One week ago, I was crowned a POWERFEST Champion! It was actually my first time playing the series. I usually play in the mornings as it allows me to have a good sleep schedule and be at my most productive. This time though, I decided to switch things around.

The start of POWERFEST was rough, tiredness was kicking in early in the night every time and I still had a grind ahead of me. That was not the only struggle I was facing. In the night, the player fields are bigger which increases the variance. You are going to win a tournament less frequently, but when you win, the reward will be bigger. That’s exactly what happened. I had a lot of deep runs during POWERFEST, but with agony, I saw myself falling short every time. It reminded me of the past years. Having great month of January and the rest of the year slowly but surely down swinging. I was getting lots of deep runs and lots of potential for massive scores but not converting them.

“Champions always stand up, one more time”

Bencb always says that and I really resonate with it. Winners also have doubts, asking themselves if they can still beat the game or if they are playing well. They may also start to lose confidence when they lose and can’t seem to get those big scores. But there is one big difference between them and people that do not succeed. They do not give up. They keep showing up for duty and try to play to the best of their ability. When they are not playing during those times, they do not watch Netflix and complain about not getting what they think they deserve. No, they study. They discuss hands with other people and get feedback on their game to make sure they indeed play their best game.

The Day it Happened

That’s exactly what I have been doing. While grinding for sure I have vented, for sure I have doubted myself. But each and every day, I showed up. Same for that Friday, the 9th of August. It was a normal day. A day where it seemed like it didn’t matter what I did: I lost. It was the second last POWERFEST day for me as I was taking Saturday off to recharge for the Sunday grind. That realisation was harsh. I was really hoping the hard work was going to pay off during POWERFEST. But all that happened was driving ourselves deeper into the hole. I was done with it. I talked about maybe skipping the Sunday grind as with that comes lots of variances. I even cut the stream, to play the last 2 tables on my own. I gave my followers on Instagram the update with sad news. Just a few minutes later, I became rational again and said in my Stories that I was just going to play those last 2 tables to the best of my ability and we will see about the Sunday grind after.

Slowly but surely, I started to accumulate chips in the $11 #64-L $10K GTD Deep Turbo. In 1-2 hours, I was on the final 2 tables. I was thinking…I have to fire up the stream. Imagine actually reaching the final table and maybe even winning it and then not having it documented! So I fired up the stream. First hand on stream – small blind shoves for 11bb and I look down at AJo in the big blind. I quickly call and he turns over K7o. And then the flop comes: KQ4… oh no! I look at my streaming software and think I can still cut the stream, 10 seconds in and it hasn’t come through delay yet. But then… there is the beautiful ace of clubs on the turn to save us! River bricks and I win an important pot, 35bb and we are 3rd in chips with 16 remaining.

Start of the Final Table

As it was a turbo, things went really quickly. 15 minutes after reaching the final 2 tables, I win AT vs A7 to knock someone out and reach the Final Table. I was 2nd in chips, everyone else was really shallow. Since then, the only notable hand was me calling a 5.5bb jam with JTo in the big blind vs the small blind and losing vs Q7s. 15bb and a dream. Folding a lot of weak hands and seeing everyone busting left and right ended with me playing 4 handed.

I am the shortstack with 12bb, the button with 30bb. 2nd in chips opens. The small blind, chip leader at the time, calls off a 40bb stack and I look down at ATo in the big blind. This is a perfect re-jam opportunity as shortstack, so we go all-in. The button folds, phew, the biggest obstacle folds. And then.. the small blind tanks for a very long time. Please, just fold! I don’t want to run it vs a 30% hand with the ICM. After tanking for a minute, he decides to call with A5s. Flop comes 732 giving him a gutshot to a 4. Turn comes a Q, safe. River…. river comes the eight of diamonds and we double up! We are amongst the chip leaders with 25bb.

Amongst the Chip Leaders

After a 5-minute break, we open it up with 88 on the button. The small blind with 19bb is the shortstack and folds. The big blind, with the same stack as us decides to 3-bet us to 6.5bb. We have 25bb behind, he can be applying pressure here on us with the ICM… we currently have $678 locked up and there is $2160 for 1st. I decide to go for it, we go all-in with 88 for 27bb and put our tournament life at risk. Big blind tanks…one minute passes by…please fold! Not again a 30% equity hand calling us. With the ICM, hands like AJo, AQo is just folding, please just let it go! Luckily he lets it go. We are the chip leader.

A few hands later, the player that 3-bet us opens in the cutoff 20bb deep. The button re-jams for 25bb and the cutoff calls with 99! We have a massive all-in situation 99 vs AK for a potential massive $300 ladder. Board runs out AQ55Q and we have a bust out! $1000 locked up, a 13bb stack to my left and a 45bb stack to my right and I am sitting on 25bb.

ICM Cage

When you are the middle stack, you are somewhat in an ICM cage. You do not want to miss out on the next $500 ladder by busting before the short stack. After a few hands, we finally get an all in we were hoping for! The small blind open shoves for 16bb and the chip leader in the big blind snap calls with JJ. Small blind tables A4o and is at risk. If the big blind holds, we are heads-up for the title and $2160. Flop comes TT8, looking good. Turn comes another 8, not changing anything. Then the river comes… the ace of diamonds! Barry Greenstein saves the small blind and now we are the shortstack with still 3 players left!

After getting some shoves through and chips moving left and right we open it up with QQ on the Button with 17bb. Small blind the chip leader at the time with 40bb folds. But the big blind moves all in for 20bb, we of course call with QQ and he shows QJo! What a great situation! Flop comes 763 double suited, safe. Turn comes the A and brings the backdoor flush draw for our opponent! But luckily for us, the river is a safe 9 and we find a massive double up leaving the big blind only 4bb. 2 hands later, he gets it all in with K2o vs the big blinds K5o and the boards runs out K43QQ, giving the big blind 2 pair with a 5 kicker and now we are heads-up!

Heads-Up

We have $1544 locked up and thus we are playing for $600 more. 35bb deep and our opponent plays really aggressive. Multiple times he jammed over our opens. But every time he didn’t, we took it to the streets. We ran really good, we kept hitting the boards and when we didn’t, we managed to get him to fold. Everything was going according to plan, slowly but surely we were grinding him down. And then we got dealt A7o on the Button and we have a 3 to 1 chip lead. We open jam for 17bb effective and he quickly calls with A5o!

This could be it! The flop come J97! This can indeed be it! Turn comes the K and we seal the deal!

After being completely down, considering giving up the Sunday grind to realising we still have 2 tournaments left. Deciding to play those to the best of our ability and not give up just yet, to 3 hours later winning the tournament for $2160 and the trophy!

At the time I really did not know how to feel. It was such a roller coaster of emotions. Looking back on it I am really proud of myself that I kept showing up every day and fighting till the last card was dealt. Things are not always easy, but I keep treating every obstacle like a stepping stone.

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