Down to my last 75 chips, come back to eliminate both opponents, win 3-Max SNG

Here’s a 3-Max SNG I just won.

Opening hand:

I played pretty tough here. I was close to being eliminated twice and came back, beat the shorter-stacked opponent, then had to fight a 2:1 stack advantage held by the big stack.

I felt accomplished to take the chips from this one, but it was in no small part due to some pretty fantastic luck when I was shoving from a crippled position. There were a few hands where I was against the #2 stack and edged him out with a better kicker.

If you don’t want to run through the replay of the entire tournament, here’s a few pivotal hands:

My first big mistake: I tried to defend my BB with 87o, flopped into a gutshot straight draw with possible flush, and held on too long, got my chips chopped in half.

My second big mistake: Opening with Kd2d, when I didn’t have to, and then calling a pre-flop shove by @Rox-Zee, which ended poorly for me. I flipped a coin in my head as to whether to call or not, and it didn’t work. Now I have just 75 chips.

Started my comeback immediately: Desperation time. Shoved my remaining chips on the next hand, holding Ac6c, Turn and River give me 2 pair to beat Rox-Zee’s nothing, I’m back up to 150 – just 5BB. Still far from out of the woods.

QT over Q8, High card King to double up through the big stack: Lucky kicker #1.

Second double-up through the big stack: He misses an open straight draw, while I hit 2 pair. Now I’m back to 505, back where I started! It’s a new game.

Big mistake #3: I’m dealt 99 on the button, open raise, the small stack shoves. I call. They’re holding AKo, and make trip Aces, chopping me back down below half. 215 chips. Noooo! This was less a big mistake, and more just a beat. Not a bad beat, just a beat. A lot of times heads-up, you’re good with 99, and this was not one of those times. At least I had my opponent covered. I’m still in this. But now I have to rebuild again.

A hand I wisely stayed out of: Another hand where, had I stayed in it, I would have made 2 pair on the Turn and River. But there was a flush draw on the flop, and I doubt I could have stayed in this hand even if I hadn’t folded preflop. Rox-Zee takes a big pot, taking over as the big stack and dropping @Golfercuz to 325 chips, who had made a pair of 8s on the flop. In these shorthanded games a pair, even a small pair, is often good for the hand, but it’s not not smart to bet or call with just a pair when there flop is solid suited against you.

A chop with the small stack: Here I get extremely lucky again, making a Straight to chop with Golfercuz, who also makes the same straight. I shoved back at his preflop raise. Despite the chop, I get a few chips profit from this hand thanks to the half of the SB from Rox-Zee coming back to me. Interesting note: One more heart, and he would have flushed me out; one more diamond, I would have had a flush. A 9h on the river would have given him a straight flush.

Another close shave: I shove A7o here. Why? Because just calling the BB is already half my stack, and if I’m going to lose that many chips, I might as well lose them all, and if I’m going to win the hand, I want to win them all. A shove here might get a fold, and I get free blinds, which are a substantial proportion of my stack at this point. And if I do get a call, I’m giving them the least information to make a call with. Golfercuz calls me, Rox-Zee stays out of it, and neither of us hits anything, but my 7 kicker beats his A4, and I narrowly avoid chopping another pot with him. Poor Golfercuz is down to his last 9 chips now; I’m back up to 606,and Rox-Zee has 885. I’ve done it. A second comeback.

2 hands later, Golfercuz eliminated: I take A8 vs Q5, and again neither of us makes anything; I just get by with High Card Ace for his last 9 chips. Opponent #1 vanquished!

Heads-up with the chip leader: Limping in with J4, I have the fantastic luck to hit 2 pair on the flop with this hand. I don’t want to lose this hand, and consider going all-in, but I’m afraid that if I bet anything, Rox-Zee will just fold and I’ll only get a small pot. I’m equally afraid that if I don’t bet big on the flop, by the River Rox-Zee will have made something that can beat my 2 pair. It almost happens. I check the flop, Rox-Zee min-bets, I call. The turn is an Ace, giving Rox-Zee top pair, and now the trap is set. I check again, Rox-Zee makes a pot-sized bet, and I shove. Rox-Zee waits a second and then calls, and I end up taking the chip lead, and am now dominating her 10:4 in stack size. I haven’t pulled it off yet, but I’m in the driver’s seat now.

The Win: KJo over 89s, better kicker to a pair of 4’s on the board.

In running through this game again, it’s clear that I was only able to win because I kept getting dealt cards that I could play hands with. I folded a couple of hands that I didn’t paste above, and there’s some skill involved in knowing when to fold and how to bet. I don’t want to discount my play, but I can’t brag about it either.

A fun one to watch, and a satisfying win to play.