This weekend the Sunday Million will carry an enormous $5,000,000 guarantee as part of the December Festival. That's one huge prize pool for a $215 buy-in (which you can, of course, satellite into for significantly less). There's also a ramped-up version of the Sunday Warm-Up during the first of two Million Dollar Sundays.
Whether you're a regular grinder or just liking taking the occasional stab at a big tourney you should think about playing one, if not both, of these tournaments. We know it sounds like a cliche, but there is genuinely some life-changing money to be won. The $5m Sunday Million will have a first place payout of at least $475,000!
Sunday: the day of the grind
There's a total of $27,000,000 to be won during the PokerStars December Festival. The Million Dollar Sundays are just one part of the festive celebration. Check out the full schedule of fun and frolics here. December Mission Weeks start on Monday and the Milestone Hands the week after that.
Next week, both the $11 Sunday Storm and $530 Sunday 500 are being given a $1m price tag. There's some incredible value there. A $11 buy-in for a $1m guarantee? That's like a MicroMillions Main Event.
I play the Super Tuesday fairly regularly on PokerStars. That's the weekly $1,050 No-limit Hold'em tournament that has been getting bigger and bigger lately. It's a great tournament, and the winners are now getting more than $100,000 pretty much every week.
With the prize pool so big, deals at the final table aren't uncommon. A few weeks ago there was a Super Tuesday where the two players who were heads-up stopped the tourney to discuss a possible deal. One actually made a kind of humorous suggestion where he essentially offered the other player second-place money only rather than an actual chop of the remaining money.
It was brianm15 making the offer to Palau777, and the exchange was pretty funny (you can read about it here). The tournament paid $113,778 for first and $83,377 for second, and brianm15 was offering Palau777 $84,000 in the deal (and they'd play for the remaining $6,000). Both are good players and I'm pretty sure they were joking around with each other as they talked about these numbers. As it turned out they didn't make a deal at all and Palau777 ended up winning.
People who make deals in the Super Tuesday generally have an idea about how to negotiate when it comes to the deal-making, but sometimes in other tournaments you'll see players who are less familiar with how it works and occasionally they'll agree to some not-so-great terms.
I remember a couple of years ago getting to three-handed in the Sunday Warm-Up and as it turned out the other two players weren't too experienced with bigger buy-in events. (Here's the write-up of that one.)
We talked about chopping for a while, then finally when we did make a deal I was by far the shortest stack, but I ended up getting the most money in the deal. I think I got around $7K each from the other two. That tournament is also kind of memorable for me because I was playing with my newborn daughter sitting in my lap.
Hey! One player to a hand...
Generally though, I don't like to do deals. It takes away a lot of final table strategy, when a deal is made. Everyone is looking at the payouts and the jumps from spot to spot, and you can usually see early on at a final table who is scared and wants to fold their way to a higher finish and who isn't. So I feel like I have more of an advantage to play it out, since without a deal I can pressure those players who are afraid to gamble and improve my own chances of going deeper.
Deals also take away the fun for me, too. They take away the gamble. When I finally get to a final table in a tournament, I want to win and enjoy that pleasure of doing so. And I'm willing to risk the pain of coming up short, too.
At the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo last spring we didn't make a deal, and the pressure was intense because the payouts jumped from €467,000 to €842,000 to €1,224,000 for those last three spots. But none of us - Andrew Pantling, Steve O'Dwyer and I - were afraid to gamble, either, and so even though it didn't turn out the best for me (I took third), it was still a great experience and great competition.
If I hadn't been playing against those two guys, I would've been able to apply a lot more pressure at the end because of those huge pay jumps. But in most cases, even in EPTs, when you get down to three- or four-handed there's usually one player who is going to be affected by the pay jumps and play differently. Those pay jumps just don't matter if a deal has been made.
Like I say, usually I'm all for playing it out. Let's gamble!
[Public service announcement: I have poker buddies on multiple continents who will have difficulty believing I wrote the following blog post. But I did. Feel free to contact me and ask obscure questions to confirm that I haven't been replaced by an alternate Lee Jones]
You know, it has to happen sometimes - I made the final table of a small local tournament on Sunday night. I lost with aces early, but for a relatively small amount. Then I got all-in with the identical two cards (the "minor" aces, if you care) and doubled up. Somewhere in there my 99 won a race against AK for all my chips. I got big value with AK against a weaker ace on an ace-high board. Nothing fancy, just some good hands and a bit of luck.
