Not massive by today’s big tournament standards, but when Chris chopped at the final table in the Tri-State Poker Championship Event 1 in Cincinnati OH, something extremely special happened for all of us here at Holdem Manager.
Chris is a HM Tech Support rep and when I got the text, “I just cashed for 26k”, words can’t describe how proud and happy I was for him. Many of us on the team come from solid poker backgrounds and Chris’s cash for 26k shoots him to the top of our internal player of the year spot.
1. How many people entered the tournament and what was the buyin – blind structure?
There were 1407 or so entries. This was a 2 day 1 multi-entry event. Buyin was $345 and had a really nice structure early and late. We started with 200bb and blind levels were 30 minutes long.
2. What were some of the big hands you remember?
There were a couple key hands. I came back from the dinner break on Day 1 with only 20bb or so. Early on, I open QhJh and flop 2 overs and a flush draw. I bet the flop, get called in one spot, guy shoves the turn and I call getting good odds and if I fold, I am super short. It was the one hand I didn’t like my play in, as I didn’t think it through and have a plan. I had 1.5x pot on the flop and it made for awkward sizing. It worked out; I hit my flush and pick up some much needed chips.
A couple hands later, guy 2 to my right shoves, I have AA and hold. Next big hand I hold QQ vs JJ against another guy and flop the nut flush, but can’t get the guy all in, but pick up another nice pot. I count my chips and have about 125bb. I end the day with roughly the same # of chips.
Most of day 2, I had 30+bb, picking up to about 40, but never running up a huge stack, or getting low. With 24 left, I’m down to about 10bb, the blinds and being card dead. The payouts at 18 start jumping and I have to admit, for the only time in the two days, I go into “move up the rung mode”. I’m not good with ICM, having played mostly cash in my career. A couple times, it seemed like pushing a marginal spot was less optimal than riding a few more hands and letting someone bust.
At 15 left, the next big jump was the final table. So I switched back to stack building mode. I won a couple flips, but with 12 left, and the blinds having gone up, I’m still at 5bb. The guy on my left wins a huge pot against another big stack and is the chip leader. I win a flip against him, win another flip and pick up a couple pots. I’m up to maybe 2.5million in chips, blinds are 200k. Folds to me on the button, I open with KK, big stack flats in the SB and we see a J84 flop. He leads out 500k, I do a check of my stack and I have 1.4million left and push. He thinks for a bit, gets an official count, thinks, and calls with 66 and I hold. So now I’m up to 5 million or so, call the shortstack’s shove and 55 hold vs AQ, 11th place busts and I knock out 10th and we go to the final table.
I really got lucky in that when I needed to pick up chips, my hands held. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever run as well as I did these two days.
3. What was your final finish position?
At the final table everyone decided to chop because we were all pretty even. We played one hand for the trophy and the seat to the main event. My hand didn’t hold. I was roughly 4th in chips before we chopped.
4. How did being involved with Holdem Manager help you out?
Like most people in the US, Black Friday hit me hard. I have always been thankful to have started at HM before that and really enjoy working here. Besides that, even though I’m not playing as much, it gives me a lot of opportunity to think about poker and interact with a lot of players. I guess I learned some rungood along the way! I think the biggest thing that’s helped is, after a while of playing for a living and having the pressure to pay bills with poker money, it’s been really nice to step away from it, leave all my poker money in the bankroll and play more relaxed, while still being involved in the community, learning different things and staying involved mentally most of the day with poker analysis.
5. Any other thoughts?
It’s been a fun and crazy weekend. Deep runs in a tournament just feel incredible. The money’s good and I don’t think it even has set in yet, it still feels surreal.
Nice job Chris and I hope we see you at another final table soon!