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May 28, 2014

Banter Monday Poker Review

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It’s good to be back playing poker…… and even better to win !

article written by Negreanu

It’s been a few weeks since I played any poker.  So I was desperate to get back into it, first chance I got, actually happened to be the monday night bonus banter game on Poker Stars, which was just perfect…..

I like the Bonus Banter games a lot, its a great chance to play against some good players, have some chat and banter, and the buy-in is very reasonable.

It seems wrong to talk about the game without mentioning the absolutely huge slice of luck I was delivered about halfway through the game.  Down to almost only 10 big blinds, I shoved all-in from first position, with what can only be described as a decent, but not great hand.  Was this the best move?  Should I have folded and waited for a better spot?  I really don’t know.  I know I didn’t want to go much lower in chips, and I was going to be the big blind next hand.  So I took a chance, and it worked out perfectly, because not only did I win, but I got double lucky, by having 2 players call my all-in, and I beat them both to get a treble up in chips!!!

Lucky to be Alive


Of course this hand and getting lucky had a huge bearing on the game, because without it, I would obviously be out.  But to be fair, there was still a long long way to go.  Only one of the 8 players who started was out, and since both players who called, were 1st and 2nd in chips at the time, neither were left short stacked and almost out.  There was still plenty to play for. But before having a look at the 125 hands or so played after this one, I think we should take a look at the 75 hands before this one.

Start at the beginning

I started the game playing a bit too loose, but I think that is understandable, since it was so long since I had played, and was more interested in playing cards than folding my way into an origami contest!
It would be fair to say it wasn’t exactly the best of starts though, my biggest two pots turned out to be split pots, since me and the other player who got to the river had the same hands. First was K-Q and then A-Q.   Then I won a small pot with AQ vs 99, Gerry laid down the nines on the river, so I didn’t even get paid off….

Not a huge pot, but a start

 

I raised with KK and everyone including the blinds folded, and I turned a full house, in a small pot, but still couldn’t get any action…..

I did manage to win another small pot with 77, before a big turning point:

I picked up KQs in mid position, so at a table with 7 players, 2 folded, and there were 2 players to act after me, before the blinds.  Raising here was perhaps a little lose, but nothing too out of line.  I caught what I thought was a good flop, Queen high, slightly dangerous with 2 diamonds, and after the big blind checked, I bet.  Gerry moved all in behind me, and the big blind folded.  Which meant I had to make a decision for all my chips.  At first I thought maybe Gerry was on a flush draw, and was going to call.  But then I couldn’t see him going all in with only a flush draw, and he couldn’t have a pair and a flush draw, since the Queen and the 8 were the diamonds.  I ruled out AKs, since I would expect him to re-raise pre flop with that.  Maybe J-10s for the flush with a gut shot straight, but again, I just didn’t think so.  So what would have me crushed right now?  A set for sure, but I didn’t think he would call behind my raise with 22, and again he would surely raise with QQ, which only left 88.  AQ seemed to be the next most likely holding.  He would probably only call a raise with that, and not re-raise, and he would need to raise my bet on that flop.  It would be unlucky, but 88 or AQ seemed like the mostly likely.  QJ or Q10, but I felt that was quite unlikely.  It was going to cost me 1,800ish chips from my 2600 stack to find out for sure.  I had invested 750 into the pot so far, but I felt folding and holding on to my remaining chips was the best bet here, and with a bit of reluctance, I eventually gave it up.

Was it the right decision ?

 

Thats when it really went all wrong and downhill very quickly for me.  Instead of tightening up, with 2600 chips and the blinds at 50/100, I tried too hard to get the chips back.  I needed to sit back, be patience and wait for the right spot, but instead I was trying too hard to engineer a good spot, and make some chips back.

I folded the next couple of hands, but they were not difficult decisions anyway.  Then I played 5 of the next 7 hands, starting when I was next on the big blind.  There were 2 limpers, and I was sitting on a pretty good hand, I was planning to raise expecting the sb to fold or limp, but I decided to call after he raised first.  Big mistake!  Just because I had a raising hand, didn’t mean I shouldn’t have reacted more to his raise.  After he raised, I should have re-evaluted the decision, and considered if I should also re-raise again.  But instead of making a good decision like 3 betting or folding, I took the easy lasy option and called the raise, simply because it was about the same amount as I was going to bet anyway.  Terrible play.
I didn’t like the flop, and folded as soon as someone bet.

I called to make up the small blind in the next hand, which was ok, and lost nothing else after the flop on that one also.  I also over called a limp after folding the button, and again folded after the flop didn’t improve my hand.  I am ok with my play here, but after folding again, I then made another bad mistake.  I was in early postion, and again I liked my hand, but before I could put in a raise, the first player to act after the blinds put in a min raise to 240.  Once again, I should have re-raised or folded, but again I took the lazy option and called.  The flop was no good once again, and I folded after the original raiser placed a bet.

