From time to time here at Up For Poker, we like to open our pages to a guest blogger. We like to publish players of some note or noteriety. Boston J. Reilly is one of those players. He scooped first prize in the Bradoween Open this year. The following is his account of his win.
â€œPlay very tight at the first table and donâ€™t get seated with Otis or CJ.â€ That was the advice from my friend Jason about how I should approach the Bradoween Open. I needed this good advice too, having played only in a half dozen or so home games, none as serious as this. I knew the game a bit and was comfortable at the table, but I was worried about my chip management skills and betting strategy. Turns out if you can stay alive for the first 7 hours of the tourney, you can gain the skill needed to win it at the final table.
I was worried at the beginning about being the first out of the game. I was relieved when I heard of the first casualty from the other room and then when I put Trotter out of our table. I had stayed alive long enough to avoid major embarrassment. I had however chased a couple of bad hands and was the shortest stack when four tables became three. I told CJ I would have to go all in on the first hand I could or else be blinded off. The second hand at my new table brought me the hammer and all in I was. [Ed. note: Reilly is referring to AK, not 72o] I had three callers and a lot more money after that. Stayinâ€™ alive. I did not play another hand until just before the next break where I was able to double up again on a strong hand â€" maybe AK again. I wish I had the photographic memory like the rest of you guys, but I was just concentrating on surviving.
Now we were down to two tables and I got lucky again. This time me and my short stack were seated at table 1, where there was no dominant chip leader. Everybody here was fairly even in skill as well. I was able to increase my chips here some, but mostly I stayed out of the way of some fairly loose play at this table. Meanwhile at table 2, the big stacks (and what I perceived to be stronger players) were knocking each other off. By the time I was down to the final 12 of 33 players, I was happy to have survived and could go home holding my head high. I was not greedy enough to have visions of first place, yet.
The final table was a lot of fun, and I think I played my best there. Now I was hoping to finish in the money â€" just hang around below the radar a little longer as I had all night. Soon we were down to 5 and I could go home bragging how I played with the big boys and finished in the money, still no visions of winning. When I took CJ out in fourth place (when my pocket 33 became 333 on the turn against his pocket 22) I was thinking, â€œdamn I can play this game.â€ I was very impressed by CJâ€™s play all night (I played at the same table with him at 3 of the 4 I was at).
As we were getting seated at the final table I was talking to David M. and we were both saying we needed to play aggressive to stay in the game as we had the two smallest stacks. He said one of us needed to take the other down to have a chance. Turns out I took him out in third place on a hand he was favored on. We were both all in, me with Q7 and he was at K something low preflop. The flop gave me a second Q and the neither the king nor a straight bailed him out. Now it was down to two, and for the first time all night I was focused on winning the whole damn thing.
The crowd grew, as word got out it was just Scott and me. Scott was acting very drunk, but I knew he was playing too well to be that far gone. It was slightly intimidating sitting with him for the last hour or so because he had a bunch of family watching and encouraging him and they clearly knew what they were doing. I was again on the short stack when it came down to head to head play. I had never played head to head (or really even with a chip lead), but found it the easiest poker of the night. I did not have to worry about position or someone stealing the blinds. I very nearly lost everything, but managed to double up on some good cards a couple of times and eventually took a dominant position when my all in preflop Q3 delivered me a pair of Queens against his K 3. Now I had the bigger stack and if I liked my cards I made him play. I was aggressive for the first time of the night and felt I was playing well. When I put him out on my K10 offsuit against his K4 suited (flopQ56, then 8,6), Scott said: â€œYou played well. It makes me wish I had not been pulling for you at times.â€
I was more relieved than happy the moment I won. The tension I felt during the seventh hour of the tourney was crushing. My hands were shaking when I was anteing my blinds. But winning was amazing â€" the room was crowded and everyone was cheering and taking pictures. I tried to describe the feeling of winning in that setting today and I could not. It does not compare to winning at sports or any other game I have played â€" and it really had nothing to do with the money. I was a minor celebrity when I won, with paparazzi and congratulations from all around. I was sorry I missed time visiting with friends and all the Bradoween festivities, but I could still feel the buzz from my victory when Timmy asked me Sunday morning what I was going to do with my $300. My reply â€œBring me the Best Buy circular!â€