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"his supporting infantry cut through the dragoons like a guillotine through a block of tofu"

Love is all that heals the soul. That and Seven Card Stud.
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Date: 02/12/07 09:02
Game Type: Starcraft
Labels:Warcraft 3(1), Series(1)
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Report Rating: 8.0, # of Ratings: 2, Max: 8, Min: 8
Lifetime Rating for NoBBiR: 8.0000
Poker: Volume Uno
There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as poker. The upper class knows very little about it. Now and then you find ambassadors who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "flush." It is enough to make one ashamed of the species.
~Mark Twain

.... Some of the lingo can be fishy if you don't know much about poker; Here is a glossary which should cover most of your issues.

.... Poker is the new national sport. Heck, forget the United States, poker has taken the WORLD by storm in as little as 3 years. The 2002 World Series of Poker ended with Robert Varkonyi, a complete no name, winning 2 Million Dollars. The next year was followed by more of the same, except this time Sam Farha was heads up with the no name. This was no Varkonyi vs. another "dead money" participant in Julian Gardner. This was big money Sammy Farha vs. little (not really little) no name Chris Moneymaker. But yet again the No name won. The next year, the same happened again. Greg Raymer, a complete unknown beat out a final four of poker royalty in "Action" Dan Harrington, Josh Arieh, and David Williams, who had been personally trained by big-timer Marcell Luske. Joe Hachem and Jamie Gold were no different in that before they won the main event, nobody in poker had ever heard of them. And this is why Poker is the World's new sport. It doesn't take a perfectly fit body, a great jump shot, a killer change-up, David Beckham's left foot or a cool name (Chris Moneymaker being the exception). All this game takes is a few bucks, the ability to take pressure, and as for No Limit - A mouth to say all-in.

.... But you already know all of that. What you may often wonder to yourself is where these people get $10,000 to buy into a poker tournament. To most people the world $10,000 is anything but easy to get a hold of, and most people can find a better use of spending it then on a poker tournament. But much like Moneymaker and Raymer, a large number of the participants simply qualify through low stakes tournaments. And this is the best way. Now I'm not here to teach you how to qualify for the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. Maybe I'll help with that after I do it at least once. Let's start of easy, yeah?

$10+$1 No Limit Hold'em 18 player 2 Table Sit n' Go

-Quick Guide to Early Play Online
.... We'll forgo the very early part of this particular tournament. But your basic strategy very early on in these tournaments should be to strictly play premium hands (AA,KK,QQ,JJ,1010,99,AK,AQ,AJ) strongly, no slow playing early on in low limit tournaments. The donkey retaliation for slow playing is high until the field thins. Generally limp into pots and try to see cheap flops with pocket pairs below 99, in an attempt to flop sets (Trips). Sets are dominating hands on non-3 flush/non-3 straight boards (For example, most people in low limits will go broke with AK on a A82 board against a player with 88 or 22). Never call big raises with pairs below 99 or you'll just get in trouble (its alright to call 3x the blind early, but never call reraises with them or you'll end up getting sandwiched often). You don't play cards to flip a coin like on TV. You can get your money in as a bigger favorite than 50% easily. Also, while the blinds are relatively low in comparison to your chip size, you can limp in with hands like 34s, 45s, 56s, 67s, 78s, 89s. These are big money hands when you flop strong with them. Until you have made moves with premiums, just avoid all A6,A7,A8, and A9 hands. These hands are what an inexperienced players biggest nightmare is. Most of the time when an Ace flops, you'll be out kicked and lose. Plus these hands have very little (almost no chance) of making a straight as opposed to all other Ax hands. They are playable if suited and the pot is full of limpers and you're pretty sure the pot will be checked to the flop. Flopping a nut flush is even stronger than flopping a set, so there is nothing wrong when that happens. You can generally play any suited Ace in an unraised pot from late position in an attempt to flop a flush or big flush draw. However, I do not advise this for inexperienced player because you'll have a hard time folding when the Ace flops. DO NOT play cards just because they are suited. J3, Q5 K8 suited are all examples of hands players play because they are suited and they think they're better. This is anything but true. Random suited cards are simply unplayable. Never fall in love with Big Card-Low Card just because they are of the same suit. Just throw them away.

.... Remember that UTG (Under the Gun) acts first preflop, and that after the flop the SB (Small Blind) acts first. If the SB has folded preflop, then the BB (Big Blind) goes. If the BB has folded, UTG goes. Remember this. The Button is the best position because you act last on every betting round. In case you are not aware of what BB, Button, UTG, etc. mean, this table should help you.

