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Sixth, seventh, and eigth lives: this hand was pivotal, and the only reason I'm still alive in the tourney, and i owe it all to someone else. (FWIW, there really weren't many/any complete donkeys in this StarsPoker tournament...everyone for the most part knew more or less what they were doing, and no doubt fancied themselves star of their respective home games...but the following novice error by another guy saved me) First off, I had just been cripppled because of previous hand: again short-stacked, I get QQ in the big blind. Still with around 200 ppl left, the decent UTG guy raises, and it's folded around to me, and I obviously push all in for my last remaing chips (only around 10 times the big blind). He happily calls and I know I'm behind -- he shows KK, and the board doesn't help me. I had a few more chips than he did to start the hand, so I'm not quite out, but I'm crippled with only 2,800 in chips left, and blinds at 600/1200 with 100 antes...I'm pretty much dead. I pick up JJ the very next hand, and obviously all my StarsPoker chips are going into the pot with it. Here's where things get interesting. 3 other people see the flop (i couldn't really raise anyone out of it preflop with only 2 x the big blind). Board is 2-3-8, so i might be ahead, but if these 3 decide to check it down (like they really should), i'm pretty sure I'd be a goner. The first two people emphatically check, trying to send the signal to the 3rd guy that the gameplan is to just check it down and get rid of me. This really isn't against the rules, and most players know that this is what they should be doing...they can't say out loud "hey, just check, and odds are that one of us will eliminate this other guy who's all in (me) and then we'll be one closer to the money"...it would be collusion if they said that out loud, but it's more or less understood that that's the smart thing to do when one guy is all-in. But for some reason the 3rd guy bets half the pot. The first 2 guys roll their eyes, not understanding why on earth he wouldn't just check (it's not a bad play there if, and oNLY IF guy #3 actually has a monster StarsPoker hand that he wants to build a sidepot with the remaining players with and will knock ME out in the end anyway). Guy #1 annoyedly calls, guy #2 mutters to himself and folds. Turn is another 3, and they both check (looks good for me at this point in that my JJ might be good). River: ACE. Gulp. Worst card in the deck for me, so I think (because Guy #3 had actually raised preflop...for exactly my 2,800 remaining chips and I and the other two guys had just called and that type of action post-flop suggested either a high pair or two overcards, one of which would almost certainly be an ace). Guy #1 checks, Guy #3 now bets half the pot. Yep, looks like I'm going home, and I start to get up. What on earth can I beat now? Guy #1 mutters about having a low pair and folds...But Guy #3 sighs and turns over KQ. What's this? Oh right: ship it to this guy, as my jacks are good and I quadruple up. I basically have Guy #3 to thank for my StarsPoker tournament life, because he made one of the most bonehead moves when in a multi-way pot against one all-in shortstack: he did something called "bluffing into a dry sidepot"...basically, there was NOTHING to be gained from his bluff bets because all they would potentially do is force guys #1 and #2 to fold their hands...and then he'd be left to fight for the pot with me. Sure, this isn't a bad thing IF YOU"VE ACTUALLY GOT A GOOD HAND, but bluffing when there is *no* sidepot to contend for with players 1 and 2 is the cardinal sin of late-stage poker, because all it does is reduce the odds that the all-in guy (me) is going to get eliminated. Why did this save me? Because Guy #2 in that hand had an ace that he would have hit on the river...but he had to fold after the flop because Guy #3 bet/bluffed the flop with his KQ. If they had just checked it down, Guy #2 would have won the pot and I woulda been gone in around 150th place. Anyway, I moved in a few hands later with AQ, got called buy a big stack with JJ...no help until river when I spiked an Ace, and just 5 hands after I had been crippled with my my QQ vs.KK, I now had almost as many StarsPoker chips as I'd had just before (around 18,000 with the blinds at 600/1200 and 100 antes.) Not in very good shape, but alive and with enough chips to make people think twice before calling my all-ins.

cat, santa cruz


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