The first time was pure skill coupled with no bad luck. This time it was a little skill and unbelievably good luck! I dodged the bullet enough to start thinking I was bulletproof.
The turning point came during the first hour. I lost a few moderate sized hands and rebought to add $1500 in chips for another $3. My chip count put me well within the vast middle of the pack.
Then I picked up a pair of 9s.
I limped in – a small pair is no big deal. The flop came with two more 9s. The first 5 cards and I already had four of a kind!
I sat back and just called the two other players as they bet away. I tried to be as invisible as possible. Then, on the river, I went all in. One player folded, but the other went after me and lost. He had a great hand – a full house. Mine was better.
It was a huge hand which quickly moved me into the top-30. At that point I just tried to hang on.
Twice I went in with decent cards only to find better cards from my opponent. Both times I finished with ridiculously good hands against remarkably long odds because of just the right cards falling.
It is much more profitable to be lucky than skillful.
As the table got close to the magic number for payouts, I was unsure if I had enough money to last. Dealt two Kings, I made a big bet, only to have another player call me. Uh oh.
Another King came on the turn, giving me a set! I bet hard – he folded. Now I had enough money to hold on for the win.
The problem with these ‘qualifier’ tournaments, where everyone gets the same prize is, at the end, they turn ploddingly slow.
Interestingly, this tournament took almost the exact same amount of time as the one the night before and had nearly the same amount of players and money in the pot.
My friend Wendie said in an email, these poker stories are boring… so I’ll try and refrain for a while. On the other hand, when you dedicate nearly five hours of couch time to a tournament, how much else is there to write about?