So there I am at the nine-handed final table with a moderately good stack - I'm pretty sure I'm the second chip leader - but it's like 25-30 blinds, as will happen in these things.
It was a £20+5 buy-in, one £20 rebuy, and a £20 add-on. For the £5 vig, we got a £5 bet on red/black at roulette and a buffet dinner at the tournament break. So almost everybody had £65 invested. Great value for the evening in every respect.
Beating the bubble
A couple of people busted out, and we were down to seven. Five got paid, 5th place was £100. So if you busted 5th, you were going to make about 50% on your investment. That's fine with me, and I'm squarely in the camp of long shallow payouts in tournaments (I think we had 23 runners). But here was the thing: it was past midnight and the tournament had started at 7pm. I'm pretty sure the buffet break wasn't an hour long, so we'd been playing poker for getting toward five hours. And two of our remaining players were going to go home empty-handed.
I said, "I got an idea. There's seven of us here. What if each of us reaches into his pocket and puts in £20 and we build a £140 kitty. We'll give £70 each to the people who bust 7th and 6th so they don't go home empty-handed after five hours of poker."
It took a little bit of explaining, but eventually everybody agreed that it was a fine idea. Turns out two of the guys didn't have any more cash on them, but the guy sitting next to me put in £40 extra and said, "Look - one way or another you two are about to have some cash on you - we'll sort it out then."
What a gentleman.
Short-term loss, long-term gain
Now here's the truth: there wasn't a huge chance that I was going to be 7th or 6th out. As I said, I was second chip leader and I had the chip leader on my immediate right. Furthermore, there were some very short stacks at the table. Obviously, crazy things can happen in poker, but I liked my chances.
The thing is: sometimes, even at a poker table, it's not about the money. Especially when one of those guys said he'd go to the ATM to get money so he could participate in the save, I thought, "This is so the right thing to do."
Now, before I go further, I need to say that while it's fine for a table full of people to agree to a deal or a save, they should never pressure anybody to do one. And the tournament officials have an obligation to prevent anybody trying to do so. If one person says he wants to play it out (or doesn't want to do the save), then that's what you do. I've written about this in the past, and I still believe it.
But in this case, there was quick and enthusiastic agreement to the idea, and it meant that all seven of us would be guaranteed to go home with some money in our pockets. Especially for younger, perhaps lower bankrolled players, this is a huge win. If a relatively new player comes down to the casino, plays poker for five hours, gets a free meal, and leaves with pretty much the same money he walked in with, he's likely to consider that a moderately good result. It's sure as hell a better result than going home with empty pockets. And maybe it means he'll come back next time and become part of the regular crew.
So yes, I put £20 into the kitty being pretty sure that I wasn't getting £20 in equity for my contribution. This is the part where I've grown up a lot over the years; I learned that you can get your equity back in forms other than pounds and pence, dollars and cents.
Epilogue: Because people will ask... numbers 7 and 6 busted (and were duly paid) and we got into the real money. I got knocked down by doubling up a guy's bigger pocket pair. But then I shoved ATs, got called by jacks who had me barely covered, and I flopped the flush. Shortly thereafter, a guy shoved with deuces, it folded to me in the big blind and I woke up with my third pair of aces for the night. He flopped a deuce and I rivered an ace. I ended up chopping the final two (by chips) with my friend and colleague Remy. It wasn't karma, or fate, or "because you offered the deal" or anything else. It was because I hit some cards I needed. Sometimes that's how poker goes.
But more important than the profit was the lesson I learned that it can be a fine thing to give away money at the poker table.
Lee Jones is the Head of Poker Communications at PokerStars. He first joined the company in 2003 and has been involved in the professional poker world since the mid 1980's. You can read his occasional Twitter-bites at @leehjones.
Italian player Domenico Drammis won the title and €135,000 at the Season 5 PokerStars Italian Poker Tour Saint Vincent Grand Final. Drammis beat a field of 914 players at the Casino De La Vallee, where the IPT Main Event generated a €558,546 prize pool. Drammis's beat fellow Italian Gianpaolo Eramo heads-up, but Eramo still pocketed a huge €75,000.
