Sunday, April 14, 2013

First quarter finale

In the final week before the quarterly tournament, I discovered that while I had earned about 90 points with my back to back victories the previous week, I only moved up from 7th to 5th in the standings. I was also unable to successfully defend my bounties, although I came close in the first session. I got to heads up, but with a pretty big chip disadvantage which I was unable to overcome. In the second session I did not fare as well. I had to buy back in and then in my final hand I got it in good with AA against AQo and AJo preflop. Unfortunately for me, they both went all in on the flop of KQx and AJo rivers a T to knock me out for good.

I continued my processes of thinking good thoughts and being grateful for winning the quarterly throughout the week. The tournament started with only 8 of the 10 qualifiers being able to play. As it progressed, I was able to accumulate chips without much risk. It took a couple of hours before anyone was eliminated. The next two eliminations were not much of a surprise. Then the next player out actually withdrew, as he had somewhere else to be. Up until this point, I was at or close to chip lead. However, right around this time, one of the other players, AJ, took a big chip lead, and I had a brief moment where I thought I might not win, but it quickly left my mind. Unfortunately for him, he ended up being the bubble boy, going out in 4th, earning the consolation prize of $50 worth of rebuy cards. The final three were Jerry, who runs the league; Tim, my main rival; and me. Tim and I were somewhat close in chips, but Jerry was not out of it. After a few circuits, though, it was pretty clear that it was going to be Tim and I heads up. Jerry finally lost the rest of his chips to me. I had a fairly clear, but not big, chip lead with decent stacks, probably 40-50 or more BB. I knew it wouldn't be easy to win, but I was confident that there was enough play left that I could grind it out. I took a small-ball approach, making min-raises on the button somewhat liberally. I slowly built up a big edge, and Tim started calling for a face card to go all-in with. He eventually got one and caught more of the flop than I did. I continued to grind away, trying to get my chips back. The key hand occured when the blinds were getting fairly big, either 3/6k or 4/8k. I was in the same spot Tim had been, looking for a face card. In the small blind, I looked at my first card, a Qd and shoved. Tim immediately called and flipped over a pair of Ts. I took a quick breath and flipped over my other card. I exhaled in relief as it was an Ace. However, I had
to sweat a bit, as I did not hit the flop. I may have had a backdoor straight draw, but I don't recall exactly, which is unusual for me. The turn was no help, but suddenly knew I was going to hit it on the river. Sure enough, Jerry deals a pretty lady. After that, I was certain I would win. Tim and I traded blinds for
several more hands. On the final hand, I was in the SB and had QJ. I min-raised and Tim shoved. I quickly called, thinking I either had him dominated, or was a small dog to an A or K. He flipped over offsuit connectors, something like 67o. The board did not save him, and he admitted he was trying to make a move. With this, I clinched my first league tournament victory in over a year.

I continued a good run last Friday night. I finished 4th in the 1st session, and 3rd in the 2nd. In the second session, we had an amazing hand where 3 of us saw a straight flush on the board, earning all of us the bonus points. I also earned points for having a pocket pair. I should be in the top 3 for the start of the new quarter.