Posts Tagged ‘Bremerton Lanes’


3/14/09 – Bremerton Lanes AM Poker Tournament

March 14, 2010

Wow. I haven’t been this annoyed in a live tournament for a while. I made note of all the pots I played. I’ll let the hands do the talking:

blinds 25-50, UTG raises to 200, one player calls, I look down at QQ. I sometimes like to play QQ conservatively preflop, but I sensed a bit of weakness here and decided to make it 875 to go. The UTG raiser called and the other player folded and we saw a Q54, two spade flop HU. He checks to me. Its hard to make money on this kind of board given his hand range (AK, AQ, small pair). I could give a free card here and see if he can catch up a bit on the turn, but I decide to bet 625 and hope he has AQ or TT and gives me a little action. If he has a set, the money will get in eventually no matter what I do. He folds though and I thought about how I could have played this flop differently for quite a while… Oh well, +1125 on the first hand of the tournament is just fine.

blinds 25-50, several people limp, and the button makes it 250 to go. I have 77 in the small blind and decide to call since I expect most of the limpers to come with me making it worth it to try and flop a set. They all do call and the flop comes 954. Not too bad of a flop for me, but I’m out of position against several players including one I suspect has an overpair, so I just check. One of the limpers bets 200 and the preflop raiser makes it 600 to go. I fold.

blinds 50-100, I raise in EP with AK to 250. One person calls me, next guy goes all-in for 900 and the SB shoves for 1825. Folds back to me. Folding seems wise.. but if I call and lose, I’ll have 2500 left which is plenty of chips to play with at this level, so I decide to gamble and try to build a big stack. They show QQ and JJ and I spike a King on the flop to build my stack up to 7700.

blinds 75-150, one tight-passive player limps UTG, folds to me OTB with 9s7s and I make it 425 to go. Small blind calls and the limper folds and we see a K83 flop HU. He checks to me and I check out his stack size. He has about 1300 left. Since I missed the flop completely, I decide to make a feeler bet of 350 and if he calls or raises, my following decisions will be easy. He folds though and I’m up over 8000 in chips.

blinds 75-150, a solid player UTG makes it 500 to go. I look down at QQ. I get a stack count from my opponent and he’s got about 3000 left, so I decide calling is best here. Someone floats behind me and we got 3-way action to a J93 flop. UTG shoves the rest of his stack in and I go in the tank. He just bet 3275 into a pot that has about 1700 in it. Before the flop, he asked me if I had Kings jokingly and then when I just called he said “wooo.. you scared me there.” I think he’s a pretty solid player and my instincts were strongly saying to fold here. I counted down my stack and I’d have over 4000 left if I call and lose. I felt a lot of strength from him and that he had a pretty good idea of what I had, plus his comments before the flop kind of indicated strength too. That being said, it seems like an easy fold in retrospect, but I decided to call just in case my read was wrong and because my stack would still be in solid shape if I lost. He showed Kings and wins the pot. Some people might think this is bad luck or a cooler, but I honestly think I should have and could have folded the hand. This is simply poor play on my part.

blinds 75-150 and I open to 450 with AK. One loose, bad player calls me OTB and we see a JJ2 flop HU. I decide to check the flop and see what he does, expecting him to check a large percentage of the time. He does check and the turn card comes with an ugly T. I decide to check again since a lot of hands he could have might call me now and I’m technically still drawing and I think he’ll check if I still have him beat. River is a 5 and I have no reason to bet for value or try to bluff him off the best hand here. I check and hope my hand is good. It’s not… he has A5 and scoops the pot. I was mad at myself after this one.

blinds 100-200 and here comes the most obnoxious hand I’ve been a participant of in a while. Two loose, bad players limp in and I look down at TT OTB. I decide to make a hefty raise to 1100 and I’m pretty shocked when both blinds call as well as both of the limpers. I’m really hoping for a ten on the flop or a board with undercards and I get my wish when it comes 985. The SB only has 100 left and puts it in. The BB makes it 1500 to go and appears all in. One of the limpers (my opponent from the last hand) puts in his remaining 2000, but looks weak. Back to me… I could fold here, but I really don’t feel like I’m beat at all, so I call. Then I’m annoyed when I discover the BB still has chips left when he puts in another 500 to call. He has another 500 behind and the extra 1000 was hiding in his palm. Thanks, man. Don’t worry, your stack size doesn’t affect anyone else’s decisions, you idiot. The turn comes a brutal 7 and the SB puts in his last 500. I call and we flip over our hands: K7 in the SB, QJ in the BB, and…. 96 from the limper. Are you kidding me? Calls a 5.5xBB raise preflop, puts in 2000 on the flop and spikes his fucking hand? Jesus. I do have an open-ended straight draw, but I come up short on the river and 96 scoops a 8500 pot and I get 1000 back. Now I’m pissed and down to 3100 chips when I should have a monster stack.

blinds raise to 200-400 and I fold my BB and SB and I’m down to 2500.

blinds 200-400 and folds to me OTB. I’d probably push with anything here, but A8 is like the nuts for me, so I shove and scoop the blinds.

blinds 200-400, two weaker players limp in and I look down at Ad5d with 3100. I push it all in since I need to pick up chips and expect to win the pot uncontested a large percentage of the time as long as no one behind me wakes up with a hand. Everyone behind me folds but the second limper surprisingly calls and shows me a gross-looking KJos. The way the tournament has gone so far, I’m 95% sure I’m going to lose the pot, but the flop comes favorable enough showing 843, keeping me in the lead, but the turn peels off a jack and I brick the river and get sent home.

I continue to run horribly in this tournament. I’m hoping that my luck can turn in the next couple weeks before I have to take a 3 month hiatus to finish my degree at The University Of Washington. I don’t want to take my break while I’m still in the red in a tournament I should be beating. Ugh.


3-08-2010 Bremerton Lanes AM Poker Tournament

March 8, 2010

First off, I’d like to congratulate myself on my best showing in this tournament last week when I finished 2nd for $235. Today’s tournament was interesting to say the least. My stack was riding a rollercoaster throughout the duration.

Key Hands:

Blinds 25-50, 3 limpers in front of me. I limp OTB with As9s. Flop comes K43 with two spades. One of the blinds leads out for 150 and two people call. I pop it to 600 since no one has really shown strength. I get two folds, but the last caller stays with me. The turn is a blank and he check-calls 800. River is another blank and he checks to me again. I bet 800 and he calls and shows K9. Not really happy with my play on this hand. Not only did I dump off roughly 75% of my stack, but I didn’t read the situation very well. Throughout the hand, I put my opponent on a draw because of the way he was playing it. If that was the case, unless he caught a running pair, there’s no reason for me to bet the river, since Ace high is likely to be good. If he has a King and decided to call the turn, he’s never going to fold the river for the same amount as my turn bet. That’s just simple math and a bad play on my part. On the plus side, this player enters this tournament every day and this will be valuable information for the future. Unless he had some sort of dead read on me, his play here is super terrible. He was willing to play a huge pot for nearly all of his stack in the first level with top pair, weak kicker out of position. I stand by my flop play, but my turn and river play is pretty bad.

Blinds 50-100, a few people limp in, I have J3os in the BB and only 600 behind. Flop comes J54 and I just ship my remaining chips. I get a caller and figure I’m drawing to 3 outs but I’m ecstatic when he shows 99 and doubles me up.

Blinds 50-100, 1 limper, someone raises to 300, I have AQ and 1600 so I just ship it. The raiser calls me and shows KT and I hold and I’m roughly back to my starting stack.

After a few swings and misses my stack is down to somewhere around 2200. Blinds 100-200, two people limp in, the small blind calls and I look down at QQ in the BB. I could ship it here, but I’m willing to risk getting knocked out of the tournament for a little value, so I just pop it to 800. The first limper folds, but the button and SB both call. The flop comes beautifully with AQ9 and there’s no need to get coy since I figure someone has at least an Ace and I put my remaining 1200 in. I get called in both spots and my set holds vs AQ and JT and I triple up.

Blinds 100-200, a few limpers and I limp OTB with Ac9c. Flop comes J9x with a club. UTG bets 600, it folds to me, and I float the flop. The turn card is the Tc and he bets out 600 again. The bet size doesn’t scream strength and I strongly consider raising, but I think my current hand might have a shot of being good and I’d be sick if he re-raised all-in and I had to fold. The river is a 3h and he bets out 600 again, which is quite an annoying bet. Not only is he giving me great pot odds, but he’s shown relative weakness on the past two streets, which tempts me to raise once again. However, considering the last two bet sizes, I figure calling is best since my hand might actually be good. The way he played it, I feel like a 9 might actually be his most likely hand. He shows me QJ though (making a call likely if I did raise the turn) and scoops a third of my chips.

With the blinds at 200-400, it folds to the SB who completes and I check with 85. Board comes 974 and I take it down with a 700 bet. One person limps in the next hand, I call with A3os and the BB checks. Flop comes Axx and I check, BB checks and the limper bets 700. I go all-in figuring it’s unlikely for him to have an ace here. He folds and I’m back around 5000.

Blinds 300-600 and UTG doubles it to 1200 and it folds to me in SB with As7s. I check out his stack and he’s only got about 2000 left so I decide to take a flop with him. Flop comes 753 with one spade and I ship it and he folds.

Blinds 300-600 folds to me and I have about 10,600 now and make it 1500 to go with 8d7d. Folds to the SB who doubles it up to 3000. BB folds and this is a pretty wack situation for me. My hand is garbage and he’s made a raise that is begging for a call. On the other hand, I’m getting 3.4 to 1 to call and I have position and I’d still have around 7000 behind if the flop does me no justice… so I call. The board comes J87 and I’m ecstatic when he instantly ships it. He shows QQ and the turn comes a Jack and I’m out of the tournament. Ghey. 11th place, one off the final table.