IPT champ Domenico Drammis
The final action saw Drammis go all-in with [Ad][7d], well ahead of Eramo who called it off with a crushed Ah][3c]. The [4d][5h][Qd][Kd][2c] board was a huge heads-up cooler with flush against straight.
The next stop of the IPT will take place in Nova Gorica 16-21 January and will kick off Season 6 with an accumulator Main Event. With his first place at the IPT Saint Vincent Grand Final, Drammis also secured himself first place on the IPT Season 5 Leader Board. Domenico will freeroll all Season 6 Main Events.
IPT Saint Vincent €700 Main Event Entrants: 914 Prize pool: €558,545
Poker-wise I haven't been doing too much lately, but I have been keeping busy: I got married! Actually, my wife, Vanessa, and I have been legally married for about three years already, and we even have a family started with a couple of children, Emma and Madita. But a few weeks ago we finally had a big formal church wedding with a party afterwards, and it was a wonderful time.
We spent the last year or so preparing for it, and it turned out beautifully. It was an unbelievable day in so many ways. We were very happy to have our families with us. We both have very big families, and are both very close with our cousins and aunts and uncles, so there were a lot of people there who are very special to us.
We were a little worried at one point about whether or not we'd have any entertainment, but it turned out there was something planned. In fact, it was pulled together in secret, which isn't such an easy thing to do with my wife! Some our friends and a few family members put on some fantastic performances; some music and choreography, as well as some sketches. They'd taken a lot of time to prepare and they were just brilliant.
We also were able to be involved in a lot of the details such as with the invitations and other items, and we ended up incorporating a theme of playing cards throughout.
Love on the cards
I used to be a card magician and now, of course, I'm a poker player. So, playing cards are kind of important in our lives, and it was fun to make cards part of our day.
As funny as it sounds, you don't really get to enjoy your own wedding party as much as others. You're so busy meeting and talking to everyone, and it really seemed like the entire day sped by in 20 minutes. We had about 170 people there and talked to just about everyone at some point, and then with the pictures and speeches and everything else, the day just flew by.
There was additional entertainment at the party, including a band and some friends who did card tricks for several hours, but we were so busy we didn't see too much of those performances.
But the whole day was fantastic, especially getting our big families together and interacting with one another. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. We had a photo booth set up where everyone could have pictures taken of themselves, and we're going to have all of those pictures to help us remember the day.
Speaking of pictures, here's one of us during the ceremony:
World number one tennis player Rafa Nadal revealed today that he will take on Brazilian footballing legend Ronaldo at a live charity poker tournament taking place on December 12, 2013 as part of the European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague poker festival.
The tournament, which was announced in November, will be Nadal's first experience of live poker, and is something that he has been working towards since taking up the game in June 2012. Other players who will be competing for the €100,000 charity prize pool include former Ukrainian footballer Andriy Shevchenko, Italian skier Alberto Tomba, Dutch Olympic field hockey gold medallist Fatima Moreira de Melo, and world number one poker player Daniel Negreanu.
"Ronaldo has always been a hero of mine and I'm looking forward to taking him on at the poker table," said Nadal. "The great thing about poker is that it's a common ground for us to compete on, and there are many similarities between sport and poker strategy, so it will be good to see how he translates his game from the football field to the poker felt."
Rafa Nadal getting some live poker practice in
Ronaldo is no stranger to live poker tournaments, having already competed in events in Brazil at the Brazil Series of Poker (BSOP) and at the EPT in Barcelona earlier this year. He said: "This is going to be a great event, and it's one of the few opportunities that I have to take on Rafa and the other athletes on a level playing field. We are all sports professionals, but in completely different fields, and poker is the level ground on which we can all compete fairly."
See how Rafa has been getting on with his poker training in this behind-the-scenes video:
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu
Follow the conversation on Twitter using #RafaPrague
I once played a marathon session of poker of 40,000 hands in 18.5 hours. It was a real test of mental endurance and power of will. I decided to put myself to another marathon test - this time of the running variety.
My road to the New York Marathon started in the Javits Center, which held a pre-marathon expo on 2 November. It was one place where runners could register and obtain their race materials. Despite the large number of participants, I witnessed no long queues. Everything was well-organized. After getting your personal number you could proceed straight to the expo with lots of sport companies having booths there. We ate a lot of samples - energy gels, cheese, etc - and also bought some stuff for a run that was going to happen on the next day.
