The tourney was only around 30 players, which is a lot less than I would have liked but this time of year is generally slow in poker rooms around here. The tourney is a little quick with 15 minute blind levels but with 6K in chips you get some play. Not much time to fool around for sure. The last time I played the tourney I didn't catch crap for cards and pushed as much as I dared but didn't dare enough. Blinds got up and I didn't do enough to keep from getting blinded off. I went out right before the final table. This time I wanted to be more aggressive.
I was determined not to come into hands without raising except for the blinds (makes it easier later to steal from the blinds if you don't raise from them earlier I think) so I avoided playing hands for the first couple of rounds. Some of my neighbors were not so circumspect and a few of them were just going to war with anything. After a few rounds I picked up AQ on the button. A few limpers to me and I popped it to 4x the big blind. 3 people called including two loose ones. Flop is ok with A K 5 with two spades. Unfortunately I don't have spades. Guy in seat 5 bets out 200 and guy in 7 calls him. I pop him to 700 and while the big blind folds, both others call. Turn is a 6 of spades. Both check to me and I don't want this one to go further and lose to a lousy river card so I put about 3/4 of the pot out there. Both of them called me. I put one guy on a bad ace and I didn't know what the other guy had to be calling these bets. I also figured at least one had a good spade as well which is why I put out as much as I did. Didn't faze either of them as they both called. River is of course the 9 of spades. Seat 5 bets, seat 7 pushes all in, I dump, and 5 calls and shows the spade Ace. He called me all the way down with A3 off and four flushes. Other genius called me down with KJ off and had stayed in cuz he flopped second pair and made the J high flush on the river. He went buh bye but unfortunately did not donate his chips to me.
I'm down to almost half my starting stack but I'm not wasting any time here. A bit later on I get A4 suited one off the button. A couple of limpers to me and I popped it to 600 which was 6x the big blind. 2 callers and we see a flop of J 4 2. I didn't expect that helped anyone and when it was checked to me I pushed all in. Unfortunately one guy called. And flips over KJ of course. I flip over my A4 expecting to leave soon when an A hits the turn and I'm golden. That put me over my starting stack and I was determined to not waste time with it.
My hands were none too good but I made sure I kept raising hands and taking down pots. I got up to 18K then tangled with seat 5 again. He had given away a bunch of chips and was down to about 6K when he decided to push all in with top two pair post flop. But I was sitting on a set of 4s at the same time. Unfortunately a Q on the river makes his boat. Twice had him drawing thin and he beat me both times. Luckily there were 2 people at the table I knew I could steal from and I did. Made a couple of ok hands like 8-8 stand up post flop. My stack slowly built up but I still wasn't a big stack when we got down to one table, probably about 8th in chips. The PQ made the final table too and in better shape than I was. But that was about to change.
Seat 5 is now sitting next to me and not a big stack anymore as he had made a couple of other miracle rivers after beating me twice. Another guy is in seat 5 and he is pretty stacked and pretty aggressive. This time it cost him dearly. I called a small raise by him with my 76 of diamonds in the big blind. Flop is nice with K 8 9. I check and he bets half the pot. I decide to tag along after another guy calls and a perfect 5 hits the turn. Seat 5 puts in a good bet and the guy in seat 8 pushes all in for less than the raise. I push all in for slightly more than the bet which seat 5 calls. Seat 5 turns over AK, seat 8 has KQ and both pay me nicely when my straight holds up. A few hands later I tangle with seat 5 again. I call an unraised pot one off the button with K7 suited. Flop is A 7 6 and two of my flush cards. I call a smallish raise by seat 5. We both check a 8 on the turn and when a ten comes to fill my flush on the river I'm a happy camper. Especially when seat 5 pushes all in. He was really happy to fill a straight on the river until seeing my flush knock him out. Then he was not so happy. I raked in the rest of his chips and look around to see I am sitting with more than a 1/3 of all the chips with 8 people left.
I have seen people in this situation just piss their chips away so I was determined not to do that. But I was also determined that no one sees a free flop if I'm playing. So I kept it fairly tight but still aggressive. I raised up 55 but dumped it to a reraise, a call, and an all in. Turns out I was way behind as I was up against 66 99 and AJ. The 66 flops a six and takes down 2 people. And if I had stupidly played my 55 I would have taken all 3 out as I would have rivered the straight. Damn. Instead a bit later I raise 77 and the loose guy in 3 pushes in. I felt I was probably ahead about 2-1 so I called him. It was better than that as he had 55. And flopped a 5. There go some chips. Later on I have AQ and get reraised all in by a relatively short stack. I call and he has KJ. I'm ahead until a J flops and I get nothing again. Twice I call all ins well ahead and lose chips which was exactly what I didn't want to do.
But I buckled down and kept it together. Made a couple of good laydowns and a big bluff steal on the turn to stay in the tourney. Blinds got big and we ended up chopping it up when we got down to 3. Beat losing but I was doing so well and couldn't bring it all home. What was both good and bad is I got sucked out on a lot when I was a pretty good favorite. But I managed to stay in and keep accumulating chips so it worked out well in the end.
No poker tonight I don't think. My cousin is in town and we'll be drinking a bit today and attending the Bucs and Saints game tomorrow. He just turned 50 recently and needs to blow off some steam where it's warm. He texted me a little while ago that he is happily sitting by the hotel pool drinking Dirty Mexicans waiting for me to join him. How can I pass that up? See ya later folks, I got some booze in my future. Stay lucky you nuts. And stay warm, which is not a problem down here right now.
BTW I wanted to send my condolences to Lucki Duck after the recent loss of Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas. Big Tex is this metal statue wearing Dickies clothes at the Fairgrounds in Dallas. Apparently the electronics that drive his mouth when he speaks caught fire and the clothes he was wearing went up in smoke with him. A true tragedy.
Hey Pardner, got a firehose handy?
And this is what he looks like now
Word is a bigger and better Big Tex will be at the fair next year. But it just won't be the same.