Saturday, April 02, 2005

That's What I Call A Chip and a Chair

Last night (or early this morning for those on the East coast) I played in the $10 + $1 tournament at Full Tilt (bonus code April98). I’ve played it a couple of times before and done okay but haven’t made the money. This is also the highest buy-in tournament I have ever played (not counting blogger tournaments).

The tournament started out rather slow. I wasn’t seeing much worth playing and just stayed out of the way. When I did get a hand I played it must have played it well because at the first break I was in 9th place with T6150 and 50 players still in.

The hand of the tournament came at level 10. I had AK of hearts, made a raise, and the chip leader called. The flop was JA4 and my opponent made a big bet but nothing I would call an over bet. I thought for a few seconds and called. The turn brought a 4 and my opponent made a big bet that resembled a steal attempt so I called again. The river was a 9 and I waited to see what he was going to do. He went all-in and had me covered by a couple thousand. I would have been crippled if I didn’t call but there was a chance I could recover. The thing was it smelled of either a steal or a pair of aces. Since I had top kicker I called and held my breath. He flipped up A, 10 and, suddenly, I was the chip leader.

At the second break I was in third with T14,346 and 21 players left. The top 18 got paid but my ultimate goal was to win and the short-term goals were to make the money and then make the final table. A few hands after the break, I reached the first goal. As the field dwindled I had started to bleed away some chips. Some went to the blinds and antes while others went to pre-flop bets that produced no help. We were down to two tables and I needed more chips to make the final table. Suddenly we were playing hand-for-hand. One more player and I would be at the final table but the short stack. That’s when the second hand of the game occurred.

I was in early position when I was dealt AK off. I think, by this time, my brain had died because I did the unthinkable, I limped. When it got around to the big blind he raised for about half my chips. It was now or never, so I called. Flop comes a not so scary 8 3 10. Big blind goes all in. Alarm bells started to go off….what did he have? I thought maybe high pair or maybe a set but I wasn’t sure and I called. He flips an 8 2 off for middle pair. I realize he has me beat but with two cards to come I start praying. On the turn my prayer was answered with a beautiful king. I think God was playing a late April fool’s joke though because the river brought an 8.

I had the guy barely covered so I wasn’t out and, all of a sudden, we were at the final table. I looked at my stack and realized I had a whopping T7 in chips. I couldn’t even cover the ante. All I could do was sit and watch. Believe it or not I actually won the first hand to get to T63. Again, all I could do was watch and on the next hand, I was out 9th out of 113. I won about $25 so I more than doubled the buy-in.

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