One of the things that wasn't fully covered in my last post was what I did between the 200/400/50 and the 1000/2000/300 levels. Since I was only posting major pots I was involved in, I left these levels out because I didn't see a significant hand in between the two I posted. Still, though, I was not completely inactive; I had to pick up a couple of pots here and there to stay alive, and I got involved in a couple of hands.
I played a hand at 500/1000/100 that developed strangely because of a preflop mistake on my part. I still had somewhere around 25k and I decided to open to 3300 in early position with T8hh. Unfortunately, I didn't declare my raise amount (which is a rare thing for me, for precisely this reason), and I grabbed three yellow (500) chips instead of the blue 1k chips. So I only tossed 1800 into the pot. It was obviously ruled a minimum raise; so I completed the extra 200. In late position, a young Internet player who was fond of playing "smallball" and making really undersized bets, went and made it the 3300 that I had intended. I was caught in kind of a strange situation, but decided I obviously couldn't fold for the cheap price, though I would have to proceed carefully.
The flop came Q-9-x with one heart. I checked and he thought a few seconds then checked behind. The turn was a 7. Now with my open-ended draw I didn't mind making a move at the pot, but the stack sizes were such that a bet out would probably have no fold equity if he had anything decent, and an all-in would be an absurd overbet. So I decided to check-raise all-in. However, he only bet 1800. This meant a check-raise all-in would still be a large overbet, but now I was getting great odds to spike my straight draw (even more than the 4.5:1 I immediately needed). So I decided to call and lead with a decent-sized bet if I got there on the river.
River was an 8. I checked and he checked and showed two jacks.
Just a strange hand that cost me about 5k in chips, which I didn't like, but it's hard to play it any other way. Sometimes a passive line is the best one-- even though I prefer lines that maximize my chances of winning the pot, that isn't always possible.
The rest of the time I stayed alive by open-pushing mediocre hands from late postion with < 15BB. Sometimes you just have to do this-- I think I pushed a J7o and a Q6o in there. The high antes and reluctance of live players to call off chips makes this work.
(I think I made one error: After doing this a couple of times with those types of hands, I did it again with AQs. I now think I should have made a bet to encourage action, because I'm not folding, and I'm often only getting action from better hands with a shove, whereas a smaller bet may get someone behind to move over the top with something like AJ or AT. I was trying to cover for my other pushes, but I think I failed to capitalize on my hand here.)
One other hand I played I opened AJo in late position and a short-stacked big blind moved in with another AJo and we chopped.
OK, having wrapped that up... onto the final table!
I got there with the chip lead and took out an extremely short stack early when I raised K8dd from late position and he tossed in his last few chips from the small blind with A3o. I got there somehow (I don't really remember).
I picked up a couple smaller pots with preflop reraises. The player two on my right opened to 8k and I made it 22k from the cutoff with 55. He had under 50k, so I was essentially putting him to the decision for his stack. He folded. I won another pot like this, but I don't remember it exactly.
Then I got a huge break.
Blinds 1500/3000/500. UTG, 2nd in chips with ~100k, opens to 9000. I'm a few seats down and look at AKo. With 140k chips, I decide not to reraise because I assume an unknown's raising range UTG, especially at these tournaments, is going to be tight, and I don't want to be in a spot where I'm either a)folding AKo to a 4-bet or b)racing, at best, for a huge pot that could decide the entire tournament. So I just call and decide to proceed with a flop. Everyone folds.
The flop comes AT8 and the raiser leads 30,000. This is such a huge bet that makes no sense to me with any hand. I don't think he's doing it with anything that beats AK on this board. So I move in and he calls immediately and tables A8.
Definitely didn't figure that in his preflop range.
Turn brings a low 4. But the river spikes a beautiful ten that gives me the kicker edge and knocks him out.
Now I have 240,000 and a gigantic lead on the table. Naturally I fritter a large part of it away.
I call a raise from the lady on my right with 98 of hearts and position; She has a lot of chips so I think I can win this pot postflop, either through spiking a big hand or using the leverage and threat of busting her to move her off her hand. The flop comes something like AQ7 and she moves all-in for about 3 times the pot. I fold and make a mental note.
