Poker tournaments ebb and flow in a mesmeric way when you're on your game. Cards fall, pattens show themselves and confidence grows around you like a protective blanket. The longer you stay in the more realistic a win is becoming, everything that's happened so far seems like near perfect decisions. 5 spots from the money and 25 spots from the big prize another deal falls on the screen, like a mantra when meditating.
AQ diamonds in MP, I raise 4x, the big stack who's stepped up a gear and been pushing his luck calls on the button. The flop is decent J 8 5 with two diamonds. I already know the bet that asks the question I need answered. Four fifths of the pot are pushed out. Preparation meets opportunity. If he flats calls I'm beat, if he raises allin I'm ahead and drawing to the nuts. I'm already hovering on call when he shoves allin, instantly clicking when it pops up. He's got KQ of clubs. It's near perfect. Until another black King smashes onto the table on the turn and the river's another black rag.
It all stops, everything. Seconds pass staring at the screen. "LOL" pops up in the chat from the guy folding his way into the money. Reading its enough to make me snap out of my paused world and consciously think Breathe... Blink... blink... close your mouth. The table stays open long enough to see his words spew into the chat
"I knew he had nothing, was hoping for a fold but I'll take it"
These Scandi fuckers think they can justify anything.
Reading that brings the shock from the turn card back all over again .... .... Breathe .... Breathe.
It doesn't matter if it's a $4 180 or a $2500 WCOOP game, I get that same world-spinning, time stands still feeling when I'm really zoned into a poker tourney and it suddenly gets ugly. I'm fairly sure that's a good thing. It means the buyin doesn't change the way I play and that's good. I see a ton of people going up the limits solely for the thrill of winning bigger pots in cash games or looking for one big score in tourneys. I just want to win the next hand I'm in, no matter the stakes. I think that's a pretty damn good way of thinking 'bout this game.