Tournament of Champions recap

Tonight was the Tournament of Champions (TOC) for one of the groups that I’ve been playing with this year. I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to write up a full recap, but here’s a brief summary:

I was basically card dead all night. That being said, I did pick up a few nice hands, but I never got any action on them. I had AK once and took the pot down with a re-raise pre-flop. I had AA twice, QQ, JJ twice and 33; I didn’t get any action with any of those hands. I busted with AJ vs. K5s when my opponent tried to make a move and I picked him off. Here’s that hand (it was one of the most interesting of the night):

We were three-handed at the 500/1000 level and I started with about 15K chips (I’d been hovering around 15K for a couple hours) and I was the BB. The button limped, the SB folded and I raised to 4K with AJo. The button moved in pretty quickly and I called before he had his chips in the pot. He showed K5o, the flop was AKK and IGHN. The SB said that he had also folded K5o.

That was pretty much it. My best hand of the night was a King-high straight that I made in the first level for a very small pot. I never had trips. I never had two pair. I think I flopped top pair once or twice (once, I had to fold to a raise by a guy who flopped a flush). I made some very good laydowns and some excellent reads. Most of the pots I won were pure bluffs. Once we were three-handed, every pot I won post-flop was a bluff.

I finished 3/10 for $600. I also played a $10 last longer against four other guys and I won that. The prize pool was $2500 and we each put in $50 more to make it $3000. We played for about 5.5 hours.

All in all, I was very satisfied with my play. I doubt I could’ve played any better. I was disappointed to finish third, but that’s just the way the cards fell. I was only all-in once and the best hand didn’t win. As I look back on the year, I’m floored by how far I’ve come as a tournament poker player. I thought I was decent back in January, but I just didn’t have a lot of live experience. I think I’ve played about 100 hours of live tournament poker this year, and my game is much the better for it. More importantly, I played against a variety of opponents and that forced me to be more flexible in my game. Even tonight, there were only 10 guys at the table, but they ranged from ultra-tight to fairly LAGgy. Seeing so many types of opponents has made me much, much better.

There’s still another TOC in December for the other group I’ve played with this year. As of right now, I’m in line to get a seat in that tournament, but there are three more tourneys before the end of the season. If I still have enough points at the end of the season, I may fly back to play that TOC as well.