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The Road to Fame and Fortune

/Jan/2012

The final table

By: Ov3rsight @ 04:35 (EST) / 59 / Comment ( 0 )
Every poker player's dream is made up of two parts make the final Table, and winning it all. Some will have making the money in there as well, but for me, it's the win that I'm after. Because of that, once we get close to the Final Table, or the bubble, I tend to loosen up my play. Quite often, looking back after busting out before the money, I think I played it way too loose. But it's hard adjusting. Usually I have a medium stack, which means the big stacks can push you around, and you don't have much room to play with. When I am the big stack, I do the pushing, which leads to bleeding chips. It's a definite weakness in my game. And one I'm working on.

The stats speak for themselves: out of the 81 27 man Sit-n-Gos I played, I made 39 final tables (48%). I cashed in 24 of them, for 62% of my final tables. 44% of the times I make the top 3, and the wins and bubbles are even at 7x for 18%. Personally, I feel it should be more. Niot because these numbers are depressing, but more because most the time I don't cash I have the feeling it's my own fault - playing too loose, spewing chips I can't afford to give away, or giving away the big stack and doubling up people who shouldn't have been doubled up.

So I'm working on it. The first final table I made the other day I bubbled out again. I went in with a medium-sized stack just below average, until I threw it away in 6th place by calling a preflop raise with a mere QT offsuit, and running into an AQ when I shoved allin on a Q-high flop. So the second tourney I made the final table, I decided to play it snug. Still stealing blinds left and right, punishing the people who limp on my big blind, but trying to be more careful. No three barrel bluffing unless I feel really strong and the flop isn't all that dangerous, not calling the draws all that often, and simply giving up if they push back. I can't even count the aces I folded to a 3-bet. I pretty much decided AQ, AK and AA were the only aces I'd call that 3-bet with. The A4 and A5 are still raising hands 3-handed, but not calling hands.

And it worked. When we made heads-up I had a 2-to-1 chiplead. I let my opponent crawl back to even money, but ground him back down to the 2-1 chiplead. At this point he started shoving every raise I made on his blind (he had a 25 BB stack), and where in the past I would have called him with a King high or Queen high, I decided to bide my time. And it paid off. With a 2.5-to-1 chiplead, I limped his blind, he raised, I flatted with QT offsuit. I don't mind flatting that - we're heads up. Plus - it's 800 out of my 29k stack. As long as I don't go crazy on the flop, I can afford to see flops. The flop comes Queen high with two hearts, and we both check. Previously, I would have been more inclined to lead out here to protect my top pair against the flush draw, but I'm playing it careful this time. Time is on my side, even if I did have to go to the bathroom. The flop pairs the 5 on the board, and he makes a delayed c-bet for 2/3 pot. With my top pair, I decide to see what the river brings. The river double pairs the board. So now the board shows two pair, and a queen. No flushes, no straights. I decide now to not give my opponent a chance to bluff a missed draw (what do you do if he pushes here?) and put him all-in. He calls.

The only question I have left after this exercise is - why on earth did he call with a King high? The only answer I have is he might have put me on a missed draw. But for his hand to be good, I'd have to have called a preflop raise, and a flop bet, with no better than Jack high. His hero-call on the river looks like the kind of move I've regretted making often enough. So I walk away with 1st place money, a lesson in patience learned, and a big blog entry for you.

See you at the tables!
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