.... The CO is the Cutoff and is right behind the button. SB, BB, and UTG are considered early position in poker and are what is considered poor position. UTG+1, UTG+2, and CO-2 are what are considered middle position, which is decent. CO-1, CO, and the Button are late position and are the best spots to be in. Action goes clockwise at a table with the two players after the button placing forced bets in the SB and BB (Small Blind and Big Blind). Then each other player acts.

-Things You May Not Understand
.... Many things may be new to you in this battlereport. First is your M. Your M is what you have in chips divided by what the pot is before anyone does anything (blinds and antes make up the pot before any action). Using your M you can determine how you should be playing. If your M is very high (25+, Dan Harrington likes to say 20+, but I prefer at least 25+ to be playing a little more recklessly) you can play loosely as you have much ammo, this being the "Green Zone." Once it starts to dip, 10-20, you have to be more cautious and conservative, this is called the "Yellow Zone." When it gets to 6-10, you really have to start playing aggressively, attempting to steal pots preflop, mostly with all-ins in an attempt to increase your stack, this is called the "Orange Zone." The best way to do this is to be the first player to enter the pot and to have as few people left to act behind as you can. This is called First in vigorish, which basically means that you can win the pot by making everyone fold, or by getting called and winning a showdown. Finally if it gets below 5 times the pot, you have entered the dangerous "Red Zone." In this case you have to start pushing almost every time you have first in vigorish in an attempt to steal the blinds and antes and increase your stack. This is called the "Zone" theory. Another unfamiliar topic is the Adjusted M, or Effective M. This is simply your M at a full table multiplied by the number of players left at the table/10 (So say you had an M of 7, if your table is only 5 players, your Adjusted M, which is more accurate, is really 3.8, putting you in the Red Zone instead of out of the dangerous Red Zone and in the Orange Zone. The last unfamiliar figure is the Q. The Q is simply the average chip count of players remaining in the tournament. In live tournament play, this is harder to figure as you have to actually figure it out. Online, however, most poker sites display it for you in the tournament lobby. Q is just multiplying the number of players a tournament started with by how many chips you started with, and then dividing by the remaining players. For more on M, Effective M, Zone Theory and Q, or if you want a very comprehensive early tournament guidebook, purchase Harrington on Hold'em Volume I and II. They are two of the best Poker books you can find, and will help you play less maniacally like most people do. I also recommend Harrington on Hold'em Volume III, as it is equally excellent for newcomers to tournament play.

Early Game

Hand #1

Chip Count: 3,210
Hand: Ad Jc
Player At Table Count: 8
Blinds: 10/20
Position: BB
M: 107
Effective M: 95.11
# of BB's: 160.5

Preflop Discussion: Here I have over double the starting amount in chips because I doubled through early with KK against 1010. Because I have 3210 in chips, I have a distinct advantage on everyone at my table (all of whom have between 1960 and 1210 in chips). I have a huge effective M because of the small blinds early on, and can play as loosy goosy as I wish. Remember, however, being a Maniac is never right. Anyone who tells you differently is a fool. There must be a reason behind each act you make in a tournament, and maniacs make too many unexplainable moves. There are exceptions to this rule (a la Mike Matusow), however, they are rare, because to play like a maniac you have to have a ridiculous reading ability (which few have). This hand I pick up Ad Jc in the BB. UTG calls, UTG +2 calls, and the button calls. All others fold. I decide to check here, disguising my hand, but this was a relatively bad play. I should have raised to eliminate competition with my relatively strong hand. However, I do not like being out of position on this hand, and I do not view AJos as an overly powerful hand 8-9 handed, and as such I usually try to minimize my investment in it.

Flop: Td Ks 8c
Flop Discussion: This is a pretty worthless flop, flopping only a Gutshot broadway straight draw, and have one overcard, the Ace. I have no intention of betting it since someone probably has limped in with Kxs and is going to at least call me. I decide check, as does everyone else to my amazement.

Turn: Ah
Turn Discussion: The turn is a nice card for me, giving me top pair with a good kicker for the board, and I still have a gutshot to the nut straight. Obviously someone could have QJ, and have made the nut straight on the turn, but I intend to find out if anyone has any interest in continuing the hand right now. I bet the pot of 90, and get called by my opponent who has the button who has 1470 chips following his call. Here I figure that he has one of three hands. Ax and has a weaker kicker than I do, a Queen or a Jack and simply is drawing (illogically) at a gutshot straight, or has exactly QJ and is using his position to trap me and he is hoping I keep betting on the River.

