Last night, knowing that I’d be taking this weekend off from poker (I’m traveling to Atlantic City for non-poker related fun), I sat down for a night of online tournaments. I fired up the TV (Mets game) and the computer (poker programs) and sat got down to business.
I selected four 7:00 tournaments. A $160 World Series Double Shootout on Pokerstars, a $109 multitable tournament on Pokerstars, a $75 multitable tournament on Full Tilt, and to round things out, a $16 World Series turbo double shootout satellite on Pokerstars. This turned out to be one of the rare occasions where everything would start out well. I quickly amassed a big stack in the $109, won the first table of the turbo, and I was plugging along in the $75 and the WSOP double shootout. And the Mets were crushing the Marlins. I was in the internet poker zone, cursor darting all over, mouse furiously clicking away.
Fast forward another hour. I won the turbo double shoootout, so I was down to three open tables: 1) the second table of the WSOP qualifier (I won the first table); 2) the $109, where I was chip leader with 50 out of 235 players remaining; and 3) the $75, where I was in the middle of the pack as the field approached the bubble.
Fast forward another thirty minutes. I am now four-handed for a WSOP seat with the chip lead, about 15th in chips in the $109 right on the bubble, and still in the middle of the pack in the $75, also on the bubble. I shift 90% of my focus to the WSOP qualifier, as the $12,000 package is the largest prize i’m playing for. I manage to bob and weave until I find myself heads up, playing mano-a-mano for the WSOP seat. Meanwhile, right on the bubble of the $109, I find AK in middle position and openshove for 12 big blinds. All fold to the big blind, who is among the chipleaders in the tournament, and he snapcalls with JJ. The board bricks and I’m down to two open tables. Blech. I’m really sweating the heads-up match, but out of the corner of my eye, I notice that in the $75, my AdKd flops a flush against AsKh all in preflop, vaulting me out of nowhere to the chip lead with only 30 players left.
Playing heads up for a WSOP seat in a double shootout is about as big as it gets in online tournament play. The difference in value between first and second place is $12,000: the first place finisher gets the seat, the weeklong hotel stay and the $1,000 cash and second place gets nothing. Heads up went well at first. I chipped away at my opponent until i had about a 3 to 2 chip lead on him. I then checkraised all in, holding K2 on a K-5-4 flop only to discover that I was up against K9. I was now outchipped, and things began to go downhill. I battled for awhile longer, but eventually got all my chips in with Q6 on an 8-8-6 flop. My opponent called and showed me pocket aces, and that was all she wrote. Ouch. Unbelievably, this was my fourth or fifth career second-place finish in a Pokerstars World Series double shootout, so at least the pain was familiar. Intense but familiar.
One of the hallmarks of an experienced player is being able to turn the page after a tough loss, and I am happy to say that I managed to do so. Having paid almost no attention to it for about three hours, I finally took a serious look at the $75 Full Tilt tournament. I made the final table in fourth place, drew a good seat (immediately to the left of the chipleader) and picked my way through the crowd until I was left heads up once again. This time my opponent was an inexperienced player, and even though he had a few more chips than me, I wasn’t dealing. I was playing for first, and first only. I ground him down and won with relative ease, salvaging the night.
I ended up showing a very nice profit for the evening. For those of you keeping score at home, between the $75 tourney win and turbo double shootout wins, it was a little bit short of a haircut. But I was so close to a really, really monstrous night. Ah well.
My day will come. And hair will be shorn.