Five Kay II

Bovada $5,000 NLHE Superstack (T5,000)

I’m not going to annoy anyone by recounting the full run of this game, but it was another deep run for me that was made particularly pleasing after a bluff gone wrong and a semi-miraculous recovery, so here are a few key hands.

Hand 92 9T HJ T15,109 200/400/40
I open to 1,200 and SB 3bets to 3,200. BB drops out and I call. The flop is K6Q which should be the end of it for me, but I call a small bet of 1,600. The turn is A and I really should be screaming off to the horizon, but I raise 4,000 after a check fromn SB and he re-raises to 8,400, which I call. The river is 8. SB bets 1,800. My nut no-pair has 1,869 behind it. I fold. What a maroon.

Hand 93 97 UTG2 T1,869 200/400/40
Less than 5BB. M about 2. I fold.

Hand 94 QJ UTG1 T1,829 200/400/40
I go all-in and BTN calls with 55. I hit a jack on the flop and stay good.

Hand 95 87 UTG T4,498 200/400/40
Fold.

Hand 96 28 BB T4,458 200/400/40
Fold. A player is eliminated with AQ against TT.

Hand 97 QT SB T4,018 200/400/40
The Portland Nuts. Action folds to me, I shove my 10BB and the player in BB who I had some back-and-forth with earlier calls with AA. He has me covered by more than 30k. The flop is 7KQT5 and I double up again, above chip average.

Hand 98 TA BTN T8,236 200/400/40
I don’t know if people are just sitting back because they think there are going to be some fireworks or if they just had bad cards two hands in a row, but they’re not going to be disappointed if it’s the former. I 3x open and the guy whose aces I broke is all-in immediately for more than 4x my stack. I call with my ace, and he has J7. He gets a seven on the flop, but I get an ace, and I double a third time in five hands, now sitting on more than I had in the hand before I made the bad play.

Hand 99 AQ CO T17,072 200/400/40
HJ opens to 900 and I call. BTN comes along with SB. The flop is 576 and checked around. I bet the A on the turn and everyone folds, and we go on break.

I bust a guy on the hand after break. The guy whose aces I busted goes off on a wild gamble and busts before we hit the money at 45 players. There’s an enormously long bubble. I get up over 60k, but end up busting shoving 10BB over an opening raise from a stack of 45K and J9 makes a nine-high straight against me.

Three hours and forty-five minutes, 208 hands. 20th of 403 entries. +169% ROI.

One For Mom

Mother’s Day weekend was a couple weeks back, and everyone in our family had a good time getting together Saturday at my brother’s place for his son’s birthday party, then on the day itself at my house for dinner and a viewing of 20 Feet From Stardom, which had a lot of music that my mom loved. Then, a week ago, last Wednesday morning, while I was at my folks’ house to do some work on their computer, she died.

Don’t know exactly why, yet; it really doesn’t matter and it’s not going to change anything.

I don’t think Mom understood my interest in poker. Our family never had any money to speak of so they weren’t exactly in the gambling demographic. Both my parents grew up poor during the war and then the “boom years” of the 1950s. My father made a lot of trips to Las Vegas for conferences during his years working with the union, and he’d put a few nickels in the slot machines, but never more than two dollars worth. We certainly never took a family vacation there (did they allow camping?) and back in the day, there really weren’t a lot of places outside Vegas to gamble.

My folks played a little pinochle back when they were in college, but Dad was never into card games. Mom, on the other hand, played solitaire. Anyway, I got her a couple of solitaire programs for her computer which were used almost to the day she died. Dad didn’t see the appeal, but I think it was the puzzle-solving element of the game that attracted her.

She was a quality-control chemist at a plant that made glue and resin for the wood-products industry, so she solved a lot of puzzles in her job, like how to affect hundreds of thousands of pounds of a chemical mixture to get it back into tolerance. She fitted flooring and tile pieces in homebuilding projects, and she made a huge number of quilts. But she didn’t gamble, and neither did Dad.

Not having gambling in my background, I never made it to Vegas myself until after I was in my mid-40s. Even then, it was to present at a conference preceding the NAB, not to play cards or anything else. The conference paid for my room at the Rio, but no idea how much time I’d be spending there in later years. I wasn’t even playing poker at that point.

