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.

Falling Out of Orbit

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Super Satellite #1 (4,000 chips)

Poker Mutant is sad. After promising myself that I was going to play this event very ABC, I managed to screw it up and go all-in before the first break.

I took the poison pot with a small raise right off the bat, then played mostly quality hands, managing to pick up some chips with an early AxAx then a set of fives and then losing some hands when I folded after uncooperative flops. I was skating down around 3,000 chips about an hour into the game when I was on BB with seven players in the hand and 69. Two clubs and a six on the flop held me in through the river when I made my flush, and the number of people in the pot from the start made it big enough I was up over 5,000 by the time it was done.

I think I started getting a little squirrelly when I found myself calling a post-flop all-in from a shorter-stacked player that would have cost me about two-thirds my chips if I was wrong. I counted it out and pushed in the chips, he flipped over AxQx and so did I, so we split the few hundred chips in the pot from the blinds and earlier callers.

My last hand went wrong when I bet 1,200 post-flop with AxJx. The flop was Ax4x5x. Two players got out of the way, but a player who’d been moved from a broken table just a few hands earlier put out enough ping 500 chips to put me all-in. I called, and he flipped over the AxQx, which held through the turn (4x) and river (2x). That was the last hand before the break.

Ninety minutes. 171 entries, 35 players receiving tickets to the Main Event.

Freeroll to Nowhere

Despite the fact that it’s supposedly now the top tourist destination in the state (and that’s a state where half a million people a year visit a bear-infested fish hatchery) I’d never been to the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grande Ronde since it opened fifteen years ago.

For one thing, I’m not much of a gambler. Despite the poker fixation, I have no interest in games of pure chance like roulette and slot machines, or card games where you have absolutely no control, like blackjack. I’ve built roulette and slot simulators, I’ve even worked with some of the people who design real electronic systems, and they just don’t interest me.

It’s a long drive down to the Mountain. Sure, it’s the closest real casino (sorry La Center, but “8 tables” doesn’t cut it) to Portland, but it’s more than half-way to the coast. Sixty-five miles by the shortest route, which takes you through the ugly traffic jam around Dundee; more than 80 miles if you go south on I5 to Salem and across.

And I’m not a cash game player. I really prefer tournament play, the bigger the field and the slower the blind structure the better. Without knowing more about the games at Spirit Mountain, there wasn’t any real draw for me.

But this weekend they are running their “Summer Showdown 2011,” a $440 buy-in tournament for 20,000 chips with $100 bounties. It was tempting with the money from the Champions game last week rattling around in my pocket. But it was too big a hunk. However, Friday they were running a $90 satellite tournament, and 20% of the field would get seats in the big game. Easy-peasy, right? I headed down there after getting some work done in the morning.

Spirit Mountain $1/$3 NLHE

Since I arrived more than an hour early (expecting more traffic on the I5 route than I ran into), I bought my tournament entry (getting a bonus of 500 chips) and then stood around a bit. Two tables of $3/$6 Limit Hold’em were running—not my game—but one of the hosts asked me if I wanted to join in a $1/$3 No Limit HE game that was starting up. I bought in for $100.

I picked up about $25 early on, then lost it a bit later after I had to lay down a straight draw to a re-raise. Then I got very lucky with a Q9 and a flop with two hearts on it. There was money from four players in the pot pre-flop, I pushed all-in when another heart showed on the turn and got called, hoping that the other guy didn’t have A or K. As it was, he apparently didn’t even have a flush and I more than doubled up. A little after that I left the table for a bite to eat and cashed for $241. I’d just paid for my satellite buy-in and gas and then some.

30 minutes. ROI: 141%.

Spirit Mountain Summer Showdown 2011 Event 1 (4,600 chips)

It was supposedly an “event” but it was actually just a satellite to the big game on Saturday. The room filled up pretty quickly, a lot of the folks at table 12 where I was seated (table draw was from unlucky table 13) seemed to know each other and the dealer (with whom I discussed the relative “safeness” of the Encore and Aces; with her opinion being that she liked the neighborhood around Aces better—she’s the second person I’ve talked to whose car’s been broken into at Encore). Signing up over an hour early got me an extra 500 chip to go with my Coyote Club 100 bonus. I was feeling upbeat after my performance at the cash game, but I needn’t have bothered.

I lost a couple of smallish pots through the first half-hour of play. The levels were 30 minutes and we started at 25/50 but a couple of players busted out, with everyone looking their way in disdain. Just hold out, dudes! One in five gets through to the big game tomorrow! 20,000 in chips!

