Run Silent, Run Deep

Big tournaments in Portland poker over the next couple of weeks, with both Aces Players Club and The Final Table celebrating anniversaries, and a general gearing-up of the community for the upcoming summer series.

Portland Players Club WSOP Seat $5,000 Guarantee (8,000 chips)

I got off to a very hot start Friday night, sitting down a couple of hands in, picking up AxAx on my second hand, then going up against a player who sat at seat 2 a couple minutes after me. I’d picked up a premium QxQx and raised with nothing higher than a nine on the flop and we both put more money in. Another queen hit on the turn and he shoved, getting a call from me. A seven on the river made a set for his 7x7x but my set of queens held—with a river queen putting me on the high hand board—and he re-bought after his first hand. Funny story about that.

Fifty minutes into the game, and I was up to 22,400, more than three times the starting stack. Then I lost 1,900 in a couple calls with 9T and KxQx. I knocked out one of the PPC regulars with a 3x7x in SB when I caught a little of the 3x2x6x flop. G thought he was safe with his 4x4x, and he was through the 2x on the turn, but the river 7x sealed his fate and he re-bought. Ninety minutes in and I was at 25,750.

I made it as high as 29,400 before the first break, but I called an all-in on a flop of A4 with 25 against 4x4x and failed to catch another diamond, so I only had 21,900 before the T8,000 add-on.

I kept up my occasional calls with low suited gaps but lost 1,500 calling pre-flop as BB with 36 and another 600 as SB with 26.

About three hours in, I doubled up with a set of sixes against one of the larger stacks, putting me at 52,935, with the chip average at about 22,000.

8x8x held up against an all-in from a very short stack holding Ax9x, making up for losses to blinds and antes; I was at 52,000 even after the chip-up on the next break. There were 93 of 132 entries remaining after three-and-a-half hours, with 50 re-buys and 104 add-ons.

Half-an-hour later, with blinds up at 400/800/100, the number of players had dropped to 78. The average stack was 29,333: 36BB or (since we were 10-handed) an M-ratio of just 13, already in Dan Harrington’s “yellow zone” where small suited connectors and pairs lose value. I was sitting on 63,900 ten minutes after the top of the hour, when the average was 30,506.

I raised with the heart version of the Mutant Jack and took down the blinds and antes without a fight, then finally knocked out G with QxJx when I made two pair.

At the next break, four-and-a-half hours in, I had 86,600 (34,149 average) with 67 players left. Just 49 to go before the money.

I lost a big chunk of ground calling an all-in with JQ against KxJx. The board nearly gave me both a flush and a straight, but the better hand held out. Five-and-a-quarter hours in to the game, I was at 66,500, with the average creeping up under me to 40,140.

Then I hit the high hand board again when KxKx made quads (with an ace kicker), knocking out another player and putting me up to 97,000.

79 took in a lot of chips , hitting two pair on the flop and a full house on the turn. When the clock struck midnight after six hours of play, I had 142,300, not quite three times the 52,000 average, with 40 players left.

The spade Mutant Jack (AJ) failed me against 9x9x, and I lost 30,000 chips about twenty minutes later, then I shoved over two raises with TxTx to take the pot and managed to pull myself back up to 124,500 (average 65,700) just before the middle of the seventh hour. Blinds were 2,000/4,000/500; there were 35 players left.

Just after the half-hour, I lost calling an all-in with QxQx against 9x9x when the nine showed on the flop, taking me down 26,600.

Just ten minutes later, nines almost did me in again when I had AxQx. She made a set on the turn but a Tx on the river made me Broadway and I knocked out another player.

Playing KT from SB, I lost 8,500 to see the flop. Everyone checked the turn but I couldn’t pay the 8,000 to see if there was a jack on the river and the board was too clubby for me.

The next break was at the end of seven hours of play, and I had 139,000. We were down to three tables (exactly 27 players), with the average stack at 84,740 and blinds going up to 3,000/6,000/500 (14BB, M-ratio of 6; mine was a paltry ten). With those kinds of numbers, the winnowing was taking place pretty fast. The money bubble was burst in just twenty minutes.

The Poker Mutant deep in thought, wondering how he can get back on an even keel.

I hadn’t found any opportunities to build up, however, and my stack had slipped to 110,500, with the chip average finally overtaking me to 127,111.

I blew 31,000 with Q8 going up against Ax8x and ten minutes after making the money I was down to just 75,500. I shoved with KxJx and won the blinds and a call, then went all-in again with KQ half-an-hour later, just before the blinds went up to 8,000/16,000/2.000.

There were 13 players left. My table had six players—so the blinds were coming around rather quickly—and there were a couple of very big stacks, including the guy I’d knocked out with quad queens back on his first hand. I had 87,500.

Half-an hour later, I was still alive as the final table was made. Three of the players were original players at my starting table. I was the second-shortest stack at the table. I shoved with roughly a quarter of my stack in the pot as BB on the first hand—I didn’t record what with—and was beat.

The first-place winner was the guy I took out with quad queens on his first hand.

Eight hours and forty-five minutes. +193% ROI. 9th of 132 entries.

Aces Players Club 2nd Anniversary $20,000 Guarantee Freezeout (20,000 chips)

This was the big-money game of the weekend. Running at full capacity and with people buying in after bustouts, there was no way the prize pool for this event wasn’t going to swell far beyond the guarantee (the PPC event prize pool was twice the guarantee itself). I bought the 8,000 chip preliminary add-on, so like most players, I was starting with 28,000 chips.

I laid low for the first fifteen minutes, picking up 7x7x as UTG1. I lost about 1,000 when a player with an ace made a pair on the turn and I bowed out.

6T gave me the inclination to raise, and I sort of liked the Qx9x8x flop, but Ax and 2x on the turn and river left me cold and QxTx won the hand.

Lost some more with King Salmon (K7) when I paired my seven on the flop but the turn brought in a flush possibility for my opponent and I folded.

