Well, there's plane fare anyway.
In the light of day...
I really don't recommend staying up until 3 when your alarm sounds at 5:30. But if you're gonna do it, you might as well hit the pillow counting money. The payout was $1036 and every time my brain tries to split itself in half this morning, I roll that figure around my tongue--my furry, swollen tongue--to ease the pain. It's air fare, plus maybe three nights lodging. I should put up one of those United Way-style thermometers to track my progress.
By the way, Gods of karma, if simply ASKING for a miracle drops a pot of gold into my lap, might I humbly sugggest I wouldn't mind a new car? If the wind is right, I'll play a Big Sunday tourney. Hint, hint.
ANYWAY, I didn't run into any trouble in the tourney last night. Doubled up early off a 'tard who called my pre-flop raise with A6s. We both flopped the ace--my kicker was the irredoubtable J--and when he picked up the flush draw on the turn, he check-raised all-in. I thought I was beat, that the turn gave him two pair, but it was only 200 more into 2600, so I made the call. I dodged the 12 outs, which lately is akin to avoiding raindrops during monsoon season. I doubled up again in the first hour when I let an aggressive player dump me his chips by feigning a draw, simply calling his flop bet with my top two. When the third club didn't hit the turn, I pushed over his pot bet, which he called with top one, no kicker, no club. As we say here in Northern Mexico, Many Garcias.
It was a good thing I chipped up early since the second hour found me folding more than Japanese tourists at an Oragami convention. My table image was solid, however, and my pre-flop raises/steals were not once met with any resistance.
My M was nearly 8 when the third hour started and I got it up near 10 with a couple more steals. I won a nice pot, then busted a short stack, how I don't recall, but my chips numbered 20K when the hand happened.
A lot of times in these MTTs, it's one big hand that changes everything. We were in the money, maybe 40 left, and I sat about 30th. I was in late position with 88. Oh boy have I had trouble with medium pairs lately. So, with two limpers in front of me, I simply followed the crowd for 1200. The two blinds made it a 5-way family pot gathered around to see a flop of T8x rainbow.
My first thought was, "Don't get fancy. It's already a nice 7K pot. Don't smooth call and let some backdoor draws in. Don't..."
SB pushes in his last 11K. Okay. He gets a call. Okay. I push the caller all in and they flip QTs and KTs. I couldn't be happier. I dodged their respective runner-runner outs (the way I've been runnin...) and vaulted to second overall in chips. And from there, I played some gorgeous Big Stack Poker. First in? Raise. Short stack push? I call. I busted three or four more players, my cards dominating each, but for the one coin flip, where my 7s held up against AQ. Another thing you kinda need to do to go deep is win those races.
I busted two players at the Final Table and down to four, we had one big stack and three of similar size. The big stack was playing well. He was on my left and pressured me pretty good. Twice I called his pre-flop raises at the Final Table, once with JJ and once with AKs. Flop whiffed me both times (the JJ one kindly had both an A and a K) and I folded to his bet since any bluff-raise would have pot committed me. Still, I was winning pots elsewhere and wasn't in trouble. Until I made a bad call.
With QJs UTG, I raised. The Big Stack, in his BB, re-raised. Now, normally I'd read that as a Big Pair and drop easily. But we're four-handed so I think his range is wider there, especially adding in the fact he's pressured me out of pots already. I call, hoping to flop nasty, leaving me 90K behind. The flop comes ATx, only one of my suit and he checks. I immediately know he's got queens. He's afraid of the ace. He wouldn't try to check-raise me becuase my stack is less than the pot. He hasn't checked ONCE since I've been here. Check to induce a bluff? I'm not giving him that kinda credit. Can I push him off it?
I tried. He didn't call immediately, but he didn't wait until his time lights started flashing rapidly, either. He showed his KK, my gutshot didn't hit and que sera sera. Even if he loses there, he's still got a healthy stack of 160K, so I guess that's probably where I erred in thinking I could induce a fold. Or maybe it was the pre-flop call (which I think we can all agree was horrid). Or maybe it was betting at all post-flop, since I hardly "flopped nasty." Either way, poorly played and a darn shame since I hadn't made any glaring errors to that point.
A special shout out to Gnome, who finished a solid 20th in the same tourney. Hard to know when Gnome's around since his FT handle resembles an eyechart. Thanks for the sweat, pal. Gratitude also to Veneno and Jason for entertaining me in the girlie chat box.