River: 9h
River Discussion: The river doesn't really effect me, either my opponent has QJ or he doesn't. If he does, I'm going to lose, if he doesn't, I'm probably going to win. The pot is 270, so I lead out and bet 120 (a somewhat defensive-bet and around 45% of the pot), figuring that if I'm raised a significant amount, that I'm probably beat, whether it is by a rivered two pair, or a slow played straight. My opponent simply calls on the river, and mucks his hand following mine being shown. He probably had a weak Axs or Axos since he was on the button in an unraised pot, such as A3-A6, and the river bet was almost an insta-call following his call on the turn.

Post Hand Discussion: I pick up a 510 chip pot and my opponent really had A2os, which is semi-reasonable. Actually, he should have folded preflop, even with his position as A2os in a 8 handed game is a terrible hand.

Hand #2

Chip Count: 3,490
Hand: Kc Jh
Player At Table Count: 8
Blinds: 10/20
Position: SB
M: 116.33
Effective M: 103.40
# of BB's: 174.5

Preflop Discussion: About the same as before. I have a huge M, and can play loose. I start on the SB with Kc Jh. CO calls, Button raises to 80, I call, BB folds, CO calls again. This hand I'm badly out of position, but the only player I'm worried about is the Button. The CO chose to call twice, so he is probably weak and playing a hand he shouldn't. Speaking of playing hands you shouldn't, I have made a semi-unusual call here. Daniel Negreanu calls KJos the rookie hand, because it looks better than it really is, and Doyle Brunson lists it among his "Trouble Hands" in Super System as well. In almost every situation I would fold here, except for the fact that my M is so insanely high. At 116.33, I can play this hand in the SB easily.

Flop: 5c 9h Qd
Flop Discussion: This flop is about the same as the last one. I flopped the gutshot to the nut straight and have one overcard in the King. I expect the preflop raiser to bet, so I check. The CO checks and the Button bets 100 into a pot of 260 chips. This gives the CO and I 2.6:1 odds to call. I elect not to call, but rather raise here, as the bet looks like a feeler, and is probably a continuation bet of AK or JJ. My check raise is to no avail though it forces the CO to fold, the Button calls my raise to 320, putting in another 220 with odds of 2.18:1.

Turn: 6h
Turn Discussion: The 6 of hearts does nothing for me, and probably doesn't help my opponent either. However, since he elected to call, rather than reraise me on the flop (and since he showed little fear in calling on the flop against someone who has him covered) I choose not to press the issue, and see if he thinks I'm trapping with a check here and I get a free card. He thinks no such thing and jams all-in for 990 more. The pot is not offering me very good odds at 1.9:1 for a hand where I'm sure I am way behind, so I quickly fold.

Post Hand Discussion: Raising on the flop was a decent play, but was ill timed as the player had a big hand. However, giving up on the turn was much better as he probably had a hand like AQ or KK since he quickly defended his hand with an all-in.

Hand #3

Chip Count: 3,090
Hand: Qs 8s
Player At Table Count: 8
Blinds: 15/30
Position: Button
M: 68.667
Effective M: 61.04
# of BB's: 103

Preflop Discussion: After the following hand I am down to 3090 in chips, and the blinds have increased from 10/20 to 15/30, so my M has fallen to 61.04 (when computed for Effective M), which if you remember is still really high in the Green Zone and gives me the availability to play loosely. I pick up Qs 8s on the button in this hand. I often joke that this is my favorite hand, when in actually I do not like it. Usually when I play it I flop nothing, and when I fold it, I flop a straight or a boat. However, liking a hand should not influence your decisions in a tournament. Even if I liked this hand, it is way to weak to play (even on the button in position). Folded to CO-1 who calls and the CO folds. You may say your M is high, you're in position, and it is an unraised pot, but this hand will get you into much more trouble then it will into the winners circle. Just give it up. I fold.
Board at the River: 9h Qh Ah Ac 7d

Post Hand Discussion: The hand was checked down to the river where someone bet the minimum and took it down. I may have had the best hand but on the flop, with an Ace and three hearts, I really wouldn't have wanted to play even with everyone checking. Folding here saved me 30 chips. If I do the same thing 100 times I save 3000 chips in the future. Sounds good to me.

