Last Sunday I wrote one of those self-help posts
where I hectored myself for playing in micro-tournaments that don't provide an adequate return on my time. I haven't been able to play in many of the recent blogger events because of volleyball and the Penguins, so last night, after deciding to stay in and enjoy some me-time, I hunted for a tournament or two to while away the evening.
I saw a $.25 tournament with over 2000 players...no! No! That's exactly the sort of time-waster I want to avoid. In case I matched luck with my A-game I wanted some dough at the end of the day. But the breaks haven't gone my way lately, and I was a wee bit tired, so I settled on a $15 MTT and a $10, 180-person SNG.
The SNG did not go well, especially after my pocket kings were cracked by an ambitious player who re-raised all-in with QJ. Flop the queen, turn the jack and I was crippled. And, soon, out.
The tournament didn't go much better. After doubling my stack through brilliant reads and savage aggression (and that straight I flopped) I lost 3/4 of it when I ran kings (again) into a set of sixes. The break arrived with me holding a meager $800 in chips, and that's when my cell rang. It was a fetching lass of my recent acquaintance, and our conversation was distracting enough that I missed the end of the break and, indeed, any concept that I was still in the tournament. When our chat was done I saw I still had a window opened and moved to close it. And found that I was still alive, though blinded down to $550.
And then, the fun began.
The very next hand I doubled up with 99. The hand after that I somehow managed to triple-up with an unimproved A-10. So now I had a vaguely playable stack, and play it I did. Like a beast.
Somehow I managed to bob and weave myself to the biggest cash in Mean Gene history, finishing 4th out of 862. In a tournament I very nearly gave up on. How did I manage it? I played very, very tight at some very, very aggressive tables. I stole just enough to keep my stack viable. And when I got big hands, I got action. I doubled up with AA vs. JJ, with AK vs. AQ, with JJ vs. 44, with 99 vs. AQ.
That last one was a biggie. We were still twenty from the money, losing that hand would've crippled me, but the other guy's re-raise didn't smell like a big pair and I somehow managed to find enough gambling mojo to make the call. And, this night at least, the Poker Gods smiled upon me.
And they smiled on me a few other times, in ways that made me feel warm and loved. The one impatient call I made all night was when a shortstack re-raised all in with me holding the A-7 of clubs. He had A-J and had I lost I would've been crippled. The flop came K-J-10, giving me outs...and a beautiful queen of hearts fell on the turn. The chop tilted the other guy, to the point where he was still bitching at me five minutes later. Like water off a duck's back, is how his words affected me.
Down to the final twelve I had a medium stack and I really wanted to make that final table. A dream that seemed to end rather cruelly, as I ran AK into Aces in a battle of the blinds. I lost 3/4 of my stack on that one, but I caught cards on the next two hands and, feigning tilt, managed to double up on the second one when the big stack made an ambitious call with 10-8 offsuit. And then it was final table time!
Moving up a spot early on meant an extra hundred bucks in my pocket, so you can imagine my distress when THREE different shortstacks doubled up by hitting longshots on the river. I tore my thoughts away from the extra $400 I might've had and focused on the chips in front of me. Not that it did me much good, as the blinds and antes gobbled me up and left me almost too short to push anyone out.
I took my stand with KQ and, to my profound dismay, the guy who'd crippled me in that AA vs. AK hand raised. I felt even worse when the chip-leader called, and worse still when the board came J-J-7. Oh well, a nice run, and 8th place wasn't bad. The dude to my left made a moderate bet and chased the chip leader away, and I found that I was dominated by AK. Wow, I actually had outs, I could hit a queen and live...and just like that, a queen on the turn!
Even though I was wearing a my warmest flannels and huddled under a blanket, I shivered thanks to the clammy sweat that arrived when we made the final nine. And I was shaking like the leaf when I pushed with A-4 against a bully who kept helping himself to my big blind. This time he had 66, bad news. "An ace? An...ace?" I begged, and on the turn, there it was!
There were three players who each had huge stacks, and I never could find a way to gather enough chips to join them. Down to five the player I'd been jousting with for 3 hours ran KJ into KK, and we were four. I had 1/3 as many chips as the guy in 3rd place, so when I found KJ myself I decided to go with it. And ran into Aces. I flopped a flush draw...please? Pretty please?
No. The Aces held and I was done in fourth place. I couldn't complain, and I won't start now. I should've been done around 11th place. And then, again, in 8th. Ending in 4th place was around a $400 improvement. Not bad for the bankroll. Or the confidence. Which is filled to the brim at the moment, and will stay that way...right up to the point when I get bounced in 794th place in my next tournament.