R-Day Minus 13

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Headed out to the Portland Meadows $4K GTD. Turnout was, uh, good,with more than $11K in the prize pool after all the entries and addons had been tallied. Kind of sparse down there at the bottom if you were in for several buyins (see Why Not Rebuy?) Oh, yeah, I rebought, but just once—I’m more or less out of this poker thing in two weeks! Lost on a nut flush draw on the first buyin, then got lucky on the second and beat queens with jacks when I his a set on the turn and knocked out a newplayer who’d been all in twice on his first orbit at the table with 50bb and squeezed (with the queens) to my button 3-bet. I went out after the break by shoving into top pair’s large c-bet on a KT8 board with the open-ended Broadway draw. A shorter stack behind me shoved with the nut flush and got there, taking most of my stack, the rest went to top pair.

Played about 40 minutes of tournament-subsidized $1/$2 Big O and busted two buyins. I’m going to have to talk to Jeremy Harkin about my last hand.

R-Day Minus 15

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

I got to the final table of the Ignition Casino $5K GTD NLHE with the chip lead but wasn’t able to maintain it. Still, 5th-place in a 525-entry tournament isn’t such a bad way to end the weekend.

Monday night, I headed over to Claudia’s PLO8, made it through the break with a rebuy but busted out early. Did get a chance to talk briefly with Joe Brandenburg!

Played the 0.5/0.5 NLHE for about an hour, won—I think—one hand, then managed to shove my last chips in against a hand that dominated me. Some people play cash games to subsidize their tournaments; apparently I play tournaments to subsidize my cash game.

Got back home, jumped into the Ignition Casino $1K GTD NLHE 6-Max Turbo with 20bb and busted in less than 10 minutes.

Played 2 NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Gos, handily won the first but missed out on the second, which had a 4x payout.

R-Day Minus 16

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

I don’t typically play the big Sunday tournaments on Ignition Casino, because of our evening family dinner and the preparations thereof, but I was up early and really, how many more Sundays are there this year? So I got into a $100K GTD NLHE Satellite with two other players and got about 10 minutes in before my trap was sprung on myself and my rivered two pair was beat by a better two pair made on the turn.

At midnight, down to the last two tables in a 525-entry Ignition Casino $5K GTD NLHE.

R-Day Minus 17

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Well, that went better than I expected.

At this time last night, we were down to three tables at the Final Table $10K GTD NLHE, one of the last weekend events I’m going to get to play before my self-imposed retirement from poker goes into effect in 1 January.

Just for some perspective, I’ve played 28 $10K GTD or larger events at Final Table alone this year, more than 2-1/2 workweeks of my spare time. Overall, including live and online, more than 15 40-hour weeks of my time playing poker. Hardly a full-time job, but quarter-time, anyway.

Anyway, I was in for just a single buyin and an addon last night, but I was a little short on chips as we maneuvered through the last ten or so players to the bubble. I had to make a couple of risky shoves  (one with Q8 UTG) to stay alive long enough to make the 10 scheduled payouts.

I had a pleasant chat with Paul, one of the local dealers-turned-pros about his ability to go up to British Columbia to play on PokerStars (which I envy). A Seattle player in Seahawks gear (natch) with a big stack sat on my left keeping things real by playing most of the hands down to the bubble.

It took about an hour to go from 15 players to the final table. Three bubbles were proposed and then two bubbles, and almost immediately a couple of players went out and the first was paid (only $100 each, though).

I was one of the three shortest stacks at the 10-handed final. I got the prime position in seat 1 (where the button started) so with the big blind ante I wasn’t paying anything for nearly 20 minutes.

We were an hour into the final when things started to shift. Paul was now on my immediate left. The big stack was on the other side of the dealer in seat 10. Two players had busted out, I’d picked up a few chips and was just over 200K, but that was still 10bb, and with the big blind ante, you’re losing a fifth of that in one whack. Anyway, seat 8 was UTG and he raised from one of the other short stacks to 55K. Seahawks guy had over 600K and called—he’d been making good use of suited connectors all night. I had AxQx and I shoved, hoping that I had enough to get the big stack to fold when it came back around. paul shoved behind me with a bit more. After a long moment considering, the original raiser called all in, then the big stack bowed out and it was tens for the original raiser against kings for Paul and an ace hit the flop, essentially tripling me up to the chip lead or very near.

Between us, the big stack and I had two-thirds of the chips in play, and I cruised along for a while with a couple more eliminations until I raised Seahawks’s big blind and he shoved into my AxKx with K2. Which I called. It was over pretty soon after that, the other two players (including Ron S., who’d been my only railer when I took 3rd this February at Chinook) had a total of 25% of the chips and I had the other 75%. It was 4:30am and we were all amicable so I kicked back $290, the other guys split that along with 2nd and 3rd money for about $2Keach, and I got $3K straight up. Better than the ICM.

