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Subject: First place is a good place to be! rss

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Hopefully becoming a restaurant owner soon! Peter Melanson
New Brunswick
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I recently played in a 200 person no limit hold-em tournament and came in first place.

I'm not a professional player nor do I profess to be one. I play more for the enjoyment and am known as a bit of a talker at the table.

The tournament was played over 2 days and the heads’ up battle itself took about 20 minutes to play itself out.

Of course with any poker tournament, you have to rely on a little luck to make it through a large field. I took some notes during the tournament of hands I was involved with that were turning points in the tournament.

Important hand #1:

This hand occurred after the blinds had gone to level 3. Blinds were 25/50 and I was first to act.

My hole cards: A♦ J♦

With the ace jack suited, I put in a standard raise of 150. The dealer called, and both blinds called.

Number of players to the flop: 4

Flop: J♣ 3♠ 7♦

As first to act, and flopping top pair with top kicker, I followed up with a bet of 300. Dealer folded, small blind called, big blind folded.

Turn: J♣ 3♠ 7♦ 7♠

The 7 made me kind of worry a little. Pairing the board can cause a lot of problems when trying to analyze what your opponent has. I checked at this point and gave my opponent control. He checked right behind me.

River: J♣ 3♠ 7♦ 7♠ J♠

The jack on the river gave me a full house. The only hand at this point that is beating me is four seven’s. I’m not putting my opponent on that, I am thinking at this point he more than likely has a flush. I value betted my full house putting 900 into the pot. My opponent paused and looked at his hand several times, and raised me another 2000. I’m now thinking that he does have a flush, either it not being a strong flush or is trying to get me to come over the top. I made the call.

J♣ 3 ♠ 7♦ 7♠ J♠

Me: A♦ J♦
Opponent: A♠ 9♠

Me: Full house, jacks full of 7’s
Opponent: Ace high flush.

Pot size: $6100.

Important hand #2:

This hand I clashed with the chip leader. Unfortunately for him I was 4th in chips and took a rather large bite out of his stack.

My hole cards: T♣ T♥

I am in the big blind and the chip leader is on the button. The chip leader raised 3 times the big blind making it 1200 to go. I was already invested for 300 and can easily defend my blind with the dimes.

Flop: A♠ 5♠ T♦

I managed to flop a set of tens. I checked the hand to the big blind who made what I thought was a continuation bet. He bet 2500 into the pot. Now that worried me a little bit thinking he might be four to the flush, and wanted me out at this point, or he has a big ace. I put him on the big ace, and called the 2500.

Turn: A♠ 5♠ T♦ T♠

I now have four tens. I look at the board and am thinking now how to maximize this hand. I make a bet of 4000 into a pot of 7550. Then I heard the magic words from the chip leader: "All in". I instantly call. You’d think I had the pot won at this point, however:

Me: T♣ T♥ Opponent: A♥ A♣
Board: A♠ 5♠ T♦ T♠

He had an out. The case ace in the deck would win him the hand but he knew he was in dire straights at this point. He was completely shocked that I had four tens, he put me on a flush. So I had to slightly sweat a little.

River: A♠ 5♠ T♦ T ♠ J♦

My hand: Four of a kind, TENS
Opponent's hand: Full house, Aces over Tens.
Pot size: 45150.
This pot put me into second place.

Important hand #3:

I put this hand in here not because of the pot size, but because of the intimidation factor I ended up getting at the table afterwards. At this time, I managed to become chip leader and started to bully some of the smaller stacks.

I am sitting in the small blind, looking at an all in from the third player to act and a call from the button. I peek at my hole cards:

My hole cards: A♥ A♠

So now I have a choice. Do I play cautiously and try to trap after the flop, or do I get rid of the dealer and go one on one with the short stack at the table. I ask for a chip count for the dealer. At this point, the dealer looked shocked that I was asking for this. Now if I had big slick, or a smaller pair, I would have just called the 8900 and saw a flop. However when I play aces, I would rather just play against one hand than two. The chip count came back at over 30,000. My stack is at 255,500. I debated for a moment and announced a raise. I went all in. Now the player on the button was in absolute horror and had no idea what to do now. He has put about a quarter of his stack in there. He looks at me and asks me if I’m bluffing. I almost couldn’t hold back the laughter and responded with "Yeah I’m bluffing at a side pot of $0. I’m sorry but you should know what I have right now, and everyone at the table is pretty sure what I have, so if you want to join in with your ace queen or ace jack, go right ahead." He looked down at his cards two more times, and hesitantly threw them into the muck.

My hole cards: A♥ A♠
Opponents hole cards: 8♠ 8♦

Board: J♦ 5♠ 2♦ 2♥ Q♣

My hand: Two pairs: Aces and deuces, Queen kicker
Opponent's hand: Two pairs: Eights and deuces, Queen kicker.
Pot size: 27,000

I took the pot of around 27,000. I asked what he had and if he was happy that he mucked his hand. He said had ace ten suited.

Important hand #4:

This hand occurred at the final table. We were down to eight players, I still had the chip lead, having about a 2-1 lead over my closest opponent.

My hole cards: 8♥ 9♥

I was on the button with two smaller stacks in the big and small blinds. I decided to raise putting pressure on both stacks. Both stacks called the 15,000 raise, pretty much making them both pot commited.