Lastly, a sour note for those of you that have been following my poker posts. I recently cashed out all my money online and starting at the end of March, I won’t be playing poker at all for the next several months as I’ll be attending college to finish my degree at The University Of Washington and can’t afford to have any distractions. Sorry!


Bad Poker Streak

February 23, 2010

Roughly a month after raving about how favorable the structure in the Bremerton Lanes daily tournament was to my playing style, I find myself in an unbelievable funk. First of all, I’ve cashed in the tournament 1 time in 11 tries. Ridiculous. At this point, a first place finish would barely have me in the green YTD. Secondly, I don’t think it’s ever taken me this many attempts to win any live tournament I’ve ever regularly played in. It’s starting to ware on me.

Yesterday was a disaster. I lost roughly 60% of my chips on the 3rd hand of the tournament and never really recovered. With the blinds at 25-50, I completed the small blind with 85d. The flop came T86, with one diamond and since it was only 4-way action, I decided to throw out a feeler bet of 125. I got called in two spots and decided I was done with the hand unless I improved on the turn. Fortunately the turn was a beautiful 8 and I lead out again for 250. The button raised me to 500, which is suspicious, but small enough that I’m not going to toss away a full house draw. River ended up blanking, I checked and the button bet 1200. Pretty easy fold… but for some reason I decided to call and he showed me a flopped straight with 97. As much complaining as I’ve done about my lack of success, it has been partly my fault and this call is a testament to that. In this situation the only hand I can expect to beat is a bluff. It’s very unlikely that my opponent would bet something for value that doesn’t have my three 8s, 5 kicker beat. My opponent here is generally over-aggressive and has a slightly crazy image in my mind, so that probably got him a call I wouldn’t have even considered against most other people.

After that hand, my stack dwelled in the range of 1000-1200 for several rounds. I finally lucked out a bit when I picked up AA and got someone to double me up on an 8-high flop with TT. After that, I lost an all-in with AQ vs AA and was right back to a micro-stack. After shoving 2-3 times without even looking at my cards or getting called, keeping myself afloat for a few orbits, I got looked up by KQ in a blind vs blind situation and my J9 didn’t spike.

Today started off well enough. I had about 7000 in chips by the 75-150 round and was playing very well. Then the downhill spiral started.

With the blinds at 75-150 still, three people limped in front of me and I looked down at QQ on the button. I raised it to 850 and was surprised when a tight female player called me from the small blind. The big blind and all the limpers folded and the flop came A65. The pot size is 2150 and I have about 6K… She checks to me… what do you do in this spot? When she called preflop, I narrowed her range down to about 5 hands: AK, AQ, AA, JJ, and TT. Since three of the hands I put her on have me beat, is betting a wise move? I think not. So I checked and she fired out 1000 on the turn and I folded. My current impression of this woman is that she plays pretty solid… but I haven’t exactly decided if she’s a nit or not. I did see her limp UTG with the blinds @ 50-100 and get it AI for $2K+ with 7s6s on a 65s3s flop… so she obviously has a little creativity and gamble in her game. The big question for me was… is she the kind of player to risk $1000 on the turn with Jacks or Tens assuming I didn’t care much for the Ace? If I thought the answer to that question was yes, I would have called the turn and put her to the test again on the river… but honestly I don’t know. As it was, I thought AK made up about 70% of her range, AQ about 10%, JJ/TT about 15% and AA about 5%. I’m ruling QQ out as a possibility since I have it myself (also making AQ less likely) and I don’t know many players that would smooth-call with KK preflop in that spot. Since I’m beat by what I estimate to be 85% of her range here, I think checking the flop and folding the turn is best…. but soooooooooooooo annoying!

The hand after that, I raised over a weak limper to 400 with Qc9c and saw a KQ9, two diamond flop HU. Perfect. He checks to me and I bet 750. He calls. Turn card is a Jack, basically killing my hand and my action. The river is an 8d and he shoves for like 1600 and I fold. At that point, there simply isn’t a single hand I can imagine him calling that flop with that doesn’t have me beat now. Regardless, I’m steaming and I walk away from the table for a good 7 minutes to calm down.

I think I had a few unsuccessful steal after that cause I was in the 2000-2500 chip range by the time the blinds were 200-400. I picked up a couple rounds of blinds to stay afloat and got a disgusting walk on my big blind when I was holding QQ. Finally, I got it in with 77 and got called in two spots which pretty much sealed my fate unless I spiked a set. The board came K high and they both checked all the way down and I had a brief glimmer of hope when the second caller flipped over AJ high, but then my other opponent showed QQ and I was showed the door for an early exit yet again.

My showing in this tournament over the past few months has been putrid… with one cash in eleven tries, I’m running at an ugly 11% In The Money rate, which is even worse than my MTT cash % in MUCH larger fields, let alone 3-4 tables. Something’s gotta give… and soon… cause my patience is waring thin.