The last hand before the blinds went up, I was on the BB and drew 84. There were five limps and the flop rolled out 8x7x4x. One of the mid-position players raised to 300, got a call, and I re-raised to 1,500 with my two pair, only to get a check/all-in from the first actor. Everyone folded out of the way and I made a stupid call. She showed 5x6x for the flopped straight I hadn’t even seen. I was crushed and when the hand was over I had a single 25 chip which went into the small blind.

AxTx managed to quintuple me up, but a few hands later I was completely out.

So, a long drive to Grande Ronde on a sunny day, half-an-hour of good cash game play, and an incredibly stupid move in the first half-hour of a marathon tournament. Driving back to town I was kicking myself for the call but when I ran the numbers I saw that it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it was. Oh, it was still bad—especially when my tournament life was on the line—but I had between a 27% and 30% chance of winning the hand, which was better than I thought it was on the drive back.

30 minutes. -100% ROI.

 

The Big Play

Ace of Spades $10K Guarantee Satellite (1,000 chips)

I’d already bought in for the game but DV hadn’t arrived yet and I decided to play for his seat since they were trying to round up a couple of players for the last satellite. I didn’t keep track of the cards, but I took a chunk of the stack from the woman opposite me early on, then another couple of medium-sized chunks from around the table before. As the match dragged on past the big game’s starting time, the staff was anxious to get the tournament under way and they jumped the blinds up, which led to the quick elimination of several players, with most of the chips going to two guys at the other end of the table. Eventually, they got into a hand and I was heads-up with a significant chip disadvantage. We got moved to another table since the one we were at was needed for the $10K. I managed to get even or a little bit ahead in heads-up by some good cards and some bluffing, then the tournament was starting and since both the other player and I were already bought-in we just chopped the prize money. DV had to pay his own way in to the big game.

6 players, tied for first. +200% ROI.

Ace of Spades $10K Guarantee (7,000 chips)

Right off the bat there was an announced “dealer appreciation fee” of 10% of the buy-in, which  got you an additional 2K in chips. It’s pretty hard to ignore a nearly 30% increase in the stack size for that price, but I felt it was a bit sleazy to not make it known up-front. I hope it’s not something that spreads to other venues.

I sat in seat 1 of table 2 the entire game.

I caught AxAx on my third hand and steadily increased my opening bets against seat 4 in SB. Checked on the river and SB bet 1K. I raised to 2K (we were still at 25/50 for blinds) and he called but the aces held and I was up to about 13K.

Pressing hard with AK won another several hundred shortly thereafter.

Had Kx5x on the BB and caught top pair on the flop. The board straightened out with Kx8x7x6x by the turn, and I hung on. 5x hit the river and I ended up takig down the pot from what was probably a stronger king.

Player 79 and hit second pair on a flop with an Ax. I made a good-sized raise and everyone went away.

Lost about 1K after raising with A7, but I was up to 17K at the 90-minute mark.

Playing QxQx with an Ax on the flop cost me about 3K. I made up for it playing QxTx in a hand with five players in for 800 pre-flop. The first cards were KxJx8x and I bet out 1,500, which got folds from everyone.

Lost a big hand with AKx when my straight and flush draws didn’t make it and a full house did.

At two hours into the game I was down a bit, to 15,650, but made it to 22K by the second break.

I’d played 7x7x and stayed in with a board of 3xAx6x3x. When 7x hit the river, a short stack in seat 8 went all-in and I called him, with my full house being best hand.

DV wasn’t doing so well, down to about 10bb. After this, no players were allowed to rebuy, I did the add-on for 50% of the buy-in and 7K in chips (not nearly as good a deal as the “dealer appreciation”).

Open-raised to 1,500 with AxQx and took the blinds on one hand, then lost 3,500 calling an open-raise by seat 4 (who had speedily recovered from our initial meeting) with KxJx when the flop went nowhere. KxJx lost me another K shortly thereafter, and perhaps I should have noticed a pattern here.

Blinds were up to 300/600, I raised to 1,500 with AxJ and got three calls. Everyone checked to the river and nobody got anything. Nobody else even had an ace.

Ax7x again cost me 1,500 after I opened and nothing hit on the flop.

My last hand was KxJx. A new player had been moved into seat 2 and taken out two from our table in a short span. I raised after getting top pair with a Kx on the flop, he went all-in, I called and he showed AxKx, which held through the river.

