August 2006
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Running out of time

I hate small blind vs big blind situations. That’s how I managed to bust out last night at Binions, after playing solidly enough to keep up with the pack the whole way through, and recovering from two crippling beats where I had the other guy dominated with my AK. In fact I thought it was going to happen again, as I moved all-in with AT for a little more than a standard raise. One guy goes to call but only calls the blind. Pay attention dude – your call is binding. But I survive against his A6s and I’m back in it.

Then I’m on the BB for 1200, and only the small blind calls. I check my Q7o and catch top pair on the flop – QT5, all different suits. When he checks to me I bet 1500 and he agonises and calls. I don’t believe he’s acting, and is weak but thinks I’m full of it. He checks the offsuit Jack on the turn and I know that if I check behind here I’m pretty much giving up the hand, with top pair. That’s kinda weak, and I don’t have enough chips to do anything else so I have to move all in.

There’s a lot of popular limping hands that beat me now, QK, QJ, QT, JT have me crushed but my pot sized all in bet will be big enough that KJ, J9, T9, A9 would be making a mistake by calling with their draws, but might consider doing so anyway. Will I only be called if beaten? No – even AJ or AT might think they are winning. Can I call a river bet if I check here? Probably not. Am I likely to be winning? Yes, so giving a free card is terrible. It’s a horrible horrible situation because it’s so marginal and I have almost no information about my opponent’s hand to help make a better decision. I don’t like the all-in move, and just wish I was never in the hand to start with, but I can’t see a better option.

Can I really fear a straight here? The board shows TJQ, but AK would probably not have wanted to give me a free play. 89 or K9 might be around, but would be making a very questionable call on the flop, getting less than 3:1 and poor implied odds with my remaining stack size. But that’s exactly what happened – K9 made the gutshot straight and I was busted playing a hand that I wanted to give up preflop. Someone please raise me next time! Anyone!

And of course, once again I survived just long enough to be too late to get in any of the 11pm tournaments. Three days left. Three tournaments at most… I think I need to stay another week!