I had the day off of work due to ice on the roads. So, earlier today I jumped on Full Tilt Poker to play a 90-player free money no-limit Texas Hold'em tournament. I didn't just decide to play - I decided to sit down and win.
Just like usual, I hung around the top 10 for most of the entire tournament. I moved between 1st and 6th place for most of the time. The decisions all seemed so clear and easy. Odds were fairly easy to calculate and my mind-set was to make positive expected value moves 100% of the time, play the +EV odds, and win.
Let's skip ahead to the final table. When it was down to the final 3 (me and 2 others), I felt that I had pretty good control over the action. In spite of that, I found myself in 3rd place, with a queen high flush (clubs) on the turn, against 2nd place and his made flush at the flop, with 4-6 of clubs. The clubs on the board were K, 3, 7, and 10. The only card left in the deck that could beat me was the 5 of clubs which would give my opponent a straight-flush. And, what are the odds of that?
Well, it's good that you asked because the odds were 2% to hit the 5 of clubs and 98% to miss. In other words, he had a 50 to 1 odds against hitting his card. I had the best of it and I went all-in after the turn gave me a flush. It was kind of funny because before I saw his cards, I knew that I only needed to avoid one card (the Ace of clubs). It turned out that the Ace wouldn't have helped my opponent at all. He needed the 5.
He got the 5. The board was all clubs (and what are the odds of that too?). So anyways, I ended my winning session in 3rd place with a 50:1 miracle for my opponent. The math says that if that hand was played out 100 times, I would win 98 times. If that was a real money tournament, I'm pretty sure that knowledge wouldn't make me feel better.
As it is, that makes 26 final tables in the last 52 weeks. These are free-money practice tournaments, but that's 1 final table every other week against 90 other (relatively wreckless) people each time. Also, my average final table ending position was 3.7 over that time.
But 50 to 1 in my favor? That's one time I don't want to be #1.