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I recently made a trip to NAPT Mohegan Sun.  It was awesome to spend some time with some of the TPE team, and also to meet some other talented MTT pros.  It’s amazing how much you can learn just spending a little time talking to people who crush MTTs on a regular basis. 

I was not able to play the main event, but was able to play the $1k event.  Unfortunately I found myself at the same table as Jason Mercier.  Obviously, Jason has had a ton of success in huge poker tournaments as of late, as it was quickly evident to me why that is.  The guy is just that good.  He is relentless at the table and really knows how to pick spots where he can make moves and take down pots.  It did not hurt that he had a stack early.

I found myself in a couple of pots with him.  I’ll do my best to recap the two most interesting.  I could be off on a few bet amounts, but I think in general these are accurate.

In the first hand, Jason made it 475 at 100/200 from middle position.  I called out of the big blind with QTcc.  My stack was about 15K and Jason had me covered.  The flop came down T high rainbow and i check called his bet of 750.  The turn brought a red jack and i check/called a bet of 1150.  The river was a pretty scary king.  I checked again and Jason bet 2150.  I went in to the tank.  I hated this river card so much.  I would have snap called a rag river, but the king was scary.  I was staring at the pot and the few times I looked up, Jason would glance at me.  I got the impression he really did not want a call, although i thought it was possible he was ahead and did not know it.  I finally decided I was ahead enough to make a call and he tapped the table, and i raked the pot.

Unfortunately Jason would get the best of me in our next encounter.  We are still at 100/200.  I raise to 500 from EP with TT.  Jason is on the button and makes in 1125 to go.  I think i could 4 bet here against someone as aggro as Jason, but I also think he will flat me alot with his stack, so I opt to just call and see how things progress.  Flop comes AA9 with two diamonds.  I check/call 1200 and this might be where I went wrong.  I really probably should have check raised this flop.  He is c-betting this flop a ton and has an A only a small percentage of the time.  The turn brings a non-diamond Q.  I check with no plan for when he bets.  However he checks behind.  The river is an ugly Jd and my heart sinks a little.  I’m literally lost in the hand and this point, and I’m out of position.  I take my time, check and Jason quicly fires 4k.  I think for a long time but decide to fold and proceed to be bummed for several orbits about how I played the hand.

I think there are a few lessons here.  First,  try to avoid playing hands out of position. Second, especially avoid playing hands out of position against sick players.  But most importantly, you have a plan going in to the hand, and on each street.  I played the entire hand with no street-by-street plan.  I simply reacted to his action, and this is not the best way to win a hand. 

From that point on in the tournament I really avoided him and his growing chip stack.  But I still learned a ton watching him play.  And I think I am more confident in my live game as a result of the experience.

I ended up busting around 80th in that event (paid 25), but even though I did not cash, I definitely got my moneys worth in experience.

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