I decided I just have to play MY game and MY cards and let the chips, literally, fall where they will.
Last night playing my cards was easy. In the first two hours I played about five hands and went past the flop only twice, winning two hands. Both hands were my big blind.
I refused to let emotions get the best of me and I simply folded the bad hands and drank a beer or two, watching as some donk stacks got larger and larger and as others dropped out and traded chips among themselves.
I hung on the 30 plus players played themselves out and I found myself at the final table as one of the shorter stacks.
Then three consecutive raises with pocket pairs and Big Slick resulted in an all-fold to my super tight table image. Then a fairly solid player thought he could stop my raises with an AJ re-raise, and called down my AA to give me a very nice stack of chips with four players left.
When we came to the final table the commanding chip leader was definitely the table captain, raising and re-raising with impunity, and eliminating the ever shortening short stacks. He made a fatal flaw however and with four players left tightened up as the final payout loomed closer and closer.
I figured that out when I ask, “Hey, what are we playing for?”
The tournament organizer said, “$100 for the winner and $50 for second.”
“No. Cash. $100 for first and $50 for second.”
What the hell??? I thought we were playing for some kind of little gift certificates. Since it was a free tournament and I was playing largely for entertainment more than anything, I hadn’t thought to look into the payout.
That fact made it obvious why the former chip leader was being so tight. He wanted the cash! He even laid down JJ (face up) to a 3x the big blind raise. Granted, nobody likes JJ, but with four players to go it looks pretty good pre-flop.
That face up fold told me that he was going to bend to big pressure and that fact allowed him to be folded and blinded down until he was all-in with two face cards, and they were the wrong face cards.
After 3 ½ hours I was heads up with a very solid player, but I still had my tight player image. I tested the waters and pushed all-in with a suited 72 on a flop of 10,9,2, and then showed the bluff.
He did exactly what I though he would do. He called me down the next time I slowed played top pair and I walked away a winner.
I was a winner playing MY game and MY cards which, incidently, included absolutely no big hands in the entire game. I did not make a flush. I did not have the chance to draw to a straight. I don't think I even had two pair. Not a bad night.
Only 19 days until my first WSOP experience :-)