Friday, June 12, 2009

$1500 Limit - Event 26

I ended up getting knocked out late in Level 6 just before the dinner break. I finished somewhere in the middle of the 650 player field.

The day started with a nice surprise, we were given 4500 in starting chips. I was expecting 1500 in starting chips - all the previous events I've played gave starting stacks that equaled the buy-in. The limits started at 50-100 so it still wasn't a deep stacked tournament by any stretch but certainly an improvement. I drew an exceptionally good starting table as well so I was in a good position to make a run in this event except that I never picked up any starting hands. I never was dealt Aces, Kings, Queens, or Tens. I did manage to pick up AK 4 times but lost 3. I feel like I did pretty well to make it as far as I did, I made the most of the cards I had. Most of the chips I won were from defending blinds or limping/calling behind people in multi-way pots with suited connector type hands.

The only hand interesting enough to mention came up at the beginning of Level 5. The stakes were 200-400 (blinds 100-200) and I had about 2800 chips. I opened 45s two seats off the button - not a normal opening hand for me but given that I was short-stacked I couldn't afford to wait. Both blinds ended up calling and the flop was 522. They checked to me and I bet 200, the small bind folded and the big blind called. There was now 1600 in the pot and I had about 2200 left. The turn was a Queen which made a rainbow board(no flush draws) and my opponent led into me. This opponent had made this lead out play twice earlier, both times he had picked up draws on the turn. There weren't really any draws on this board, at least the Queen didn't make any new draws so I thought it was very likely (90-95%) that he had nothing. My choice was whether to raise and try to pick the pot up right there or call with the intention of calling a river bet from him. What I found interesting was that my play to raise or just call didn't make much difference in terms of expected value but would make a huge difference to my chip stack if he happened to hit one of his 6 outs. Given this I decided to raise and try to get the pot over with right there and sure enough he folded. If it had been a cash game, I'm quite sure I would have just called hoping to induce a river bluff. So the moral of the story is: if you have a tournament decision for a significant portion of your chip stack that's close to neutral in terms of expected value, go with the decision that decreases the variance of your chip stack.

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