Poker Report: Monday $40 at the Bike

Is it funny that my originally-techish blog has more regular poker-related updates than it does tech ones? I haven't even written anything about RubyConf yet!

In any event, two things:

  • Played 1/2 No-Limit Hold'em at Harrah's in New Orleans while I was at RubyConf. Lost $200 when I turned the nut straight, shoved, got called by a dude with a set, who proceeded to river a boat.
  • Played in the Bike's $40 Monday tournament. See below for details.

I'm going to skip over most of the tournament, as it was single-table and went by pretty quickly. At this point it should be obvious that tournament poker comes down to:

  • Fat value: Get chips in when you've got the best hand.
  • Thin value: Know when/how to steal blinds and pots.

This tournament I started with some great hands, including Pocket Aces which held up to bust out our first player, so I ended up getting some easy chips early, which then ended up being eaten by 1) Bike's sudden jump in blinds at the first hour, and 2) A couple of run-ins with shortstacks; tried to bust some folks out and ran into big hands.

Shortstacked -- and by this I mean roughly an M of 10 / 15BB -- and four-handed, I would enter raised pots where the chip-leader had folded, and shove on the flop if I caught any peice of it. This usually induced a fold, and doubled me up a few times, which got me back in the running. Some bad luck on other player's parts, and I'm suddenly heads-up.

Heads-up I'm playing pretty well. Raising and getting folds, bailing out of hands where I don't think I can induce a fold or win with my cards. Feeling good about it, too! Then I pick up JQ offsuit, and my opponent raises the 2k blind to 10k.

My chips are a mess, they've been knocked over several times by incoming pots and I have no idea what I'm at. Villain asks, and I can't give him a read. The dealer thinks I'm at roughly 30k, and that sounds about right. If Villian is over 60k, and I'm at 30k, and he's been folding to big bets, maybe I should go all-in. I decide to. The official count puts me at 46k. Had I realized we were quite that close I might have mucked it here, but c'est la vie.

Villain tanks for five minutes at least. He's out loud counting his chips, musing about what the hell I could shove with there, complaining about his kicker, etc. Finally he reasons that it's late and he wants to gamble so he calls with A2 offsuit. Flop comes AJK, we both paired, and I never caught any of my outs to straighten up. I walk away in second.

Lessons Learned

My heads up game needs some work. Last time it was WAY too spewy and I got it all-in bad on the first hand. This time it took longer, but I still ended up shoving with two high cards pre-flop. I think heads-up I should shove preflop a lot less, especially if the chipstacks are relatively even, and take more time to suss out my opponent's game.

My mid-game is still doing okay. I pulled myself out of a bad place, which I can always be proud of.

I think my early game is still dependent on what cards I get. While that's important, there's lots of places early-on where a well-timed raise can get you some cheap chips and I think I'm not playing those right. This time I happened to catch Aces, which helps, but when I'm a little more card-dead my opening game suffers.

Ah well. First place next time.