After spending the last week and a half at home sick and coughing up a lung, I decide it’s time to get out and play a tourney just to get out of the house a bit.  The Electric Stick really has the largest fields with the best structure since the closing of Snookers.  You start with 40,000 in tournament chips and blinds start at 100/200 with 20 minute levels for the first 6 levels and 15 minute blinds after that until the end.

Playing Near the Bubble

The “Bubble” means any point where there in incentive to advance just a couple of spots.  In large tournaments of 300+ runners there are a few bubbles.  The “money bubble” is the difference between winning nothing or winning the minimum cash payout.  The “Final Table bubble” is really just for bragging rights or a TV/Internet appearance if it’s a major tournament.  “Large Pay jump bubbles” which could mean the difference between a $10,000 and $17,000 payday.  In the charity tournaments around Michigan, you usually only need to worry about the “Money Bubble.”

I usually get really aggressive (yes, more so than usual) if i have less than 15BBs or more than 35BBs.  If I’m in the middle, I pick and choose.  There are usually some really short stacks (under 8BBs) that you need be careful with.  Since they are short, they have to get it in and take a shot.

Raising with Q5s might not be a good idea from the CO if the BB has 4BBs.  However, this might be perfectly acceptable if the SB and BB have 20BBs and you have 35BBs.  They don’t want to lose their stack right before the money.  I have found out you can pick on the medium stacks a lot easier than short stacks.  3 betting medium stacks can be very profitable so long as it’s not a 80 yo woman who raised.

Just remember that all the above are general statements.  You still have to take into account what types of players are at the table, their aggression level as well as the stack sizes.  Keep up the aggression and this is a great spot to pick up some easy chips.

Trip Report Potion – (yes it’s long)

Everything is pretty stand for charity tournaments for most of the first 3 levels.  Lots of limping and multiple cold calling of 3 bets.  People want to play lots of hand early.  I tried playing pretty tight and but still was knocked down to around 15k.  99 no good after 2 cold calls of a 3 bet and a KJ6 flop.  AK twice and AQ once no good.  Missed the flop on first 2 and having my C-bet called by an old guy and older lady and flop an A on the 3rd and get bet into with K4dd on a 3 diamond board.

I tell everyone I’m only raising with AA and pick up AA the next hand.  Blinds are 300/600 and I make it 1500 and get 1 caller.  I bet out 1700 on a KJx board and get called.  Turn is Tx and river is a blank.  We check it down and I win the show down. (Yes, I’m a puss)

Two hand later, I pick up AA again and raise to 1700 again and only the BB calls.  Flop is Q53 rainbow and the BB leads out for 2000 and I smooth call.  Turn is a J and the BB check and I bet out 5000 and get snap called.  I’m now scared he has QJ until the river is another 3.  He checks and I shove all in for my last 11500 and get snap called again with KK. (2 for 2 on AA)

I move tables to seat 9 when we are down to 50 people.  I slowly grind my stack up with 210k without much to talk about (except AA holds again) when we are down to 17 people and blinds are 10k/20k.  This guy in seat 4 is shoving a lot with 4-8 BBs and showing much of nothing.  He shoves for the 4th time for 165k and I pick up A9 in the BB.  I call and he tables T9o and I’m feeling good until the flop comes KQJ and brick out.  I’m down to 55k and still 17 to go.

I fold my 24o in the SB and then I pick up A6s.  I shove my 2.5BBs and the BB calls with K9o.  Can you guess what the flop was????  QTJ!.  Luckily, I hit a K on the turn to win the hand and get up to 100k.  I start shoving pretty liberally and no one wants to call.  I run up to 170k and blinds up to 15k/30k.  I shove from the SB and the BB folds QTo face up when he has over 700k.  Later I shove AK with 7bb and he tells me he folded AJ (omg, really????)

My shovefest continues as I shove from UTG+2 and UTG+1 without any action. I finally get to 12BB and mention that I can actually do a normal raise now.  I pick up AA UTG and make with 65k and AJ/QT guy shoves behind me for 150k with JT.  My AA holds (4 for 4) and now sitting with about 500k.  Little later I call someone shove from the BB with AA and it holds (5 for 5).

The guy on my left is the only person I’m worried about at the table.  He has raised my BB heads up 5 times tonight which I had to fold.  He limps once and I fold to a turn bet and he shows AA (flopped a set) and tries to raise another time but didn’t put in enough.  I fold to the a turn bet and shows AA again (flopped another set).

We get down to 4 people with blinds at 50k/100k.  I have 1.3M and he has 1.2M when he raises with 250k and I look down at A9.  I decide to make my stand and shove.  He snaps with AKs.  Board runs out A5867 and he won’t even shake my hand.  (He was upset about not getting action with AA twice….)

We are 3 handed and I am way ahead here.  I pick up AA again in the SB and get no action (6 for 6) and later call the buttons shove of 3BB with J8 (he has 82s) and get heads up with a 3 to 1 chip lead.  I finally call his shove with AT and he has KJ.  K on the turn and we are about even.  He offers an even chop and I accept since I’m still sick and tired.

The amount of limp-folding with less than 10BBs and failing to call 4BB shoves when you have an A just amazes me at these tournaments.  I’m never one who is looking to just min cash.  Seems like a waste of time to me.  I am usually very aggressive when we get close to the money.  This time around, I actually had a great run of cards.  The weird part is that I usually only get a top 5 finish if I never get AA during the tournament. I cannot believe I won 6 times with it.  Yes, I got lucky at the end but that is poker and I was due some #rungood.