Hand #4

Chip Count: 3,090
Hand: Kc 8h
Player At Table Count: 8
Blinds: 15/30
Position: CO
M: 68.667
Effective M: 61.04
# of BB's: 103

Preflop Discussion: Kc 8h in the cutoff is a better than average hand but again nothing to get worked up about. Fold.
Board at the River: Ad Kd 8c 6s 3s

Post Hand Discussion: I included this hand for a reason so bare with me. As you can see I would have flopped bottom two pair, which would have been the tying hand (someone else came in with K8os and had the same hand) but in this case, this was another good fold. Amateurs see the flop that they missed and scowl and get angry, and then they go play every hand trying to make up for it. Make up for what? You didn't lose anything. Noted, you did not gain anything, but the risk/reward ratio makes this unreasonable. In the long hall, calling here with K8 will only get you in trouble. It's a fact, so why bother? Amateurs learn this lesson hard, and they shouldn't have to because it's an easy lesson to learn if you listen to those who've been there before.

Hand #5

Chip Count: 3,090
Hand: Ac 9s
Player At Table Count: 7
Blinds: 15/30
Position: UTG+2
M: 68.667
Effective M: 53.40
# of BB's: 103

Preflop Discussion: Ac 9s in middle position is really a weak hand at a full table, but my high M demands play of a medium-high strength Ace near tail end of play. Also my table is full of call stations rather than aggressive raisers, so I'm pretty sure I'll see the flop with this hand. UTG calls, UTG+1 min raises to 60 (which slightly scares me), I elect to call, folded to the SB who calls as does the BB and UTG.

Flop: 5c 4s 3d
Flop Discussion: This flop isn't very good. Only a gutshot straight draw to a bad straight + 2 over cards against a raise preflop. SB leads out for 300, BB calls, and UTG raises to 600. Preflop raiser goes out and so do I. I gain nothing from staying in this hand so I easily fold. SB folds and the BB calls.

Turn: 2c
Turn Discussion: Bummer, but not really. I would have made my gutshot, but it isn't even a good straight. A 6 easily beats me, and 67 has be drawing dead. The best I could have hoped for in that card was a chop pot, so I'm happy I folded. The BB checks and UTG bets 240 (almost a third of the bet on the flop is strange) and BB goes all-in for 1410. UTG calls 1170 more and shows why his bet was suspicious; he has 67os and flopped the nuts.

River: 7s
Post Hand Discussion: The BB had the Ace, just like me and he vastly overplayed it. He did have a pair on the flop as well so he more business than me calling, but he still had no business calling with A3os preflop, or on the flop. He is eliminated and the table shrinks to 6 players.

Halftime: Playing Short Handed

Hand #6

Chip Count: 3,030
Hand: Kh Ks
Player At Table Count: 6
Blinds: 15/30
Position: BB
M: 67.333
Effective M: 44.888
# of BB's: 101

Preflop Discussion: 6 Players now. In this hand I pick up the mortal nuts with Kh Ks but I am out of position. I do not like playing after the flop on either of the blinds or UTG unless I have a rather strong hand, because generally I have to show my weakness on the flop and check. But with KK there is nothing you can do but raise from any position. UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, CO-1 folds, CO calls, SB completes. I choose to raise to 120, a standard (on the higher side of standards) raise or 4x. Everyone calls. This is a disaster. Every single person calls meaning I apparently didn't raise enough. KK 4 handed is not very fun, so in hindsight I should have raised 5 or 6x the blind.

Flop: Js 8c 7c
Flop Discussion: Decent flop for Kings, but somewhat scary as well. 109 suited could have easily called the preflop raise and flopped the nuts, as well as 87s and flopped two pair. However, after showing strength preflop with Kings and not having an Ace flop, it's a large mistake not to bet this flop for value. If you check and an Ace turns, or someone just bets any turn, you're completely lost in the hand. SB checks and I lead with 400 into a pot of 480 giving 1.2:1 odds, which is usually enough for people to drop most bad draws. This bet is intended to see where my Kings are at. If I were to be reraised, it would signify a real hand such as AJ 109 87 JJ QQ or a really well concealed AA, which generally makes it an easy fold. Usually in this circumstance 109 won't raise even with the flush draw down until fourth street to take another bet out of me. 87 certainly would, as well as AJ, QQ and AA. JJ probably wouldn't while slow playing top set. Everyone folds and I pick up the 480 chip pot.

