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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Pundit - Jeremy “Chipsteela” Menard - The Sunday Million, The Final Table

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So finally, after all the time I’ve put into poker I got my chance to shine going into the final table of this massive tournament with the chip lead. Knowing what I did from the player’s stats, I went to the final table with the game plan of opening as many pots as possible just to see what I would be able to get away with. To my surprise absolutely no one played back at me, and I was able to take down pot after pot uncontested. This allowed me to add some extra padding to my stack in case I did take a few beats. Despite the amount of hands I’d been winning, I hadn’t seen many playable hands at the ft so far, so when I picked up the Aces I was hoping that maybe the other guys had had enough of me bullying them around and would pick this opportunity to make a move on me.

Well someone did, however they had a real hand in Q-Q and I was in great shape to have an overwhelming chip lead if only I could hold. I guess the Poker Gods decided they wanted to make me work a little hard for this one, because one of those Qs my opponent needed popped out right on the flop. Normally I would get frustrated after losing such a key pot, but I had so much confidence at this final table that I didn’t even let this beat phase me. I just continued to chip away at the other player’s stacks by stealing the blinds and antes whenever I felt I could get away with it, and also three betting players who had decent sized stacks and I could tell were waiting for the shorter stacked players to bust before they really wanted to get involved in any huge pots. This strategy worked like a charm and I was back to my rightful position as chip leader in just a few orbits.

Slowly my opponents started busting around me, and as we got to four handed play some of the other players brought up the idea of a chop. I gave no thought to the idea considering the edge I felt I had, but the fact that both these players wanted one so bad allowed me to turn up the aggression even more as I let them think I would consider one giving them false hope. I felt that this would cause them to play even tighter thinking that if they stick around a little while longer that a chop might actually happen and they could make a lot more money. This couldn’t have worked out better for me, as over and over I just raped these player’s blinds. You gotta do what you gotta do when there is this much money at stake.

Everything was going even better than I had hoped at the final table so far. That is until the Swedish player (Issalloverbeby) on my left decided he was tired of me stealing his blinds and took a stand by moving all in on my button raise with the glorious Q-T. I had A-9 which is a pretty strong hand 4- handed, but I could also tell that this particular player was getting to the point where they were going to make a move on me soon with how aggressive I was playing so A-9 figured to be ahead of his range of hands that he would move in on me with. I made the call, and though it was a good call we all know that just because you make a good call doesn’t mean that you are going to win the pot. A Q flopped and T came on the turn and I was left drawing dead. After losing that pot I was still in good shape, but my Swedish friend was getting stronger as he busted a player a few hands later getting us down to 3 handed play.  

Once we were 3 handed I noticed a huge change, as the Swede really turned up the aggression on me. We were basically even in chips, so I continued to play with the same aggressive style that had been working so well against him all final table, but at this point it seemed he had decided he wasn’t putting up with it anymore… or maybe he sold his account to JJ prodigy, who really knows? It also didn’t help that it looked like the player who was 3rd place in chips (ThugER) with a short stack was sitting out since he was folding each hand very quickly and playing hardly any hands. Because it looked like he was sitting out I’m guessing the Swede thought he could put more pressure on me since the other player was pretty much out of the equation.

Well the Swede and I soon ended up clashing in an all-in confrontation when I picked up the A-Q, which is a monster in 3 handed play, and given the fact that he was opening every button I had no plans of folding to him. I thought I was going to vomit when he snapped call my shove with A-K and I was completely dominated. I once again cursed the Poker Gods as it looked like my run was over. I was given a little more hope when the flop came down with all clubs since I held the Ac for the nut flush draw. I groaned when the turn was a blank, but when the club appeared on the river I unleashed the world’s hardest fist pump. I then busted ThugER when my A-K held against his J-8s, and we were finally down to heads up play.

In the past I’ve had some pretty absurd things happen while playing heads up, and since there was no chop discussed at this point we were playing for the 80k difference between 1st and 2nd. To be honest, I’m just not enough of a degen to play for this kind of money despite my 2-1 chip lead and the fact that this player’s stats didn’t exactly send the message that I was playing with the protégé of Phil Ivey. Since I did have double my opponent’s chips, if we did negotiate a deal I would still get quite a large sum of money so it made sense to me. At first I tried to ask for a little more from him based on the huge difference between our stats, but really I was fine with taking the ICM amount of 170k that my stack was worth at this point. I just didn’t want to give him any more money, and I think that by first asking for more and then decreasing my demands I was able to pull this off.

After going back and forth for a few minutes we were able to agree on the ICM amounts provided, and then play for the remaining 10k that Full Tilt stipulates you have to leave aside for the winner. After the deal was struck it didn’t take long for me to put the nail in the coffin. I was opening nearly every button, as I usually do when playing heads up because of the positional advantage post flop, and this time I woke up with A-Ko. My opponent was starting to defend his blinds much more loosely, and I was able to get him to call off his remaining stack on the river after the board rolled out A-J-5-4-A. After barreling the flop and turn, I over bet the pot on the river because from the way he had called both my bets I figured he would never fold this river since there were no draws on the board and my range was very polarized to either trip As or better, or absolute air. He made the call with T-J for two pair, and it was all over baby.

So that’s how it went down. It feels absolutely incredible to finally pull off the kind of win that may just put me up there with online poker’s most elite. It also doesn’t hurt that I made 5-6 times what most people make in a year in one day’s work. To be honest that seems kind of absurd. I hope this win will be an inspiration to those grinding tournaments for a mild profit that if you put in some serious time and dedication in this game,  some day it will all come together for you in grand fashion. I’m off to go live the good life. Peace

*Part I*

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