I have had a whirlwind day...


First, I managed to get 61st out of 10,000 in the PSO open (wohoo won 1c!!) which based on the field I think is a nice score (helps my PSO rankings of course)


In addition, I had a very strange but exciting 45-man tournament played today.

Firstly let me explain that after getting help from a fellow PSO member to stake me $5, I was building my bankroll up from nothing using the $5 as seed money playing 25c games.

My games havent been too bad, I have pretty much floated around the break-even point which since I am only a couple of weeks into getting back to the game from a years break, I don't mind that so much.


My recent activity in the staked games motivated me to deposit $10 and play with my own money. I treated this seperate from the stake and managed to cash in a couple of MTTs and bring my bankroll up to around $30.


Then I am playing my 10-run 45-man 25c games, I am on multi-tabling about 3-4 at a time and as I bust out of my 9th game, I load up the lobby from my iPad and choose another 25c game.

It isn't until the game loads that I see, it wasn't a 25c game but a $6.00 game!!! yikes!


I was not happy and since it was seating I couldn't get away from it.

I came to the quick realization that I had to play well, the best I ever could since not only am I playing with money 24x my variance and really bankroll i can't afford to be risking but with the skill level in these games much higher, I had better play my A+++ game.


The game went pretty much like I expected, I played well and had the chance to make the plays needed towards the middle game at 10-20BB, stealing where possible and with enough BB to do so without putting myself in the hole.


I make it to the FT - great. Shortly after reaching, 9th busts out leaving the bubble. I am at about 8BB (about 8000 chips) and am about medium stack. If i play it safe, I can blind myself down but have a good chance of beating the bubble and making back the minimum cash and recovering my $6 with a little bonus.

However, that isn't how I play. I decided I was playing this game for the top 3 spots like any other game I play, minimum cash is never an option, even when I have a big chunk of my bankroll accidently commited.

An opportunity right after the 9th player dropped off came up. I had AA in the BB, UTG big stack bets it up leaving me no option but to fold or shove. Had I been playing it safe and aiming for the minimum cash, a fold was automatic here but I saw this for what it was, an opportunity to double up and get the chance for a nice cash.

I shove, he calls and its just us showing down. He shows TT vs my AA, he doesnt improve and I double up.

Next immediate hand, I get dealt TT in UTG, I decide to play them strong and even though I could sit on my 16BB and wait for a safer spot, I go for it with a x2 bet.


The only person that gives me action is my friend from the previous round, he raises me, x3 my bet, everyone else folds and I shove at him.


He shows A9 and although he hits a 9, he doesnt catch another one nor an Ace, he is about 1/2 BB left and gets knocked out the following round.


I now had about 25 BB I think, I can now take it a bit easier and wait for stronger hands with my just-about Chip lead.


The game progresses, the right spots come up to steal from the 3 short stacks to my left, I loose a few pots (but when I am in a pot and not dominating, I am guarding myself against strong action that forces me to spew)

My idea here with large stack is to chip away at the little guys as well as make a few plays with the standard C-bet to bluff the flop for the occasional fold.


It took awhile for us to get down to 3 handed, myself and my left were shorter stacks but the big stack wasn't playing smart, he kept completing my BB and each time, regardless of cards, I would raise or shove over him to get a fold.

My left wasn't much better, calling into a hand with sub-10BB. The chip leader took a few hits and before long he was knocked out by my left.

We were headsup


I had about 60-70% chip lead going in but my opponent was a bit of a pushover. I immediately started raising on the button to which I got folds mainly or calls. Add to that, my opponent didn't do much raising on the button, in fact it was a lot of folding or calling.

When she completed my big blind and I didn't have a hand, I occasionally bet into it to see if I could push her off but mostly I just checked it down since although in her head a win on the river with a series of checks was a good thing, she didn't didn't realize that all she was winning was my BB, something she could have gotten herself if she had the strength to use her button.

She was making the occasional raise or re-raise to my button raises but when I folded, it didn't seem to indicate any pattern since she just carried on spewing chips at me.

Anytime she would win a few blinds, she would just fold about 1.5- as many a few rounds later.

Her mistakes were numerous but mainly

- Not aggresive enough when she had position

- Giving away too many free flops by calling instead of raising

- Not even making an attempt to bet a made pair on the flop

- Keeping her hand selection very tight, no doubt waiting for high pairs or a good King or Ace

In headsup, position is vital, where possible you should be raising on the button. If your opponet is very passive, raising with almost anything is value. Otherwise raising with a wider range than you might normally think is good enough.

Also, in headsup you sometimes any pair is good and even just Ace/King high can win at showdown. Whilst this isnt an exact rule that applies to every Headsup game, the general idea is that you can be looser if you need to be knowing that you aren't looking to battle sets, flushes and massive monster hands, in a lot of cases all you need to beat is a pair.


We continued for awhile.

She floated around 10-20BB for awhile as she caught the occasional hand but it wasn't long before she was grinding down to 10BB. At this point I was just shoving at her, getting a series of folds and the hand she chose to make her stand with at about 5BB was and I had Ace rag, Ace was good enough and I won.


PokerStars Tournament #879216965 No Limit Hold'em

Buy-In: $5.46/$0.54 USd

45 players

Total Prize Pool : $245.70 USD

1 : baud2death (United Kingdom), $76.19 (31.009%)


!!!! Woohooo !!!!

Sure the mistake wasn't a happy one, this could have ended much worse but mistakes do happen and I am very happy that I knuckled down and played it right whilst also keeping my eye on placing high rather than just making my $6 back!

My bankroll is looking healthy and I am looking forward to planning how to improve it further.



In conclusion, playing outside your variance is never a good idea. This takes your balanced and structured game into what can equate to a crap-shoot. You will be playing against people that are typically better than you and have more experience.

Also, and more importantly, if people in that game are playing the right variance, they will not be as under pressure to perform as you are. If they lose the game, they can go into their 50x buyin bankroll and play again - you meanwhile can waste half your bankroll on a single buy-in and the pressure could end up eating you up.

As well, I had opportunities to make minimum cash but I wasn't settling for that. Sure, I could have screwed myself out of $6 but in the end my commitment to aim for the top 3 cash prizes stopped me from taking the minimum cash and it paid off. I think that if in that spot I had chosen to go with the fold for my Aces, I might as well ship my remaining bankroll to someone who has better use for it because Poker isn't about getting the scraps that minimum cash gets you, its about 1st prize and if you don't aim for that top spot, you will end up becoming a self fulfilling prophecy and end up stuck around the bubble.


In the grand scheme of things, I got lucky. The occasions where I had to double up, I had opponents with lesser cards but good luck for me at least prevented them from improving.

I am not so stupid to think that this win was pure skill for me but I am also mindful that I was able to play my game very well and get a top place cash as a result and regardless of luck, that stll took a certain degree of skill (especially in the FT) to get me the result.


Its late, I should be in bed but felt I had to get this down before I forgot anything.

What a day!!!