DV actually laster a while longer than I did, but was still out well before the money.

4 hours. Placed around 50th in a field of 79. -100% ROI (-180% buy-in including door, dealer appreciation, and add-on).

Aces Players Club 1 Re-Buy (7,000 chips)

Took in 800 early on pairing my nine with 9xTx on the flop. Ditto with AxJx and jacks. Forty minutes in I was up to about 9,300.

4x5x in the BB raised and checked down to the river won me 1K when my paired 4x was the best hand. By the first break I had crept up to 10,400.

A lucky pull with 8T on BB made me over 5K when I hit a pair of tens with a straight draw on the board as well. that severely hurt the player three seats to my right, but he came back with an all-in against my raise with 8x8x. I called, he showed AxJx, another 8x came on the turn, and he never paired but the rest of the board made him a jack-high straight and he took back several thousand.

Only about 10,800 at the 160-minute mark.

I played KxQx strong but two seats to my left the big stack at the table went all-in after the flop JxTx8x and I didn’t pull the trigger, losing over 6K. Busted out on the next hand when I called an all-in from the guy who’d busted my eights, and he showed AxQx against my AxJx. Both of us paired our non-ace cards, but that wasn’t good for me.

2.25 hours. Placed 16th or 17th in a field of 23. -100% ROI (-120% buy-in including door).

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.

The Rock

Full Tilt Onyx Cup Turbo Super Satellite (1,500 chips)

There were only two entrants to this game when I ran across it and it had a guaranteed ticket to the Onyx Satellite, so it was awfully attractive. It only allowed registration for the first two levels, by the twentieth hand a total of seven players had joined, although a couple were already gone by that point.

I malingered near the starting stack size for over thirty hands, briefly holding the lead when 1,700 chips could hold the lead, but down to 1,295 at the twenty-minute mark. There were five players at the table with the chip leader (BB) at 3,185 and blinds were 30/60. I held 78 in CO and limped. SB limped, BB raised to 240, and I decided to call, as did SB. I got middle pair on the 5J7 flop. BB bet 360, I called, SB called. Turn was J. Both the players ahead of me checked and I bet 200, hoping nobody had a Jx. Both called. River was 2. Everyone checked. SB had a busted flush draw and two pair with 23; BB just had the pair on the board and AT. My better two pair won the pot of 2,400 and made me chip leader with 2,895.

The chip lead had shifted to the player on my left nine hands later at 40/80. CO limped, I raised to 200 with TJ, SB and CO called. J47 made me top pair on the flop, and I bet 350 after checks from SB and CO. CO was the only caller. The turn was K and both of us checked. A 7 for the river induced a bet of 800 from CO but I wasn’t convinced and made the call. He showed four to a straight with 65. I took the pot and he was left with just 325 chips. I had 3,695, just 130 chips behind the lead.

The two smallest stacks were both eliminated just three hands later by a pair of queens held by the third-ranked player. The field was close, ranging from only 3,000 to 3,700 for the three of us. Shortly after that, the same player took out the player who’d had the chip lead the longest, with a set of nines. We went into heads-up at 50/100 with stack of 3,295 (me) and 7,205.

The first hand of heads-up couldn’t have gone better for me. I was BB, holding 24 and he just called, so I didn’t toss the hand, which was great because the flop was 563, giving me a straight. I bet the pot—200—and he followed along. T hit the turn and I doubled the pot again: 600. Once again he came along. The 7 on the river extended my straight and I went all-in for 2,395. He called and showed 97. If a 4x or an 8x had hit the board, I would have been in deep trouble (or chopped the pot, at best) but instead I took the chip lead with 6,590 vs. 3,910.

I only managed to hold onto the lead for about eight hands, though. I had the button and A9 when we both put in 400 and went to the flop, which was AJ6. He bet a modest 100 and I raised all-in, which was what he was hoping for. He called with 2,660 and flipped over QA. He evene paired his kicker on the turn with Q, and then the tables were turned: 4,380 vs. 6,120.

I lost another 1,700 a bit later chasing a flush with Q7. The board was 2J3J and I’d opened after the turn with 1,000, but  he went all-in and I just couldn’t pull the trigger to hope for a diamond. That brought me down to just over 3,000.

Even the Mutant Jack two hands in a row couldn’t stop the relentless chipping away of my stack. I had JA on the button at 60/120, raised to 300 and he folded. Same exact cards on the next hand, he raises to 360 and I go all-in, then he folds. All told, I profit just 480 chips off the diamond Mutant Jacks. and I lose that profit a couple hands later with TA.

