Beaming with pride over $22.50

Just finished playing an online 9-player S&G w/ $5 buy-in.  I’ve won my share and lost my share of these.  But for some reason, today’s win was the most satisfying to date.  I jumped out to an early lead when I had JJ on the first hand UTG and nearly doubled up.  That gave me some breathing room – which I needed since the next hand was 10-10 for me in the BB when the UTG player had 77 and flopped a set.  This player got extremely lucky throughout.   He played his PP’s well early, but once he had a huge lead, really started to loosen up.  I decided he was my target and laid several traps.  I eventually busted him out and had a huge lead over the player who would eventually end up 2nd. 

The thing that made this tourney memorable and satisfying was that I was observant of patterns of other players and played the player more than I played my own cards.  I was still selective of the hands I played – but I feel like I weighed the most factors into each decision on this game compared to any previous one in my history. 

I accounted for position, stack size, starting hand strength, gap concept (only calling raises with extremely strong hands and not re-raising with my low & medium pairs), opponent profile/motivation, betting patterns, pot odds, and board texture.   I was patient and built a pretty tight image early on which I was able to exploit when neccessary.  Not that I bluffed at anything – I really don’t think I did.  But I didn’t get much push-back when I’d bet my middle pair against players who lasted later, which *may* have something to do with my image.  Anyway, I wish I could say I had killer hand reading this game too, but there were way too few showdowns to really know if I had a handle on that.  On one or two occasions I did account for implied odds and also bet amounts that gave favorable odds yet would leave my opponent pot-committed if they called my flop/turn bets.  It worked twice, as I doubled up once when I was in 3rd or 4th place at the time and simply stacked another player (Mr. Lucky mentioned above).

All in all a successful match and one I hope to duplicate soon.  My online game is up and down, and documenting the events associated with this match will hopefully serve as a starting point for more wins, a bigger bankroll, and advancing to bigger buy-in tourneys.

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