Playing poker for six hours, til 3:00 in the morning on a work night, as part of 2,000 person tourney where the top 18 advance on to the next tourney, and finishing 20th. Yes, I finished better than 1,980 people. Yes, I finished in the 100th percentile. But I still missed the payoff, and missed it by two people. The only thing that would have sucked more would be being the poor bastard who finished 19th.
I didn’t make many mistakes, though. Looking back at the hand that brought me out of contention, I would still play it the same way. I was sitting at about 80,000 chips, 15th with 26 left. I get dealt A-K spades in third position. The person in first position went all in with 40,000. Factoring in blinds and antes (the blinds at this point were 3,000-6,000, the antes 750), the pot was over 55,000. I had a great starting hand, so I didn’t just call, I went all in myself, hoping to isolate him. Everyone else dropped but the big blind, who called my all-in. This left a main pot of over 135,000 and a side pot of 80,000. I still wasn’t worried, thinking I would only be dominated by A-A and a slight dog to any pair. The short stack shows A-J hearts, I show my A-K spades, and the other caller shows A-K offsuit. So far, so good. All my fellow A-K have to do is fade the J and we split 215,000. From that point it would be tough not to make the top 18. And, in a perfect world, three spades would hit the board, I’d take the entire 235,000, and I wouldn’t have to play another hand.
The J hit on the turn.
I was down to 40,000, and when you lose 15,750 every rotation (with blinds increasing every ten minute), that’s not a good place to be. I still outlasted six other people, but I missed out on top 18 by the barest of margins. I couldn’t catch a hand the rest of the way, and finally called a raise with 10-5 suited. I was big blind, I only had 2,000 in chips after paying the blind and my ante, the small blind alone on the next hand would be more than my chip stack if I mucked, and even if I waited and everyone called (at this point we were a table of six) and I had a decent hand I could win more money from this pot than waiting. So I called, saw my 10-5 up against A-4, and lost to Ace high.
On the other hand, you know what doesn’t suck?
Saturday, or more accurately early Sunday, I played in an 1,800 person tourney. In this tourney, the top 36 moved on to the next round. In that one, I ended up 21st. I got some great cards and played them well. But the thing I am proudest of in that one is how I played at the bubble. At the 37 mark there were three of us who didn’t have enough chips to make another rotation of blinds and antes. I was watching the tables where the other two people were. They were automatically mucking every hand, hoping someone went out first. I, on the other hand, got dealt A-10 spades right after the button. Now, I could have folded. The other two people would be put all in by the blinds before I was. But I went all in anyway. Two people called, the flop was all spades, and I tripled up. On the very next hand I got dealt K-K. I went all in again, got called by the big stack who had A-J, and doubled up again. A few hands later I doubled again, and coasted not only to the top 36 but to 21st. The next tourney is Saturday – the top nine move on, with the eventual goal a tourney where the winner gets an Aussie Millions prize package.