If you caught my last few posts you'll notice that I have been crying like a baby about how Lady Luck abandoned me in a back-alley dumpster; left me for dead along with the rest of society's discards.

 Guilt must have gotten the best of her. Thursday (1/13/11), she returned and pulled my shivering soul from that wretched bin of vileness and held me close to her, soothing my spirit and allowing me to play deeper into a large tournament  than ever before.

It was the 10:00am game and the clock read 10:05 when I got in using the late registration feature. About 75 others followed suit which brought the total entrants to 1066. I have come to measure tournament depth by the amount of breaks I get to take. Yesterday was 4 breaks (new personal best). The trouble was that I had to be somewhere before the fifth break started. How ironic! 

 You know, it's amazing what a person can accomlpish during these 5 minute breaks.

I took notes during the first 35 hands. Not on the players, rather on the hands and how I played them. I wanted documentation; proof that my hands are so much worse than the average player's. Reading material for when I cry in my beer later.

I've mentioned before how it's fortunate to catch a pot early-on in a tournament, and on the third hand I grabbed a $750 ($560 net) that put me up to $2,010. That makes a difference to me, it relaxes me a little. I know I can make a mistake,  a small one, and still be OK. My table-mates allowed me to play my game which is to fold almost everything and limp-in when I have high percentage hole cards. 4 / 5 pots on my paper came as a result of limping in and then improving my hand. The other pot was about the 23rd hand when I raised with KK and got re-raised, all-in, (him, not me thanks to  earlier pots which had me at $2,160. I called it and was only mildly relieved to see a suited KJ. Crazy!  KJs is an all-in hand to someone this early? See, this is the very situation that usually puts me closer to the rail. I will lose this showdown way more often than the percentages say I should. Today, the cards would fall the way they're supposed to fall.

The tournament went on and my best hands held up when forced all-in.  At one point I saw 22 flops and won 22 pots... 11/11 in showdown. That's amazing,  that's Lady Luck's embrace!

I found myself after 4 hours, 15 minutes at the final table with about 65,000 in chips which was less than 10 BB. There was a player sitting on 600,00 at the time which was 4X the next biggest stack. I had about 1/2 hour before I had to leave. I loosened up my play but just a little. I bluffed for the first time in the tournament and sweated while my opponent weighed his fare and ultimately folded a very nice pot to me. Thankfully he wasn't holding 2 hearts, but he thought I was. 

The table got down to 4 players and now, I was the chip leader with almost 700,000. What a feeling, almost euphoric. It was time to go, I had to leave right now. I could sit out!  It's my right as a citizen of the Poker Nation. I would probably get 2nd place since 2 of the other 3 players had only a couple of BBs  each. No... all or nothing ! I'm not a squatter.  It was nothing. But That's OK, I thanked the other players for a great game and wished them all best of luck (as an observer). I wasn't bitter about having to leave, I wasn't feeling bad about the fact that I could have had a very good chance to actually win that tournament. I was feeling fantastic. Maybe because I had an excuse to NOT feel the stress of a heads-up situation.

Thanks to those of you who commented with words of encouragement.

 And by the way, I did give out a bad beat during this tournament, although it was an all-in by my opponent but only another 600 to call on top of my 2000 big blind. I think that was the correct move with any two cards.

Jimmy G