Tournament sbo Woes


This blog doesn’t tend to be full of tales of bad beats. And that’s a good thing. We all go through them. It’s a part of the game. You have to get lucky a full times yourself because you know at some point, someone will likely catch you.

How you respond to those bad beats, however, is what separates sbo good players from average players. I’m not sure which class I fall in, but perhaps you can tell me as I spin yarns of bad beats…

We’ll start with the WPBT from earlier this month. I think I actually played pretty well in this tourney. I had made the right calls at the right time and built up a nice sized stack.

To my left was the unpredictable Doctor, Otis’ brother. I hadn’t had good success against the Doctor. In a few garage poker experiences, I gave quite a few bucks away. And during this tournament, I really felt as though the Doctor was bullying me.

I had raised on the button a few times with pretty good, but not great hands. They weren’t pure blind steals, but close. And a number of those times, the Doctor came over the top of me and I had to lay my hands down. I vowed to catch him at some point.

That point was when I was dealt A3s. The flop came 10-high with two spades. That’s when the Doctor pushed all in. I started going through the possibilities in my mind. I didn’t put him on a big pair because the pre-flop action just wasn’t there. I suppose it could have been a set, but if his hand was that good, wouldn’t he have bet enough to induce a call? I suppose he could have been trying to push me off a draw, but I really liked my outs.

I called and the Doctor flipped pocket 9’s. Now I realized why he made the move. He figured I didn’t have the T, but didn’t want me to see anymore cards. I had a good number of outs. In fact, the hand analyzer just put the Doctor at a 55% favorite. It was almost a coin flip. I didn’t catch my spade, but the A on the river sealed the deal.

So I got a little lucky. Was it a bad beat for the Doctor? I suppose so, but not the kind that gets burned in your mind. That happened to me a little later.

I’ve got a pretty good sized stack when a slightly smaller stack makes what I considered to be an unusual play. I had called the BB with A5s and after a few other limpers, this player pushed all-in. It screamed of a steal. There was some good money on the table from all the limpers and I thought there was a chance I had him beat. I called. He flipped A2o.

The hand analyzer says I’m only supposed to lose that hand 20% of the time. The 2 on the flop, however, did me in. I was crushed, and I don’t think I reacted well.

It’s not like I was crippled at that point. But I still responded with a reckless all-in call. I was holding just AJo. The other stack was slightly shorter, but not by much. He flipped AQs. I was dominated. The J on the turn gave me some hope, but my luck wouldn’t hold up and the Q on the river crippled me.

A few hands later, I pushed with AJo again and got called by someone holding, you guessed it, AQ. That knocked me out. I was sorely disappointed.


Fast forward to yesterday. I’m playing in a Party Poker $5 tournament with 2000 players. I’m playing really well, finding myself in a very strong chip position throughout the entire tournament. The top 220 pay and the critical hand comes when we’re down to just about that number.

I’m dealt AKo UTG. I raise my standard 3xBB. It’s folded to a guy in late position who raises from my T900 to T4000. I’ve got about T32000 at this point and the other guy just bet about a fourth of his stack.

I don’t think he’s got a better hand than me. I suppose he might have a big pair, but the play just didn’t seem like a big pair. I pushed all-in and decided to put him to the test. Was he willing to commit his remaining T14000? When he didn’t immediately call, I liked my position.

The clock started counting down and it went all the way to zero. I though that was it, but it reset to 60 seconds and started counting down again. It got all the way to 1 before he called me and flipped up AQ. I was a huge 71% favorite. My read was dead on.

The flop came 3, 8, T. No problem. The turn is a 9, and suddenly, he has 7 outs. Any J gives him a straight. And it’s a J that falls on the river. I was devestated. The guy proceeds to apologize for taking so long he says, “Because if I lose, I go out 221.” I was furious.

I was down to about T14000 now and just around average stack. This was no time to panic. If I just played my game, I could get back into it. A few hands later, I get pocket 9’s. I raise to 3xBB again, and a guy with about T5000 pushes all-in. I call, figuring I’m likely ahead.

I am. He flips KJs, and it’s time for a race. The flop and turn do no damage, but K on the river puts me in big trouble. Another tough one to take. If I win that hand, I’m back up to about T19000 and in okay shape. Instead, I’m forced to push with a marginal hand a short time later and I’m out in about 210th place. My $5 investment got me just $9. It could have been much better.

Share this post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest