Well, it seems that pokerstars must have a guy whose full-time job requires him to do nothing but bounce around and read the websites of its players. During his daily routine he must have happened upon my site and saw that I was near walking away because I actually managed to pick up a couple of pairs, win a couple of races, and even suck out huge once in the WWDN:Not tournament last night (though with 17 players it really felt more like a SnG). As you would imagine, picking up a couple of pairs, particularly late, combined with winning my races in every case but one, took me a long way in this one.
I folded nearly every hand for the first forty-five minutes or so, as I was hanging on just above average in FTP 20k about that time, as well as watching Iak and Smokkee at their respective tables. With so many windows open, I had made up my mind to only play premium hands, something that I really should do anyway, and I almost did too. At Smokkee’s table in the 20k, I saw him lose nearly his entire stack (think it was about 6k at the time) when he got in preflop with A-K and some Uberdonk called him with a 39o. A frikking 39o. The poker gods like to reward bad calls though, so there were two 3s on the flop. I had been plugging along in it, not getting all in unless I had the nuts, but as half the field was gone the play was getting more aggressive and I found myself in a position where I was hoping to bust our resident short stack, then things went all screwy.
I picked up 10s UTG and raised it to 4x (blinds at 100/200) thinking I would be able to induce shorty to push at me, and to hopefully isolate him along the way. Unfortunately, we picked up two callers along the way so by the time he raised, as I expected he would, the pot was big enough that a couple other guys were actually getting pretty good odds to call. By the time it got back to me, the pot was at 6500, 800 of which was mine. I had about 3k left, and calling was going to cost me 2500. Now I have never read any of those fancy books, but seeing that pot at 6500, knowing that the first pusher was the short stack, and the second push was getting favorable odds to call it, I thought about this one for as long as I could. I knew that my 10s were going to be ahead preflop, and if they held up I would be sitting on nearly 10k in chips. I crossed my fingers and made the call figuring that I would need a bit of luck, but knowing that with half the field gone I was running out of opportunities to go from 3k to 10k. I assumed I would probably be facing A-J and K-Q, you know, every possible overcard. I was actually up against A-7 and A-J, but of course the flop had an ace in it and I never improved. I managed to double up once more before eventually busting when I pushed A-9o UTG and got called by 10-J s00ted and A-Q. I figure if I didn’t play that hand with the 10s, I could probably have hung around for at least another half an hour, but I likely wouldn’t have picked up anything better than that along the way anyway. You have to win your races if you hope to make it deep in one of those things, someday I will win a few at the right time.
I think folding so much for the first hour of the Not might have worked to my advantage; I wasn’t sitting out since I wanted to be able to play aces if I happened to pick them up, so I had voluntarily folded nearly every hand through the first break. When I actually started playing some hands over there, I was getting far more respect than I deserved. I only made one pure bluff and that was on one of the scariest boards, with an Ace and a King in it. I was holding a Jack and a rag after having been in the BB to get into it, but thought a minbet on the flop looked weak and made my first push of the night. I was sweating that one something awful. Thankfully chip preservation seemed to override his bullshit meter, and he let me have the pot. I made note of how long it took him to lay it down; I got the feeling he was calling me next time, regardless of what he was holding.
When it was down to six players, I noted to Guin that I was in perfect position to bubble. And I really was, first and second had about 3x my stack, while fifth and sixth had less than half, barring anything screwy, it was looking like a bubble or a lucky 3rd for me. Then I made my one horrible read of the night. Nomad1539 was UTG and low on chips and pushed. I had him covered by about 1k with only the blinds left to come. I had picked up A-Jo, and figured I was probably ahead to a desperate push (but why so desperate from UTG? He certainly had enough chips to post a few more blinds) so, after a long pause, I made the call. His cards: A-K diamonds. How’s that for a read, eh? Down to 944 in chips and getting pretty damn desperate.
So I did what desperate people do: I pushed damn near every hand that came to me unraised. Some chips had traded places leaving two guys about tied for the lead at around 7500 in chips, but there were also three guys with between 25 and 3500. Since one of the big stacks was to my right, I stayed out of anything that he got into, and pushed into anything that he didn’t call or raise. The guys after me certainly didn’t want to risk calling my 944 chips when they were jockeying for position and if they lose, they are going to be squarely in last place themselves. I pushed twice and got no callers, chipping myself up to 1244 after having to pay a set of blinds. I noted to Guin in the Girlie Chat that someone was going to call the next one, and the third push is always a monster. The third push was indeed a monster: A-K. I was in the small blind and pushed when it came to me unraised, unfortunately LOK1 had picked up a real monster in the big blind, and called me with kings. I typed “gg” in the chat, ready to leave the table, when the flop came out with not one, but two aces. I’m all for sucking out from time to time, but man that was pretty brutal.
With 2000 in chips, I would pick up 77 two hands later. I raised 3x and got a taker. The flop had my 7, but it also had 3 spades in it. I pushed them in again and managed to double once more, getting me up to 4700 in chips and certainly back in this thing. This is the type of thing that usually happens to everyone I ever play against, not me. But who am I to doubt the Poker Gods when they decide to throw me a bone?
I’ll spare you all a lot of the details from the rest of the game. I’ll just say that I had the cards to back up almost every one of my raises, and after having won three called all-ins in a row, people were kind of staying away from me anyway. I was at about 2500 in chips when it got to three handed, while both opponents had over 11000. I got lucky again when I had a K-9 suck out against Budohorseman‘s A-6. From there my cards caught fire and there was really no looking back.
All in all it took two pretty huge suckouts, and a nice rush of cards short handed, but I managed to take this one down. More than that, I am happy with the way I played. The only glaring mistake I made was when I called with A-J to what I thought was a desperation push, but when looking back on it there was no reason for him to be pushing out of desperation in that position. The suckouts were a product of being short and having to play any ace or king, last night they went my may, many nights they don’t. As they say, that’s poker. This win has given me enough cash to enter a few more events and who knows, maybe I can do well in a larger field with bigger payouts somewhere down the line. Stranger things have happened.