Called 800 from SB with KxJx but folded to a raise to 5,000.

Forty minutes in and I hadn’t won anything and was down to 23,475.

On the last hand before the first break, I called a pre-flop raise to 1,200 with Q9 and caught an open-ended straight flush on the flop of TJ5x. I brazenly shoved after a 5x on the turn and everyone folded.

With the 8,000 extra add-on, I started the next session with 42,200, up a little over 6,000 from what I’d bought in for.

With AxKx in the SB and a KxTxTx flop, I folded with 7,500 in the pot to a 40,000+ all-in bet. Another player called and the winner was AxTx over 7xTx.

I stayed pretty quiet through the next half-hour; at the ninety minute mark I hadn’t won any more but I was still holding at 40,300. The final stats were in for the game: 153 entries, 148 players still in, 253 add-ons (both pre-game and at break), and a total pot of $43,250.

I knocked out a player playing with 36. I hit bottom pair and a flush draw on the flop and called his all-in of 9,000. He showed KxQx for a higher pair but my flush card came on the turn.

Ten minutes later, I had 8x8x on BTN and raised, getting re-raised by BB. I called and we saw a flop of Qx7x2x. I put him on AxKx, which was a big mistake, and I shoved to give the impression I’d hit a set, but he had KxKx and I was out 41,200 chips, leaving me with just 13,500. This was the mistake that probably kept me out of the money in this tournament.

Fifteen minutes later, that had dwindled to 6,900. I went into cornered wolverine mode (again), shoving with JT from CO and winning the blinds. 8,100 chips.

Payouts went up on the board. 22 places were getting money, with the top five prizes initially set at $12,555, $8,330, $4,995, $3,330, and $2,080. Things were getting serious.

I was all-in on two consecutive hands. FIrst with KQ. I was called by QxJx and doubled up. Then I shoved AxJx over two calls and won with no showdown. People started complaining, but I’d managed to build back up to the starting stack, at least. Average stack was nearly 39,000 chips, though.

On the first hand after the next break, I had KxKx in BB and shoved over several calls to take the pot. 21,300 chips with 130 players left.

I picked up a couple of hands with 9Ts and KJo, then the blinds went to 1,000/2,000/200. With only 27,800 (120 players left), I had a critical M-ratio of less than 6. That’s the “red zone.”

All-in again as UTG1 with AxQx. At least I was picking up some decent shoving hands. 28,400 chips after going through the blinds.

Three hours into the game, the blinds jumped to 1,200/2,400/300. Another round of blinds and antes and I was down to 22,600 (M-ratio: 3.5). Just 101 players left.

Shoved again with Ax9x and took the blinds. The next time they passed through I was down to 23,000.

I finally picked up a significant number of chips in an all-in battle against a shorter stack with KJ against his QxJx. Three-and-a-half hours in, I had 46,500 (average stack: 60,523).

83 players left ten minutes later.

8x8x failed me again, this time from SB when I called a 15,000 chip all-in against Kx9x. The nine hit on the flop. I’d picked up some other chips along the way, though, so I was actually sitting on 26,500.

Just short of four hours in, half the field was gone. Only 72 players remained, with blinds going up to 2,000/4,000/500.

I rode out the blinds again and was down to 36,500 (average 72,628), still securely in the red zone. At the four hour mark, I shoved over a call as UTG2 with JxTx and took the pot again. The pot was enough to put me up to 50,000 (65 left, average 78,215).

I shoved as BB over the SB call as my last act at my starting table before I was moved. I got there with 57,500 chips, only 69% of the average stack, and with blinds at 3,000/6,000/500; an M-ratio of 4.2.

My first act at my new seat was on BTN and I shoved with J9. The 13,500 chips in the pot from blinds and antes was substantial in comparison with my stack.

Just a couple minutes later, I made an actual bet of 17,000 with AxQx and induced folds. I’d worked my way up to 65,500 (50 players left, average stack: 101,680).

The next break began just after I’d gone through the blinds. I had 55,500—barely more than half the average stack—and blinds were going to be starting up at 4,000/8,000/1,000, leaving me with an M-ratio of just 2.6. Again. 49 players left.

The big stack at our table was dominating from the other end. I went all-in over a raise from him with KxQx and I still had enough chips to get him to fold. That popped me up to 87,000 (average 105,916) briefly.

I raised to 20K with A9 UTG. BB called. The flop was king-high, there were no spades, and I folded to an all-in.

Another round of blinds took me down to 51,000.

The big stack wasn’t liking my shoves any more than the other table had. I was all-in again against his raise and he folded, saying he had KxQx. I (probably mistakenly) flipped over my KxQx.

43 players left as we approached the five-hour mark. I had 68,000 chips left and needed a double-up badly.

I was playing so tight I folded QT UTG.

My final hand was against the big stack. He finally called my all-in (this time with KxJx) and he had 6x6x, which held up. I think he probably would have called even if I hadn’t showed on the previous hand.

The call with the eights against the kings was significant. I never made it back up to the chip average after that point, although I managed to stay in play for another three hours plus.

Five hours and fifteen minutes. 38th of 153 players.

Comebacks and Failures

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #2 No Limit Hold’em (10,000 chips)

It took me a little bit to figure out where my table was Saturday, after blowing out of one satellite early and then getting $100 out of a 3-way chop in a second. I was on one of the tables up on the stage at one end of the main tournament room, once again well out of sight lines to any tournament clocks.

In the first twenty minutes, I was dealt 9x9x UTG twice and raised only to encounter horrible flops and laid them down to post-flop action. Between that and other hands I entered—with reasonably playable cards—I was down 800 chips.

By forty-five minutes in, I’d managed to win a hand with AT and then lose some with the same hand. Then I lost more getting tricky with K3 and was down to 8,350.

If you get 7x7x on BB, what do you get for the flop when you call a raise? AxJx9x. No. Down to 7,900 on the hour.

Thought I might make a little back with Q9 and two queens on the flop. Unfortunately, a jack on the board was the only other hight card, so I lost to QxTx instead of chopping.

