Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Sunday Million Gift

The Pokerstars Sunday Million is the largest weekly poker tournament in the world. This week 8,800 players put up $215 each in an effort to hit it big.

What I like about this tournament is it's something special. If you play a $215 tournament in the middle of the day on a Wednesday you'll find youself against 50 good players, 25 very good players and 25 great players. Almost everyone will be a winning poker player.

On the other hand, since it's something special, in the Sunday million you'll find those same hundred solid players and another hundred just like them, but you'll also have 8,600 players who are some where between pretty good and terrible. To top it off, they will all think the tournament is a big deal and will be sweating the result making it easy to pressure them into mistakes.

This week I put up my $215 just like everyone else, caught a huge break early on and turned it into a nice win.

A little more than a half hour into the tournament my starting stack of 10,000 chips was down to about 7,000, the blinds were 100/200 and I found myself in middle position with Q9. The player just to my right limped in and I decided to try to see a flop cheap. I called as did a player just to my left and along with both blinds we saw the flop 5 way.

The flop was a total bingo - J T 8 with two diamonds (I had the Q of diamonds) making me a straight! Both of the blinds checked and the player who'd limped in bet 800 into the 1,000 chip pot. I opted to just call and let the other three players get involved since I had the total nuts.

The player to my left called, the others folded and the turn came down the ace of diamonds. This was either a great card or a disaster. If someone had a hand like AT it was great. If someone had KQ or two diamonds it was a disaster.

The player to my right cooled off and checked. I bet out 1,800 into the 3,400 chip pot. There were a ton of second best hands that would have a tough time folding and given my short stack and the strength of my hand I was committed to going all the way no matter what. If someone made a flush I was dead anyway and this seemed like a good sized bet to make the maximum from another player with a second best hand.

I was not happy to see the player to my left make it 3,600 to go and the player to my right move all in for about 9,000! I thought one if not both of them could have me beat, but I decided to go for it anyway. My hand was just too strong to fold and even if I was behind I still had a draw to the second nut flush.

The player to my left who'd made it 3,600 and only hand another 5,000 or so behind thought for a long time. Eventually he typed something to the effect of "I guess 87 of diamonds is no good" and he folded. The player to my right turned over KK with the K of diamonds, the river was a blank and I went from out, to great shape. The player who had apparently folded a made flush went a little nuts in the chat box!

I used the chips in won in that pot to make the money and even go fairly deep. I ended up finishing 133rd of over 8,800 which paid a little more than $2,100! The way things have been going it was a very sweet victory - my biggest of 2009! Even more sweet since I had all of my chips in with the worst hand many hours ealier!

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