I had been thinking that if I got down to this point I was going to play it out no matter the consequences, and after all the 3-person Sit-n-Gos I’ve been playing on Ignition, I’m pretty sure I could have maintained by first-place, but I wanted to get home and see if I could come up with some other options for my quest for $100K.

One was the Bay 101 Shooting Star Satellite this morning. While the tournament itself isn’t until March (and it isn’t a WPT event this time around), I figured if I won the seat before the end of the year it wouldn’t violate my self-conditions. It was at 9am in San ose.

The Bicycle Casino had two flights to a Quantum $250K GTD NLHE tournament at 11:30am and 4pm.

And, of course, there was the Venetian/CPPT $500K GTD NLHE with a $3500 buyin if I wanted to emulate the path I took after my first $10K 1st place at Encore Club back in 2011.

The flights, though, were killer. This far into the holiday season, with short notice, everything is hideously expensive. I didn’t want to blow it all (and more) on a one-shot at the Venetian, getting to San Jose in time was just not happening by the time I got home, and trying to make the first flight at LA was pretty awful, too. Unfortunately, even the flights to Vegas in two weeks—just before New Year’s Eve—aren’t great, either, So I’m open to suggestions.

Waiting to go to a holiday party, I played an Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go, got a 5x payout, and won it on a hand where both the shorter stacks shoved when I had kings.

R-Day Minus 20

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Played a satellite for the Ignition Casino 12 Days of Turbo Wrap Up #61 NLHE and only got 20th place, the jumped into the game directly. I lost some ground early on with a series of pairs that didn’t go anywhere (although I could see from the rabbit cam feature that the pair of sevens I folded on the flop with two overs would have made a set on the turn, grrrr…).

I got ground down to 6K from the 15K start relatively early, then picked up a couple thousand before the first break. It being a turbo, I was getting down into the Danger Zone, when I picked up AxQx in early position and jammed about 12bb. A middle position player with 40bb called with AxTx there was a ten in the door and I was out.

Played two $2 NLHE Jackpot Sit-N-Gos and busted third on the first. The second was a $10 payout, I got down to 15bb early on, then came back and won it.

Sixteen years ago today I nearly died from a pulmonary embolism (PE), technically a bunch of them, from multiple blood clots that formed in my leg after I broke it making their way to my lungs two months to the day after my fallNothing quite like this, but this guy definitely had clots in his lungs. My mother died four years ago from a pulmonary embolism, completely unexpectedly, without breaking anything. Fifteen years ago, there was a spate of stories about something called economy-class syndrome, which was basically people getting pulmonary embolisms on plane flights just from sitting in cramped quarters without moving their legs for hours. That’s all it takes. Sudden shortness of breath, coughing, and related issues may be all you get. And medical personnel aren’t always on top of it: I had literally called the advice nurse the day I had mine because I was feeling unexpectedly winded after moving from crutches to a cane; my mother was getting ready to go to a doctor’s appointment she’d made after complaining she had trouble breathing at her ophthalmologist’s office when she died. And she knew I’d had a PE. None of us even thought of it until the autopsy. We poker players tend to sit around a lot. But take this as a gentle public service announcement: Get up and move around.

R-Day Minus 22

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Played the Ignition Casino $4K GTD NLHE Turbo after I got home from a family thing this evening. Right off the bat, I got lucky and managed to not only hit two sets but get two players to stack off against with with top-top. I was on top of the leaderboard, ma! ~500 blinds is a nice place to be, even in a turbo.

That lasted for a little while as a couple of other players started to catch hands and I missed flops, laid down queens, etc. My peak was a bit over 60K when that was still 60bb. Then I lost a flip and stayed down in the 40K range most of the rest of my tournament.

We were closing in on the bubble, with blinds at 1500/3000/300 and I was in the small blind with 14bb and a pair of tens. UTG raised to 9K and action folded around to me. I had UTG nominally covered, and shoved the tens. The BB folded, and UTG called with nines. And naturaly there was a nine on the flop.

I was left with just over 1bb. I watched the Players Remaining count drop as the blind approached me again and I was dealt hands like Tx3x and 2x4x. I admit, on the next hand I stalled and used my Time Bank. I got K5 in the cutoff and was all in for less than the big blind (antes had put me under). The big blinf was all in for even less. Small blind was the guy who’d doubled up to almost 30bb through me; I’m almost certain he let me live because he would have had to call less than half a big blind but he folded instead. BB had 7x2x. I won, and now with the increase in blinds to 2000/4000/400, I had 1.5bb.

