Monday, March 21, 2005

Victory Is Sweet!

As I've mentioned before, I have Monday's off from work. Since the cat made it impossible for me to play poker for most of the weekend I decided to spend today playing as much poker as possible. The alternative was studying for my final tomorrow night but I really dislike the class and stopped caring weeks ago. Studying may get me an A but I'll be perfectly happy with a B. (Did I mention I dislike the teacher even more than the class?) Having just come off a victory in a SNG, I decided to enter the $1 tournament on Full Tilt. A little over four hours later I found myself sitting at the final table.

My chip stack was somewhere in the middle of the pack and I made a decision. I was going to treat this final table like one of the single-table SNG's I've been playing a lot of lately. Many of those I have come from the middle or even bottom of the pack to place in the money so it seemed like a good strategy.

When I play a SNG my main objective is to stay calm and wait for the right time to strike. The blinds go up rather quickly in these tournaments (5 minutes) and the inexperienced players tend to panic. It amazes me what some people will play when they don't know what else to do. I knew that the shorter stacks in the MTT would play the same kind of panicked game and, if the cards fell right, I could take advantage.

I basically sat back and waited for the right time to start taking advantage. If the chip leader got involved, I folded my weaker hands. If a short stack was in I would play some marginal hands in an effort to get some of their chips. When I had a premium hand I would pray for the larger stacks to call my pre-flop raise. If the flop hit, I'd keep going. If not, I'd fold. Everything was coming together nicely and I took out a couple of players to build on my stack. We got down to the final five and I realized I was the short stack but still had enough to be patient.

Somehow, when we got to the final three, I found myself with the chip lead and I was ready to win. I went up against the second place guy with an A7 of diamonds. My chip lead was fairly large so I was willing to give him some rope. The flop came with one diamond and maybe a seven (I don't remember). He made a bet but it was nothing compared to my chips so I called. Another diamond came on the turn. Things were looking up and he bet at least half of what he had left. I was feeling good so I called again. The river was another diamond and I had the nut flush. I went all-in. He used almost all of his time to decide what to do as I chanted "call, call" to the monitor. I guess he didn't believe I had the flush because he called. The pot was over 100, 000 in chips and they were all mine.

I actually felt bad for the last guy. He was the short stack before that hand and now it was his 36,000 up against my 315,000. He folded a couple of times to my pre-flop raises (I was raising no matter what I had) and he finally went all-in. I think I had 68 and it may not have been suited but I called anyway as he may not have had anything either. He flipped up an A7 of diamonds. I figured I had just doubled him up as the flop brought nothing for either of us. The turn was another rag so I figured he'd win with high card and then it happened. I rivered the most beautiful 6 I have ever seen and with that, the game was over.

Out of 241 players I came in 1st for a wonderful $62.66. All-in-all I made about $80 today. Not a bad way to spend a day off and I still have a few hours before bedtime to study (like that's going to happen).

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