Thursday, December 01, 2005


So I won this tournament, which frankly surprised the hell out of me. It all started out when I signed up for a freeroll based out of the TalkingPoker forum.  What was funny is that prior to the freeroll, I was playing a $100NL table and on two different occasions, I got pestered for the password to the tourney.  The prize pool was for $100 and top prize was $30.  I didn’t give out the password as I was instructed not to, but it was funny to hear the excuses people gave as to why they came to me to get the password rather than the official channel.  Peeps be desperate.

All was going well in the freeroll.  I doubled up and was second in chips at my table by just a bit.  Disaster came in the form of AA when I re-raised an EP raiser who simply flat called.  The flop was 8-high and the EP raiser pushed.  I called and he flipped up KK.  Rather than getting my money in as a 4:1 favorite, it was now 9:1.  No matter, a K came on the turn and I was gone.  Damn tournaments.  The previous night, I got eliminated with KK vs AK, so I was none too happy about how volatile tourney play could get.

At about 10:00pm G-Rob convinced me to play in a $20 180 person MTT on Stars.  Since Tilt was down again, I said WTF and signed up.

These lower buy-in tournaments certainly play like freerolls early on.  There are your maniacs and push-monkeys who will either quadruple up by the first level or get eliminated.  It makes it tough to try to accumulate chips by actually playing poker in the early levels.

As was common, I found myself below average with 2/3rds of the field gone.  With an average stack of around 5000, I was at 2100.  One maniac at my table was a luck box that only CJ could aspire to.  He called every bet and hit for the first two hours.  However, in the span of 3 hands, I doubled up against him with QQ and did it again with AA.  From short-stacked to 8th, I now had a chance to play poker.

When the tourney was nearing the money, I made a few laydowns of trouble hands that turned out to be key.  I folded AJo in the SB to an UTG raiser.  He showed KK.  I’d have gone broke there on a J-high flop, which was equally as likely as doubling up on an A-high flop.  Still, I was out of position and way behind to most raising hands from his position.  On another occasion, I layed down KQ from the button to a raise and a call.  The hand was never shown and even though the board was a favorable TJQx, I could have easily been way behind to AQ or AK.

Throughout the later stages, I remained pretty tight.  In fact, with 8 players left, my stats still read at only 10% flops seen from outside the blinds.  I picked up a few pots here and there and won a few races.

Part of the reason for my success was the following favorable results.  I was in 3-races and won all of them.  I did not suckout on anybody, nor did anyone suck out on me.  Two of the three races, I had my opponent out chipped so my tournament life was not at stake.  In the other race, I pushed with an OESFD against pocket K’s and with two chances to hit my 15-outs connected on the turn.

With four players left, it seemed it would only be a battle for second.  One player had about 150k and the 3 others had about 40k.  I asked for a 4 way chop, but was turned down.  What a mistake on the chipleader’s part….

My move of the night came with 4 players left.  I was on SB with 99 and the chipleader on the button made a nice raise.  As we all know, that raise could have meant anything.  More than likely it was a steal.  It was at that time that I decided this time investment was either paying 1st or 4th.  So I pushed.  He paused, hit the time bank, and then folded.  I vaulted to 2nd in chips.

One of the other players seemed very content to finish 4th.  In fact, he did.  He was all-in or fold, but didn’t take any chances on the button ever.  After he was gone and there were three players left, the stack sizes were all very near the 90k mark.

I thought about propsing a chop.  Then I said to myself, forget about it.  I was there to win, and with G-Rob and Otis sweating me, I had a little bit to prove given their online tourney successes.

I became chip leader by a very slight margin and found pocket 9’s on the button.  I raised a standard amount and the former chip leader called from the BB.  The flop was Q73.  The BB pushed.

At this point, I felt he was bluffing.  Why?  I’m not 100% sure.  I think our brains are wired to notice differences in our surroundings rather than the details of our surroundings.  Ever been driving down a long highway for what seems like ages, almost hypnotized by the unchanging scenery?  It only takes a small change, perhaps in our peripheral vision, to shake us out of the trance.  All during the final table, the chip leader never put so many of his chips at risk.  Something was up and my subconscious caught it.

I called and he flipped over ATo.  Like I mentioned before, I didn’t get sucked out on and all of a sudden I have a 2:1 chip lead for the headsup battle.

My opponent lost several pots early to me and then basically folded his way into an un-winnable situation.  It was 2:15 am and I was wired, psyched, and ecstatic at my win.

This was my biggest tourney win to date, surpassing my $800 cash in February.  I’m still not super excited about my tournament game, but this was certainly a positive indicator.  I may try to play some more of these in the time before Vegas, but I’ll have to start them sooner in the evening.  This morning at work was hellish.

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