As some of you know, I play in several leagues throughout Richmond. I have recently “converted” to a new favorite – Virginia Freeroll Poker (www.vafreerollpoker.com) The structure of our league is pretty good – all games are free, we play 3-4 games per night (time/space permitting.) As soon as enough players are out to open up a table, the next game begins. All games are for points, which are weighted based on how you place in the game. Players can also earn points by buying food/drink from the host of the game – various local restaurants. The season is 16 weeks, and I’ve been playing for about six weeks. In those six weeks, I accumulated enough points to be 19th in points. The top ninety compete each season for a large prize, and chip stacks at the final are determined by your points standings. I started with 4,000 chips. When I started at my table, I had the biggest stack on the table. I was surpassed the first hand by a player who started with 2500 earning nearly 1800 when he flopped quads to a boat.
Ok – I’m going to admit right now that I was a little bit cocky coming into this tournament. I had already picked out those whom I considered to be my “competition” – about 10 really good players, and was very pleased to see that only half of them made it to the final day of play (it was a two day tournament.) Unfortunately all five of them made it to the final table with me, but I was lucky that several people went out of the final table in the first twenty minutes or so of final table action. I started the final table as the chip leader, by a nose, but lost that lead immediately as my first hand (AK) ran into QQ which held up. A short stack had doubled through me, so I was still second in chips at this point.
The whole tournament, I was only all-in at risk twice. The first time was a flop of 6-6-8 in which I was short stacked and holding K8. Heads up, it's checked to me. I go all-in to an insta-call. He turns over A-6. I caught an 8 on the river. As promised, Chris, here's the shout out from my blog!
Play at the final table was pretty strong except for one hand which I will outlay. Four players in the hand, one player all in, one player with only 800 chips remaining, the big stack and me (the second stack). The pot is 24,000. Flop comes 7-7-4. Big stack reaches for chips but does not bet. Checked around. Turn is a six (flop is rainbow.) Big stack leads out for 20,000 bet. I tell him “I hope you have the all-ins beat.” And fold my Q-J. Short stack calls for his remaining 800. Chip leader turns over 5-5, short stack turns over 10-10 and all-in turns over J-10. River – A JACK! Had that guy not bet a WEAK hand into two all-ins, we would have lost two players. Instead, they took their shares of the pot and they were still in. I’ll say it once, as I have a thousand times – Don’t bet an empty side pot unless you know your hand is strong enough to beat the all-ins! This holds especially true AT THE FINAL TABLE.
But I digress. Play progressed pretty quickly and by break, we were down to six players (this tournament paid to the top six.) At break, I had about 43000 in chips, the chip leader was 97,000 and the next closest to me was in the 30s, and three players with less than 15,000. Got dealt some *great* hands after the break and took down the blinds and some limps to boost my stack to 60k before we lost the sixth player, taken out by the chip leader. By the time we were down to three players, I had taken over the chip lead. Chip lead shifted to the player I eventually went heads up against, who was your typical “TAG” player. I was able to check raise him a couple of times to pad my stack so that he no longer had me tripled, and had me covered by about 35,000 in chips. Turning point came on this hand. I was on the big blind and had K-3 off suit. Min-raise from the button and I call. Flop comes K-9-6 with two clubs on board. I bet out 7,000. He announces a raise and puts out 18,000 in chips, followed by my 7,000. I say “That’s a string raise.” Dealer agrees and the raise is 11,000 to me. I call. Turn is a deuce of hearts. I say “Check to the raiser” He bets 25,000. At this point, I’m pretty confident that he’s betting either the nine or the club draw, so I call. River is a King of diamonds. I check – he goes all in. I call (all-in, at risk) and his whole body slumps down as I turn over my king. At this point, I have him crushed, maybe 6-1 chip lead. A couple hands pass and I raise with K-J off suit. He re-raises all in for maybe 20,000 which I of course call. He had A-10 suited. Flop is 8-8-K turn Q, river K for a full house. Good game, Darrell!
I just won a $1500 sponsorship into my selection of tournaments. I have chosen the $1080 WSOP Circuit Event 8 at Harrah’s Atlantic City. Wish me luck!!!