This Is Not My Beautiful Full House

Encore Club $25,000 Guarantee Freezeout (12,000 chips)

My best results in tournaments have been at Encore, and I was hoping this game would give my bankroll a little boost before the summer tournament season got into high gear. But like the last Encore $25K, I was gone early.

I quickly lost 450 playing 6xTx, hitting the ten as the high card on the flop and going up against AxTx. Just fifteen minutes into the game, I called 600 with JxTx and folded to a bet and eventual all-ins on the 4x9x3x flop. Kx turn card was the one the eventual winner wanted to see, because it gave him a higher set than the 9x9x of the original bettor, but Qx on the river would have made my straight the best hand.

I stuck it out to the end with straight and flush draws on 58 but didn’t get there, and twenty minutes into the game I was already down to 9,300. I slid another 1,100 down the drain with Ax2x drawing to a wheel.

Ax2x on BTN lost me chips again when I two pairs came on the board but my opponent made a full house with a full house. Half an hour and I was nearly 5,000 chips.

Finally, I won a pot with KT, hitting two diamonds and a ten-high flop, with another diamond on the turn, gaining about 2,000 chips.

I bided my time and lost the ground I’d regained with a missed nut flush draw and A9. Then I busted a short(er) stack with 8x8x against AxQx, turned around and lost 1,200 on the next hand calling with Jx9x. I hit middle pair but folded to a post-flop bet. Even with the knockout I only had 8,725 chips just before the first hour ended.

Right on the hour mark, I was BB and picked up KxKx. There was a raise and several calls ahead of me but I wanted to get value and just called. Unfortunately, while the flop gave me top set, it was entirely diamonds. A player at the other end of the table bet 1,000, SB called, and I shoved with about 7,500 left, hoping that I might scare off a weak flush or flush draw, or that I could catch a board pairing to make my full house. The original post-flop bettor folded but SB called with A9, the last two cards didn’t pair the board, and I was out on the hour.

One hour. Alternates were still being seated.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee (7,000 chips)

I took the poison pot on the first hand with 5x7x, making two pair by the turn. I bet 200 and got two calls. Two queens rolled out on the turn and river, counterfeiting my fives, but my two pair was still the best and I won.

Called 250 pre-flop with J8 and called the re-raise to 450 but with a 9x8x6x flop I folded to the next bet.

A 3x4x in the BB made it to the flop and paired the four. Suited cards started to show up and by the river I had a baby flush with the trey. A small bet seemed to be enough for everyone else, because I won. All that, and a dozen minutes into the game I was up a grand total of 300 chips.

Then I got KxJx and blew 1,150 drawing for a queen to make Broadway, putting me down 900 from the starting stack twenty minutes in.

With 5x5x in SB, I called a 150 bet post-flop but folded after the turn when there were four overs. I got a little of it back with KxJx, betting at a Jx2x2x flop. I was sliding, though, with 6,050 at the half-hour mark, and 5,650 five minutes later.

With J2, I called a pre-flop raise to 250 along with three others. The flop was Ax3xAx and I bet at it, bluffing everyone off the hand.

Called a 250 raise with 36 and got an open-ended straight draw with a flop of Kx4x5x. Went out on a limb calling a post-flop re-raise of 1,750 but was rewarded with a 2x on the turn. I shoved and was called by Kx8x, which finally put me over the starting stack again, with 13,750 at 50 minutes into the game.

Taking notes on that hand, I didn’t notice action come around to me on the next as BTN and I was flustered enough by the two all-ins ahead of me that when I looked at AxKx I folded it rather than get into what looked to be a bloody battle. I figured it was likely a couple of players had aces, I would have been putting most of my stack (if not all) at risk, so I thought not. I should have throughout it through, better, though. As it was, none of the players had premium hands, none of them had anything higher than a king, and it was a pair of kings in the hand of the guy I’d just doubled up against that took the pot. I’d had all three stacks covered. My ace kicker would have taken out three players. Another instance of failing to pull the trigger.

I called 1,100 with Qx9x but folded it to a post-flop bet, then put in another 825 on K3 to call a raise and had to fold to 2 all-in pre-flop bets.

