Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bobbing for Points

The rescheduled Bluff Poker Tour at was played last night. Coming off a 2nd place finish at a tournament on Wednesday and an 18th on Monday I was feeling very good about my game.

I was able to double up within the first level and take the chip lead when my KK held up against an AK. I managed to stay within the top six or so throughout the tournament. Having said that, I'm a little disappointed in myself.

I'm not sure if I should be though so here's the tale, help me decide.

I've stated before that winning this points race is my top priority until it's over in December. The WPT seats that are up for grabs are important to me and the family is behind me 100%. We are making sure that family scheduling conflicts do not occur on tournament nights and everyone tries to stay quiet during game time.

Since last nights tournament had to be rescheduled we only had 60 players show up. A generous 10 places were paying which means I had a 1 in 6 chance of collecting points. I mentioned earlier that I doubled up fairly early and I never had a problem maintaining a stack throughout.

I begin to question myself as we get down to around 18 players. I'm in a position to easily fold into the money and thus earn more points. Only one player remains who has a good chance of making some ground up against me. He has fewer chips than me and as such I make it my goal to outlast him at all costs. The Tour lasts for a long time and any advantage I can get will be needed.

With this new mindset, my raises become completely ineffective. We are at the stage in the tournament where small stacks are having to push in. I would make my standard 3xBB raise and a small stack would push. I could call and still have plenty of chips. I should call as the small stacks are desperate at this point. Problem is that in the back of my mind I don't feel that I can burn any chips on a coin flip. I have to outlast this other player. I fold, and fold again to small stack pushes.

Two of the players realize that I'm playing like a pussy and use all-in pushes to force me to fold all of my hands. It only takes a few times for me to realize what they are doing so I'm left folding every hand. If I had received a big pocket pair I certainly would have called them but my small pairs and middle cards made the decisions pretty easy.

When my worrisome opponent finally busts out in 8th I decided to switch gears and start actually playing.

As a side note: My username on PokerRewards is nothing like my bluff name so no one knew who I was. It wasn't by design but it was nice knowing no one was worried about out lasting me.

Anyway, I change gears, announce to the table who I am, and start to go aggressive. I pick up a few pots and am one double up away from being a contender. I get a suited big slick and make my standard raise. Here is where my past comes to haunt me. One of the players who was effectively using the all in against me earlier decides to look me up and calls. The flop comes all low cards and my read of the situation is that I have the best hand at this point. I make a pot size bet and he pushes back at me all in. I go with my read and call. He shows to small cards for a flopped open end straight and he's on nothing but a draw. The river brings his straight and I'm out in 5th.

It was a good night for points but had I played my normal game I'm very confident that I take down this tournament. The big picture is the points, but if I continue to play like a pussy I won't win another one. If I go for the win each time I might not get any points. What do I do?