Warning: Umbrellas can cause gambling
I am in Bratislava right now, having just got back not too long ago from playing in the Main Event at Eureka Croatia. I hadn't played a lot of Eureka events before, but I've started to like them a lot. The fields are nice and the destinations are good, too. Bulgaria and Prague are coming up later in the year, and this last stop in Croatia was great.
For me the tournament was quite a rollercoaster, with lots of ups and downs. But I enjoyed myself throughout. Here's a picture of me at the event with a smile on my face:
If you notice at the bottom of the picture, my chips are in stacks of five. I stack them that way so the stacks are stable and will never tip over. That's how I try to play, too -- keeping a stable mindset and not worrying too much when the swings are getting big.
There were 283 players in the event and I finished 22nd. I was playing some crazy hands, and got lucky a few times along the way. For example, once I won with 8♦6♦ versus pocket aces. Then another time I won with T9-suited versus pocket jacks. Then came yet another hand in which I won with pocket jacks versus pocket queens!
The 8♦6♦ hand came early in the tournament, actually. I three-bet with it before the flop, then called my opponent's four-bet, not really giving him credit for having aces. By the turn I had both a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw, and when my opponent pushed I knew I probably should fold. But poker is sometimes about gambling, so I decided to gamble and called all in for about 40 big blinds. I'm not too proud of that one, but luckily for me a diamond came on the river and I survived.
The other two hands were preflop all-ins, and so both were just me being fortunate to have my hand outdraw those of my opponents. I also endured some bad fortune, too, where others managed to outdraw against my better hands. But I never complain about bad beats or getting unlucky, because it is part of the game. (You can read more about Dag in that event by clicking here)
Sometimes when I find myself playing crazy hands like the ones described above I think back to my accident in Las Vegas two years ago. It was kind of a strange occurrence where I got hit in the head with a huge, heavy umbrella. It was a serious injury -- I had to go to the hospital -- and sometimes my attention and focus hasn't been as good since it happened.
The fact is ever since the accident I will occasionally gamble a little more and maybe take a few more risks, especially when I'm having trouble concentrating, which is what happened during the tourney at Eureka Croatia.
At the end of the tournament when we were down to the last three tables, I noted how I was a little above average and also that my skill level was probably higher than most of those left in the field. But then I made a mistake to lose some chips.
A hand came up in which I four-bet with 94-suited, then the flop brought two kings while also giving me a flush draw. I checked the flop, though, and my opponent checked behind. A 7 came on the turn and I finally c-bet, but he moved all in and I had to fold, and he showed me pocket sevens.
If I had just bet the flop, I would have won the hand, but I didn't. I really should have -- after all, if I'm going to four-bet with 94-suited, I really need to continuation bet after that flop! Then after that I ran AQ into AK and went out in 22nd, but it was really that earlier hand that caused me to go out earlier than I should.
There were some lucky hands, then, but it wasn't all luck that determined how I finished in the tournament. Understanding that helps me stay balanced at the tables and keeps me from tilting. Just like my five-chip stacks!
Dag Palovic is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.