Raised to 600 from BTN with A3 and got called by the blinds to see a 8x7xQx flop. A bet of 700 won the pot and put me at 12,700 just past the one-hour mark. Then I lost just about everything with 8T when my eight paired the top card on the board and I fell to a set of fives. I was done in when AxTx called my all-in with AxJx.

One hour and twelve minutes. 21st of 27 entries.

He’s a Caller!

Encore Club $250 Freeroll

Wandered down for the freeroll since I’d already paid the door fee when I picked up my ticket for the $25K game. Don’t remember where I went wrong.

Two hours and thirty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 24th of 65 players.

Encore Club Freezeout

The 2pm freezeout game was already forty minutes in when I busted out of the freeroll, but I got into it anyway and managed to get through most of the fild. I was the short stack as it got short-handed and I called with two overs on my last hand. As usual, if I’d waited, I might have made more money, because the next player out was right behind me.

Three hours. +112% ROI. 4th of 24 players.

Encore Club $25,000 Guarantee

It was really a rogue’s gallery at my table. I’d taken a break to go home and grab something to eat after the 2pm game, so I missed the first couple of hands. DV from my home game was improbably seated at the same table. DTwho’d been at my first $10K final table–was a couple seats on my left. Regular winner JL was on my immediate right. The guy who’d taken first in the Tournament of Champions where I came in second, DM, was sitting on DV‘s right. And directly across the table from me in seat 1 was Angry Old Tattooed Guy, who’d been sooo much fun to play with at Final Table’s Santa Bounty game.

Things got off to a phenomenal start within the first orbit. I’d won a couple of small pots already when I picked up QxQx. I raised from late-middle position, DT re-raised and I eventually called an all-in. He just had 9x9x and my queens held through the river, breaking him down to practically nothing (he’d picked up a pot or two himself). Meanwhile, I had more than doubled my starting stack. DT kept repeating “You got my number” for a couple of minutes. After he eventually busted out, he kept coming back to check on his chips, which was both funny and a little distracting.

I wasn’t able to make much traction with the big stack, though. I got decent if not premium hands, but every pot I entered with a call or raise, got picked off, mostly by DM, either with a large-re-raise or a large bet after a flop that he seemed to have a good feel hadn’t connected. He seemed particularly adept at that. My stack dwindled back down to starting stack and below before the break.

Finally, I decided to call him on it. I bet large with AxQx pre-flop and we went to the river before he pushed all-in. I hadn’t connected but I called and he put his cards on the table face-down. He was busted to less than 4,000 chips. AOTG picked this point in the game to go ballistic, berating DM for trying to bluff me, hoarsely yelling “You know he’s a caller!” across the table. I should have kept my mouth shut, but I could hardly resist the urge to (as PPC reg DL puts it “tap the fish tank”) and explained that DM had been picking off raises all through the game and that I’d figured it was time to test him. AOTG would have none of it (surprise!) and just talked over me. I could swear I heard JL on my right doing something like “la-la-la” with his headphones on.

Not too long after that, I pushed over 50,000 chips (about two times the average) by bluffing the heck out of 2x2x on a 9xAx9x flop.

My final hand was a doozy. I had AT and re-raised pre-flop to 10,000. A player on my left with a larger stack went all-in and got a call from a slightly smaller stack on my right. There was something like 120,000 chips in the middle, it was going to cost me 40,000 and the tournament to call, so I did. Both of the other players flipped over KxKx. I was actually in better shape than if I was up against just one pair of kings or even two different pocket pairs. A 1 in 3 chance to win it all. It just didn’t happen.

My name is Poker Mutant. I’m a caller.

Three hours and twenty minutes. -100% ROI. 107th of 150 players.

Four In One

Started the day off well with a win, then played three more tournaments without a cash.

Encore Club Noon $1,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Got chopped down in the early going of the game and rebought after I lost a race. The second starting stack went a little better. The field was small—only going to three tables—and I started to pick up some momentum, holding over 50,000 chips (out of about 180,000) while we were still at two tables. By the third break, I had more than half the chips in play at the final table, with seven or eight players in. Just missed taking two players out at once with 8x8x; both of them had aces and managed to catch one on the board. I was still chip leader at four players—even after losing 22,000 in another attempt to knock a player out—when a chop was proposed with me taking 30% of the pot and the other players splitting the rest. Didn’t keep notes, walked out without tipping for the first time—got distracted by a need for food—and forgot to take a screen photo.

