Monday, 13 April 2009

Final table meltdown

It was a beautiful Saturday and I should have been playing golf, but I descended into the basement that is the the circus casino instead, on the hunt for more league points in a field of 42.

The first 4 levels were fairly dull.. the best hand I got was A8o and not a single pair. I stole a few pots and managed to almost keep my 7k starting stack with 6.9k at the break. First hand of the tournament was interesting : Player in early position raises preflop and gets a single call from the button. Flop comes J73 with 2 spades, PFR makes a normal-sized CBet and button throws his KK face up into the muck! (It transpired it was his first live tourney so just some early nerves I think).

Our table was broken up shortly after the break and I finally got my first pair - 44!. Decent player had raised from CO so I called from the BB and flop came Q84 :) I check-raised the flop and got a decent amount of his stack, although I probably should have taken it to the turn with such a dry board. A couple of hands later the same player, being short thanks to me, shoves allin and I have to call from button with AKc. He shows K8 and an A on the flop sends it my way.

I then got a little lucky, making a play that I normally wouldn't but it payed off big and I grew my stack to around 40k. Large stack raises from CO, small stack calls from button and I call from BB with T9h. Flop come Axx with 2 hearts.. original raiser makes large Cbet, short stack just calls making the pot a very decent size. I put the original raiser on Ax, perhaps making a move on the shortstack. I felt I had enough chips to be able to make him lay it down and shoved allin. He called pretty quick showing AK and the shortstack gives up. Qh on the turn makes my day :) We were down to the final table after an orbit or 2 more and I was 4th in chips with 35k, chip leader with 60k and shortstack on 10k and only 9 players as 10th/11th went out in the final hands of normal play.

As things stood I was in a great position, especially as everyone in the league above me was already out and it was a real chance to move up. However it didn't go according to plan... early on I get TT and raise and am called by the BB. Flop comes K83 which I Cbet and he check-raises me pretty much allin. I'd already commited over half my chips and made a reluctant call to see his flopped set (888). From this point I was pretty active trying to claw back chips and luckboxed my way to a FH with 66 to knock out KK but it didn't last long and I finished 8th for 3pts and no money (6th+ paid).

I left feeling disappointed with my final table play - I should have been able to get away from the TT hand - I didn't have history with the opponent but I knew he was good. I had to raise preflop and was too deep to shove all-in, but definitely could have CBet less especially on that board so that I could have folded to a check-raise. After that I was definitely in gamble mode and even after recovering some chips I was shoving quite a wide range and was in blind twice (it wasn't worth looking based on the stacks) so my exit was inevitable. I had a chance of real recovery on one hand that would have had me back at 40k but that pleasure fell to another shortstack - I shoved A4o from the button after it was folded to me and SB calls with TT which held up.

I've been on a quite a few final tables recently, both live and online, haven't got into the top 3 for some time and always seem to finish worse than I should based on stacks and quality of opposition. I've been ahead in quite a few of the hands that I've lost with but taking on the chip leader isn't always the best move. Tiredness is obviously a factor at this stage and I'm probably not thinking clearly enough when its most important to be. Definitely time to re-read Harrington on Hold'em: Volume II: The Endgame and see what else I can find about final table play (suggestions anyone?).