Voices

I was at the end of a thirty-hour run playing online when the voices in my head started arguing. One voice said it was time to quit. Another voice said it wasn’t. Yet a third voice offered, “How about a super turbo tournament?” Voice 1 agreed but only if we’d stop if we didn’t cash. Voice 2 didn’t care what we played as long as we were in a game.

Super turbo tournaments online are a bit unusual. Each player only starts with a short-stack of 300 chips and the blinds go up every three minutes, so it’s basically an all-in fest from the get-go. Most players will push all-in with any pair or any Ace. Voice 2 likes this strategy. Voice 1 prefers to wait for a big hand, pocket Jacks or better, at least until there have been a few players knocked out. Out of a table of nine players, the top three get paid, and it’s often down to five or fewer players within the first two rounds. Voice 1 likes to sit and watch the others get knocked out then find a hand to double up with and cruise into the money playing as few hands as possible.

I listened to Voice 1 and folded every hand for the first round. By the second time I was in the big blind, there were three players knocked out and I was in pretty much the same position as when the tourney started. Two hands later, I was on the button and everyone folded to me. I looked down at Ace-Jack. “All-in,” Voice 2 said through my mouth. The blinds folded and I raked in a small pot.

A few hands later, I was under the gun and looked down at Ace-Queen. Voice 2 told me to push all-in but Voice 1 was having none of it. I listened to Voice 1 and folded. The button pushed all-in and the big blind called. Ace-King for button and pocket 10s for the big blind. The community cards were all rags and the pocket 10s held up, leaving five players.

On my next big blind, the button went all-in and I looked down at Pocket Kings. Voice 1, 2 and 3 all said to call, so I did. The button turned over Ace-5 and after it was all said and done, he didn’t catch an Ace and I knocked him out, raising my stack to second place with four players left.

Even if one of them knocked the other out and took all his chips, I’d still have a solid chip lead.

Two hands later, I was on the button and everyone folded. I looked down at pocket 9s. Voice 1 said fold, Voice 2 said all-in, but Voice 3 chimed in. “Try a minimum raise.” I put in a raise of only double the big blind. The little blind folded and the big blind looked at me for a minute before folding as well. Voice 2 liked the play and told me to do a min-raise every hand I was the first to open. The next two hands I min-raised and everyone folded. I hadn’t even looked at my cards. I did the same thing for the next round and the next thing I knew, I was the chip leader.

I was on the button and looked down at Pocket Aces. I put in another min-raise. The little blind folded and the big blind, who was second in chips, pushed all-in. All the voices called in unison and I took the big blind out when his pocket fives didn’t suck out.

The table was down to three players and we all would make some money. I had a pretty big chip lead and knew the other two players would start playing loose, knowing they’d already cashed.

Voice 1 convinced me to fold crappy hands because the other two players were likely to call with anything. Even if one of them knocked the other out and took all his chips, I’d still have a solid chip lead. It only took two hands before it happened and we were down to two players and I still had a good chip lead.

Voice 2 spoke up again, begging for more min-raises. I listened and stole a few blinds in a row until the last player left against me was getting close to being blinded out. He only had two big blinds left and pushed all-in. Voice 2 called for me before I looked at my cards. I turned over Jack-8 offsuit and was up against 10-9 of clubs. There was a Jack on the Flop and the other guy didn’t improve, so I won the tourney. All the voices cheered and Voice 2 said, “Let’s go again.”