Last night there was a $100 poker tournament on PokerStars that I participated in. It’s a home game setup that is played for real money. I had no intention of playing in it, but got home after dinner, the timing was perfect. I had played with these guys one time before in a $20 buy in and knew that I had more experience than the people playing. I figured a $100 buy in with $10 players is +EV and I should give it a shot.

15 people entered. It was a 6 max table which I’m comfortable with. With all my SNG experience, and 9 tabling small cash games in the past, the principals don’t ever leave. I don’t bleed chips early and try to play small pots without showdown. I was between 1,500 and 2,000 with nothing crazy happening. I hit a nut flush. I hit trips. No real payoffs but not on life support early. I made a bad call with 89 suited on open end, flush draw when a short stack bet 500 into a 250 pot. Knowing I couldn’t bust, I figured it was worth the risk. Lost obviously.

I was at about 1,800 with 8 players left when I picked up jacks and doubled up against 88. That gave me some chips to bob and weave a little bit. We got down to 4, 3 paid out, and I was never the big stack. I had K7 in the BB and the SB limped. The flop was 7TQ. He bet 450 into 600 and I called. Turn was a 6. Check, check. River was a K and he bet 900. I insta-called and he had 77. That put me down to 2,500 with the other 3 stack sizes being 4k, 6k, and 8k with blinds at 150/300. Major hand in the tournament was when the SB pushed into me and I had 55. He had a 5k stack and even though I didn’t love the spot, I knew there was a chance he had exactly what he had which was A3. I won the hand and got the stacks all back to near even.

A few hands later I picked up 88 and the button with 3k shoved. I had 4,100 and thought that this was a great spot that even if I lost, I’d still have a chance to get back with 1,100 in chips. He had AQ and the eights held to break the bubble. Now the fun began because I was chip leader with 8k and the other guys were around 6k. One guy suggested a chop with $500 to each and being the chip leader, I said no. If they wanted to go 600, 450, 450 as I replied, the game would have ended. Unfortunately we couldn’t come to an agreement and the game continued.

Hilariously, as that deal chat was going on we were still playing and I had JT. I flopped an open ender and called a min bet on the turn which spiked my straight on the river. I made a bet, he called, and all of a sudden I had 10k and he had 4k. No deal at those old terms. A few hands later he went all in with AJ and I called with 8’s and busted 3rd place. I now had 14k with the other guy having around 8k and he wanted to chop evenly. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Not only am I better than you, but I have a huge chip lead. He wrote, “you let me know when you want to make a deal.” We played a few more hands and the chips stayed about the same when the guy suggested we go $700, $600 and I accepted. Would I have won? Yes. Could I have lost. Yes. Did I feel like being a prick over $100, not with people I don’t know. You don’t want to be known as the dick.

What were my impressions? I ran good. I won all-ins with 2 coin flips and 2 hands where I was 75% and that’s how you win tournaments. My push fold is still on the tight side but I know when I’m in push/fold which is saying more than most. I wasn’t even paying attention to reading the players in the tournament because when you play with people who are unpredictable, they don’t know what to do themselves.

My main strategy was to let people give me their chips. I’d hit trips and slow play. I’d draw to straights and flushes by letting them give me the odds to draw. I bet when I knew I needed to bet. I tried to get aggressive a few times when I caught some chips and calling stations like calling. I know I’m writing this like I won the World Series, but I know there are people out there who are bored at work looking for any material today. If you want to play in the next tournament, let me know.

I finally want to add that the winning of this $600 isn’t like +600. It cancels out losses. That $100 that I deposited on Bovada last Saturday and it lasted until Sunday. That $300 I put on BetOnline (with a +150 free bet) that lasted 4 bets. That $400 I lost at 1-2 when my over pair lost to a flush draw. The money ebbs and flows and that’s important to understand.