Sunday, February 8, 2009

Battered & Bruised

I don't like whinging when probability decides to fuck with me but battered & bruised was how I felt on the drive home after playing two tournaments at this weekends GJP European deep-stack festival. I went out of the main event on day two with 70 players left, AA verses AK AIPF and out of the monkey side event four off the money in a double the average pot AJ verses A5os. While the second one was only a 70/30, when the forth diamond hit the river, I was gutted as I felt a hold saw me in a super spot for a top three finish.

A 50k starting stack was new territory to me and I wasn't that sure of how to approach the dynamic change if I'm honest. I didn't know anyone on my starting table which had three French players and a couple of English ones. In level Two I had pocket Queens four times in eight hands and ran into three flopped sets without an Ace or King on the board. I lost about 7k chips over those hands and soon dropped to 30k. I rallied back to 60k and was then back to 40k in the last hand before the dinner break when a good French player bluffed me off a big pot with A high on the river in a pot that that I would never of let get that far if we were shallower.

Over the next four levels I found no hands and was having difficultly finding spots with a very laggy, stacked up, English player two to my left and the good French player next to him. I remember 4-betting the English lag with AK suited and folding to a push; he showed Kings. I won a race with AQs v 99 for my remaining 20k just into the last level and a couple of late squeezes saw me finish the day on 59600 which I was very pleased with as It had been a gruelling days grind. I was however disappointed that there was a seat redraw as I felt I had a good read on the betting patterns of the big stack on the table.

I started playing fairly tight on day two but picked up some chips in small pots when I floated the flop against eventual second Jason and a few more with a thin river bet on a 4 flushed board with the 8 of suit against good English pro Stu Rutter. I was playing close to 80k when I made up the small blind with 34os in a five way pot. A French player bet half pot on a 9 5 2, two club flop and I called and blinked the non club 6 on the turn for the second nuts. The French player was well stacked so I lead the turn for 10k. The river paired the nine which I thought might be a good card for me to get paid so I lead for 20k. He goes into the tank for a decent amount of time and makes the call; I turn over my straight fully expecting to see the pot shipped my way and I'm surprised to see him flip over fives full of nines.

I exit the tournament about ten minutes later to the same player. He opens in early position and I pick up the rockets in the SB I think. The raiser has had two opens snapped off in the previous couple of hands so I'm sure he has a hand and decide 3-betting is my best option. He puts me in for my stack of 43k and I'm looking good to win a 90k pot against AK until the boards comes QQJ10 to see me exit in 71st position. Donal commented as I left the table that, " at least I had a good story" hmm I rather have had the chips.

I'm not sure about the structure TBH and certainly wouldn't like to play it every week. There is an extraordinary amount of play early but I was watching the clock closely and once it hit 50 players left it played out like any other tournament. For long periods leading to the final table the average bigblind was less then 30. So, for example at that stage of the event, the structure was actually a lot worse then the Irish Classic or JPs masters where the average bigblind never fell below 60 bigblind at any time before the final tables. I think the structure needs tweaking; a suggestion would be run a 45 minute clock for the first ten levels, then increase to 75 minute levels. I think this would bring balance to the event.

I'll do a review of the €500 game later in the week