Before I begin diving into the details of this tournament, I want to inform everyone of the structure that was being used as this may help solve any confusion for some of my different plays. It was the WSOP Main Event structure, 10,000 in chips with 25-50 blinds and 20 minute levels.
It has been a popular topic in the poker world about how to play the early levels of a deep stacked tournament. Many hyper-aggressive players believe that one should play a lot of pots, often rather big ones, early on to try and build a stack for when the blinds get larger in the latter stages. This has it's pros and cons, but clearly the risks outway the rewards. I'm not saying that one should play like a total rock, but you don't need to be playing big pots until the blinds force you to. If I have the ability to play my style, small ball, then I will. There is a difference between playing a lot of BIG pots early on and seeing a lot of flops so you can earn (some may say steal...I say earn...lol) a bunch of little pots and build a big stack without risking everything. So...
Early on I was able to play EXACTLY how I wanted to, see a lot of flops and chop away at a bunch of small pots. So as the blinds strated going up I decided to change gears and slow down to a really semi-tight style. I still stole the blinds about twice a round and saw a few flops when I could, but certain players began playing REALLY fast. For example, with the blinds at 150-300 with a 25 ante, it folded to a fast player in middle position who made a massive 2,100 to go. I know...crazy! I'm next to act and look down at QsQc. As soon as I see this hand I'm not over come with joy, rather I'm a little confused as to what play I should make. I have about 11,000 and he has that covered since he just doubled through and busted his buddy a couple hands earlier with trip kings. I come up with 3 possible plays:
1) I can do what many anxious players would do and just shove all in. Honestly, this is the stupidest thing to do here. He isn't very experienced and is rather eratic, but the one thing I do know is that he ALWAYS slowplays his monsters. So I know he doesn't have AA or KK, but he would might have AK and don't want to flip a coin if I don't have to.
2) I can just flat call, see the flop ad then make a choice as to where to go in the hand. This would be a weak play that could lose me a lot of equity. If he does have AK and I just call and the flop doesn't bring an Ace or a King then I'll have to bet and he'll muck. But if I...
3) Re-raise 3,000 before the flop, then I will be getting an extra 3,000 from him. I know he won't push if I re-raise, because he just isn't like that. So I went with what I believe was the best play...re-raise to 5,000 total.
He just called as expected. The flop came a terrible A K 6. He checked (Slowplaying? Probably.) I checked. The turn came a J. (Great, now I lose to another possibilty...JJ.) He checked and I checked. River came a 2. He checked and I thought maybe he has a hand like KQ, but he was so weird that I thought he would call a bet on the river with KQ so I just checked preparing to muck my hand. He showed 55! (I had to double look to make sure it wasn't 66.) So I scooped a 10,000 pot that I should've lost. If he would of known anything about poker then he would of bet eventually and I would of probably folded. So now I have about 17,000.
So I sat around card dead as the action happened. Left and right people went broke. All of the sudden we're three handed, with blinds at 400-800 with a 100 ante. The chip leader had about 30-35k, I had about 15k and the other guy was the SS with about 8k. He won a couple big pots and got his way up to 15k. I just chopped away, playing really careful because I didn't want to gamble with anybody for everything. A fun hand came when I picked up Js9s in the small blind and limped in behind the chip leader who was on the button. The flop came okay...T 8 7! I checked and he bet 2,500, I called, BB folded. Turn was a 3. I checked an he bet 6,000, I called. River came a K. I bet 3,500 to make sure I got a call and I did. That pot got me up to about even with the chip leader.
The blinds went up to 500-1,000 with a 100 ante. I had about 25k, so there was not a ton of room to play poker. The chip leader raised every button which was fine with me because I knew I'd get him eventually if he kept up. He made an unusal 5 x BB raise to 5,000 total on the button. I looked down at QQ in the SB, I could re-raise to 10,000, but then I'd have to play the hand out of position post flop which I didn't want to do with this hand. I thought thast if I shoved in he would call me with AJ or AT, so I did. He quickly called and showed AA. Heh. I'm done. If you would of told me before the flop that I'd flop a Queen I would of said, "Bout time I suck out on them. Since they always draw out on me." Only problem...there was also an Ace on the flop. Okay, now I'm done...I've only hit one 1-outer in my life. I went broke and he went on to win.
Six of us played a H.O.S.E tournament afterwards, winner take all payout. I'm a great mixed game player so I felt pretty confident that I could win it. I got payed of here and there, won a few big pots and took it down with ease...does that sound conceded? I hope not. Honestly, it just seemed kind of easy to win they way some of them played.
I should have a new one up later this week, after we have a cash game.