Same Same, but Different

One of my daughters spent most of the last two years living in Cambodia.  They have a saying there, which translates as “same same but different.”  I guess the closest comparison here is “same shit, different day” but using that in the title for this post might violate the family friendly (?) orientation of this blog.

But I digress.

On Thursday I played in a no limit Hold’em tournament in a local pub poker league.  There were about 30 players.  In the first 3 levels, I kept getting awesome cards (AA twice, KK, QQ that flopped a set, broadway straight, among others) but very little action.  A couple other moves I made backfired, so my stack didn’t grow like I wanted.

When the blinds were up to 1,000 / 2,000, I have 23,000 chips in the Big Blind with A-4 offsuit.  No raises pre-flop, so I checked my option.  The flop came down J-4-4 with two clubs.  Bingo!  SB checks, I check, a middle-position limper checks, and the button bets 5,000.  SB folds, and I check-raise all-in for 16,000 more.  I debated smooth calling here, but consider the possibility of button being on a flush draw and decided shoving was better.  After some thought, he calls and turns over J-T off suit.

He has only 2 outs.  On the river, another J hits, giving him J-J-J-4-4 to beat my J-J-4-4-4 and knock me out of the tournament.

One night later, I’m in a private tournament with a similar format, starting with 25 players.  Early on, I get AA but no action.  Then a steady slide to a short stack.

With blinds at 800 / 1,600, I have 6,800 chips in the Big Blind with As Qs.

Now if you’ve read my blog much at all (or know me personally), you know that I hate playing AQ.  It’s a cursed hand.  For me, the “Big Chick” is more like “Anna Quornikova,” who looks good but never wins anything.  But I have to make an exception to my rule of always folding this hand in tournament play when my stack size reduces me to shove-or-fold mode.  Even then, the results have been bad.  At a WSOP Circuit tournament last spring ($365 buy-in), I shoved with AQ suited, a smaller stack also shoved, and a larger stack called both of us.  Turns out the smaller stack also had AQ suited and the last guy had AJ suited.  Of course you know how that ended, as a J appeared quickly on the flop to send both of use to the rail.

Anyway, Tony (yes, the same Tony from this prior post) has a big stack now and limps in from UTG and the SB calls.  I decide to shove, otherwise I’ll be down to 5,200 chips and one hand later down another 800 after posting the Small Blind.  This is as good of a time as any. I shove, Tony hesitates then says he “has to” call and we end up heads up.  He turns over Kc Qc.  Looks good for me.  The flop and turn are all low cards, and the turn is a second spade, giving me a flush draw thus canceling the Ks as one of his outs.  He is down to only 2 outs for the river.

Kh hits on the river.  Time to head to the cash game.

Same same, but different.

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