I managed to survive until my BB. The bubble broke on the hand before and I was all in, taking 70th out of 72 paying positions.

Good luck to everyone from the Pacific Northwest playing the WPT Five Diamond. Wish I was there with you!

R-Day Minus 24

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Before I went to bed last night, jumped into the Ignition Casino $400 GTD PLO and played it for about 45 minuted—actually getting up to 2nd place in the 60-player field after a big hand—and only realized it was actually PLO8 after I’d busted out. At least I wasn’t the guy I played with at the Venetian a few years back who bought into a $400 tournament only to do the same sort of thing (“I was kind of wondering why none of the hands had a low…”). It might be embarrassing if I mentioned it to anyone.

This was how the second hand of that tournament went. I had won the first hand, and was up to 6000 chips from a starting stack of 5000. Late entry, blinds were 125/250. 8 players at the table, I was hijack, with T887. I was the first caller. The dealer (6450 chips, TT53) limped in with me, then the small blind (12,197 chips) raised to 1450 with AA93. I called, then the dealer called.

Now, according to the CardPlayer Omaha Odds Calculator, with the player in there with aces my chance of winning the hand doesn’t change from a heads-up match against the pair of tens, but he’s the dog in the three-way fight. Flip the Hi/Lo switch and things stay pretty much the same.

Anyway, the flop is great for me: 822. I shoot up to 57% equity. The small blind pots his aces, I’m all in to call with my full house, and the dealer—who has nearly a full starting stack—shoves with a weak flush draw (beat by the nut flush draw of the aces) and a bad low draw. The aces called.

The turn 3 counterfeited the lows of both players, then the 9 river shipped me the pot, so I more than tripled to 18375. Nice start, but I made a bad call another 40 hands down the line.

Got a 5x NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go, and managed to get out front after a bad start, but ended up going out third.

After doing stuff around the house (mostly sitting), I headed out to the Final Table $2K GTD NLHE. Our table had a drunk guy from “down the valley” who said he’d won a tournament earlier in the day. I stacked him twice in the same level, once when he 3-bet Q4 and I 4-bet QxQx and he called. I don’t remember what he had when I called his shove with almost an entire rebuy stack, but I won that, too. I was up to 45K early on, then doubled up an annoying player I’ve mentioned before when I had aces under the gun and just limped in expecting a raise from someone at the tableNaturally, when I c-bet and the annoying guy raised for most of his stack on a king-high board, I had to put him all in and he had Kx6x for two pair.

Doubled up once when I got down to about 10bb and we were at two tables, lost a chunk to the player I doubled through with an open-ended straight draw where he had top pair and a deuce kicker, then just never managed to put it together.

R-Day Minus 25

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Tonight was possibly my last big poker event anywhere and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed in how it went. My table at the Final Table $20K GTD NLHE First Friday was pretty active.

On one of my first hands in seat 8, I raised with AT and got several callers. The flop was JT9 and there was an early-position bet. I folded, then a player in seat 1 re-raised to 2,200. The original bettor shoved and the raiser called fairly quickly, showing Jx7x. The original bettor had the straight with Qx8x. Then the board ran out AxAx, and I would have had the second nuts. Not that I was going all-in on that draw.

Seat 1 rebought but managed to get stacked and forced out of the game in ten minutes. In all, by the end of the first hour or so, there were 15 rebuys, and a third of them were from our table. But they weren’t coming my way.

The end for me came with a whimper. I limped in with JxTx and less than half my starting stack, but still about 30bb. Nearly the whole table was in the hand and the flop was KxJx5x. A guy who’d been making a big fuss about winning the previous week’s $10K (at a table with the likes of Kim Pok and Casey Ring) opened the betting and I called. We were heads-up. The turn was a ten, I was first to act, and I went all-in. He took a while to think about it, then finally called with a pair of aces that he’d slow-played. Two aces, three kings, four queens, three fives. It was a king.

As you may know, I am not a fan of rebuys, but I figured there wouldn’t be too many more options to do so. I hadn’t stopped by the bank to get any cash out for a rebuy, so I told Bourbon Bill that I needed to hit the ATM. When I got there, though, the screen said it was Out of Order. I walked back to the table as Bill was dealing a new hand and told him I wasn’t going to be able to do it, and he started to gather up the cards for a misdeal (since he’d dealt in my position), A couple of people offered to loan me the money, but by then I figured I’d caused enough trouble and slunk into the night of Southeaast Portland.

Played a couple of Ignition Casino $2 NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go tournaments. Won one, lost one.

Here’s how I spent Pearl Harbor Day six years ago:

“A Day of Poker That Will Live In Infamy”