Post Hand Discussion: My bet maybe have been a tad large for a probe bet on the flop, but it shows true strength and gets everyone away in a hurry when they don't have anything. A bigger raise preflop was necessary, and as such, will be needed further in the future.

Hand #7

Chip Count: 3,390
Hand: Ad 3s
Player At Table Count: 6
Blinds: 15/30
Position: SB
M: 75.333
Effective M: 50.222
# of BB's: 113

Preflop Discussion: In the small blind here with Ad 3s. A3os is a weak hand but at a 6 handed table it isn't too bad in a limped pot. I felt frisky in this hand and called after CO and Button both called. BB checked.
Flop: 4s Tc 3c
Flop Discussion: My hand isn't looking too good on this board because of the straight and flush draw which someone won't fold for even an over bet of the pot. I check but the button bets only 30 into a 120 pot and I call with 5:1 on my money hoping he is either just keeping the bet low with a flush draw, or I improve on the turn. Other two players fold.

Turn: 6h
Turn Discussion: No help and my opponent makes a callable bet of 75 which seems fishy, kind of like he's baiting me with nearly 3:1. Unfortunately, for him I don't have much of anything and fold. He shows pocket Threes for a Set, and I was drawing dead.

Post Hand Discussion: Well he played this 33 weak on the flop, I'm certainly glad an Ace didn't turn or I may have lost a lot of money on this hand. If I had 52, the straight got there, and he shouldn't have let me see it so cheaply. Perhaps I could have folded preflop, but completing the blind against a table of call stations is fine.

Hand #8

Chip Count: 3,330
Hand: Jc 8s
Player At Table Count: 6
Blinds: 25/50
Position: BB
M: 44.4
Effective M: 29.333
# of BB's: 66.6

Preflop Discussion: In the BB here with Jc 8S is a below average hand, but it does connect, which is better than some hands you'll find yourself with in the BB. UTG folds, UTG+1 calls CO call, Button calls, SB folds, and I elect to check to the flop.
Flop: 4h 9d 7h
Flop Discussion: Flopped a gutshot straight here, but not much else. I decide to wave the white flag and just give it to the bettor. Luckily for me everyone checks and we see the turn card.

Turn: 10d
Turn Discussion: I turn the nuts here with the Straight to the Jack. However I don't expect much action here as no one bet the flop, so I just check. UTG+1 and the CO both check as well and the Button fires 200 into a 225 pot. I call hoping to bait in the others as well, which works as UTG+1 calls.

River: 4d
River Discussion: Rather harmless river card as I doubt someone has a Full house and elected to check or call on the turn with just two pair (they probably would have raised). I hope someone has made three fours and foolishly check and watch UTG+1 and the Button both check as well and I showdown my winning straight. Bad check, they were just drawing.

Post Hand Discussion: Rather bad check there on the river. A 1/2 or 3/4 Pot bet would have been good for value. Also I probably should have raised on the turn as one of the two probably had a flush draw.

Final Table

Hand #9

Chip Count: 3,850
Hand: Jh 9h
Player At Table Count: 9, FT
Blinds: 50/100
Position: BB
M: 25.666
Effective M: 25.666
# of BB's: 38.5

Preflop Discussion: The 25/50 blind went fast with little to nothing happening and it is now time for the final table. With Nine players there is no effective M anymore because it is the same as normal M. This hand I'm dealt Jh 9h in the BB, UTG calls, Button calls, and SB completes. I check as J9s is nothing special and I am just hoping to flop big.

Flop: 5c 3h 2h
Flop Discussion: Good flop for me with two over cards plus a J high flush draw. I expect to be bet into on this flop, so I just do it for the other players rather than display weakness. I bet 200 into a pot of 400 after the SB checks. UTG folds but the Button and SB call.

Turn: Qh
Turn Discussion: Great turn card, filling my flush. It's also well disguised because I bet out on the flop rather than calling a bet. SB decides to check, and rather than bet I decide to slowplay knowing that on the river if a heart comes off I can fold because I'm not too invested and I may win a lot of money if a good card for me comes off. The Button also checks.