Four hours. +200% ROI. first of about 26 players.

Encore Club $1,800 Guarantee (8,000 chips)

Made a horrible misread early on and thought I was getting bluffed by an ace when I was holding fourth pair on with 56 the turn. I’d put in a bet of 1,500 and it was down to just two of us with a bunch of chips in the middle, but he shoved and my call revealed his aces. At least I wasn’t the first one eliminated.

30 minutes. -100% ROI. 40th of 43 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Guarantee (2,000 chips)

It was hopping at PPC with ten-handed action right off at a couple of tables. Lost big with a ragged ace that could have filled up two different straights on the river but didn’t and I was out shortly thereafter.

30 minutes. -100%ROI. 21st of 22 players.

Encore Club $500 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Zipped back over to Encore in time for their last tournament of the night. This went a little better than the freezeout, but I still didn’t make the consolidation into two tables.

75 minutes. -100% ROI. 22nd of 32 players.

Only 26 winning days before EPT Prague.

Up For the Day

Portland Players Club Noon $250 Guarantee Freeroll (2,000 chips)

The PPC is where I first played poker in a non-home game setting, and it’s where I started off my post-Black Friday concentration on live games with a couple of nice wins back in May. Since they went to their fall schedule—opening up with an 11am more-or-less-freeroll at a more convenient time than their 1pm summer start—I’ve been playing it on days when I can fit it in. It’s just so close to home.

PPC charges half their usual door for the early game, but if you pay the full door charge you get double the chips. Unlimited re-buys until the first break for twice the door, but you get 6,000 chips, and there’s a 2,000 add-on at break 1 for an amount equivalent to the door. It can make for some drastic play in the first hour, because an all-in with a regular starting stack can double you up to 4,000 but if you don’t catch your cards then you re-buy for 6,000 and you might be the largest stack at the table in the early stages.

I got my start in this game with a pre-flop re-raise holding K2. I paired the king on an uncoordinated flop, re-raised a bet of 300 to 1,300 and took it down.

Holding JT in UTG2, I re-raised pre-flop to 300 and got three callers. The KxQx7x board had two diamonds. Two players checked to me and I bet 1,800 to win.

J9 made another straight draw on the flop and I pushed all-in after a 1,200 bet, winning another decent pot. By about 45 minutes into the game I had 9,350 chips.

There was 3,000 in the pot and I was in the hand with 48. The 6x4x2x flop paired me and I went all-in again. Nobody called. By break 1 I had 10,700 and I got the 4,000 chip add-on.

AxJx in a hand soon after the break and I raised to 1,100 pre-flop getting one call. The flop was jack-high and an all-in won. By 1:55 into the game, progress had slowed, but I was up to 14,600.

Getting too cocky with T8 cost me big with only middle pair on the board, and twenty minutes later I was down to 6,200.

My stack had been further cut to just 3,000 when I went all-in with Kx5x. I got one caller, with Qx4x. The king paired and I doubled up.

Heads-up in BB with 2x5x with one caller and I got an open-ended straight draw on the flop. I pushed all-in and gained a little more back.

My Ax7x held up in an all-in against KxJx and I doubled again, putting me at 11,500 at break 2 with just five players left. I’d been the shortest stack at the table not long before, even shorter than the guy who’d had to go back to the office and left half-an-hour before.

In BB with Q9 I raised pre-flop, making straight and flush draws on the flop. A big bet pushed everyone out.

A risky call of an all-in of 10.500 with my current favorite hand—JxTx—knocked out AxKx and almost doubled me. Then I shoved from SB with 4x4x and took in blinds and antes.

I was re-raised to 6,000 (at 1,000/2,000), then went all-in with something I didn’t record and won. By this time I was the top stack at the table, somehow.

I took out the larger of the two remaining stacks calling an all-in. He had 4x4x and my hand was 8x8x. The other guy helpfully mentioned that he’d folded 4x4x, which really skewed the odds in my favor. I knocked out the remaining player on the next hand with Ax9x.

