Party Poker Million VI Trip Report, Part II
Last week's article concluded with the details of an all-in I survived with 13 people remaining in the Party Poker Million VI. After that hand, we played for about four more hours until just nine players remained in the tournament. Those four hours were particularly brutal since we were playing two tables of five-handed for the majority of the time. I had an aggressive Swede to my left and Johannes Strassmann, a fantastic young German player, two to my left. Needless to say, it was a stressful final table bubble, but I managed to make it to the final nine.
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We took the next day off while the cruise ship was docked in Istanbul. TwoGun and I spent a couple of hours walking around the city. Eventually, I decided to get back on the boat earlier than I needed to. After that much time in Istanbul, I was feeling kind of queasy. I think the combination of being in a city with some unique smells coupled with anxiety about the pending final table had my stomach in knots.
I came into the final table as the second shortest chip stack with about 15 big blinds. A Danish player had about 6 big blinds. Everyone else had somewhere between 20 and 50. Certainly, going out in 9th place was a entirely possible outcome for me. Since 9th paid $21,000 and even just 6th paid $67,000, I knew it would be crucial to do everything I could not to be the first player eliminated from the final table.
On the second hand, the Danish player moved all-in in middle-position. I looked down at pocket Nines in the small blind and had to call. I was a big favorite against his Ace-Nine, and fortunately it held for me. It didn't take long before there were six of us left. Among those eliminated in the early going included Strassmann, who I handicapped as the favorite to win the tournament even though he just had an average stack at the start of the day. He actually survived much longer than he should have, too. At one point, he was all-in with Ace-Nine against an Austrian player's Ace-King, but flopped a nine to stay alive. That same Austrian player busted out with Ace-Jack against Ace-Five. It was hard not to feel bad for him.
With six players remaining, I shoved all-in for 15 big blinds with King-Queen suited. The Swede I mentioned earlier was sitting to my left with about 11 big blinds. When he looked at his cards, he said, "I guess I have to call." It turned out to be probably the most expensive coin flip in my life: he had pocket Eights. It's an understatement to say that I was incredibly grateful for the flop of King-Queen-x. This Swede was the same player I hit the five on the river in the hand I detailed in the last entry. Before the trip was over, I bumped into him and his wife. After telling him how well he played and how much I realize it must suck for him to have ran so bad against me, his wife made it clear that she wasn't the least bit happy with me. I'm pretty sure she wasn't joking, either. Because of poker, there is now a Swedish woman who ties deep negative associations at the mere thought of me. I'm not sure how I should feel about that.
When the tournament was down to four players, each of us had a six-figure payday locked up. There were two Germans each with around 50 big blinds. Myself and a Finnish player each had around 25 big blinds. The Fin busted in a blind versus blind confrontation with 23 year old Alexander Jung. On an all-heart flop, he shoved all-in on the turn with a pair and was immediately called by Jung who held the nut flush.
A blind increase after that hand meant I had around 15 big blinds and was up against two Germans who each had well more than 50 big blinds. For the first time at the final table, it occurred to me that I was a pretty huge favorite to be the next player eliminated. It didn't take long for this to be realized. On the second or third hand of three-handed play, I looked down at Ace-Three suited and raised to four big blinds. Jung, in the big blind, had played with me enough to know that the 4x raise meant I was playing for all of my chips. When he said, "all-in", I smiled and said, "nice hand, I have to call," and was eliminated in 3rd place by his Ace-Jack.
Jung would go on to be crowned the champion of the tournament, though I believe a deal was made heads-up that resulted in them not playing out the rest of the tournament. Later that night, I spoke with a couple of very, very high ranking people responsible for organizing this tournament. They were complaining to me about the chop the Germans made and how it's "bad for the integrity of the game," that they didn't play out the rest of the tournament. I was quite baffled at how much they were whining about it. It's like, if anyone is capable of preventing them from not doing what they did, it's the two of them! Rather than whine about it, why not institute a rule that prevents them from chopping? For their part, the Germans wanted to chop and had nothing stopping them from doing so. As far as I'm concerned, good for them. But that's enough about that.
For probably about an hour after the tournament, I was fairly emotionless. I think a small bit of disappointment for not having won the tournament coupled with trying to find Mike "timex" McDonald to get some advice on how much I should tip prevented me from fully realizing what had happened.
However, not long after ordering a beer, it sunk in that I had just won $160,000 in a poker tournament. For the rest of the night, I was quite happy. I bought a lot of drinks for a lot of girls and didn't finally crash until 4 a.m. Needless to say, I slept like a baby.