I have really been focused on 6 max ring games lately and have moved up a level. I had not played any tournaments for over 3 weeks, but decided to play in the August PokerXFactor tourney. Surprising I won the tourney. It was a small stakes tourney so the payday was small but the victory was sweet nonetheless.
I attribute the win to patience which is something I have really been working on with ring games. With tournaments, I have learned so much strategy over the past year from PXF and experience that I had been playing too fancy for the past several months. In this tournament, I was simply patient throughout the tournament and it paid off. That and of course -- I had great cards.
I was playing a couple of cash tables at the same time so the tournament did not become a focus for me until we were down to three tables. Earlier I just played tight solid poker.
However in the mid stages of the tournament, I ended up getting AA and KK within three hands. With AA I tripled up against two AKs to 24,000 in chips and with KK I gained 50% of my stack to about 34,000. As a result, I catapulted to second in chips.
From there, I made an effort to raise the blinds at least two times per round. Most of the time I was just taking down the blinds, but if we made it to the flop I was placing a continuation bet of at least 1/2 the pot. With this style of play, I was able to stay within the top 7 in chips down to two tables.
However, I lost almost half my stack with QQ when they ran into both AA and KK on the same hand -- ouch. So from there I had to play more patiently. I was now an average stack and I had to be careful of bigger stacks. I would push AQ, AK and any pair here hoping to double up.
I came to the final table one of the smaller stacks with about 24,000 in chips. I was patient early while to other stacks busted out. Then from the BB, I got Q9s, not a great hand but I thought I would likely call a standard raise and then push any flop without an A to try to take down the pot. Typically I would simply push reraise rather than call, but I felt a flop push would be more effective here. The flop came with a T and a J giving me a str8 draw and I immediately pushed. I was called by QJ for top pair. I caught a K on the turn and I now had about 40,000 chips.
I picked up some chips with JJ when I reraised a preflop raiser and took down the pot. Then I doubled up with AKs. An early position player made a standard raise and I pushed over the top. He made a loose call with KQo and my AK held up for the double. Now I was chipleader with 93,000 chips and six remaining players. And I was back to trying to raise once or twice per round.
However, with 5 left and 100,000 in chips I hit a big setback. I had K9 in the BB and everyone folded to the SB who limped. I raised to 3x the blinds and he called. The flop came JT5 rainbow and we both checked. The turn was a 9 and the SB, who had 46k remaining bet 36k. That is a weird bet because it left him with 9800 chips. In hindsight I should have seen that as very odd and likely a baiting type bet. But the adrenaline was flowing and I simply raised over the top all in. He called with J9 for two pair. My K9 was dominated and I was down to 36,000 chips and one of two short stacks.
I was able to steal the blinds with some weak A hands and get back up to 57,000 in chips. Then when we were 4 handed I was able to double up with 77 when I pushed and the BB called with AK -- a very standard play for both parties. The very next hand I took out a small stack with 66 against A7s and I was over 180,000 in chips against two similar sized stacks.
We played 3 handed for only 9 hands but my chips dropped to 90,000 on a bad play by me. With Q9 in the big blind, the small stack with 80,000 in chips raised from the SB. I called and the flop came JT3 with two hearts and again I had a str8 draw but this time I had the chip lead. I should have played this cautiously. The SB pushed the flop for his remaining 31,000 chips and I decided to call. He also had a st8 draw with the KQo and I was dominated. He caught when the 9 came on the river.
However 3 hands later I was able to get it all back when he made a very bad play from the BB. I was on the button with KQo and about 94,000 in chips. He had 164,000 in chips and I made a standard raise to 24,000. He pushed all in and I immediately called with my final 70,000 chips. He had J7o???? I am not sure why he would make that move since I was really in push mode anyway. I was going to call any reraise with only 70,000 chips remaining. He had no fold equity but pushed anyway.
I doubled and about 10 hands later I took out the small stack with AQ against 66.
So we started heads up play and I had 260,000 in chips and my opponent had 127,000 in chips. This was one of the weirdest heads up situations I have been involved in. We only played 5 hands but the lead went from lopsided in my favor to lopsided in my opponents favor and then back to me before I won -- all in 5 hands. We both got a lot of very good cards and it was tough for us not to get all in.
Here are the key hands:
Hand #1 - uneventful
Hand #2 - uneventful
Hand #3 - I raised his 8,000 blind to 24,000 with KQs, he reraised me to 64,000 and I called. I probably should have pushed here since he only had 71,000 left but I called. The flop came A8Q with two diamonds. Now this is tricky. His preflop reraise said he likely had an A or a pair. In his shoes, I am pushing a lot of flops here, especially since he reraised preflop. But he checked. That led me to believe he as check-raising with an A or he had a smaller pair and was going to check-fold. If I check here, he is definitely pushing the turn, so I decided to bet 32,000. He immediately pushed his remaining 71,000 in and I had to call the 40,000 for a 225,000 pot. There is just no way not to make that call. He did have the A3 and I lost the pot.
Hand #4 - Now my opponent had 272,000 in chips and I had 116,000 in chips. But I look down at QQ. My opponent makes a standard raise to 24,000 and I wait a few seconds for dramatic effect then push all in over the top. He immediately calls with A6. Not a bad play for heads up although he could have folded to wait for a better all in hand but not a bad play by any means. My Qs hold and now the chips are 234,000 me and 155,000 my opponent.
Hand #5 - I get AQo and raise to 24,000, my opponent pushes over the top and I call. He has ATo and I am hoping that my dominant hand holds up. However the flop comes 6T8 with two spades. He is now in dominant position and I am already thinking I am down to 83,000 chips. However, the turn and fifth street are both spades and I have the Q of spades for a an unlikely 4 flush win.
If you are a PXF member and would like to check out this tournament in detail, here is the link.