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.

So Close (x2)

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Sit-n-Go Satellite (2,500 chips)

Two places in this satellite paid. I managed to lose some chips then come roaring back, really in the thick of it with three left, only to push at the wrong moment and get whacked by the biggest stack who knocked me out of the money.

Sixty minutes. 3rd of 10 entries.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

My first-ever losing session playing limit Omaha 8, although it was just a small loss. One of the players I know from the late Deuces who’s now at The Final Table was racking up the chips, and I managed to recover from a couple of early losses to over half again my buy-in, then got snockered down to less than 40% of my original stack. Pulled it out before people adjourned to play the tournament, though, so I was down just half a small blind when I cashed out.

Sixty minutes. -1/2BB.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Event #1 (10,000 chips)

Built up steadily through the first session of the tournament, picking up nearly 6,000 chips by the first break. Then a call against a shorter stack cost me more than half my chips, dropping me down to 7,175.

I kept looking for whatever edges I could find and managed to climb back up over the starting stack, to 12,525, lost a couple of hands, then picked up 7x7x and managed to get called all-in after I’d hit a middle set on the flop That pushed me back into healthy territory at 18,750.

Naturally, when the player I’d doubled against shoved a couple of hands later and I was holding AxKx, I called. He flipped over JxJx and it was a race as far as the flop which had a jack on it. It was nothing you’d even think of calling a race when he made quads on the river.

When the third session began at 300/600/75, I was sitting on only 12,200. I called 2,500 with a high-suited ace and got a flop that was uncool, then watched my stack string to 7,200 (only 9 big blinds at 400/800/100). After paying my small blind on that round, I was down to a meagre 5,600 chips.

The player in seat 1 was fairly tight, and I went all-in with KxQx following him, hoping for jacks or tens. What he had was AxAx. But the flop put out two more queens, and the river sealed the deal with a king. He got to spin the Wheel of Misfortune. I still only had 10,300 chips, he got off cheap.

The blinds came around again, at 600/1,200/150, and I had just 6,300 after paying the small blind. Five big blinds and a couple antes. Then something miraculous happened and I managed to double up twice. Suddenly I was sitting on 45,000 chips.

According to the tournament clock (which wasn’t updated as often as you might like) there were 180 players (33% of the original field) left at the dinner break. I had nearly 50,000 chips, about 40% more than the chip average, although one of the players who’d been moved to our table had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000.

I doubled up again with 8x8x when I shoved on a pot with a bunch of chips in it already call behind me. He had QxQx but one of the players who’d been in the pot and folded said he’d had pocket queens as well. Then the board rolled out quad eights for me.

On my next hand I had AxAx and went over the top of a smaller all-in. This time, it was my turn to go to the Wheel, when quad tens rolled out. That was relatively cheap, as well.

Certainly, it was much cheaper than the next hand, where I raised with AJ and called a re-raise from the table leader. I made top pair with a jack on the flop and I should have tried to shut it down right there, but a Kx on the turn and a bad decision cost me another 9,000 when she turned over AxKx. Still, I had 54,000 chips.

That didn’t last long though. I lost another 9,700 in a three-way all-in call with KxJx against KxKx. The board needed a queen to make my straight, but instead, I was down to 47,000. Then I lost another big hand with AxJx vs. AxKx.

18,600 chips. I shoved with Ax9x from HJ and took down the blinds and antes to put me up to 23,800.

I had 7x4x in SB. There was an extremely short stack in BB. BTN called and I figured I’d see the flop for 1,500. I made bottom two pair on the flop and shoved as first to act. That put me up to 27,400.

I had 30,000 at the first break after dinner, once the 100 chips had been raced off. Blinds were headers into the 2,000/4,000/500 range, so I was still in severe territory. Only 90 players were left; we were still forty-odd places away from the money.

My last hand was the second after the break, right on the eight o’clock hour. Seat 1 shoved for more than I had. I was hoping he was going with AxKx or something of the sort; I shoved my stack in with 8x8x but he turned over JxJx. This time the over pair held against the eight onslaught.

This event wasn’t the biggest buy-in I played in, by far, but it’s the largest live event I’ve played so far. Disappointed not to have made the money—here or in the satellite—but I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ll leave that until after the weekend.

Eight hours. ~90th of 548 entries.

Fooling Around In Omaha

Portland Players Club Player of the Month High Hand Jackpot (7,000 chips)

I made four-of-a-kind with a hand in March at PPC, which got me an extra 1,000 bonus for this game. With the 3,000 pre-add-on, I was starting with 11,000 chips.

Picked up a free note-taking tool for my iPhone called MomentDiary which I came to like quite a lot during this tournament. The plan was to try it out at the Poker Pro Challenge but their ban on electronic devices kept me from using it. The great thing about it for poker notation is that it timestamps each entry. Haven’t found a way to batch delete a bunch of notes yet, though; I made more than 75 notes in tournaments on April Fool’s Day.

Won the first hand with Jx8x, hitting a straight on the flop. One of the other players said it was the “poison pot” and maybe it was (as you’ll see).

Almost immediately after that, I picked up KxKx but was smart enough to lay it down early on a board that was turning into a straight that left me just out of the mix. The winner made quad tens by the river, although it didn’t actually go to showdown.

I more than made up for that fold playing 45 and hitting a 7-high straight on the flop. I called and pushed on seat 9 and took several thousand chips from him at showdown when all he had was AxAx.

My next hand was 4x4x on BTN and I would have bet it but CO discarding accidentally flipped a four over and I just folded instead of hoping the case card would show on the flop to make me a set. That saved me a couple hundred at least; the board was far too high to make a pair of fours happy.

