10th place in a big MTT

I’m back after taking a week off from playing. Had a good first night back, finishing 10th/147 place in a big MTT. Had some good fortune early, played reasonably well through the whole thing, but had some trouble late with a player whose aggression I couldn’t handle. I could have beaten him at a few points and didn’t have the confidence to play the cards, or didn’t withstand the head of his big betting. I couldn’t get a very good read on his range and this contributed to me making mistakes. But the hands I didn’t play, I probably shouldn’t have played – they just happened to flop very well for me if I’d happened to stay in them, but they weren’t particularly good starting cards. But this lead to my having regrets about not playing those hands, and that made me susceptible to wanting to stay in the one hand I should have not stayed in, my last hand at the tournament.

The setup for this is long, so feel free to skip to the last couple of hands if you aren’t inclined to read through the whole thing.

I jumped into the American Million MTT, 19 minutes late. Quickly knocked out a player with AK over TT, AA22 over TT22, eliminating my first opponent, winning 35K chips on my third hand since joining the tournament, catapulting me up into around 15th place out of 147 players right away.


I held on there, and kept winning smaller pots, working my way up to 6th place by the 1-hour mark. One of my bigger pots was with this A-high flush, which I played pretty well for value:


I wonder what my opponent @matze578 had here to call with. Top pair? 9x for a straight? or perhaps 9T for a nut straight? Or a lesser flush?

Mostly I had been getting lucky on somewhat marginal hands, such as this one where I played A5o from the SB, paired the 5, added a pair of Tens on the board for 2 pair TT55A, and it made out good against my one opponent who apparently had nothing but called me to the river anyway. I really don’t know how I didn’t lose this hand, playing bottom pair.


Or this hand, where I played A6s, and won it with a pair of 6s on a board with KQ, my opponent holding ATo, waiting for a Jack that never came:


A short while later, I took a big pot with a Broadway straight, made on the River, where I had a flush draw as well as a straight draw. Q7s flopping KJT, and the Ace coming on the River. I value bet and am called by the big stack at the table, @rabbitpunch, and take back 31.5K chips.


And then there’s this hand, where I play A9o, and eliminate another player, playing A6s, on a board where we both paired our Ace on the flp, and then I paired my 9 on the Turn, but then the River made a scary board where anyone with a Jack would have had the hand.


At this point, there’s just 61 players still in this contest at the hour break, and the top 25 are taking home chips, with the top money being a little over 780K chips.

With my stack in the #6 slot on the leaderboard, all I have to do is play my usual game, and play it conservative, and I should get into the money – just don’t chase draws too much, and don’t raise too much preflop. I just need to conserve my stack, and look for hands that I can play, but not worry too much about growing it. The blinds are already 1500/3000, and will grow quickly, and they’ll take care of knocking out the short-stacked players at the tournament for me.

Immediately after the first break, I knock out the shortest stack in the tournament, who is forced all-in by the blinds. I raise to isolate them, and happen to have better cards than them, ATo over 54o, trip 7s on the flop and both of us miss the board, but my top card beats theirs.


After this, I get rebalanced to a new table, hit trip jacks, playing J9s from the SB, and win another decent sized pot.


Then I go on a little hot streak. I buy the blinds with AJs, and win another pot with 88 from UTG, closing the hand with a half-pot bet after no overcards to my pocket pair hit the flop. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466096409

Lose a few thousand on a wheel straight draw in the BB, missing the 2, but still holding #6 on the leaderboard, so not worried. 10 minutes into the 2nd hour, 10 players are eliminated, now down to 50. 25 to go to the bubble.

I get rebalanced again to a new table, where I am the dominant big stack, at 2x the next biggest at the table. I get JKo UTG, raise, get 2 callers, flop the jacks, bet half the pot, am called by the BB, he shoves the turn, a nearly pot-sized bet, and I call, he’s bluffing, a gutshot draw, doesn’t hit it, I’m suddenly up to #2 on the leaderboard.


I win a pot with AK where I miss but have the high kicker to a pair of 7s on the board.


Next hand I stay out, JJ knocks out AQ, field is down to 43 remaining.

Blinds are 2000/4000 now, and I’m well ahead over everyone but the #1 player on the board, who has double my chips. They’re not at my table so I’m not worried.

