"You need to learn how to play low and mid pocket pairs"
-Felicia, commenting on my play in the WPBT at the Aladdin
So sad, yet so true. If I had to choose just one leak in my tournament game, or even my ring games for that matter, it's how to play low pocket pairs after the flop. It is, or was a huge leak. Not that I don't have many others, but this has always caused me problems.
I'd have no idea how to play, say, pocket 7's after the flop even the board had only one over card. Someone UTG would bet out, and I'd immediately put them on top pair, regardless of their action pre-flop because I'm stupid like that. Or, if I were the first to act, I'd check and see what everybody else would do before I decide on my action. So, not only am I giant pussy, but I'm also bleeding chips this way. Playing that timid gave me no chance of coming close to finding out where I stood. I'm positive that my pair was the best hand a far number of times, but I passively let the hand go. Pussy, pussy, pansy-assed pussy. Define your hand, stupid.
Immediately after returning from Vegas, I bought Harrington on Hold' Em Vol. I/II and finished the first in a little less than 2 days, and am close to finishing Eye-Eye. That's a quick read for me, as it normally takes me at least a week to get through any other poker book I've read. I'm just a slow reader. Anybody that's read this book can back me here, but most of what is detailed in the first in the series is, at most, a giant neon sign flashing Common Sense.
While reading them, I found myself nodding and muttering "Duh." under my breath on more than a handful of occasions. Most of it is common sense. Things like position, stack sizes related to the size of blinds and all that fun stuff. I think he(or his writer) puts concepts in such a way that even a retard could follow along. I am living proof of that. The book is such an easy read that it's almost laughable. He talks about concepts that I already knew about, but don't always employ. For example, pushing when you're in the red zone. Yeah, nah doi.
But, one of my worst problems was letting my stack getting bled to a point that doubling up didn't matter at all. Waiting too long for a premium hand is a sure death sentence for your tournament life. So, he advocates pushing with less than optimal holdings when you're first in the pot and a double up actually improves your standing and you still have enough of stack to make a caller crippled should they happen to lose. Again, common sense, but something I was always afraid to do.
A few weeks ago, I had my first final table appearance on Doyle's outside of a freeroll. Oddly enough, I final tabled twice in freerolls the day before I left for Vegas. And then I had my legendary 10th place finish at the WPBT, which just happened to be my first ever live tournament. I should've technically bubbled, but the rest of the final table was kind enough to throw some pity cash my way. For that I was happy, not only because of the ROI, but I kept an Aladdin's Lionel Ritchie chip for my collection. You could say that I was Dancin' on the Ceiling after cashing.
Stop groaning. I assure that I could've come up with much, much worse. Consider yourselves lucky.
Yesterday I stayed home from work because it was Wednesday. I don't need another reason. I played in two MTT's on Doyle's and I cashed in both of them. I make smile now.
The first had 90 people entered, and I came in 8th or 7th, I think. Not that cashing was life altering, because I only received about 3x my buy-in back. But, I played well, and I think that I could've won the damn thing had I not pushed 10's UTG with a decent stack, only to be called by the big blind who woke up with Les Femmes. Whoopsee! Other than that, I played well. My good hands up when the were supposed to, and those that were behind happily chose to suck out at just the right moments.
And then in my final tournament of the night, with 65+ players entered, I took second for a little bit better cash, yet not worth quitting my job over. This was far different than the 2nd place cash I had two weeks ago. In that tourney, I was so happy to get head-up, that I rushed things and lost on a dumb all-in when I could've waited for a better spot.
Last night, though, I was outchipped 5-1when we got to the final two. But, I was patient and outplayed my opponent. Badly. It wasn't even a fair fight, really. He didn't adjust to the speed of the match, and I quickly chipped up to a slight lead. It was amazing just how bad of a heads-up player this guy or girl was. He'd fold to almost any raise, and even a very large portion of the times in his small blind. It's easy accumulating chips when your opponent is giving them up without a fight.
I took a slight chip lead and was dealt pocket 9's in the BB. We got it all in before the flop and he shows A-6o. Booooo. Of course, he caught his ace and I was crippled and went out on the next hand when I pushed without even looking at what I was dealt. Game over. 2nd place. 1st loser, that's me. I didn't even care about the difference in money, I just wanted to win my first damn MTT. I also wish I could make $400 a night playing in these tournaments beause it would leave a lot more time during the day to look at internet porn. I know, I know, there's a lot of readers that make more than that in one hand, but I equate it to how much I make in one day of work. And believe me, $400 is much, much more.
I am at a point right now where I'm questioning whether I've just been running really good, or getting lucky. I'm going with the former. In the last month, I've made 5 final tables and I've only played somewhere around 10 tournaments. And a major reasons behind it is not immediately letting go of mediocre hands when experiencing even the slightest bit of resistance. Now if I could only figure out how not to get sucked out heads-up.
Wow, that's dirty.
Yeah, I make smile.