Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Big Win!

I'm going to kill a little more of my precious work time and get this down because it is pretty important.

On Sunday, I won a bit over $1,088. Yes, that is four digits, my biggest win ever.

Thursday I got an e-mail from Poker Club Europe (a B2B site where I just finished burning a bonus). Turns out I had an entry to a 3,000 free-roll because of their Refer-a-Friend competition -- both the referrers and the referrees (?) got entries to the competition (plus the top three referrers split €1,750). Gotta love these new sites throwing around money. The best part was the message had a 'secret agent' feel to it with black text on a black background -- so you had to highlight it to see the info (this was a bug, not a feature).

The complication was that my parents were in town, but I managed to clear a few hours starting at noon on Sunday to play the tourney. After all, with 37 people entered, the entry was worth about $80 which is a decent amount for me, plus the structure really suited my style (decent stacks, long blinds, no antes). Well, when Sunday rolled around, it turned out only about 13-14 people were actually active in the tourney (they probably weren't able to decode the e-mail). I actually had a bit of a bad beat with three other active players on my table -- one lucky schmuck had no other active players at his table, so he just stole blinds with abandon for the first half-hour. By the time the missing people had their stacks picked up, he had chipped up from T2500 to something like T15000. He eventually got second.

As for me, I played my usual 'small satellite' strategy (which I'm hoping to detail in another post in the near future because I believe I have non-obvious information to share). If I remember correctly, I wasn't all-in with the worst hand until we were well into the money (and that was a coin-flip). In fact, although I dropped a decent amount early, I don't really recall being nervous at any one point. I just hammered away and mostly stayed above par (I was 3rd or fourth for most of the final table, 7 paid out).

By the time we got to the big money jump at 3rd place, I had a slight chip lead when I pushed from the BB over a raise by the other big stack with AKo. I thought for sure he would lay down, but he insta-called with JJ (what, you don't even think about it?), and I was fortunate enough to win the race and acquire a 2.5:1 lead in heads-up. I promptly lost it doubling up the other guy with KQs vs JTs (all-in pre-flop), but got a few lucky situations (like 88 vs 77) and pulled out the win.

Oddly enough, the win wasn't my most satisfying, probably because I only had to beat a small field and had a lot of things go right for me in the tourney. For instance, the earlier mentioned huge stack really hunkered down and didn't apply any pressure during the critical bubble period. He was on my immediate right, so I ended up getting a lot of walks in my BB. That alone accounted for a lot of my success (and helped me handle my losses to the aggressive guy on my left who kept schooling me with his position). Still though, I have to be happy winning over 50% of my bankroll in one free-roll tournament, and I felt like I played pretty well to get there.

It is nice to be a winner sometimes. Oh, and this makes me positive for online play in 2006 :)

In other news, I still suck at LHE. My first session four-tabling 1/2 at Party for the latest reload saw me lose 15BB over 45 minutes. I keep trying to remind myself that it might just be variance, but deep down I still believe my limit game is flawed. Even worse, now I have the bankroll for 5/10, but I'm nowhere near feeling comfortable playing that high. If I can't beat 1/2, how can I beat 5/10?

I think it is time to pay my family some more winnings.

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