Well, I just busted out VERY close to the bubble in the EVE ONLINE HOLD'EM Anniversary Tournament.
The thing about poker tournaments is, no matter how big the field starts there is only ONE person who is happy about her finishing spot.
Everyone else thinks and wonders about the mistakes they made along the way and the last one that walked them to the door.
This was a terrific tournament with 100 players starting. 5000 tournament chips (TC) to start and 10min blinds (very short). Blinds started at 50/100 and raced upwards. But, regardless of the structure, this is the only game in New Eden and it was a lot of fun!
Early in the race my strategy was to play super tight and not bleed chips. I have found that in ring and, more importantly, tournament play seeing too many hands is one of the biggest leaks your game can have.
I turned AA in the big blind into 2500 TC within the first 2 rounds. Then my pocket jacks held up versus a very loose caller for about 4500. I coasted for a while and played more tight poker.
When the blinds were around 150/300 I found myself in the cutoff with around 15000, if I remember correctly. The player in the SB had a bigger stack. The big blind and UTG limper (if I'm remembering the positions correctly) had much smaller stacks.
I attempted to steal w/ a 3xBB raise to 900. The big stack called fast and after a few moments the BB went over the top for all his chips. UTG folded and I was only looking at 250 more chips.
But I was holding J8 off suit and looking at a bigger stack behind me still to act. I folded.
BB called right way and the AK of the big stack did not get ahead of the BB's pocket kings.
Player in the BB berated me for my fold when it was only 250 more to call and basically accused me of chip dumping or colluding. Now, I take poker pretty seriously and I took offense to the accusation. I made it clear in chat and some words were exchanged. Bottom line is: I abhore cheating and would never do it. This chap doesn't know me from Adam and I will admit to dragging out the discussion abit to see if I could rile him up. No such luck...he moved from the table shortly there after.
Not long after I had my one HUGE break of the tourney. Blinds are 200/400 and I'm SB. It is limped from early position in one place and I wake up w/ 99. Early position has around 3000 tc and BB has abit more. I have close to 8000. I shove w/ my medium pp over the top of both and BB calls fast followed by early limper. Uh oh...
99 vs. KK (BB) vs. JJ (early limper). Flop: 99 x...x...x
Wow, ok..huge break for me. But that is poker.
I nursed my stack up and kept it going for a LONG time. I watched the field dwindle and played safe. One big motivator was the fact that I had made a side bet with Mynxee for 25million ISK over who would last longer. So, I kept an eye on her and forced myself to be disciplined.
Mynxee is a very steady player. She can wait and wait for a hand and when she has one she'll be agressive. But I rarely see her bluff. This served both of us well as her stack never got overly large but her survival kept me motivated. When we were around 18-20 players left, Mynxee spoke from the rail to tell me she'd busted out. Great Game Mynxee!
I got somewhat shorted in chips (around 20k tc) vs very large (40-60k +) stacks. My last hand was:
I'm BB w/ about 25k TC. UTG +1 limps with blinds of 2000/4000. There are 12 players left. 9 places pay out. Mid positon (The_Gov) with a 50k+ stack min raises to 8000. SB (Phoebus) with an even bigger stack (~75k) calls. I look down at AK off suit.
I can limp for 4k more. But I'm already short and looking at 3 more rounds (20 hands) at best. I have to outlast 3 more players and I'm 9th in chips overall right now. I tried to decide how much fold equity my opponents had. I know AK does best when it sees all 5 cards to the river.
I shoved all my chips in and early limper folds. The_Gov thinks for a good amount of time and calls...SB considers abit and folds.
I have AK off vs. The_Gov w/ 66. I failed to catch up in the race and I'm out 12th place.
So, back to the beginning of this story: the only good place to finish a poker tournament is 1st. If the Ace or King came (Phoebus folded AQ making this harder to hit), I am golden. But when it doesn't I second guess myself. I could have smooth called for 4k more and if I miss the flop I give it up. Not a bad idea and I considered it. But I didn't know the strength of my opponents hands and they all seemed better than avg players. I know they are able to lay down moderate cards and the fold equity may have been there.
All in all it was a great tourney. I'm watching the final 5 now and rooting for The_Gov as some of his bullets were mine a short time ago.