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000 arizona state poker championshipAfter going to Vegas this Summer for the World Series of Poker I was feeling that I had honed my tournament skills and was really excited about the possibility of playing in this years Arizona State Poker Championship. The buy in was $1,100 which I didn’t want to lay outright. So I decided to try and win my way in, first with a Mega-Satellite in which they give out 1 entry for every 10 people who play. I was doing great and playing great. In this one, they were giving out 14 entries since 140 people signed up. I was getting short stacked as we got down to 19 players and was feeling really nervous. Getting this far and not winning my entry would be crushing. I was short stacked to the point of needing to push all in with any hand that contained an Ace. So I was in early position and looked down and saw my ace; when I was about to say all in, I of coursed looked at the next card and wouldn’t you know it, another Ace. I quickly pushed All In and the guy after me who had a few more chips than I, thought about it for at least a minute and a half before calling with Jack-Nine suited. I won’t draw out the story since most people hate to hear bad beat stories. Basically, I got knocked out when he hit his straight on the river.

Was I extremely disappointed, absolutely! I did, however, decide I was going to enter a two win one table satellite the weekend before the tournament. This is a $200 buy in where they play down to 2 players who each get their entry. It was a grind and a battle but I won my entry. I was extremely excited and called my wife and plastered it all over Facebook to let the world know I had won my entry and would be playing in the event.

I got into the event and it played out very similar to the Mega-Satellite. I was playing great but seemed to be short stacked most of the day. After playing about 8 hours of tight yet aggressive play, which is a very solid strategy, I looked down and saw Ace – King. For those of you who are not poker players, this is the best hand which doesn’t contain a pair. So I raise because I have enough that I can play a couple of solid hands without having to go All-In. The aggressive professional poker player Matt Affleck decides to re-raise me in hopes to get me off the hand. It folds around to me and I think for a minute to decide whether I should make my stand here or try and play on with an extremely short stacked. For most players it would be a no brainer to go All-In but I happen to be a damn good short stack player. In the end, I decided to go All-In and risk it. Mostly because I figured Matt was being aggressive as usual and most likely had a worse hand than me or a small pair which would make it a coin flip. Turns out, he had Jack – Queen suited and I liked my chances. To make the story short once again, he hit a Jack on the flop and knocked me out. All any player can really do is get their money in with the best of it and hope the better hand holds up. In this case it didn’t and it took me a few weeks to get over this beat. To rub salt in the wound, Matt ended up placing 5th in the tourney and winning $82,000 dollars, with of course, some of my chips.

So I decided to dig deeper into Matt Affleck’s poker career. After watching some YouTube videos of his deep runs in back to back World Series Main Events, I felt good to be up against a real time pro with the best of it. Even better, I realized he took a really bad beat as well in the Main Event with much more money on the line and much deeper into the tourney. Not because I wanted to see my revenge feeling realized but because I knew he could empathize completely with what I experienced.

As they say all the time, two steps forward and one step back. Time to pick myself up and get prepared for the World Series of Poker Circuit Event which comes to Arizona in February. Until then, Smile Big and Dream Bigger.