Final Hand, Tuesday March 3rd, Talking Stick Casino, Phoenix AZ

First, a few words about the tournament. It is the 7pm tournament and has $145 buy in with 20 minute blinds. This is not my ideal tournament as it is set up to last about 5 hours. With only 20 minute blinks we are getting about one orbit of 10 players per round. The “luck” factor, or “variance” is fairly high. The casino has a better structured tournament on Saturday with 30 minute blinds but the entry fee is $330 which is a bit high. I’m here in Scottsdale with my wife on vacation and do not want to commit so much money to one tournament.

The starting stack is 10,000 chips and within the first half hour of the tournament I had won a few pots and was up to 14,000 in chips which was pretty good. Then I basically went card dead for a couple of hours which is deadly in this kind of structure.

So here is my final hand:

The blinds were 600 and 1200 and I had about 9,000 in chips, so 7.5 big blinds. I had been prepared to shove for several rounds but kept getting 9,2, 10,6 kinds of hands. Finally I’m dealt AJ, the best had I’ve seen in about 2 hours! I am in middle position at an 8 handed table. I have 2 options, either shove or call. I have only 9,000 in chips so the min raise is 2400 which is about 30% of my stack. With three more rounds of betting ahead (flop, turn, river) I’m essentially pot committed so I may as well shove. If I shove I have a good chance of winning 1800 chips which is about 20% of my stack. But with a hand like AJ I want to maximize my earnings. I need to double up or go home since 1800 chips will only give me one more round.

The big blind is fairly new to the table. He has a large stack (> 50 K) and has been somewhat aggressive. He has been raising a fair amount and I think his range is pretty wide, so I decide to just limp for 1200 hoping he raises and I’ll shove. At that point he will have enough equity and has a big enough stack that he will call and I will probably be ahead. In fact everyone else folds and the small blind completes for 1200. The BB thinks about it for a moment and then just checks. Dang.

The flop comes 10, J, 4. Bingo! The SB checks and the BB bets 2500. I shove all in for around 8,000 (another 5K approx) and the BB calls. I have TPTK and he turns over 89 for a straight draw. I’m ahead approximately 70% to 30% on this so I’m happy to have a decent chance of doubling up. However, the turn brings a 7 (!!) which gives him the straight and the river is no help so I’m out!

Ultimately, I think I played the hand perfectly, had a great flop and got unlucky, which happens.

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