On the Board with a Cash

Just a couple hands to share, one from early in the day against Phil Laak and then to my final hand that did me in: Hand #1: I was moved to Phil Laak’s immediate right and raised to 2800 with 8h 10h from under the gun with the blinds at 600-1200. All folded to Laak who called from the big blind. The flop came Jh 8s 2s and it went check-check. The turn was the 3s and Laak checked again so I decided to bet a little something to protect against a spade on the river. I bet 3600 and Laak insta-raised me to 13,000. I thought about it for a very long time. I didn’t believe he had a pair or jacks or three of a kind. I felt like he wouldn’t have played either hand that way. He either had the flush as far as I was concerned, or he had a draw and wanted to bluff me off of my hand thinking I was likely weak.
I then had to decide what I’d do if I called and he bet it all on the river. I finally decided that I would lean towards calling unless the river came a spade. I called, and the river was a 3. Laak checked and I checked- he showed 4-5 with the 5s and I won a nice little pot there. I hovered around 100 and change for most of the day but couldn’t make a big push forward and the blinds and antes continued to escalate while other players stacks grew. That’s more typical in a $3000 buy in event as the progression is much slower in a $10,000 where the average doesn’t go up quite as quickly. I whittled back down to about 75k before the final hand: Hand #2: A young player under the gun cuts out a raise to 10,000, a larger sized raise then he normally makes, then he decides to limp in instead. It was a very subtle gesture, I don’t know if anyone else caught it but me, but it definitely was a tell to me that he wasn’t super strong (a la AA or KK). His raise size that he considered led me to believe he was on a middle pair or an AK AQ type of hand.
Two seats to his left I made it 11,000 to go with 99 and it folded around to him. He didn’t hesitate much and moved me all in. I went over the hand in m head and ruled out completely the possibility of 10-10 J-J or Q-Q based on the tell I recognized pre-flop. This kid was either super advanced, in throwing me a false tell with AA, or I was either a 4-1 favorite or in a coin flip situation with money invested.
I finally decided that he couldn’t have 99 beat, no way. I called knowing it was risky but that with 60,000 left and 1500-3000 blinds going to 2000-4000 the very next hand, that I had to take a chance that I was way in the lead versus a smaller pair. He tabled A-K off. He flopped the King and I was eliminated, feeling not a hint of disgust or negativity. I try to avoid coin flips when I can, but to win a tournament, when your stack dwindles a bit sometimes you have to take a read and give yourself a chance to get above the average. Again, that’s less of a concern in a 10k where the average is much higher in relation to the blinds, but in a faster paced event you simply can’t get away from certain coin flips. So, on to the HORSE tomorrow. I love any HORSE tournament and feel like I am one of the best at combining the skills necessary to play HORSE well while at the same time taking into account tournament strategy. On that note, I’m headed over to the Sports Cafe with Juanda to watch the NFL games. Go Bills!