First of all, Happy Easter everyone! I can't even believe I get to write this blog entry, it is so cool. So yesterday, I went to play poker at The Bicycle Casino because I won a seat the other day into their big tournament, a $2675 buy-in that would take place yesterday. Honestly, not only did I not want to win the satellite I won (I had wanted to chop, but the other player wanted to keep playing). When I found out that I won the seat, again, I didn't want to play--I can think of a lot better things to do than play poker that is THAT expensive (even though it was free for me to play). Plus, tournaments like that are grueling--they take a long time and are quite tedious, not to mention the fact that I was seriously doubting my ability to make it past the first level.

Anyway, I showed up yesterday at the 4:15 start time and found myself seated at a horrible first table--seated three players to my left was non other than Men the Master Nguyen, who won the LA Poker Classic last month, not to mention millions of dollars in other tournaments. The other players at the table were quite tough as well, and I found myself struggling to maintain my stack.

About four hours into the tournament, my table finally broke and I was moved to the best possible table with just about $11,500 in chips (we started with $10,000). This table was great because throughout the course of the day, this table had been left shortstacked for the most part, and the players were playing quite passively and tight. I normally play tight-aggressive, but when I realized what was happening at the table, I raised about 80% of the hands I played and took most of them down either before or right after the flop. Doing this, I was able to increase my stack to about $40,000 by the time that table broke and we were down to three tables.

At that point, there were about 28 players still in, and they were paying out 18. 5 or 6 went out pretty quickly, and I resumed playing tight-aggressive at my new table, but was unfortunately seated at a table with the three biggest stacks at the table. We were so close to the money (that's called "on the bubble" that everyone was playing fairly tight. Then the miracle happened. I was in middle position, and the early position players folded. The big stack to my right made his usual raise, which was about 1/3 of my stack. He's the guy that actually wound up winning the whole tournament--he's a great player and a really nice guy. I pushed all in for about $40,000 and was called by the player in the big blind. The original raiser folded. I flipped over KK and the BB flipped over QQ!! My Kings held up, and I ended up with just about 100K in chips, well enough to secure me a place at the final table.

We were down to 20 players then, and at that point, nobody is really playing except the very big stacks because nobody wants to be the last one or two to finish out of the money. Remember, by this time, we've all been playing poker for about 9 hours with very few breaks! Finally, two players busted out at the same time, and we were all in the money.

From there, the players started dropping quickly and I wasn't playing much, just getting blinded off because I knew I had a stack large enough to carry me to the final table where I would have a chance at the real money. That's exactly what happened and right around 3am. So I found myself a the final table, exhausted, and ready to win! A chop was discussed several times and rejected, unfortunately. One player busted out right away and we played for about another hour before I got low on chips and had to make a move. I was all in with AQ, and the other player had A-10. He hit two more 10's on the flop, and that was it--I was out.

I am sad that I busted out, but happy that I played at a high level for that long! I am very proud of myself, and hope to work on my poker future. I will keep you all posted!

Here's the damage, a bio of the winner, and my name up in lights. Although I did not make the big money, besides the $280 I paid for the satellite where I won my seat, it's all profit, baby! The first graph is the CHIP COUNT at the final table, NOT the winnings. The second chart is the winnings. :


So, what should I spend my poker earnings on?? Leave a comment with your ideas!