Team PokerStars Online's Mikhail 'innerpsy' Shalamov
My marathon morning started at 4am. I had been waking up once an hour because of being overexcited and at 4am I decided not to sleep anymore and spend the time preparing instead. I was supposed to be in lobby at 5.40am. Getting ready for the run is very important and includes many little things, such as polishing toe nails so they wouldn't scratch the adjacent fingers and tear the socks, protecting your nipples with bandages (no kidding - otherwise they would turn into bloody meat after interacting with clothes for 40,000 steps, no matter how smooth your T-shirt is). Anti-chafing ointment appeared to be useful as well. As for the outfit - it had to fit really well so nothing could disrupt the focus on the run. I had my breakfast shortly after (banana, yoghurt, and a drink). I got down to lobby right to join the crowd of other runners before our transfer.
The calm before the storm
The bus transfer took around an hour to the start line on Staten Island. That's the view from the bridge right before the start camp.
It's cheating if you take the ferry
Getting to know the fact that it will take only your leg power to get to those blurry skyscrapers (not to mention that route is not even direct and has a lot of turns) is... refreshing, not to say more. We got dropped off at the start camp at 7am. I saw that there were almost no covered areas, so the waiting promised to be not that delightful, provided it was only 4C outside and I was dressed pretty light. I spent most of the time before the start under a tent heavily packed with other contenders who literally took every spare piece of free land they could. Well, at least the company saved us from the cold wind. All in all, I somehow managed to miss my wave's start (I signed up to wave 2 because I planned to wrap up my run in 3h40m lololol), so I had to start with wave 3.
Not worried about 26 miles?
Miss America has performed the anthem, MC has built up some hype, countdown, BANG! - and here we go! The first mile on the bridge was already a test; windy freezing, uphill. But overall euphoria made me forget about all the cons and here I was, cruising! Right off the bridge to Brooklyn and that's where the first fans started to appear!
Like a bridge over troubled water...
The fans are one of the best things in the NY Marathon. I couldn't even imagine this would be so cool. It's like a city-wide holiday - with people making big signs, bringing sweets and bananas for the runners, screaming and cheering you along all 26 miles. Families come out to shout from roofs, balconies, and sidewalks. One of the mistakes I'd done was not to put my name and country on my T-shirt (though I was advised to do so by the orgs - I just forgot). The ones who had this written on them were encouraged by personal addresses, jokes etc. Nevertheless, it was beyond cool anyway. My biggest shout goes out to the guy with the jellies and a girl with bananas: they helped me out a lot in the absence of the official meal supply that didn't appear until mile 18.
There were a lot of funny signs like, 'You run NY better than Bloomberg' or 'Welcome to Brooklyn! And now - GET OUT!' or a sign with a huge button that said 'Press here for power-up'. There were MCs, bands playing every couple of kilometres, and the fans - they were not just standing, they were literally rooting for you, yes - YOU, like: 'Come on, run, you're the best!!' 'The finish line is close!' and when you felt almost drained that somehow managed to help spur you on big time.
Mile 25 and I was almost at the finish line. I was dying of muscle pain in my legs and began walking instead of running, when one of the lady fans yelled at me: 'You! Yes, you! Start running NOW!' Magically, I straightened up, smiled and started running again like just out of the start line though moments before I'd been sure I was unable to do that.
From the physical point of view, the run itself turned out to be anything but ordinary. Because of an accident, I hadn't had had much running practice for the three months prior to the marathon and was worried that this would stop me from making it to the finish line. Aside from that, I was confident in my shape. As it turns out, that was last thing I had to worry about.
There's a term called 'the wall' in long-distance running. When you run out of glycogens (fast energy harvested from carbohydrates), your body starts using its fat as the energy source instead. I never happened to reach the wall itself during my training runs (though I ran the half-marathon with the result of 1h40m), so I considered it being something more of a myth, disregarding the warnings from the experienced long-distance runners like my dad, who once completed an ultra-marathon of 600km on his bike. I was punished for my lack of knowledge.
I made two major mistakes. First was the initial euphoria combined with high speed running (which led to an increased glycogen consumption during the first half of the run) and second was lack of energetic gels. Together they made me feel hyper exhausted after 25 kilometres. It's quite bit hard to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it, because you think it just can't happen. It's like your legs are bare bones, each step is mirrored by pain in lower muscles and tendons. You feel like you're running but the speed is more pedestrian-like. And there's nothing you can do about it.