Fifteen minutes into the game, I was up about 4,000 chips. I raised to 225 with 63, then called a 600 re-raise. After getting an inside straight draw on the flop I bet another 1,000 but had to fold to an all-in bet down the line.

Another 4x4x, this time on BB. SB raised to 700 pre-flop and I saw it with two other callers. The flop was 7x7x3x and I bet 1,000 after SB checked. People were guessing my hand and nobody was even close. When one guy guessed that I had a pair of eights, I said that I “had eight.”

Twenty minutes had passed since my last chip count and I was still at 15,125.

I raised to 300 with JxTx and made my straight on the river to pick up some more chips to put me at 16,775.

Lost a little ground with QxTx after raising to 425 and seeing the board run out 5x57x5x9x. Had to fold to a bet.

The Butcher QT messed me over for another 800 when I couldn’t get a king on the board to make Broadway.

Holding JT, I re-raised from 1,200 to 2,500 after a 9JQ flop but had to fold to an all-in. The winner showed AxA and the original raiser had non heart KxKx. At only about 19% chance to win, my fold was the right thing to do (I was well ahead of the kings) but I sure would have liked to see the rest of the board.

I was knocked back to 12,350, but managed to make a bunch on the last hand before the break with JxTx and another flopped straight (queen-high). By the time the counting was over, I was up to 17,350.

Starting back up after the break, I saw the flop as BB with 7x3x and had an inside straight  draw again. I bet 700 and everyone folded.

I folded myself after calling 300 with A7 and seeing an all-spade flop.

About twenty minutes into the second segment of the tournament I was holding 21,800, including the 5,000 add-on from the break.

I put out another 1,100 on Ax8x then folded along with several others after a short stack shoved for another 6,000. He showed 6T after he raked in his chips.

Another JxTx on BTN and I called a raise to 900 along with BB. I had top two pair on a flop with two diamonds. He bet 1,500 and I shoved to take the pot down.

Raised to 800 with JxTx just a couple minutes later as HJ and had to fold to all-in from CO, then called 1,400 with KxTx and hit top two pair on the flop. I bet 2,500 and got my opponent to fold. He showed AxQx.

My stack was up to 22,650. I was heavily invested in jack-ten combinations in this game and made two pair on the turn just a couple minutes later on a board with a potential Broadway straight on it. Pushing all-in on a 6,000 post-turn bet cost me over 16,000 when the other guy had the straight and I failed to hit a full house on the river. Down to 6,425.

Ten minutes later I pushed all-in with JxTx again after pairing the top card on the flop, ran into AxAx and didn’t improve.

Two hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 28th of 41 entries.

Portland Players Club Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo (10,000 chips)

I don’t get to play nearly enough Omaha tournaments, and I’m a real sucker for the split-pot game. It’s definitely my preferred game over high-only. I’ve had some success with it in live limit cash games and had made the final table in a couple tournaments, but never managed to cash before this game. All I can say is it’s hard to take notes on.

Got a 1,000 chip bonus for this game for whatever reason, so I was starting with 11,000 on the table.

About ten minutes in, I played AxJx8x5x and made a Broadway straight on the turn with a heart flush draw on the board. A third heart came on the river, there was no low, and I ended up splitting the high with another player holding Broadway. No gain and a little loss from blinds; I was at 10,925 at fifteen minutes.

My 5x6x7x8x wrap completed an eight-high straight in a huge pot with two larger stacks all in over me. I took the high by myself, the main and side pot lows got quartered, and there was five minutes of bickering over what amounted to a 300 chip second side pot. At the half-hour mark, I was holding 22,350.

I called a raise to 1,100 pre-flop with Q75A, paired the five on the flop and called a bet of 1,025, then folded in the face of another 4-way all-in. Quad eights took the whole shebang.

I lost a big hand I didn’t manage to record, and was cut in half to 11,575 near the end of the first hour of play.

Then came the hand that changed everything. AK25 looked pretty good on the T73 flop and by the time 4 and 9 were also on the board, I had the nut flush for the high hand and a part of the low. With several players all-in (as usual) my stack jumped up to 50,325.

Even with the big stack, I added on for another 5,000 chips, one of the best decisions I made in this game, as you’ll see.

Just after the break, a Qx6x in my hand made me 5,000 when I improved a full house on a QxQx2x2x6x board. I lost a little ground on a straight draw, but was still at 58,100 one hundred minutes in.

The two largest stacks in the tournament were me and another player at my table, and we got into it with both tables five-handed. He pushed hard with a straight and full house draw but I hit quad nines and knocked him out, putting my stack up to 108,400 and more than a third of the chips in play.

Knocked out another player with Ax2x4x5x by making two pair for the high and scooping the low, then took a hand from PPC regular T with 5x5xAxKx, putting me up to 118,400.

By break 2, I’d hit 140,000.

A big pot with 2x2xJxQx made a set to grab the high and put me up to 160,500 as we approached three-hours of play. Then things got grim.

In less than ten minutes, I missed two draws for a Broadway straight and a flush that cost me a total of 22,500. Then I made a set of queens on a flop and called an all-in from B, who had KxQx and two pair. Another Kx on the turn made full houses for both of us but I was on the losing side of that one and was back down to  98,500 as we actually hit three hours.

Ten minutes later I was still bleeding chips and down to 74,500. I managed to take one hand and bet people off my flush, then lost with two pair against a full house and didn’t hit my low. I hit the same straight as a another player and chopped a pot that would have been nice to take in toto, then flopped another straight and was all-in but was outdrawn by a flush that took all but 6,000 of my chips. It was just twenty-five minutes since I’d had 58% of the chips in play and I was down to one big blind. If I had skipped buying the add-on at the first break, I’d probably have busted out already—at best I would have only had 1,000 chips.

