Lucid? and Profound? Thoughts on a Friday
Tournament poker play reminds me of horse racing. Some players -- the aggro types -- remind me of the speed horses. They break out of the gates quickly and get to the front of the pack. The downfall of the aggro style, however, is that ofttimes the quick leads burns out and the player fades ... and finishes out of the money. When the strategy works, however, the horse -- or player -- accumulates wins and purses (cashes).
My style has been more of that horse who travels with the pack, then hopes to break out at the end with a big kick to win the race. The tournament featured in my last post was exactly like that. I lost chips early and was in danger of going out, then built my stack back up, hung around in the pack, then had a huge burst at the end. The downfall of this style, however, is that you do not accumulate the chips to absorb the bad beats or the loss of coin flips. This style is probably geared more toward placing rather than winning. Ahhh ... there is always more work to do on your game.
Tournament poker can be soooo frustrating because even hours of great play can be undone in one or two crucial spots. I always refer to it as the thin line between winning and losing. Granted, some players have games that need much work and really are rarely threats to finish near the top in any tournaments. Some, however, have the game and the skills -- but do not win because the poker gods handed their opponent a bad beat gift, or because they don't win the coin flips when they need them most.
A prime example of this happened to me last night in the Wicked Chops Poker
5 Year Anniversary Tourney. After some dumb early play on my part eroded my chip stack, I got back in the pack and had the final table in sight. The karma felt right. There were 78 runners with the tournament paying the top nine. Finishing as high as 8th or 9th would only get me a few bucks. The nice payoffs, of course, were for the top three places, as additionally there were added prizes for these finishers.
So ... with 12 runners left in the game, I was in about 8th place. Several of us were clustered with a similar number of chips. The blinds had been getting steeper and we all knew that we needed to make a move. Few flops were seen. Then came, for me, the crucial play in the tournament.
Full Tilt Poker Game #19931974103: WCP 5 Year Anniversary Tourney (149500716), Table 6 - 250/500 Ante 50 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:21:12 ET - 2010/04/08
Seat 2: Three G (7,023)
Seat 3: lightning36 (5,104)
Seat 4: mtpettyp (6,744)
Seat 5: IHOPEALOT (4,030)
Seat 8: samdawg13 (3,284)
Seat 9: Hatchet Warrior (16,800)
Three G antes 50
lightning36 antes 50
mtpettyp antes 50
IHOPEALOT antes 50
samdawg13 antes 50
Hatchet Warrior antes 50
samdawg13 posts the small blind of 250
Hatchet Warrior posts the big blind of 500
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lightning36 [Kh As]
Three G folds
lightning36 raises to 5,054, and is all in
mtpettyp raises to 6,694, and is all in
IHOPEALOT has 15 seconds left to act
Hatchet Warrior folds
mtpettyp shows [Th Ts]
lightning36 shows [Kh As]
Uncalled bet of 1,640 returned to mtpettyp
*** FLOP *** [Qc 7h 6s]
*** TURN *** [Qc 7h 6s] [Jc]
*** RIVER *** [Qc 7h 6s Jc] [6c]
mtpettyp shows two pair, Tens and Sixes
lightning36 shows a pair of Sixes
mtpettyp wins the pot (11,158) with two pair, Tens and Sixes
lightning36 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 11,158 Rake 0
Board: [Qc 7h 6s Jc 6c]
Seat 2: Three G folded before the Flop
Seat 3: lightning36 showed [Kh As] and lost with a pair of Sixes
Seat 4: mtpettyp showed [Th Ts] and won (11,158) with two pair, Tens and Sixes
Seat 5: IHOPEALOT folded before the Flop
Seat 8: samdawg13 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 9: Hatchet Warrior (big blind) folded before the Flop
I lost the coin flip and was out in 12th place. Had I won the flip I'd have had 11,158 chips, jumping me into about third place and in position for a run at the top spot. Instead, I was out just short of the bubble.
As for mtpettyp, the player who won the coin flip:
Now, I am not saying that I would have won, but I certainly think I could have won. The thin line ...
"Sometimes the poker gods pour you a beer. Sometimes they just piss in it."