In the first part of this tournament, I went through some early struggles but overcame them to make it into the money. If you followed along you were able to see how I played the early to middle stages of the tournament. This part will go over the end stages including short handed and final table play. Play along with me as I turn $11 into $1,100.
Hand #39 – in the how not to play a hand department. I open with pocket 5's to 13,500 with the blinds at 2,500/5,000 and a 600 ante. A player I have covered by 35K, times down, requests time, and makes it 30K to go leaving himself with just over 30K. It's folded back to me.
There is 56K in the pot and I have to call 16.5. Over 3:1 on my money. I have a feeling my opponent has a hand like queens or jacks and decided not to push because he wants to see if an ace will flop. I now feel like I can win the hand if I flop a set OR if an ace flops. Add in the good price I am being given and I make the call.
The flop is . Well if I'm going to go with my read, I have to go with it. I move all in. I have to admit my heart was racing just a wee bit after making this move. I knew it was a big one and that if I was called I was going to be crippled. He thinks about it and finally folds and I am up to 143K.
Hand #40 – there are 12 players left and we are playing 6 handed. A medium stacked player raises to 13,500 and I call with from the cutoff. The button calls as well. The flop comes . The raiser checks to me and I make a stab at the pot betting 35K into the 51K pot. Both players fold and I win a nice sized pot with nothing. I have 158K after the hand.
Hand #41 – We are at down to two table's with blinds of 3,000/6,000 and a 750 ante. It is folded to the big stack on the button who has raised probably 40-50% of the time when he has been first to act. He does so again making it 24K to go and I figure I am ahead of most hands he has here and move all in for nearly 150K. He quickly folds and I have 184K after the hand.
Hand #42 – I raise to 18K first to act with A-K and am called by the small blind who checks to me on the A-J-9 all club flop. I don't have a club but make a continuation bet anyway with top pair. My opponent folds and I have 212K.
Hand #43 – I call a short stack's 43K all in with 10's and lose to his Kings. Down to 150K.
Hand #44 – I've been playing fairly tight and decide to try and steal with 8-3 from the cutoff. I raise to 24K with the blinds at 4,000/8,000. The button moves all in and I have to fold. Down to 118K.
Hand #45 – A player in middle position raises to 24,000. I have aces in the small blind and contemplate just calling but the raiser only has 72K left so I think they will probably call my all in. I push and they do call with and I eliminate them in 8th place. Back up to 217K.
Hand #46 – I lose another race against a short stack, this time I have and my opponent has jacks. Back down to 160K.
Hand #47 – I fold 3's to a short stack's all in for 80K. Not going to risk half my stack on a small pair at this point.
Hand #48 – We are 6 handed with the blinds at 5,000/10,000 and my loose friend raises first to act again and I come over the top of him all in again... this time with A-Q (which has not been a good hand for me this tournament). 190K after the hand.
Hand #49 – I open for 30K with A-10 and a short stack moves all in for 62K. I'm getting nearly 4:1 on my money and make the call. The short stack has Queens and now I'm almost a short stack with 120K.
Hand #50 – another short stack moves all in, this time for 40K and I call from the small blind with K-J. They have A-7 and I don't improve and now I am the short stack with 79K.
Hand #51 – here is where paying attention and knowing your opponent's pays off for me. My loose big stack friend opens and I move all in over the top of him with A-8 knowing that his range of hands is much wider than most of the rest of the table. He calls with K-6 and ace high holds up and I double to 167K.
Hand #52 – with the blinds at 6,000/12,000 I raise to 36,000 with 7-5 from the button and win the blinds.
Hand #53 – I open to 36K with A-10 and the guy who I doubled up with A-10 against queens earlier moves all in again. This time it is for 92K. Now there is 155K in the pot and 56K for me to call so nearly 3:1. Again I make the “math” call even though I know there's a good chance I am behind. I am... he has Jacks this time... but I guess I was due as I flop an ace to take him out in 6th place. I have 280K now. Amazing how quick this game can turn.
Hand #54 – we finally make the final table and on the first hand the UTG player limps on my big blind. I have 6-5 and the flop comes 7-5-4. I check raise a minimum bet from the limper all in and they fold. I have 324K in chips which is good enough to put me in 3rd chip position with 9 left.
Hand #55 – with the blinds at 8,000/16,000 I make it 48,000 to go with 8's. The big blind (that I have covered) calls me and checks on the A-9-3 flop. Before they checked though they had requested time before doing so. It made me feel like they were trying to tell me that they had a hand and were thinking about what to do. Well my thinking was they didn't have a hand and they wanted me to give them a free card. Nope. Not happening. I move all in and they fold. Up to 380K.
Hand #56 – I raise with Kings first to act and no one calls. The very next hand I raise with A-K first to act and get two callers. I fold on the flop. The very next hand after that I raise with K-Q first to act and everyone folds. I break even for the three hands.
Hand #57 – I raise first to act with Q-10 and win the blinds. I try and make sure I do this at least once an orbit to maintain my stack because with blinds at 10,000/20,000 and a 2,500 ante it would only take a few rounds before I would be short. Do it again with A-K a few hands later and everyone folds again. 432K now... 3rd in chips with 8 players left.
Hand #58 – a short stack moves all in for 140K and I call with A-Q (again). He has 10's but this time I win the race and eliminate him in 8th place. I am now 2nd in chips with 620K.
Hand #59 – a short stack moves all in for 110K and I call with A-J. He has A-K and hits a king to double up. Down to 426K.
Hand #60 – with the blinds at 12,000/24,000 a player limps from middle position. I have 6-5 in the big blind. The flop comes Q-5-3 and I check call a 48K bet. I didn't think the board helped them any... if they had a hand containing a queen they probably would have raised pre-flop. The turn eliminates any guessing on my part as it's another 5. I lead out for 96K and they fold. Up to 462K.
Hand #61 – just to show you how being first to act makes such a big difference. I fold K-J when it is raised in front of me but raise with when I am first to act. I lose nothing on the K-J hand and win the blinds with the K-9 hand. Up to 495K.
Hand #62 – we get to 4 handed play and I am the shortest stack and do not play a hand for two to three rounds waiting for a hand I can push with. I finally get it when it is folded to my loose friend who raises exactly enough to set me all in from the small blind (300K) with the blinds at 15,000/30,000. I am more than happy to call him with Kings. He actually has a hand this time... A-K... and when an ace flops I have one out to survive. One out that I do not get.
Damn, if I win that hand I would have had a legitimate shot at the win. Still not bad to beat 1800+ people and turn $10 into $1100. A lot of ups and downs but the thing that I was most proud of was that I continually put myself in a position to win and in a position to get lucky. I didn't risk chips against stacks that had me covered unless I knew I had the best of it and only tried to get lucky against stacks that could not bust me. A good tournament and the results show it.