The next ten minutes were a blur. I caught some amazing cards, including a couple of high pairs and and managed to double up at least three times. In eight minutes, I was back up to 84,000 chips, then I knocked out B short of the money and hit the last break with 102,000.

Not long after the break was over, we managed to get it down to heads-up. I was back on top with about a 40,000 chip advantage but we chopped the top two positions evenly and called the game at four hours.

Four hours. +272% ROI. Chopped 2 ways with 15 entries.

What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?

Portland Players Club $250 Freeroll

I’ve been through a recent drought of pocket pairs, but the skies broke yesterday and rained them down on me to both good and bad effect. I started the day off at PPC and was sat at table 2, seat 4, a couple places to the right of DL. I struggled for a bit, then busted and re-bought, while DL began to amass a goodly stack of chips, over 20,000 by the first break. Seat 2 had a player I’d been up against once before who seemed to have been having some recent success at PPC; seat 9 was a tight player who kept exclaiming over the hands he’d laid down when he saw what people were raising (and winning) with.

The re-buy and add-on gave me a little breathing room, and then the cards started coming. I took a couple big chunks out of DL‘s stack, almost knocked out seat 2, and was stealing a lot of chips off the table. DL then lost the last of his pink 1,000 chips to me in a pot that had over 30,000 chips in it.

A PPC regular who can’t seem to hold his legs still—except for when he’s heads-up waiting for the cards to drop—was moved in-between DL and myself and started pushing all-in on my raises. We eventually got to a hand where I had 97 and hit my flush on the turn. The board paired on the river making a couple of likely full houses, though, and I raised big. He folded his J8 face up and said he couldn’t call. I flipped over my lower flush and he seemed to tilt a bit. I picked off his chips shortly thereafter.

One hundred minutes in, I was sitting pretty on over 50,000 chips, more than a fifth of the chips in play, with about 14 players left. Seat 8 went all-in after a raise from my AxAx, naturally I called, he flipped over KxKx and then hit a king on the flop. A much bigger axe hit my stack because of a stupid call on my part with KJ. The tight player in seat 9 shoved with 15,000 chips and I called. He showed aces. A club on the river would have made me a flush and probably unleashed a torrent of invective, but it was a bad risk on my part and I could have held onto the chip lead if I’d given it some more thought.

It was downhill after that, with my stack back in the average territory. Don’t even remember the hand I went out on.

Three hours. -100% ROI. 10th of 29 players.

2011/12 Puffmammy Poker Tour Event #16

This game got off to a very wacky start, not just for me. WA was dealing the first hand to me UTG and it was AxAx. Naturally, I raised. A couple folks came along, including DV. I eventually walked DV alone down to the river for close to half his stack. An ace hit the board, he had two pair, but my set crushed him.

On WA‘s next deal, he gave me aces again. Again, I got some significant chippage out of it. Not, however, anything close to the kind of windfall KB made. He felted both DV and WA in record time, and proceeded to begin the building of a chip wall.

Meanwhile, I picked up queens, I picked up nines, then queens again. KB busted three of the four players who re-bought; I busted the other. Then he took out four permanently while I took out two. I made one incredibly lucky boneheaded move with T8 and shoved all-in when I thought there were two clubs on the board. When I was called and we flipped for the showdown, people were scratching their heads since I didn’t have a pair and one of the “clubs” was a spade. Fortunately, I got running clubs on the turn and river to make the flush.

For most of the match, it looked like KB had an insurmountable chip lead. But even though he’d performed most of the knockouts, I’d been doing a lot of damage to players that set them up for those knockouts. When we got to heads-up play three hours into the game, it wasn’t as lop-sided as it might have looked half an hour earlier. With 25,000 chips in play and blinds still at 150/300/25, it looked like we might be in for a long night of it.

As always, luck and stupid mistakes are everything in poker. Early on, I picked up another pair of queens and was prepared to raise the heck out of the pot post-flop if it didn’t have anything scary. It was far from scary, it was: QxQx7x. Then KB decided to push me around and went all-in. I called and flipped my quads over. It wasn’t enough to knock him out, but he was hurting. I played it very cautious, dropping a lot of chips back into his hands against his all-ins. One call I did make with KxTx, he showed QxJx. I made two pair but a nine on the river made his straight. Eventually, though, another queen took him down.

Three hours and fifteen minutes. +343% ROI. First of 8 players.

Aces Players Club Shootout

I went by Aces intending to play the 10pm game but half-an-hour past starting time I was the first person to show up for it. That isn’t the Aces I remember. There was a final table finishing up for what must have been the six o’clock game. No tables for the eight (unless that was the eight’s final), and a single shootout table. Against my better judgment, I got into the shootout. Had a J2 early on and raised with it, got a couple calls, had a gut-shot straight draw and folded to a big raise from he other end of the table. Then the straight came through and the guy who’d raised took it in with another jack. My last hand, I had 7x7x and the flop was Qx6x5x I raised big, got re-raised, and went all-in. He showed JxJx and I was out.

Twenty minutes. -50bb.

Hotheads and Bronys

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

I got into the game just as the button was finishing its first trip around the ten-handed table and was seated at black table 2 seat 5, with a couple regulars I knew by sight on either side of me. There’d been some significant action already, with one player in the middle of a re-buy as I took my place. Seat 6 welcomed me to an interesting table.