When I did start playing, several years later, my interest in the game probably looked more like mid-life, career-dead guy desperation to Mom (if so, I’m hoping she was uncharacteristically wrong). Risking money goes against everything my folks taught my brother and I. I remember being aghast when my brother had us meet him and his (then) future wife at Harrah’s New Orleans as we watched them lose a couple hundred playing blackjack in ten minutes; my wife and I just drank free beer. It was one thing to invest in something, or put money into a business, as my brother has very successfully (and me, not so successfully), but gambling? That’s just crazy.

And it hasn’t exactly been easy. I’ve had a number of low-to-mid four-figure wins, but not regularly enough to make it possible to cover living expenses. If I do get a large cash sometime in the future, Mom’s not going to see that I haven’t been wasting my time and effort the past three years since I  got into poker seriously.

But I was at Dad’s house to keep him company the other night and played a little no-guarantee 6-Max tournament on Bovada, getting in at 15BB and taking top place. Not a big score, but I dedicate this one to Mom.

Bovada NLHE 6-Max (T1,500)

Hand 1 76 UTG 1,500 50/100
It’s hand 1 for me, but the tournament itself has been going on for a while. I muck this baby.

Hand 9 KA BTN 1,200 50/100
Pretty standard disaster/windfall hand. UTG1 bets all but a fraction of his 1,980 chips, I go all-in, there’s a king on the river and his jacks lose.

Hand 12 67 BB 2,550 75/150
One of those hands where slow-playing can work against you if you let the big blind in for free. UTG1 A5 and SB TJ limp in. The flop’s 433 and I donk bet 230 with the gut-shot straight draw. UTG1 calls with his own straight draw. I bet 500 on a turned 4 and took it down.

Hand 16 AK UTG 3,005 75/150
Open-raise to 450 and take it down.

Hand 19 A6 BTN 3,005 75/150
UTG raises to 450 with JQ and gets called by UTG1 (TT), me, and SB with T8. The flop is AJ9. SB only has 475 remaining and shoves his open-ended straight draw. UTG1 drops out, but the shove is called by UTG and myself. Q turn makes two pair for UTG and gives me the flush draw, but completes SB’s straight. UTG shoves. I have him covered by only about 500 chips, but I call, and a 7 is the card for the river, making flushes for both SB (almost a straight flush) and myself.

Hand 35 KT UTG 6,565 100/200
I opened to 600 and UTG1 shoved his last 1,325 into the pot. Everyone else folded, I called, and the board ran out a very unlucky (for him) AQ68J to give me Broadway.

Hand 40 J9 UTG 8,290 100/200
Standard 3x open for me and everyone folds.

Hand 41 4K BB 8,590 100/200
A losing hand! And quelle surprise, it’s a big blind defense! Both my cards are outclassed when SB limps in holding A5. I’m nominally ahead on the TJK flop, and I bet 200, but he calls my bet and and I go from being down 8% in equity to drawing dead on the 6 turn. I bet 400 to rep the flush, and naturally the nuts calls. He’s probably hoping I’ll try to bluff him out of it and checks to me on the river 9, but mama didn’t raise no idiot boys, even if one of them plays poker, so I just checked my top pair and took the hit.

Hand 43 A8 BTN 7,690 100/200
I don’t usually play this here unless it’s suited, but I was still in decent shape at the table, and had position when UTG raised and UTG1 called. The flop was a pretty decent QAA and we all checked it. The turn 6 was checked to me and I bet 1,000, UTG folded his J9, and UTG1 called, drawing pretty much dead. 3 on the river and I checked it through, just in case I was against a full house, but no.

Hand 44 A8 UTG1 10,190 100/200
I guess I was feeling frisky and raised this to 600, getting called by the blinds (both with better hands). The flop was 4K5, BB bet 600 with his KQ and both SB with AQ and I folded.

Hand 45 QK UTG 9,590 100/200
Not one to be daunted, I raised this and took the blinds.

Hand 47 JA SB 9,615 125/250/25
The power of aggression takes one. BTN limps in, I raise to 1,000, and he calls. The flop is 55Q and I c-bet 1,000. He goes all-in for just over 1,000 more and despite getting a good price (5.5:1), I fold. He had AJ.

Hand 48 AA BTN 7,590 125/250/25
If only I’d had this the last hand. Raise and win blinds.

Hand 50 AK UTG 8,040 125/250/25
Raise and win.

Hand 61 QT SB 8,615 125/250/25
A couple more raise and fold hands then some action. BTN called with Q8. I raised to 750, BB called with AT and BTN continued. The flop was 8JJ and everyone checked. With a turn 9 I bet 1,000 and everyone folded.

