Ups and Downs in a 5th place finish at a 9-seat SNG

9-seat SNG. Went up and down, went bust in 5th place.

Took a big early lead winning 4500 chips on KK with two pair, KK33 over a weaker two pair, JJ77

Later, got dealt KK again, and flopped into 2 pair, KK22, my opponent shoves, and I think about folding, guessing he has hit a trips, but I call and am right, I lose, I knew I was behind and calling here was risky, but I hoped that I’d river out a full house 999TT. But actually, I was ahead, KK22 over TT22 at the flop, and it was them who got lucky, with runner-runner 9s to take the hand from me. I should have raised my Kings up a lot higher preflop, here, I think.

I went on to redeem myself, winning about 5000 chips on another 2 pair hand, 9944 over two failed flushd draws. I got all my chips in here, and tripled up. Great hand:

After that I won a few small pots.

Then I played A6 from the button, raising preflop, and flopping top pair. Someone bet earlier than me, I called. The BB ended taking a huge pot on a flush, where I had made a straight 4-8, on the river. Their flush came on the Turn. This knocked me back down to just under 2300 chips, and made me feel like I had used up all my second chances. I thought I had this hand, and was devastated by the flush. Wasn’t even watching this player, as all they did during the hand was call. I figured the aggressor who was betting this hand had an Ace, and probably better than mine, but that my straight draw had won the hand. Wrong!

I got all in with K7o, attempting to steal the blinds, but got called by one opponent who met me with A5s, paired their Ace and won the hand and all my chips.

Up and down is the way these things go. Try this ugly beat when I had the guy exactly where I wanted him: Hand #463650130 · Replay Poker. I have had this player trapped more times than I can count and he gets out of most of them by the grace of the poker gods. Its really sick how often this has happened.

Some patience and I found this monster a bit later to get back in the game: Hand #463653121 · Replay Poker

Tournaments are rough on the system and you just can’t tilt. Believe me, I wanted to after that ugly QQ vs AJ hand. I mean you have someone exactly on the hand you want them to be on and get whacked on the river. Took me from top-10 to bottom 3rd of the players remaining.

**Wound up 8th of 223 in this one - made my move after a pay-jump and ran into a weak A that caught 2 more of them on the board. Up, down, up, down, up and out :slight_smile: If you can keep your head about you and take the opportunities that present themselves, that’s all you can hope for in tournament poker.


I’ve been playing a lot better this week, since my Monday post about getting angry after a bad beat.

I think I’ve made adjustments to my mental game, and am not equating aggression with anger anymore. I wasn’t when I started playing, but over time it seemed to progress naturally for me in that direction. And frankly it wasn’t a good thing for me at all. I threw good chips after bad, and also just wasn’t enjoying the game – even when I won.

So, Tuesday I played better, I did OK. Wednesday I didn’t play, and Thursday also. Friday, I played a bunch, and I won a few, but also lost a few more, breaking about even, maybe up a few thousand chips on the day. Today, though, I’ve played far better, and am up about 250,000 chips on the night. Four first place wins, and 2 second place wins. I think I’m about done for now, but it’s been a much more enjoyable game since I adjusted my emotional approach.

In almost all of the games I won today, I was down early, and came back. I did have a few hands where I lost big pots on bad luck with good cards, but I didn’t let them bother me. I just laughed it off and came back later when I had a hand.

I’m up over 3M in my bankroll, and after the Astral League bonus chips are awarded I should have a few more.

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This is really good to hear. Congrats!

**Its really hard to keep your cool with some of the players here. I’m steaming from some of the worst plays I’ve seen in my life catching cards at odd times. Laugh it off - I’ll be fine tomorrow but they’ll still be themselves.