I open ATo in the cutoff and the button shoves. I call getting > 3:1 and he has KK. I turn an ace but the river hits his four-flush.
A couple hands after, the man two on my right (whom I reraised earlier with the fives) opens his standard 8k. I have A7 of clubs and decide to call, which I don't think is the right play in this spot (though it is in certain spots, vs. opponents who more properly adjust their opening ranges as they get shorter and the tournament gets into the late-game). The flop comes 742 with one club. He bets 10k and I obviously move in; he's got kings, though, and I double him up.
So I've given away all the chips I got by nailing the second chip leader. I decide it's time to slow down and grind it back my way-- win small pots, avoid big confrontations without something major, and be first in the pot whenever possible.
Not long after I open K8 of spades in late position. The BB shoves, and I see I'm getting 2.5:1 and maybe slightly more, so I call. He has AJo. The flop brings J8x with two spades; I'm actually a slight favorite. I turn the flush to seal the hand.
The 6th place finisher is an internet player (who actually final tabled the 2005 Pokerstars WCOOP Main Event, if I remember correctly) who had been at my table for hours and had been short-stacking his way through the field in very impressive fashion. I don't remember how he busted, but not longer after we finished the 2000/4000 level and took a break.
We come back from the break five-handed. Blinds are 3000/6000/1000, and everyone except myself and the lady on my right are very short (I don't think any of them had over 10BB-- maybe 12).
First hand I have A2s on the button and open push (to set in the two players with < 10BB). They both fold.
The next hand I open 44 to 17k and win the pot.
The next hand I open 99 to 17k and this time the short stack on the button pushes. I immediately call when it gets back to me; he has A5o and does not improve (well, I think he hit a 5, actually-- so he didn't improve enough
). He goes out 5th.
Two hands later I'm in the BB. UTG opens to 15k (with about 40k behind that). Weird-- I don't know why he's not open pushing; it could be fear or it could be a monster. The button who is similarly stacked calls! SB folds and I'm looking at A4o in the BB. It's kind of weak, but it is an ace, and it's four-handed. And on top of that, I'm getting almost 5:1 on an immediate call (9k to play for 43k). So I decide to call and see how the hand develops on the flop.
The flop comes ace-high with two small cards (something like A72). I check. The PFR checks. Now the button moves in. I think a second, and even though my kicker's weak, I still have top pair vs. an opponent who is probably moving in whatever hand he called PF with here, simply because the pot appears to be there for the taking. I call. Raiser folds. He shows 44, and no, the case 4 does not come.
The VERY NEXT HAND. three-handed: the lady on the button opens to 30k (pretty typical for her, she overbet both pre- and post-flop.) I fold my 72o and the BB moves in for 10k more. She has AKhh and he has AQo. The flop comes with a queen and two hearts, and the hearts get there. So now we're looking at heads up.
Stacks are approximately my 305k to her 190k.
She asks if I want to talk a deal. I say "let's play it out for a bit first". I feel very confident in my advantage in tournaments heads-up.
I decide to play it a little slow and feel her out first. And a few hands in, I get the indicator she isn't slowing down: I complete the button, she raises 30k more and I fold. I complete the button, she checks and moves in (yes, an open push) on the flop.
OK. So she won't let me chip away. Now my strategy is "find a hand and go to war with it".
Fortunately, it isn't two minutes later I find two queens on the button. I make it 18k to go and she calls. The flop comes 998 and she moves all-in.
I study for a second, basically to decide one thing: "Would she ever do that with a 9 in her hand?"
No f'ing way. (If I'd stopped to think, I would have decided that her most likely hands here are JT or 8x, which means she has 2, 4, or 5 outs.) But what's most important is this: She doesn't have a 9, so I have the nuts.
She shows A8.
Turn and river brick out. And I win the event. And for the second time in six months, I miss the group dinner at Rodizio the night before the main event because I was busy winning that day's tournament.
Final note: From the moment we returned from the break five-handed to the moment I won the tournament took about twenty minutes. It's rare to see them fall so fast. (By comparison, the heads-up
portion of the UltimateBet 200k took over an hour and a half-- and that was online!)