Minimum cash in the $125k guaranteed last weekend

The final payout structure for the $350 buy in, $125,000 guaranteed tournament at the Columbus Summer Classic Series.

I am happy to report that my preparation efforts did not go to waste.  I played in the $125,000 gtd in Columbus last Saturday and Sunday, and came out with a small win.  Since this was my first multi-day poker tournament, I really made it a point to make it to the second day.  That definitely effected my play.  At the end of the day I bagged 75,000, which put me fourth from the bottom among the remaining players.   Even though it was a pretty poor performance, I considered it a win.  I made it to the second day !  The prize pool grew to over $187,000, smashing the $125k guarantee, and I had a chance to get a piece of it.

Coming back in the morning, and realizing the truly terrible shape I was in, I decided to try my luck and push all in with any decent starting hand right away, to try to double up.  Doubling up was essential if I wanted to make the money bubble.  We were already playing at these high blinds, and I could not afford to sit around and get chipped down with the antes and the blinds.  When I sat down at the table, I was the low stack.  And my mind was made up.  Very first hand, very first card was an Ace of clubs.  I didn’t even look at the second card and just jammed it all in preflop.  Fold, fold, fold… and the small blind goes all in on top of me.  Everyone else folds and we flip our cards.  Small blind is holding pocket Queens, and I ended up with Ace Jack off suit.  Ace on the flop and ace on the river assured my double up on the first hand, and I sighed a breath of relief.

Once I doubled up, the cards just went cold.  I folded and folded, and bluffed a hand once or twice.  But there was nothing there.  I barely made it to the money bubble, and even walked away from the table for a bit while we were hand for hand.  With 64 players remaining, we played hand for hand for almost 40 minutes.  No one wanted to be the bubble boy, so people were fighting for survival.  Once some unfortunate contender busted, and the money bubble burst, people opened up their game a bit.  I finally saw a pocket pair of Sixes and shoved all in preflop.  The guy with Ace Queen offsuit called and got an ace right on the river.  My four card flush draw did not materialize, and I busted out, taking 54th place and $613.  That is almost double my money, so I am happy with the result.

Next up is the Jack Fall Classic Series at Cincinnati.  The series will have a dozen good events including a $350 buy in $250,000 guaranteed kickoff event, and a half a million dollar guaranteed main event for a $1000 buy in.   I know its not much to all you rich people, but quarter of a million dollars is a nice size of change for me, and it will definitely have my attention.  Plus now I can afford the buy in.   I don’t know.   I did have my eye on this WPT – Bad Boys of Poker DVD for a minute now.   Ohh Antonio, you are such a stud.   how do you spell televised poker

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The Protective Shove

I wanted to review a poker hand that I was involved with this past Sunday at Jack Cincinnati.  I was playing my usual Sunday morning $160 buy-in $10,000 guaranteed tournament.  I really like the structure of this tournament, so I try to play it every weekend.  The blind levels are 30 minutes, which allows you to take your time and not hurry the action.  Plus, Jack just eliminated the antes at the lower levels, so the game goes a lot quicker.  You don’t get blinds until way into the final table, and it saves a lot of time.  Anyway, the pace is always very leisurely, and I like that a lot.

We were about to get down to 4 tables (final table made money), we were running a bit shorthanded, and I was in the big blind for 1600.  Everyone folded to the button, and he raised to 3300.  This guy was definitely the chip leader at our table.  He came to our table about 20 minutes beforehand, and immediately started pushing people around.  I was in a card slump, and for the most part, just tried to stay out of his way.  The small blind folded, and I peeked at A6 suited.  I know this is not my usual protective range, but something about his demeanor suggested that he just wanted to steal my blinds.  I thought about it for a few seconds, and looked him over.  He seemed nervous, and uneasy.   So I decided to put him to the test, and shoved for over 35k.  He snap called, and flipped over pocket Queens, I flipped over my A6 suited.  The flop came 2 6 Q, all rainbow, I sighed in disgust and got up from my chair.  There was another 6 on the turn, and 10 on the river.  I mumbled “Good game” through my clenched teeth, and walked to my car.

I was really mad at myself for misjudging the raiser guy, and busing out right before the final table.  At first, I was convinced that I made a huge mistake, and if only I just called, or even folded to the raise, I would still be in the tournament.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no matter how I played it, the end result would be the same.  Even if I slow played it, and not shoved preflop, I would surely get it all in on the turn, with the trip 6s and an Ace kicker.  And he still would have snap called me with a set of Queens, and I would still be out.

I was running the scenario in my head over and over, all the way into Monday afternoon.  Then I caught the third episode of the 2016 WPT Montreal, where Darryll Fish made an exact same shove with A2 offsuit into a beautiful AK.  He was heads up, so really shorthanded, and the other guy kept raising aggressively.  Darryll just had to stand up to the aggression, he saw an ace in his hand, and me decided to shove it.  He got busted out too, but in 2nd place.  Seeing such a successful professional poker player do the same exact move I’ve been agonizing over for two days brought me a sense of relief.  I realized that I did make the right move by shoving into that raise, and in order for me to maintain my aggressive style, I will have to make moves like that every once in a while.  And even though I will lose some of those shoves, it is still the correct decision.  And that what poker skill is all about.  Making the right decision.  I’ll try to refrain from shoving weak aces this Sunday.