In Norway playing poker for money live is illegal, so when we have the Norwegian Championship we have to go to Dublin. But they can offer a freeroll satellite in our capital city where the six best players gets the chance to play in the main event.

I played this for the second time in my life, and I’m a better player than last year. The structure of this freeroll is comparable to a turbo; the blinds increase pretty fast and all of the sudden your 100bb stack is only a shallow 20bb one. When I was playing last year I only played three hands, all of them which I’ve regretted how I played them, busted last year AQ < AA, one of the few hands I got.

This year I was going to play far more aggressive, I said to myself “go big or go home”, I’m not the guy who gets nervous when playing poker because that limits my plays, and instead I just attacked this like a normal online poker tournament. One of the first hands I played I had AA and this guy made a comment or a remark before flatting, which made me instantly put him on a monster AK/KK. The flop was QJx where I bet, and he reraised me, and I decided to 3bet and he just flatted behind me. I didn’t want to put him on a set like QQ or JJ so I was ready to commit, the turn was a T which slowed both of us down. And the river was another blank where he vbet small, so I just check/called vs. his QQ. With a 10k starting stack I was probably down to 7-6k already.

But that didn’t stop me, we changed tables with almost the entire table following us over to the next one – and I started taking control. It got to the point that I just raised and everyone folded, when I was in the blinds I got a walk. Then there was a guy who started playing back at me and I had to slow down because he was short enough to light 3bet shove against me. I lost my A4s to his KQ and right before the break I lost 3rd pair on a paired board versus his top pair – so I doubled him up twice. But I started picking up some tells on people, and actually had some reads, which was surprising because last year I tried picking up details, but this year I managed to do that. I could read off peoples body langue that they called wanting to outplay me, but since I could just barrel in position it was very easy. I ran some bluffs and had an active image, when I finally started folding one guy went “DID YOU FOLD?!” It was the perfect table, the guy to my left limp/folded a lot of hands shallow, so I isoed him versus a tight player to limped behind(knowing that if the UTG limper shipped he’d iso the tight guy out for me). UTG ships and I call K9 and he had QT, and I lost another flip. Next hand I was short and I ship blind vs blind and he snaps off my KT with 52s, I won this hand to be back a little over my starting stack(25bbs+).

We change table and my first hand there’s a guy who’s presumably tight opening from EP, I pick up Q4s and decide to 3bet without people knowing how I play. He flats and I fire a weak cbet on a 655r flop which he decides to c/f and I show my bluff to establish my image. At this table there were bigger chip stacks so I couldn’t really steal that much shallow. But I had decent control, and was one of the active ones here aswell. Last hand before the table broke I lost KJ < 44. Joining a new table I fold two hands and get dealt QJ, I try to look for the chip stacks behind me if I’ll be able to call reshoves, and I am. Surprise, surprise BB reshoves K3 and we are off to another flip, which I lose. The hand after I ship AQ EP really really short and another shorter stack calls me with TT. I flop A and he flops set, gg. With 1bb I ship K7o EP and win 3way, then I change table. At this table Johnny Lodden is sitting and when I ship my A4 with 4-5bbs he just says “I Approve”, like he was agreeing with my play. Shock the big blind called with AA.

All in all it was a great experience, but just like last year I busted Ax vs AA and that stings. Not only that, but I lost 5 flips(they are all flips) and that’s just super disappointing. I’m very pleased with my play and the way I picked up on tells and actually got reads on people made me even more confident, but you feel so small when you see that in a structure like this the cards decide, not your play. I don’t know what to say, I feel really empty inside seeing how good I was at assigning ranges and other important stuff, restealing and flatting vs. steals in position. Seeing how I was all in 7 times and only won 1 is shocking statistics. Other things that I would like to mention is that it’s fun to see people attend these events, I normally don’t like seeing people who have no clue do stuff, but they gave me chips and was polite at the table, and I had a lot of interesting conversations. Forgot to mention that I had to be dealer at my first table, which was stressing!