Hey Poker peeps. It’s Ron – the worst player on the Poker Academy staff.
Good news for me: I had my biggest score to date. I bought in for three bullets, but I took down a tournament and won $3735 for first place. I know that’s chump change in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the most I’ve ever won in a day.
There were a few takeaways from the tourney that I thought you might find useful to your game.
First, I had to swallow my ego and realize that I was NOT among the best players at my table. I usually try to display an air of confidence at the poker table. To act like I’m one of the best players at the table. I don’t know if it works all the time, but I think I’ve gotten more than my fair share of folds by handling myself this way.
But at this tourney, there was one Professional at the table with at least one WSOP final table in his resume, and another player I recognized from the TV table of the WSOP Main Event a few years ago. I specifically remember that he kept getting into clashes with Ben Lamb a lot.
So conservatively, I may have been the 4th or 5th best player at this 9 handed table. Even with this knowledge, I kept clashing with the Pro. Intellectually, I knew I shouldn’t tangle with him, especially in the early stages of the tournament, yet I found myself in tough spots with hands like 3rd pair. Needless to say, he got the best of me for about 5 or 6 hours and I was getting frustrated. It seemed like every time I opened with a reasonable hand he would three bet me in position.
Which brings me to my second takeaway. To quote the late great Tom Petty, “Even the losers get lucky sometimes.”
After about the 963rd time this pro 3 bet me, I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore. It was the final table, 8 players remained and I had about 18 big blinds or so. I’m in late middle position and get pocket threes. My plan was to open, and if he made a raise, I was going to insta-shove when it got back to me. There was just no way that he always has a hand when I open. Right?
So I open for 2.5 big blinds, folds to him on the button, and he three bets. It gets back to me and I shove. He thinks for about 5 seconds and calls rolling over QQ. He fades the flop and the turn. I get up from my chair ready to walk away and start bitching about my bust out hand, and then a 3 peels off on the river. Boom, double up. Totally lucky, but I’ll take it.
A few orbits later I ended up busting the pro when my AJs went runner runner for my flush to beat his pocket Kings.
It was pretty smooth sailing from there till I got heads up. I was running good and picking up decent hands. Which brings me to my final point.
Do not chop when you are the chip leader. I ended up heads up vs the guy from the WSOP TV table. Neither of us even brought up a chop. In these smaller tourneys for some reason, the final 4 or even 5 guys always want to chop it up. For me, I want the experience of playing short handed. If and when I’m ever in a big tourney with big money on the line, I don’t want to be the only guy who has no experience playing short handed.
I only have one exception to my not chop rule: when I’m the short stack, and they are willing to give me more money than my stack is worth. Then and only then will I agree to a final table chop.
I had about a 2:1 chip lead going into heads up. He battled back to get about even, and then I pulled away. I got pocket Kings about 45 minutes into the heads up match, and he shoved A9o. My red kings held, and I won. But the short handed play was just as valuable to me as the cash. My intention is to be in this exact situation with more money up top, and I want to know what the hell I’m doing.
Onward and upward for 2018.
I hope you run good.