With 1,700 chips, and the blinds at 60/120, there was still a bit of play left in my stack, and I just needed to really tighten up the reigns, and wait for the right spot to pull the trigger.  But, with the blinds coming up next, I stupidly put in a raise with a decent hand.  But with so many players still to act behind me, it was the wrong move.  As it turned out, I saw the flop again, but again, I didn’t like it and folded after a bet.

Now I was really low in chips, after the blinds past through me, and I didn’t win with either hand.  Then I picked up AK, on the button.  One player limped in, I pushed all in, and someone else called from the blinds.  The original limper folded, and the other player and myself split the pot, (again), with the same hand!
4 hands later, I was first to act, with the blinds coming to me next, and I was holding K9s.  I shoved, got very lucky, and now I had a 2nd chance to try and play a bit better!

I won the next two hands, first one by asserting authority on some weak play by the small blind….. ;-)

You call, I raise !


The 2nd one brought me up to almost 5K in chips and made me the new chip leader.
A couple of hands later, I raised after one limper, and picked up the pot.  I was feeling comfortable, and in control at this point.

I had to sit out about 20 hands unfortunately.  During this time, Billy (Pokerbanter) clashed with Gerry (The_Gatherer), in a classic coin flip scenario:

Heads or Tails ?

A few hands later, and tournament favourite & defending champion, Billy (Pokerbanter), bit the bullet.  Alza set the trap by limping with Jacks, and Billy jumped head first into it, shoving with 5-3o.  It looked like he had caught a bit of luck, when he out flopped alza to hit 2 pair on a 3-Ace-5 board, but his new found joy was destroyed when his heart was ripped out and his soul crushed, as the 2 outer jack, burst out the deck on the turn.  It sure wasn’t a lucky day for Billy, but as the saying goes, somedays you hit the bar, and somedays the bar hits you!  I’m sure he will be getting his own back soon though…..

Billy wasn’t first to go though, that honour fell to Sef (BigPaul011), he lost a few chips trying to take holt off a pair of nines, but with the board having to card higher than an 8, it didn’t happen.  He then shoved his AJo, straight into the Aces that Johnny had limped in with.  Not a great day for Sef either, lets hope things don’t get any worse with an end of season liquidation!

When I finally managed to get back, I had about 3.7K chips, which had me in 4th position, with 6 left, so plenty to do!  I needed to get busy, but I didn’t enter a pot until my first big blind. I raised the limper, and then raised the big blind from the small, to take 2 pots in a row and get back on track.

A raise from late position, which went unchallenged, meant 3 pots won without losing a single chip since my return.  And put me into 3rd.

2 hands later and the blinds increased to 125/250/30.  I raised from under the gun, and took it down unchallenged.

Things were going well

I then won the next hand from the big blind, increasing my stack to 5K and making things pretty even between 1st to 3rd.

Then an important hand happened, which I would later remember to help make an important decision.  Alza limped from the button, Gerry raised from the small blind, and alza shoved all-in after the big blind folded.  The result was a 50/50 AQ vs 88, which alza won to take the chip lead, and cripple gerry. Gerry had earlier won his race with the small pair against Billy’s AQ and this time he was the victim with his own AQ losing out to pocket 8’s.

Win some, Lose some


But Gerry was far from out.  He shoved with AK, and picked up a caller in alza, who’s AJ was good, but far behind. Although he took the lead by some way when he hit the nut straight on the flop.  Gerry looked out, but somehow his hand held, hitting a runner runner full house, in a hand that had to be seen to be believed!  But he was right back in it now, and things were quite even after the got his double up from the chip leader……

I picked up a slim chip lead after winning 2 small pots from the big blind and the small blind.  Then managed my first knockout, after picking up an ace on the button.  I raised it up, and evilbow went all in with QJ.  It could have gone either way, but the ace held, and evil’s game came to an end.

Evil was happy to get this far


I now had a bit of a commanding lead, with 7.5K chips and 2nd and 3rd equal on 5K.
It didn’t take Gerry long to catch up though, as 4th and 5th clashed all-in, gerry holding a pair of 7’s, and Johnny having Q-5s.  The sevens held, and Gerry took 2nd place with 6K chips.

Down to the bubble

I won 4 of the next 5 hands though, to increase my stack to 8.5, and was applying pressure where I could.
But unfortunately a few hands later I lost a decent sized pot to Holtender, and he now had a slim chip lead on the table.
Then, with holt and myself tied for the chip lead, Gerry and holt went heads up for a huge pot, the winner of which would take the chip lead……..

Off to the races again

It was an absolute classic race, holt held the big pair, jacks, and Gerry was only just behind with AK.  Gerry failed to connect with the board, and was out, making holt the new, and by far, chip leader!