I saw a flop of 5x42 with K5 and called an all-in who just had Tx4x. He binked a ten on the turn and I was down to just 3,000 chips just eighty minutes into the game.

Immediately, I went into cornered wolverine mode and when I managed to connect to a flop on the next hand, I shoved and made it up to 3,700. I had some regrets folding Qx9x and seeing the flop put out JxTx8x a couple minutes later, but after losing the hand earlier, I was a little shy of what I’m calling “the mini-Butcher.”

Just before the first break, I was dealt QxQx on BB and shoved over a raise ahead of me. The raiser called and showed a suited ace, but lost the pot and I was left a little more breathing space with 6,700 chips.

One of the players from my table in Event #1 was seated on my immediate right at this table, and he was in bad shape. He shoved about fifteen minutes into the second session, and I called him with AxKx. His KxQx made a king-high straight on the flop, putting me in bad shape, but I caught a two-outer with a queen on the turn to make Broadway and zoom up to the stratospheric level of 8,250 chips.

Ten minutes later, I was back over the starting stack. About that time, another player from our table busted and another player mentioned that he was Tam Nguyen, the all-time money winner at the Wildhorse Poker Round-Up.

Two big pre-glop pots brewed up something good for me. I played KJ and made two pair against Ax[kx[][who][just][paired][the][king,][then][hit][an][ace][on][the][flop][with][my][own][AxKx calling an all-in of 4,700 with another caller. Forty-five minutes after the break, I was up to 22,500 and over the chip average.

I raised three calls at 150/30/25 to 1,200 with 8x8x on BTN, got a call, then bet again on the flop and took it down. Then I lost some chips but missed a bullet when the river of a hand where I had QT and a flush draw slowed down the action and revealed my opponent had a king-high flush. I was still over 20,000.

As we were getting to fours hours in, I min-raised with KxKx and a short-stacked player shoved. I called him and beat his 9x9x, putting me up to 24,800. Then I blew 6,000 and change calling with A8 after three diamonds showed on the flop. No more heats ever came. At 250 minutes, I was sitting on 21,575.

Then, when QxJx never went anywhere with a flop of AxKxJx, I was broken right back down below starting stack, to 9,975. Back to wolverine mode.

I waited until I picked up TxTx about 280 minutes in. There were pre-flop raises to 2,500 and I shoved, getting called by AxQx. That doubled me up to 20,650. Set-mining was getting costly, and I lost 2,400 in two hands calling wit 3x3x and 6x6x. Then I made the mistake of calling a 3,000 bet from BB with J8.

My own experience with over cards against TxTx fared about as well as my earlier opponents’ did. A short stack across the table shoved and I thought he had a low pair. I was right in that my QJ were both overs, but nothing came through for me and I was down to just 2,500 at the five hour mark. That was an M (or CSI, if you prefer) of 0.8.

The guy who’d doubled up against me and I went into a sort of war just before the dinner break. He shoved, and I called with Ax5x, making two pair against his 6x6x, then I called his all-in with just T7. He showed AxKx, but not only did I pair the seven, but I made a straight by the river, which cut him back considerably.

The glow from a third comeback wasn’t to last long, though. At least, not much longer than the dinner break. About ten minutes into the session, I shipped with AxQx over a 5,000 raise by a player who’d been playing a lot of suited connectors, much to the detriment of other stacks at the table. This time, he had KxKx. I hit a Qx, but never improved beyond that and was out.

Six hours and fifteen minutes. ~180th of 478 entries. $95,732 pot.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #3 No Limit Hold’em Shootout (10,000 chips)

I sat down at the table Sunday and tournament director K from The Final table was the dealer. While it’s always nice to see a familiar face, I have to point out that my track record in tournaments at TFT is not good. For whatever reason, my performance at other venues is far better. Not that I actually believe the dealers have anything to do with it, but if you were the kind of person who did take omens and portents seriously….

Once again, I tok the poison pot. In fact, I took the first two hands with ease. I lost some chips to post-flop bets, but I was holding my own ahead of the starting stack a quarter hour in when a woman who’d been at one of my tables in Event 1 was eliminated on a very loose all-in shove. I was sorry to see all her chips go across the table. To someone else.

I picked up a pot with JxJx, even with an ace on the flop, lost 500 with the Mutant Jack against AxQx with nothing on the board higher than a ten. Then I pushed with 8x8x from late position nd won heads-up against the SB with J96x on the flop. Half an hour in, I was at 10,450.

My first big mistake was calling a 3,000 post-flop raise with a Broadway draw needing a ten. Just after the first hour, I was down to 6,325.

I raised UTG with TxTx and got shoved on by a slightly larger stack in BTN. I called him and he flipped TxTx. Nobody flushed and we chopped the 300 chips in blinds.

I didn’t even bother to record what my last hand was. All I know is that it was before the break.

Eighty minutes. 228 entries.

Tomorrow’s the Limit Omaha Hi-Lo tournament. I hope I do better than I’ve been doing in cash games. In one this afternoon, I was down to 10% of my buy-in, then managed to get up to 160% in almost no time. I should have pushed back and taken my profit, but I almost felt like I owed it to stay in a while longer because I’d hardly been there for twenty minutes. I need to put those types of feelings aside, because I ended up felted after another near-bust, recovery, and bust. Like I told the players at the tournament, I’m a master of the short-stack comeback, but that’s not exactly something you want to have to be good at.

Off Week

Encore Club $5,000 Guaranteed Friday Special Event

While I was parking, I ran into DM from my cash in the August Tournament of Champions and the most recent $25K Guarantee. We exchanged pleasantries but he didn’t seem to remember my propensity for calling, which proved to my advantage early on when he was sat down on the far end of the same table I was seated on.

I’d made a few chips on my first hand at the table (I’d missed the first couple of hands), then called DM down through bets that increased to 1,900 each by the turn with my 47 flush draw. I got the heart I needed on the river and called his all-in, killing his two pair and forcing him to rebuy. I could hear him muttering for a while.