Less than two minutes after the Mutant Jacks appeared, I’m down to 1,850, on the button with QA. I open-raise to 420 and get a call. The flop is 5TK. I have an inside straight draw, a backdoor second-nut flush draw, an over card, even the potential for a royal flush. I go all-in after a check from the big stack, and he shows K3 after he calls. There’s 3,820 in the pot and I’d still be at a 7:4 disadvantage if I win. Of course, I don’t, an 8 shows on the turn and he even double-pairs on the river with 3.

Seven players. Finished second. 33 minutes, 79 hands, ROI -81%.

The Onyx Cup slips away for another year….

The Brick

Mostly red across the board for the past couple days as I find myself falling into the bad habit of thinking people are bluffing more often than they actually are.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Downhill all the way for twenty minutes. Lots of aces in my hands (4 out of 36) but nothing connected. Biggest loss was with A8 and an eight-high open-ended straight draw on the flop. Didn’t make it, though, and I was out in 1,515th of 2,080.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Started off very well here. Joined a few minutes into the game so my first hand was in the big blind (15/30) with a normally unplayable K7. There were only seven players at the table at the time. There were two limpers and I let it run. I hit middle pair with Q67 and decided to play with it a bit so I bet 45. One of the limpers folded and the other raised to 150, which I called. Another 6 on the river and I decided I needed to try to end it so I bet 120 but I got a call from the other side. The river was 2. I checked to see what he had and he bet 540. A 6x beat but I figured it was worth a look so I plopped down a third of my stack to see 45 with busted flush and open-ended straight draws. So that was a nice first hand.

Just a few hands later I picked up KQ in the cutoff. I limped in, as did the button and small blind, and there were four to the flop. 82Q didn’t have a lot of possibilities (apart from a flush draw); when action got to me I bet 90 on my queens, getting calls from the button and big blind. I made two pair with K on the turn, which was a good thing. My bet this time was 400 and I got an all-in call from the button that folded the big blind. I had it covered by 1K, and it was a bounty tournament, after all, so I called. The button had had me until the king showed up, with 8Q; now the smaller of two pairs. Got a bounty and was up to 4,800 chips at the start of hand 5.

The last hand was a whopper. I had A3 in the big blind and was heads-up pre-flop with the biggest stack at the table, with about 9K vs. my 4,900. I got two pair on a 7A3 flop. Not much more than you could ask for there, eh? The big stack bets 120, and I figure he’s got some sort of ace, but I’ve got AxKx beat. I raise him to 510 and he calls. Now things look a little diceier because the turn is K. I’ve still got most ace combinations beat, but there is a massive flush draw on the board. I check. Big stack bets out 1,140 after I check. This is the point where I should tell myself: “You still have 4,355 chips, you’ve only got 570 in the pot. Just stay in the tournament.” I call instead. Q on the turn.

I check again and the big stack shoves in, essentially doubling the pot, since the pot is just a little larger than my stack. I call. Then he turns over 33, a hand I wasn’t even thinking of and which had me walloped from the turn.

Gone in a little over half an hour. 1,725th place out of 1,770 players.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Off to a good start with a double-up via QJ giving me a higher straight on hand four. Then the Mutant Jack AJ cut me in half when AQ and I both double-paired—him on the turn and me, uselessly, on the river. Two hands later I had QA and ran into AK, and lost another 1,500 chips.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

Overplayed a TT hand. Our table had six seated at the 120/240 level and hijack raised my small blind to 650. I re-raised to 1,060 and got a call. Then a K hit on the flop and I checked, only to be met with a 720 bet. Raised all-in hoping he just had an ace. No such luck: K7 and he even double-paired on the river. My TT on the next hand didn’t do any better and I was out in 11th.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Popped up on the first hand with 99, then again with an almost identical 99 an hour into the match. Pocket JJ were the harbinger of doom for this game, though, with a Q in the hole connecting with the QA of another player. I managed to crawl up from 400 to 1,900 before pocket QQ knocked me back down to less than 150 and the door. 917 of 2,800.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

The first 20 hands were good, with my own QQ filling a king-high straight and doubling me to 4,600. Hung around there for a little bit then stupidcalled someone with a flush and lost over 3,000 chips.