It got even more interesting in short order when a player sat down in empty seat 2 and started complaining that she couldn’t get her chair closer to the table—always a problem when they’re ten-handed. She was jerky and abrasive, and seemed a bit amped-up as she demanded the table be squared up. The dealer and several of us mentioned that we were squared, with the cupholder across from the dealer right between me and seat 6. Seat 3 suggested moving the chair for the currently-empty seat 1 back from the table and she responded by saying someone could be sitting there soon. She got up from the table after the button went past and stalked off. Eventually, the floor director came back when she was there and she brought the subject up again. He just pulled the chair in seat 1 back and that settled the matter for the moment.

Things only got nuttier when a guy showed up for seat 1. From the way things had gone a little earlier, you might have expected fireworks to fly but suddenly seat 2 was cordial as hell, at least to the guy in seat 1. Seat 1 started flinging in raises and raking in chips, and nobody was in much of a mood to push back. I can’t remember at what point seat 2 went all-in but she got stomped and rebought, which didn’t seem to make her mood much better.

Some of the other players’ suspicions were tracking along with mine, and someone asked if seat 1 knew seat 2 (not that most of the people regularly playing in a $100+ buy-in game in Portland don’t know most of the other players by sight, at least) and he claimed anything but the sort, pointing down to an older player in seat 8 who’d just put in a raise and exclaiming: “But this guy, I know this guy….”

Not too long after that, seat 8 was working on his action (seat 9 and 10 were out pre-flop) when seat 1 jumped in with a raise and the dealer tried to redirect. Seats 1 and 2 got puffed up and started jabbering on about how it was up to the player to keep action from passing them by and the rest of the table weighed in that acting out of turn wasn’t proper procedure. According to Roberts’ Rules of Poker:

To retain the right to act, a player must stop the action by calling “time” (or an equivalent word). Failure to stop the action before three or more players have acted behind you may cause you to lose the right to act.

So they were wrong about the action moving on because there hadn’t been enough players acting behind seat 8 but more importantly:

Deliberately acting out of turn will not be tolerated.

If seat 1 knew seat 8 hadn’t acted, then the action was deliberate, which is a penalty offense. The second time he did it, the dealer warned him.

None of that had anything to do with me. I was doing reasonably well at the break, up a little from the starting stack. I went out and talked to JB and a guy in a brony shirt in the rain. JB was sitting right behind me on black 1 and not long after things got started a couple players at the high end of the table were knocked out and the brony guy joined us. I went long for a straight draw that I had to fold when a second ace hit the board. Brony flipped pocket aces. Two hands later on BTN, I raised all-in withb 2x2x but my stack didn’t have much in the way of power to blow anyone off. I got called by the brony who had an ace high. I got a full house but it was aces over deuces, which made two quad ace hands for the brony. Can’t argue with that kind of luck.

Two and a half hours. -100% ROI. 54th of 71 players.

Only 21 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.

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

Good Thing There’s Bounties

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Just five minutes in and I make top pair from the SB holding JQ on a safe-looking J32 flop after four of us have limped in. I bet out 100 as first to act, getting two callers. 6 for a turn and I bet out 300 more, again two calls. 2 is the river and I check, BB checks, UTG2 puts both of the blinds all-in to call, and I do. He’s been holding a set with 33 in the pocket from the flop.

Out 622 of 714.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

A big one that got away from me. I had quite a setback on my 12th hand, holding QT on the button at 25/50. There was a raise and a call to 175 ahead of me and I probably should have ejected, but I saw the flop of A3Q and decided to play it. UTG1 bet 250, UTG2 wisely got out, I called, and 4 appeared on the turn. Another 250 from UTG1 and myself, 5 at the river and I called his last 250 bet before he turned over 6A. That knocked me down to 735.

I’d dropped to just 435 ten hands later after some other action and JT came into my hand. UTG called the blind of 60, UTG1 raised to 120, UTG2 called, I (UTG3) decided to make a move and made my tiny shove. That got called by UTG, UTG1, and UTG2. My role in the hand was over as I watched the flop roll out 388. UTG1 went all-in and drove the other two players out, then showed AQ, so any chance of a flush I had was shot; I needed a pair. J showed up on the turn and an inoffensive 5 was the river. I bounced back to 1,830.

AT on the next hand. We’d lost a the guy who’d played the previous hand with me to re-shuffling and I was UTG1. I open-min-raised to 160, getting four callers. The flop was 379, probably making someone happy but the blinds just checked and I bet 200 to open. Only the big blind dropped out. K on the turn was interesting and I opened with another 200, inducing everyone to fold and making me an easy 1,245 profit, which put me just over 3,000.

Nothing much happened for twenty minutes. I’d drifted down to 2,250 chips when 77 came into my hand. It’s not my favorite pair of cards but I was at less than 19BB and the Andy Bloch “Tournament Checklist” is all about going all-in with the small pairs when you’re getting short-stacked. Did I listen? No, I raised to 300 and there were three callers. The flop was 322. Checks from the blinds and this was where I shipped it, for 1,950. SB called, BB raised all-in to 2,750, then SB called that. SB had A4 for a one-ended wheel draw, BB had us seriously in trouble with 52 and a set. 8 shoed for the turn, giving me a chance for a backdoor flush, and the river A completed it. I took in 7K (but significantly did not learn me lesson about shipping with small pairs, something that comes back to bite me later).

The last significant hand was my final one, forty minutes later. I still had only 6,675. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was BB. Picked up AQ. UTG3 goes all-in for 8,374 and I call. He’s got KQ, so I’m good unless he catches diamonds or a Kx. The flop is 93J and anything else is irrelevant. Could have gone the other way but it didn’t.

