I’m a “newbie” to both the SIG and poker worlds, having joined our Dublin office’s Campus Recruiting team a few months ago, and subsequently playing in my first SIG poker tournament a short time later. While I aspire to be an aggressive player, in reality, I’m terribly defensive. I’ve had an ever-moving goal since the beginning of the tournament: last longer than 30 minutes, make it to the top 50 players, qualify for Round 2, and so on – and here I am!

I came into the final round ranked 4th, so I was feeling optimistic about my chances of making top 10 and then seeing where things go.

The final table, held at SIG’s HQ in Bala, had a very different feel from the Dublin rounds. Players were more aggressive from the start (the first hand was an all-in!) and pot levels oscillated frequently. I didn’t want to make any move early on, and we played a good 15 hands before I took a small pot without having to risk many chips.

The next couple of hands I’m dealt look good, so I start playing more frequently, but not aggressively enough to make any gains. I get dealt pocket Queens and get ready to play. Down the table someone goes all in with 24k and I call him. 10-10 to my Q-Q. The flop shows 8-9-4… I’m still looking good. The turn shows a J, I’m too caught up in the excitement to see the possibility of a straight coming, and then the river is 7. My opponent thinks he’s out (not seeing the straight either), and I think I’ve won, but it was not to be. My confidence gets shaken after losing that hand.

I bleed some chips for a while until I get KsQs and call 8k off the button. The flops throws up two spades, but no pictures and my opponent goes all in on 23k. I consider my options and decided to call in the hope to make pair, or better yet, a flush. I’m rewarded with a K on the turn and knock my opponent out who has pocket 5s.

Plays become quite safe as we’re down to 7. Nobody is running away with the chips or looking short. Hands move quickly as players fold before the flop. I throw away several hands with a single Ace, afraid to risk dwindling my pot.

I’m dealt As7h and decide to play again. It’s just me and our table’s most aggressive player, who has worked his way from short stack to chip leader. Nothing on the flop with J 9 6, but I continue to bet, hoping to make him fold. 8 on the turn and I throw in another 5k. The river gives me a pair of 7s so I continue to bet more chips, but so too does my opponent and he flips over pocket kings to take a pot of over 50k.

I’m quiet over the next 30 mins, and see some players from my table bow out. We lose our 5th player from the table and that brings us to the top 10.

I go into the electronic table with just 37k, the second lowest pot. I need to play more aggressive or I’ll be out soon. I fold a couple of hands before getting dealt K6. I raise after the flop even though I don’t have anything, and my opponent goes all-in with a much higher stack. I debate folding and trying to fight on with 15k or taking my chances. I go all-in. My opponent has AK. The flop and the river does nothing for either of us and I go out in 9th losing to an Ace high card.

All in all, I’m happy with my result, but wish I had played smarter on the day and taken more risk. It’s a good lesson for next year!

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