Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Satellite Rides

Each year, I host a super-satellite table as part of a friend's poker tournment. The premise arose when we decided we knew enough people interested in poker to send one of our own to the WSOP main event. A bunch of us run super-satellite tables, give the table's entry money to the winner, let the winners square off later on and the lone figure to emerge heads to Vegas with his Moneymaker dreams in tow.

So last year I was the victim of one of the greatest heads-up collapses or comebacks, depending on your point of view. I was slightly behind in chips when I got the best of an all in battle and took a commanding 38-2 chip advantage. After sucking out on his first all in in the hand immediately following (J,8 vs. J,5) my opponent won a race (2 overs against 4,4) to double up again to 8k and then went all in several more times in a row, which I couldn't call with terrible cards. I don't remember how it went exactly after that but suffice it to say with the blinds at 500/1000 he made some good plays and regained a small advantage before we again went all in and he took it down. Not my finest hour.

So on to this year. We operate with a rebuy system and my nemesis drew the seat to my right. Nine players. After about 90 minutes he went all in and I caught him on a draw with my top pair and busted him. He rebought and kept battling though, grinding his way back to respectability. Meanwhile, I was playing well, as well as I feel like I have perhaps ever. I was catching guys when I made hands and I was bluffing when I didn't. Even a misread turned my way, as I called a postflop bet with nothing, confident my opponent was on a bluff and I could take the pot away from him on later streets, then hit the turn and the river to allow the cards to do it for me.

The crux of the game was destined to come down to a final showdown and big hands made it happen. First, my nemesis cut the table from five to three when he got himself tangled in a three-way all-in pot with only Q,10 off, finding himself pot-committed but fortunate as a Q hit and held off his opponents' A,4 and A,K. Then, my own Q,10 got large as a flop hit 10,10,Q and my opponent, wired and disbelieving of my strength, fired at the flop (smooth call) and pushed in after the turn.

So there we were. Me and my nemesis. Side by side and face to face.


to be continued...

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