98 minutes, 87 hands. 1 bounty collected. ROU: -85%. Finished 829 of 3,687 players.

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Another one-minute wonder. Called the 120 min-raise of UTG3 from BB on the second hand, flop was 972; I bet 120, he raised to 660; I three-bet to 1,200; he called. J on the turn; I’ve got 180 chips, an inside straight draw, and an ace. Might as well. He calls with the AJ. 9 for the river. I’m sort on my flush and short on my straight and out of the game.

One minute. Two hands. 1,013th of 1,196 players.

Full Tilt $36,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Six minutes in with most of my starting stack I get 77 again, this time in late position on the button. Two players limp in. I raise to 300, ten times the big blind. BB and UTG2 call. The flop shows up with 6QT and everyone checks. Another 6 on the turn. UTG2 opens with 340 and I call. BB has the sense to bail. Another over card on the river. K and UTG2 bets 810 to put me all-in if I call. I bail.

That whittled me down considerably. I’m at 660 13 minutes into the game when I get QQ. UTG raises the big bet three times to 120. I re-raise to 280 but should probably be all-in here. SB calls, BB is all-in for 1,245. UTG calls, SB raises all-in to 1,560. UTG calls. Three all=ins. Here’s the cards. SB 88, BB AK, UTG: JA. I was a 43% winner so far. The flop’s fine: 569. It put a lot of diamonds on the board for BB, as well as a straight possibility for SB. The 4 for the turn didn’t change anything, my win percentage was up to 57%. The 7 on the river completed the straight, though. Maybe an all-in pre-flop would have induced the eights to fold.

14 minutes, 37 hands. 683rd of 1,324.

Cake Poker Series 2011 Super Satellite (1,500 chips)

Nothing to say about this. I was stuck just below the starting stack size twenty-odd minutes in, got priced in with TA and shoved, with J9 and KQ calling—altogether we made a long straight—and the hearts won out.

24 minutes, 17 hands. 8th of 16.

Full Tilt 90-Player KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

No movement for twenty-five minutes here, I was in CO at 3,270 with the blinds up to 60/120 when everyone ahead of me folded. I held 98 and min-raised to 240. Button and BB called. The flop just gave me bottom pair: JA9. BB checked and I bet 180. B called, and BB was gone. The turn was 2, giving me an ugly flush draw. I checked and B bet 600. Calling left me 2,250 behind. A tantalizing A hit the river. I bet 1,000, concerned about pocket jacks making a full house. B must have thought he had it but he was far behind with JQ. That picked me up 2,300.

QQ made me the next jump a dozen minutes later. UTG3 raised to 540 at the 120/240/25 level. I was on the button and re-raised to 2,500, about half my stack. The blinds folded and UTG3 four-bet all-in to 3,540. I called with 1,740 behind and he showed JJ. The flop went my way with 6KQ, and he was out. I was at 9,450. First bounty.

I caught one of the mid-sized stacks trying to pull something three hands later. I limped for 240 in after UTG called, CO called and SB as in. The flop was 63T and everyone checked. J hit on the turn. SB bet 480, BB and UTG folded, I called and CO was out. The river was 4 and SB checked. Worried about a flush, I checked too, but SB had 8J, so I had the best of it and was just short of 11,000.

Just eight hands later I was UTG2 at 200/400/50. I open-raised to 800 with QT and the only caller was SB. Got a pair in the T6J flop. SB bet 1,200 and I called. A turn 9 gave me second pair and a straight draw. SB bet another 1,600 and I called again. I made trips on the river with T and when SB checked I shoved all-in. Amazingly enough, he called with 44. That put me over 18K and made a second bounty.

The end was fast and violent just five hands later. I was UTG with 17,790, holding 77. Blinds were at 250/500/50 and I opened with a raise to 1,250. A slightly smaller stack in UTG1 was the only caller, so that was good. The flop was a promising 528 and I bet another 1,250 but I probably should have gone bigger. UTG1 called. The A on the turn pretty much shut things down as far as I was concerned. Flush draw and an ace on board? I checked and then folded after UTG1 bet 6,150. That took me down 2,550.

Next hand, I was in the big blind with just 24. There was a raise and call to 1,000 and I decided to see if my low cards would hit anything, with pot odds of 6.3:1. The flop was T6T, when the initial raiser bet 3,650 I got out of there pronto.

Still, I had 14,190 in the small blind. Suited connectors: 98. That looked good. The only player into the pot ahead of me was UTG1, who’d min-raised to 1,000. I called. The flop gave me a dangerous pair: 8AA. I bet 750 and got called by UTG1. The A showed on the turn and I had a full house. Did he have the other ace? I bet 1,000 and he smooth-called. 3 on the turn didn’t change anything. He needed the fourth ace or a pocket pair better than eight to beat me. He bet 7,500, I called, and of course he had AJ. I was down under 4,000.

The last hand for me was at 300/600/75.  I had KQ in UTG1 and went all-in for 4,815. What’s Andy Bloch say? Fewer than 10 big blinds? Check. Open-raise with KxQx? Check. UTG2 called, everyone else dropped out and I was up agains the Mutant Jack: AJ. The board was tantalizing with 2T898 but I didn’t make the straight or the flush and I was someone else’s bounty.

66 minutes, 77 hands. 2 bounties, no prize, ROI of -70%.

Cake Poker Internazionale 6-Max (20BB)

66 on the third hand in CO. Open-raised to 3BB, called by SB. Flop was 8Q8 and we both checked to the turn 7. SB bet 4BB and I called. 7 river card counterfeited my pair and I was playing the board. Another 4BB bet from the SB and I folded.

