Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Coach's Corner: Final Table on PokerStars

It's time for another installment of Coach's Corner. As some of you know, Coach is a regular in Ferrari's home game at the Blue Parrot. He posts here from time to time in a column called Coach's Corner. However, this time we have a unique situation. Coach's Corner will be featuring a guest writer. And that's me! I know it's weird. But Coach is swamped with work, so he handed the ball off to me as I run it into the endzone.

For this installment, I will review Coach's performance in a multi table tournament on PokerStars from this previous weekend. He took 7th out of 626 and made the money. Coach is the Dan Harrington of the Blue Parrot. He's a rock. He doesn't play to many hands but when he does, he almost always has the nuts. If he's in a pot, I always bail.

Level 4: Coach pretty much folded his first 50 hands. He saw a flop with AQ but folded. 88 ended up beating 77... full house over full house. With 67s and just a pair of sixes, he snuffed out a bluff on the river when AJ moved all in with nothing. Nice pickoff as he doubled up. A few hands later Coach called a small stack who moved all in. His 99 beat out AA! On the turn he made a straight. T3210 and looking strong.

Level 5: Coach beat out 66 with 77 and won a pot with A6s. He found the Hilton Sisters and ditched them on the flop when an ace flopped. That always seems to happen to me. A few hands later he had to fold JJ when overcards hit. He beat out AJ with 67s in the LB when he flopped two pair. T3385.

Level 6: Coach took down small pots with 33 and 44. He made a rare bluff with 99. He raised preflop and had one caller. The flop: K64. He pushed all in! Bold move. I loved it. With over T6600 he was grooving. That was until he ran into a bad beat. With 99 he lost to A8 when the idiot caught an ace on the river. He lost almost half his stack. T3385.

Level 7: He hit a flush with K3s and won another pot with A9s. T6960.

Level 8: No action for Coach and the Hilton Sisters. He won a big pot with AK when he flopped an ace and caught trips on the turn. T9540.

Level 9: Coach found the Hilton Sisters again and survived a scary flop: AKJ. Luckily he was heads up with TT. He now had over T13500+. The Coach found himself with one of the biggest hands of the tournament. He had KK and raised preflop. JJ called him. The flop: J-x-x. Coach moved all in. And hit his two outer in the river for a miracle save! He wrote in the chat, "I played it right, but still got lucky in the end."

Not only do you have to beat superior pocket pairs to win tournaments, but when holding a better hand preflop, you have to come from behind and catch a lucky card after being outflopped... just like Coach in that instance. Last second heroics. That was the turning point for Coach. He had over 22k in chips.

Level 10: He folded 22 and would have flopped a set. I hate when that happens with my baby pairs. He won hands with A3s and 88 to increase his chip count to over 29k.

Level 11: After winning a pot with J9 in the BB, he had over 34k in chips. He lost half his stack when his 88 lost a coin flip to KJ. That might have been the only questionable call all tournament long. I wish I could play for five hours and only make one mistake! A jack flopped and I guess Coach put the guy on a draw. He's not the type of guy to call bets all the way to the river with second pair.

Level 12 and 13: Coach doubled up with AK beating out KQ. He had over 42k in chips. AQ was a winner for him. At the end of level 13 he had T56,000+ and made the money.

Level 14: Coach took down pots with AQ twice and then beat AQ with A6. T80,000+ with two tables remaining.

Level 15: Coach had over 91K in chips. When he made the final table, he was 7th out of 9 in chips. The antes were 400 with 4000/8000 blinds. And his stack was being eating up by the antes and blinds. He wasn't catching any hands. In a pot that was raised preflop by the chipleader UTG, the shortstack in LP moved all in, Coach folded 55. He would have been up against AK and AQ. Baby pairs are never fun to have in three way pots. Shit, I hate having AA in a three way pot, let alone 55. Of course, Coach folded and would have flopped a set. That would have been a monster pot for him. A few hands later he was one of the shortstacks and had to move all in with 55. He lost to A2 and placed in 7th out of 626. Not too bad if you ask me.

Reading the hand history made me realize that I lack the discipline and patience that Coach has. I would have gambled a little more and saw a few more flops with some of the marginal hands that Coach folded. But that's what's great about poker. Everyone plays differently. And often players will play the same hands against the same flops differently because a lot of tough decisions in poker hinge on your opponents decision and mistakes.

Congrats Coach! And thanks for sharing. You'll be able to play against him in the upcoming WPBT on PokerStars on Feb. 2nd. He will be offering up a copy of his book Reading the Sports Page: A Guide to Understanding Sports Statistics to anyone who knocks him out but does not finish in the money. His book is great if you have any young kids who are getting into sports.

Previous installments of Coach's Corner:
And yes, Coach will be playing in the NYC bloggers event as well.

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