To say I was preoccupied with last night's Season Ending Tournament for the league would be an understatement. The whole week, all that was on my mind was how I was going to turn the season into something that I could at the very least say I broke even on. Well, the win last night did it for me! Turned a disappointing season performance into something I can say I really did my best at and it rewarded me. Not as much as my previous SET victory, but it will certainly make Christmas a bit more enjoyable.
I knew I had to do well, that was the guiding philosophy for me. I told myself over and over all day and week to play solid poker in this game...watch the players, not the cards. Play aggressively when called for, but take the low road out if you knew you were beat.
First hand of interest, I'm in the BB with AKdiamonds. Eleanor opens for a raise (think the blinds were 30/60, so still early), and Chris cold calls it. Folds to me, and I pump it up to 400. Figured with the raise and call, it was a good raise, enough to show them I was serious about playing this hand, and force anything smaller than 9's and 10's or AQ to fold. Sure enough, Eleanor folds. Chris looks me up...and pushes!! MASSIVE OVERBET! Took me a couple of seconds to replay the action, but it didn't make any sense to me why he would flat call a raise under the gun, then push into a 3x+ re raise by the big blind. Only thing I could really put him on at that moment was AK as well, or a medium pocket pair, but he IS able to make move with 34s just as much, hoping for the fold. He had me outstacked, but that 400 re raise of mine put my stack to under the 10x bb border. See, was hoping for a fold too, didn't expect a push at all. I thought for a few seconds and eventually called...yep he had AKo. Board didn't help either of us, and we chop it up. Eleanor says the turn would have given her trips. So my re raise did what I hoped it would do with one player. Chris is really good at figuring out what a player wants to happen, then disappointing you by doing the exact opposite. Told me after the hand he just wanted me to fold, knowing it would mean my tournament life. Guess I disappointed him as well.
Next hand of interest happened at the 100/200 level. Again, villain is Chris. Think he was UTG+1 and he raises to 600, standard 3x raise. I have about 1800 or so and desperate to double up to give me some room for later in the tournament. I peek at AA and hollywood it for a few seconds. Look at him...look at the time clock showing 6mins left at the level...might even had grimaced once JUST for effect...and then pushed my stack in the middle. Now I know Chris has excellent reading skills, so I WANTED the call this time. It folds back to him, and I stare at him...I stare HARD at him. Figured he must have noticed my intensity at me wanting him to believe I had a monster, yet knowing that a show of strength means weakness. My life is on the line with him again, if he calls and wins, I'm out, but I'm doing my best to get him to call me. I've been sucked out with aces before, who hasn't, but I was willing to risk it knowing I was ahead. Anyway, Chris mumbles something I can't hear (think it was something like 'here we go again') and starts to count his stack. Calling would put just over half his stack at risk, but he was getting 3:1 to call. Good odds in my book anytime, so I totally expected the call based solely on the math he was calculating. He sees me watching him, and he must have felt I wasn't bsing him this time, and eventually folded. He disappointed me yet again, but praise his read all the same. I showed him my aces and rake in a decent little pot. My stack is now sitting at almost 12bb's...not great, but decent all the same. Still, the blinds keep going up, and I would have LOVED to have doubled up there.
Didn't really play a lot of hands again until we got five handed. I did bust out Garry with my 8's in the small blind and he was almost forced to call his stack with A3o. He was getting slap hard by the deck all night, and A3 was the only thing he saw decent enough to risk it, but it didn't improve, especially once I hit trips on the turn. I do like my call on Darryl's push though with A8 against his K9 I think. He's been winning a lot of 60/40 races from behind, but not this time.
By the time we got to three handed play, all of us were pretty even in chips. Chris has been doing some stealing successfully, and I had folded A8o to him just one orbit earlier, when he pushes in again from UTG. Steve in SB folds, and I think my A5s has a real shot. He shows me AJ0 and I feel like I got stabbed in the heart. Five on the flop though saves my ass big time, and I have him covered this time, and now have a monster stack against Steve. Headsup lasts three or four hands, and I get AJo in the sb, and decide I'm going to limp, hoping Steve pushes to steal. I really don't care what he has, I have the stack now to afford to let him make the mistakes and push into me. He checks and we see a flop of JJ8. I'm first to act and check, Steve checks behind me. A six on the turn, and I check it again. Steve pairs the six, and figures he's good, and I finally get the push I wanted from him for the win! Money is split up and we all shake hands and wish each other a Merry Christmas.
Money is still in my wallet too. Feels damn good! The storm today is stopping me from doing some much needed Christmas shopping, but we're heading out tomorrow. Supposed to be another storm hit on Sunday, and I don't really like to be caught out in it if I can help it. This bit of extra cash I know I should save in my poker bankroll (which has been taking a beating lately), but its' going to come in awful handing in making my Christmas A LOT more enjoyable this year. Been a hard year financially, especially the past three months, so it was going to be a light looking tree.
Hey, its Christmas, right? Miracles can happen...right??