88 a little later in HJ and UTG raised to 3BB. I re-raised to 7BB and everyone folded. I was still stuck 6BB.

Down to 7.5BB fifteen minutes in and picked up A6 in the CO. UTG raised to 2BB, I called and B did as well. Flopped well with A86, HJ and I checked, B put out a bet of 7BB. That was the end of it for HJ but I called all-in for less than the bet. He flipped 98 and the race was on. No diamonds on the turn or river—Q5—and my two pair held up. Just down by 2BB now.

I was on the BB with 78. Min-raise from HJ and a call from CO. I went along and got bottom pair in the Q7J flop. I opened with a bet of 2BB, HJ raised to 5BB and I called for some reason. A on the turn and it didn’t take the 3BB bet from HJ to get me out of there. Back down to 12BB.

In HJ with K4. Min-raised with a call from CO and re-raise to 6BB from B. I’m the only caller. The flop is 56T. I check and B shoves his entire stack of 185BB into the ring. I call for some reason and he shows QQ. T makes the turn and my hopes for a backdoor flush are gone. The river J ends this session.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Started off with a bang eight minutes into the game with KJ on the button. UTG1 limped in and HJ min-raised to 80. I re-raised to 140, getting calls from SB, UTG1, and HJ. The flop was 55A, SB checked, UTG1 bet 400. There was a fold from HJ and I re-raised to 800. SB folded, UTG1 re-raised to 1,675, and I made a dangerous call that left me with 80 chips. He had a set with 57. The 4 on the turn looked grim, then a safe 8 made the river and I doubled up plus I got a bounty.

A similar hand on the button ten minutes later got me into trouble. Three limps were ahead of me with KT. I raised to 250, which got a call from SB and a re-raise to 450 from BB. UTG3 called, I called, SB called. The flop was AQ7. SB checked and BB bet 1,410 all-in. UTG3 fled the scene, I called, and SB folded. BB was way ahead and had me dominated with with AT but a Jx could put me on top. Didn’t happen, though, and I lost 1,860 chips.

The blinds were 30/60 a little later, I was still around 2,500 chips and got 97 in UTG2. UTG raised to 120, I called, and BB was in. The flop of JTQ gave me flush and open-ended straight draws. BB checked, UTG went all-in for 1,205, I called rather than go over the top, because BB had me by 1K. BB folded anyway and I was heads-up against two pair: TQ. K for the turn gave me my straight but opened up the flush for him. The river was 6 and I took another bounty, as well as 1,475 chips, which put me up to 3,995.

Speculating on some unsuited ace hands cost me over the next quarter-hour, so I was down to 3,115 when I got KK as UTG. I min-raised to 160, getting four callers. The flop was 965. SB opened with a 240 bet that got BB to fold. I raised to 1,500, enough to put SB almost all-in but not necessarily scary for the others. They both folded, though, then SB pushed for 1,680. I paid the extra 180 and he showed a gutshot straight and an ace: A7. He got his ace on the turn with A but that gave me four to a flush, which came in the shape of a 9. Up to 5,435 and another bounty.

On the 60/120 big blind with A9. B raises all-in to 683. SB calls. I call. The flop gives me top two pair: A92. Right now I’m beating AxKx. SB checks and I go all-in for 5,142. SB folds, B has QA, and the rest of the hand is irrelevant. I have almost 7,200 chips and another bounty.

Took a big hit on the big blind again at 100/200. Q9 in my hand; not one of my favorites. Action folded to the button, who raised to 700. I called and we were heads-up. The flop looked pretty good—7J7—and I opened with 750. B went all-in for 2,670 and I called. An 8 showed on the turn but the queen-high straight was going to be harder and pointless with TT in B’s hand. The last card missed me: 5 and I was down to about 4K again.

I made a couple of attempts over the next ten minutes but nothing panned out. Finally, I got 44 in UTG3. Action folded to me, I followed Bloch’s instruction on what to do when you’re under 15 blinds and open-raised all-in with the low pair. Everyone but the BB folded. He showed TT. The board ran out 82343 and I came an Ax or a 6x away from a straight, but I was bounty-bait. The other part of the goal on Bloch’s “Tournament Checklist” is to win with that move.

105 minutes, 100 hands. 3,831 players and I made 939th. Four bounties and ROI -39%.

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Just nine hands and nothing of note here. I was down about 300 from a KQ play. My last hand was 88. I raised all-in after a single limp at 30/60 for 1,230. The button isolated me by going all-in for more than 4K., showing KK. By the turn I had a little bit of hope with 6JT9 showing but a queen would give a straight to the kings. Instead, he got trips with a river K.

Four minutes. 1,385 players, finished in 617th.

Full Tilt 90-Player Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Surprised I lasted as long as I did in this game. I was steadily downhill and under the starting stack for forty minutes until a Mutant Jack rescued me. Got AJ in the big blind at 60/120 holding 1,845 chips. UTG called and everyone else folded. I raised to 725. He three-bet to 1,330 and I shoved for 1,845, getting a call. Naturally, he was pleased, he had AA and I looked like a goner. The 455 flop gave me some life, though. I hung in suspended animation through the 8 turn, then T came on the river and I doubled up, leaving UTG with a little more than 3BB.

Got my own comeuppance in short order four hands later when I had KK as HJ. Blinds were up to 80/160 and UTG min-raised. I re-raised to 995. UTG and I were heads-up after some folds, and he went all-in for 3,010. I called with 985 behind and he showed TT. The first card out was T, with 37 making another nice flush draw for me, but it was JJ on the last two streets and I wasn’t the one with a full house.

