I asked (P5s Admin) Adam if he had any suggestions on my newest article, and he proposed that I talk about the $200 Rebuy at Pokerstars that I had won the night before. This article will be a little different than some of the previous articles you have read, because I am going to discuss my approach to the tournament, some key hands, and some tough decisions that I was faced with throughout the tournament. I don’t claim to make all the right decisions, but overall I thought I did a pretty good job in this tournament of making good ones. You can be the judge!
Before the tournament even started, I was questioning whether or not I wanted to play. I had been running poorly the last two months, and I had already busted out of all the Sunday majors. As I was debating whether or not to enter the tournament, I scrolled down the list of registered players and saw that the tournament was filled with the best players on the internet. I thought to myself that there would be great players at every table, and that the final table would be stacked. After eventually seeing more and more players register, I decided that I was going to give it a shot. Personally, I don’t like trying to beat the toughest games on the internet. I play this game for one reason and that is to make money, and playing against the best players will always lower your ROI.
Going into the tournament, I decided that I was just going to play a really TAG style. This is the style that I normally play, but recently after watching players like BeL0WaB0Ve, gbmantis, and a few other LAG players having so much success, I tried incorporating this approach into my game. After experimenting with this style over the last month, I realized it wasn’t for me. My results went down drastically, and I realized that I can’t play a LAG style of poker. The run of poor cards didn’t help either. I believe every player must find the right style of poker for them, because there is no right or wrong way to play poker; you just need to find what works for you.
So going back to the tournament, I played my TAG style during the rebuy period as well. I re-bought once to start the tourney, and I added on for the additional 2500 chips when the rebuy period was over. To some of the beginning players, if you are going to play rebuy tournaments, you should always be willing to rebuy right away at the start of the tournament and add-on at the first break. If you are not comfortable doing this because it becomes to expensive, then you probably shouldn’t be playing in that rebuy tournament. After the rebuy period ended and I added on, I had 7800 in chips, which was right about average. After the rebuy period is when one of these tournaments really begins.
After the break, I really didn’t get too involved with many pots. I was playing my TAG style, mostly just folding and taking the occasional pot. I was trying to pick my spots, but I began to realize that I was starting to get short. At this point, the blinds were 200-400 with 25 antes and I had 6k in chips. I wasn’t desperate yet, but I had to double up soon.
It got folded around to the button, who was also somewhat short. He had about 5k in chips, and he min raised to 800. I was on the BB with 6 4 of hearts, and I called. The flop came 2 3 4 rainbow. I checked, planning to check raise, when this player who I was not familiar with instantly went all in. At this point, I was puzzled. “If he had an overpair, why would he go all in?” I thought to myself. I went thru the possibilities of hands that I thought he had, and I came to the conclusion that he had two overcards and some sort of straight draw. After thinking for about 30 seconds, I finally decided to call, because I thought I was a slight favorite. I was right, and he had 5 7 for an open ended straight draw. Well the turn came 5, giving me the straight, and there was no help for my opponent on the river. At this point, I was up to 12k in chips and could go back to my TAG style and avoid those coin flips.
After playing tight for the next couple orbits, I was down to 9k with the blinds at 300-600 with 50 antes, and I was dealt QQ. I made a standard raise to 1800, and I had one caller, who was the chip leader at the table. The flop came k 10 7 rainbow and was checked to me. I then bet 1800 again and was called. The turn came an 8, and we both checked. The river came with another 10, and he was first to act and bet 6k, enough to put me all in. I went into the think tank again and wasn’t sure what I was going to do. This player was playing really aggressive and was seeing a lot of flops and pushing his chips around. There was already a little over 6k in the pot, and I only had 5500 left, and with blinds at 300-600, if I folded I would have been extremely short. I called after thinking he might have missed a straight with aj or aq and hoping that he didn’t have A-10. He had A-J, and I was up to 18k. This was another call that I didn’t want to be forced to make, but I ended up making the right decision after possibly misplaying the hand (you be the judge).
Two hands later, I get dealt 5-5 and limped UTG, and a guy in middle position made a standard raise. I called. and the flop was K J 5. I led out and bet 2400, and the other player immediately went all in. No thinking involved here, of course, and I called and saw his K J, and the pocketfives held!
I was up to 36k and had one of the bigger stacks in the tournament, and I was the chip leader at my table. After a few hours, I got moved to another table. I chipped up to 45k and was still very healthy. This table was stacked with great players and the chipleader of the tournament, Shaniac. He had 95k and a commanding CL over the rest of the field.
By this point the blinds were 600-1200, and it was down to 3 tables. I had 9 9 UTG, and I made a raise to 3500. Shaniac was on the BB and repopped me to 10k. I called, and the flop was 5 3 2 rainbow, he led out for 12k, and I was really contemplating whether or not I had the best hand. Shaniac does a great job of constantly putting pressure on the other players at the table, especially when he has a big stack. He is one player I fear when I am at his table. In this situation, I believed I really only had two options: fold if I thought he had 10s-AA or go all in if I thought he was trying to bully me around along with the rest of the table. After debating the hand for some time, I decided I could pick a better spot, and I laid down the hand. I was down to 35k after that hand, and I was about an average stack. Luckily for me, I got moved to the other table when we went down to two tables, away from my nemesis Shaniac.
