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Things going my way

As you may know I play in a weekly tournament here at Ohio State and this quarter I’ve been on a real cold streak, not placing at the final table in the last 8 weeks. Well last night things finally went my way as I took down 1st place out of the 24 participants and a cool $175 (about broke even for the quarter thanks to this win!). I want to share with you a few key hands that really propelled me on to the final table. It seemed like once I got started I never looked back, making chips throughout the tournament and only being a ‘short stack’ once we got three-handed (more on that later).

The tournament is a rebuy tournament so the first hour is always a good place for stories to be made. Early in the first hour I looked down at JJ under the gun and opened for $500 ($50-$100 blinds). I wanted to single someone out and if at all possible get all the chips in with a big advantage. Well the player to my left called and the player on the button reraised all in for $3500. I went all in as well, and the player to my left sighed and called all in for his remaining $2300. The hands were:

Steve (me): JJ
To my left: K 10
Button: AQ

Needless to say I wasn’t feeling to secure in my jacks, any overcard and they had a higher pair, so I prayed for low cards. What did I get? A …. Q …. K, haha, imagine that, they’re all beating me. I quickly called for my opponent to two pair his K10 and lo and behold the turn was a 10 giving me the straight. Then I called for the board not to pair and a harmless 7 hit the river giving me a pot over $9000 and starting my roll. I knew it was going to be a good night if things kept falling the way they had in that pot.

Later in the first hour I reraised all in after a big raise from the button with AQ. He sighed, folded and showed AQ faceup. I showed him the same hand and he said “nice bet.” Hell yeah nice bet!

I stagnated for almost an hour and a half and I was feeling like I had the previous 8 weeks, off to a good start only to dwindle with the blinds, so I turned up the heat. On one of the hands a very loose player raised 4x UTG and I called behind him with 99. The flop came out 2 4 A, all spades and he checked. I quickly bet out $5,000 (about 2/3 the pot) and he thought for awhile and folded. That gave me the confidence I needed to go on a decent rush and get my chip count near $45,000 by the final table.

With 8 left I played a pot with the big blind while I was in the small blind with K9 spades. This player is known to play anything with a queen strongly, but other than that is hard to read (because he usually doesn’t even know what he has, it’s one of those deals). Anyway the flop came out 5 5 Q with two spades and I checked. He immediately bet $6,000 (about the pot) and I called. The turn brought a 4 of diamonds and I checked again. This time he quickly bet out $10,000.

I thought about this for awhile. I only had $40,000 chips left and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put him 1/4 of my chips on a flush draw with one card to come. Finally I told myself I needed to make a move and gamble a bit to take down a huge pot and set myself up for short handed play and I called. The river was the beautiful 7 of spades and I immediately went all in. In hindsight I should have simply value bet the river but I really thought this guy would insta-call with a queen.

He thought for at least 3 minutes before folding and showing me a 7! What the hell could he have had that he was betting so hard with a 7? I kept my mouth shut and scooped a pot putting me above $65,000 and the chip lead.

Three handed play I was the short stack around $50,000 with my opponents each at $75,000 and $95,000. I played aggressively taking down the blinds and stealing pots with big bets and making good calls and lay downs and within 15 minutes I had $120,000 and each of my opponents were below $60,000.

Finally the headsup began with the button player made an untimely all-in bluff with 45 suited and I woke up with AA in the big blind. I hadn’t seen aces all game but I was happy to see them there!

The heads up took about 5 hands, of which I won 3. The other two I folded preflop. On the last hand he raised all in for $35,000 and I called with AJ. He showed A6, missed the board and I took home 1st place, a great confidence booster and a blast to play. I missed the feeling of playing a great game and routing my opponents, but it felt great, I played great poker and everything was going my way, now let’s just hope this trend continues.

Good luck!

I've been playing poker for almost four years now (well before it was legal for me, woops!) Besides poker I enjoy playing the guitar and I'm very enthusiastic about pursuing Dentistry as a career. I'm currently at The Ohio State Univeristy studying Microbiology, living with three of my close friends. I'm dating a lovely girl from Australia and am looking forward to the oppurtunity to study abroad over there as well.

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