Saturday, October 09, 2004

One Victory Away from Australia
"Follow Nature and place perfect principle in the forefront. If we follow it, there will be fortune, and if we disobey it, there will be misfortune." - Wang Pi
I've played zero poker aside from two SNGs in the previous seven days. I was busy with jury duty earlier in the week and I fell wicked sick last weekend. I wasn't sharp at all, so I thought. I wanted to ease back into the action. I decided to play a $10 multi table Aussie Million Qualifier on Party Poker. 160 players signed up and the top 4 places paid out seats in the $300 Satellite on Sunday night. The winners of that event go to Melbourne, Australia in January for the Australian Poker Championships. My mindset was to fire up Party Poker and read poker blogs. I figured I'd get knocked out in an hour, then I'd write for a few hours and crash. That didn't happen.

Level 1: I doubled up the super short stack at my table when I had 88 on the button and he moved all in. He was playing terrible hands the first ten minutes. I put him on King high. Nope. He had JJ. I flopped and 8, but he flopped his set! Oh well. T625 left while reading Lord Geznikor's blog. 135 players remained.

Level 3: Phil from Studio Glyphic sent me an IM and we started chatting. He was playing PL on Empire and when he was done, he installed Party Poker to watch me play and cheer from the rail. He brought me good luck. With one of the short stacks at my table, I moved all in in late position with AQs. The little blind had Big Slick and quickly called. I won my first of several hands where I was the clear underdog. That was the first bad beat I'd issue for the evening when I flopped a Q. T1278 and 92 players left, I was reading the random confessions of a NYC escort... Alexa's blog, one of my daily reads.

Level 4: No action for Big Slick. I won the blinds and got my only table change... to table #1, where I was 7th at the table in chips. At the end of the first break, I had T1553. The average stack 2400 and 67 players remained.

Level 5-6: I limped in UTG with AQ. the flop: Q-10-6. I bet the pot and the guy on the button raised and doubled my bet. I moved all in and he called with K6s! My top pair held up and I doubled up against the former table chip leader. I won small pots with 99, A-10s and AQ. I won a big one with Q3s in the big blind. I flopped top pair with a flush draw and won the pot on the turn with a big bet. I had T6071, about 8th in chips with 40 players left. I stopped reading blogs and hunkered down.

Level 8: I played just one hand... 66. I folded everything else. I was getting junk hands after junk hands. I was chipped down to T5521 by the second break. I slipped to 12th out of 22.

Level 9: Shorthanded I limped in MP with KJo. I hadn't played a hand in a while over a half hour. The flop: AJ8. I fired out at the pot right away. No callers and I added to my stack, which grew to over T7200. I found AJ in the LB. The button had almost 25K in chips. He busted six or seven guys. He always raised on the button, but that time he pushed his monster stack all in. I thought for a second and folded. I don't like AJ in NL and calling an all in bet with AJ is usually a sketchy move. I stole the blinds with 77 on the button and finished the level with T7461. I was 7th out of 16. Two tables left. Phil was still watching. I was getting sleepy.

Level 10: After a Snapple iced tea and some coffee cake I felt a little energized. I raised in LP with 10-10. The BB had AK and pushed his stack all in. I quickly called and it was a classic showdown. Pocket 10s vs. Big Slick. You have to win your share of coin flips with AK and against AK. He flopped a K. I caught running cards to hit a straight on the river! What a hand. I was up to T14242 and moved into 4th place overall. A few hands later, I lost a heads up pot to the short stack. He had A2s and I had AQ. Of course he hit his flush and my stack remained at over 10K. The table dropped from seven to six players and I caught a flurry of good hands. 77, AAA, AK... all of them held up. At the end of the level I had T13126. I was 5th in chips.

Level 11: I made the final table. I got no action with AA and the Hilton Sisters. The table got tight all of a sudden, as I expected. I had T12726, 5th out of 10.

Level 12: I raised a pot with AQ and the short stack moved all in with 77. I called and it was another coin flip situation. I ended up catching a straight on the turn to knock out the first guy at the final table. Places 1-4 won seats. Places 5-7 won some cash money ($144-86-57). I was confident at that point I was going to win a seat. I had been getting cards, hitting flops, and coming from behind in hands. After I stole a pot with QJ, I had T21950, 2nd out of 8 at the third break.

Level 13: I hit another flurry of hands in one orbit; A10s, A10, 88, 77, 55... and I folded all but one. At the end of the level I increased my stack to T28700, still second in chips with 8 players left.

Level 14: Another played was knocked out which insured that I won some prize money. I had 66, 88, and 99 and folded everything else. I found the Hilton Sisters and no one wanted to party with them. I was still in second with 6 players left, T33100.

Level 15: With five players left, I was heads up 66 vs. AK. The flop: K5Q. The turn: 6. Bam! I hit my set once again, coming from behind on the turn to win the biggest pot of the tournament. When the dust settled, I had T55440, the overall chip leader and won a seat in the satellite! I don't recall much afterwards... Within seven hands it was all over. I knocked out the last two guys with the better hand both times. When it was over, I was the last guy left sitting. I thanked Phil and pumped my fist in the air.

I got another shot at winning a trip to Australia. This time... I invested just $11. Tune into Party Poker on Sunday night at 11:15pm EST to watch me play in the $300 Aussie Million A Satellite. Until then... see ya.

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