My title defense up here at Foxwoods ended with failure.
How it went down:
I played some good poker and slowly built my starting stack of 5,o00 to around 30,000 with about 200 players out of 950 left. Along the way I made a big hand when I flopped top set with 99 and filled up on the turn. I was moved to a table where a player had a huge stack of around 80 or 90k, and I promptly got in a few confrontations with him. This player was playing classic big stack poker, playing practically every pot in position, then putting his opponents all in. It was obvious that he didn’t always have a hand when he did this. The last of our confrontations before my final hand depleted my stack to around 22,000.
Just before the hand that busted me, another large stack was moved to my table. I had no read on him, but he was older, scruffy-looking guy with around 30,000 chips. With the blinds at 600-1200 with an ante, I picked up AK offsuit in early position and made a standard raise to 3600. The giant stack, sitting two seats to my left, called (of course) and the new guy completed from the big blind. The flop came K-7-4 with two spades, and the big blind checked. I was virtually positive that the bully sitting on my left would bet if I checked to him, and I wanted to get all my chips in on this hand, so I checked as well. The big stack did exactly what I expected and hoped: he made a 10,000 chip bet. Then the the big blind called the 10,000 cold. This was a bizarre play; he was calling off almost half his remaing stack. I surmised that this guy was either slowplaying a set or more likely was a very bad player with a spade draw or medium strength made hand.
Either way, I knew I was ahead of the bully and I was probably favored against the scruffy guy, so it wasn’t time to turn back. So I moved all in for my remaining 18,000. The bully folded, but the big blind called immediately and flipped over the 6-2 of spades. I personally wouldn’t bother with the 6-2 of spades preflop, but I guess Scruffball was getting decent pot odds. Playing 6-2 suited as part of a loose strategy, especially with the giant stack involved in the hand, is defensible. The postflop play, on the other hand, was just plain awful. Once Scruffy flopped a baby spade draw, he has to either lead out or check with the intention of either folding or checkraising all-in. When the bully bet 10k, calling off almost half your stack with a weak draw? Very bad poker.
In any event, the flop had been dealt, half the table was visibly and audibly shocked by the hand Scruffy had staked his tournament on, and Scruffy was out of his seat screaming for a spade. I sat there impassively. The turn brought a safe card. Now Scruffy was realy yelling for a spade. I shot him a dirty look and muttered “put a red card up there” to the dealer. Thee quarters of the field in the tournament was gone, and I was about to win a huge pot and have a serious pile of chips shoved my way. Then I was going to take this tournament over. No spade…. The dealer burned and turned…. the nine of spades.
Scruffy was very happy. I was not. I walked off without saying a word. No repeat.