I played in Al's Stud Hi class this morning after watching the Stud video's and reading through Al's Stud course and it was truly very informative and a lot of fun. I made quite a few errors, but I played mostly correct from what I learned. Then when I was almost out of it, Al and I went heads up with me being short stacked and Al basically said "if you have any pair this late in the game, you should get your money in." I did that and it was the turning point in the tournament. I won that match up by the skin of my teeth and in the very next hand, I had high cards and tried to steal a pot, but was called. I committed myself to the pot and I was lucky enough to hit one of my high cards and continue on.
As I played, I tried my best to keep some of the things in mind that I learned from the videos and course and it served me well. Then I had one more defining moment, where I just didn't believe my opponent had queens (I had split jacks) and I got into a mini raising war with him. I learned it was a mistake to get into a raising war with a potentially second best hand and while it's okay to throw in a few raises to get information, once I did that, I should have just called down to the end if I didn't believe my opponent. The end result was that I won the pot, even though I played incorrectly (luck happens), and the rest is history.... with mentoring from Al, kind words from my opponents, and another lesson learned, I just happened to win this tournament. Stud is a blast and I'm going to see everyone next Sunday (work permitting) and try a repeat of my early success.
Oh and a brief update on my Chris Ferguson Challenge.... I have been playing fairly consistently in the freerolls and have been proud of my play, but it seems that many people play the freerolls like a lotto and will go all in with any two cards. My strategy is to continue playing tight and right and try to focus on picking off the shorter stacks. In the long run I'll win and I know it.