I have to tell you about a three-week stretch of really good winning poker that I went on during November. It involves some of the craziest stuff I’ve ever had happen on a poker table…
As I had mentioned in my last post, I had taken some time off of poker. When I decided to get back in I started with a terrible run of cards. I would make three of a kind and someone would have a higher three of a kind. I’d hit two pair, and someone would hit their flush draw. Situations were happening that just weren’t working out well for me, and that’s part of the game, too. I was down to $56 in my online poker account and I decided to play a $26 tournament. Now, when I play in these tournaments, my realistic expectation is to cash, and if I get the right breaks at the right time maybe I’ll get lucky and cash big. The event I got in ended up having 1043 players. I was fortunate enough to finish in 7th place. That paid $751! Not bad for a $26 investment. In all seriousness, I was somewhat disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed in where I finished, but I was disappointed that after going that deep that I was unlucky in the hand the eliminated me. I had AK, my opponent had AQ, and they drew a Queen to beat me. Depending how other things would have gone, first place was $5100!! Ah, well.
Well, that 7th place finish set the stage for something that happened the following day. Every week on Sunday, Full Tilt Poker runs a tournament that has a $216 buy in. Full Tilt also guarantees there will be a prize pool of $750,000. You can pony up the full entry, or you can also play satellite tournaments that will allow you to win your entry. The satellite tournaments vary in dollar amount. I was able to win my entry in a $75 satellite. So I settled in for what I was hoping would be a long evening of poker, and I was right. It was definitely a long evening of poker. Things started out very well, as I was able to double my stack in the first couple of minutes when I flopped three of a kind, also called “a set”. My opponent in the hand was actually trying to bluff, so when he bet and then reraised my raise I was able to rake a nice pot. After the early double up not much happened to me. Certainly I played hands, and I lost some and won some, but nothing too eventful happened. The blinds kept getting higher and higher, and my stack was pretty much staying the same. The tournament had 3806 entrants, and of those 522 people were getting paid.
As the money bubble approached, I started losing chips. In fact, just after the money bubble was burst, I only had enough chips to pay for one more big blind and half of a small blind. I was pretty much just waiting to get knocked out as the blinds moved around the table. Well, they don’t use the phrase in poker “a chip and a chair” for no reason. On the last “free” hand I was going to get to play I decided to shove my chips in with Js-8c rather than wait to see what I was going to get dealt in the big blind. Someone raised and another player called. I didn’t need to see that, but the board came: T-9-9-7-A, and I had made a straight and almost quadrupled my chips in that hand alone! Two hands later, I was dealt A-K (Big Slick), and doubled my chips again. Within the next hour I went from last place to about 50th place. In the next hour after that the cards continued to go my way, and I went from where I was to the top 5 in the tournament. In fact, with 119 players left I was the chip leader!! I've never gone on a tear like that. In chips I went from about 3500 in chips to just over 1 million chips. I called Dan at the next break of the tournament and he was watching some of my progress as I played. It was unreal. We were at 30 players, and I was still sitting in the top 3 for chips. I was very excited since first place was $134,770! It was right around this time I got dealt a serious blow. I was dealt K-K and raised the pot. Another player reraised all in. Well, I’m not folding K-K. In fact, I can remember telling Dan how excited I was that my opponent had moved in. I called and my opponent showed 4-4. Unfortunately for me, my opponent spiked a 4 giving him a set of fours. I wasn’t knocked out, but I now had about what the average was at that time. If I had won the pot I would have been the clear chip leader…what a swing!
It was at this point my cards “dried up”, and I was left trying to find spots to get my chips in where I thought I’d still be ahead. Eventually, with 15 players remaining, I was dealt A-8 and raised all-in, only to have the player in the big blind have A-A. I didn’t get what I needed to win the hand, and I was eliminated in 15th place. The payout for that was still the largest single payout I’ve ever gotten from poker…$5405!!
I was able to ride that cash to another excellent finish the following week in that same tournament. Again I had won my entry via a satellite, and in that tournament I finished 33rd out of 3571 players to win $2251! Also, in this tournament, just like the last tournament, I found myself down to my last chips with about 200 players left, and again I got lucky once, doubled up, and then went on a tear that took me very near to the top of the chip leader board. I was beginning to think that maybe this was the way to win, but I really wouldn’t want to try getting knocked down “to the felt” each time. It’s way too stressful. I really did feel as though I was on my “A” game, having finished 7th out of 1043, 15th out of 3806, and 33rd out of 3751 players in such a short span. It was really an incredible feeling. Hopefully soon, I’ll finish a little better in one of these tournaments, like 1st!