I managed to build back up to about 1,800 but the blinds were getting big and I was down to 1,240 at 200/400/50 when I tried to make 8K work for me. UTG raised all-in to 800, UTG1 and SB called, and I re-raised all-in. UTG1 called with more than 11.5K left, SB called holding another 27.5K. The board was Q6797 with the big stacks checking it down to the river. Nobody had much of anything 9A for BB, AT for UTG, but SB had a TQ and the queen pair was good enough to take it.

63 minutes, 57 hands, one bounty. 32nd place of 90 players. ROI -85%.

Suckouts

Puffmammy 2010/11 Quarterly Tournament 3

The race for the POY title has entered it’s make-or break period. After D’s win earlier in the week, he had a 33-point lead on me, which was 14% of his total points. There were only five events left in the season, with two of them being a quarterly and the Main Event final, both of which award double points. I haven’t made particularly good showings in them in the past, for some reason, and there was a lot of concern on my part that D would extend his lead past a point where I had any chance to catch up. N was still in the running, as well, only a point behind me after the last game.

The field was larger than we’d had in a while, which meant that even more points were going to be awarded to the top spots. Our table was dominated much of the evening by B, who’s only played with us a few times but who has a good cashing rate. He knocked out K early on and quickly put his doubled stack to work pushing people around. I got a taste of it with Ax9x. B was in the hand with myself and his wife No. The flop had A, but there were two other hearts, as well. The pot was good-sized on the turn with another Ax when I called No’s large bet, but B raised all-in and I couldn’t continue. No went all-in and showed the flush, B had just two pair, but the case Ax came on the river and I would have scooped it all if I’d stayed in (although quad aces would not have been the high hand for the night, there was a Jx-high straight flush on the other table in the first five minutes.

I won one hand that I shouldn’t have shortly after T, one of the new players from the other table, was moved next to me after a couple of knockouts. I pushed with 8x8x on a TxTx9x board and we were all-in before the river. T had me crushed with QxQx and I was going to be out relatively early since we were past the re-buy period. But another 8x came with the river and I sucked a big chunk of his chips away, leaving him to be preyed on by No a bit later.

I pulled down a bunch of chips from B with an Ax6x flush that he apparently didn’t think I had. At one point on the final table I was chip leader.

D was seated to my right as we got short-handed. He was getting a little antsy with a short stack and when I had TxTx he was all-in with a suited one-gapper. I was safe through the flop and turn and actually thought I’d won the hand at first but a 6x on the river made a straight for him and he sprang back to life instead of letting me gain on him gracefully.

I doubled up B, as well, and then I was the short stack going into the end game. My last hand was a club short of a flush, with D taking me out in third place. I fell another five points behind, but my usual showing at the quarterlies would have gained him another dozen or more points, so it could have been a lot worse.

The Nines

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

I ended up entering this tournament twice. There were a total of 435 entries from 295 players. Looking at the payouts, it’s sort of sobering to see how the multi-entry format makes it possible to make it into the money but still be behind at the end. One ninth of the forty-five players who got payouts were anywhere from a couple cents to an entire buyin underwater.

My first entry came to a screeching halt fairly early with KA. I’d fallen to just over 1,000 chips and got some good cards in UTG+3, raising to 125, but got a call from the small blind. The flop was uncoöperative with 3T7 and I tried to push it with a 300 bet but got an all-in from the SB, who still had an inferior hand with their 89 but was in good shape with a larger stack. I called (obviously, or I wouldn’t know their cards) and a 6 made their straight on the turn.

I had a little better luck with the second entry (I don’t make them simultaneously) but it was AK that did me in after a bit longer session. I was in the small blind, UTG+3 limped in, I raised to 600 and it was down to me and the UTG+3 when he called. 4TT on the flop. I made the desperate move of going all-in and he called me—with more than 20K and 8T in his hand, who wouldn’t? I was out—twice!—first in 142nd place and then in 86th. 28 minutes total.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

15 minutes. 140th place out of 264 entries.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

7 minutes. 152nd place out of 223 entries. Not an improvement.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #44 6-Max KO $350,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Play started off slow for me in this game: at least, it felt slow compared to the Rush games. But I really do like the 6-Max format, and the fact that this had knockout bounties and a large purse made it very attractive to me, despite the rather ugly history of my previous miniFTOPS outing.

I’d only lost a hundred or so chips to blinds when I picked up my first win ten minutes into the game with KJ. There was 140 in the pot and a flop of K3K which three players checked around. Another 3 on the turn and I popped out 40 for a bet, getting one call from a player who’d already lost a couple thousand chips. The 9 meant nothing to my full house, so I matched the pot and got a callI don’t know why—from the other player, holding A7.

The same guy got into it with me on the next hand. I had A2 and I was heads-up after raising to 90 pre-flop. The flop was J77, and I bet 75 after a check from the other player. 3 on the turn and we both checked. I got a pair with the river A. He bet 105 and I just called. He could have had another 7x or an Ax with a higher kicker—it wouldn’t have been hard—but no, just T2. It baffled me but I took the chips. He was moved to another table shortly thereafter.

Twenty minutes into the match we were playing five-handed and, I got Q8 in the UTG+1/hijack seat. Sort of an iffy hand—not high enough to make a killer pair, tent ends of a straight—but it’s in The Grid for six-handed play. Blinds were 15/30, UTG folded, and I raised to 75. Small blind called and the flop made the hand iffy no longer: [1h]26. I bet 120 after SB checked, then he called. 8 on the turn and he led out with 180, which I re-raised to 360, getting a call. 4 on the river. He checked and I made a 300 chip bet hoping that seemed weak enough to lure him in. He called and showed 77. I was up over 6,400.