River: 4s
River Discussion: EVEN BETTER! This puts a 4 card straight on the board and I'll probably get action from the person with an Ace. This time the SB does not check, but leads out with 1,000, which I raise to 3,000 with my flush. Unexpectedly, the Button goes all-in for 3,645, raising 645 more. The SB then calls that bet which puts him all-in. Hmm. Here is a good spot to point out how amateurs would call way too fast. With this much action you can afford to think it over for a second. Despite the fact that I have to call now based on pot odds, I may be beaten. Anyone could have followed my lead and slow played a better flush on the turn hoping just that 4 of spades came off to get action (just like I had). But now if that's the case I just have to accept it, it's just a cooler. However, had the button had around 7,000-10,000k and I had about that amount, I may think about laying down the hand. But the button had me covered by 90 chips so I gladly push my last 555 chips in getting 18.32:1 on my money which is impossible to fold with anything. The button turns over just Ad 2s for the straight to the five. The SB had 8d 6h, and had the second nut straight to the six. I can see the SB going broke here, but the button had absolutely no discipline not laying down the ass end of the straight for a raise and a reraise. How could he think he was ahead? I pick up a 10,725 chip pot and am the new chip leader of the tournament with just 7 players remaining.

Post Hand Discussion: In hindsight I probably should have raised on the turn to prevent that last heart from coming off, however, if I had, I would not have won this huge pot. The button player goes out 1 hand later.

Hand #10

Chip Count: 10,725
Hand: 9d 9c
Player At Table Count: 7, FT
Blinds: 75/150
Position: UTG
M: 47.666
Effective M: 37.07
# of BB's: 71.5

Preflop Discussion: With 9d 9c under the gun, I elect to raise here to 300 (Minimum raise). I can do this both because I am the chip leader by far (6880 is the next closest) and because 99 is the first pair that I consider capable of winning the hand in a multi-way pot without improving. UTG+1 instantly goes all in for 510 more and everyone else folds. Pots easily dictate this call getting 2.6:1 on what is almost certainly an even money proposition, and even possibly 2:1 in my favor. He shows As 2d, making me a 71:29 favorite against his one over card and the board comes as follows.
Board: 8s 7d 5c 6s kh

Post Hand Discussion: As desperate as UTG+1 was with his 810 chips, A2os is an easy fold there since he does not have first in vigorish and is laying someone too easy a call with his raise. With 2.6:1, I'm forced to call with my stack with any two cards and he is no better than a 60/40 favorite there unless I have a deuce in my hand. He could have folded and jammed any two cards (ATC) the next hand UTG, but he had to have known I couldn't fold there.

Hand #11

Chip Count: 12,285
Hand: Qh 10d
Player At Table Count: 5, FT
Blinds: 75/150
Position: BB
M: 54.6
Effective M: 30.333
# of BB's: 81.9
Q: 5400

Preflop Discussion: You can now see above that I've added the Q for the final five players which is 5400. I currently have more than twice that and am the chip leader beating out my next closest opponent who has 6510. In this hand I pick up Qh 10d in the BB. UTG raises to 300, and action folds to me and I call. Q10os is a decent hand in five way, especially when getting 3.75:1 preflop.

Flop: 9h 2d 10h
Flop Discussion: Good flop, I flop top pair, but I have no idea where he is at in the hand and just check. He bets 150 and I decide to call, not going crazy.

Turn: 9s
Turn Discussion: The nine on the turn is a good card for me since my opponent is unlike to have a 9 unless it is A9s. I check again, and my opponent bets 150 again, I call putting him on a heart draw since he had not increased his bet, or QJ with the up and down draw (perhaps even both with QJs).

River: Kh
River Discussion: Now I've bought the farm. No matter what he had I cant figure how I'm ahead now. He could have K10, QJ, XXs hearts, or A10 or A9, all of which I am behind to. I decide to just check again, and he throws 750 into the middle. I'm willing to give this hand up, as I misplayed it by not raising and letting every draw on earth get there while trapping with a weak hand (not a good idea, by the way).

Post Hand Discussion: Badly played overall. Trapping with a mediocre hand is not a good idea until you're down to three-way. Letting him do my betting was fine but I lost the minimum here if he had QJ of hearts, XX of hearts, A10, K10, or QJos. With any of these hands I'm convinced he would have reraised me if I raised him on any street. Just not a great hand at all.

Hand #12

Chip Count: 12,285
Hand: 3c 3s
Player At Table Count: 5, FT
Blinds: 100/200
Position: SB
M: 39.366
Effective M: 21.87
# of BB's: 59.05
Q: 5400

Preflop Discussion: This hand is a perfect example of how to play low pairs in any stage of a tournament, especially when it is short handed. Speaking of favorite hands, 33 is my actual favorite hand. Everyone folds to me in the SB and I elect to complete it with a 3c 3s. The BB checks.

