Some hands from last night: Solid player in the six seat (I'm in the nine) raises from MP to about 4x the big blind. I have him covered. I look down and find AKo. Fold equity is my co-pilot. I raise huge, big enough to set him all-in, a little more than a pot-sized raise. He goes into the tank and talks himself out of calling, saying "you wouldn't set me all-in unless you could beat ace-king." I table my cards, figuring the tilt odds are worth showing my hand. Later I get him to lay down AQ when I'm holding AJ. With huge action in front of me I lay down 88, the best hand I've seen in a while. Two players are all-in against the monster stack on my right, a hyper-aggressive guy named Johannes who's also been a card rack. He takes long enough to make a decision that I think I have the best hand but I have to lay it down. Turns out he has 99; all-in players have 44 and AJ. River 8 would have quadrupled me up to about 160K, close to 10% of the chips in play with 35 players remaining. Good fold but it's hard not to be results-oriented. Later Johannes would again push me off 88 with a huge preflop reraise; that time I would have been good against his 44 and the first raiser's overcards. I think someone should write a book just on playing small pairs near the bubble. I get a free look with Q7o in the BB when Johannes, the tough player on my right, just completes the SB. (This is the only time he would limp from the SB the whole night - twice he gave me a walk, every other time he raised, doubling me up once when I found ATo and pushed it into his QJs and made broadway.) Flop came 972 with two hearts. He checked, I bet about 3/4 of the pot (about a sixth of my chips at the time), he reraised enough to commit me. I spent at least two minutes in the tank. Maybe more. There are a lot of hands I can beat that he'd tap me with here, I think. I finally give it up when I realize I have no idea what the limp from the SB means coming from him. He doesn't show his cards so I still don't know. Good bet. In addition to bludgeoning everybody with his stack, Johannes was a card rack - he picked up TT at least six (!) times and at least that many better pairs, plus some big aces, baby pairs he could afford to play, etc. He played the best power poker I've ever seen in person. Overall the field was much smaller and much tougher. The time I spent at table one was easily the most intense few hours of my limited tournament experience - lots of players who knew how to play a big stack well. The way the stacks were distributed I rarely had a chance to be first-in - usually it was only when another big stack was in the blinds. I had to lay down KTs to a huge reraise once; I'm trying very hard to remember the microdetails of that hand because I think I gave off a tell. It's not that hard to pick up a hand that can beat KTs, but something about the bet told me it was a bullying, I-read-you-like-a-book-and-know-you're-not-that-strong bet. I'd only put about a seventh of my chips into the pot with my raise and I figured there were plenty of resteal hands that could still have me beat so I let it go. Today's an off day - have to drive across town to pick up a special fish-flavored prescription for one of the cats, because schlepping to Westwood is +EV when the alternative is trying to corral an unhappy, 16-pound furball and squirt not one but two syringes of liquid medicine down its throat. Also Colleen needs to recharge. I'll be back later with some macro thoughts, comparing the two tourneys and sharing what (little) I've learned from my big tourney run.


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