I’ve complained enough about bad cards, bad beats, and bad play. Today I seem to be on a roll, so it’s time for a happy post from me.
I just finished playing The Hijack MTT, where I took first place. Earlier, I participated in 2 9-seat SNG tables, winning one handily, while going out 9th in about 4 hands in the other.
In the one I lost, I played garbage hands and lost a lot of chips in the first one, then tried to make a play with the next two hands that I entered, which didn’t work out, and was left with a few hundred chips at the last hand, which I shoved in with some Queen-rag suited garbage, hoping I’d get lucky and recover somewhat, but I went out instead.
The Hijack took over 2 hours to win, and by the time it was over the blinds were up to 10000/20000. I won the very first hand of the game, with top pair, improving to two pair, and getting shoved at by one of the other players at the table who I don’t know what they had or what they were thinking. Maybe they had a top pair hand as well, or maybe a weaker two pair. That set me up, putting me to the top of the leaderboard right away. But there were two players at my first table who were using up the entire clock to make every decision at the very last second. It was annoying. Worse, they seemed to be winning more than the other players, and it seemed like they might be sticking around for a while. I tried using a bit of aggression against them when they were in a hand that I wanted to play, betting more than I normally would, just to get them to fold, and that may have been what they were hoping for, as they were not averse to calling those bets, and usually came back with something in their hand.
Eventually, I won another hand, and that triggered a re-balance and I was sent to another table, which was very fortunate. The new table was playing poker, and it was enjoyable. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but at some point I hit a full house and took another player for a lot of chips, putting me back up on top of the leaderboard again. I also had a great hand against a player, playing Qx from the blind, flopping trip Queens, and check-raised them when they bet a 2-pair hand, triggering them to shove back at me, which was fine by me, and I took them down.
From there I was near the top of the leaderboard for most of the rest of the tournament. I did try opening up my range a bit and playing some hands I used to be happy to play a few months ago, but generally don’t play now, and after losing a big pot that way and getting knocked down to around 15th place on the leaderboard, I decided to cut that out and went back to playing tight again, and not trying to make things happen by playing marginal hands, and cut way down on bluffs and trying to intimidate people, and just focused on beating them honestly with better cards, and soon I was back up into the top end of the leaderboard.
Around bubble time, I was on a pretty healthy stack and was lucky enough to start a hot streak, and was able to play more hands at a time when players who are aware of the bubble are playing more cautiously, and I was able to take a lot of chips from people who weren’t looking to play big hands. This put me closer to the top of the leaderboard, but there was one player who was far above everyone else, and even had me dominated. Fortunately I wasn’t at the table with him. But then when we went down to the final 12 players, I got rebalanced and sat down right in front of him. I worried that his position advantage over me would make it hard for me to play the rest of the tournament, and could hurt me, but it turned out he wasn’t a very good player, and was playing very passively, not using his stack at all to any advantage, and was more or less a non-factor for the remainder of the tournament, practically an empty chair. How he managed to get those chips to begin with, I would like to know. I continued to play tight, and took chips when I could, and mostly let the weaker stacks beat each other up and knock each other out.
There was one player who was one of the middle-small stacks, and every time he got drained down to around 20000 chips, he’d start shoving and stealing the blinds or stealing the pot at the flop. Eventually he pulled that at the wrong time and got knocked out, and with him out of the way the rest of the table was very easy to play. It didn’t hurt that at the final table I got hot again, and finally when it was down to heads-up, I got super raging hot, and every hand I played was broadway cards, and much of the time I’d hit a pair on the flop, which I could bet. In no time my stack had grown so much that I was dominating my opponent and simply bullied him and let the blinds suck all his chips into me. There was one point where, right after the 2-hour break, I tried raising him pre-flop to make him fold, and he ended up taking a relatively big hand from me, and suddenly he was the big stack, just slightly over me, which had me worried for a few hands, but I came back strong, and in just a few more rounds I was back well up over him again, and this time there was no looking back, my final series of cards were all Ace-something, painted cards, suited and off-suited connectors, so I could always play through the flop and often raise preflop, and the small stack couldn’t call, so just laid down again and again, until they were knocked out. It was a bit anti-climactic, but a first place showing in any MTT is always something to be happy about.
This was my third 1st place finish in an MTT since I started playing them.