Another flush draw with 9T cost me all I’d gained and then some, dropping me to 8,650, a few hundred below starting stack.

On my SB at 100/200, though, I was looking at AxAx and six calls ahead of me. I raised to 1,000, got re-raised to 2,500, four-bet to 5,000 (with just 3,800 behind) and got called. The Kx5xKx flop was scary, but I pushed the rest in and got called by Ax6x to double back up to 17,650.

9x9x and I re-raised after the 3x3x5x flop from 1,100 to 2,200, but laid down to am all-in of 5,600. He showed QxQx.

It was a pocket pairs kind of night for me (although they didn’t mostly pan out). I paid 1,000 with 5x5x to see a flop of 2xKxQx, then lost another 1,400 fishing for a set with 3x3x when the board went 7xQx7xQx. Nothing I could do with that.

Before the add-on at the break I was still at 17,525.

I lost less than I might have with K4 on a 7x4x7x4xKx board when someone else’s pocket 7x7x came a’calling. I don’t know why they didn’t make their bet bigger, I’m fairly certain I might have gone all-in with a full house, but as it was I still had 16,775 in chips.

Q7 made top pair on the flop and won for me, then I finally made 3x3x work for me when I raised to 1,500 before a 9x9xQx flop. WIth three clubs by the turn, a bet of 2,500 won the hand for me and I was up to 21,300.

I don’t remember if I called or shoved with JxJx, but I lost a race against AxKx and got knocked down to 3,000. I won a race of my own with the Mutant Jack AJ against 6x6x to put me back up to 8,400, but with just a little over 10bb I shoved with QT and got called by AxKx, which knocked me out finally.

Two hours and thirty minutes. -100% ROI. 69th of 98 players.

Another Round

Carbon Poker Super Bowl Pick-the-Winner $5,000 Freeroll

All you had to do to get an entry into this freeroll was to pick the winner of the Super Bowl, and since I know nothing about sports I figured I had a 50/50 chance of getting a ticket. The early buzz I’d heard had the Giants as the underdogs, so I picked them, figuring that the field might be smaller if more folks were choosing the likely winner. And New York won, so I got my ticket.

Amazingly enough, for a freeroll with a $1,300 first prize, the game wasn’t even half full. The four-times-daily $200 freerolls on Merge have fields of 5,000—even the HORSE tournament gets more than 2,000 every day—but this event was capped at 2,000 and only had 712 entries. Either it wasn’t advertised very well (although I saw it) or everybody picked the Patriots.

This game followed a typical trajectory for me: a zoom to the top, followed by a crashing defeat.

My first success (A on the graphic) came just five hands in, with the hand known here in Portland as “The Butcher”: TQ (not specifically those two cards, but any QT combo). I was in CO and raised to 50 after one limper. The BB and limper came along. The 94J flop gave me the open-ended straight draw, and after a bet of 160 from the limper I just called in position. BB folded. The 8 turn card made my nut straight. The limper bet into it for 480 and I shoved for 1,760, which he called leaving only 30 behind. He was drawing dead, with JK for just top pair. If he’d been suited in hearts, I would have been gone with the A on the river, but instead I picked up a pot of 4,000 chips, double the starting stack. I was tournament chip leader.

Two hands later as UTG3 (B), I snagged TT. UTG 2 raised to 70, I re-raised to 220. BTN called, the blinds folded, UTG2 shoved. Both UTG2 and BTN were below the starting stack value; if I lost with my pocket pair I’d just be at starting stack again. I went all-in and BTN was all-in, showing 9J. UTG2 had two overs to my pair: AQ, and was statistically slightly favored over me (41% v 38%) with the third player involved (who had a 21% chance). The flop was mercifully low: 574. Another 7 broke the possibility of a backdoor diamond flush, then a 3 on the river solidified my knockout of both players. At 7,680 chips, I was the tournament leader on hand seven.

It only lasted a short time. On hand 15 (C) I had KJ in HJ. Action folded to me, I raised to 75, CO re-raised to 240, the blinds got out of the way, and I called. The flop was perfect: 4KJ. I was ahead of aces. I checked to see how much he’d commit and he bet 393. I shoved way over the top for 7,710 and he called off the rest of his stack for a total of 2,210, showing that he did indeed have AA. I was 69% good. Until the A on the turn, of course. Then I was drawing dead. Still, I was in the top chip stacks in the tournament, with 5,500, nearly three times the start, just ten minutes in.

I lost a little ground for a while after that setback, going as low as 3,650 chips over the next thirty-five hands. Then I got 97 in UTG1 (D) and raised to 120. HJ called me and we were heads-up at the flop. 9T3 gave me middle pair and I bet 250, getting a call. 8 turn set me up for another straight draw and I bet 600 into the 830 pot. HJ shoved for 2,551. I really didn’t think he’d hit the board; I risked all but 1,300 chips to make the call and see his 55. He was drawing pretty thin. The river was 6, which actually made my straight, unnecessary as it was. I was back in contention, although not in the uppermost chip ranks.

Another fifty hands went by before I made another jump (E). It came in a series of three hands about an hour and fifteen minutes into the game. Blinds were 100/200, I was UTG1 with 57 and limped after a fold from UTG. HJ limped, but BTN pushed all-in for 1,880. The blinds folded. I had both the all-in and the other limper covered by about 4,000 chips. I didn’t figure the limper would enter the action after me, so I called. The limper folded and I was heads-up against JA. Isn’t the Mutant jack my hand? It appeared as if it was, because right away there was a flush draw on the board with 92T; I was actually slightly ahead. K for the turn gave him the Broadway draw and flipped the odds back to 65%/34% in his favor. Then I hit the second-to-the-least pair with 7 on the river and made another knockout.

