MABLETON, Ga. -- It's down to five people and I just got check-raised all-in by the big blind when the flop is A8K. I have an ace that I raised pre-flop utg.
It's bubble time, as four places pay in BrainMc
's 16-person Saturday tournament.
Calling the extra 3,600 chips would pretty much cripple me. There are two shorter stacks that would love to slip into the money by letting the biggest stacks go at it.
I need information. I flip over my ace.
"Got a bigger ace?" I ask with a smile.
I don't usually get Saturdays off since I work most weekends, but this day off just happened to fall into my lap. Sham and I drove OTP directly into suburbia. Brian has a wonderful house -- it always makes me comfortable when I see vacation photos mounted on the wall that come from Las Vegas.
We started off with two tables, but the table Sham and I were at had a lot of action -- we got down to four people before the remaining six from the other table consolidated with us.
I tried not to shuffle my chips. This is a low-AF home game, not the World Series. I may not be bankrolled like a pro, but I always feel like one, you know, we've seen so much stuff.
This is one of the first tournaments I've been in that I haven't felt anything -- no jitters, no hesitation. Just wait. Pounce and attack.
It's sort of silly when you think about it. I don't know why the game means so much to me. I play with neurologists, home builders, businessmen, pilots, just about everyone who makes more money than I do in my daily life. That little $5 buy-in for my mixed cash game or the $20 tourney fee doesn't mean that much to them. But I relish in winning it, rounding the corner and being just a step closer to the basket.
And there were so many different weapons available that day. A low-AF game is like having air superiority on the battlefield -- it may not be enough to win it just on that alone, but you can operate very comfortably, knowing you won't get popped back or people will fold to your raises or bets.
A flop comes and an early guy bets a little for what I belive is a 4-flush draw. I pop it up and the EP folds. Later in the tourney, another flop comes and it's KAx. We check it. A K comes on the turn. I bet it, and get a fold. I show 36o, the kuro. Even taking the blinds was pretty significant at that point in the game.
I picked up chips through open raising pre-flop, by continuation betting. I trapped by advertising on some plays (betting it out, say, when a flop was paired then folding to a raise, then doing the same later when I flopped trips).
My big hands came when I limped with 34o in a multi-way pot and the flop came 765. A shortstack small blind went all-in, everyone folded.
"I just have the ignorant end," I say, flipping over my cards. He had TT, and that was it for him.
I raised another time with AQs, prompting a short stack to go all-in with AT. I call. He flops 2 pair with ATK, turn is a blank, a river is a Q, sort of ironic given that the name of the street outside is "Queens River." LOL.
Back to the hand at the beginning of this tale -- I would have to call 3,600 for a 8,600 pot. I feel like the big blind is a sort of tight player, I haven't seen him in too many hands, so I feel that he had to have something to call me.
He answers my questions, smiles, doesn't look too nervous. I feel bad for going in the tank for so long, but I need to have the right information. I look at the board. A8K. My 4-kicker isn't going to be very good if we're in an ace race. I don't even want to think about a set.
I look at my chips and know that I can get rid of this and fight on.
So I do so. He doesn't flip up his cards to show some ridiculous bluff. I give him credit for the hand and move on.
Later I knock out a player who re-raises all in. I have A8o but I feel it's good enough. He has K8 and I win with ace-high. Another guy in MP who later will go on to place third folded 99 and he would have made a set. Whew.
At five and four players, I try to make a deal to chop up the purse, since we're pretty much equal in chips and anyone can win this thing. But we play on.
Soon it's heads-up with me and Tim, the guy who raised me all-in earlier. He took out the third-place guy and he has tons of chips. The blinds are 500-1,000 with a 50 ante and I'm in the move in zone.
It's our first heads-up hand. He calls the small blind. I look down and see 99 and I go all-in. He calls, showing KT.
Flop is good. Turn is a blank.
And the river, a K.
I came so close to winning the tourney, but I felt good. I always felt like I had an edge when I made decisions and I didn't make too many mistakes.
I sense another opportunity. Tim is still at his seat, happy with the win.
It's the perfect time to ask.
"So in that hand when you went all-in, did you have me beat?" I ask.
"Nah. I had JJ. You would have had me."