Hand 65 JJ UTG 10,165 125/250/25
Significant movement and a knockout. I raised to 750 and SB called with QK. The flop was 3JT and got checked by both of us. The turn 7 put me top set hand in peril, and I got into a raising war which had him all in and me down to a couple thousand chips if I lost. Fortunately, the river 7 made my full house and I won.

Hand 67 TA SB 18,018 150/300/30
UTG2 limped in and I raised to 900. He came along and the flop was K4J, He bet 600 (with 87!) and I called, which slowed him down. We checked through the turn K and 9 river, and my ace-high took the pot.

Hand 68 AQ BTN 19,968 150/300/30
UTG1 went all-in with just under 3,000 and I raised all-in to isolate. He showed 44, which ended up being the best hand when a four hit the flop and the last one showed up on the river. The best hand I had was the pair of fours on the board.

Hand 69 44 UTG2 17,086 150/300/30
Figured if fours were working that well on the last hand, I’d raise these, but we didn’t even get to the flop.

Hand 74 QT UTG1 17,086 150/300/30
UTG limped in and I raised to 1,000. He called, which put us heads-up to the flop. We both checked it to the Q on the turn and he went all-in for about 2,250. I called and beat his Q7.

Hand 75 6J BB 20,918 150/300/30
We’re four-handed at the table and the first two actions fold, SB limps in and the flop is QK5. Not exactly my color. 9 on the turn gives me a gut-shot draw, and I call a bet of 600, but fold on the 9 river and a bet. SB had K6 for a made pair on flop and flush at the end.

Hand 76 A4 SB 19,988 150/300/30
Still 4-handed. BTN limps in, I raise to 1,000. and we’re HU on the 892 flop. I c-bet 1,000 and he calls again. Turn 7, I’ve got nothing, and I’m drawing to a pair of aces at best. I check/fold to a 2,210 bet, which is good, because with JT he’s got a made straight and a draw to a straight flush.

Hand 89 A6 BB 18,058 200/400/40
It’s down to three of us (seven players still in the tournament and the other table has four). Seat 1 is BTN for this hand, with less than 8BB. Seat 3 has been knocking players out and has 86BB in SB. I’m down in the middle with 45BB. SB min-raises to steal with Q9 and I call with my ace. We check through to the turn and the board reads 3727 when I bet 600 and he calls. 4 on the river and we both check; the ace in the winner.

Hand 94 A3 BTN 18,578 200/400/40
Everyone gets an ace this hand. Seat 1 has been draining away, and folds to me 1,200 opener. Seat 3 calls. The flop is 826, BB checks and I bet 1,300, which he calls. We check the 9 turn and the river is a 4, which he bets for 2,660. I fold to his AJ. This would have been a winning hand for the short stack; he would have had the only pair with A2.

Hand 95 57 BB 16,038 200/400/40
I defend to a SB min-raise again and get a pretty good flop of 434, then call a c-bet of  800 with my gut-shot draw. neither the T turn or 2 river get me there and I fold to a bet of 1,660 on the river. SB had 88 this time.

Hand 102 AA UTG2 15,388 250/500/50
It’s final table time. I’m in Seat 2. Seat 1 has 40BB and sits in second position. Seat 3 has just over 9BB; Seat 4 is at 35BB, a bit more than me; the extreme short stack from my previous table is down to 3BB before the hand in Seat 5; and the big stack from our table has 77BB in seat 6. This is the hand that makes me for the tournament. UTG1 raises to 1,199 and I call. BTN folds (a pair of eights) and it’s HU to the flop of 9T7. UTG1 checked and I shoved, thinking it might look like I was trying to steal a pot because no high cards hit. Sure enough, he called, showing KK for a big old cooler. That put me in second place with 63BB and dropped him into the sub-10BB zone.

Hand 107 TT BTN 30,776 250/500/50
Seat 1 put more than a quarter of his stack in as a raise with K3 and I shoved ion him despite that the big stack was in BB and still to act pre-flop. He folded. I think having the kings cracked must have tilted him, because a couple hands later he defended deuce-four off-suit to a pre-flop raise from the big stack and went all-in for the rest with bottom pair on the flop.

