On Wednesday night there was another low buy-in tournament ($130) called Triple Stacks which eventually got about 200 runners.
I would rather not play this late, but it was more my type of event due to having so many starting chips (although the blinds did increase rapidly).
I felt Michael and Glenn both had a distinct advantage in this tournament, as well. We decided to back Michael.
This first hour was so completely different from Tuesday. Instead of doubling up, I literally never won a hand before the break! Every time I made a move, someone made a bigger move. Since so many hands were either shown down or the uncalled winner loved to show his hand, I found that I was behind almost every time. I had AQo three times and was beat either pre or post-flop. Once even by Michael!
During this first hour, since I was folding all of the time, I got to know some of the other players at our table. One of them started flirting mildly and I was able to find out things about him as well as probe his psyche. For whatever reason he decided he hated Michael. He always had something cutting to say about Michael and his play.
He also said a few little things about how tight I was. Once I started raking pots, I thought to myself: ‘Keep underestimating me, buddy, while I slowly take your chips.’
One of my strengths in poker is encouraging players to dismiss me as their competition. I want them to think I’m a rock, especially when I need chips desperately and have been able to steal from them by either raising their blinds or going all-in over the top of their raises without even looking at my cards. Yes, I’m typically very tight, but I realize my need to stay ahead of the antes and blinds, so I will often shove all-in when a thinking player raises and I know he is capable of laying down his hand.
After our table got broken I found myself with much more room to maneuver. I don’t think I was short stacked again until the final table.
For whatever reason the players just seemed easy to read and the tourney was soft. Unfortunately it was also very long. Gone was the turbo structure of earlier. The blind levels lengthened to 20 minutes and were gently increased. This turned out to be a killer because all of us were so tired (Glenn, Michael and me). I was still playing at 3:30am, something I won’t do again after little sleep the night before.
This time the bubble was easier to beat. Glenn and Michael were sweating my play. Glenn got virtually blinded out, having no premium hands and not many steal possibilities at his table. Michael went out when his AKs met JJ.
When we got to the final table I was short, but not desperate yet (288k). I did become the shortest stack quickly, but was able to double through. Then a play came up that was advanced for that buy-in.
The chip lead was to my direct left. A new player who was still trying to limp with raising hands came into the pot. It was passed to me in the SB. I knew for certain that the BB chip lead would put pressure on us by going all-in or raising pre-flop, since both the limper and I were short stacked. So it worked out perfectly. I had ATo and would normally shove, but I knew that if I only limped the BB would make his move and hopefully force the limper out of the pot, whom I suspected had the best pre-flop hand.
Sure enough, as soon as I limped the BB shoved. The limper mulled and decided to fold his pocket nines! Naturally I snap called the all-in when it got back to me. The chip lead had KJo and my hand held up. Since I had doubled through him twice, I was no longer a short stack.
Things went round and round for a long time. Not many players busted out, but we did lose one here and there.
When we were down to six, I made an ill timed steal attempt with AJo. The big blind didn’t have many less chips than me, so he made a crying call with 22, claiming it was time for one of us to go home since it was so late at night. His hand held and now I was severely short stacked.
I expected to be the next to bust, but instead two other stacks got into a war and one of of them was eliminated when I barely had even more than one big blind.
In my big blind I had K7s and was all-in versus the chip lead with A6o. His hand held and I picked up a 5th place finish.
Two-for-two and just like that I have found a place in the poker world again.
Next time I will talk about our experiences at the WSOP lammer regional game and my future on the circuit.