ATLARGE 2002 No-Limit Hold'Em Trip Report

Saturday's ATLARGE No-Limit Hold'Em tourney started at around 10:30am, and wouldn't you know it, Dennis and I are both seated at the same table, along with our "buddy", Buckshot Steve. You may recall that last year, I personally busted out Steve with my pocket Kings against his pocket Tens. I'm sure he was out for my blood. I also had Herbie, Big Mike, ADB BFB, and Mordecai at my table, all who are excellent card players. I was holding my own, when later on, Dennis goes all-in against Steve. Steve folds, and loses some of his stack. Then, Steve loses more when his AA loses to a player's JJ (a Jack flops). Later, with a board of Ad 10d As, Dennis and Steve are betting. An diamond hits on the river, giving Dennis a flush and taking more chips from Steve. Dennis had played 8d2d (how apropos!). Although neither Dennis nor I finally knocked out Steve, he left the table shortly after that. I was forced all-in holding Presto (55), which held up against my opponent's A9s. Some of the guys at my end of the table seemed surprised that I had called with Presto. By 11:45, 23 people had been knocked out, including half of the 8-2 Club. There were about 60 players left, and here were the remaining 8-2 Club chip counts:

  Graham   T200
  Cactus   T400
  Chris    T575
  Mike     T825
  Dennis  T1225
We started up again after the break, and I got dealt pocket Nines. Pocket Nines were my bread-and-butter during the tournament, as I got dealt Nines at least four times, and won every time with them. I won T375 against ATs with my Nines, but lost it again when my KTs lost to JJ. Then, I got dealt AJs and doubled up when I went all-in and won. Later, I doubled up again when my KTs made broadway. Somebody else won with my Nines on a very interesting hand. I was ready to knock out ADB BFB. He was forced to go all in on his blinds, so I cold-called without looking, hoping to knock him out. He turned over 99, and I turned over 6h7h. The flop shows three hearts, which hit my hand and give me a Flush. The turn is a brick, but the river brings ANOTHER heart! No big deal, EXCEPT that one of ADB BFB's Nines is a heart! So now he has a Flush, and it's higher than mine! Grrrrrrrr!!. I really wanted to knock him out, and that one cost me some money. Shortly after, I get dealt the dream hand. I'm the big blind, so I'm not looking at my cards. Somebody raises a hunk, and they all fold to me. I look down and see two lovely Cowboys. I'm all-in! My opponent shows ATs, but my Kings hold up and I double through, winning another T3200. We finally are down to two tables, and I have T4800 in chips. Graham, Chris, and Dennis have already busted out, so it's down to me and Mike. We both have good shots at getting to the final table. At the break, one player has busted out, and the chip count is:
  Cactus:  T4200
  Mike:    T3200
The game picks up again at the 100/200 level, with a T25 ante from everyone. We're down to 15 players. I see Mike's Ad3d beat 5d6d when the Flush hits. He doubles through. Now were at 200/400 with a T50 ante. Mike doubles again when his AQs beats AQ, with yet another Flush. Sadly, when I turn around again upon hearing that Mike is all-in again, he busts out before reaching the final table. I have only 3900 left, and the blinds are 300/600 with a 75 ante. I hang on with my meager chips, and somehow survive to the final table of nine players! One nice thing was that when I knocked an Asian guy named Steve out of the tourney, he gave me his card holder: a nice glass totem with a dragon etched in it. Very nice, and I used it for the rest of the tourney.

I show up with T2650 in chips, and although I'm not the person with the least amount at the table, there are some mighty big stacks that I see. Somebody hands me a payout sheet, and I see that I actually am guaranteed to win $105 for a 9th place finish. At this point, I am not even remotely thinking I got a shot at a higher prize position. I have a cheering section behind me, as many of the 8-2 Club are sweating it out with me. Thanx for the support, guys! It was encouraging having you there, and I think it made me play better (as I didn't want to embarrass myself :) I actually had started showing my cards to the gang, but they waved me off, as they were afraid they might give my hand away or something. I told them they should just give a shocked look on every hand, and mumble something like "I can't believe he got pocket Aces again!" :) Anyhow, I'm holding on, and my strategy is to let the big stacks take out the other guys, and never get into a hand unless I have a premium one. Because I know that the big stacks will probably play against me, even if they have "crap" cards, since they can afford it and I can't. One by one, I move up the ranks, as players get knocked out. I'm in 8th place. Then 7th. Then 6th. Then there are five of us! Now I'm sure to get at least $231. Not too shabby! Finally, my dream happens, and two short stacks go all-in, and a big stack calls. The big stack (Big Mike) wins, and suddenly there are only three of us, and I've got a guarantee $462 for third place! A big cheer is heard from my groupies, who are still hanging in there with me. I play my best, but the blinds are killing me at 500/1500. I force myself to play only premium hands, and double up just when I'm about to run out of chips. Finally, I'm low on chips and go all-in with A3s. My opponent calls with KQ, but I lose when he flops a King, and no Ace materializes. The marathon poker session is over. It's been about seven and a half hours of straight poker, and I'm exhausted and hungry. We head over to Outback for a victory dinner, and I get some much needed sleep. Not much could top this, but now my goal is to place as high as I can in the Stud tourney. I have a very good chance to win the 8-2 Club Best-In-Show pool, and also a good chance to win the ATLARGE Best All-Around player award (a plaque and Trop jacket).