My Poker Luck Changes for the Better
Yesterday, I played at the Wynn in the final tournament of a high-stakes series. I hadn’t done well in the other tournaments—a few deep runs but not a single cash. In the picture above, you can see that I got dealt pocket 10s. I raised, another player reraised, and I decided to shoved pre-flop, hoping my 10s were good and that he had a smaller pair or a big ace or that he got scared and folded. The other player called and had… pocket Qs. You can see what happened. We both flopped sets. There was no way both of us weren’t going to put all our chips in the middle, no matter what the sequence of betting. But on the turn… I got quads! I doubled up early.
Right after this, I got J9 and the board ran out 89J9Q. I put the other player all in, but I did it in such a way to make him think I was bluffing. I looked at his stack of $10K very carefully, picked up two $5K chips, and played with them before slamming them on the table. He bought my act, called and busted out.
I then got QJ and the board ran out JQJ7Q. On the river, the other player, with a big stack, checked. I bet $3,000, again making it look like a bluff—I made the bet just small enough to look like I didn’t want to lose too many chips if my bluff didn’t work. I pretended to count my stack before gently placing the chips on the table. It worked. He raised to $8,500. I reraised to $18,000 and he folded.
I got A8. A short stack shoved. I called. He had A5. The flop was 5Q8. I won.
Another player got quads. We had quads at this table 3 times in two and a half hours. That’s extremely unusual. I see quads once every few tournaments, but this was crazy.
I started winning lots of hands. I wasn’t used to this. It's strange. And a little scary, waiting for the time I get unlucky, or overconfident and make a stupid move. I tried to focus particularly well.
Another player hit quad deuces! That's the fourth time today! Unfortunately he was playing against me. He had been short stacked and shoved. Fortunately there was a third player in the hand who had raised and I called. I beat the third player, so I broke even.
A short stack shoved under the gun for $7.2K. I was the big blind for $1.2K. The small blind called. I had 89, but the pot was right for me to call. The board ran out 367 10. The small blind shoved. I called with my nut straight. He showed KK. The short stack had QJ. The river card was 2. I knocked them both out. I was running hot!
A player then sat at the table with a stack even bigger than mine. He raised to $4K under the gun. I had pocket Ks. I raised to $15K. Everyone folded except him, who thought for a while, then shoved. Oh crap! If he had pocket As, I could be out of the tournament after such an amazing run. But I couldn’t fold KK, so I called. He showed AK. The cards don't change anything. I doubled my already amazing stack!
I would rarely shove pre-flop with AK unless I'm short stacked. It's just not as good a hand as many players think—it doesn’t win unless it catches an A or K on the board. However, I know that many player will shove pre-flop with AK, so I take that into account.
I always say that a big stack early on is what gets you through the dead cards that will eventually come. Still, I was running dead and it didn't feel good. I had a great stack, but I wanted those great cards again.
We had a one-hour dinner break. There were 144 players left; 80 would get paid. Fortunately, I won a small pot right before break. I'd been card dead for a while, but my stack was a little below average at the break. I call my ranking "money bound" because if they were to stop the tournament right then and pay according to stack size, I'd be in the money.
Shortly after the break, there were 126 players left. I won a small pot, so I was about average stack again.
108 players left. My stack was getting short. I was again running card dead. At least the nice thing about crappy cards is that I can just fold them.
I got AJ. The short stack shoved. I shoved. Everyone else folded. He showed A9. I won. My stack was better after that. There were 99 players left.
90 players left…
88 players left…
We were on the bubble. As my readers know, I’ve had a bubble curse for a while. I had finished on the bubble (just barely out of the money) in 4 tournaments in 4 weeks.
The bubble burst! I was in the money! The bubble curse was over!
I won a big pot with AK. I then had an average stack.
The short stack shoved. I shoved with AK. He had QJ. Unfortunately he caught a J on the river.
Another player got quads! Fifth time I saw that day. I've never seen so many in one day.
My stack got low. I folded all hands, waiting for the right hand to play.
I got K♠4♥ in the big blind. The player under the gun did a min raise. I called. The flop was 4♠7♠8♦. I checked. He made a small bet. I tried shoving, hoping my pair of 4s was good or that he was bluffing. He called with 10♣10♦. The board ran out 2♠J♠, giving me the flush to double up! My good luck was making up for weeks of bad luck.
There were 43 players left out of 736. I had made several pay jumps. I shoved with pocket Qs. I got called by pocket As. My luck ran out. I busted out. But it felt good to have had a long run and a decent cash. I once again believe it’s only a matter of time before I take down one big tournament. Stay tuned…
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