Hand 111 TA SB 32,280 250/500/50
A little tangle with the big stack, in which I manage to get off relatively lightly. I call a raise to 1,500, we get to the turn with the board reading 9342 and I call another 1,000 on my straight draw, which doesn’t come. We go to showdown and he has AK for the win. Starting the next hand, I have 59BB, Seat 3 has under 5BB, Seat 4 has 47BB, and Seat 6 has 83BB.

Hand 115 JQ SB 29,080 250/500/50
The big stack made consecutive full houses against the other two players in the game, chewing out most of Seat 4’s chips and eliminating Seat 3. I raised this hand to 1,500 and Seat 4 shoved his last 11BB in with 99. He was good until a queen hit the river, then there were just two of us.

Hand 116 Q8 BTN 34,690 250/500/50
We start HU with me having almost 70BB and Seat 6 having about 126BB. That didn’t last long. Seat 6 picks up the exact same two cards that Seat 4 had when I eliminated him the previous hand. I open to 1,500, he raises to 4,600, and I call. The flop’s Q55 and he bets 9,300. I’m going nowhere with top pair here, even with the paired board. Heck, I might even shove (which I do). I guess he thinks I’m bluffing, or he just wants to get it over with, and calls another 20,740, which all goes to me.

Hand 121 QT BB 69,380 250/500/50
With 57BB left, Seat 6’s all-in shove pre-flop seemed either really weak or really strong. I opted for vulnerable and anyway, I had the Portland Nuts (or “The Butcher”, if you prefer). And I had him covered. He had K9, a queen hit the flop, and after six hands, HU was over, with me in first.

VPIP: ~29%.

Two hours and twenty minutes. 121 hands. 1st of 65 entries. 1526% ROI.

Personal Best

Bovada $1K NLHE Rebuy (T2,000)

Bovada’s thing is that their poker tables are anonymous. You can’t tell who you’re playing against unless you know the number assigned to another player for a particular cash session or tournament. Their hand histories are even more anonymous, because the session identifiers don’t carry over; players are only identified by seat and position. Perhaps because of that, Bovada shows you everyone’s hole cards, which makes for some interesting reading, particularly in cases where you bluffed someone off a hand (or vice versa). It wasn’t the biggest amount of money I’ve ever won by any means, but I think it was the biggest ROI I’ve ever posted.

Hand 1 A8 HJ T2,000 10/20
If I have a poker superstition, it’s the ‘poison pot’ — winning the first hand of the tournament that dooms the winner to not finishing. I think I may be over it. We started the hand with everyone equal except for BTN, who did a rebuy. UTG1 called, I raised, and we were HU to the 64Q flop. Ended up checking it all the way to the river and  he had 78, giving him a gut-shot straight draw but my high cards held the day.

Hand 4 9T UTG1 T2,090 10/20
This is one of the hands in my range that I play a lot harder than some people would, though in this case, I was well-justified. I opened to 60, getting a call from BTN and a re-raise to 280 from BB. I called, and BTN dropped out. The 7TA flop was just about all I could ask, and I called the BB bet of 220. J for the turn made my third nut flush and gave me outs for a straight flush. BB went all-in for 1,400 and I called against KQ. Just a Q on the river and I was safe with 4,080. BB rebought.

Hand 11 TT UTG3 T4,050 20/40
This is where things really started to get crazy for me. UTG2 made a standard raise of 120, which I called. HJ went all-in for 2,080 with—let me say it ahead of the showdown—4J. CO and SB called with a more reasonable 66 and A4, respectively. UTG2 went all-in to call (55)and I, of course, called. I get top set with 94T. I go all-in, the sixes call, the bottom pair and ace kicker calls, a 6 hit the turn and a K is the river, nobody has a flush, and I end up with over 16,000 chips and move to first place in the tournament.

Hand 20 AJ UTG3 T16,080 30/60
Another hand where crazy play on the part of the $2 rebut crowd runs into the meat grinder of my good hands. UTG1 limps, I raise to 180, and HJ shoves for 4,000 (after having rebought a few times already). UTG1 is all-in to call. I’m risking less than 25% of my stack in the call. I’m behind UTG1’s KA, but the HJ shoved his stack in with 52. The board runs out Broadway for me and I take it all.

Hand 31 KA UTG1 T23,795 40/80
The craziness continued, although in this case (some of) the hands justified action. UTG min-raised with QA and I  called. UTG2 shoved for 4,545 with…J3. HJ goes all-in for 4,000 with JJ. BB has 1,800 and 99 and is all-in. UTG1 has about 9,000 and called, but I shove and he’s forced all-in to call. The board runs out 28K7K. Neither of the pairs boats up, so my trip kings knocks out four players and pops me up to 43,000, three times any other stacks in the tournament at this early stage.

