Tuesday night’s league game went well, we had 61 runners and I managed to make the final table, finishing 8th.  Disappointing on the whole, to get close to a top spot and fall short, but at least it’s some good league points which is the key… trying to make top 10 for a guaranteed seat in the finals.
The key hand that got me there came with 3 tables left.  A new player had just gotten moved into the button position to balance the tables… it folded to him and he limped in with blinds at 300/600/75.  It looked a little funny to me, just got a vibe he might be limping with a big hand.  I had about 9.5K in chips and he covered me, and I looked down at A8o in my BB after the SB folded.  I felt like this was too much to shove over a limp that looked suspicious vs an unknown, and I definitely didn’t want to raise/call with A8 or raise/fold on a 15 bb stack.  So I opted to check my option and just stay the conservative route preflop.  The flop was a very kind A83 rainbow.  I decided the best line was to check/raise the flop.  If he had limped some marginal hand like QTs, I’ll give him a chance to take a shot with air, or pair himself on the turn.  If he limped with the big hand I thought he might have, I sort of expected him to fire at this flop.  I figured I’m only getting 1 street of value out of air via the bluff, or out of hands like KK or QQ which will likely shut down after betting once anyway, and if he happened to have AK this is my double up board.  So I checked, he quickly went to his stack and tossed out a 1K chip.  I raised it to 3K, and he quickly announced all in.  I called, and he turned over AQ.  The turn and river bricked out giving me a very nice double up and making me chip leader at my table.  

Down to 2 tables, the wheels fell off a bit.  It seemed like I kept doubling up the short stacks.  It started when a shorty shoved on my BB from middle position and it folded to me.  I was getting about 3-1 to call so I knew I was calling this nominal amount with any 2 cards at this price.  I looked anyway, Ah4h.  Sweet, I actually have something!  Then after I called we have to show our hands, and he turns over 9h7h.  Double sweet!  He just shoved 9 high with no fold equity, and I have his flush potential covered.  This time the flop was kind to my opponent however, coming 778, with a 9 on the turn for good measure.  No fair using psychic powers at the table sir. lol  

From there it seemed like the optimal strategy for the super short stackers was to shove on my BB, as I ran terrible on my 60-40’s and 2-1’s.  It’s all good, I mean it’s poker and it happens.  It was amusing to the point that I joked I heard the short stack on the other table asking for a table change. 

By the time we hit the final table, the blinds and antes were huge and I was one of the short stacks.  I say that relative to the other stacks, as the average stack size when it hit 2K-4K was 11bb’s and so technically most of the players were short relative to the blinds.  I was under 5bb’s now (the level goes from 1-2 to 2-4K, it’s what I call the “it’s been a fun tournament but it’s time for you all to go home now” level jump lol).  While looking for any reasonable hot and cold hand to go with, 2 players busted on the same hand, moving me up to 8th.  An early position guy moves all in, and a shorter stack calls all in behind him.  It folds around to the BB who tanks, hems and haws, and finally says “I can’t fold this” and calls… with ATo.  Yikes.  EP turns over AA and shorter stack 77.  Flop comes a harmless enough J85, turn is a Q, and river a 9, giving the AT a running straight (see it happens live too!!! lol).  He had the AA guy barely covered by 300 chips, so he sent them both packing.  2 hands later I look down at A4 and shove first in, the player right behind me reshoves folding everyone else out, and I get no love vs. his 99 to go out in 8th place.  
JDean and JWK both had uneventful finish positions, but there’s 7 more weeks to get those scores thrown out.  Until next Tuesday night….