To make matters worse, I had my first losing day in 2 weeks yesterday and just ran BRUTALLY bad during my hour of play after showing a profit all day long. So goes the swings…


Crucial Poker Hand Question

January 31, 2010

Poker experts, what do you do here? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Live deep stack tournament. Blinds are 300-600, I have $14,200 and open the pot to $1500 in mid/late position with As7s. It folds to the SB, who calls. BB folds. HU to T76, two spade flop. He checks to me, I bet $2500, and he shoves for $7400 more. My read on opponent is that he’s pretty nitty, but capable of shoving hands like AT, QQ, JJ here… maybe even a big spade draw.

If I call and win I’ll have $26,200, which would be a top 5 stack in the tournament with 35ish remaining.

If I fold, I’ll have $10,200 for an M of 11.33.

If I call and lose, I’ll have $2800 left and will have to shove the first decent hand I get dealt before the blinds go through me again.

I’m getting a little over 2 to 1 to call and based on my read, I think I’m a favorite over about 30-40% of his range here.

What do you do?


01/28 Bremerton Lanes Tournament

January 28, 2010

I didn’t feel like keeping any notes today, so I don’t have a whole lot of hands to talk about. I splashed around and played pretty loose (and kind of bad, honestly) for the first three rounds and I had lost 2/3 of my stack early.

Key Hand #1 – I can’t recall the blind levels or my exact stack size… but I think it was 100-200 and I raised it to 600 with JJ. Folds to the button who shoves for about 2000 total. I call and my hand holds against 77 and I win my first decent sized pot.

After that hand, I managed to win enough blinds to keep myself right around an M of 5 all the way to the final table. At the final table, I pushed all in 4-5 times and never got called and managed to make it to the top 5.

Key Hand #2 – with the blinds at 1000-2000, I have Ad6d in the BB and 9000 behind. The chip leader makes a raise to 7000 from the cut off and it folds to me. I’m probably ahead of his opening range here (knowing the player well) and my stack dictates a shove so I get it in. He calls and shows KsJs. The flop comes T42, with two spades, the turn is a Q, and somehow I dodge one of his 20 outs on the river and double up to 23000.

Key Hand #3 – with the blinds at 1000-2000, it folds to the SB who only has 5000 left and gets it in. I toss another 3000 in without even looking and am ecstatic when I flip over a beautiful-looking AK. He shows QJ and it looks over when the flop comes AJ6, but then the board comes running Jacks and he scoops the pot with quads. This actually was my tournament-defining hand because if I hold, I would’ve had over 30,000 in chips, which would’ve been the chip lead, and we would have been down to four. Most importantly, this next hand would’ve never happened.

Key Hand #4 – with the blinds at 1000-2000, it folds to the button (the player I could have knocked out last hand) who shoves for 11000. I have Ah6h and I know he’s getting it in with a wide range here, so I call. Unfortunately, the big blind shoves for enough to put me all-in… and I now have half my chips in the pot and I’m getting ridiculously good odds. Folding is out of the question, even though the situation looks grim. Fortunately, neither of them has an Ace as they show KK and 99. I miss my 3-outer and bust out in 5th, which was good for $50 and a profit of $15. Yay!

That gives me one cash in four tries, two final tables, and a net “profit” of -$90. LOL.


1/27 – Bremerton Lanes Tournament

January 28, 2010

Okay, not that I have a big problem with recall, but in the interest of making the details of each hand very easy to remember, I brought a notepad with me yesterday so I could jot down the stack sizes and blind levels of the key hands I played… and I was extremely surprised at how poorly this was received at my table. I don’t think there was one person I played with that wasn’t bothered by this. I got several “I didn’t realize we were being tested” and “there’s a test later” and “should I read your notes before I act?” comments. Part of me wanted to explain what I was doing and that it wasn’t personal, but ultimately, I decided it was best to just smile and raise my eyebrows since anything that is throwing my opponent’s off their game is good for me. Also, I usually throw people some rope and let them know if they made a good lay down or not, but I’ve decided that no one has any business being entitled to what I’m doing… well, unless they want to read my blog every day and that’s okay with me! I was able to splash around a lot more today and I got involved in a lot of pots.

Key Hand #1 – (25/50) – I raise UTG to 150 with 8c7c – Pretty aggressive play being in horrible position… but honestly, I don’t mind playing a hand like this in that spot in No Limit, especially when I have the betting lead. Two people call. Flop comes down 732, one club. I can definitely think of worse spots. I bet out $375, one fold, and one quick raise to $1200. I strongly consider shipping it since I’m having a hard time thinking of hands that have me beat… but then I start thinking about my opponent and decide that he’s never bluffing here… and he’d probably even make this move with A7. Plus, do I really wanna ship my stack with top pair, weak kicker in the first round? Not what I had in mind when I raised the pot in the first place.