...and hitting the wall.
If I was shown the pictures of the people that would have outrun me I would really think you're nuts. How can an overweight old lady outrun a young fit guy with a thousand kilometer under his belt this year? Well, it appeared she's able to. I was astonished with how many different people were participating. It was an awesome experience to take part in and to share it with the rest who found themselves able to make it to the finish line.
For the last 6 miles I felt like I was running along an asymptote*. I was getting closer and closer to the finish line but it still seemed like I wouldn't cross the line. Each mile took me longer than the one before and I began to realise that I wouldn't make it into the morning NY Times issue (you have to run 4h 45m or faster), but I could still make it in 5 hours. I remember yelling at myself, 'Come on, Misha, for hell's sake, run!' and the crowd was surprisingly doing the same in English instead of thinking that I'd gone crazy. It even made me run my 26th mile one-and-a-half minutes faster than my 25th. My result was 4:59:49, which was pretty much average, yet I was so happy that I'd overcome the challenge and made it to the end.
* Asymptote: a straight line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance.
I decided to play the WPT event at the Seminole Hard Rock for two reasons. One was the $10 million guarantee and the other was because I promised Vanessa Selbst I would go to her wedding. The tournament was in Miami and it had three Day Ones (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Vanessa was getting married on Saturday and Day 2 was on Sunday. My plan was to play Day 1A, bag up my chips, fly to New York City, go to the wedding, and fly back to Miami in time to play Day 2. No problem, right?
I arrived in Miami and played Day 1A with the intention of doing a couple of re-entries. I didn't have to and made it through with a good stack. I also played a lot of Pineapple Open-Face Chinese while I was there. It's the new variation everybody's crazy about. Pineapple Open-Face starts off the same as regular OFC with each player getting five cards to set. Then, in the subsequent rounds, you get three cards, two you must set and one you must discard face down. Because of the discards, it can only be played two or three-handed, and it contains a much bigger gambling element. You go to Fantasyland all the time and the swings are huge. It's possible I'm even more into Pineapple OFC than I am to regular OFC. And it's a good thing I won because when it came time for me to leave for Vanessa's wedding, I realized I hadn't packed my suit!
Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero
About $4,000 later, I had a new suit, dress shirt and shoes. Very quickly, this was turning into the most expensive wedding ever! But it was all worth it once I got up to that Brooklyn rooftop. I'm not the emotional type, but the ceremony was so beautiful I almost cried. You could see all of Manhattan and the different bridges spread out behind Vanessa and Miranda as they exchanged their vows. The party afterwards was a lot of fun too, but at 4 am the next morning Andrew "luckychewy" Lichtenberger and I had to shrug off our hangovers and get in a taxi to the airport. We got on the first flight out of New York, landed in Miami at 9 am and were back in the casino playing Day 2 by noon.
Best laid plans...
The rest of the tournament was pretty frustrating. Two guys at my table were very inexperienced players--usually a good thing--but they were slowing down the game so much it tested everyone's patience... especially mine. They never remembered when it was their turn to act, were always on their phones, and would constantly forget to put out their antes. At some point I got really tired of it and confronted one of the guys.
"Come on, dude. The dealer can't remind you every single hand to put out your ante. You're slowing everything down," I said, as patiently as I could.
When the second guy heard what I said to his cohort, he dropped the F-bomb and told me what I could go do to myself. Thankfully, the floor heard it and gave him a penalty. However, the other guy was already involved in a hand. The blinds were 1,500/3,000 and a short-stacked player opened for 7,000. My nemesis flat-called the 7,000 and I looked down at K-Q on the button. We were pretty close to the money bubble and I had 67,000 in chips. The initial raiser was a really tight player and I knew he'd never call me light, so I decided to shove. He folded as I expected, but my nemesis called off 22 big blinds and showed K-7. Although I had him crushed, he spiked a three-outer with a seven on the turn and I was out only a few spots off the money.
"Of course, you hit the seven."
Despite it's awful end, I had a fantastic trip. The Open-Face action was great, I saw one of my best friends marry the love of her life, and even though I couldn't bring a WPT title home with me to Argentina, at least I have a new suit.