Hand 33 TA SB T43,100 40/80
My first losing hand! UTG limped, then UTG1 shoves 25BB with 9A. I call, and BB goes all-in for 4,120 with T6. I call the extra and the board throws out a six, so I lose 10% of my stack with the best hand. I can live with it.

Hand 38 KK UTG1 T38,980 40/80
Raise to 240, get two calls (6Q and A6, what are they thinking?), hit top set on flop of KJ9, bet 600, get one call, turnQ, bet 1,800, and win.

Hand 43 QQ CO T40,000 50/100
Lost chips here but only because of a bad runout. Got it in good. UTG2 limped JT and HJ came along with 46. I raised to 500, BB with AT raises to 900. Both UTG2 and I call. I get middle set on a 5QK flop, BB goes all-in for 1,020, UTG2 calls with 80 behind, I go all-in, and the board runs out a straight for BB. I lose a couple thousand.\

There’s a break of about ten minutes here in the hand history from Bovada. Apparently, I picked up some chips in the interim.

Hand 62 JT CO T42,935 75/15
There was one stack at the table over 20,000, a couple around 17,000, and everyone else was below 10,000. UTG1 put in 5,000 chips, leaving just 85 behind with KQ. I was the only caller. The 25T flop paired me and UTG1 shoved the rest of his stack in. Easy call for me. I ended up with two pair and the win.

Hand 73 A7 UTG2 T47,945 100/200
Opened to 600, got called by HJ (78) and BB (Q5). Flopped 424 and bet 1,000 to take the pot.

Hand 74 88 UTG1 T49,245 100/200
Called a min-raise from UTG (QK), and four others came along. I checked the flop, then folded when CO went all-in for 4,480 and SB re-shoved for 6,000. SB won the hand with a pair of aces, but I would have had a set of eights on the river. Annoying.

Hand 78 T9 BTN T48,395 125/250/25
HJ opened to 550 and I called, along with BB. The flop was J45 and I folded to a c-bet of 1,000, as did BB with his 29. A pair of eights took it.

Hand 85 6A BB T47,660 150/300/30
I wouldn’t normally do much with this low of an unsuited ace, but UTG1 and CO just limped in. The flop was 996 and I bet 900 to take the pot from 27 (moron) and TA, respectively.

Hand 86 55 SB T48,650 150/300/30
Limped in along with four others only to fold to a 15,000 all-in from BB (with 2T). Life on the edge.

Hand 109 TA UTG2 T46,030 250/500/50
I’d gone through an entire level with checks and folds, and some of the other stacks were beginning to catch up. I was in seat 5. Seat 2 had almost as many chips as me and I think a stack at another table had passed me up. Five of the stacks at our table were below 13,000, though, so there wasn’t much danger around. UTG1 min-raised for about 10% of his stack with AQ. I called and we were HU to the flop of 599. We checked it down to the river, with another five hitting the turn and splitting the pot, which must have been unsatisfying for the short stack with the better hand.

Hand 129 8Q BB T43,500 400/800/80
Action on the table had been fast over the past few hands, with seat 9 doubling up to over 67,000 and seat 8 doubling to 55,000, with seat 2 passing me up to 58,000. Fortunately, aside from antes and blinds, none of the damage had been at my expense. Everyone folded to SB (25,000 chips) who limped in with 96 and I checked. The flop was 6Q4 and SB over bet the pot for 2,320. I called with top paid. A and J on the turn and river just got checked, and my queens won.

Hand 134 A5 UTG2 T46,540 400/800/80
Opened to 2,400 and everyone folded.

Hand 140 JQ CO T46,560 500/1,000/100
HJ limped in and I raised to 3,000. BB and HJ called. The flop was 578 and it was checked to me, so I bet 5,000, getting a call from BB (with JK). The turn was T and was checked. A 6 hit the river and I folded to a 3,000 bet.

Hand 142 77 UTG2 T38,360 500/1,000/100
I don’t normally trust anything as low as sevens on a nine-handed table, but this is one time I’m glad I was feeling a little frisky. I opened to 3,000 and got called by BB, hitting bottom set on a flop of J87. He checked, I bet 4,200, he re-raised to 8,400 with JQ, and I shoved, getting a call. T hit the turn to make his chances better than they were, but the 7 on the river made my quads and I took a pot of nearly 78,000, which put me back on top of the leader board.