Flop: 6h 10h 7c
Flop Discussion: No set this time. Just check and see if a free card will peel off. BB checks as well. Fine with me, no reason to lead out with 33 here. That flop could have easily hit a random hand.

Turn: 10c
Turn Discussion: Another 10 is a good card for me as if he had a 10 on the flop, he probably would have bet me out. Out of position and sensing weakness on behalf of your opponent, you should certainly fire in this situation. I bet half the pot (200), and the BB folds. He was weak indeed.

Post Hand Discussion: On this hand my opponent decided to wave the white flag right back at mine when he checked the flop. There is no reason to think he slow played the 10 because that is a weak hand to which an over card will almost certainly come off on the turn or the river. He would have most certainly bet at it. It's easy to stab at the turn knowing you're losing if he calls or raises, and you're winning if he folds. 50-50 chance of both so might as well bet 50% of the pot and figure out where you're at. You'll have a positive expected value betting in situations like this in the future.

Hand #13

Chip Count: 12,210
Hand: Ad Qh
Player At Table Count: 5, FT
Blinds: 100/200
Position: SB
M: 40.7
Effective M: 22.61
# of BB's: 61.05
Q: 5400

Preflop Discussion: Ad Qh is a very strong hand in five way, and I wake up with it here in the SB. UTG and the CO fold to the button who min raises to 400. I reraise here trying to take the pot down because of my bad position 600 more to 1000 total. The BB folds. The Button reraises me 600 more to 1600 and I call quickly. The reraise concerns me. Usually you can be assured that if you're 3 bet preflop you're up against one of six hands in AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs or AKos (most players won't even 3 bet 1010, but it happens). I understand I'm a big dog to most of those hands so right now I'm looking for an out.

Flop: 6c 10h 9s
Flop Discussion: I check out of position hoping the button bets so I can get away from my hand here. He declines and checks as well. This makes me suspicious that he may in fact have 1010, AA, AK or another AQ.

Turn: Kd
Turn Discussion: The king is a terrible card for me as I am now losing against almost every possible hand he could have. AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010, AK. Even if we both have AQ we are both only splitting. I check and he checks again.

River: Kd
River Discussion: He checked again on the turn, which is strange. I can't imagine him having 88 and three betting me. Now it only makes sense that I am either terribly beat or winning with my kickers against AJ or tying with AQ. I check again and he checks yet again. He shows Qs Qd meaning that I was heavily dominated preflop. He played his hand very strangely. Unfortunately, I probably could have got him off of it if I fired into the turn but his check on the flop was so illogical that it threw me off of my game. If you're not going to bet that flop with QQ, I don't know what you're waiting for.

Hand #14

Chip Count: 7,485
Hand: As Ac
Player At Table Count: 4, FT
Blinds: 100/200, 25 ante
Position: SB
M: 18.71
Effective M: 8.31
# of BB's: 39.225
Q: 6750

Preflop Discussion: Over the last two hands I've lost about 5000 chips with AQ and then A10 the next hand after getting sandwiched. However, the difference is that I have now made the money and we're down the four way play. I'm down to around 7500, but my effective M has put me in the orange zone. I have to play much more aggresively, and yet conservatively as well, now while looking for a good place to accumulate some chips. I am also quite near the average Q for the 4 remaining players. Finally, I pick it up. As Ac. The big daddy, the nuts. I dislike my position (as usual) in the small blind, so I elect to do something with AA that I rarely do and that is to slow play them preflop since UTG and the Button fold, only the BB is left so I just call. He checks

Flop: 5s 9s 10h
Flop Discussion: On this flop I have little to worry about. Perhaps he has a 10 and will fire if I check, or perhaps he'll just bluff in general and I can jam on him and win a small pot. I decide to check here. BB checks as well.

Turn: 5h
Turn Discussion: The five that comes off is a bit of a scare card, but I decide to bet 500 on the turn (the pot) and he cold calls me.

River: 4d
River Discussion: The four really doesn't change anything. Unfortunately for me, I have no idea where I am in this hand because of that check on the flop. I decide to check and he thinks for a minute before going all-in for 1305 chips. This is sort of bad news for me. At this point I sort of figure he has one of two things: 5x, or he has two pair with the fives. Since I have Aces up with the fives, I beat any two pair he can have. The only other thing is that he has 5x since he was in the BB. With his bet of 1305 into a pot of 1500, I get about 2.15:1 on my call and since I'm probably probably 50% losing and 50% winning here, I elect to just call. He turns over 5d 4h for a full house.