Another huge field turned out this week for the Super Tuesday, with the 635 entrants tying for the fourth-largest Super Tuesday field ever (the record being 663). That meant $635,000 was up for grabs -- more than twice the $300K guarantee -- with the top 72 finishers splitting up the prize pool. And after more than 11-and-a-half hours it was Christian "CMoosepower" Elgstrøm of Denmark topping everyone to earn this week's title.
Elgstrøm ended up earning a $74,868.06 payday for the win after a six-handed final table deal, with runner-up Shhh00kem of Canada actually picking a little more by taking away $75,354.41 and fifth-place finisher 1dönertasche of Germany also realizing a nice $71,527.98 payday.
But it took a lot of poker beforehand to get to that point. Here's the story of how this week's tourney played out.
It took about five-and-a-half hours for the field to be whittled down to 73 players remaining at which point a lengthy period of hand-for-hand began. A couple of Team Online members had been among those to go out relatively shy of the cash as Marc-Andre "FrenchDawg" Ladouceur was eliminated in 119th, then Caio "pessagno" Pessagno was knocked out in 76th after losing his short stack with [Td][Ts] to üä-qaypö.wsx's [Js][Jc].
Among the several players still sitting with below average chips was Matt "salty14" Salsberg, who took to Twitter to describe his plight.
Alas for Salsberg, his dinner would be coming sooner than later after getting knocked out by one of the two opponents he'd mentioned before, Zo "pakmanmma" Karim. Salsberg ran his [6h][6s] into Karim's [Kh][Kc] to lose his last nine big blinds and go out in 59th. Faraz "The-Toilet 0" Jaka would then go out moments later when his [Ad][7d] couldn't outdraw TiltMeBig's [9c][9d] and he hit the rail in 57th, like Salsberg cashing for $2,222.50.
It wasn't long after knocking out Jaka that TiltMeBig had risen to the top spot in the counts as the first player to 300,000 as the field shrunk below 30.
They'd just crossed the eight-hour mark when Zo "pakmanmma" Karim finally went out in 20th, then young_diam18 followed in 19th with both earning $3,810 for their efforts. With two tables left TiltMeBig was still there with an average stack while Shhh00kem had moved out in front with more than 430,000 with goleafsgo41 the nearest challenger with about 290,000.
It would take another hour-and-a-half for the next eight to go, with SerPol999 (18th), Thomas "ttesone" Tesone (17th), and xerox206 (16th) each earning $5,080; Vampyboy (15th), medmar (14th), and Saul "iCeVeNoM" Khalili (13th) taking away $6,350 apiece; and WICKED617 (12th) and sincinaty118 (11th) both cashing for $7,620.
With 10 left hand-for-hand play commenced once more, and after a while a hand developed in which TiltMeBig raised from the button and both goleafsgo41 (small blind) and Timorm1 (big blind) called. Then following a [Ks][8s][Td] flop goleafsgo41 checked, Timorm1 bet, TiltMeBig called, goleafsgo41 check-raised, Timorm1 folded, TiltMeBig shoved, and goleafsgo41 called.
goleafsgo41 showed [Kh][Qd] for top pair of kings but was behind TiltMeBig's [As][Ah], and when the next two streets brought a couple of fives, goleafsgo41 had finished in 10th for $7,620.
With that hand pushing TiltMeBig back into first position, the final table was underway.
It was a final table with nine different countries represented, including EPT6 London champion Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson playing from Macao. Gustavson tweeted the news of his having made it that far to his followers as the first final table hand was dealt.
Gustavson was referring to the big $120,015 prize originally scheduled for the winner, although as things ultimately played out, the final table deal would be spreading the remaining prize money out among several players.
It wasn't long before the next elimination occurred. The blinds were at 4,500/9,000 when 1dönertasche raised 2x to 18,000 from middle position, then it folded around to milldollbaby in the big blind who three-bet to 41,580 and 1dönertasche called. The flop came [Ac][As][4h], and milldollbaby check-called a bet of 21,512 from 1dönertasche. The turn then brought the [9d] and another check from milldollbaby. This time 1dönertasche shoved all in and milldollbaby called with the 123,556 left behind.
milldollbaby had [Qd][Qh] for aces and queens, but 1dönertasche had trip aces with [Ah][Qc]. The river was the [3d], and milldollbaby was done in ninth.