Hand 143 A7 UTG1 T77,820 500/1,000/100
I opened to 3,000 and SB (9A) called. He checked the KK2 flop and I c-bet 4,200 to take the pot.

Hand 157 99 CO T83,000 600/1,200/120
UTG2 opened all-in to 22,344 with 5A. With almost 20BB, that just seems a bit loose to me. I called with my pair and we were HU. His ace never showed and I won the hand.

Hand 161 KA UTG1 T107,624 600/1,200/120
UTG limps, I raise to 4,000 and get called by CO, SB, and UTG. The flop is J22, I make the first action post-flop and bet 8,000, everyone folds.

Hand 174 KA BTN T115,904 800/1,600/160
Got caught in the crossfire on this one. CO opened to 2/3 his stack with 11,680. I shoved all-in. SB goes all-in for 45,898 and CO pumps the rest in. It’s KK (CO) v QQ and my lone ace. Nobody improves, but I lose a chink, and drop to the low 30s on the leader board.

Hand 175 77 CO T69,046 800/1,600/160
Nothing if not tenacious. I open to 4,800 and take the blinds and antes.

Hand 186 KQ SB T66,606 1,000/2,000/200
BTN limps in and I call. Flop is A83, BTN bet 4,491 with 33 and I fold. He goes on to stack UTG with 3A with a set against two pair. It’s the last elimination at our table before the money.

Hand 196 AK HJ T57,906 1,250/2,500/250
Most of the table is in the 45,000 to 65,00 chip zone, with one stack at 100,000. I open to 7,500 and everyone folds.

Hand 201 KT UTG T62,856 1,500/3,000/300
I open to 9,000 and again, everyone folds.

Hand 213 AK BTN T62,356 2,000/4,000/400
HJ min-raises with 4x4 and I call. The flop is 5A4 and he c-bets 16,000. I shove, and for some reason he puts in his last 15,000 and goes out in 26th place.

Hand 216 KK UTG2 T109,133 2,000/4,000/400
I open to 12,000 and everyone folds. Hard to believe, because UTG3, with only 41,000 chips, had the other two kings.

Hand 228 AQ BTN T101,533 2,500/5,000/500
I’m at a new table with three stacks bigger than mine by significant amounts and BB down to a single blind. UTG2—the second biggest at 238K—opens to 10,000 and I call. I hit two pair on the flop with 9QA and re-raise his 10,000 c-bet to 40,000. He lays down 22 and the board runs out to give me a full house against BB, who’s all-in.

Hand 229 AK CO T130,637 2,500/5,000/500
We’re down to six players at our table. Two with more than 200K, a stack of 170K, me, and 80K and 27K. The 170K stack in UTG2 opens to 15,000 and I call since I’m being hit with the deck at the moment. The flop is K96, and he hits bottom pair with his 6A, but I re-raise his 5,000 feeler bet to 20,000 and he folds.

Hand 238 AA HJ T146,637 2,500/5,000/500
Always a dangerous hand at this point. So many things can go wrong. I opened to 15,000, getting calls from CO and BTN. The flop was 95J, and they both called my c-bet of 30,000. On the 2 turn, I shoved 101K into a pot of more than 130,000, and got called by one of the big stacks with JA. The win put me back at the top.

Hand 251 22 SB T329,074 3,000/6,000/600
Seven-handed. UTG1 limps in and I follow along. The flop is 56T, UTG1 bets 12,000 with 88, and I fold along with the BB.

Hand 269 84 BB T294,274 3,000/6,000/600
I’m in a close third place at the table, with both the bigger stacks on my immediate left. UTG and SB limp in. I make bottom pair on the flop, then an open straight draw on turn and call a 13.5K bet from SB with J3 on a board that runs out 2Q535, then fold to a river bet of 24,000.

Hand 288 KQ UTG T227,222 4,000/8,000/800
I open to 24,0000 and everyone folds.

Hand 291 8T CO T228,822 4,000/8,000/800
I open to 24,000 and BB calls with 7T. We check the flop (he hits bottom pair), and I fold when he bets 28,800 on a board of 7JKQ.