Key Hand #2 – (25/50) – 3 people limp, I call with JdTd in the small blind, BB taps. T36 flop, two hearts. Not really sure why, but I decide to check my top pair and it checks around. I bet out $275 on a 2 turn… and the same guy from last hand raises to $750. I shake my head, kind of irritated, but fold. He shows 54 for the nut straight.

Key Hand #3 – (25/50) – 2 people limp, I make it 225 to go from LP with Kd4d, obviously trying to make up for some of the ground I’ve lost. One of the limpers calls and I have position HU to a 987 flop with two diamonds. He checks, I bet $350 and he calls. Turn is a 4. He checks again, I decide he has a draw… probably a straight draw… or a weakish pair… and bet $800. I only have $1100 behind after my bet, so it’s pretty clear I’m never folding here. He mucks and I pick up my first decent pot.

Key Hand #4 – (50/100) – I call a raise to 300 on the button with AcJc. Flop comes down 877, with one club and we are HU. He bets 300 and I call… not based on the strength of my hand, but simply to see what he does on the turn and if I can take the pot away from him. The turn is a Qh, putting two to a flush on board. He bets 300 again and I decide that he’s not too excited about his hand and pop it to 875. He tanks for a bit, looks like he’s going to throw it away, and then shoves on me. I fold.

Key Hand #5 – (50/100) – two people limp, I call with 6c5c in late position, both blinds are in. Flop comes Q94 with two clubs. It checks to me and even though I have position, everyone has shown weakness, and I have a flush draw, I check since a Q9 combo on the flop is going to be in the range of a lot of hands and I think I’m usually getting called here. The turn is a 2, no club, and it checks to my right (same guy from last hand) and he bets 300. I have 1900 in all, and I consider calling, but I decide that I don’t really wanna call for 15% of my stack when I don’t think I’m going to get paid off if I hit my flush draw. Instead, I decide that with my stack size and the situation at hand, shoving it all in is best, as it strongly increases my chances of winning the pot right now. I do just that and this time the guy looks like he might call, but folds instead. Sweet! Even though I really want a fold there, getting called isn’t the worst thing in the world since I do have 10 outs.

Key Hand #6 – (75/150) – I have Qh8h in the SB and we have 3-way action to the flop. The board comes QT4 with three spades. No need to protect my hand here. Anyone with a big spade or a flush is at least going to call me, might even raise me, and I’ll have no idea where I’m at. Might as well try to take a card off and see what happens. Another 4 hits the turn and I could define my hand here, but I decide the situation hasn’t changed much, and it checks around again. Q on the river and it’s up to me with my full house. There’s 450 in the pot and I settle on 500. Since I figure no one has much, I might as well make as much as possible just in case someone wants to look me up. The BB calls and I scoop a pretty good pot for such little action.

Key Hand #7 – (100/200) – UTG limps, small blind raises to 1100 and I look down at AA in the BB. I ship my stack and SB calls with JJ. My hand holds and I’m up to 7100 in chips and an M of 19. Awesome.

Key Hand #8 – (200/400) – Folds to me and I raise to 1100 with KhTh. BB says “why do you have to raise when I got a decent hand?” and finally calls. Board comes AJx. He has 2500 total. This would be my first big mistake of the tournament. He checks to me and I bet 1400. He shoves it and I call and miss my straight. Bad play by me. No need for me to bet the flop here. Any bet by me is going to commit me to the pot with his stack size and he’s never going to fold an ace here. My best option was to check behind on the flop, try to hit my gutshot for free, or re-evaluate how much he likes his hand on the turn. In reality, I think he would’ve lead into me on the turn and I could’ve folded, saving 2500… but instead, I did the stupid thing, and now my big stack is a medium stack.

Key Hand #9 – (200/400) – Button raises to 1200 with 2100 behind. I have AhTh in the BB and put him all in. He calls with A9 and I win with a full house. Back up to 8300.

Key Hand #10 – (200/400) – Some of the details of this hand might be fuzzy since I didn’t leave any notes. The guy I beat in the pot was to my right and was steaming so bad after the hand that I didn’t want to needle him too much further. I have 97 in the BB and there were a few limpers. The board comes 863 with two hearts. It checks all the way around. Turn is 4s and the guy to my right bets 1200. I have a heart and spade in my hand, we both have pretty deep stacks, and there’s tons of cards that could come on the river that could win me the pot… not just my straight outs. I call. Everyone else folds and the 5s hits, making me a straight. He bets out 1200 again and I raise him to 3300. He goes into insta-tilt. Finally folds… and doesn’t let this hand go the rest of the tournament. He’s constantly asking me about it and I never give him the slightest bit of info. Later, when he busts, he tells me “You better be here next time.” LOL!

Key Hand #11 – (300/600) – UTG raises to 1700. I have AA in LP and decide that he has enough behind that he’ll fold a weaker hand if I re-raise him here, so I just call. The blinds fold and we see a T32, two spade flop. He immediately ships for 4200 and I call. He shows KsJs, I turn a set, and he misses the river. I’m up to over 20,000 now.

