I'm Back

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18 February 2008, Created By: J.C. Alvarado
I'm Back
I hadn't played a single live tournament in 2008 and I was starting to get the shakes. I love live tourneys because I can have fun and usually don't feel any pressure unless I'm deep.

And even then I still have a lot of fun.

Last year I started my run at the L.A. Poker Classic, where I felt I took my game to a whole new level. And so with a sudden urge to play, now seemed like a good time to make a run for POY.

I decided to play the $300 re-buy tournament and try to win it. I felt I played great during it but unfortunately for me my first live tournament of the year ended at the $300/$600 level with a pretty bad beat. Although being on the receiving end of a bad beat wasn't the way I was hoping to start the year, I was still very satisfied with the way I played.

On Tuesday I entered the $1,000 buy-in event and went down to the tournament room a little late. I usually play very loose at the beginning of a tournament, and when I sat down I decided I would establish my image early on.

I started with $3,000 in chips and the very first hand I saw was 7 3 in early position. I raised to $100 at $25/$50 and got one caller. The flop was T T 3. I bet and the guy called.

The turn was the 5; I bet $400 and my opponent called. The river came 7 and I checked. The guy bet most of his stack, which was about $1,500. He looked very weak so I decided to call and he mucked his hand.

So right off the bat I showed down 7-3 and raised pre-flop. I thought my image couldn't get much better until the very next hand. A new guy sat down at my table and in a very loud Israeli accent instantly says "HEY! I know you from TV! You are crazzzy man! You love to bluff."

This did two things that I love: it let the table know I was on TV, and it immediately gave me the title of The Maniac Kid. There's nothing like being table captain and having everything revolve around you - if people are talking about you it's usually something you can take advantage of; you're pwning the table!

Scott Clements
Things gets instantly tougher with Scott Clements on your immediate left.

So after the free advertisement the guy made for me, I got T-4s and I min-raised again. This time I got six callers. The flop was T-T-T and I got called down by a small pair.

All of a sudden, two hands into my tournament I had $9k in chips, and by the end of the level I had $15k in chips. A little bit later I was moved from that table to a tougher one, with Scotty Clements to my immediate left. I was forced to played a little tighter and ran into some ugly situations, like AA vs. KK and set vs. set.

The next interesting situation came along during the money bubble, where I had about $13,000 in chips at the $400/$800 level I think. I moved in twice over someone's raise and they folded, getting me up to $20k; then I re-raised a guy that had $19k behind and he folded JJ.

Once I found out they were folding these types of hands, I started to raise every hand pre-flop and put people all-in as much as I could post-flop. It was quite the performance: at one point I three-bet someone's check-raise with Q 4 on a J T 5 board. I ended up going from $13,000 in chips to $76,000 by the time the bubble broke.

After that I was on a tear and had $130,000 with 13 left. I was first or second in chips and feeling great. I lost a big hand though with A-Q vs. A-9 all-in pre-flop and became a short stack before the final table started.

Juan Carlos Alvarado
Alvarado: Focused and fearless.

The next day I was at the final table, prepared to win. The biggest value in the tournament for me was getting a win - it would officially put an end to my downswing and give me a very needed confidence boost.

Unfortunately, things didn't go my way when it got three-handed and I busted third after making a questionable bluff for all my chips.

Third place wasn't what I was hoping for, but overall I feel my play was at that "focused and fearless" level that it's at when I win tournaments. I'm looking forward to playing my first $10k of the year and for the tourneys that follow.

I HUNGRY!

-- J.C.

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Speectpef 2011-03-01 15:32:44

Hello. And Bye.

mike 2008-02-18 23:02:00

cardplayer has you just listed as a random "J C" from los angeles for your 3rd place last week. You may want to slap someone around if you're trying to accrue PoY points.

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