I’m tired

But happy. Should probably have finished this post last night, but the adrenaline didn’t last as long as I expected and I crashed shortly after 2am.

I should probably start from the beginning.

A few months ago I got a call from one of Absolute Poker’s hosts and he talked to me for a while about a bunch of promotions he could hook me up with. I kept agreeing and in the end I had a 20% reload bonus with a extra 5% immediately up to $25 as well as an entry into the invitation only WSOP Monthly Challenge that was taking place the following week (on the last day of the month). Unfortunately I never ended up getting my seat in the February challenge due to scheduling mix-ups, but he was a great help and changed my entry to the March tournament.

And since last night was March 31st, I found myself seating with another 153 players battling out for the WSOP prize package. Now, it was nothing spectacular, just airfare and accomodations for the duration of the WSOP, not an actual entry to the event. I think they may pay your way into a few of the satellites, and I know that they give you all sorts of free swag for being part of the “Absolute Team”. But it’s not quite the same as winning your entry. Still, a free tournament is a free tournament, so I sat down at 9pm to play some no limit hold’em.

I had never seen cards like this. I was getting premium hands twice an orbit and even better they were holding up. And with the typical early tournament flair, people were willing to commit all their chips. I don’t think I’ve ever turned into the table bully so early in the tournament. After amassing nearly T6000 in chips by the third level, I had most of my table scared to get into a hand. My cards were no longer as spectacular, but my huge chip stack was enough to pick up a lot of extra pots. Even doubling up a few of the shorter stacks wasn’t enough to faze me.

Of course, that was when I got pushed to another table. Still, my T5500 was only slightly less than half of anyone else at the table. Unfortunately, this table was far more willing to call my raises, so I quickly worked myself back down to T3000 before I sensibly tightened up. Still, that didn’t prevent me from play 75s in a five way pot a few hands later. The flop came rags, but beautiful rags in the form of 864 rainbow. First position throws in a sizeable bet. It’s folded around to me and I call, hoping to extract some more money from him. The turn is an ace and I’m just praying my opponent has one. He doesn’t disappoint and pushes all-in. I make the easy call. He flips AA and curses when he sees my hand. The board doesn’t pair and suddenly I’ve doubled back up to a decent chip stack.

The next few hours were pretty standard, as I played tight to keep ahead of the median stack. This used to be the point in a tournament where I’d push small edges and end up losing huge chunks of my stack. I’m probably overly cautious now and rarely have the stack to compete when we get to the late stages of tournament. I’m going to have to find a balance. Or find my hands like I did last night.

We’re down to the last 20 players. I think spots 2-10 get some kind of Absolute swag package, but really it’s first place or bust. I find AQs in LP and call an early raise. Probably should have thought about it more when the flop comes QJT, with two of my suit. I’m feeling pretty good about my top pair and when it is checked to me, I bet half the size of the pot. My opponent makes a min-raise back to me and I call. The turn is another Q and I am feeling really good about my chances. And my opponent bets the pot at me and I re-raise him all-in. He quickly calls and turns over AK for the flopped straight. I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming, but looking back it was completely obvious. But I am not without outs, A, Q or a diamond. A lovely diamond hits on the river and I’ve crippled the big stack at the table and taken his place. In fact, I’m not the chip leader.

And that’s when the adrenaline kicks in. I begin to believe I can actually win this thing. And I start playing some seriously good poker. For the first time in my life I fold KK preflop in the face of a re-re-raise and and a call. I didn’t want to risk doubling up the second stack in the tournament. In the end they were holding AA and KK. Usually that would be the sign of the end of the tournament.

The one great thing about there only being a prize for first place is that you lose a lot of the stalling. Instead of folding hand after hand, the small stacks were pushing in an effort to double up. I think there was only once when I called them without the better hand, but my big blind K7 picked up a flush on the turn. Before long it was down to 10 and then down to 4. Even these were the most recent hands, they are the hardest to specifically remember as it was after midnight and I was exhausted.

Eventually it got down to heads-up and I had a 3-2 chip advantage over my opponent. And he retreated into his shell as I played my usual hyper-aggressive heads-up game. I think I raised 9 out of the first 10 hands. And he folded to all but 2 of them. Of course a follow-up raise on the flop was usually enough to send him running. It’s 2-1 in chips and I am starting to feel invincible. Now it’s 3-1. But then I hit a snag, when I double him up when my set of nines loses to a rivered third ace. Suddenly we are about even in chips. I still have a small edge, but I’m not facing a long slog once again. That is, until I look at my next hand and see AA. I rub my hands together eagerly when he raises from the small blind. I re-raise 3x the size of the pot and he goes into the tank. Then he re-raises me all-in. I gleefully call and flip my aces. The poker gods continue to smile and his two tens find no company and suddenly the tournament is over.

And I won. Looks like my trip to Vegas in June is going to be a bit longer than I first planned. Actually, I’m not sure if the trip is for the duration of the WSOP or just the final event. I am supposed to get more information from an Absolute rep today. Now I just need to win a few more tournaments so I have the coin to enter some tournaments. Maybe I’ll even be on TV. :) But at least I do know I will be in town, well, if I can get the time off work. Maybe Pauly will even be writing about my final table appearances.

4 Responses to “I’m tired”

  1. John-Paul says:

    Holy Shit. Congratulations TP! Should be a wicked time.

  2. Maudie says:

    Hey – no fair! I only got $11 cash with my 20% reload and WSOP entry (which I totally blew off) -lol. But ’nuff about me – congratulations! See you in June 8^)

  3. the roti says:

    You are playing a lot of poker tp.
    Congrats on the free trip to the ‘show’… just remember what happens in vegas stays in vegas

  4. JD says: