Is It A Bluff?

Got into a late-night/early-morning 6-max turbo tournament a few levels in at 50/100, which put me at just 10 big blinds to start. There were only about 400 players left out of 500 starters, and more than $5,170 in the prize pool. 54 places paid.

I was lucky with my first hand (AT), picking up the blinds with a min raise, then a showdown against an all-in on my first small blind (A7 v. 4A) gave me a pot of over 1,900  when my seven paired on the flop.

Calling another small all-in from the big blind a little later got me a spade flush (I’m not sure I needed anything that strong to beat 5Q), then I picked up AA on the next hand as the big blind eventually going all-in to take a pot of over 9K, mostly from the small blind who had 98.

Three rounds later, with blinds at 200/400/50, I raised to 1,200 from the small blind with 65 and the big blind went all-in for more than my stack of 7,140. It seemed like he’d been using that trick an awful lot so I called and he turned over 9J. The flop of K4T looked rather grim, but A and 2 put me up to 14,480 and third place in the chip ranks at the time (which eventually paid $569).

I sat through another twenty hands without much action, maintaining my stack between 16K and 17K but slowly slipping in the rankings. The blinds had just gone through and I was sitting with the button when I picked up Q9 and I miscalculated my chances. Action folded to me and I min-raised. The small blind (a different player than earlier) shoved his 7.5K in and the big blind folded. I had the bet more covered by more than double and called. He flipped an A7, the board showed two more hearts, but it was the A on the river that sealed the deal.

Still, I was in the running. There were only 65 players left, we were just a dozen spots away from the money, and I still had nearly 9K in chips. Still, the blinds were 400/800/75, so that only left me with 11BB. It was shoving time. I was dealt 2K and decided to test the water with a call from the cutoff after the action folded to me. The guy on the button with all of my former chips went all-in for more than 16K and the blinds crumbled. Did he have a good hand again or was he just using all those chips to squash people? I guessed “squash” and called. I was wrong. His hand was even better than the last one: KA. I had one live card and it was a deuce. Or maybe a heart flush. Amazingly enough, I was only at a 4:1 disadvantage to start. Again, an A was the nail in my coffin—this time on the turn—and I was out at 63rd. My nemesis took his 27K and went on to the final table, winning $113.