Reflections on winning an online poker tournament

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Mark | Poker Articles, Poker Tournament

Yesterday I won a 400 player 6$ buyin tournament on Party Poker. Nothing big I know, but it was my first win of the year and I have been struggling, to say the least, to achieve it.

So how did I do it?

  • I stayed out of trouble by mostly playing solid hands. When I stole the blinds, I did it with playable hands and small bets. I picked up many pots by making small probe bets on flops when I was up against 2 or 3 opponents.
  • I won when I got my chips in as favorite.
  • The big stack knocked out almost everyone on the final table except me. During the heads-up I was lucky once with A6 vs. 99. In addition I managed to fold when my opponent had good hands and get my chips in when I had good hands and my opponent had medium hands.

Here’s some of the key hands I played during the late stages of the tournament.

93 in the small blind and one limper. I call and the flop is 93A. I bet the pot and the limper calls. Turn is a 9 and I get all my chips in against my opponent’s smaller full house with pocket 3’s. Lucky turn for me.

With 15 players left I raise 3xBB from the button with K10 to steal the blinds. The flop is KQ7 and I lead out with a less than half sized pot bet. My opponent re-raises to put me all in. Top pair is usually good against one opponent but since my tournament life was on the line I took my time to analyze the hand.Here’s what I asked myself:

Which hands do I beat?:

  • Pocket pairs like 88, 99, 1010 and JJ. I did not consider these hands likely since my opponent only called my preflop raise.
  • J10 and Kx, where x is smaller than a 10.
  • Pure bluff (according to Harrington there’s always a 10% probability that your opponent is bluffing)

Which hands beat me?:

  • KJ, KQ and AK. KJ and KQ are most likely since AK would probably have re-raised me preflop.
  • Slow-played AA, KK and QQ. KK is not that likely since I already have one K.

Since an overweight of hands had me beat I ended up folding the hand, and my opponent showed KQ. Good fold.

With 11 players left I raised with QQ on the button. BB called and under the gun (UTG) went all in. Both UTG and BB have me covered. I figured UTG could make this play with both medium pocket pairs and high cards. And since the BB only called my raise I did not put him on AA or KK. I therefore called the all in and so did the BB. Turned out both the BB and UTG had AK and I won the pot, tripling my stack.

There you have it… recipe for an online poker tournament win:-)

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2 Comments to Reflections on winning an online poker tournament

December 29, 2009

great win and well done on your great lay down with top pair. Just recently I had QQ in big blind and hit the raise button for 4 x BB. With Just one caller and a QTJ flop, I had to put my opponent on AA KK or AK. I ended up getting all in with my trip Q’s before the turn card and was knocked out as he did have AK but I just couldn’t fold.. Hard spot I know and hard to swallow when it happens
.-= mcdpoker´s last blog ..Poker Tour News: Dec. 21-27, 2009 =-.

December 29, 2009

Thanks. In your case I would never fold that flop. You are ahead of all but two hands on that flop (AK and 10 9). IMO you had an easy call.

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