Post Hand Discussion: Really bad for me. I could have won this hand preflop and on the flop with Aces but I got a bit greedy and let 54os runner a full house on me. This is why it is a bad idea to slow play aces preflop if you do not think you'll be able to fold them after the flop. Here in a four way match, it was really hard for me to fold AA on the river to 2+:1 odds in my favor and a win/loss ratio of about 50%. Just bad luck is all.

Hand #15

Chip Count: 4,130
Hand: 8c 8h
Player At Table Count: 3, FT
Blinds: 300/600, 50 ante
Position: SB
M: 3.933
Effective M: 1.3111
# of BB's: 6.88
Q: 9000

Preflop Discussion: After winning only one hand through all of 200/400, 25 ante, I roll into the first hand of 300/600, 50 ante, 3 handed and short stacked. My effective M is only a little more than 1, and I have 300 in on the SB. I pick up 8c 8h and complete the blind. I did this because the clip leader had been jamming on and off about once every three hands, and always at least raising. He had 17500 in chips, so I figured I could get all my money in sooner or later with 88. The BB jams as expected and I call quickly. He turns over KQos and the board comes as follows.
Board: 6d Jh 4h 5s 5h

Post Hand Discussion: My 88 held up to win against the chip leaders two over cards. As I said earlier that you can find a lot better places to get your money in when you're the favorite to win then just a 50-50 race. However, when you get to three handed, any pair is golden. When you have an M of just over 1, you happily take 55-45 to double up.

Hand #16

Chip Count: 7,635
Hand: 6c 9s
Player At Table Count: 3, FT
Blinds: 300/600, 50 ante
Position: UTG
M: 7.27
Effective M: 2.42
# of BB's: 12.725
Q: 9000

Preflop Discussion: I pick up 6c 9s UTG and easily fold. This makes my day as the SB raises to 1200, and the BB reraises to 1800, and then the SB reraises to 2400, followed by the BB raising to 3000, and so on and so forth until the chip leader has the short stack all in with Jd Jc vs 10s 10h. The chip leaders Jacks hold and we go to heads up.
Board: Kh 8d Qd 3h 4h

Post Hand Discussion: With JJ over 1010 three-way, that's just bad luck. Neither could have thought they didn't have the best hand. That's poker though.

Heads Up For All The Marbles

Hand #17

As we start heads up I am a 2.5:1 underdog at 7585:19415 against the chip leader.

Chip Count: 7,585
Hand: Js 8c
Player At Table Count: 2, Heads Up, FT
Blinds: 300/600, 50 ante
Position: BB
M: 7.22
Effective M: 1.6
# of BB's: 12.64
Q: 13500

Preflop Discussion: I pick up Js 8c the first hand but the button raises me to 1800 and I decide that it just is not worth one-fourth of my stack to call his raise. I'm pretty much resolved to jamming now and making this a more even battle unless he stops raising me one-fourth of my stack everyhand (which I don't expect him o stop doing).

Post Hand Discussion: Because I elect not to call, or raise here, I am resigned to going with the first good hand I get and going all-in in an attempt to double up and try to pull the chip disadvantage to about 1.5:1 or so.

Hand #18

Chip Count: 6,935
Hand: As 5s
Player At Table Count: 2, Heads Up, FT
Blinds: 300/600, 50 ante
Position: Button
M: 6.6
Effective M: 1.467
# of BB's: 11.56
Q: 13500

Preflop Discussion: Now on the button I pick up As 5s one hand later. Most professionals will tell you they don't like to put their money in with any worse Ace than A8 heads up. However, I have no such choice, as I must make a stand against the overly aggressive heads up foe. Again I plan to trap him into raising me and just call. He obliges me and raises again to 1800. I jam on him the instant it comes back and he quickly calls turning over Ah Ad. Heads up AA vs Axs is about 86-12 (90-8 when it is Axos) so I would have been better of jamming the J-8 vs. ATC, however (again) this is just terrible luck as he picks up AA (especially heads up) when I have a pretty strong heads up hand with a suited Ace.
Board: 4c 3h Qd 4h 9s

Post Hand Discussion: I got rather lucky to pick up a gutshot and not be drawing dead on that flop, but to no avail anyways as AA held up and I was eliminated in 2nd making $54.00 dollars for my troubles. Again, him picking AA up there is the dream scenario heads up.

.... Thanks for listening. I'm in to process of writing a small stakes guide to poker also, so I may upload that when it is finished.

Hello Joe Bennett.

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