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Monday, February 04, 2008

Day 2 of the "Shorthanded Deepstack" in Drogheda, Irland

Unfortunately my day 2 was much shorter then expected. I was in a good mood and manged to keep my stack around 70,000 for most of the first level on that day. My first important hand during that was a laydown. I had raised AJs in EP and got two callers. The big blind (big-stack) then bet into the A-K-x flop. I assumed that I was still ahead but had the strong suspicion that the small stack behind us would go all-in for about 36,000 and I was absolutely unsure about his hand. So I folded ... he went in and was called. He showed KJs while the big-stack showed KQ. The small-stack managed to make a runner-runner flush and I saved myself many chips.

Somewhat later I made a move with Jx from the button and got called from Nicolas Ragot my french nemesis in the big blind. Flop came Q-J-9. He checked, I bet 10,000 and he raised all in for about 26,000 more. I knew that my Jack with a weak kicker wasn't a strong hand but I assumed that he wanted to steal the pot with nothing or maybe something like A9. I thought for a long time and finally made the wrong decision and called. He showed Q6 and neither a Jack or a Nine appeared on the board.

Now my stack was down to 33,000 and I had left the save regions for the first time. Shortly before the end of that level I found K9s in the small blind. Everybody folded to me and I raised it. Niall Murphy called in the big blind. I caught a dreamflop of K-K-3 and checked. Niall checked, too. Turn was a 4 and I checked again. This time he bet 10,000 and I went-all in just to get a quick call. I was in some trouble as he showed KJ for the better kicker. I still had several outs for a win or maybe a push but there was no further help from the board and I was out in 19th place. Niall Murphy eventually ended the tournament in 6th place.

Busting out from a tournament is always tough. But leaving a tournament after 13 hours of play is devastating. I felt like I had blown it away by making that bad call against the french guy. It's true that I didn't had the right odds to call him here. Total pot was around 75k and I had to pay another 26k. On the other hand folding or losing would have had similar results: I would have left the save M=20 area. So being sure that he hadn't a monster and I was at least not drawing dead offered another option - to increase my chipstack and take him aout of the tournament. Still I'm unhappy with the call (and his outcome) but it wasn't a complete bonehead move. It would have been if I had to put my tournament life on line with that call! But on the other hand there had been ways to play this hand much better! The obvious one would have been to go all-in on the flop directly. Had I payed more attention regarding his stacksize I would have been easily able to pressure him with elimination and the tough decision if Q6 is really good enough here. If he called the outcome would be the same but I would have added another option - making him fold - to my arsenal.

In the set over set situation I had no choice. Assuming that somebody could hold the forth King (especially in a short-handed game) would have been very far fetched. But my opponent made everything correct, too. There's no way I would have played it different being in his situation again.

But beside that this was a wonderful tournament. Much room for good skilled poker and even at the final table there was no rush due to the blinds. No wonder the tournament lasted 18 levels! Additionally they had a very good (flat) price structure. Due to that nobody on the final table ever suggested a deal. They played it down to the last man standing - Peter Heslin (who btw. started day 2 with almost the same chipcount than me!). Congratulations to him and many thanks to Green Joker Poker for setting up one of the most wonderful tournaments I've ever played so far!

This was also a kind of a last test for me. I already booked my flight and hotel for a week in Las Vegas during the WSOP in June. Due to the good exchange rate I made plans to play one of the smaller bracelet events this year. The one in question ist Event #9, the shorthanded event. And now I am sure that this would be indeed a very good choice for me. I like the more aggressive playing style that is needed for short-handed and I also enjoy the space you have with only 6 people sitting together at the same table for hours.


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