Key Hand #12 – (400/800) UTG limps, I limp with KQ, SB folds, BB checks. Board comes J83 and it checks to me. No one has show strength, but the limp is kind of confusing me, the BB is a good player, and I’m in obvious steal position… so I just check. An ace hits the turn and the BB bets 1200. Limper folds and I call. Yeah, I have a gutshot here, but that’s not why I called. I figured the BB would raise preflop with a good ace, there’s a heart draw on the board, and I just feel like 90% of the time, he’s going to check the river and I can win with a bluff. 6h hits the river and he does check. I bet 2700 and he folds.

Key Hand #13 – (500-1000) I made it to the final table with the chip lead and I’m feeling pretty great about my play so far. 1 person limps, I have KJ on the button, the SB makes it 3000 to go, BB folds, limper folds and it’s up to me. The SB is a solid player, but I’m getting 4 to 1 to call and I have position on him, so I easily make the call. The board comes J high and he bets 4000. I don’t even hesitate to ship it all in and he quickly calls and shows KK. Ugh. I’d rather see Aces here… I don’t hit my two outer and my stack has been devastated down to 3500. This hand was eating at me all day yesterday and it’s unbelievably how poorly I played it. I just didn’t stop to think about what was going on. Yes, I was getting great odds preflop so I think calling there is correct. My flop play is what kills me. When he leads out for 4000, that doesn’t say a whole lot.. but the fact that he raised to a mere 3000 preflop when two people already limped tells the whole story. If his hand was vulnerable, he would’ve made it 6000-7000 to go in an effort to win the pot right there, but he clearly wanted action on his big pair. If that wasn’t enough information to fold for 4000 on the flop despite making top pair, I always had the option of just calling and seeing how much he liked his hand on the turn. When he ships it on a non-Ace turn, I think I can safely fold there and still have 15000 in chips. Needless to say, I misplayed the hand badly and it probably cost me a tournament I could have won.

Key Hand #14 – (1000-2000) I have 6000 total and 98 in the small blind… we’re close to the money bubble, so I could fold here, have 5000 left, and still have a full orbit to find a better spot…but I’m kind of tilted now and decide to just ship it even though I know I’m getting called 100% of the time by the big stack. On the other hand, I need to double up more than I need to preserve chips, so it’s probably worth the gamble… and I might even have the best hand! He shows T8 though and I’m dominated and his hand holds. GG me!

Ugh… I felt I played spectacularly the whole tournament, with the exception of two hands, but unfortunately, the last mistake cost me 80% of my chips when I was holding a big stack. Great tournament + One Huge Blunder = No Money.


Bremerton Lanes Daily 11:00 AM Poker Tournament

January 26, 2010

It’s well known that poker room managers like to start their business day with a fast-paced, short stack no limit texas hold em tournament in the hopes that it gets customers in the door that will later provide the (much more profitable) rake in the live games. It’s a reasonable concept because these tournaments attract players and any degenerate gambler with the adequate funds is going to stick around to play live. However, these turbo tournaments are the bane of any self-respecting poker player that’s worth a damn because the blinds often go up rapidly, the starting stacks aren’t deep, and the cost of playing doubles each round. This usually makes it a race against the blinds and it’s not unusual to find yourself making the final table with the chip lead and still feeling like you need to make a move before the blinds swallow your stack. This rapid structure greatly reduces the skill factor involved and the money bubble often consists of a bunch of desperation all-in moves and cashes are mostly determined by whoever luck is shining upon that day.

That’s not to say there’s NO skill involved. I think it’s correct to gamble early on in these tournaments, while the blinds are still small, and hope to build a big enough stack to weather the huge blinds that are in the near future. If you’re only playing top hands early on, you’re going to find yourself short stacked in no time unless you run into some favorable situations with those hands.

It’s also important to know your opponents, their tendencies, and whether or not they are adjusting their play properly to the structure. For instance, at a full table, with the blinds at 300-600, a good, smart player with 4800 opens on the button to 1100. You are in the small blind with 1800 behind, holding AT. In my opinion, this is a great situation for your hand and a clear shove. You’re getting called 100% of the time, but that’s okay since you assume the smart player knows he has to pick up dead money to keep his stack afloat and is capable of raising a wide range of hands in this spot, so your AT figures to be ahead of the majority of his range.

In contrast, let’s say the blinds are the same, your opponent’s stack and raise sizes are the same, only this time he’s a known nit raising from early position. You’re still in the small blind with the same stack and hand as before and everybody folds to you. This is a very different situation even though it’s nearly identical. Against this opponent, especially considering his poor position, your AT doesn’t match up nearly as well against his range. You should almost never expect to be ahead in this spot because he’s usually going to have a big pair or a hand that has you dominated. A nit simply isn’t going to mix it up or risk a hefty percentage of his stack on a blind steal. There is a small chance he could be holding a hand like 88 or KQ in that spot, and you probably wanna ship it against those hands, but I’d estimate those medium pairs and KQ represent the very bottom of his range and you can find a better spot to get your money in. So yeah, there is still skill involved and adjusting your play to your circumstances and opponents can increase your win rate… but ultimately, if you make the top 5-6 spots, the blinds are going to be so big you’re going to be shoving with almost any hand you get involved in… which means, you gotta hit the board better than your opponents in the end game; there’s no outplaying them after the flop.

