Panama Days 2 & 3 – A Tale of Two Queens

Day 2 in Panama was a rest day. Jet lagged, I had nice long lie in and only left the hotel to watch Chelsea v Man Utd.

Back to bed early as I needed to be up and refreshed for Day 2 of the Pokerstars Open.

Got back to the tournament to see that 76 players were left and I had locked up $320 as a minimum cash.  Up top was almost $14k.

I was one of the chip leaders so knew I had a decent shot at it, but obviously there was a lot of play left so it was important not to get ahead of myself.

Two levels into the day I pick up my first real hand, QQ.  I raise.

The only other Brit left in the tournament moves his stack all in. He has me just covered for chips as it’s a big all in move.  Having seen him play a few pots before I knew his range wasn’t solely premium holdings which made it a reluctant, but correct call – so I do.

He turns over AK and we are at the races for chip lead in the tournament.  First card out on flop – Ace.  I didn’t improve and was sent to the rail in 41st position and a cash of $380.  Its those kinds of hands you need to win if you are going to win a tournament. It just wasn’t to be.  I was obviously disappointed however it was a tournament I was never due to play, so I wrote it off as a positive to make a profit and move onto the next one.

The $330 deepstack was starting a few hours later so I popped to the sports bar to watch Leicester somehow beat Sevilla and registered straight after.

Deepstacks are without question my favourite format. There’s a lot of room for manoeuvre.  You can even get coolered once and still be in -something I was more than happy about an hour in.

UTG raises to 300. Folded round to me in the BB and I defend with 98hh.

Flop is Jd 10d 2c.

I check. He checks behind.

Turn is a 2s.

I bet 400 with my open ended straight draw. He calls.

River is Qs.  I made my straight.

I bet 1.1k.

He thinks for a bit and then raises to 3k.

Alarm bells rang in my head immediately.  It looked like Ace King.  It felt like Ace King. I looked at him and asked him directly. No reply.  I asked if he would show if I folded.  He said only one card.

Gut said fold. Body disagreed and I end up calling.

Ace King.

Oh well. As it’s a deepstack we have plenty of chips to play with, so a hit like this wasn’t catastrophic.  Two hands later however…

I get dealt K9cc on the button.  It’s folded to me and I make it 300 to go.  SB and BB both call.

Flop is Kd 9d 2c.

Checked to me, I bet 600.

SB calls. BB then raises to 2000.  I ponder reraising but decide to call.  So does SB.

Turn is As.

SB checks. BB bets 3000.  I call.

SB then seems more interested and raises to 9000.  BB then let’s it go and folds and I’m left there pretty much making a decision for my tournament life.  If I call the raise I have to call a shove on a blank river that doesn’t bring in flush.  I can’t call now and fold a blank river – It’s setting fire to money.  I decide my hand is good on the turn.  I call.

River is 10d and it brings in the flush.  He moves all in. I’m kicking myself for letting him hit his hand as his range is filled with Diamonds.  With a big sigh I end up folding, but without needing to, he shows his hand – AA.  He slow played it. The river had saved me.  Although grateful to still be in, I was now a short stack.

I folded for about an hour and a half as my table was very loose.  I was extremely patient waiting for my opportunity.  It eventually came.

I picked up QQ on the button and moved all in. Called by the SB with 10 10, I had to sweat a flush draw to hold and double my stack. I was relieved as I’d clawed my way back to starting stack and had a little bit of leeway to play more hands.  The impact of those two earlier hands were now wiped from evidence and I could start again.

3 hands later I was dealt QQ again.  A late registrant at the table had just sat down and had raised to 1400.  I reraised to 5000. He calls.

Flop is Jc 9c 8d.

He open shoves 15k into the 11.5k pot.  I’m not loving life but this is indicative of a draw 9 times out of 10 and I have Qc for one less flush out and two queens to block the straight draws. I call.

He flips over Ac 8c for the flush draw.  Before I can digest exactly how many outs I have to fade, the dealer has dealt the turn and the 3rd club hits to give him the flush he wanted.

To add insult to injury we had exactly the same amount of chips and I was knocked out once more.

Sometimes Poker can be cruel.  I’ve experienced it many times online, but live tournaments really hit hard.  Morale was very low leaving the tournament hall today. 3 tournaments in as many days have seen me be knocked out holding QQ.  All 3 unavoidable.  One ridiculous cooler and two flips I was favourite to win when the chips went in.

Just need to stay motivated.  I still believe I’m playing well. I’m giving myself the best opportunities to get a decent result. At the moment the rub of the green isn’t quite with me.  I’ve got a couple more tournaments this week. Let’s hope things even themselves out, even though I know in a small sample size this isn’t often the case.

I may just start folding QQ preflop and see where that gets me.


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