If someone asked me what it takes to succeed in tournament poker, I wouldn't hesitate to say patience. As a tournament reporter, I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone flirt with elimination only to turn their luck around and emerge victorious.

A perfect example of this happened in January at the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) $100,000 Super High Roller, a tournament at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas that attracted 56 entries and created a prize pool of just over $5.4 million. On the third day of play, Antonio Esfandiari, the winner of the 2012 World Series of Poker $1 million buy-in "Big One for One Drop," was eliminated in fourth place, which left just three players in contention: Vanessa Selbst (with about 6.4 million in chips), Dan Shak (5.7 million), and Fabian Quoss (1.9 million).

With the blinds at 40,000-80,000 with a 10,000 ante, Selbst held the chip lead with a stack of nearly 80 big blinds, Shak had 72 big blinds, and Quoss 24 big blinds. Quoss, a young player from Germany, was sitting on the short stack, but in poker you're really not short unless you're sitting on a stack of 10 big blinds or less. Quoss knew this, but instead of panicking, he kept his composure and refused to give up. The one time he did get his chips in bad, lady luck smiled upon him.

It happened on Level 22 (60,000-120,000 with a 20,000 ante), when Shak opened for 300,000 from the button and Quoss opted to move all in for about 1.5 million from the small blind. Selbst folded from the big blind, and Shak called with the Ac Ah. Quoss tabled Kc Jd and was in dire straits. The 7h Jc 10c flop gave Quoss a pair of jacks, but he needed even more to survive.


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"Queen of something?" he asked. Sure enough, the dealer burned and turned the Qh. Now, Quoss had an open-ended straight draw to go with his pair, and wouldn't you know it, the 9c spiked on the river to give him a nine-to-king straight.

Quoss got lucky. Or, to put it another way, he made the wrong move at the right time.

The three-handed battle continued for three more hours, and in a cruel twist of fate, Selbst, who was once the chip leader, fell in third place for $760,640. After a dinner break, Quoss finished off Shak to capture the title and a first-place prize of $1,629,940.

For the entire time that he was sitting on the short stack, Quoss conducted himself like a true professional. He refused to give up, remained patient and did his best to pick his spots carefully. The one time he picked a bad spot (the aforementioned hand), he got lucky. It happens.

Of course, patience in poker doesn't always lead to a comeback when you're sitting on a short stack, but waiting for something good to happen will usually prove more productive than trying to force things. Remember: If you want to find out what the next hand will bring, you have to stick around long enough to find out.

Chad Holloway is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner and Senior News Editor for PokerNews.com and learn.pokernews.com.