Anyways, enough with the lessons and on to the Bremerton Lanes tournament. I’ve lived on the east side of Bremerton for the past three years, so I’ve been playing in the absolutely terrible tournaments at All-Star Lanes and Chips Casino. Chips was the closest to my house, but it’s also host to the worst tournament I’ve ever played in. The blinds always double, the levels are super fast, the fields are small, and the starting stacks are mediocre at best. The luck factor is in full affect at Chips. On top of all that, they almost never had enough people stay for a live game after. I hated playing there, but it was the most convenient tournament for me to play in and I did relatively decent in it. On the plus side, Chips is the only casino that doesn’t charge a tournament fee and the blinds do start extremely small at 10-20… but an hour later, when you’re at the 800-1600 level, it’s pretty irrelevant.

I moved to West Bremerton a couple months ago and finally made my way into Bremerton Lanes today. I figured it would be just like every other local tournament, which explains why I wasn’t in a rush to play in it. My first surprise was the quality of the chips you play with. They were clay, heavy, and dope… like in the bigger live tournaments I’ve played in; not like the cheap plastic chips that All-Star and Chips use. Not a big deal, but impressive nonetheless.

I can’t exactly remember what the starting stacks were (I’ll note it tomorrow), but they were a good size in relation to the first level of blinds. It seemed like the first round lasted forever. I’m pretty sure they were using 15 minute rounds, which is about 20-40% more play each level than the other local tournaments. Give Bremerton Lanes a huge point.

The blinds doubled after the initial 25-50 level, which is standard, but I was SHOCKED when they announced a 75-150 level after 50-100. Holy shit! The starting stack size is solid, the levels are longer, AND they stagger the blind levels? From 100-200 to 200-400 to… 300-600?! Are you kidding me? Don’t they have a live game to start? I was in heaven.

Unfortunately, despite playing what I thought was perfect poker, I busted out in about 13th place. My key hands throughout the tournament:

Key Hand #1 – blinds are 25-50 in the first round and I still roughly have my starting stack. I’m in the small blind with Q9o. 4-5 people limp into the pot and I complete in the small blind. The big blind makes a stupid raise to 150, a move that clearly isn’t going to knock anybody out of the pot. I don’t know what he had, but the only hands you’d wanna make a play like that with are big suited cards or a small pair with the intention of creating a large pot and hoping to flop huge and get paid off. Hands like AK, AQ, AA-TT need to be raised a hefty amount in order to weed out the garbage and see who really wants to play. Anyways, everyone obviously calls the raise and even though my hand isn’t good, the odds I’m getting are ridiculous and I’m not going to get involved unless I hit the board in a big way or the betting is super weak. The flop comes QQJ. Gin! Most people would check in this spot first to act, but what are they trying to accomplish? Are you checking to see how heavy the action gets before it gets back to you? No matter how heavy it gets, are you really going to fold your trips? If you check and call a reasonable sized bet, even your most unobservant opponents are going to be wary of you holding a queen and, unless they have you beat, you’re going to need to bet the hand yourself on the turn if you want any more money going in the pot. You could always check-raise the flop and that’s not a bad play. There’s definitely some cards you don’t wanna see roll off on the turn (aces, eights, kings, and tens aren’t great cards for you). However, this usually has the effect of ending the pot immediately and your hand is strong enough to take a little action. Since I like to build the pot when I got a big hand, I decided to lead into everyone for 300. Not exactly a hand-defining bet and just funky enough that it’s going to be hard for anyone to put me on a queen leading out into everyone. Unfortunately, I only get one customer and we see a 9 on the turn. Perfect card. If I had kicker problems, I don’t anymore and the only hand that can beat me is QJ. Also, if dude was drawing with KT, he just made the nut straight and I’m probably going to stack him. I decide to check it to further confuse him in case he’s holding a J and if he does have KT, we’re going to get it all in here anyways. He checks behind me. Lame. River is a blank and I decide 700 is a pretty good bet amount for a J to pay off. He quickly calls and I scoop against his AJ. In retrospect, knowing this player very well, I could have bet more on the river and probably gotten called. I’ve seen him make some ridiculously bad calls in the past. Regardless, I’m off to a nice start and raked in a very nice sized pot.