Two hands later Timorm1 was nearly felted after losing a preflop all-in with [Qd][Jd] versus PingoPingwin's [Ah][Kh]. Then the next hand saw leader TiltMeBig raise the minimum to 20,000 from the hijack seat, Shhh00ken reraise to 44,222 from the cutoff, then Timorm1 call all in from the button for just 22,505.
The blinds and TiltMeBig folded, then Shhh00kem showed [Ad][9d] and Timorm1 [Jc][9c]. The board ran out six-high, coming [4h][6d][2s][5d][4d] to give Shhh00kem a flush and knock Timorm1 out in eighth.
About an orbit later it was Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson open-raising all in from under the gun for 95,766 (about nine-and-a-half big blinds), then Batistu10 reraised from a couple of seats over and all folded. It was [Js][9s] for Gustavson and [As][Jh] for Batistu10, and when the community cards came [7h][Kd][Ah][Jd][Td], Gustavson's Super Tuesday run had ended in seventh.
The remaining six made it to the 10-hour break, then decided to pause the tournament to discuss a possible deal with Shhh00kem and 1dönertasche the chip leaders.
Both "ICM" and "chip chop" numbers were produced (leaving $6,000 for which to play), and the ensuing discussion lasted for nearly half an hour. Finally a deal based on the "chip chop" figures was agreed upon, with Christian "CMoosepower" Elgstrøm (in third position) managing to convince everyone but Shhh00kem and TiltMeBig to give him a little extra before a deal was struck.
Soon after play resumed, it was TiltMeBig min-raising to 24,000 from early position, then watching Elgstrøm reraise to 57,475 from the big blind. TiltMeBig responded with an all-in push for 263,745, and CMoosepower called without hesitation.
TiltMeBig and [As][Jc] while CMoosepower turned over [Qh][Qc]. The flop brought an ace, but a queen as well, coming [2c][Qs][Ah]. The turn was the [6h] and river the [Ac], meaning TiltMeBig's trip aces weren't enough against Elgstrøm's full house, thus ending TiltMeBig's night in sixth.
Soon it was 1dönertasche raising to 24,000 from the button, CMoosepower reraising to 64,375 from the small blind, and 1dönertasche calling. The flop came [Td][5s][8d], Elgstrøm bet 71,250, and 1dönertasche called. The turn was the [Ts], pairing the board. Elgstrøm's bet 134,275 this time, and when 1dönertasche shoved for 486,177, CMoosepower called.
Both players had made trips, it turned out, but CMoosepower's [As][Th] gave him a better kicker than 1dönertasche who had [Qh][Tc]. The river was the [3s], and 1dönertasche was eliminated in fifth.
The blinds moved to 7,000/14,000, then a hand arose that saw PingoPingwin raise to 28,000 from UTG, then Shhh00kem reraise to 70,000 from the big blind. PingoPingwin then pushed for 520,691 and Shhh00kem called.
PingoPingwin showed [As][Jh] but needed help against Shhh00kem's [Ac][Ks]. The board came [7d][7s][2d], then [6h], then [Td], and PingoPingWin was out in fourth.
On the very next hand, Batistu10 raised to 28,000 from the button, Shhh00kem reraised to 63,000 from the small blind, then Christian "CMoosepower" Elgstrøm cold four-bet to 156,475 from the big blind. Batistu10 then pushed all in for 668,521 and after Shhh00kem folded, CMoosepower called.
Batistu10's pocket pair was ahead before and after the [3s][Ts][Jc] flop, but the [Qh] fell on fourth street to make a straight for Elgstrøm and make the river [9d] no matter. They were down to two.
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Heads-up began with Christian "CMoosepower" Elgstrøm enjoying a little over a 2-to-1 chip lead with 2,143,519 to Shhh00kem's 1,031,481. Elgstrøm stayed in front for the next dozen hands, then Shhh00kem managed to double up with [5h][5d] through CMoosepower's [Ac][Th] to sneak in front by a few chips.
But Elgstrøm soon moved back ahead and by the time the 11-hour break arrived had built up over 2 million once again. The pair would ultimately battle another 40 minutes more, with the lead swinging back and forth a couple more times before CMoosepower again had his stack up around 2.1 million when the final hand at last took place.
The blinds were up to 10,000/20,000, and the hand began with Elgstrøm raising from the button to 40,000, Shhh00kem reraising to 100,000, then Elgstrøm four-betting to 220,000. Shhh00kem came back with an all-in push for 1,063,848, and CMoosepower called, turning over [8d][8s] while Shhh00kem had [As][Jh].