My first bounty came with a player who’d lost all but 600 of his chips half-an-hour in, most in a 3-way battle with him having AxTx double-paired against a guy who was playing a suited queen and drew to a flush (not me). I was in the small blind with 99. UTG and the small stack on the button limped in. I raised to 120, which was met by both the limpers. 386 was the flop and I figured I’d keep the gas on, fairly certain that the small stack was going all-in. UTG dropped out; the button raised all-in for 490. I called and he flipped over 77, which wasn’t good news for him. J and Q on the turn and river. Pushed me up to just about 7K.

More pocket pairs: JJ on the big blind. Button—big stack at the table—raised to 150 and I re-raised to 325. The flop was T67. I bet out 400 and got a call. 8 on the turn improved my hand to a straight draw, which I checked just for fun, provoking an 800 bet. Who wouldn’t call that? The river 3 didn’t make any difference, but I was a little concerned he might have a 9x. I checked and he did, too, but his A6 wasn’t going anywhere and I was the big stack at the table for the next hand, with over 7,600 chips.

The Mutant Jack showed up to propel me over 10K about 45 minutes in. I was in the cutoff position with JA at 30/60. Two players to my left had more chips than I did (both had been brought in from other tables). UTG raised to 180, hijack called, I called, small blind called. 780 in the pot when the 4QA flop showed. UTG bet 780, so I was guessing he had an Ax. I called (Did he have a Kx? Was he already double-paired?). T for the turn. He bet again: 420. I figured: “What the heck, it’s the Mutant Jack.” 7 river. A whole lot of potential double-paired kicker combos out there; he might not need to have anything better than the J. He bet another 600, I gulped and paid the price, but all he had was A2. I only had 10,017, so I didn’t stay above the line for more than a hand.

AT was my last hand before the first break, and I picked up about 500 chips with it, which got me back over the line by 50. I popped off a note to Tomer, who had just arrived in Austria for EPT Snowfest. At the break, the chip average was 6,900, there were 10,900 players (registration was still open), and I was in 1,188th place. Tomer wrote back that he was watching my table while he ate dinner. Yikes!

A quarter-hour after the break, I’d only won one hand—and that was just the blinds. I was down to about 9K when I picked up 7Q on the button. Everything I said about 8Q above goes double for this pair of cards, and it won’t even make the straight. But it is on The Grid for six players, so long as you don’t put too much faith in it. The blinds were 50/100 and hijack raised to 214. I called and the big blind came along. Both stacks were a good bit smaller than me. The flop was a semi-promising TJ4. BB checked, HJ bet 345, I called and BB folded. A K showed on the turn and HJ bet another 645. I had a straight and flush draw but nothing else. I called. 7 on the river, a bet of 1,245 from HJ. I folded and consoled myself with having an 80% win rate at showdown, but I was down to 7,900 chips.

I continued a steady, slow bleed of chips after that, at one point folding five hands in a row after putting out blinds or bets. I was down to 6,000 before I managed to turn things around with JJ that turned into trips on the flop. My real breakthrough came halfway through the second hour when I made the first of two big mistakes.

I was on the button with about 7,200 chips. Both the blinds (which were 80/160) had about 3,500. UTG and cutoff were both over 10K, and hijack had a few hundred more than I did. Both the big stacks stayed out of this hand, but HJ bet 324. With 99 in my hand, I raised to 560. Short-stacked big blind went all-in for 3,561. HJ folded but I thought BB was pushing with a strong ace. Calling would cost me half my stack if I lost but I did it, feeling very stupid when he flipped over QQ. The 653 flop was bleak, but the turn and river were 99 for some major suckage. Another bounty and I was up to 11K. I managed to get over 12K, but within 20 minutes I was back below the 8K mark.

Someone else’s nines didn’t fare so well against me just before second break. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was on the button again, only with AA. UTG—with only about 2,500 chips—raised to 555. I re-raised to 1,080, the blinds got out of the way, and UTG called. The flop was K52, he checked, and I bet 480, fairly sure he was committed to going all-in. He did and I called. 99, but no miracle for him on the turn and river, just 24. That netted me 3K and put me back near 12K. I was falling further behind the leaders, though, with all of this up-and-down motion.

My last bounty came through no action of my own, shortly after the second break. I was big blind with A7, so I was playing, no matter what. Action folded all the way around to the small blind, who had only about 2,200. He went all-in and I called, with more than 9K behind. He flipped K3, the board ran out Q99A8, and I scooped his chips.

Another series of decent cards that didn’t connect followed that, and I’d slipped down to 9,200 twenty minutes after the second break. Blinds were 170/340/25, and I was on the big blind holding 43, which I would normally just toss. Hijack min-raised to 680, everyone else folded, and I thought I’d get fancy and play my low cards to see if they’d connect. We were almost evenly matched, with me having about 400 more chips. The flop was 223! I had a pair! I bet 1,680 (the pot) and got a re-raise for 8,090. I could have stopped there and saved my 6,800 chips but I called and he rolled over 44. If only my hand had been 2x3x. KJ on the turn and river. On my next and last hand I was one card away from a flush and a straight that would have ended in a split pot but my J8 was beat by a 5J that paired the first card on the flop.

140 minutes, 4 bounties, -38% ROI. Finished 6,311 out of 17,102 players.

It’s a busy week in the non-poker sphere but I’m watching Tomer’s progress at Snowfest today; tonight I’ll be trying to get my quest for the puffmammy POY back on track, and this weekend is one of our double-point quarterly events.