A player who’d joined the table twenty hands earlier with under 1,500 chips had been hanging on despite the 100/200 blinds by going all-in. I hadn’t felt able to call, even when I’d raised pre-flop. Just after beating the Mutant Jack, I was SB with JT and finally called his all-in of 930. Another limper who was the only stack larger than me at the table called. The flop was QT9 giving me the open-ended straight draw and second pair. UTG2 and I both checked to the 9 turn and 6 river. UTG2 missed the flush with A8 and the best hand was the short stack’s QK. I’d come to regret not having called to see if I could have knocked that stack out earlier.

The next hand proved lucrative, however. On BTN with 6A and just over 8,000 chips, I limped in after the big stack (10,500+ in UTG1) and BB. I made middle pair on the 746 flop and after it was checked around to me, I shoved. He called with the nut flush draw Ax3x but two spades showed up on the turn and river, so I doubled up to over 16,770 and was back in the top stacks in the tournament. Two pair with The Butcher on the next hand knocked out another player put me up to 19,000 chips, then I picked another 500 off the guy who’d doubled me up, leaving him with just over 2,000 chips. My attempt to take him out a few hands later would double him up when KJ missed against his 88.

I managed to climb (with ups and downs of 2,000 to 3,000 chips) to 22,600 before I hit a big snag (F). Both the stacks I’d doubled up above had managed to climb up to 11,000+ chips. The first-mentioned (who’d joined the table with 1,500 chips) shoved from UTG1 and I called him from UTG2. A short stack in CO called all-in, and it was AK (short stack) v 88 (doubled-up stack) v QJ (me). The board almost ran out a straight with 36742 that would have been topped with one of the eights. That loss just about cut me in half, and put the former short stack over 25,000.

I got back into the top thirty spots about 15 hands later with AJ on the button (G). Blinds were 250/500/50 and HJ shoved for 9,500 after all action folded to him. The stack I’d doubled up between us folded, SB had about 3,500 chips and BB had 15,500. I shoved and they both folded; HJ showed JJ and I was on the wrong end of a 70%/30%  showdown. The A showed up on the flop, though, and my opponent was down to hoping for that last jack to show up, which it didn’t. So I popped back up to where I’d been eight minutes before. A strong bet after I made second-nut flush not long after put me within spitting distance of 30,000 chips (H). That lasted all of two hands (I). I had AQ in UTG2 at 300/600/75. UTG folded. UTG1 was the short stack that had climbed back from under 1,000 to 25,000 now. He limped in and I raised to 2,000, which he was the only player to call. The flop was 926, I had position on him and he went all-in. I’d suspected him of shoving light on a lot of his road to recovery, so I followed along for all but 3,000 of my chips. Then he flipped over 9T and I had just a 22% chance of not being crippled. The 9 showed on the turn and I was doomed. He had 52,000 chips and the tournament lead. I didn’t last long after that (J), ending up seventy places out of the money after going all-in with TK. QA won that hand.

The tournament went on for another three hours. Both the small stack who’d risen to 50,000 and the player I’d knocked down to 2,000 with a double-up made the final table.

Two hours, 183 hands. 98th of 712 players.

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee

I’ve really got to try to come up with some better way of recording what’s going on in live games. I don’t know if it was the lesson taught to me by the loss of the lead in the noon online game or what, but I somehow managed to once again make it to the end of a $10K at Encore. What I do remember is that one player—who looked sort of like a drunk Nathan Lane—kept shoving over my raises and that eventually, once we were at the point where the payouts were over $1,000, I called him with Qx8x. He showed Ax4x but I hit the queen on the flop and sucked a couple hundred thousand in chips into my stack (the picture below is about 250,000).

He had a friend with him who kept trying to help stack his chips for him and who he kept kicking. I was tempted to ask that only players and staff be seated at the table, but I held my tongue. Around 3:30am, everyone was still within a range of a 200,000 chips, the blinds were 8,000/16,000/3,000 and a chop for a little over $2,400 each was proposed and accepted. And once again, I forgot to take a picture of the screen.

It’s off to The Palazzo for a couple days of the 2012 Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza I for me. I’ll be posting Twitter updates @pokermutant.

Here’s the official screen capture of the end of the tournament.

Eight-and-a-half hours. +465% ROI. Four-way chop with 69 entries.

Home Stretch

Schedules are tightening up. Prague’s going to require some really lucky hits in the next couple of weeks. This week’s tournament action didn’t get off to such a fine start.

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

Managed to double up with a Mutant Jack (spades) flush early on, but made a mistake with Kx3x. I had top pair and drawing possibilities to a low straight, but two other kings were in play, both with better kickers (surprise!) and they called by 4200 chip all-in, with the best of them hitting her queen on the turn.

One hour. -100% ROI. 29th of 32 players.

Only 28 winning days before EPT Prague.

Return of the Mutant Jack

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

The club email announced this as the last of the monthly $10Ks. Once you got there you found out it was because they’re changing up their schedule after the summer and running it every week. We’ll have to see if the prize pools stay the same size; this one ran to $23,500, with a top prize of $5,675.

I got to the game halfway through the first hour, with the blinds already in the second (50/100) level, although the dead stack I bought into didn’t seem affected. Supposedly, I got one of the last two seats of the night, back in the “Batcave” among the employee bikes and personal items.

My first play was a rather tricky K2, calling 350 pre-flop.  I made bottom pair on the non-diamond flop and folded to a bet of 700. Following A7 to four hearts on the turn, I folded again to an 800 bet.

More speculation with KQ cost me 500 to see the flop along with four others, three of whom folded along with me to a 400 post-flop bet. A6 (was I getting frustrated?) and 200 more chips were gone once there was a 525 bet after the flop. My stack was down to 8,050 at one hour into the game.

Blinds were 150/300/25 (level 4) when I got my first premium hand—or at least JxJx—in CO position. I re-raised pre-flop to 2,000 and pushed all-in after the flop, inducing a fold from the one caller. That put me back up just over the starting stack, with 10,500 chips at ninety minutes (or an hour after I’d arrived).