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It is easy to attribute meaning to things that happen on the poker table, but most of the time there is none. I was playing the Hijack tournament last night and after the bubble burst, there were 15 players left and I was in the middle of the field. A player on my right with a stack about the same size as mine had raised preflop a number of times and had shown complete junk hands like 7 2. He raised on my big blind so I reraised all-in with AJ suited, expecting him to fold, as I had seen him do before, only for him to turn over AK and run over me. Oh, well, that is poker. Had I won that hand and gone on to win the tournament, I probably would not have remembered that hand by the next day. Tish happens to good people, especially on the poker table. And we are only heroes and villains in our own eyes.

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Yip - poker has no feelings, which is why I like it so much. Tournament poker is more cruel than ring games because you have a finite number of hands and ever-escalating blinds/antes to deal with. I just went out right before the bubble in the Stampede after getting endless horror-show cards most of the game. I think I had 6/2o more than a dozen times. If it wasn’t for nailing 2-pair with that hand in the BB once, I wouldn’t have made it anywhere near the bubble. The only “opportunity” I missed was not calling an all-in from an EP player and then an isolation raise from the big stack when I had AJs. I had ~20BB left at the time and AJ is just so weak vs 2 players that I folded it. Turned out I would have nearly tripled up - shoves were 77 and 55 respectively. That hand would have put me on a glide path to the cash but I let it go by, looking for a better spot. Sometimes those spots never come.

Have to be really selective with a full-ring populated by calling stations - almost no fold equity and many hands that play great heads-up are garbage multiway. If you aren’t getting some cards to work with, you can’t go very deep against these types of players. You can’t go to war with 6/2o in multiway pots because no one folds hands as weak as Q5s to a raise. Its actually why I much prefer 6-max games to full ring, you get to play some poker instead of playing whack-a-flop. Oh well, on to the next.


And 1 more going out with 6/2 on the final hand. Must have had it 25 times between the 2 games. This was another up and down game - went out 11th of 144. The play got decent for a while and then went back to passive stations again and I got no cards. Still trying to steal pots but having people wake up with some random garbage they call with and hit.

So frustrating when the game devolves to that. People with absolutely no clue what they are doing or why start making hands and that’s that. You can deal with it when there are 1 or 2 on the table but if you get 4+, its just a nightmare. If you are still open limping 8/2s at the final 2 tables, you got there by having the deck hit you in the face, nothing else. If you are open limping at all (other than from the SB sometimes) you aren’t playing poker, IMO.

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One of the more fascinating (and perplexing) aspects of poker strategy is how poor play can beat good play. It’s still bad to play poor poker in the long run, but at the higher levels of play, your betting is supposed to control how the rest of the table responds. All it takes is one clueless who doesn’t understand the betting language to not get the message and your play can get ruined.


OK, now I can sleep after an epic up and down battle where I had AA cracked twice and a set of 9’s beat by a set of jacks. Long HU battle at the end but took 1st of 154. HU he got me a few times with insane beats, like making the nut straight to his baby flush. ARG!!! If I would have tilted even a little, I wouldn’t have cashed in this one at all. Man, that’s a lot of work for play-chips :slight_smile:


This was a short one - 1st orbit I flop top 2 pair in the BB with J7 and bet it. Get 2 callers. Turn is a 4, completing 1 straight draw but it would be from a suited gapper so I bet the turn. I get raised but can’t fold to 1 bet with top 2 so I call. River is an ace and I check with the intention of calling a reasonable size bet. My 2 pair are no longer top 2 and the ace didn’t slow the guy down so I’m pretty sure I’m beat. I fold and move on, losing about 35% of my stack.

A few hands later, once again a donkey gets lucky by playing horrible poker. I open raise and this guy flats. OK, no problem because we’re early in the game. I make TPTK with AK and make a decent sized c-bet because we’re multiway. Villain raises big - I mean huge. I don’t want to get all wonky here but I have the only overpair, top 2 sets and TPTK in my range. He has bottom set and the straight draws with JT. I’m blocking KQ and with both a K and a Q on the flop, its extremely unlikely he can have that hand so I discount 2-pair. Therefore its bottom set or an open ended draw that would raise here. I’m blocking the top end of the straight draw, which is good for me if that’s the hand he’s on.

