Friday, October 12, 2007

Deja Vu!

I've been playing a LOT of online tournaments recently. I've probably played more in the last couple of weeks than I have the whole year. I've come really close to a big score the last couple of days falling just short. I finished 30 something in a $55K guarantee at FT and 24th in a $100 buy-in at Poker Stars.

The Poker Stars tourney was an afternoon tournament which I have never played before. Right before the money, deja vu! - Taz from the ITH forums was at my table. For those who don't visit the ITH forums, Taz is one of the more popular and active posters we have at the Forum. He can also boast the biggest win of any ITHer as he took down the Poker Stars Million for a $150K payday a couple of months ago.

Taz and I had the displeasure of playing against each other at the WSOP main event on Day 1. I say displeasure, because I surely didn't want to take his chips and I know he didn't want to knock me out of the tournament. Of course, I am still going to play my game, but it was just a weird situation to be in. This was his first WSOP and so I know he wanted to do well. At the same time, I had a long summer at the WSOP and really wanted to do well also. It wouldn't be fun to get in the way of each other's dreams.

Fortunately, we were sitted at the opposite side of the table so you would think that we wouldn't have to go to battle very often - NOT! We got involved in several big hands together as I think we just both happened to get big cards at the same time. The sneaky guy slowplayed aces on me to start off the foray. I got very short-stacked with about 5K left in chips and the blinds were 300-600. I limped UTG with JJ, Taz raised, and we were off to the races as I went allin and he had AK. Fortunately for me I doubled up, and don't get me wrong, I was very happy - but I hated to do it against Taz. I took another pot from him with AK vs his AQ. Those two pots got me rolling and I ended up making the money in the tournament to end my summer on an upbeat. But that situation was quite strange as I had never played someone I knew where the stakes were so high.

So here we are yesterday at PokerStars and I find Taz at my table. We both went pretty deep making the money but both finished short of a big payday. This time it was a lot less stressful and we were able to avoid each other except for Taz stealing my blinds one time.

I had one hand where I questioned my play. I had 20K+ and raised UTG with TT. The next player called and the button called. The blinds were 300-600? and I raised to 1600. I'm not sure about that exactly but something like that. The early player had 10K left and the button 5k. The flop was KK. I decided to make a continuation bet with the intention of calling any raise. However, I wonder if check-raise allin would have been a better play. Checking would either get a pocket pair to bet or induce a bluff so that I could get their chips. The only advantage in betting here is to protect my pair so that they don't take a free card. It just seems like their range of hands would lean towards smaller pocket pairs. Given the size of the pot and the damage a bad free card would do, I probably made the correct play by betting out, but sometimes I will take the risky play to try and get additional chips. They folded so everything turned out fine.

We've decided to stay another week in Colombia so I'll probably get a lot more tourneys in before we leave as it is easier to play them here on vacation than when I'm home.

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