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Monday, January 08, 2007 

Stars Sunday Million

Yesterday was my shot at greatness. However, it was not meant to be.

With a healthy bankroll, I played a few satellites and got myself into the big tourney at 4:30. I was feeling good. This was my tournament to shine.

First hour was a bit daunting. I made a few small hands. It became pretty apparent I had an individual at the table that was taking advantage of "scared money" that first hour. What I mean by this...this tournament can be intimidating to the first time participant. Many individuals find themselves thrown into this tournament through much smaller satellites and quite literally are out of their league. Certainly no disrespect intended. They just don't have the large MTT experience and it shows. Anyway, this guy just kept raising and check raising each smaller raise and everyone continued to fold to him. I finally had a good hand and went up against him. Didn't put a lot on the line but he sucked out on the river. Figures. Few hands later, similar situation presents itself. I raise small in late position, he re-raises in late position. I just call. I hit a set on the flop. He bets strong. I call. He bets strong again, I raise. He calls. He checks, I bet his remaining stack. He folds. This was the start of a good run for me.

Had a few bumps. Had to battle back at one point. But 3.5 hours in, I find myself at 60k in chips with only a few hundred left to the money. That might sound like a lot of people, but we started with some 6000 entrants and people were dwindling extremely fast.

It's at this stage I usually tighten up and ensure my placement in the money. From there I go on the hunt and play my aggressive game. However, for this tournament, I didn't just want to squeeze into the money. Perhaps I was over eager, perhaps it was just stupidity. But here's where things went south.

I'm feeling great with 60k in chips. Average at this point was 48k. I was second leader at my table...however, the chip leader at my table was also the overall chip leader. He was flirting just over 200k in chips. The one thing I said to msyelf, do NOT tango with this guy. Just stay out of his way and prey on the other stacks. Did I listen to my advice? Obviously not.

So I'm on the button and I'm dealt AQ diamonds. Fairly nice hand I'm thinking. One call in front of me, I raise about 4x the BB. I don't remember the exact raise amount. Chip leader is in the BB. I should have paid better attention. I raised unaware that he was in the BB and would probably play almost any hand at this point. He calls my raise. The other caller folds. Flop comes 9 8 3 with two diamonds. He comes out betting. Okay, my mindset went like this. He's obviously playing his stack, as he should be. However, I really think he's full of shit at this point. Call it intuition, call it a gut feeling, whatever. Point is, I really believed I had a better hand at this spot. And in the case that I did not, with the nut flush possibility on my hands, I saw this spot as an opportunity. Like I said, I did not want to just squeeze into the money. I wanted this to be my swan song. I took a chance. I pushed back and went all in. He insta calls with 55.


Turn and river bring no help and I'm out of the tournament. Just like that, in the blink of an eye...gone.

It took me a while to cool down. And obviously, I'm still bent out of shape over this. I'm sure other pro's would analyze this play and beat me up over it...but I felt good about my move. Had I walked away the winner in that hand, I would have been sitting with about $140k in chips and a commanding presence moving into the money. My goal was not to play too cautiously. I wanted to be aggressive in certain situations. I deemed these one of those situations and it didn't work out.

In hindsight, would I have played it any differently? I became too attached to this hand, that much I realize. However, thinking back, I should have paid better attention to whom was in the BB. I got carried away with my great position with a good starting hand. Had I just smooth called here, I believe he would have raised and I probably would have come off the hand.


Okay, I'm not going to torture myself. As my wife said last night, there's always next week.

Good luck everyone!

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Hi Adam,

in a tournement such as the sunday million in which i finished 247th last week, you got yourself in a great possition (infact i was sat at 60k also at the sort of time) i probably make the same play here as im not here to make the money i wanna finish at the FT, obviously you can argue the point that there was easier money out there but you had enough chips to hurt this guy and im slightly suprised by the call he made. al the best

Sure hope you would have played the same had you seen his holecards. With nut-flush draw and overcards, you are a) favorite to win this hand and b) to have a really great shot at the final table. I think you played it correctly.

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