Paired Off

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Another tale of amazing recovery thwarted!

You can see from the graph that every major loss in the match came from me holding pocket pairs (although my hand was not just pocket pairs in each instance).

I’d had the usual mixed luck in the early levels of the game. My stack had gone down to just over 1,000 chips then back up and I was at 2,245 and in the big blind at 40/80 when I got K7. There were eight players at the table and if the only action hadn’t been a min-raise from the small blind I might not have played that combo, but I called to see the flop, figuring the small blind had an ace. I got a great flop of AT6 and the small blind bet out 160. I raised to 320 and he went all-in for a total of 890. I had it covered, with 1,275 over, so I called. He flipped over A6 for a possible full house but no ace or six showed.

Three hands later, T9 came into my hand in the cutoff, at 50/100. Hijack raised to 275 and I called. The button called and the blinds folded. Full house on the flop: 99T. Hijack checked and I led out with a tentative-looking 150. Button went all-in for 1,900, so he could have the other two tens. Hijack raised enough to put me all-in if I called, which I most certainly did. There was just about 9,000 in the pot. The button was on a complete bluff with 32. The hijack had a legitimate—but superfluous—diamond flush draw with A5. He got his K on the river but I got the chips.

I hit a plateau at that point, not gaining or losing more than 1,000 chips at a time for nearly fifty minutes. I had decent hands but wasn’t able to capitalize on them at all. Then I picked up KK at the 120/240/25 level in UTG+1. I raised to 600 after UTG folded, got an all-in re-raise to 1,830 from UTG+2, and called after everyone folded. He had AQ, I was in relatively good shape. At least until the ATJ on the flop. Then I was hoping for another queen to show up but instead he got the A. No problem. Just a little setback.

My next hand was another pocket pair: JJ. I was on the big blind because a player had been removed for table balancing. UTG+2 with a short stack went all-in for 1,990 and got a call from the cutoff. I four-bet to 4,200 with 2,185 behind and then the cutoff went all-in for a total of 6,130. I made a rash decision and called, with 255 left. The short stack only had 99 but cutoff had AA. The board didn’t match anyone, and the aces took it.

That was Hand 126, by the way.

After the ante and the small blind on the next hand, I had 110 chips. The best thing that could be said about my T3 hand was that it was suited. The cutoff raised to 440. I went all-in, expecting elimination. Big blind called.

The flop was 8T2. Not only did I have top pair, I had a flush draw! 6 came around the turn, then a T dropped into the river slot. I had top set, at least. Cutoff revealed AJ, big blind came up with 3Q. I was suddenly back up to 865 chips.

I let 42 and my 25 chip ante go on the next hand. I knew that with barely more than 3BB I had to take a stab soon, though and on the next hand I got a sort of anemic ace that I might ignore under most circumstances: A8. UTG+2 was shorter than me and went all-in to 370. I went all-in for 815. Everyone else folded and left it to the small stacks. He flipped over 55, but the board gave me A on the flop, then added 8 and A on the turn and river for a full house. That put me up to 1,770.

K6 turned up a little later, after I’d let the antes eat at me for a bit and I was in the big blind again. The button raised all-in after all action had folded to him. He had both of us in the blinds covered and I got the impression that he was trying to steal. I didn’t have the best of hands but I figured he didn’t, either, and I needed to move up. The small blind folded but I called. He had K8. OK, so maybe my instincts weren’t perfect.

The flop was a scary 549. But 2Q came on the turn and river, giving me my flush and 3,535 chips. That’s why The Grid rates K6s as Playable and K8o as No Go in a 9-player game.

Another half-hour wrestling around the 4,000-5,000 range ensued, with blinds and antes wearing my stack back down to about 3,500 when I got TQ as UTG+1. Blinds were 250/500/50, so I only had a limited amount of time left and if I lost another 750 to the blinds in a couple more hands I’d be in pretty bad shape. I raised to 1,000 after UTG folded. The only caller was the button, with a stack about three time the size of mine. I got a 34T flop and pushed my top pair all-in for 2,485. The button called and showed middle pair: 54. We both made a full house, with 33 on the turn and river, but I had the better of the two and was over 8,100 chips, where I’d been 90 minutes earlier.

A couple of small wins put me up to 10,000, then another unlikely off-suit combo got me a big bump. Blinds were 300/600/75. UTG+1 raised to 1,200 and action folded to my AT. I called and everyone else folded, so it was heads-up. The flop was 725. It seemed unlikely that he’d raised with even 46s, so when he bet out 2,600 I made another gamble and went all-in for 8,620. He called and showed 9A. If I could avoid a suck-out, I’d be in great shape. Nothing came, another player was gone, and I took a pot of 20,935 (I’d have had 140 left if I’d lost).

My peak was 27,900 after picking up nearly 6K with  85 in the big blind (400/800/100) and making middle pair on the flop. Then came the plunge.

I was on the button with 88. Usually, I try to play these cautiously, per The Grid. But for some reason, when UTG+2 went all-in with 9,323 chips I called, and we were heads-up. The flop made me look like a genius: 8JJ. I saw the hearts first and though it was over before I realized I had a full house. Then a 7 on the turn. Still good for me. Then 7, giving him a full house with a back door. Hey, I still had 18K, right?

Of course, at 500/1,000/125, 18K isn’t so much and ten minutes later I was down to less than14K when I got 66. Not in my usual wheelhouse, as they say, but about the best I’d seen for a while (although the K7 I’d had five hands earlier was better according to The Grid). There was a limper in UPG+2, the flop was 57T,  and I made a pot-sized bet of 3,625 which got a call. The turn was 3. I checked and there was bet of 5,000 from the other player, who had another 24K. It seemed like an attempt to buy the pot to me. I raised all-in and he called, showing two over cards—QJ—but nothing made. Nothing until the Q on the river, anyway.

That put me out in 185th place of 3,115 players. ROI of 98% after 173 minutes.