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the PLO8 key hand.

So there's a big hand that i had in the PLO8 tourney that changed everything for me for the worse, and i could use someone's take on it. i feel good about my play on the flop and the river; i think i made a very critical mistake on the turn, and i'm beating myself up about it.

i'm in the big blind at the 400/800 level with roughly 14k in chips. I get dealt AJ38 rainbow. There are about five people that limp in, and i check.

board comes out A3K. THe small blind checks. I bet out 3000. The person immediately after me calls, the person in the SB calls.

turn comes a Q, and i think adds a flush draw on the board. small blind checks. I decide to bet out 4000, and i think that was a big mistake. I should have either pushed for more chips or just checked.

Aside from sizing it wrong, the mentality of that bet was independent of the players. It was a "i don't want someone with just the low to catch up." But while i had been on a few tables with people with that mentality of chasing for only half of the pot, the two players in the hand with me were solid players. The guy to my left i had played with on a previous table, and he wasn't the sort to chase a low by itself. THe guy in the SB i didn't know a lot about since i had only recedntly moved to that table, but it was clear that he definitely understood how to play and wouldn't be chasing just the low either. Regardless of whether or not betting and/or the bet size in that situation was a good or bad play, the reasons i had for betting it how i did made no sense. At that point, top bottom pair is a weak hand - even though i don't place either of them on having caught their straight, the best i can hope for is that one or both of them have just a single pair with a low draw to go with it, or maybe caught a backdoor flush draw, but even then, if the point is to try to bet them out, 4000 is not enough to get them to fold unless they think i'm doing the bait-and-hook thing since i only have 6000 behind. Then, *maybe* guy to my left can fold if he's sitting on a two pair hand with no low draw, especially since he's in the squeeze. But that's very low probability and low folding equity, and again, my mentality was too quick and not thinking about that in this context. In retrospect it felt like a blind bet.

in any case, the guy to my left calls, and the small blind also calls.

The river comes a 5, no flush. The small blind leads out all-in. He has me covered.

I got up out of my seat in frustration. The pot at this point is huge - about $24k. i only have $6000 left, and the blinds are about to go up to 500-1000. But all of these things played against me in this hand. If the board had hit any other low card, i snap call. If i didn't have a solid player behind me that had yet to act, i snap call. But now suddenly i'm in this squeeze position where the samll blind took over the aggression - granted, he did it so quickly, so i knew that it could have been a move, but i haven't played with him enough to know that, and i also don't know whether or not his strength bet (his all in was maybe 9000) is strong enough to get the guy to my left to fold if he doesn't have the wheel but doesn't think that the sb has it either.

i run it all in my head over and over. i must have taken 2 minutes. eventually i decide that tournament life is more important than making a dumb call in my squeeze position, so i fold. Person to my left thinks for a while, and he decides to fold.

after the hand was over, sb guy (friendly) says he didn't have the wheel. He was making that move to represent it, but all he had was one pair and a decent low, maybe 65 or something. Guy to my left said he had AQ, so caught a better two pair on the turn.

as we talked about the hand, we came to the conclusion that sb leading out saved my tournament life because if he just checked, i was def. leading out my remaining stack on the river and the guy to my left would have called me despite the fear that maybe i ran into the wheel and the sb would have also called because he didn't believe either of us had it, so i would have been out.

again, i feel like my river decision was a solid one, despite the amount in the pot and how much i had left and where the levels were. The bet on the turn seems really really dumb, and in fact it amazes me that the guy to my left didn't reraise the turn on my bet. Chances are if i jammed on the turn, i'd also be out, but at least it would have put more pressure on both of them to maybe make the incorrect fold. ALternatively if i decide that i'm giving up on the hand because i should have realized the strength of my players and therefore the strength of what they could be playing vs. my hand, i could have folded to a bet on the turn or on the river and had more of a lifeline to try to recover.

i've felt good about my tourney play both in the mixed game and the PLO tourney other than that. In the mixed game i definitely knew how to play the stud games and the limit games better overall than most of the people on my second table and busted out a fool who called a razz completion bet with Q or J showing at least four times. In the PLO8 tourney, i did a good job of taking advantage of my tight image to make a couple of key bluffs at the right moments, and otherwise maximized my strong hands to the best of my ability. It's just this one critical hand where i felt like if i took a moment to think it through more on the turn (and maybe if i hadn't only gotten about four hours of sleep the night before since i was in the mixed game tourney until 3am, played cash until 5am, and i had a dentist appointment at 10 in the morning), i'd at least be in better shape to place even though i still had work to do (i busted out 22ndish, they were paying top 9).

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