I went all the way down to about 20k, just not picking up any hands while we had a full table. Then, like I talked about it my last article, when we went short handed I had to put myself in position to win the tournament before we reached the final table, so I begin to switch gears and become more aggressive. I took down several small pots and chipped my way back up to 50k.
Then I was faced with another decision. I had the button move all in on me when I was looking down at one of my favorite hands from the BB, 7-7. This was another player I was not familiar with, and the previous 3 out of 4 times he was on the button, he moved all in. He had 35k in chips, so I had him covered, and if I made the call and was wrong, I would have still had 15k in chips and a fighting shot. I decided to trust my gut and call. The player ended up having 5-5, and my 7s held. I was now up to 90k in chips, and with 12 people left, I was only behind Shaniac, who still had the chiplead and over 200k.
After staying out of any pots the last couple orbits, I went into the final table with 90k, which was 4th out of 9. The final table was stacked with great players: Shaniac, SlimShaggy, Enoball, Duff Mcguire, and myself. There were also 3 other players at the table who I have played with before that were good players but don’t play as many tournaments. So just as I assumed it would be before the tournament started, the final table was stacked! Shaniac had over 225k, Enoball had 140k, Duff was sitting on a little over 60k, and Slimshaggy was on the short stack with less than 35k.
The first playable hand I had was A-10 UTG, and I decided to switch up my game and min raise to 8k. I got one caller in middle position, and the flop was 10-3-2 with two diamonds. I led out and bet 16k, and this player then min raised me to 32k. I went into the think tank and thought of the range of hands he could have. The min raise is a very tricky bet in my opinion, because it could represent so many different hands, depending on the player. After weighing the options, I decided to put the pressure on him, and unless he had a set or slowplayed aces or kings, I didn’t think he was going to call. There were still 9 players left, and nobody ever wants to be the first player out at the final table. So I re-raised all in for an additional 50k. He ended up folding, and I was looking good at 135k.
A few hands later, I got involved with the same player. He raised UTG to 12k, and I immediately put him on premium hands, since most players aren’t going to raise UTG with a full table with anything less. I had 6 6 on the button. The player who made the raise still had a relatively big stack with 125k, so I called. When calling with smaller pocket pairs, the odds have to be right. If this player was short stacked, then there would be no point in me calling. I would muck my sixes, knowing that I only had a 1 in 8 chance of hitting a set. But if he has a large stack, then the odds are well worth it, knowing that if you hit your set, you will most likely take all of his/her chips. The flop was a beautiful 6 9 2 with 2 spades. He was first to act and bet 20k. I thought about instantly just reraising him all in, but I didn’t know if he was good enough to fold an overpair. Instead of reraising huge, I decided to use the same move that he used against me a few hands earlier and just min raise his raise and try to bait him into going all in. Well my play worked, and he instantly moved all in over the top for his 125k, and of course I called. He had JJ, and the turn and river were blanks, making me the chipleader with over 280k!
After not getting involved in any big hands for a few orbits, we were down to 5 players: Shaniac, Duff Mcguire, Enoball, Desi99 (a solid player that doesn’t play as many tournaments) and myself. At this point, the chip counts were as the following: Shaniac and I had around 230k, Duff and Eno each had 145k, and desi99 had a little over 100k. The blinds were at 3-6k, and Duff made a standard raise to 18k from UTG. I was looking down at AK, so I reraised 36k on top, and Duff called.
The flop came K-8-8, and I knew I had the best hand at this point, but I felt like if I led out, Duff would most likely fold, particularly since I didn’t believe he had that strong of a hand. I put him on the following possibilities for hands: A-Q, 99, 10-10. The reason why I didn’t think he had J-J or Q-Q was because I believed he would have reraised me all in preflop. After this flop, I had to make Duff think I was weak and that I didn’t have a strong hand either. So I check the flop, hoping to get Duff to push all in, but he didn’t fall for the bait and checked behind. The turn came J, and I was still thinking I could show weakness by putting out a small bet, hoping that he would come over the top. I led out and bet 36k into 120k pot. The bait worked, and Duff pushed over the top for his remaining 60k in chips. After I called, he showed 9-9, and I was now sitting at 320k.
There was one more interesting hand that took place during this tournament, and I was faced with another very tough decision. It was a couple orbits later, but the chip counts were nearly identical. I was dealt J-J UTG with blinds still the same at 3 and 6k. I made a standard raise to 18k, and Shaniac repopped me 54k. This time I was not going to be pushed around, however, so I reraised him another 70k, trying to represent that I had aces or kings and that I wanted him in the pot. He ended up folding, and I was up to 400k.
From that point, I didn’t look back, just constantly applying pressure to the other players. I went on to win that tournament after playing heads up against Enoball, who is a great player. I had a 3-1 chiplead going into heads up, and he fought all the way back and brought the match close to even before I was lucky enough to grind him back down. This was a great tournament for me to win for three reasons: First off, it was my biggest cash yet, being good enough for just over 32k. Secondly, it was against arguably the toughest field on the internet, and thirdly it couldn’t have come at a better time, since I was really struggling during the previous month. Now since I shared some of my secrets with you, don’t go using all my plays against me! Gl to everyone at the tables!