Flop: 8♠ 8♣ 9♦

Small blind checks the flop, big blind pushes all in for another 42,500. I called and the small blind was debating at this point. He finally pushed in his last 36,000.

Me: 8♥ 9♥
Small blind: J♠ 10♠
Big Blind: 6♦ 7♦

Both with open ended straight draws, both drawing dead.

Board: 8♠ 8♣ 9♦ K♦ 4♣
My hand: Full house, eights over nines.
Small blind hand: Pair of 8's, King kicker
Big blind hand: Pair of 8's, King kicker
Pot size: 127,000

We are now down to the final 6 players.

Important hand #5:

Sometimes the important hands are the ones you get away from.

My hole cards:
J♣ T♣

I raised in early position being the chip leader, having the small blind, who is second in chips call.

Flop: 6♠ J♦ T♠

Small blind puts out a bet of 45,000. I’m thinking one of three hands at this time, either he has big slick, an over pair or has flopped a set. I raise another 100,000. Small blind calls. I am beginning to suspect a set.

Turn: 6♠ J♦ T♠ 6♥

Small blind checked. Now I’m wondering what is going on. The alarm bells are ringing and something is not right here. I check.

River: Turn: 6♠ J♦ T♠ 6♥ T♦

Small blind checks again. Now I’m looking at a full house. However, a couple of hands beat me. The pot has grown now to about 250,000. I decide to value bet at the pot and bet 75,000. Immediately small blind pushes all in. It is now another 190,000 to call. I played the hand back in my head several times and went with my first hunch, that he flopped a set, thinking he has jacks full of tens. I flipped up my cards in disgust and said to take the pot. Small blind looked at what I folded and stated that was the sickest laydown he has ever seen, and flipped his cards in respect.

My hole cards: 6♠ J♦ T♠
Small blinds hole cards: 6♣ 6♦

Board: 6♠ J♦ T♠ 6♥ T♦
My hand (mucked): Full house, Tens full of Jacks
Opponent's hand: Four of a kind, Sixes.
Pot size: 250,000 (approx)

Yep, he flopped a set alright. But there were a few tells on his behalf that told me he had a monster of a hand at this point. His foot kept moving up and down on his stool and it was quite visible. And the sweat was evident on his forehead. If I had of made this call, I would have been on the short stack. I managed to keep a small chip lead. A handfull of loose calls by this player later, the chips are now scattered around everyone and I have the big stack once again.

Important hand #6:

We are down to three players, I have a huge chip lead against the two remaining opponents. The dealer folded to me in the small blind and I raised to put the big blind all in. Big blind looks at her cards and calls instantly.

My hole cards: 3♦ 6♦
Big blind: Q♠ Q♣

Whoops. I stepped in it here. Completely dominated. Small blind was the small stack, at approximately 130,000 in chips. Not a large part of my stack but I don’t really want to give more chips up and double her up.

Flop: 3♣ 4♠ 5♦

Small blind at this point got up and shook her head. A disgusting pile of outs have flopped onto the board. Small blind now needs to avoid a 2, 3, 6 or 7.

Turn: 3♣ 4♠ 5♦ Q♦

Small blind swore at this point. Yes she now has a set of queens, taking out the two treys and two sixes I had for outs however picked up 8 diamond outs, the 5 would have given her the full house negating my flush.

My hole cards: 3♦ 6♦
Big blind: Q♠ Q♣
River: 3♣ 4♠ 5♦ Q♦ 2♠

My hand: Straight, six high.
Opponent's hand: Three of a kind, Queens.
Pot size: 272,000

The straight came through. I got up and hugged my opponent telling her I felt bad for crushing her queens like that. She was ok with it though and wished me luck.

So we are finally heads up. I have about a four to one chip advantage over my opponent and am ready. Now I have blown chip leads like this before and am prone to do so. For some reason, lady luck likes to run away from me when it’s down to head’s up.

Final hand:

A bit of back and forth of the blinds and antes occurred and eventually, it came down to this.

My hole cards: K♦ T♦

I raised to make it 200,000 to go and my opponent called, putting almost half of his chips in the pot.

Flop: K♠ 5♣ 7♥

I put my opponent on a stop and go strategy. Right after the flop, he pushed all in. I called with top pair and a decent kicker. All my opponent muttered was "You got me"

My hole cards: K♦ T♦
Opponent’s cards: T♠ 8♣

Turn: K♠ 5♣ 7♥ 9♦

My opponent picked up an open ended straight draw. Now I have to sweat it out, avoiding one of the 8 outs he has. I need to avoid a 6 or a jack.

My hole cards: K♦ T♦
Opponent’s cards: T♠ 8♣
River: K♠ 5♣ 7♥ 9♦ 9♠

My hand: Two pair, Kings and Nines, Ten kicker.
Opponent's hand: Pair of nines, King kicker.
Pot size: 868,000

I let out a loud breath and took first place. Out of 200 people, I stood alone at the top with all the chips, and 30% of the take. By playing tight and cautiously, the day in the end was mine. Although there were many other hands during the night, these ones stood out to me as the most important ones of the two days the tournament occurred.
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Blorb Plorbst
United States
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I think we're all bozos on this bus.
Great analysis of a interesting game.

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