I didn’t even have to think about tossing Kx3x pre-flop on the last hand before the first break, but it would have made Broadway and taken down a nice pot if I hadn’t. With the 7,000 chip add-on, I started round 2 with 16,825.

Had to give up 1,600 on AxTx after seeing the flop. Likewise, J2 was a loser of 1,200 when the flop showed no heart (although I did make bottom pair). Another AxTx on BTN paired my Ax on the flop, with Qx and Kx showing up by the turn. I bet hard and fast and got a fold before the river to take the hand. Still, at 2:30 into the game I was down to 14,975.

Suited JT has become a sort of favorite lately, and in the last hand before the Batcave table broke, I won a decent pot from S—the manager of the Encore—with JT.

My first win at the new table was one step down: 9T. I’d made a straight by the turn and hit the flush on the river. With a couple of wins I’d doubled up to 30,100 before the third hour of the game.

Payed an unsuited JxTx and hit top pair on the flop, with a bet taking the pot. Then I hit a set on a flop with 3x3x in my hand and pushed to take it down, bringing me up to 36,500 by 3:15.

There was a post-flop bet of 3,500 ahead of me with AQx on BTN. I had top pair and pushed all-in. BB called with KQ, hitting the flush by the river. One more diamond…. That cut me in half, to 17,275.

I was saved by the Mutant Jack. I called a smaller stack’s all-in with AJ and was up against AxTx, getting a knockout and a chip infusion. Then a couple of big rounds of betting with the guy who’d hit the flush against me led to my JT making Broadway. In twenty minutes I’d made up my ground and then some, with 48,225 chips.

Blinds were up to 600/1,200/200. and I speculated 6,000 to see the flop with K8. I missed entirely. Two of the other callers went all-in and it was 6x6x v. AxJx, with the pair winning with a six-high straight.

At break 2 there were 77 of the original 141 players left.

I lost big drawing to s ten-high spade straight flush from the bottom end and was down to 20,500 at 4:05.

Called with AT in UTG (at 800/1,600/200) with three more in the hand behind me. I bet just 2,000 after pairing the Ax on the flop and took the pot. Then I lost 4,800 in SB to see the flop with KxQx.

Seriously short-stacked, I called a larger all-in from BTN with A4 hoping to have my Ax live, at least.  Instead, I was up against AxQx. I managed to get a 4x on the flop, though, and doubled up.

I had the AQx on the next hand and re-raised all-in from CO. The original raiser had a slightly smaller stack than me. He called and flipped AxKx. There were four black cards on the deck by the turn and I held my breath for a minute but only three of them were spades. That cut me down to 2,000 chips.

Back to Ax4x. All-in with four limps ahead of me, got called by TxTx and I was out.

Four-and-a-half hours. -100% ROI. 61st of 141 players.

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 8x8x 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 7x6x5x and I started betting heavily. The field narrowed to me and BB who stayed in. The turn 4x 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 9x 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 8x 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 AxJx and paired the Jx high card on the flop but was beat by pocket KxKx 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 QxQx 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 TxQxKx flop and another player came over the top, leaving me with 17K by the end of that hand. Then a pair of 9x9x 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.

AxJx (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.

Ax5x is usually something I dislike playing but I saw a 5xTx5x 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 KxKx as BB and went all-in after a 5K raise from the CO. He called, showed AxQx 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 4x 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 QxTx 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 KxKx 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 KxQx. They held Kx9x 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 3x3x, 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 KxQx, 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 AxAx. 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 KxQx 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 8x8x made quads for me, knocking out another player (who was holding AxJx) and getting my stack out of the doldrums. At the 8K/16K/2K level, a raise to 36K with Ax9x took down the blinds. The I used AxJx 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.

Ax9x again and a 40K min-raise took down the blinds again.

I called a small all-in with J5. He flipped over 2x2x. The odds calculators say that one’s a coin flip but if he’d had anything higher than a pair of 4x4x 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 6x6x, 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

Chip Leader Flirtation

Carbon Poker $2,000 Guarantee (2,000 chips, 1 Re-Buy, 1 Add-On)

Haven’t been playing many tournaments online lately but I tried this one on a whim after my live successes over the past week.

I joined the game in progress part-way through the first level and ended up at a short-handed table to begin with. My second hand was JT, which I overplayed on a two-way straight draw flop of Q9A, and with Q on the turn and nothing better I had to give it up and abandon ship to the guy with trips. I was down to 1,670 early on.

My first BB was the Doyle Brunson hand: 2T. No thanks, and the raises to nearly 300 ahead of me made it an easy lay-down. I dropped several more hands of the same ilk.

Nine hands in I had a something a little tasty, a 7K UTG. I raised 3x the big blind to 90, got two callers, then BB went all-in with his already-swollen stack of 5,722. I put my remaining 1,535 up against it and everyone else folded. BB flipped over AK. The flop, though, was 53Q and he was dead at that point. I doubled up and we moved on.

A few hands later at a new table, I picked up 9T on BTN. Two players limed in for 40 ahead of me, I limped and both the blinds were in. I hit an open-ended straight draw on the flop with 8A7. A big stack in BB bet 150, UTG1 called, CO folded, I raised to 500, SB called, BB folded, and UTG1 called. 1,850 in the pot when the 6 made my nut straight on the turn. It was checked to me and I bet half the pot. SB was all-in for 1,410, UTG1 folded, and I had to call. J on the river improved my straight but did nothing for SB’s Q6 and I was up to 5,865 at the first break. I bought the add-on for another 3K.

99 cost me almost 800 when I went up against KQ (one of my favorite hands) which made a full house by the turn. That was just some stupid betting on my part.

