It was about 15 minutes before the weekly WWdN started that I signed up. I wasn't necessarily in the mood to play poker but there was little else to do. Tuesday night TV is a barren dessert. There is really nothing on. I mean absolutely nothing.
So I figured I might as well play and see what happens. It hadn't dawned on me that I hadn't played in a tournament for well over a week. I wonder why? I had no reason to not play when given the chance for poker. I just had been playing ring games instead.
I think it showed early on. Though I was a couple of early pots, they were all tiny. The table seemed tight so I started playing loose and raising with just about anything. Until I started bleeding chips. So after 45 minutes of not getting any action on big hands, and drawing out on crap hands, I decided to go to push mode. That didn't net me any more than the big hands and I ended up at the break under 800. Most good tournament players will tell you that you should be able to double up in the first round, which puts your in a great spot for the second session where people get tighter. They are right. So why had I done the opposite?
As the second session began, I knew I had to push to get back in. So with any decent hand or position, I was shoving chips in. Got back to 1500, then 2000, then back to 1700. My yo yo impression was pretty good. Then I caught my first break. I got a caller with A A. His 8s did not crack my boys so I doubled through to just under 3k.
Then I got lucky. I stayed aggressive and kept making raises. This time however, I kept an eye on where the big stacks were. I tried to key up my moves only when they acted first whether they had limped, or raised. If they folded, I could try to pound the smaller stacks behind me. This is where I got lucky a couple of times. A 8s beats J J by filling a gutshot straight on the river. K 5 suited (bad steal attempt but I had to only call a little more) defeated A high with a flush on the turn. Add a bluff or two in and suddenly I was up in 2nd place.
I was taking some chances that I wouldn't when I was playing tighter. Some paid off, others didn't. But sometimes you know that if you miss the chance to knock someone out, and suddenly you drop 3000 to them, you feel inside that the game is still flowing in your direction. You know you can either bully the table or the cards will come. It isn't about whether you will get that 3000 back, but how long will it take. That is a nice comfort zone to be in.
In the end, I finished in 4th place when my 5 5 lost the flip to A J. I didn't like the way I played that final table though. I started ok but I wasn't focusing on trying to win. Sounds stupid to play all that way and not try to win. But I realized that is what I was doing. I shoved with the 5s when I could have made a standard raise or limped. I think the blinds were 600-1200 at the time. Shoving isn't a bad move, but if I do a normal raise, I can get away from the overcards on the flop and find a better spot to push with. It may not have mattered but I wouldn't have been left with the bad taste of pushing with a small pair of 5s.