I made my first final table!

Got in a bit ago from my latest foray into Texas no-limit hold 'em tournament play. After about a week and a half of not getting hands much better than pocket 9s, I finally started getting some playable cards. I also played much more aggressively tonight than I have previously. I’d started playing these tournaments with a tight strategy just because of my lack of experience but now I feel comfortable getting more aggressive and I was fortunate that I got some hole cards and some flops where I could push some chips around. The guy on my right, I thought he was gonna cry a couple of times when he raised and I re-raised all in over the top of him, forcing him to fold.

Luckiest hand of the night for me: Five people at the table. I have about T80,000 and I’m first to act. Antes and first round minimum bet is T1000. I limp in with A-7 of hearts. Fold, fold, call, fold. Flop is A diamonds, Q hearts, 10 diamonds. I check. Opponent bets T10,000. I raise her all in, another T1600 and she calls and turns up K-J offsuit for the nut straight. Luckily I get two running hearts to make the nut flush and I bust her out. She’d won three big pots earlier in the game with flushes made on the river so I didn’t feel too bad.

The hand I’ll regret: Seven people at the table. I have about T50,000 and I’m on the button with A-4 offsuit. Antes and first round minimum is T2500. Two people call ahead of me and everyone else fold so if I call there’s three in. There were at that point 12 or 13 people left in the tournament and I really wanted to make the final table of eight so instead of calling I folded. Flop comes 4-4-A so I would have had a full house and there was no way if I’d stayed in anyone would have put me on it. Stupid fold especially for the price of a call. I let the goal of getting to the final table screw me up.

Antes and first round minimum goes to T5000 and I’ve had a bit of a reversal so I’m down to about T80,000. There’s 10 people left in at two tables, five at each. I’m second to act. A fold in front of me and I go all in with K-10 offsuit. Third guy folds, fourth guy with T35,000 goes all in to call me, dealer fold and my opponent turns up Q-J offsuit. Q comes on the flop and I get no help so I double him up and I’m down to T45,000. We play a few more hands and I get garbage and fold. At about that point we get down to eight and the final table.

At the final table I’m second-to-last in chip count with T25,000. The short stack goes all in on the first hand and gets busted out. I’m at T20,000. Nothing good happens next hand and I’m down to T15,000. Antes go to T10,000 so I have 1 and 1/2 antes left. I’m first to act and go in with my last T5,000 blind. Of course I’m called by half the table who battle it out for the side pot. When the dust settles I have 7-5 offsuit and bugger all on the board so I’m out in seventh place.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with my play for the night. There was one hand very early that I was in with a low pocket pair and I should’ve gotten out sooner and cost myself T3000 that I shouldn’t have, and of course folding that A-4 is something I’ll regret. But yeah, I think overall I did pretty well loosening up my play, bluffing at some pots (which I think I’m constitutionally unfit for; it rubs me the wrong way to bet with absolutely nothing and until tonight more often than not I got caught) and mixing my play up.

This is a 10-week series of tournaments which will culminate in a final tournament consisting of anyone who wins one along with the next 40 high point scorers. We’re in week 6. By finishing seventh tonight I’ve doubled my point total (to 28) and am within striking distance of the total the tournament director is estimating as the cut-off for the final tournament (35). One more final table, or finishing high in the rankings once or twice more and I should be in. Grand prize at the final tournament is a trip for two to Las Vegas.

Tonight I won a coveted “I Made The Final Table” t-shirt, so I can wear it from now on to intimidate my opponents.

Congratulations Otto, that sounds like a lot of fun. Keep us posted on how you’re doing. And good luck.

Congratulations, Otto!

I have a question, as someone who knows very little about poker: What does the T mean in the amounts you’re giving, such as “T80,000”?

Very well done, Otto. It’s good to hear you were catching better cards and were playing a bit more aggressively. Keep and the good work and best of luck on the rest of the tourneys.

Not to steal Otto’s thunder, but the T means tournament. So T80,000 means 80,000 tournament “dollars”.

Thank you, hank you all.

Just checked the standings and I’m in 61st place in the point standings. Since the winner of each tournament automatically qualify for the final tournament, taking out the winners puts me in 41st place so I’m in good shape.

Nice job, Otto.

Be sure to tell us when you make it to the televised games, so we can all cheer you on, and peak at your cards.

Man all this poker talk in the world lately has made me want to get back into the game. (I had a bad experience last time a played a real game about 8 years ago). But I’ve been playing crappy no-money on-line games for so long I’d have to start over to re-learn how to play the real game.