I re-raise jam rather than flat because I’d have a weird stack size left if I just called - wouldn’t be able to fold top pair here with what I had left anyway. The size of the jam could fold out the straight draws (should fold them out) but I’m in good shape regardless against everything but bottom set. This yahoo calls and flips over K9o. WTF man? Of course he hits a 9 on the turn for his 2-pair but this is about the worst play imaginable. 1st of all, flatting K9o on the BTN is pretty loose but the open size I use pre-ante is small, just enough to weed out the real garbage. Second, why would he raise that hand when the only things that call him have him crushed and he has showdown value and is in position? This is just about the last hand you’d want to raise with, period. I’d rather see someone raise with total air and take a stab at it. This guy is raising for what I can only assume he thinks is value. Unreal.

Check out this spewtastic hand here:

I honestly don’t care about the buyin or the results here (or ever). Its just that the level of poker is so horrible in so many ways that it becomes uninteresting most of the time. You’d think with 12 million chips and 6+ years of playing here that he’d have a clue by now. 6 years is a lot of time to practice after all :slight_smile: Nope - he either thinks it was brilliant play or doesn’t think about it at all. I’m certainly not going to tilt over it but it is disappointing not to get a decent game. The only reason I play here is for entertainment and gambling for play chips isn’t entertaining to me. Beat me by outplaying me and I’m a happy man. Beat me like this and not so much.

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Here’s pretty much exactly what he was thinking:

Preflop: “K9? Not a bad hand to play.” Probably not really thinking about being in late position.

Flop: "Woo hoo, I paired my King! I have top pair! I can bet this hand big! Oh, hold on, this guy thinks he’s betting? What’s he got with that small bet, a Queen? Probably. Well, I’ll show him. Raise

Good, those other guys folded. I’m totally taking this… Wait, did he just re-raise me? Fool! I have Kings! I have him covered, too! I’ll call! No way I can lay down, I just put in almost a thousand chips! If he beats me, oh well!"

After that decision is made, it’s just a ride to the river. He sees your hand, maybe he has time to gulp, and then the Turn immediately bails him out.

“Lol, that’s why AK sucks! Good hand!”

I have been this player, and it wasn’t that long ago. I know this is what he must have been thinking.

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LMAO!!! I think I wet the couch a little from reading this.

What did you do, like a 12-step program or something? At least you got over it though - most don’t ever seem to.

I’ve played almost every night since September '18, often 6+ games/night, taking the time to review hands in the tournaments that I won, re-thinking my way through each hand, picking up things I might have missed when it was happening live, trying to put myself in my opponent’s shoes, guessing what they were on, making observations on what was working… keeping a notebook on how I played different situations. The one thing above all else that has helped me improve my game has been the ability to replay hands here, which is why I like this site so much.

After about 2-3 months of that, I started posting here, and got much better insight on top of that from people who knew more. I’ve also been reading articles on poker strategy and watching youtube videos on poker occasionally.

The whole time, I felt like I was a “pretty good” player – obviously not anywhere near the same league as pros, but good enough to win break-even or maybe a little better. Although, much of that time, I was playing break-even or slightly worse. But I was buying knowledge and insight with those losses.

Am I a “good” player now? I don’t know, I guess it depends who I’m playing against. I’ve always had the positive attitude that I was a pretty good player, even when I was a novice and knew I still had a lot to learn. I couldn’t have played thinking that I wasn’t any good. It feels lately like I’ve figured out how to win against the typical players here at mid-stakes SNG play.

I don’t know what that means in the real world or elsewhere. Probably not all that much. But I have definitely improved considerably since I started playing back in September. Definitely not playing at pro level, or even “for real money” level… but maybe in another year or so, if I continue to improve at the pace I’ve been improving, maybe.