked my two pair to the raiser and he fired out a 1000 chips. The button folded and I thought for a moment and then went all-in for ~3000 more. Now, you need to know that throughout the tournament this player had been opening a lot of pots and around the 3rd blind level, I started punishing him for his loose play by coming over the top of him over and over and over again in several pots. He thought for a while and said "I know you are bluffing". Boy, do I love hearing those words when I hit my flop nice and hard. He ended up calling with 78 suited (middle pair) and I doubled up to put me neck and neck with the chip leader.

  4. With 4 players left, I picked up a monstrous 2/3 off suit in the BB. It folded around to the SB who just called. I checked behind and the flop came down T-2-3. Can you say BB special? The SB checked and I fired out 1200. He raised to 3000. I re-raised to 5000 and he put me all-in. Now, I was in a pickle. Sure, I have bottom two, but the SB here is a really excellent player abd after thinking about it, I started to feel worse and worse about my hand. Finally after a long while, I let it go. He ended up telling me that he had hit 2 pair with T-2. Nice fold, Bill! The only problem is now this excellent player to my right had a very significant chip lead.

  5. When we got to head's up play, the chip leader had me outchipped 2-1 and we decided to play it out. After trading chips back and forth for a while. He limped from the button and I flat called with Q8 off suit. The flop came down A-7-8 with 2 clubs. I check-raised all in with middle pair and got called by K-7 of clubs (bottom pair and a flush draw plus one over). The turn came down another 7 and it was all over for me.
All in all, I feel I played quite well throughout the tournament. Despite spending a lot of time chattering with Kristen, Adam, Stu and all my other buddies who showed up, I managed to maintain good focus and make very few mistakes.

Congrats to all the winners. See you next time.
Blogger fishbones11 said...

Good job Bill. Still don't believe you about the A10 ;). I had this really long email with all the blogs and descriptions, and asking how you finished up in the tourney. Was sure you would finish top 2. You played well. Anyway I was so pissed that the email deleted, I didn't write another one, but just letting you know I didn't forget. I will send it in a bit


11:05 AM  
Anonymous Dave D. said...

Damn Dr. sparks, you always cash....always....well, except when i put u out on the bubble that one time.
you playing in the team event coming up, and if so, who for?

11:29 PM  
Blogger Bill Sparks said...

Dude, I absolutely did have Ace Ten. And thanks for the email :)

I do not always cash, but I have done alright in these types of things lately. I will be at the team tourney also, as a member of Team Dog. Woof!

12:33 AM  
Blogger Bruno Meliambro said...

I had a really rough run at the $100 (I think I went out 3rd) - Any time I had any kind of hand I would get reraised in a huge way and I would lay it down.

I was the guy in the black hood, Adam pushed me off my Q/Js with what I had to think was an overpair, our table got broken up a little after that.

Went out when I pushed with my 9/9 on a 3d/4d/10c board, Ad/Qd called, 4d filled in the flush.

C la vie, gonna have to work on my game, been a pretty rough long weekend.

11:23 AM  

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