Get Up, Shake Hands, Walk Away

Saturday, January 5th, 2008, 4:26 am

Played a little tournament tonight, 975 players. I final-tabled and ended up 8th. I have no reason to complain, but I will anyway–I arrived at the final table as one of the extreme shortstacks and didn’t get a hand better than 10-4 for the first two orbits. One other player busted, and then I won the blinds and antes with pocket Jacks. With the extortionate blinds one hand away I had no choice but to open-shove with QJ suited. It was folded around to the small blind, our chip leader, who had dominated the final-table bubble and built up his stack. This he accomplished after I had him on the ropes with A-8 against 10-4, but he wriggled away and played very well to accumulate a stack big enough to carry him to victory. He flat-called me, which I really didn’t mind as his range was wide as the Great Plains. Then the big blind moved all in for around T200K more. Uh-oh. The chip leader folded, and I was happy to see I was up against A-K (which was better than the huge pair I feared).

The flop came Jack-high. "Come on!!!" I shouted. The turn was an Ace, "Come on!" I whined. The river bricked and I was done in 8th place. A tidy $350 profit, but had I tripled up there I would’ve been 3rd in chips with a real chance.

Not that I deserved it, of course. After tripling up early on I lost a couple of races and found myself down to around T2200. It’s folded to the button and he raises. I have A-6 in the small blind and my stack is around 7BB. I push and he calls with pocket Tens. I river an Ace and he calls me names for pushing with a baby Ace. Like I had lots of options. I tell him to get stuffed and knock him out a few hands later.

But here’s a hand that was really sick. I chipped up and then lost a heartbreaker (and 2/3 of my stack) when my KK fell on the river to some jerk’s A-3. I spun my wheels from there and, down to around T18K, I open-pushed with K-J suited. I got two callers, which I didn’t like until the flop came K-J-4. Liked that flop. Didn’t like the turn, which was the Ace of diamonds, putting three diamonds on the board. A diamond fell on the river as well, but it was the King, giving me a boat. Turns out that King saved my ass–the one guy had pocket Jacks, flopped a set, and I was dead to a King. That hand catapaulted me to glory while it crippled the poor bastard I sucked out on. That was about a $300 suckout, right there.

So that’s three tournaments I’ve done fairly well in the last week or so. I’d like to say that it was all thanks to skill, but if you read the words above you know that ain’t true. Played tight, stole enough to keep me from slipping too far, got action on some big hands, and I handed out one heinous bad beat. Five hours later…I feel bereft. I’m sure I’ll be happier when I look at my account balance tomorrow, but…God. If that Ace doesn’t come…

Looks like the guy who beat my A-8 with 10-4 is gonna win. Poker tournaments…they will drive you mad.

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