Last week we ventured across the sea to battle a bit in Malta. We kind of survived, but we definitely didn’t come out of it as the champion. We came close to triumphing in a side battle, namely the “Siege of Malta” side event, in which we placed 12th. We also made day two of the main battle and even did some high roller battling. Unfortunately, only our 12th place finish provided us with any loot. It was indeed amazing being back in Malta though, as I used to call that place home (only a few months back). I got to meet up and reconnect with a bunch of the people I used to hang out with, as well as enjoy the Maltese climate, which appears to be quite different from the Estonian one. Who would have known? Anyways, as we did get to play quite a bit of the pokers during the trip, I’ll go through some interesting spots here!
Battle of Malta Main Event
Hand #1 – Flopping a boat and getting it all!
This hand plays out on the very first level of day 1. CO who has been very loose opens to 275 and btn calls on bb100. I squeeze ATo to 1,175 and only the opener calls. Flop comes down AATccs. Decent. I cbet 500 (I think going small here is best, with checking being second best since we have the board so crushed). He instantly makes it 2k. I think for a bit and make it 4,900. I think you could make a case for flatting here, but villain seemed so loose/spazzy that I thought a small 3-bet could potentially induce some spew from him. He takes about two microseconds before shoving his remaining 23k in the middle. I obv snap and he has AQo, drawing to a queen only. Board runs out blank blank and we are off to a very decent start.
Hand #2 – Flopping TPTK in a multiway pot
About an hour later, UTG+2 opens to 400 on bb150. HJ flats and I defend my BB with AThh. Dealer brings a flop of T53ccs, giving us top pair top kicker. Opener cbets for 775 and the HJ calls. I decide to take it easy and just call as well. In retrospect, I prefer raising here, as our hand needs a lot of protection. I used to always raise this spot but I have been trying to focus more on lowering variance in these spots in tournaments (aka I’m turning into a nit bitch). Turn is the Jh and the opener now checks. HJ bets 1850 into 3,600. I call and the opener folds. The river is the very safe 2h, not completing any draws except for A4ss/A4cc. I check and villain now bets 3950 for about half pot. I think it’s kind of an interesting spot. Game theory wise we have a fairly easy call I think, as there are many missed draws, with the missed club flush draws being the most obvious ones. I also think he could have 89ss/KQss/AQss and some other floats. However, I do think this is a spot where population underbluffs, making the decision quite a lot tougher. In the end, I make the call and villain has QJhc for the pure overcard and bdfd-float on the flop (a hand I did not expect villain to have in his preflop range OR his flop float range). Oh well.
Hand #3 – Rivering a boat and failing at logic
Now, this is a hand that I probably misplayed. We are playing bb1,200 with a 100 ante. UTG who is a competent player with an 80k stack opens to 2700. We have him covered and I look down at QQ in the CO. I think 3betting or flatting here are both fine plays. Being this deep stacked I am not looking to get in QQ preflop here, but there is definitely still value in 3betting to push equity vs his range. I decide to flat call this time and the flop comes AK5r. Not exactly what we were looking for. Villain checks and I check behind. A safe assumption to make when villain checks this board, is that he has either showdown value, or that he is slowplaying a hand like AA/KK/AK where he feels like he is crushing the board too much. My reasoning for assuming this is that on a board such as this, where villain has a massive range advantage, you’ll rarely see them check/give up. Turn brings another king and again we both check. At this point, I figure his range to be something like 66-QQ, Ax or some slow played boats like AA/KK/AK. The river brings a Q and he now bets 4,300. Instinctively it feels like we should raise. We have a full house and the pot was checked on both flop and turn. The only problem I see with raising here is that we are fairly capped to JTo/sometimes QQ. I don’t see myself ever checking AK on both flop/turn, and I think we would pretty much always 3bet AA/KK preflop. So in game, I felt that by reopening the betting by raising him on the river, we would open ourselves up to be pushed off our hand if our opponent went for it. In retrospect, this is probably pure bullshit, as this is 100 times more likely to happen on the NL800 streets, than vs some random guy who “I think is playing well so far” in a €550 live tournament. Definitely noted this as being one of my main leaks, where I “apply my own thought pattern to villain”, when in reality villain is probably not thinking along those lines at all. Note to self: Force yourself out of this thought pattern asap plz ty.
We busted the main event pretty early on day 2, where I reshoved 20 bigs with KQs from the SB vs a CO open. Standard stuff. On to the next one!
Siege of Malta
The “Siege of Malta” was a side event at BoM which attracted 560 runners with its €245 buyin and €30,000 for the winner. The hands below are all from the late stages in the tournament, all with 15-30 people left.
Hand #4 – Flopping a gutter and failing to pull the trigger
I open KJo from CO to 33k on 16k, and the BB defends. Flop comes Q94ssx, I have the Js. I cbet 25k to fold out ace highs, small pairs, and just to deny equity. Villain check-raises to 62k with like 200k behind, and I have ish the same. I know literally nothing about the guy as he just arrived at our table. First instinct is to jam, as I think our average villain in this spot will polarize his value-x/r to two pairs or better, meaning his value range is fairly narrow. We are blocking some of his bluffs, which is kind of problematic, and I don’t expect him to really x/r his flush draws, as it would suck for him if I jammed. The exception being if he has the nut flush draw or some combo draw like 45ss/KTss. With the price he is laying us though, there is no folding so I make the call. Turn is a 7 and he bets 85k leaving himself 115k. I fold my hand and he shows 56ss for flushdraw+oesd on the turn. Turns out I was wrong about him x/r small flush draws.
Hand #5 – Exploitative fold vs potential timing tell
I make it 66k from UTG+2 with AQo at 30kbb with 560k to start the hand. Italian BB defends and he’s got about 800k. Flop KQ8sdc and he tank-checks. In game I perceived this tank-check as a draw he was considering leading, like JT. I check behind. Turn is the 9s and he bets 100k. Easy call I think, although he does seem confident. The river is an offsuit king, which would appear to be a good card for me. Villain quickly bets 200k. I ended up going with my read and made the “hero fold”.
Towards the end the tournament was a total shove-fest, as the average stack got to around 15bbs. I basically lost my entire stack in two hands. First hand I am in the SB with 16bbs, BB has like 12. I shove K2o and he calls A5o. I lose. Next hand I get A4o otb and I jam my last 4 bbs. Both blinds call and I lose to SB’s K7s. GG wp ul ty 12th.
Back to Tallinn to play the Cash Game Festival
I am now back in Tallinn, where it’s currently 1° Celcius and rain. This means I have no excuse to not stay inside and grind/study, which is exactly what I need now. FeelsGoodMan! Today the “Cash Game Festival” begins, and it’s being hosted at Olympic Casino, which is only a 5-minute walk from our apartment. I will probably be playing those games every day, and I have even been booked to play a couple of TV-table sessions, which means you can follow along from home. I will be playing some €5/€10 on Saturday at 8:30 pm and some €5/€5 on Sunday at 5:30 pm (these times are Eastern European Time Zone so UTC+2).
The address for the stream is www.twitch.tv/cashgamefestival.
Read more about the event here: http://www.cashgamefestival.com/.