Breakthroughs: Post 100; Money in $10K

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee (10,000 chips)

Once it was obvious I wasn’t winning the Player of the Year pool money for a WSOP buy-in this year, I decided to step up my tournament play to see if I could make it up that way. Of course, after Black Friday, that meant more live tournaments, and I got off to a great start with the freeroll I played in early May and the turbo a couple of nights later that gave me back to back first-place finishes. Needless to say, that record hasn’t been maintained through the past six weeks, but I have stayed at around a 25% cash average since the first of June. 6 cashes in 26 tournaments.

Six hours in to the Encore $10K

The last one is the most interesting (and frustrating) to me. DV and I entered Encore’s monthly $10K Guarantee with the agreement that we’d split any winnings, the same agreement we’d made before the Ace of Spades game a couple of weeks earlier.

My game got off to a great start. I was in seat 4 and picked up 8?8? on the third hand of the match as SB. I’d lost a few chips on the earlier hands but still had about 9,500. The flop was 7?6?5? and I started betting heavily. The field narrowed to me and BB who stayed in. The turn 4? gave me my straight and I really pushed but there was a flush draw on the board, as well and BB re-raised. I shoved, he called, and he missed his flush but I got 9? for an even higher straight.  He was seriously crippled by the fourth hand and I was over 19K.

The first of my big mistakes came shortly thereafter. I had 68, two clubs showed on the flop, and I got into a bidding war with seat 7 that ended up with me having about 7,000 chips in by the river, which gave me a flush. Seat 7 turned up two pair and I flipped over 68, which paired an 8? on the board but wasn’t a flush. I sucked up the loss of most of the gain I’d made just a few hands earlier and kicked myself for wearing contacts instead of my glasses.

I played A?J? and paired the J? high card on the flop but was beat by pocket K?K? and was down to 11K.

An all-diamond flop forced me to lay down 700 chips along with JT. Likewise, I raised 800 on AQ and folded when the top cards on the flop were K7.

A2 gave me diamonds for a change and I made a set of deuces but four hearts on the board made a flush for someone and I was down to 8,000 chips.

The last hand before the first break put Q?Q? into my hands and I managed to practically double up by busting out a player. After buying the 7K add-on, I had 25,500.

This, of course, did not last long. I bet big with AT on a T?Q?K? flop and another player came over the top, leaving me with 17K by the end of that hand. Then a pair of 9?9? lost me 4,325 more when I called an all-in and their JT drew to a flush on the river. At the three hour mark my stack was back down to 11,875.

A?J? (not a Mutant Jack) took down the blinds for me when I opened with a raise to 2,500. Then I called a bb of 800 and folded to an all-in.

A?5? is usually something I dislike playing but I saw a 5?T?5? on the flop and bet erratically, which ended up making me 20K. The guy next to me said he had no idea what I had.

Then I was lucky enough to grab a pair of K?K? as BB and went all-in after a 5K raise from the CO. He called, showed A?Q? and almost made a straight (though that was more difficult with two of the kings in my hand), and I was up to 40K. By break three that was 59,400.

Back in the thick of things, K4 hit two pair on the flop and ended up with two players all-in against me when another 4? showed on the river, knocking them both out. By 4 hours and 30 minutes in I had 76,500.

I called a raise to 2K with QT but had to fold to two all-in bets, then lost another 6600 with A3 after a flop that utterly failed to connect.

My Q?T? made two pair on the flop after I bet 5K pre-flop, and I called another player’s all-in. They showed four to a straight but beat me with a royal flush on the turn. That cost me about 30K and left me with 40,000 in chips at the 3 hours and fifty minutes mark.

I raised to 6K with another A5 and was re-raised. The re-raiser showed K?K? at showdown with another player. I would have made two pair on the board but a flush came and I would have lost anyway.

Five hours into the match, I was down to 22,000 chips, only 5K above the amount I’d received as a starting stack and add-on.

I managed to steal the blinds and antes with an all-in holding A9. At least I was big enough for the people at my table not to want to tangle with me all of the time.

Fifteen minutes later I was up to 24,500, with my ill-gotten blinds and antes.

I knocked out another player by calling an all-in with K?Q?. They held K?9? and stayed behind across the board. The Mutant Jack JA made two pair on the flop and earned me another 10K. Five hours and thirty minutes into the game, I’d made it back up to 45,500.

A Mutant Jack of hearts (AJ) and a bet of 12K got a call and then took the pot for me. Then I played a dangerous 3?3?, hitting a set on the flop and won another pot. Took out a player when the QJ paired the queen. By six-and-a-quarter hours, my stack was finally over the chip average again, with 95,000.

Raising to 15K with K?Q?, another player came over the top and I laid it down, which was good because the hand went to showdown and I would have lost to the A?A?. Playing another A5 (see above), I caught the flush and took in over 50K, which put me at 131,500 by six hours and forty-five minutes.

Laid down another K?Q? and 8K on a call to an all-in. Some more proffers gone wrong cut me down again to 80K in just half an hour.

Pocket 8?8? made quads for me, knocking out another player (who was holding A?J?) and getting my stack out of the doldrums. At the 8K/16K/2K level, a raise to 36K with A?9? took down the blinds. The I used A?J? and knocked another player out. My stack was up to 220K just shy of eight hours into the tournament.

A call on my part with 36 lost me my BB and another 11K calling an all-in. I lost an extra 10K as the SB at the 10K/20K?4K level calling to see the flop with Q9 and folding to a post-flop bet from BB after my hand missed.

A?9? again and a 40K min-raise took down the blinds again.

I called a small all-in with J5. He flipped over 2?2?. The odds calculators say that one’s a coin flip but if he’d had anything higher than a pair of 4?4? I probably would have lost. I didn’t, though and another player was down.

My last hand was played at 20K/40K/4K. I was in seat 5 at the final table, with eight players remaining, on BB with about 200K behind. There were somewhere over 2.3 million chips in play at the table, but about half of them were in the hands of the player in seat 7. A couple players had between 300K and 400K and the rest of us were down to just three or four big blinds. UTG folded and the big stack as UTG1 opened with a raise to 600K. Action folded around to SB, who went all-in. I had a clubby Mutant Jack: AJ. I was all-in. The giant stack turned over 6?6?, SB had me dominated with AK. Both the ace hands were losers, though, as the pair held up across the board. Two clubs on the board left me just short of what would have been a nut flush. I went out in seventh or eighth place; since the payout for both was the same, they didn’t count the chips to see who’d been ahead.

If my back hadn’t been to the screen, I might have made the wiser choice to lay down and let the the endgame play out. We were just short of the big money in the tournament, players were going to have to make moves just to stay ahead of the voracious blinds, and I likely could have moved up the pay scale by letting the blinds wash over me. After another 20K for the small blind, I wouldn’t have had to deal with them for a few hands and there would have been time for someone else to bust out (which happened on the next hand).

Nine-and-a-half hours. Finished 7th/8th of 141 players. +210% ROI (including buy-in, add-on, tip).

The Poker Mutant at the Final Table

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