Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The turning point

Above: The Gold Strike Casino.

Poker tournaments are a lot like any competitive event -- they have critical junctures.

Friday, I had a good-sized stack of about 45,000 and a short stack of 10K moved all in and the next player also moved all in for 12K. It folded to me and I peeked at my hole cards to see 9 9. Folding is certainly an option, but I decided to play. Neither short stack can hurt me, and I rate to have a decent shot to pick up both player's chips and the blinds and antes. Calling is not an option, however, as it makes it too tempting for someone else to join the party -- the pot odds would be juicy. So, I reraised all in to isolate, like you're supposed to if you choose to play.

It folded to the big blind who was the massive table chip leader with about 90,000. He starts thinking and talking out loud. "How can I lay this down? I know I'm beat, but I have to gamble."

After about 30 seconds of agony, he called and turned over K-K! What was he thinking? If he won't play kings here, why bother to enter the tournament? The short stacks showed Q-J and A-J.

The flop was Q-J-8 giving the first short stack two pair. The turn was a 10 giving me a straight! The river was a brick and I was able to cruise to the final table with my big stack.

Card Player odds calculator says that against the two short stacks, my odds of winning are 44.04%, the A-J was 33.48% and the Q-J was 21.36% -- I was getting the right price to call and then some! Notice that it doesn't add up to 100% because there can be ties.

Sunday was different. I had no chips all day long. Fold, fold fold. I started to change my name from MOJO to fold -- that's Mr. Fold to you, buster.

When we were down to two tables, I was seriously short. It folded to the small blind who raised enough to put me all in. I peeked and saw Q J. Would you play or would you wait for a better spot? Would it help if I told you he had A-10?

This is one of those 60-40 deals and I think you have to embrace this chance to get back in the ballgame. (Card Player odds calculator says that the exact odds are 58.5% to 41.14%.)

I called and the flop came with a queen. The turn was another queen, a good thing because the river was an ace. I had my double up and the chips I needed to continue.

turning point noun
: a time when an important change happens
▪ Winning that game was the turning point of the team's season.
▪ That job was a major turning point in her career.

Here's a link to the Friday results: click here.

Here's a link to the Sunday results: click here.

In both, I'm listed as fourth, but I guarantee you we did an equal chop and play ceased in both cases.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm 100% sure I'm not sure if you ended up winning anything or not, although if, indeed, you were in 4th place, you should have won something. Maybe enough for a quick trip to Maui?