I got a little tricky with A2 on the BB a bit later. UTG2 raised to 180, I was the only caller. The flop was 2A7 and I checked to get a 300 bet from UTG2. I just called. 9 gave me a potential nut flush on top of my two pair. I hoped he didn’t have another card to go with his ace and checked. He bet 660 and I raised to 2,500. That left me with 4,715 behind, which was coincidentally equal to his bet and remaining chips. He pushed all-in and I called. He had the better ace with QA but the 3 on the river sealed his fate and I came out with just under 13K. I raised to 180 on my SB with 24 and BB called; I made a pair of twos on the flop and bet another 180, BB folded, and I was over 13K.

About forty minutes into the game, I had a less-than-ideal 43 as SB at the 50/100 level. There was a stack of 16K on my right as BTN, CO and I were both at about 12K, BB and UTG2 were in the 5.5K range, UTG1 was sitting on a little more than 10K and the short stack was UTG with 1,400. CO called, BTN called, I limped in, and BB checked. The flop fit me like a glove: 562. I checked. BB bet 266, two players folded, and I raised to 1,198. He re-raised all-in to 5,742 and I called. He did have two pair, with 26 but the turn and river only had high hearts and he was out. 18,242 in the stack.

The very next hand was a monster for me, with AK on BTN. I was already in one of the top five slots on the leader board. UTG limped for 100, HJ called, I raised to 500. BB folded (no SB this hand) and both of the other players called. The flop wasn’t particularly good for me: Q98. I was two cards off of anything. It was checked around to me and I gave it a check myself, getting K on the turn. Another 100 bet from UTG, another call from UTG2, and I decided to test the water with a raise to 2,000. UTG immediately shoved to 9,936 all-in. UTG2 fled the scene. I had an interesting dilemma, because while I did have the better kicker on the king, there were straight possibilities, double pairs, etc. But I had the bet covered and I’d still have almost 8K if it didn’t work. I was in bad shape, because he had 98, but then the river card turned out to be the A and I won the pot of 21.5K, putting me over 29K total and about 10K ahead of anyone else in the tournament.

Top prize in the pot was over $620, with $450 for second and so on.  It would be a great week if I could pull this off. So how did I blow it?

About ten minutes had gone by, with me still far ahead of anyone else in the game. My table had a player with about 20K, one with 10K, three with between 5K and 6K and three with 3K down to 800. I was UTG with JK at 100/200. I raised to 600 and got an all-in call from HJ, one of the 5K stacks. I called, he showed 44, I hit J on the turn but the entire board was 87J65, giving him the straight and 11K out of the pot. I can’t fault that call.

AJ Mutant Jack two hands later. Two limpers, I raise to 1,000, get one call from HJ (with a stack of 10K), a flop of 565 that promises a nut flush which we both check, 2 on the turn which gets a bet of 200 from HJ and a call from me, and 6 on the river which gets checked, bet for 200 by me, then raised to 3,400. I’ve got nothing there but the high card for two low pairs. And I’m down to 25K.

I managed to stay above 20K for another ten minutes, then had a sumptuous 9T as HJ. I was still the biggest stack at the table with 22.5K but I was down around tenth overall. Blinds were 125/250/25 and UTG2 pushed with 5,350. I was the only caller, he showed QQ and I was a 1:4 underdog. That disparity increased to 1:19 after the AA5 flop, and it never got better. Down to 17, 155.

44 UTG pushed me back above 20K. I raised to 500 and got HJ (with a nearly even stack) to call. The flop had lots of danger cards—8TT—but I bet another 500 and got another call. 5 on the turn looked harmless but it was still an over card to me. I checked and HJ bet 1,950. I called. J on the river got another check from me, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if HJ bet, but he checked and showed AK.

Managed to hold on for another twenty minutes in a position that would be just out of the money (below 20)if the game ended immediately, as players were eliminated. Blinds were 150/300/25, I was BB with 4K. UTG1 min-raised, BTN went all-in for only 409, I called. I made top pair with 39K for the flop and bet 900, with UTG1 calling. The 8 for the turn didn’t mean much to me and I bet another 900, getting raised to 1,800, which I just called. The river T was a bit concerning and I checked it, but called the bet of 2,100 from UTG1. BTN just had 8J, and UTG1 had nothing real until the river with TA. The win put me up just over 27K and moved me back near the top ten.

Lost out again with QJ in UTG at 200/400/50. I lead off with a bet of 800, and was raised to 8,420 by the table’s 40K big stack at BTN. Naturally, I called it. The flop was A49 and I checkedBTN bet another 6,420 and I had to call it off with my nothing.

From 19K after that hand, I was chopped down to 14K over the next ten minutes, playing marginal stuff. Finally, I had a pair, although not a particularly good one. At 250/500/50, I raised to 1,500 with 88. BB re-raised to 4,500 and I shoved to 13,869. BB called with 14K behind and showed KK. For a second, it looked luke I might get lucky, with 66T7 by the turn, but the river 4 killed that chance.

107 minutes, 99 hands. Finished 56th of 197 players.

End of An Era, Pt. 4

Full Tilt Round 1 Freeroll (1,500 chips)

Another run at a freeroll. Doubled up on the second hand with TA in SB. UTG2 was all-in for 1,605. I called with 1,470. He showed QK, the flop had A in the middle, and it was over by the river.

Fifth hand grabbed me even more chips. Q3 in CO. Five of us limped in, A2K gave me second nut flush draw, I called HJ’s bet of 30, the blinds folded, and UTG1 called. 8 made my flush, UTG1 checked, HJ bet 30 again and I raised to 100. Both UTG1 and HJ came along. A scary K hit the river, making several full house possibilities, but I didn’t think either of them had it. UTG1 checked, HJ was all-in for 1,325, I went all-in (UTG1 only had 15 more than HJ), UTG1 folded. HJ had a set of kings, but that didn’t touch my flush. That popped me over 4,700.

My 33 that made twos full of threes by the river was bested by TT a few hands later, though, costing me 1,200, and on the very next hand an ill-advised all-in call with AJ burned me for nearly 3,000 chips when KK showed up for the showdown. I was down to 910 after that.

