Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Caribbean Classics - The main event

Day 1

We started with 6000 chips which seemed a little short for a $6000 buy in event so it was even more crucial that i made a good start. Well that all went to pot when i flopped bottom set on a 36J board and lost 2900 to someone who had JK and made a back door flush. I could have lost the lot if i had bet the when my opponent checked to me.

I fought my way back up to 5500 chips when i clashed with Kathy Liebert who was sat directly to my right. Not to sound sexist (maybe a little) but i had never been impressed by any women i had played with in the past, but she had a very good rhythm to her game, and i can see why she has done very well in tournaments in the last few years. This was about the only decent sized pot we played against each other in eight hours at the same table.

Blinds were 75/150 and i raised to 450 UTG with 99 and told the table i had raised with my lucky hand. The button called and Kathy did in the BB. It flopped 568. Kathy bet out 900. I called and the button passed. The turn was a 5 and Kathy bet 1700. I considered passing but couldn't put her on an overpair, and i didn't think she had a straight or a house. So called. River was a 3. She checked. There was not much point in betting as she only calls now if she has got me beat. I show my nines and she mucked.

I was between 7000-9000 chips for about 3 hours when we reached the last level of the day. I picked up QQ which was the best hand i had seen all day, with blinds at 300/600 made it 1600 to play in middle position. The button went all in for 6000. I called and he had JJ and my hand stood up. I won a few more small pots and ended the day on 17000 which was 6000 short of the average.

Day 2

Blinds started at 400/800 with a running 75 ante. My aim was to try and get to the money with average chips when we would all start playing six handed. As i play six handed cash all the time online i was confident the format would suit me. In the very second hand i was in the BB and found TT. All passed to the button who moved all in for 11000. Given the situation and the fact he was low stacked i called and he had QK. My hand stood up and i was up to 28000.

My table soon broke and i was moved to a table with Kabbaj and Colclough. I picked up QQ again and made it 3000 to play UTG. All passed to the SB who made it 8000. He had about the same chips as me when we started the hand. In 10 hours i hadn't seen anything better than queens so decided to live or die by them so moved in for 28000. He thought for a while so i was convinced he had JJ or AK. He called eventually and a low board doubled me up again to nearly 60000 which was nearly double the average.

When the blinds went to 600/1200 i hit a monster hand. I raised UTG with AA to 4400 and the BB who had been playing very tight called. Flop A83 with two hearts. He checked and i did behind him as this was too good an opportunity to scare him off. Turn was a 3 and brought the flush. He checked and i bet just 4400 into a pot of 10000 hoping he would put me on a steal. He called. Turn a 6 and he checked again. I pondered for a minute then picked up 18 1000 chips and dropped them in the middle. He called after a minute mucked very fast when he saw my hand. He said he had a flush but i think he was weaker than that.

The most remarkable thing was that in 6 hours of play i never lost a raised pot that i played. I either won it with a better hand/bluff or caught someone bluffing. I have never felt so in the zone. I called one opponents 4500 bet on the river with A8, on a board of J7753 and my hand was good.

We were soon in the money and i was probably about 5/6th out of the 36 left. The bubble went on for ages. Players were passing huge hands preflop like KK and QQ as they just wanted to make the money, which helped me pick up some easy chips. As we were playing six handed and all the people who had been clinging on started going all in and within an hour we were down to 18.

With blinds at 1200/2400 Thomas Bihl who had the chip lead on my table raised to 7000 and i looked down at 88 in the SB. I called. The flop was a perfect 38K with two hearts. I quickly checked and he bet 9000. I thought for two minutes and then reraised it to 21000. He moved all in and i called instantly. He had QK and the A on the turn meant i had picked up a pot of 150000.

I still hadn't lost a crucial pot all day. I was second in chips with 14/15 left. This hand was the beginning of the end. The chip leader Henrik Olander who had been moved to my right made it 10000 to play UTG. I had picked up TT so reraised to 25000. To my surprise the SB who had been playing tight just flat called and the Henrik passed. It flopped a perfect looking 238 but to my surprise the SB moved all in for 44000 ish. Hmmm. I must have changed my mind about what i thought his hand was about 5 times. He called a reraise so i can rule out a pair below TT surely. I decided it was either AA, JJ or AK. I ruled out KK and QQ as i think he would have pushed preflop as there was already 40000 to be won. If i called an won i would have been on 230000 and if i called and lost i would be on 80000 ish. I passed... he did tell me later that he had AK. I wish i had gone with my first instinct which was to call.

We broke to two tables and i still had about 105000 which was chip average. Blinds were 2000/4000 and i found QsKs in the SB. Everyone passed to me. The BB had about 45000. I made it 20000 and he moved all in. I had to call as it was just 25000 more to win 90000. He had 99, the board brought no help and i was now in danger on 60000.

A couple of hands later Dave Colclough limped UTG and one other player did. I had Ad2d and limped as well. The flop was QdJd7s. Dave checked, and the second limper bet 15000. I moved all in for 60000 hoping to either win it there and i was not going to be in horrible shape against any hand he may have. He called with QK after thinking for a minute or so. Turn and river didn't bring an Ace or a diamond so i was out.

I was gutted to finish twelth. I really fancied my chances when i was second in chips, especially as we were six handed and there was very little experience left in the field. I could have sat tight i guess and let my chips whittle away a bit but i went for the win and it just wasn't to be.

I had a great time on the trip, and it was good to catch up with many of the names that i play online. Not sure when the next tournament will be. I am going to take it easy this month, so i am refreshed and ready to go in 2006. Its likely i will be going to the Aussie Millions so have got that to look forward to.

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