In my very first on-line tournament, I made it to the final table and finished in 7th place. I thought, “Wow, this is easy.” I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In all of my tournament play since that day, I’ve gotten as close to the final table as a freshman physics major gets to a soroity girl’s dorm room.
On Saturday, I saw Otis sit down at a $10 tourney and decided I’d join him. Maybe we could make it to the slothoki final table together. Unfortunately, he didn’t see many cards worth playing. Maybe he sent all his poker karma my way…
Break #2. I’m sitting at 9090 chips. We started with 270 players and I’m in 10th out of 39 remaining players.
I’m in middle position and down to 8790 chips. The blinds are 300/600. I look down at A-Q suited.
Two fold in front of me and I raise to 1200. A woman behind me calls. The screen reads MN_Tricky. Shortly before the break she beat me twice taking a few thousand chips.
The flop comes 9-8-A. The 9 and 8 are hearts, just like my cards, and I’ve got top pair with a great kicker. I can hardly complain about the flop.
That said, I’m not sure why I checked. She bet the minimum 600 and I called. Maybe I was scared of my new nemesis.
The turn brings a K of spades. No help to me, and it doesn’t complete and straight. I still like my chances, but I just check.
That’s when she goes all-in with her remaining 2445 chips. The pot is up to about 7000.
Maybe my checks made her think I didn’t have an Ace. Maybe she has a K and paired it. I might as well call.
I was right, she had a K. Unfortunately, she had two. Now I need an A or a heart, or I’m hurting.
The river brings a Q of diamonds. My two pair lose to her three K’s.
Easy read on this hand. I needed to buy her out when the A came on the flop. Why did I let her stick around for the K on the turn?
I’m down to just 4545. That’s about a third of my high water mark. Ugh.
It’s the very next hand when I look down at a pair of pretty ladies. That helps me forget about the last hand.
Same blinds, and again I raise to 1200. This time, just the big blind calls me. He’s known as Dr. Durango.
The flop shows me 2-Q-J rainbow. Could there be a better flop? Sure, I guess two Q’s, but I’ll take it.
This guy has a bout a 3-to-1 chip lead over me. I need to suck as much out of him as I can get.
He checks and so do I. I’m hoping he pairs an Ace or catches a draw, or at least tries to buy it.
The turn brings a 5, the second club. He checks again and I bet just 600, he calls.
The river brings a 10. Ugh. That’s why you don’t slop play trip Q’s. If he’s got A-K or 8-9, I lose to a straight.
He bets 3990, at least representing the straight. I don’t have much choice. I’m down to just 1155, so I call.
He shows K-7, and his K-high easily loses to my trip Q’s. The slow play works, but it was probably stupid. I’m back up to 9390.
The very next hand brings another pocket pair. This time it’s 10’s, one of my favorite hands.
I’m UTG and I raise again to 1200. A short stack goes all-in for 2995. He’s the got the clever handle “Sofa King Hot.” (Let it sink in, you’ll get it.)
I’d played with him awhile, and didn’t want to see him go, but this is poker. I call.
He shows about what I’d expect, Big Slick. As long as I avoid and Ace or a King, I win.
The flop is 2-8-9 rainbow. The turn is a 5 and the river brings a second 9. It’s another 6890 for me and, perhaps, the start of a rush.
Just four hands later, I’m in a late position, next to the button. It’s another pocket pair, this time 5’s.
Five players fold in front of me, so I raise to 1200. The small blind re-raises to 1800. His less-clever, and more crude handle is Harry Balszak.
His 7300 chips are about 5 thousand fewer than mine, and the 600 doesn’t hurt to call, maybe I’ll flop a set.
The flop comes J-7-3, two hearts. Well, not the worst flop ever. Maybe he didn’t hit. I’ve got him on a Ace.
He checks, I bet 1000, and he raises to 2000. Trapping? Nah, he would have gone all-in, maybe he thinks I’m buying. I call.
The turn is a 9 of diamonds. It helps with a straight, but he’s certainly not on a straigth draw.
He checks, and so do I. The river is a K, the third heart. Is he on a flush draw?
When he checks I decide not to bet, just in case. He shows A-10 off suit, and my pair of fives takes another 8200 chip pot.
Just three hands later, I get A-J off suit. Not bad. The two in front of me fold and I raise to 1200.
My nemesis, MN_Tricky calls, and the rest fold. I’ve got about a 2-to-1 chip lead over her.
The flop is 5-10-3, all hearts. I hate that flop because neither of my cards are hearts.
I check, she bets 600, I call. The turn is an 8 of spades. I check, she bets 600, I call.
The river brings another 5. I check, she checks. She shows a 10 and her two pair takes the 5700 pot.
Why didn’t she bet? Maybe she thought I was slow playing the nuts. Anyway, I’m down to 15285.
I’m about to play my 6th hand out of 12. That’s a lot for me. This time it’s another pocket pairs, 9’s.
I’m UTG when I raise to 1200. Harry Balszak goes all in for 3540. Everyone else folds, and I put him on two overcards, so I call.
He shows A-Q off suit, and he probably rolls his eyes at my 9’s.
The flop brings K-6-2 rainbow, a 7 on the turn and a 10 on the river.
The 7980 chip pot takes me to 19125 and 3rd place overall.
A whole five hands go by before I play again. The blinds are up to 400/800. This time is A-8 suited.
I’m in a middle position when three fold in front of me and I raise to 1600. The big blind calls.
He goes by the name highrez, and I’ve got a 5-to-1 chip lead over him.
The flop is 10-K-10, and it doesn’t hit my flush draw.
He checks so I bet 800. I’m not suprised when he goes all-in and I quickly fold. I’m down to 16245.
It’s been awhile, and the 600/1200 blinds have me down to 14225. I get A-J off suit. Not bad.
The second bettor goes all-in for 1260 and I decide to call. Another short stack after me calls, then my nemesis raises to 2400.
I call, I figure she’s just trying to force the other short stack all-in and it works. He calls, as does a 5th player.