Thursday, January 26, 2006


Yes, it has finally happened. I made a final table. And no, it wasn't a sit-and-go. Okay, there were only 110 people entered, the buy-in was only $5.50 and I finished ninth for a paltry $6.88 profit. But it was still a final table, dammit.

I played solidly throughout, barring my bustout hand, and received the requisite amount of luck needed to go deep. With about 40 left, I got all my chips in with A-K after a ragged flop, got called by pocket queens and spiked a king on the river. Then, with maybe 11 or 12 players left, I raised UTG with pocket queens, got put all-in by a slightly bigger stack's A-K, saw an ace appear on the flop, followed by a very sexy lady on the turn.

The bustout hand involved more queens and my only (wouldn't ya know it) bad play of the tournament. I'm sitting in the BB with Q-10 suited. Big stack raises to 3,000 UTG, big-stacked small blind calls the other 2,500 and I don't think very long before calling 2K more, leaving me 9,500 behind. Rainbow flop has a queen and some low cards. I bet half my stack, UTG reraises big, SB folds and I ... call with my remaining chips, figuring I was beat. I was. He's got A-Q and I'm done.

None of the mistakes made on the hand were hideous, but were fatal nonetheless. I needed a (much) better hand to call the prefop raise. My M is 4.5 without that call, hardly great, but I'm not yet on life support. (The 500/1,000/125 level had just started.) Any thoughts about pot odds before the flop were just plain wrong. At that point in the tournament, given my smallish stack, my only thoughts should be implied odds and doubling up.

Nothing wrong with leading post-flop. I've got top pair. But when UTG raised me and I surmised that he had the goods while I held a soggy bologna sandwich, I should have given it up and preserved my remaining 4,500 chips. Successful comebacks have been staged with fewer chips than that. Let's chalk it up as another poker lesson learned and, for what it's barely worth, a final table made.


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