Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Reverse the curse!


As regular blog readers will have probably gathered, live poker hasn't treated me too well over the past year. I haven't put in a ton of volume but I've definately played my fair share and without a single cash in over a year at a live tournament I was seriously starting to have my doubts. Not only was this putting pressure on my online wins to sustain the live buyins but also about how I was approaching live poker and really focusing on the differences particularly in the extra information and player ranges that differ between the two forms of the games.

Well that all changed earlier today :) I managed to final table a £200 prelim for the GUKPT Walsall. It wasn't huge and I came 9th (despite losing a 70/30 for chip lead, but that's besides the point) but I'm just really really happy that I finally broke through and cashed in a live tournament. In fact I was nervous that in such bubble situations I'd be overly tight, however, I played my game and on the final table bubble in particular worked my 40k stack up to 160k without showdown which I'm really happy with.

I wasn't getting particularly many cards, but taking advantage of others who clearly seemed like they wanted to reach the final table. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to probably more than anyone else. Yet I've played so many tournaments in similar situations that with some ICM considerations, going for first place where all the money is weighted is really my only goal.

One really interesting hand happened on the exact final table bubble with 11 players left in the tournament. I started the hand with about 30 big blinds and was covered by the open raised. He was a 25-30 something guy that had been quite active but was in no means a good player. Definitely on the fishy side with huge preflop and postflop leaks. Regardless, he had a bunch of chips and the hand was dealt.

I looked down at Kh10h in the cut-off. The big blind at the time had 3 big blinds left (as you guess, he was one of the guys folding into the money and looking to reach the final table at whatever cost). The early position raiser asked his chip count and thought for a little while then 3.5x'd as he had been doing with a wide range of holdings. Here's something I picked up that I hadn't picked up online. I could almost instantly eliminate any sort of premium holding from his range here as I felt from his body language and the fact he was concerned with the BB's stack size, whereas for this player if he was dealt aces for instance, the BB's stack size wouldn't even come into his equation. So I put him on a medium kind of hand - lowish pocket pairs, QJ, KQ, A8 that kind of area.

So when it got to me, with this little hint of weakness I 3bet him. The button, an Indian guy, some postflop logic but lacking any sort of preflop game (raising 5x with a 15bb stack then folding to a shove etc.) tanked for ages. Like 3 minutes and folded (after saying he folded queens, great one lol. Somehow he went on to win the tournament. Don't quite know what that says to me haha).

The BB then put his 3 bb stack in and it folded to the UTG guy who tanked for ages (what the hell was he thinking while the button was tanking I don't know). So I was pretty sure he was hollywooding as how could anyone take this long on a preflop decision. Then he did what I least expected him to do: flat call. Which was terrible given our effective stacks left in the hand.

Regardless, the flop came 10 9 3, he checked to me, I fired 1/3 pot and he quickly mucked 88 face up. Obviously he played that about as bad as possible as I don't know what board he was expecting but was no way near set mining odds. The BB had 55 and my hand held. Half the table was in disbelief probably thinking I'm the biggest fish alive, others said very well played.

But I think although the hand is very basic, it's these little live tells and bet sizing that I'm really starting to focus on more and implementing the extra information into my game. Obviously K10s is a terrible hand to 3bet with if your focusing mathematically with the bet sizing, but given the extra information that I was sure he didn't have a premium and it had enough showdown value to do well vs the BB's 3bb stack I was happy to make the play. And it worked well.

Really happy about my live game and finally getting some more confidence. I'm looking for a big score soon, and if I keep getting in the volume, I don't see any reason why it won't come.


  1. Hey

    I think you are right in that the online game and live game vary so damn much that some online players will find it hard to adjust. The play you talk of with K10 is quality, especially as you are in position and people behind you are most probably not going to call behind, then even if the original bettor calls you have a scared oppo that will most likely not see a good flop then alas he checks to you and you bet him off.

    Good play sir. You need to be fully attentive of the man you are playing and be aware of whats going on on every street. With this you should be fine, only thing i would warn though is that you will need to clock on to a fake tell and a real one emitted by players.

    I have got done once when a man grimaced at a turn card which would make a flush and started hollering it was a bad card. I thought then he didn't have the flush, but he cracked my aces. Take all the tells and reads with a pinch of salt and then follow your gut feeling is what i am saying.

    Also if you have any nagging doubts about going through with the "right" play it is probably the wrong play. So keep that in mind rudeboy, towards ure damn near inevitable world domination.