Three hours. +460% ROI. 1st of 13 players.

Portland Players Club Tuesday Deepstack (7,000 chips)

I hadn’t noticed that PPC was changing it’s schedule this week and came in expecting a freezeout. Got a smaller buy-in with two re-buys instead. Ah, well.

I got a 1,000 chip bonus for something-or-other, so I actually started with 8,000 like everyone else.

I raised to 150 with 58 for some reason, then got a flop of AKQ. I bet again and got callers, but folded to a bet after checking a 2x on the turn.

Won with QxQx and a 1,200 pre-flop bet. By ten minutes into the game I was up to 10,500.

My AxJx paired on the turn and I called an all-in with AxKx. His king showed up on the river and I was down to 350 chips.

Picked up 5x5x and went all-in. I was good until the river, when my pair was counterfeited by queens and nines on the board. I re-bought (I shudder at the word) for 7,000 chips.

Played Jx7x from BB and made a set on the flop. There was a bet and call of 250 ahead of me, I raised to 1,000 and took the pot.

Raised to 325 with Ax9x, getting four callers. I bet 1,500 on a gutshot straight draw on the flop, was re-raised to 3,500, then three-bet all-in by one of the two big stacks at the table. I folded, and as the cards played out I would have lost.

Forty minutes into the game I was back down to 5,400, having lost a total of nearly 10,000 chips from my two buy-ins.

Got lucky with AxAx in SB and managed to double up; I was holding 7,800 at break 1, then added on 5,000 chips.

On the first hand after the break—with blinds at 150/300— I raised to 1,000 with AxQx after a single call. I was re-raised to 4,000 by CO, then I went all-in. He called with KxJx, I caught my queen on the turn. Five minutes into round 4, I was up to 28,200.

Bet out 1,200 on Q9 then folded after the flop left me disconnected. UTG with J7 and I min-raised, then called an all-in of 2,675 and lost.

Blew away another 16,000 in two consecutive hands with ace-high calling all-ins, then pushed with just about 5,000 left and JxJx. Got called by AxAx who connected in a big way with quads on the flop, getting him on the high hand board for the night.

Two hours. -100% ROI. 14th of 21 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Guarantee Freeroll (2,000 chips)

The structure for this game is similar to the early freeroll: you can start with a double-sized stack for a price, the re-buys are three times the regular starting stack, etc.

Nothing notable happened in this game, except for the last hand. I was the third player all-in, with KQ. The first all-in had a smaller stack, the second was larger. First all-in shoed JxJx, so I had two overs, but second all-in had AxAx, and just like half-an-hour earlier, I was knocked out by quad aces, when an even higher high hand came out on the flop.

20 minutes. -100% ROI. 9th of 10 players.

Only 34 winning days before EPT Prague.

Not So Much Card Dead As Card Comatose

Aces Players Club Back-to-School Special (12,000 chips)

DV and I both played this game, in which the house added $1,000 to the pot for first prize just to make it extra juicy. I ended up at table 1, seat 8, and spent the afternoon next to R, the gent who beat me out of a first-place finish in a freezeout a few months back. DV ended up out in the hinterlands.

My first move of any sort was as BB with Ax9x. By the turn, there were two kings on the board and when a bet of 400 opened, I folded.

On SB with 89, I caught top pair on the flop with my nine. The K on the turn, two clubs on the flop and a bet of 400 from the same guy (seat 1) as the hand before and I folded.

Shortly thereafter, I picked up AK and raised to 350, getting four callers. The king paired on a pretty dry flop, I bet 1,000 and took the pot. Twenty-five minutes into the game, I was 625 chips ahead of starting stack.

Three players were in for 350 when I picked up AxAx as BB. I raised pre-flop to 2,000 and only one stayed in. The flop was jack-high, I bet another 2,000 and my opponent folded. R told me he folded jacks to my raise. That put me up to 15,225 by the 35 minute mark.

Called 225 with KJ and whiffed the board, then folded to a river bet, then blew another 300 playing Ax2x (althought that wasn’t my worst play in this tournament with that hand). I lost about 1,000 chips over twenty minutes.