I managed to win 10 out of the next 15 hands though, and moved upto 9.5K chips, putting quite a bit of pressure on holts 12K  However, only 2 hands later, alza managed to double up through me, shoving 8-9o into my A-3, he hit two 9’s on the flop, and I lost a quite a bit from my stack.  Making it quite a clear 1-2-3 in terms of chips at the table.

 

I won 3 out of the next 4, before alza managed yet another double up, this time his A-7s beat holts 66, in another classic race, pair v’s 2 overs.  With all 3 players on just about 8K.

Game On !

I won the next couple of pots to take a very slender lead, before clashing with, and losing against holt.  I tried to steal the blinds and antes from the small blind, but was happy enough to catch 3 of a kind 10’s after holt called!  I opted to slow play though, and was happy enough to just call holt’s bets.  I had been considering check raising the river, but the size of holt’s bet on the river put me off.  I thought something had gone wrong, but unable to assertain what exactly, I felt I had to call, and see the bad news.  I had let him make a full house on the river!

Those rivers hurt sooooo bad !

Holt now had a clear lead, and I was sitting in 3rd place.  Not looking good for me at all…..

I won 2 of the next 3 though, managing to get a much needed bluff through, to help take some pressure off.

Not much room for error

 

Alza then struck a big dent in my hopes after catching a 2nd 9 on the river.  I didn’t need to call, but his river bet looked more likely ace high than a full house.

I came back strong though, winning the next hands in a row.  This meant I now had half the chips of the leader alza, and a sizable lead on holt in 3rd.

A few hands later and holt was down to the felt, I took my shot with K-10, and he was ready for the race with A-3.  I caught a king on the flop, and was all but ready for the heads up battle, before the river struck yet again, delivering the ace to smack me back down!

Cry me a river !

Then, a couple of hands later, decission time!

Blinds are huge now, 200/400/50.  Holt has only 2.6 after posting his big blind, I have a bit of a lead with 6K and alza is way ahead on 14.5K.  Alza limps in from the button, and I raise it upto 1.2K with Jacks.  Holt folds, and then, alza goes all-in…….!!!

At first, I am like, ”INSTA CALL!!”  But then I stop to think about it.  This play looks a lot like aces, no?  It certainly looks like he was trying to trap holt into shoving, if I was to just call or fold.  So, the question is, am I crushed by AA, KK or QQ?  Perhaps in a race with a hand like AK or AQ?  If my only options are coin flip or behind a bigger pair, does it really make sense to call?  If I am only up against a bigger pair to to over cards, it makes more sense to fold I would say.  As I would still have a small lead over 3rd place, and thats a better place to be than out!

Then I remembered that hand from earlier……..

Alza had limped in from the button, and he then shoved after Gerry had raised from the small blind.  Now, if only I could remember…….

Time is running out……

Call/Fold/Call/Fold

Play it safe/Go for it

Stay a safe 2nd, or go for the chip lead……???

Eights!!

He did this with a medium pair, earlier.  That means the range of pairs he could do this with is lower than JJ.  The most he could have is AA, but he would also be winning with KK and QQ.  But if he can do it with 88, then I also have to include 10-10, 99, 88 and possibly even some smaller pairs.  So I decided to……..

CALL

LETS GO FOR IT……!!!

I push my chips into the middle, and turn over my Jacks, and alza turns over his pair of……..

Eights!!

Yes!

Now, will they hold………

Drumrolllllllllllllllll !

They did, and its a big chip lead for me now!

I win the next 3 hands, and start thinking about the home straight, hoping to apply some more pressure in the right spots…..

It’s never easy though, and holt picks up 5 of the next 6 pots, alza taking the other one!

The chips are swinging back and forward, but so far I am just stealing pots where I can, without losing too much.  As the blinds reach 250/500/60 though, something had to give, and it eventually did.  I raised upto 1,500 from the button, holt picked up what can only be described as a huge hand at this stage, in AQs, but was unfortunate to run smack into my lovely looking ladies!

The ladies are dancing !

With my 2nd knockout, and a huge chip lead secured, I piled the pressure onto alza, winning the next 4 hands in a row.  He had no choice but to shove 4K into the middle, with 8-9o.  But this time, I didn’t need to worry about the river, as my Ace-2, connected hard with the A-3-5 flop.  A 10 on the turn, meant no outs for alza, and an epic game was all over at last!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

If thats the sort of game that gets your blood pumping, and the chips flowing, and if your into poker in anyway whatsoever, it really should.  Then we play every week on Poker Stars, Monday, 8pm UK time.  Hope to see you sometime, if you can try to keep cool and play your ‘A’ game, you might even knockout everyone and take the whole thing down………!!

Pokerstars






2 Comments


  1. BBTipster

    Congrats on a winning return. I won robbed tho lol


  2. evilbow

    Loving the write up Iain, hopefully it becomes a regular thing…………the write ups not the winning :P



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