The Nicest Gentleman

Normally I prefer cash games to tournaments. But last weekend I found myself entering a couple of modest buyin tournaments. Don’t ask why… that’s a subject for another day.

Midway through the tournament on Saturday, I was biding my time and waiting for a good spot to pick up come chips when along came a pair of Jacks. It’s a simple story, really. I raised and got one caller. Just for purposes of this blog, I’ll refer to her as “Myra.” She likes action, and was involved in a lot more pots than I was, with her stack going up and down like a pogo stick.

I had Myra covered, and on the flop she had just over a pot-sized bet remaining. The flop was 982, which seemed pretty good for me. I slid forward enough chips to put her all-in, happy to add chips to my stack if she folds, and likely ahead if she called. Sure enough, she called and sure enough, I was ahead when she showed J9. Against my JJ, Myra only had two outs!

Bang! One of the other 9‘s came right on the turn and she doubles up.

I must have handled it pretty well, as she responded to a few ooh’s and aah’s by saying “Well, I’m not going to feel too bad about that, because he’s the nicest gentleman.” 

[insert shrug emoji]

How should I respond to that comment?

On the very next hand, I look down at TT. I didn’t think I was tilted by the prior hand, and still had over 20 BBs remaining. Maybe over 25… I don’t recall exactly. What I do recall is putting all of my chips into a single stack and pushing it out there in an unnecessary all-in overbet. I’d like to think of that as a strategic move – maybe someone will think I’m tilted and call with, uh, well, something I’m way ahead of. I guess that means a call with 99 or 88. Or that means I actually was tilted.

Thanks to the suckout on the previous hand, Myra now had me covered and she quickly and confidently went all-in too. Whoops! 

Fast forward just a bit. Everyone else folded and Myra showed AA to destroy my TT. One minute I was about to knock her out of the tournament, and then the next minute I had to quickly compose myself to say ‘nice hand’ and ‘good luck’ and all that, and then thank the host for inviting me.

I watched the flop and turn… then Bang! a T fell on the river to save my ass. Karma, as they say.

As the ooh’s and aah’s and my heart rate began to die down, I heard myself saying, “Well, I’m not going to feel too bad about that, because she’s the nicest lady.” A hearty laugh was had by all.

Shortly after that, Myra cracked another player’s AA with AQ after a pre-flop all-in, but she couldn’t sustain the momentum much longer.

And a couple hours later, only two of us remained. I had a clear but not overwhelming chip lead and felt like I could outplay the other player. He offered to chop the first and second place money, with a slight adjustment in my favor. Being the nicest gentleman, how could I say no?

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