The Palm Beach Big Game

12 Apr

First Monday of April soon approached and I was looking forward to playing the Palm Beach Big Game again.

This month’s event was extremely popular, and with the total of 85 runners, including some of the biggest names in UK poker right now such as JP Kelly, James Mitchell and Jake Cody, this created a prize pool of 85k with the meaty 29k being allocated to the winner!

Not a bad days pay for a Monday night:)

James Mitchell was sitting at my starting table. Fresh off his back to back victory in the last two games, this was a leisurely way to spend a Monday evening no doubt. He’s a quality player in a rich vein of form, and I thought it would be good to watch him and learn what I could to improve my own game.

We started 7 handed as the stragglers filled the tables and soon I was to find out that I had a maniac sitting on my table too. It was hard not to notice this player, as he was getting involved in nearly every pot; hence, no surprise that my first big pot happen to be against that player.

We were on level 3 (75/150). I raised 3 limpers with my 10s when on the small blind. Two of them flat called, the other and the BB folded. The flop brought Qc 7c 10d so near perfect! If any of the players picked up a flush or straight draws I should be getting paid.

I proceed to bet approx 60% of the pot, which to my opponents could mean a multitude of things including a c-bet and I received one call. The fact that my opponent just called, implied to me that he didn’t have a Queen, as most likely he would have raised with it for protection and information. Hence based on his early position limp, call pre-flop and subsequent flat call on the flop I put him on a reasonably narrow range – JK, 89, 910, and Ax suited card club flush draw.

The turn came the 5 hearts which was a great card for me. I took my time to think about my next move and decided my best chance of stacking off my opponent was tempting him into a loose call for his draw. The fact that this guy was a maniac who lost more than quarter of his stack the hand before, made me think that he wouldn’t let the girl bully him and would call light whilst defending his macho image, whilst still tilting…

How right I was! I shoved the remainder of my stack in the middle and prayed for a call…he tanked for a bit, but ended up calling with K2 of clubs for a flush draw and missed it, when another Q showed up on the river to give me full house. 1 player down and another 84 to go! I’m up to 17k early doors.

Being chipped up early meant I could afford to open pots more often. With a few aggressive pots, I built my stack up to 21k without a showdown and 68 players remained before I was moved to another table.

New table proved to be more aggressive than the previous one, so I slowed down a bit whilst I weighed up my table. I like to gauge the quality and playing style of players around my table before getting too involved, some information on a player, no matter how little, can prove vital in decision making further down the line.

I ‘d probably built a pretty tight passive image at the new table when my next notable hand came along. UTG limped for 800 (400/800 level) and I made it 3,000 to go in mid position with AQ. I received one caller on the button, who had been pretty active lately and UTG folded. The flop brought As 2s 3h and being first to act I bet 4,000 into the 8,000 pot and he very quickly announces all in for an additional 11k!?

Although at first it seems like an obvious call, strictly because of the odds, however once you start thinking about the hand in depth, there are not many hands you are beating unless he has AJ, A10, or a bluff, which in my opinion was very unlikely. I can’t see A, 10 calling pre flop or really even A,J. Although I know it was the right move, I very reluctantly folded and lost my first big pot.

The same guy later approached me on the break and asked me if I really had an Ace in my hand; I said – Yes, and then he told me: – “Good Fold, I had a set”! It was a good confidence boost, and although I was down to 14k, I was very positive about the latter stages of the game.

First hand after the break on a 600/1200 level, I made it 2.5k in early position with Kh Qh. Another female player on the table, who has not played a hand so far, announced all in. She only had 5k in total, so it was an easy call considering the odds, so I called and was hoping for a race. She showed 77 and the Q on the flop sealed the deal. She seemed like a nice girl and I kind of felt sad taking her out….

I was back up to 19k and on the big blind, when everyone folded up to the button. A limp from the button was completed by the small blind’s call and we were off to see a cheap flop, when I checked behind on the big blind.

The flop came K 3 A rainbow and all of us checked. l was holding 10 2 and I was going to need some luck to take this pot down. The turn was Q, and both opponents checked again. J on the river and a nice- runner, runner straight! Small blind checked again and I put my stealing face on and after some deliberation threw 5k chip in the middle….
This seemed to have worked as the button player made a quick raise x 2.5 and then folded when I shoved all-in:)

Not long after a short stack shoves his remaining 11k in the middle and I look down at my hand to find KK in mid position. Good timing! I announced call and quickly realised that it was a mistake not to push all of my stack in the middle. By just calling I was representing too much strength and it was a huge tell to my opponents!

My KK held up against his AK and I took down another pot. Things were looking up for sure.

We were down to 18 players and I was above average (41k) with a 44k stack when the key hand of the night evolved. I had built a pretty aggressive table image by then and was winning my fair share of pots. I looked down UTG+1 to find a genuine hand – AA – and at that point noticed that the guy on my left is observing me. I pretty instantly decided to play on my physical behaviour and look like I am not too sure what to do with my hand before deciding to go for a steal.
I raised it up to 5k (2,000/1,000) and was looking for him to make a move. He went over the top for 36k and with everyone else out of the way I snap called. He showed 77, but spiked a 7 on the flop, to take down a monster pot.

I was devastated, and left with less than 5bb for survival. I managed to double up the very next hand when shoving with 67 and hitting a straight against A9 and fought my way back up to a semblance of a stack without showing my cards. My exit hand saw me going all in on the button with K9 suited on 23k just to run into big blind’s AK, with blinds of 1,500/3,000. No help for me on board and I was out in 11th/85.

Once again very close to the final table, and yet again lost the crucial hand to get me there.

I’m getting closer in this tourney and doing my best to keep the faith the latter stages are going to go well in one of the games in the near future. Salford 200 Megastack was next up for me.

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