The community cards brought no help to Shhh00kem, coming [7s][Kc][8c][Kh][Qc], giving CMoosepower a full house, the pot, and a Super Tuesday title.
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Congratulations to Christian "CMoosepower" Elgstrøm for topping a huge Super Tuesday field and tough final table to win this week's tourney, and kudos as well to Shhh00kem for a gritty heads-up battle and for taking away a shade more than Elgstrøm thanks to the six-handed chop.
12/3/13 Super Tuesday ($1,050 No-Limit Hold'em) results (*reflects six-way deal):
Jealousy used to be my least favorite emotion because of its vicious circularity. I'd feel bad because I want something a friend has and then I felt extra bad that I felt that way in the first place.
I've always been way more jealous about achievements than personal relationships. When I played chess professionally, I would obsessively look up one of my main rivals at tournaments. At the time, I was enrolled at NYU, and she was jetting around the world in international competitions. I was ashamed to be rooting for her to lose. It was the worst feeling because this person was also my friend.
In the world of multi-table tournaments (especially live ones), I believe that jealousy is rampant, though it's hard to tell since it's surely under-reported. Jealousy is built into the structure of MTTs. Part of the dream of having a super deep run in the Main Event or the Sunday Million is the possibility of it not happening. Which means it could be happening to people with similar skill level to you who play similar amounts of volume. If you play mostly live MTT events, you ought to be better than average at handling jealousy, or immune to it (lucky you!).
I now see jealousy as an emotional thermometer. If I see my friends doing well and have little jealousy, it means my emotional temperature is ideal. Recently, many of my best girls have had major accomplishments in the triad of fields I'm most involved in, poker, chess and writing. Katie Dozier became a Supernova, and Jamie Kerstetter signed with a major site. Irina Krush earned the most prestigious title in chess of Grandmaster, and Jean Hoffman, with whom I started 9 Queens, became the first woman to be the Executive Director of the US Chess Federation. Among my writer friends, Samara O'Shea is publishing a new book (on the related topic of unrequited love!), and Nell McShane Wulfhart is now writing regularly for mainstream publications like the Wall Street Journal. I was happy to be happy in all these cases, though I can't claim I've "solved jealousy." The green monster could easily return in future stages of my life.
Who wouldn't be jealous of this Supernova hat?!
Here are my top tips to combating jealousy and to seeing the positive side of it:
1. Swap Away: If something good happens to a friend and your genuine emotion is jealousy, you should probably express happiness and support for them anyway. Some people may dismiss this as "fake;" I call it "being the change you want to see in the world." Aligning your interests with your friend may help you fake it till you make it. In poker, you could achieve this by swapping or buying pieces (you should also be rolled for this and think your friend is a good investment).
2. Reassess: If you find yourself so jealous that you can barely log on to Twitter without twitching over friends final tabling various events or vacationing around the world, you may need to reassess your own poker and life. Working on your own game may make you feel better. If not, you may need to explore outside your game of choice or poker itself. I'm a big believer in multiple revenue streams (as two of my favorite advice columnists, Jen Dziura and James Altucher, constantly emphasize) for financial and emotional reasons. Learn a new game or try to make a little money outside of poker. Spend less time following your friends and develop a new skill that sets you apart. Then when you're back in a more social mood (think hibernation!), it may be easier for you to root for them.
3. Don't Buy Into the Hype: Things like highlighting the "last woman standing" in poker may force jealousy or competition where none would otherwise exist. In a few recent conversations, I was compared too directly to female friends. Reject such temptations to gossip. It's one thing to indulge in a little internal jealousy, but once you start giving into it in public ways, you are feeding a monster.
4. Recognize the positive attributes of jealousy: You have a group of friends that is successful enough for you to be jealous of. You're probably ambitious and passionate and have some clear visions of what you want. Finally, your jealousy may be valid and help you determine who your real friends are. To take an extreme case, you may wonder if your friend were to become WSOP Main Event Champion, would you still be as close? Possibly not. Be realistic. If I was good friends with everyone I hung out with, I'd be emotionally overwhelmed all the time. Figure out who your real friends are, and do your best to genuinely root for and support them. It will likely come back to you.
Till you can completely rid yourself of the rottenest emotion, remember that when life hands you bitter green vegetables, you can make kale chips.