FTOPS XIV Event #1 was $216 6-max NL hold'em. This tournament started with 4,694 players which meant we had a few hundred fewer players than would be needed to meet the $1,000,000 guarantee paying full juice. Instead of $200 a player going to the prize pool and $16 going to the house, $213 from every player went to the pool and $3 to the house.
I registered about 20 minutes after the tournament started and was faced with a tough decision right away. We all started with 5,000 chips and during the hand in question the blinds were 15/30. The under the gun player made it 60 to go and got called by the button. I was in the big blind with TT and raised to 240. The under the gun player called and then the button made it 900 to go. What?
It's very unusual for a player to call a raise (especially a minimum raise) initially and then rereraise later on the same round. When it happens it's almost always AA, but sometimes it's a player acting on a total whim and pushing a hand like QJ. In this case I decided it was probably AA and just bailed out.
If I was playing a $1,000 tournament folding would have been an easy decision, but in a $200 tournament I really wanted to just drop the all in bomb and see what happened. Of course that's not a good mindset to have and it's important to always play your best regardless of stakes.
The hand that really derailed me came about an hour later. Again the under the gun player came in for a raise when I was in the big blind. But this time I had AA. He raised, I reraised, he called and the flop came down king high. I bet about half the pot and my opponent raised me. "Ah ha!" I thought. "He has a king and now I will get his entire stack!" I was right about the first part.
I just called his flop raise and after a blank came on the turn I check raised him all in. At this point there was something like 6,000 in the pot and he only had 900 or so left, but probably knowing he was beat he still took a long time calling with KQ. 39 of the 44 cards left in the deck would make me a winner, but the river was a queen and I was down to 2,000 chips.
A little while later I'd climbed back close to 3,000 chips. I was in the small blind with K6 suited and raised the big blind who just called. The flop was 8 high with two hearts, I bet three quarters of the pot and my opponent called. I had a strong sense that I was against a draw or maybe just overcards taking one off. Feeling bold I moved all in for about 2,000 into the 1,500 chip pot. My opponent thought for a moment and then called with A2 of hearts which was nothing but a flush draw...and the best hand since I was on a total bluff. The river was a blank and the ace high held up. This was a situation where if I knew exactly what my opponent had I would have played it the same way on the turn.
Today I have Event #2 which is 7-game mixed. It's all the HORSE games, plus NL hold'em and PLO (the same as the pokerstars 8-game mixed format except there's no triple draw lowball). An hour in I'm up to 7,000 chips from a starting stack of 4,000.