Dumped another 750 chips raising to 350 with AxTx. I had a wheel draw on the turn but missed. Just after an hour of play I was back down to 13,400.

Set-mining with 6x6x as SB is dangerous work! Don’t call 600 pre-flop with it. It isn’t worth it. 8x8x as BTN, on the other hand, proved profitable when I re-raised to 1,100, made my set on the flop, then won with a 2,200 opening bet post-flop. Twenty minutes after the hour I was up to 13,975.

With AQ I raised to 2,000 pre-flop, getting two callers. There were two spades on the jack-high flop and I opened for 1,300. I was min-raised, then action came to a halt when the player to my right went all-in for more than 14,000. I thought about it briefly and laid down my hand; everyone else did so as well. The winner showed JxJx for top set and took in a big pot. I, on the other hand, was down to 10,400 at the beginning of the first break, so I almost doubled my stack by buying the 8,000 chip add-on.

Set-mining with 7x7x is dangerous work (see above). 1,500 chips worth of dangerous. Speculating with K6 is 500 dangerous. From 20,000 chips (12,000 starting stack plus 8,000 add-on) at the two hour mark, I was down to 16,300.

Things looked up a bit when I called 1,200 holding A6 and the flop was all clubs. Heads-up after the flop, I bet 1,200 after my opponent checked and took the pot. At two-and-a-half hours I held 17,400 chips.

R remarked that I wasn’t holding onto many hands, which is when I coined the title for this post. Then I lost 2,400 with JxTx, which is usually a good performer for me.

Last hand of the game was a highly speculative A2. The flop made me straight possibilities: Q4x3.  The only other player in the hand was pushing hard, and I pushed back, eventually going all-in. Then the turn improved me to a flush draw: 9. Then I connected to my flush with 4 on the river. Unfortunately, what the other guy was connecting to with that card was a more powerful full house because he had QxQx in his pocket. R said he thought I was getting frustrated. I don’t know. I didn’t feel frustrated, I just thought I had an opportunity with that hand to do something before my stack got so small from blind attrition that I’d always get called. If my opponent had a pair instead of a set, he might not have called the all-in.

DV lasted a couple hours longer than I did. I swung back by the club to see if there was anything I could get him about an hour after the last I’d heard from him, but he was out by then. R was there but wasn’t in the tournament any more.

Three hours. Placed seventy-first of 93 entries. Fourteen places paid, with $15,000 in the prize pool.

 

Freezeout

Aces Players Club $60 Freezeout (7,000 chips)

I’ve gotten increasingly lax about taking notes on my live games, which is really too bad because this tournament represented the biggest single cash I’ve ever had (though only in absolute terms, not in profit or ROI). I’d gone down in flames in the $10K just a couple days before and my profit for the month had taken a beating; I’d lost seven straight tournaments (as well as a satellite and a shootout buy-in). After being up half a grand after the two early May wins, I was back where I’d started.

Somehow, though, the evening went reasonably well. I was down below starting stack at one point early on but managed to keep climbing and made it to the final table with more than 40K in chips. There was a prize pool of $1,740, with 5 places paying. A rather hyperactive young guy was jumping up and down in his seat whining for a chop but the old guy at the table, R, wouldn’t have any of it. The kid’s friends started in as the match dragged on and it seemed to just made R dig his heels in even more.

I hacked down a couple of the last players and as we moved into three-handed play in the fourth hour I had more than half the chips in play, with 105,000. The kid was on the light side, still agitating for a chop. I tried to let them hack at each other as much as possible—the blinds were getting to the point where they had to take some sort of action—and eventually R took the kid out.

He proposed a chop at that point—at least I think he did it was a bit difficult to tell—but I was feeling confident I could whittle away at him. I should have taken count of my chips better, though, because were were more evenly-matched than I realized. Eventually, we got to a situation where he called a re-raise all-in and I called with KxJx, only to have him flip AxQx. We both paired on the board, but his was better than mine and I was knocked down to about 35K, about a 1:5 disadvantage. I managed to crawl back up to 80K, but it was tough going with blinds at 5K/10K and I eventually gave busted out in second place about the same time the 10PM Turbo tournament was ending.

4.5 hours. Finished 2nd of 29 players. +275% ROI (including buy-in, door, tip).