Friday, September 24, 2004


Remember that five bucks I said I had built my bankroll up to?

I've improved it.

I had 39¢ when I started playing, which we'll say was 10:00 Thursday night. This was after placing second in one of their freeroll multitables which pay a $2 total prize pool.

But their minimum buyin for their lowest-stakes game, 2¢/4¢, is 40¢, ten big bets. And I was a penny short. So, I signed up for one of their freeroll single-table tourneys, which go all the time and pay a total 10¢ prize pool. These are limit tournaments with blinds that rocket up every three minutes, so sometimes between times posting your big blind, it will have gone up twice. Nonetheless, skill still plays a part, primarily in not getting involved in big pots with the worst hand. I don't remember anything about it, but I won the 5¢ grand prize, putting my bankroll at 44¢ and me onto their lowest-stakes game.

In a matter of a couple of hours, I ran that 44¢ up to over five bucks, although when the table broke I only had $419, or about 9½ times my buyin (a profit, by the way, of 95 big bets). Rather than sit another 2¢/4¢ table, though, I leapt up to the great heights of the 5¢/10¢ tables.

I ran that four bucks up to over twelve, before going on a poor run and standing up with $831 a couple of minutes before a $3+30¢ tournament started. I'm not really sure why my fortunes didn't continue at the torrid pace that they were going on the lower table, but there were a few people at the 5¢/10¢ tables that played aggressively enough to throw off my game. But I still doubled my stake, going up a still-respectable 41 big bets.

My plan with the $3 tournament was that I'd play, and if I lost I'd do something else and return to the microlimit ring games the next night, with my huge $501 bankroll. The tournament had a $100 guarantee, and for a while it looked like they wouldn't make the guarantee, but there ended up being over 50 contestants.

The tournament went okay. Most of the tournament my chip stack was slightly below the median, but I was seldom in real danger. However, at least three times, I went all-in with what turned out to be the inferior hand, but caught my card(s). At the final table (the top six were in the money), I suddenly started catching big on my all-ins, and so when we were down to three, I had a big chip lead. I won't dig up the Rounders quote but when you have the big stack, you keep pushing until the other guy falls over, and I did, and it worked (although I think the lead changed hands a couple of times when we were headsup).

Okay, boom, I win $6120, and my bankroll is now at the stellar heights of $66.21, nearly two hundred times where it started the night. Now I'm a bit flummoxed. I'm still on a high after winning, but I don't really want to play a ring, and I doubt if I've ever finished well in two consecutive tournaments. But I look, and there's a $12 tournament with a $500 guarantee, and it looks like there's no way they'll make the guarantee—they had about half the required number of people with about four minutes to go. Well, if anything will make me play another tournament, it's overlay, and so I sign up.

They end up making the guarantee, but only by 11/3 people, which seems a little fishy. But wow, was this tournament fun. The very first hand (20/40 blinds), I make it 200 with a pair of Tens, and I'm called by a limper in early position. The flop comes Ace-King-rag, and for some reason my opponent checks. I figure I'm probably beat, but I toss another 200 into the pot, to make sure. My opponent calls, which means to me that he's got a very weak Ace. But boom, I get my Ten on the turn, and he calls my bet of 400. The river is a brick, so I bet my (and his) remaining 1200, which he for some reason calls. DoylesRoom doesn't let you see what he had, but I'm sure it was a weak ace, although he might have made two pair on the river. I've got just over 4000 chips and the chip lead for the moment.

My stack isn't out-of-line big, but it is big, and so I can push people around a little bit. This wasn't hard, because for the first two orbits I was getting great cards. But with the blinds still small, I only am able to run my stack to about 5000 before the table breaks.

One of my first hands on the new table, I was dealt AK. Reconstructing this, I was probably on the big blind. The under-the-gun player made a normal raise, and everyone folded to the small blind, who pushed all-in. I've gotta say, this is one of the only times I've ever seriously considered throwing AK away preflop. Thinking now, a fold would probably have been painful but correct. But I called. To my further chagrin, the under-the-gun player not only called, but pushed in his last couple of hundred chips on top of it. I couldn't not call, and so I did. I was amazed to see my opponents both turn up AQ! The under-the-gun player was suited, but even so, I was a huge favorite, because my opponents each held one of the other's Queens, making a queen that much more unlikely. A straight or flush could beat me, but I was more worried about the Queen. It didn't come, I wiped out two people, and now I'm over 10,000 in chips, and far and away the chip leader in the tournament. (Second was about 7000 and third thru tenth were about 4000.)

I didn't stay the chip leader, but I generally never fell below third place, even during the stretch where the three highest stacks were on the same table, with the other two to my immediate left—bah! The small stacks refused to die at this point, so it took a while to get to the final table, but when we did I was now to the left of the other two big stacks.

The final table, I felt like Gus Hansen. If I raised with crap to steal the blinds, I generally wouldn't get called, and if I did, as often as not I'd catch and knock someone out. One of the aforementioned big stacks lost a big pot to me, too, giving me back the chip lead for a while. Finally, we were headsup, and my QTd went all-in against his A7o, I caught my Queen, and it was over.

So, boom boom boom, I had won $20640, bringing my account up to the fabulous level of $25941. This is a 66,515% increase in my bankroll in a single day, which is astounding no matter how you look at it.

My Posts Should Have More Headlines

Now I'm not sure what to do. $250 isn't really enough to do anything with; it doesn't catch up any of my bills. So withdrawing the whole thing doesn't truly help me much. I kind of think I need to go for broke, getting myself up to the $500 or so it would take to sit their $10/$20 game, which looks very juicy. But I do have to plan a withdrawal at some point. Right now, I'm not sure at what point it makes the most sense. Maybe it does make sense to withdraw $100 right now, just to put a couple of bucks in my checking account. Maybe I should keep pushing this until I'm suddenly back to where I was in (say) May.

I've been pretty unhappy, overall, the last couple of months. Hopefully this is the start of things looking up for me.


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