I miss an opportunity when I sit out of a hand with J7, the board brings 2 more Jacks and @Pragox wins 169K chips in that pot. @Pragox was my nemesis at this table, and eventually eliminated me in 10th place, and finished 3rd himself. Here, he plays KTo, middle pair, and eliminates a player who shoved pocket 4s long after they should have folded them, pulling in about 170k in chips. 44 sitting in the BB raised 3BB ahead of the flop, min-bet the flop, and 1/2 pot bet the turn, and then shoved on the River, with 44. Really poor betting structure on their part, and they paid for it.


I get 77 and raise preflop, get one caller, they don’t lay down when I bet half the pot on the flop, and I lay down on the Turn to preserve my stack, assuming whatever I’m up against has me beat.

I win some chips from the BB with middle pair calling bluff/broken draw to a flush. Now just 37 left in it. Closing in on the bubble.

Blinds 3000/6000. I feel like I should open my range here. I get dealt 48s, fold, miss a flush, but not a flush I could play profitably, although it would have won that hand. I note the flush, but don’t feel like I’m going to win with 84 very often, so don’t worry about it.

Big stack @Pragox knocks another player out, JJ over J5s, and goes up another 120k: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466099868

I win a small pot for 21K on middle pair 8’s, with an Ace on the board, beating the SB who’s holding 45s, and made bottom pair but had a Wheel straight draw.


35 players left in this thing, 10 to the bubble.

Hit a wheel straight for another 21k pot. 32 players left. I’m #4 on the board with 245K.


Blinds hit 4000/8000. It won’t be long now.

In the BB, an inactive player gets forced all-in, I sense an opportunity to steal the pot. The big stack @Pragox limps, I have K8o, try to bluff him off the flop but he calls, and am stopped when I check the Turn and he bets big. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466101557

I when the BB comes around to him I raise him in return, holding AQ, flop QQAA, but he doesn’t bet and folds when I min-bet, and come back out ahead +3K chips from the hand I had to lay down after bluffing, and still #4 on the board with 248K.


In the BB I get AKo, raise 3BB to 24K, and end up taking @Pragox for 360K chips when he shows 45, a total bluff on a scary board with 3 clubs in the flop, just taking it with a pair of Kings. He had four clubs, but not 5. I knock him down by 1/2, and am now the tournament chip leader with 435K. I’m lucky he didn’t have a flush here, but I think I read him properly and didn’t put him on a flush, although I was surprised when he showed the 45, considering he called a 3BB raise preflop with 45o. I figured he had a draw to the club flush, but was not suited clubs, and therefore didn’t have it when the Turn and River cards weren’t clubs, and that he was bluffing. I was right. I wasn’t confident enough to try to raise him, though. Probably my best hand of the game, and and the biggest pot won.


A short time later, another player wins a huge pot a different table and jumps into the tournament lead, knocking me back to #2 although I haven’t lost any chips. Leader has 660k, I have 423k. Not that I’m worried about it. Just play my game. But I do like to keep an eye on the board.

Blinds now at 5k/10k. 26 player left, it’s bubble time.

I take 71K with ATs, flopping a pair of Tens, weirdly misreading the hand and thinking I’m bluffing the pot, I make a half-pot bet from position and no one calls, then while I’m waiting on them to decide I notice I have top pair top kicker. Misread the hand but made the correct play anyway, and the outcome was good. Need to stay focused.


Steal the blinds with AKo: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466104178

Next hand, I get TT, call a 30K raise from @Pragox, and then lay it down after the flop in the face of a 98k bet raise to my 10K bet when the flop comes 994. I assume he either has a 9 here or a higher valued pocket pair, and I’m too far behind here to risk calling. But who knows, maybe he’s bluffing with 54 again. Either way, he pull back 78k chips from me.

Then I get AK again, and pair the Ace but lose to a flush. The winner of this hand called my preflop raise with T7s, and had a 4-card flush draw on the flop, called my pot-sized bet, hit the flush, knocking me back down to 392K. This player, @KevinMack, went on to win the whole tournament. He was already committed with all but 17K of his chips in preflop, so I couldn’t get him to fold, and the cards just fell his way this hand. I had hoped I might eliminate him here. But instead this hand marked the start of an epic comeback for him. Well played, @KevinMack.

Two hands later, I am dealt QJo, chop with QJo on another all-inner with a small stack. There was no danger to me here, I raised with decent cards, enough to put him nearly all-in to call me, and he had decent cards. He shoved in return to my raise, I called, I had him isolated, and we had the same hand.

