September 2006
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Hooray for me winning through to the Sunday Poker Dome final on Mansion.  If I get 1st or 2nd in that bad boy then I’m on my way home to Vegas, to play on TV and in front of a live audience in a converted movie theatre.  I’m on a semi-mission with this one.  I’ve wanted to play the final for a few weeks but haven’t had many opportunities to get in it.  Had considered buying direct to the $215 final but decided not to, but there’s only one freezeout satellite each day at 8:15pm, which I seem to forget about and miss the start much more often than not.

The final four played very cagey for a long time, with not many hands going to a flop.  I was stealing plenty, even before that.  Much more often than I usually do, but I’d recognised the need to build a big stack when only two players were going to get anything.  The players eventually started to notice my relentless stabbing at blinds and began to fight back.  "Quit raising the blinds" said one.  Well, I’m sorry, it’s been working well for me so far.  But hey, now I know you’ve finally caught up so it’s time to change gears.

Well, first it’s time to get lucky, picking up KK against JJ and leaving us three handed.  And I have a decent chip lead now too.

With blinds at 150/300 Mr Please-don’t-raise-me pumps it up to 900 from the button.  I have AQ on the big blind and about three times his stack.  Here’s where I still haven’t decided whether I played the hand like a muppet or a genius.  Instead of putting the pressure back on him, I decided I was far enough ahead to get a bit tricky and try and end the thing.  I just call his raise, and the big blind folds.  The board brings J88 with two clubs.  I check and immediately call his 900 bet on the flop.  I’m not sure why, but I guess I could be ahead, or I could try and outplay him anyway.  I consider whether I actually have the balls to put him all on in the turn regardless of the next card but there’s hardly time before the turn brings another J and I move all-in.

Again, this is either stupidity or genius, and I’m still torn between the two.  I may well have the best hand, using the two pair on board and my ace high.  But there’s also a high chance I’m splitting, and so the bet is only good if he will throw away the same hand or one that beats mine.  He may fold an ace here, but it’s unlikely, and I’m almost certainly getting called by any hand that beats me, unless he is extremely tight and puts me on a J, then he might throw away a small full house or a bigger two pair.  But can I check-fold this hand now?  I don’t think I can, so I may as well bet it just in case I can get him to fold a winner.

The screenshot below tells the bizarre story.  I was ahead the whole way.  Therefore it was genius.  Clearly.