I managed to briefly recover two hands later with something similar to what had gotten me started: TA. I had 1,000 even on BTN, we were still at 15/30. HJ raised all-in to 935. I went all-in. BB—who’d taken me down with the kings a minute earlier, called. We flipped the cards over, BB had kings again: KK. HJ was in bad shape with KQ. The flop showed some promise: 235. Any ace, any four, a couple more hearts…I could even still get a straight flush. The turn 7 didn’t do me any good but I got my A on the river (h/t Barry Greenstein). The pot netted me nearly 2,000 chips.

All of which I lost three hands later with AK. Blinds were 20/40. I raised to 100 from UTG1. The guy with kings was CO and re-raised to 360, getting a call from BTN. I re-raised to 1,020; CO and BTN were in. The flop looked good: AQA. At least so long as he didn’t have a Qx. I bet my last 1,900 and got a call. He had the Mutant Jack: AJ. Nearly 7K in the pot, I was a 4:1 favorite to win. 8 for the turn. J for the river. Nobody named their book for that.

18 minutes, 14 hands. Placed 4,564 of 6,983 players.

Full Tilt $1 Main Event Satellite (1,500 chips)

BAM! Out of the gate, picked up steam with a win holding K8 on BTN. Four of us to the flop after a raise to 80 from UTG. K6T and everyone checked to me. I bet 180, getting a call from only BB. 9 on turn and I bet another 700 (with only 540 behind), driving off BB and netting me 440.

K8 was mine again in CO, five hands later. Action folded to me, I raised to 100. BTN and SB called. I made top pair on the 682 flop, SB bet 200, I called, BTN folded. An 8 for the turn made a set but SB (who had me covered by thousands) bet 550. I raised all-in for 1,515 and he called, showing a weaker kicker: 85. harmless 7 on the river and I was up to 3,780.

That was my apex, though. I raised a limp by UTG1 to 200 as UTG2 at 40/80. 4 callers. Low cards on the flop: 936. UTG bet 700 and I raised to 1,500, putting him on a pair to the board, which I could beat. Three folds, then a call from UTG. 2 for the turn and UTG checked. I bet 1,960 all-in. UTG called with just 130 behind, then dropped 98. I was just about there, but then 8 showed up, giving him two pair and knocking me out.

18 minutes, 21 hands. 85th of 201 players.

End of An Era, Pt. 3

Full Tilt Satellite to the $200K Double Deuce (1,500 chips)

Two of the players at my initial table were eliminated in the third hand by the guy on my left, then a couple hands later I falled him down to the river with a pair of jacks and took over 600 chips from him when his busted straight was exposed. He got moved to a new table right after that and I was left as chip leader for a bit with 2,700 chips.

Got JA on SB at 30/60 fifteen minutes into the game and three-bet to 400 after a raise and a call to 150. There were three of us who saw the flop of JTK. I bet all-in for 2,550, getting a call from a small stack of 1,015 who then showed the straight with 9Q. Fortunately for me, Q came on the turn and the 8 river card went nowhere. That put me up to 4,800. Got moved to a new table for the next hand.

There were seven players at the new table; I was in third place behind stacks of 7,500 and 5,250, with another stack about my size and the other three running from 1,000 to 2,600. Got 77 in BB and when action folded to the SB who went all-in for 1,797 I called. He showed TJ and I was in trouble on the flop when it came out T64. Then the turn 5 game me hope and 3 rier sealed the deal for my straight. Not exactly how I would have expected to win that hand, but I’d take it. Up over 6,600.

Back in the BB at 50/100 ten minutes later and I had A9. UTG called. The big stack at the table with 13K was UTG1, who raised to 450. I called and UTG called. The flop was TK8, I bet 450, UTG went all-in for nearly 4K, UTG1 called and I gladly folded. UTG held top pair with KQ and UTG1 had crap with 7J. Who knows what he was doing.

Another ten minutes, another BB. 80/160 with K4. I’ve got about 5K, with the two larger stacks at the table of 9,700 and 8,100 on my right in SB and BTN. HJ, CO, BTN, and SB all limped and I checked to see what would come of this not-promising hand. 87K hit the flop and after SB checked I made a pot-sized bet (800) on my kings. Everyone folded to the SB, who called. 9 on the turn, check from SB, pot-sized bet (2,400, now) from me, call from SB. 9 on the river, check from SB, check from me, he shows 7J and I take in 3,840. He’s the same player I took my first pot from. Life’s different in non-cash games.

I was over 8K at the 100/200 level when I had a serious turn-around with KQ as HJ. UTG limped, I raised to 500. BTN, BB, and UTG called. The flop wasn’t auspicious: 925. Action checked to me, I bet 300, BTN folded, and the other two players called. A on the turn gave me the nut flush draw. BB checked, UTG went all-in for about 3,200, and I called. UTG had two pair with 2A. My club didn’t show and I was down to 4K.

I was down to less than 3K ten minutes later at 150/300/25, in SB with TA. UTG1 raised to 1,500, I went all-in, and he called, showing JJ. It was a nail-biter after the QJ7 flop, with his trips and my straight draw. The turn 9 gave us a chance of a chop. But pairing my ace with A for the river didn’t do me any good.

58 minutes, 67 hands.

Full Tilt Satellite to the $200K Double Deuce (1,500 chips)

One hour later. Got chopped down to 950 chips in the first fifteen hands, then managed to parlay TA into a win of 1,175 when a pair of fours didn’t believe I had an ace.

Lost 1,300 playing 67 and a straight draw from BB against a set of tens, then won 2,300 two hands later with KJ going all-in and flopping two pair against callers with AQ and A4.

Proceeded to lose nearly 3,000 over the course of two nearly consecutive hands shortly thereafter when a Mutant Jack beat my A7, then a pair of fives became a set on the turn after I’d flopped a pair for my jack. That put me on life support, down under 1,000.

Everything went into the pot with 57 in UTG. BB with 99 called, there were no clubs on the board, my only concession was a 7 for the river.

38 minutes, 47 hands. Finished 30th of 76.