The Poker Game of Life

Poker and scotch on the rocks. Below are my reflections on life and poker. My journey from $4-8 as a past time to $30-60 for serious money and my life experiences in between.

Location: seattle, Washington, United States

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Play for first

Lately I've become fascinated with tournament play rather than limit Holdem. I'm considering playing in bigger tournaments and getting away from the high limit games for a change of pace.

I played with my buddies last night over sushi and short ribs for a going away party. I caught a few breaks and took home first place but the sushi and new maps in Halo2 were just as if not more enjoyable. :)

So, we get down to the final table and there's 4 of us. 3 of us have about 300 in chips and chip leader has about 1,100. The blinds are at 15-30. At 15-30 you're losing 45 chips a round and since the action is 4 way I'm thinking that I'm liable to get blinded out if I don't start making any moves. I'm a little lucky in that chip leader is laying off the aggressiveness and not pushing us around.

I run into Ace, 9 and decide to push all in for 300. My philosophy here is that since I've still got about 300 in chips the 2 guys with approximately the same amount of chips will still have to fear me. However, a double or triple of the blinds won't really do much and leave me open to someone reraising me. If I were to say bring the action to 90 chips and then I get reraised I'd have a hard time calling and I'd be crippled in terms of chips.

My steal is successful. 345 or so in chips now.

I notice that nobody is really playing anything and the action is folded around to me quite frequently. This is where I think things get beautiful.

I just decide I'm going to play for first. That means I've got to get some chips and since my opponents are waiting for strong hands and chip leader is chillin' I'm going to start bullying everyone around. I start raising all in with nothing if the action is folded around to me. I'm successful as no one even calls.

Now I've got about 600 in chips, chip leader about 1000 and the other guys have about 200. Still not in the running for first but giving myself a shot.

Blinds are now 20-40. Chip leader raises out of the small blind to make it 200 to go. I've got Ace, 10 and I push all in hoping to make him fold. He contemplates for awhile and now I'm not happy at all with my push to all in. He says, "You got aces, kings, ace/king, a pair? I've got Ace/Queen." This is where it gets beautiful. So I say, "Ah, muck it and I'll show you." He throws away and I show him Ace/10. He gets mad.

Now in my mind no matter what the next time I push all in he's going to call me so I'd better have a strong hand. A few hands later I've got Ace, queen and sure enough he calls my all in. I catch a few more breaks and win. Good times for a lil home game.

A few months ago I wouldn't have been able to let loose and push all in trying to steal my way to a contender for first place. I'm pretty happy about that.