INSIDE THE TOUR (19)
A few more hands from the Legends no-limit tournament;
With thirty players left one guy is complaining out loud a lot that I am raising too often and stealing the blinds too much with my big stack of over 80,000 when par is like 16,000 and now he is in the big blind with 13,000 and the BB is 1000. I am on the button with KsKh and make it 3000 to go as I have often been doing. He finds Ah8c and moves all-in. I happily call and am ready to enjoy the silence when it comes Jh5c6s6c but on the river Ac. This is poker, not chess, and fair things do not always happen. Later on he gets 25,000 [real dollars] at the final table!
I make up for not getting my share of big hands by picking up a lot of Ace-tens and KQ's with which I am allowed to take the blinds as most of my opponents are afraid to play back at me because if they make a mistake they will be gone.
We become 27 handed and I am moved to a table where I seldom have a hand without a deuce in it but have a commanding chip lead for the entire tournament and do not need to play a hand. Finally on the third round I pick up 2h2c in the big blind (which is now 1200) and after 3 limpers in an eight handed game I check. The flop comes 6c5c2d and I clearly "see" the Kc4c going all-in versus me and I bet out about half the pot which is 7,000. The cutoff raises to 9,000 and the button moves all-in for a total of about 22,000. I call and the cutoff mutters awhile and mucks his hand. The button has Kc3c and after the 10d and 8d come off he is done and I increase my chip lead once again.
With 13 players left a whole series of hands came up which were like math tests for me; my table is 7 handed and with blinds of 800-1600 and antes of 200 there is 3800 in the pot before each hand was dealt. I have the chip lead at my table with about 90,000.
One of my opponents moves all-in for 9,500 and it is my big blind where I am holding Kc5c. there is 13,300 in the pot and it costs me 7900 to call. Should I? You do not want to reward your opponent for his play, of course. You do not want to give him an option to use two more rounds of life by calling, but is it right? And if this hand is not good enough then what about it needs to be different? Is Kh9s okay? Is Kc8c adequate? 8 is often seen as the key card amongst professional players because 6 cards fall below it and 6 above it. It is sometimes referred to as the crossover card for this reason. So back to the current problem, after some thought I decide to call. I am not in love with the math but I have an unusually big stack and the memory of how Layne Flack can make these calls and win flits through my head. He shows Ah8d and after a board of Js Jh 4c 2d 10s shows up they send the 21,200 to my happy opponent.
A bit later I have Qd7d in the big blind and again have a stack of 90,000 plus and another opponent goes all-in for 8600. There is 12,400 in the pot and it costs me 7,000 more to call. We go through the same reasoning. It is too close to decide at that moment although I think there is clearly a right answer to the situation but it will likely take a computer to sort it out. Clearly my opponents are desperate in these situations and that must be taken into account as well. It is clear to call (my mathematically inclined friends tell me) with any hand only when you are getting two to one against an all-in hand. I call and my opponent turns over Ac6h but using Layne Flack as my patron saint is not working and after 5 random cards fail to improve either of our hands they send 19,400 to the next very happy player.
A few hands later I raise from the little blind to 4600 with Ah4h and call an all-in re-raise by the big blind of 6000 more. He shows over Qc9c and is knocked out when the board comes As10c4d 2h Js
This increases my stack to 104,400 and there is no little blind on the next hand when a young player I have never seen before limps in first position from a stack of 13,000. I look at him closely as my hand is Kc-10h on the button and elect to call, letting the big blind see the flop for free six handed. The flop comes down As 4d 6c and it is checked to me, there is 6000 in the pot and the flop looks like it might have missed everyone else as well as me so I wager 3400 and the limper calls, looking a bit out of sorts. What does this mean? It comes a Qc on the turn and I check behind his check. I have turned a gutshot to make the nuts, the broadway straight, and take the free card. The river brings a Ks and my opponent bets out for 5,000. I should let it go because I think he has flopped three of a kind but there is a bit of nagging doubt. Perhaps he has like 7h5h? wouldn't that make sense as well? I give him a huge hand or no hand and it costs me 5,000 to look him up. If he is bluffing I will win a pot of 22,800 including my call. If I lose I will be back down to 94,200 and still the chip leader in the tournament. What to do? I call. It is a mistake as he shows pocket Aces and takes the pot with top set. Too much thinking?
After the blinds go up to 1000-2000 with an ante of 300 I am tested once more while again having a stack of 100,000 plus. I am in the big blind with Kc6c and an unknown player moves all-in from the cutoff for 9200. One more time I have a classic big stack problem; to call or not to call? I feel like I have been feeding the other players at my table by calling their all-ins and I am surely a dog again in this spot, but it is only 7200 and we are still 12 handed and the pot has 14,000 in it. I am almost at the magical two to one situation here and I have some additional valuesI am suited and I have king high. I call. He has Ks10h and I am dominated for the first time. The flop comes 8c7h4c and Jh 2c for a rivered flush and I finally win one from the underdog role.
Later at the final table the following key hand comes up. A tough player limps from the cutoff for 4,000 off a stack of 32,000 and I have Js8s in the big blind and happily take the free flop. We are nine handed and are at 2,000-4,000 blinds with a 500 ante. The flop comes 9s7c5s and I decide to play the hand large on the flop as I do not want to give away a card and then have to give up with one to come. I check the pot of 14,500 from my dominant stack of 146,000. The cutoff bets 9,000 and I move all-in. Surprisingly he calls instantly and turns up Ad7d!!! I am surprised that he is willing to risk his tournament life with such a weak holding. I have two draws to find 11 nut cards (meaning 8 of the spades plus the 3 other tens) and have 10 more cards that make me a large favoritethe 7 of spades, the three other sixes, three jacks, and three eights. The turn is the King of Clubs. Will he survive? No. The river is the 10 of spades and he is done and I increase my chip lead, soon moving my count over 200,000 out of 530,000 in play while we are still eight handed. Wow.
I think you know my most important piece of advice by now.
Just play good...and don't be afraid to get lucky!
Ed Note: Play good, and get Lucky...at Poker Blue