Here's my formula for winning a poker tournament in G-Vegas.
1) Show up. Cause you can't win it if you ain't in it.
2) Get hit in the face with the deck for five hours, including picking up pocket Aces four times over the course of the tournament.
3) Get to the final table with roughly half the chips in play.
4) Suck out on Otis to bust him in 3rd.
5) Make a bad read on Jim the Knife but suck out on him to knock him out less than 10 hands into heads-up play.
I felt like once we got down to about 6 players that if I didn't win that event it was going to be one of the finest displays of donkery in the history of poker. After all, how do you come to the final table with 50% of the chips in the whole tournament, still have low blinds (because Blood always has a great structure at his events), and then knock out the other big stack and still LOSE? I figured I'd find a way, but I managed to avoid imploding to take down the win, and my largest tournament win ever.
But I can't credit anything to my good play. I thought I played okay, but I was running so ridiculously hot that by the time I got to the cash game (I played the "kiddie table" with TeamScottSmith, Mrs. Blood, Mrs. All-In and T rather than giving the sharks in the kitchen a shot at my newfound bankroll. Yes, Virginia, I am a chickenshit. Or a master of game selection, you pick.) I didn't even look at my cards most of the time and still managed to make a few dollars playing quarter poker!
It was really the sickest run of cards I've ever been on. On two occasions at my first table I accidentally exposed one of Teddy Ballgame's cards while dealing, then dealt myself the nuts when the same card came on the turn! Once I made trip sixes when the case six came on the turn after I exposed Teddy's 6. Then I exposed a King that was going to him and put a King out on the turn to make my straight. But the real sickness came when I called Chip's preflop raise with 10-9 off suit (it wasn't that big a raise and I had the button, so it's not that completely donkerrific a move. Okay, it was, but I was running hot, so I made more bad calls than usual. When you're hitting everything in sight, you gotta go with it.) Flop came down K-Q-J and I held the 2nd nuts. I bet into him, he raised me, I went over the top and he pushed all in. I quickly called and he tabled KK for top set. He was a little disappointed to hit what he thought was the perfect flop and still be drawing thin. My straight held up and HGHN.
I took out Mrs. Blood not long after when I checked my option with 6-4 diamonds after she limped in and the SB completed. The flop came down all diamonds and I check-called the flop and turn. Mrs. Blood was pretty committed after her turn bet, so when the river left only three diamonds out there I figured her for top pair with one diamond, so I led for enough to put her all in. She called with two pair and one diamond, and I busted the host's wife. She was pretty happy that the kids were away, so she could drop her own F-bomb at getting busted relatively early.
The second time I picked up Aces Random101 picked up Jacks, Rick picked up pocket sixes, and we all saw a flop full of baby cards. I fired, Random went all in over the top, and Rick had to think for a long moment before folding. I called, the board ran out that would have given Rick a straight, and Random was done. I sucked out a Broadway straight on Rick a little later, but he still had chips to get to the final table.
I don't remember too many of the hands at the final table, but there was a period of time when we saw three players go out on three successive hands. I think I took out the first two, including Rankster to burst the bubble, then Jim took out Mrs. All In to leave me, Otis and Jim as the three finalists. I had doubled Jim up to where he and Otis were pretty even, and I had a commanding lead. It was just a few hands into 3-handed play when Otis raised preflop with 9-7 clubs, and I looked down at AK off suit, about the 3rd time I'd held that hand since we got to the final table. I re-raised, he shoved, I called, and he hit a 9 on the flop. But, since that's how I had been running, I hit my King on the river and Otis headed to the cash game. It was my turn to take him out, since he busted me from our event at the Venetian in December, but we both kinda wanted a shot at each other heads-up.
So that left the two Charlotte boys heads-up for the title, and oddly enough, with all the hands of poker we've played, Jim and I have never been heads-up in a tournament before. Frank the Tank was dealing for us and he asked if we wanted to talk about a chop. I declined mostly because I didn't want to figure out the math of my chip lead, and because I wanted to play Jim heads-up. Also, I'd been running so hot all day I would have felt like I shortchanged myself a little if I didn't see if I could close it out. I figured we'd got 10 hands or so and see how we felt about it.
It didn't take that long. We jockeyed back and forth for a few hands, Jim giving me a walk in my big blind a couple times, him taking down a couple hands preflop with big raises, and me taking down one or two post-flop. Then came the final hand, for all the marbles. I held the button, and completed with Q-3. Jim checked his option, and we saw a flop of 10-6-3 rainbow. Jim fired a decent bet, a little more than the pot, and I made the call. Our stacks were ridiculously deep, so we could both afford to splash around. Blinds were still only 300/600 and I had somewhere nea 50K in chips. Jim had around 25K, so we were able to play as much as we wanted. My strategy for heads-up was to play a little small ball and try to trap when I could hit a monster. Jim's full-bore style didn't really change any, so I had sacrificed a few limps to his big raises. I wasn't interested in playing any big hands until I had a big hand, a made big hand.
So I peel off a loose call with bottom pair, thinking Jim has a couple of overs or maybe a 10. Turn comes a Queen and I check my top and bottom pair. Jim fires a slightly bigger bet, and I raise him about 2.5x his bet. He goes all in over the top, and at that point I think he was on two overs and one of them was a Queen. So I think all I have to do is fade his kicker and I call almost instantly. He turns over 10-6 for top two pair on the flop, and I have once again sucked out on the turn. River is an inconsequential Ace, and I've taken down my second tourney at the House of Blood, and my second cash of the year in G-Vegas. And Jim has logged back-to-back cashes in his first two trips to G-Vegas. And once again, I forgot to create a Charlotte last-longer bet, but TheMark ran a last-longer pool that I also took down, because I jumped in that with all the other degenerates.
This was my first live tournament win since early in 2007, and my biggest tourney payday ever, and I probably won't see another pair of pocket Aces until the December blogger gathering. I do admit that it became somewhat uncomfortable to sit in the chair with that horseshoe lodged up my ass, but somehow we persevere through these trials of life. Everybody had a great time, and we all chipped in to freeroll Blood into the tourney for his birthday, so it was, as usual, a blast in G-Vegas.