Hand 295 QK BB T201,622 4,000/8,000/800
First hand of the final table. I’m in seat 7. Seat 1 has 540K, seat 8 has 465, seat 3 has 360K, and seat 4 has 238K, so I’m in fifth place to start. UTG1 goes all-in with 69K and A4, gets called by CO (33, 238K) and me. The flop is 6TK and I shove, pushing out CO. The board has a pair of tens and puts a four out, but my two pair is better and I eliminate the first of the final 9.

Hand 296 4A SB T350,310 4,000/8,000/800
I’ve moved up to 4th place. UTG limps with 87 and is followed by UTG2 (45). Against my better instincts, I call and BB (39) calls. The flop is 569 and I fold to an 8,000 bet and call ahead of me.

Hand 303 KT BB T336,310 5,000/10,000/1,000
Chip leader UTG1 limped in with T3 (UTG2 folded JA) and I called. 53K flop, I check, then call a bet of 10,000. Checks call the same on a 8 turn. Things stop on the A river and my kings win.

Hand 312 JJ BTN T350,310 5,000/10,000/1,000
CO opens to 30,000 with J9 and 180K behind. I re-raise to 100K and take the hand.

Hand 319 KK BTN T376,910 6,000/12,000/1,200
It’s down to six of us. Chip leader has over 800K and I’m in second. I open to 36,000 and done.

Hand 320 QT CO T400,910 6,000/12,000/1,200
I open to 36,000 and BB calls with A9, hitting top pair on the 52A flop. He donk-bets 48,000 and I fold.

Hand 326 AK CO T339,710 6,000/12,000/1,200
UTG has 88 and makes just over a min-raise for 10% of his stack. I re-raise to 100K and he folds.

Hand 327 AQ HJ T389,235 6,000/12,000/1,200
Open to 36K and everyone folds.

Hand 335 J6 BB T386,435 8,000/16,000/1,600
Big stack UTG1 limps in with TK. We check to the turn with 482K and I call a bet of 16,000 to see if I can make a flush but it’s not coming. The short stack UTG is probably kicking himself because he would have made a set of fours.

Hand 341 T9 BB T336,835 8,000/16,000/1,600
The big stack UTG1 has vacuumed up chis over the past ten hands, knocking out the short stack and blowing over 1.25 million, with me in a distant second. He limps in again, this time with T8, but I bluff him off the 632 board with a minimum bet of 16,000. I did have the better hand.

Hand 346 AA SB T336,835 8,000/16,000/1,600
Another player has bought the farm and there are just four of us left. The knockout didn’t go to the chip leader, so I’m in third place, though well ahead of fourth. The big stack limps in yet again. QT this time. I raise him to 48K and he calls, then I bet 50K on the 699 flop and he folds.

Hand 347 KT BTN T405,635 8,000/16,000/1,600
Open to 48K and win.

Hand 348 8A UTG T434,435 8,000/16,000/1,600
Another open/win with 48K.

Hand 355 AA BTN T405,635 8,000/16,000/1,600
Again with the aces. Open to 48K and win. We lost the 4th player on the previous hand.

Hand 356 93 BB T432,835 8,000/16,000/1,600
The big stack is on my right with over 1.5 million. Third place has 230K. SB limps in, there’s an ace and a nine on the flop. He has J3 and checks, I bet 16,000 on middle pair and win. The big stack takes out the small stack on the next hand.

Hand 360 AA BTN T415,235 8,000/16,000/1,600
Our third hand of HU and I get aces again. BB has 1.75 million chips, though. I raise to 48K, he re-raises to 80K, and this looks like as good a time as any to shove. He calls with KQ and a jack-high straight runs out on the board, giving him the better hand in the end. Whaddya do?

Not a bad result, despite the disappointing crack at the end. I feel like I could have had a good shot at first if the aces had held up.

VPIP for this tournament ~15%.

Five hours and fifty minutes. 360 hands. 2nd of 299 entries, with 295 rebuys and 197 addons. 5,725% ROI.

Good as this was, the next time I checked into my Bovada console, I had a ticket for their Lucky Draw Sweepstakes tournament, where 10% of the field gets freerolled into a Sunday $100K guarantee tournament. It was only good for one event, and I had a family get-together scheduled right before it, with dinner out a couple hours later, but I got home early, logged in with 10BB, picked up kings on my third hand and managed to stave off my hungry wife until only 8 of the 850-entry field was left to be eliminated. With my stack in the middle of the pack, we headed to dinner and I came back to a ticket for the $100K.