The tournament leader, @Shiggzz1, gets rebalanced to my table, I get in with him holding AKs, and one of the other smaller stacks shoves holding 44, I call with my Big Slick, miss the flop, I check the Turn, and he shoves, I muck, he’s hit a straight, 8-Q, and I got out of his way but gave up a good chunk of my stack, and this pot is over 1M chips.


I get KJs and raise, then fold after the flop to a big bet when I hit nothing but a backdoor straight draw. Now I’m down to 285K, and then I lose another hand am down to 266K. Just a short while ago I had over 400K in front of me.

Take 42K on a bluff from position. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466106665 And again on a gutshot draw with AAK on the board and JT in my hand. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466106767

Another hand where @Pragox shows his skill, I am in the BB holdin 39o, flop a pair of 3s, and hope that I can take the pot with a small bet, the flop is 352 so I feel there’s a decent chance of this happening, but he raises like he’s holding A4 for a flopped wheel straight, and I have to lay down the hand.


Down to 12 players, I’m holding at 280K, 5th on the board.

It’s a 6-seated game, so 2 tables to go. I feel good.

I fold A5 on the button and the flop brings 2 5’s and the Turn an A, after the #3 player shoves, and he takes a huge pot for 530K. I’m sad, what an opportunity to decimate him after taking that huge chunk out of him earlier. This was probably my 2nd biggest mistake of the game. Sometimes I’ll play Ace rag and sometimes I won’t, and this was one of the times I should have at least taken it to the flop. I had position, and it was within my range. This right here was where I blew it.

@Pragox shoves to push the tournament chip leader off the hand, and if I’m in here I’m taking him for everything I can put in the middle, which would have chopped his stack by about 2/3, and put me in a much better position than I already was. But, thing is, even if I’d limped or raised with my A5, @Pragox raises big to defend his BB on this hand, and that raise probably would have been enough to make me fold my A5 preflop, and I still would have been out of the hand when I saw the two 5s hit the board, and just been more upset at myself for not having the guts to call here and play. When, really, A5 is not that great a hand to play.


10 players to go.

I’m now #7 in the tournament with 245K out of 10.

Take a huge pot with K5, flopping KK55, but slow playing the hand, checking the flop and turn to set up an all-in fake bluff that the tournament leader buys, and I double up through him to 514K. Now #3 on the board. This was another great hand on my part, probably better than #466102122, earlier


Another missed “golden opportunity” comes when I fold 37, but then the flop comes with two more 7s. I’m UTG here, so it’s not like I could have played this hand, but if I’d managed to limp I would have ended up with 7s full of 3s. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466108457

In the wake of two missed full houses, I’m looking to play a hand. I get dealt KTs in the BB, and flop top pair. I make a pot-sized bet at it, and am raised by @Pragox. Thinking I have him, I shove, only to find that he’s holding a set of 8s. I am eliminated in 10th place. He raised big at me when I was in the BB, as he had done a few other hands, and this time I had cards to call with. Unfortunately for me we both hit the flop, and acting first I try to take the pot with a pot-sized bet, he comes back raising me, and I shove in response. My only out is a 3rd King, and I don’t get it, although I do get Two Pair. I was sick of getting bullied off my blind by this player, I win just 76101 chips in a tournament where #1 was good for 778k chips.

What a flame-out.

The buy-in was 15K, so I still won a good amount of chips relative to my buy-in, but it’s such a disappointment to have my run ended on a hand like that. I should have just continued to play cautious and let him take the BB from me again.

But if I’m playing that hand, I doubt that I could have seen the threat in that flop to play it any differently. I didn’t read anything from his big preflop raise, because I’d caught him earlier calling a big raise with 45o, which made it very hard to tell what kind of range he was playing – it seemed like ATC. At the flop, when I bet my paired King, I was afraid he would show me AK or AA. I wasn’t expecting the set of 8s he actually had.

I had to pick some point to make a play against @Pragox, and had missed the opportunity with A5o just a few hands prior, and thought that KTs was a reasonably good hand to play back at him with, and it was, just not good enough. @Pragox went on to finish 3rd. I am not terribly disappointed with my 10th place finish, but I sure could have held on a few hands longer and probably finished in the top 5 if I’d kept myself averse to going all-in vs. the bigger stacks at the table.