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working backwards.

so i ended up busting out 15th in the tournament. I feel very good about how i played my very last hand.

The game was 7-card stud. we were at 300/400/1200/2400. i had 7700 in chips, so pretty short-stacked.

i'm dealt 2c up, so i'm the bring-in. i look down and see 6cQc. only one other person is showing a club up (full table). promising. thought about throwing everyone off and completing, but at that point i wasn't ready to commit my stack and didn't want to be forced to spend 2400 to see 4th street, so i just bring in. guy next to me calls showing 10h, guy after that showing Kx completes. everyone folds around to me, i call, limper calls.

4th street gives me 5c. Guy next to me picks up an As (i think. not clubs, not hearts), third guy picks up some mid card that i forget, also not a club. A guy, first to act, bets. second guy calls. At this point i'm feeling pretty comfortable committing my stack, but since the bet is still 1200, i decide that i want to exercise some pot control and save my remaining stack so i can do a full raise to try to isolate on 5th street.

5th street comes and gives me 2s, so now i'm showing a pair of 2s. A guy gets a J of hearts. third guy gets a rag, not clubs. The 2 is a great card for me. I check, pretty confident that A guy will bet. i'm not sure if the third person in is going to call or fold, but either way doesn't matter much to me. A guy does bet, second guy calls. I pause for 2 heartbeats only and then raise and make it 4800, with only 200 left to go.

It was a strong statement. I was quick enough with my action to raise because i wanted to telegraph that this was my intention in the first place. That 2 made my hand. I know you're showing an Ace. you've seen me play tight all through the razz round and the first part of this stud round. Your pair of aces if you have it is no good. If you have less than that, i caught you with your pants down. You need to catch up, fold.

The A guy thinks for a good 45s or so, and i think he's going to fold. After wrestling in his head he decides to commit and raise instead to get the other guy to fold, which he does. I call with my remaining 200. He flips over a lot of paint with a pair of 8s, not much, but an inside straight draw and the draw to a stronger 2 pair than what i could be representing - the only thing he should be worried about is trips. I figured that the decision had less to do with me and more to do with the fact that he wasn't sure what he wanted to do with the other guy since i suddenly put him in the squeeze position.

in any case, sixth street comes out and gives me a Q - so now i have two pair. he doesn't pick up a pair, but does get a 9h, which now gives him more straight outs, plus he now has 4 hearts. 7th street gives me J of diamonds so i didn't improve. He wiggles his 7th card for good luck before flipping it over - 7h. He hits a runner runner flush to bust me out.

If i had taken that pot, i still wouldn't be in a comfortable place, but i wouldn't have been in the danger zone anymore, and i bet i would have at least made the final table. But the cards didn't fall that way, so ah well.

The hand that had hurt me earlier on and moved me from 17kish in chips down to under 10k was when i had to give up on a semi-bluff hand during the NLHE portion to someone who had position on me. I double-barreled after raising pre-flop with AJ. I caught my J, but there was a K on the board too and the guy who smooth-called me on both of my bets was a solid tight player and since there wasn't much of a draw out there i think he had a made hand, so i checked the river and he pushed about 10k on the river which would have put me all in. I gave up and went from being above avg to below avg stack. I ended up bringing it back up to about 18k on a scoop omaha 8/b hand, before getting ante'ed down and then hovering on some bad catches during the next razz session.

it was a damned fun tournament. And i think something i could do really well at if i hone my stud strategy and play. I think i'm decent at stud 8/b and razz, but regular 7-stud is my weakest game out of all of the mixed games.

i also don't know how i feel about NLHE and PLO being put into the HORSE rotation. Those are definitely more dynamic games and more popular for this age of poker, but i don't like how drastic it changes the dynamic, especially since both of those games are back-to-back in the rotation immediately after all of the stud games. playing solid limit poker is a gradual process and especially in early rounds its hard for an unlucky break to put you in danger. inserting NLHE and PLO into that can obliterate that solid limit play with an unlucky break. i think this makes me prefer HORSE without the other two games for tournament play. not that the mixed game is bad, it's kind of like choosing between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. i prefer one, but the other one doesn't suck by any means.

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