Friday, 17 October 2008

Gala Leicester £20 + £20 add on

The poker room at Gala Leicester

Seeing as it had been so long since I played a live tournament, and seeing as my live poker juices were flowing after reading 'Ghosts at the Table', I decided to take a trip to my old haunt Leicester Gala Casino.

Many of the same faces were there, but there was one difference, it was the first night they were using 9 man tables. Normally the tournaments are run here with 7 man tables, 3000 starting stack and blinds every 30 mins which leads for a fast structured game (nay crap shoot) and levelled out many of the skill benefits of better players.

This time, however, the tournament had the same starting stack and levels but a slower drip of the blinds which, coupled with the add on at the end of the 2nd level, allowed for a lot more poker to be played. The only let down was the number of entrants it gathered, only 19. But seeing as I have been concentrating on the STT circuit I felt this tournament was right up my street.

The start of the tournament went pretty standard and I went into the break with an average stack of just over 7000 (including the add ons). By the time the tournament had whittled down to the last 9 players I was sitting on around 12,000 chips with blinds at 400/800. At this stage of the game is where my key hands took place and looking back also shows where my game has changed from what it was a few weeks back.

The first hand of note which identifies my change in thinking was when I was sitting in the SB with 8d6h. It folds to the Button who limps in for the 800. I complete my SB and the BB checks his option. The flop cam Kd,Td,4h. I check, BB checks, Button checks. Turn card is an 8s. I check, BB checks, Button checks. River comes an As. I check, BB checks, Button bets in for 2400. Does anyone call here?

I ponder then call and the BB folds. So why the call?

The Flop was checked with 2 diamonds, so I think no one has a K. The Turn which was a blank for someone with a Ten that hadn't bet the flop because of the K still had not bet, so I think no Ten. The River is an A and still no bet from the BB, so he doesn't have an A, and the button bets now, surely he would have raised pre flop if he had the A so I figure the A has missed everyone leaving my pair of 8's probably good. The only thing I hadn't figures was that the Button had the nuts with QJ, which he had and he scooped the pot. So why is this a key hand for me if I lost it? Well it proves I am thinking alot more about the game, all my deductions about the tabled cards were correct, and I proved to myself I can make a "hero" call, even though this time it didn't help me win the hand. Would I have bet the pot if I had nothing on the button in this scenario, most definitely, and I will snap one of those steals sooner or later rather than just ditching my cards in the muck.

The other key hand was with 5 players left and the blinds at 600/1200. It folds around to me in the SB holding KcTs. I have a stack of around 9000 including my posted blind. I decide to play with the BB whose sitting on about 30,000 and min raise to 2400, he calls. The flop comes 8d,6h,2h. I bet out 3000 and the BB calls leaving me about 3600 behind. The turn is a Qc. Now I think for a while and push all in, why?

Well I figure at best the guy has paired the flop, which is going to be a weak pair and I still have 6 outs for the win. I would have to be really unlucky if the guy had paired the Q and as such use this as a scare card for my bet, so he may fold his weaker pair (would have been better if I had more chips though). The guy might be on a draw and I don't put him on an A as he didn't re pop my short stack raise pre flop so K high might still be good. He did call my all in holding 5s7s for the open ended straight draw. A K hit the river and my lead in the hand was confirmed and I had just got myself back in contention.

You could be ultra critical here and say my initial steal was a weak bet, but there was history here with this size of raise and I felt it suited my position best. The main thing was I made 3 pops at a pot with K high, this is a mile from where I have been playing previously, and this time it had paid off.

By the time we reached 4 players my stack had dwindled to the shortest at around 8000 chips and blinds of 1000/2000. At this point I pander to the big stacks consciences and ask if there is going to be any consolation prize for the bubble boy (i.e. me) to which they agree £8 each from the prize fund for the 4th place.

The very next hand with me on the Button and having folded 93os I take a drink and look back to find both the SB and the BB all in. The BB with AQ had the SB with AJ covered and the SB went out on the bubble with his donated 24 quid. I had made the money!!

I doubled up once but on the second attempt of stealing my blind from the SB I call again this time with 67s. His T3s of the same suit had me dominated in every way and I went out 3rd for £144.

So a small live win and more importantly my newly found game seemed to hold up well at this level.

So now onwards and upwards!

Until next time.

Keep it Tight!

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