Week 9 ended with a thud in 25th place.  Down to 9BB’s, I open shoved first in with Td9d.  It folded to the big blind who had a fair bit of chips and said “Well, I’ve got nothing to lose, I call”.  He turns over KcQc, so I was about a 62-38 or so dog.  It’s ok, I want calls from KQ normally as my entire value range crushes it and some of my looser shoves like Ax are ahead too.   My situation improved *slightly* when the flop came AdQd3d giving me the immediate flush.  Success was fleeting however, as the turn paired the ace and the river was the Qh to give my opponent a full house.   Meh, it’s just one of the many ways a 38% underdog loses a hand, all be it one of the more irritating ways.   

This puts me just outside the top 10 so to the semi-finals I go.  I think it provides a great object lesson in the fallacy of ladder climbing (although I did not ladder climb during my league play).  The points system favors the top 3 spots, which increases the luck element of who makes the top 10 a great deal.  The top 6 scores are counted in our average, and my top 6 included 4 final tables + a final table bubble.  But my highest finish was only 6th due to bad luck at those final tables.   There is another guy who is generally a pretty bad player, and has 4 scores that are early exits/really low scores, but had 1 week where the deck ran over him and he took 1st, and with one other final table has a high enough average to be in the top 10.  This despite only a partial bonus as he missed a week.  The indication is clear… the best strategy is to be playing to win.  That doesn’t mean to play recklessly, the more often you make deep runs the more often you’re putting yourself in a position to win.  But taking intelligent risks to accumulate chips is preferable to the more conservative route that moves you up a few spots but keeps your stack small in the middle stages of the tournament. 

JWK joins me in the semi-finals next week, and with a little luck we will both meet up with JDean who finished in 7th (week 6 win, ftw!).  No offense to these guys, but I’m still eyeing that 10K prize for 1st.  If I fall short though, I’m certainly routing for them, would be nice to hang out in Vegas together in July.

Until then…