Don't ask me how I did it. I don't know. Maybe it was the water. I swear to the Lord above, I never had more than 11600 in chips until there was 20 some people left. I never saw a river card until Ihad pushed all in with my last 9100 at least 2 1/2 hours into the event. But somehow, I would make the cut and the final table.
You know the story. Wednesday night, Gametime, yada, yada, yada. I got there just before 7 as I was playing on line (Got killed when AA fell to 77, flopped straight beat by the suckout flush and AK was beat by a straight that had AQ even though I flopped a set of Ks.) I went into the second room and ended on the far table. Chimney was there (hope he isn't offended by that comment but that was my first impression. Real cool dude, good player). As were a couple of his buddies. Way too serious guy at the table as well. Took way too much time to either call or bet. Hey, Serious one, it is a free tourney, anything decision that requires more than 15-20 seconds ain't gonna win you any big money. New guys, Lingo guy, who trotted out every phrase that has been said on every poker telecast (except string bet), quiet guy and bad player guy (anyone that goes out on the second hand with just a pair will be branded as bad player guy). Quite a boring table somewhat. Lingo guy was aggressive early, chasing Chimney out of a pot. Two young guys at the table played well, taking spots to show aggression. Me? I folded. A lot. In the first hour, I saw a flop only once when I wasn't in the blinds. I don't even recall the details. I think I had two face cards and bet out on the flop. The one caller folded quickly. That may have been it.
Got moved to another table. This would be the theme of the night. At that table, there was the Miller guy, who has won two of these events and ironically won't be at the finals. Two women, one big stack, a guy who reminds me of my friend John in college and the two young guys from the other table. I think I played two hands at this table. On each hand, I bet out and took down the pot on the flop. Again, nothing strong to play. I think one hand was K Q clubs. The other might have been A x. I tried to limp on A 6 with blinds at 1000/2000. Didn't know it though and tried to call 500. When I was told of my error, I called even though I knew the young dude on my right would raise. Cost me another 2k (hey, I am not going to get bullied out of a pot!). Saw a flop that missed me completely and folded (but I will fold quickly!). If it wasn't for the second pot at the table, I would have had about 7k, but instead was just above 10 gain.
Moved into the main room. I think there was roughly 6 tables still going. I kept looking at my 9 3, 10 2, J 6, A 4, Q 2, etc. Fold. Fold. Fold. Fold.
At the new table, blinds were kicked up to 2000/4000. Interesting table. Serious guy was there. Some young tough with sunglasses and a stack. Little Gus Hansen is there with his healthy stack. Some chick who was attractive (chicks and poker, yes!), a pretty passive dude with the XFL jersey and some bearded guy. I knew I had to push soon. Got A K and pushed my 11600 in. Everyone folded. I then went through the series again (see above). Stole some more blinds to stay afloat. Pushed with 8 8 and my 10500 (I had defended by blinds which whittled me down) again with no one calling, even the girl who was pot committed in the big blind didn't call. Blinds come around and the kick in a 1000 ante as well. Look down and see 6 6. Guy on my right pushes in. I push as well. As I wait for the rest of the table, I quiz the guy. Got a big pair? No. Got a small pair? No. A? Yeah. He shows A 10. No help and I double through. I hit the high point of the night for my chip count and it was the first hand I saw to the river. We are down to like 25 people and I finally saw a river. Amazing is that within 5 minutes, we are down to 20 people and I get moved again. How did I get this far with little to play?
My table would end up being the final table. There was the XFL guy on my right. Young dude from the first table. Raiders fan, Eddie Bauer man, a chubby girl who apparenlty kept getting pocket rockets, J and some other guy. I have about 31k here after my double on the sixes. Blinds are 10000/20000 and 5k antes. I need to push and soon. I steal a pot with something. In the big blind I catch the antes when everyone folds. I go heads up on XFL guy with AJ soon after. One guy had raised to 40k. I pushed all in. He folded and I chipped up a bit. XFL shows J 9 (he was big blind and all in). He hit his 9 to stay alive. We are down to 5 people and clamor for some table consolidation. Apparently the real big stacks are over there. We finally consolidate to the final table. Still don't know how I got here and how I got about 60k in chips.
On my second hand, I look down and see A J and go for it. Young dude calls and Raider fan pushes as well. Young dude shows K Q. Raider fan A K (I think?). Flop come A J rag. Rag on turn. I call for no face on the river and a J hits! Full boat suddenly means I have huge chips! With antes, I quadrupled up. I still don't know how I got here. I knocked Raider fan out with a fluke. He pushed all in (only 20k) and I was the big blind. Folded around to me. I flip my cards up- 6 2 off. Raider fan has A K suited. Flop comes 3 5 face. Turn is rag. River is a 4 to give me a straight. I feel I should go wash my hands because I don't have a clue where I am pulling this from. I knocked stoner Schlitz dude out when I hit a card on the river again. Before I know it, we are down to 3. Smaller stoner dude goes out with the last chick when young dude pulls the full house. She was pissed, but he played it very well.
Now I am heads up, final two. Deja vu! Played two hands. I thought my K high was good enough but the rivered J gave him a pair. Final hand was me with 6 8. Flop came 6 7 9. I bet 25k and he called. Turn was a 7. I bet 50k and he pushed all in. I am open ended and had two pair. I don't think he paired the board. I thought of the possibilities and called. Thought of everything but the straight he had flopped. He showed me his 8 10. No help on the river and it was over. Second place again. I was only slightly disappointed. I could have dragged it out and would have if the stakes were higher but young dude played very well. I have no problem losing to someone like that.
I still don't know how I got that far considering the cards I got all night. To finally see a river card with 20 some people left amazes me.