Winning poker tournaments, one hand at a time v1 [hand 1]

Hand 1
Setup: it is the first level of a $50, $50k guaranteed freezeout. The blinds are 10-20, and I have close to the $2K starting stack. I am somewhat familiar with Seat 6 and perceive him as a solid player. The rest of the players are unknown.

Preflop (30): Seat 3 limps in, and Seat 4 raises the minimum to 400. Seat calls. The other players fold. I probably have now as the minimum raise does not usually indicate a lot of strength from an unknown player at this stage of a tournament. However, I do not want to re-raise, crating a big pot pre-flop with such a vulnerable pocket pair when I am relatively deep stacked. There is not enough currently in the pot for me to risk a lot trying to take it down right now. I also have the type of hand where I want to see a flop, hoping to hit a set in position and win a big pot from an unsuspecting opponent. Also, i can use my position to make good post-flop decisions when I do not flop a set. I call, and Seat 3 also calls. I see flop,

and the pot is four-handed.

Flop (190): Although I did not spike a 10, this is a very good flop for my hand. I have am over-pair on a rather ragged board. A higher pocket pair is unlikely given the action pre-flop. My main worry is a possible set, but i can expect my tens to be good on flop most of the time. Seat 3 checks, and Seat 4 leads out for 190, the size of the pot. Seat 6 then makes the call.

My hand looked very good on the flop, but now the action in front must be concern. By making such a large bet, Seat 4, the pre-flop raiser, appears very confident in his hand, perhaps protecting an over-pair. Seat 6, who I know to be a very solid player, should also recognize this, and therefore represents enormous strength by cold-calling. Given the action in front of me and no flush draw on the flop, I must be wary of my opponents’ hands. It is possible that Seat 4 is betting without a strong hand and Seat 6 is calling with a middle pocket pair such as 99 or 77; however, this is the best-case scenario. Most of the time in this spot, I should expect one, if not both, of my opponents to have me beaten. Another big problem with this hand is that in the unlikely scenario that I am in fact ahead, my hand will still be difficult to play on later streets. I take the safe route and fold. Seat 3 also folds.

Turn (570): Seat 4 again bets the size of the pot, 570, and seat 6 again calls.
River (1710): Seat ckecks, and Seat 6 bets 700. Seat then check-raises all-in for 1580, and Seat 6 quickly calls, showing 33. Seat shows a hopeless bluff, A-J.

Seat 6 flopped bottom set and slow-played it for all it was worth, and because he had a stubborn pre-flop raiser betting big into him, the slow-play certainly had merit. Seat 4’s all-in ckeck-raise on the river is indicative of an amateur player in a low buy-in tournament. He Should have been well aware that he had run into a monster, yet he gave away all of his chips. Perhaps he was hopeful that Seat 6 had called him down with a straight draw and was attempting to steal the pot on the river. But he can convince himself of this, his best play would be to just call the river bet, as he can beat a bluff with A-J. By the river, Seat 3’s raise is also quite small, so even if he thinks his opponent would bet a pair on the river (which is unlikely) , it is doubtful he could get his opponent to fold given the size of the pot and the small raise.

Winning poker tournaments, one hand at a time v1 [hand 1]