Key Hand #2 – blinds are 50-100. I still have a very good stack and have picked up a couple small pots since my last key hand. The player UTG raises to 300 and everybody folds to my big blind. I look down at AcKc. This is kind of a tough spot in my opinion. Since we have pretty deep stacks, a re-raise isn’t exactly automatic. If I re-pop him and he ships it, I’m going to be sick. I really don’t want to get it in with a drawing hand this early in the tournament when I’ve built myself a nice stack and I’m completely confident in outmaneuvering my opponents post-flop. I opted to just call and see what developed. My hand strength was certainly disguised, another advantage to just calling. The flop comes K63 rainbow. I check and he bets 450. Unless he has AA or flopped a set, I’m in great shape. Since an ace helps me, he’s almost surely drawing to two outs or some kind of running miracle. I decide to throw him some rope and just call. The turn card is a J, putting two hearts on the board. I probably should have bet here since a flush draw is now present and he could check and hit a miracle straight, but I decided to check because I was curious to see what he would do. He bet 500. A pretty weak bet after the flop action. I decided it was time to take the pot down. I raised to 1600, enough to let him know I was priced in if he decided to ship it… and that’s immediately what he did. I knew I was up against three jacks before he even flipped them over. Time to rebuild.

Key hand #3 – Not able to find any good situations for a while, I’m in the big blind for 200 and about 1900 behind. Everybody folds to the button, who pops it to 600. The small blind folds and I look down to find two aces. I think just long enough to make sure he’s not folding anything that isn’t pure garbage and ship it in. He immediately calls with A6 and I scoop. A nice, well-timed and needed double up.

Key hand #4 – It’s funny how you can precisely remember every hand you lose when you were a favorite, but some of the hands you win when YOU were behind are a little more fuzzy. That’s what happened here. I can’t remember the blind levels or my raise size, but I do know that I opened with KQ and one of the smaller stacks shoved on me. I did some quick math, decided I had an easy call, and he flips over AQ. Whoops. One of a mere five hands where I’m not getting the right odds to call. I spiked a K anyways and my stack kept rising.

Key hand #5 – I’m somewhere around 7000 in chips and the blinds are 300-600. Someone limps in front of me and I look down at AsKs. I check out the limper’s stack size to see what kind of raise I need to make. He has 1400 behind and I decide on making it 2500 to go, enough to put him all in, and let everyone else know I’m serious about my hand. The small blind ships it for 4800 and the limper folds and I quickly call. He tables AQ and scoops the pot. Brutal. The same beat I put on the other guy in my last key hand, but this time, the pot was MUCH bigger, so it definitely stung and was probably the difference in me not making the money.

Key hand #6 – blinds are still 300-600. It folds to the small blind, the same guy that limped for 600 with a 2000 stack and folded to the raises in the last key hand. He completes to 600 and I look down at A5. I decide that my hand has him beat and his stack size says I should just put him all-in if he wants to play. I’m surprised when calls and ecstatic when he shows K5. See ya later, buddy.

Key hand #7 – After a run of cold cards and no favorable stealing situations, my stack has dwindled quite a bit. I’m down to about 5500 and the blinds are 400-800. A pretty tight player raises to 2000 UTG. It folds to me and I have 99. I go into the tank. Ultimately, I decide to fold since the raiser is kind of nitty and even if I’m a favorite, I’m probably only looking at a 52-48 edge. The small blind calls and the hand plays out very bizarrely. They both check the flop and turn and after the board reads 23756 on the river, the small blind bets 800, gets called, and shows QQ. I pat myself on the back for folding, although I clearly would’ve held up against the initial raiser.

Key hand #8 – The blinds both pass through me without picking up a pot and I’m down to 3800. Blinds are still 400-800 and I feel like my stack is in critical condition. The player that beat my AK with AQ makes it 2000 to go and it folds to me, holding AT. My cards are weaker than they were in the last hand, which I folded, but the situation here is a bit different. I’ve seen enough action from the raiser to know he’s willing to splash around and my stack is starting to dictate my play more than my starting hand. I’d prefer to have first-in vigorish, but my AT was gonna have to do. I shoved it and he had an automatic call with almost any two cards. He shows KJ and the board comes J938K and it’s “GG Mac” in 13th place.

Regardless, because of the amazing structure of this daily event, I can’t think of any other time I’ve busted out of a tournament, lost my buy-in, and walked out of the poker room ecstatic.

Bremerton Lanes has it figured out. They offer an amazing tournament in which the skill factor can heavily outweigh the luck factor and SHOCKER: they attract a bigger field than both All-Star and Chips. Despite the buy-in being steeper than either of those tournaments, they had three full tables and several alternates, and a full live game was fired up before the first tournament table even broke. Basically, slowing up the tournament and providing more play attracted a bigger field and more bodies that could potentially stick around for live play and feed the rake. Go figure. Instead of hustling their customers through a tournament so the casino can take a rake, Bremerton Lanes offers a medium stacked, well-structured event and still managed to get a live game going before any of these other casinos usually do.

I can’t wait to play in the tournament again and I’ll be posting my experiences as they come and tracking my results on the site. Hopefully I can make a big score in it early, so I have the roll to support playing in it on a daily basis.

All-Star Lanes and Chips Casino, it’s time to take some notes.