Full Tilt $18,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Over on the fourth hand with TT. There was a T on the flop but K on the river gave KK a better set. Still,

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

My penchant for pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory strikes once again. I double up to 3,300 on hand five with KK, putting me in the top position in the tournament. I stay there for about 20 minutes as eliminations become less frequent, then lose almost 1,000 in four consecutive hands just to see the flop with decent cards that just don’t pan out. I try to get fancy with 97 in the 150/300 big blind when the button raises all-in to 675 and the small blind calls. I go along for the ride and the board gives me a gutshot straight draw: K65. I shouldn’t call the 900 bet of the big blind and we both check our way through the turn (2) and river (5). Button had middle pair on the flop: A6. I’m out on the next hand with QT and an open-ended straight draw on the flop. 10th place gets me another chance at Step 1.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (1,500 chips)

My eighth hand K8 makes top pair on the flop and another player and I go to the mats only to have him outkick me with K9.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Made it up to 6,600 by twenty minutes in and more or less glided into the Step 2 ticket.

Encore Club (5,000 chips)

Only eleven players in the game makes my table five-handed and play is slow and methodical, with only one rebuy, yet there’s a steady bleeding of chips in the direction of just a couple of the players. I manage to take a couple of pots but I’m down a bit when we consolidate to a ten-player table. After that action heats up and I’m eliminated 9th of 11.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Corkscrewed in after just seven minutes.

Full Tilt The Ferguson (1,500 chips)

Ditto.

Full Tilt Step 2 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

Had my last chips taken by a 5x7x.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #20 $125,000 Guarantee Rush (4,000 chips)

Could this have gone any worse? Sixth hand in I get AK. The flop is 4QA and I’m head-up. I bet 150 after the flop and get raised to 320, which I call. 8 shows up on the turn, so I’ve got an ace pair with a high kicker and the nut flush draw. The other player bets 860 and I idiotically go all-in for 3,600. He calls, shows QA for two pair, a 2 shows on the river and I’m down to 30 chips which are gone the next hand.

Full Tilt $18,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Got off to an early start—although I joined the game half an hour in—with 87 in the big blind. Three limpers. The flop’s good for both straight and flush possibilities: T29 and I check to see what the mood is. Hijack—with more than 10K in his stack—bets 200 and I’m the only caller. The turn makes my flush with Q and I bet 200, getting a raise to 900. I go all-in for 1,250 total and get a call. He shows 8J for a straight but he’s beat. I pick up another 1,600 just five hands down the road.

My stack hovers around 5K for twenty minutes or so until my AQ runs into a set of sixes and I’m down to 1,500. I double up then next hand beating 4x4x by pairing the smaller part of my A5 but lose the whole thing with KA on the next hand to 53 and a set of fives and TT splitting portions of my stack.

Diamonds Are Forever

Cake Irish Open Quarter-Final Satellite (1,000 chips)

I guess I still have my heart set on going to Dublin in April. There are so few people playing on Cake that, comparatively, it’s actually harder to make it the next level of play in these contests. A lot of the Quarter-Final events (eight a day) get cancelled for lack of players, and even some of the ones that run don’t award tickets to the Semis, because there’s no guarantee. So I entered this Q-F satellite to see if I could maximize my investment.

AK about ten minutes in put me over 2,600 when I called a short-stack all-in on a 44J flop and caught A on the turn to beat jacks-up. My own pocket pair of JJ almost felted me seven hands later, when I called another all-in and he got his second ace on the flop.

I managed to work my way back up with hands like AQ and 7A and 99. A little over an hour into the game I’d made it to the 4,500 chip mark, just as the final table was consolidated. A lay-down with TA on a Broadway draw that went as far as the turn turned annoying when the other guy flashed his unpaired 9K. I went out on a T9 hand with an unfilled open-ended straight and four-flush against an ace-high caller. Got sixth place and a sub-min cash leftover prize for 100 minutes of play. ROI of -27%.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Did my usual brief submarining in this event, skimming just below the starting stack while I tested for the right opportunity and hoping that it actually showed up. Eight minutes in, I picked up JT. I was down to 1,070 after losing blinds and bets on a couple of suited QxKx hands. Action folded to me in the hijack and I min-raised to 60. The button—big stack at the table with more than 3,500 chips—raised to 150. The big blind called, as did I. I had top pair on the T36 flop and bet 300  after a check from the big blind. Button raised to 615 and I called, leaving 300 back. The blind got out of the way. I checked after a Q on the turn and the button put me all-in to call. I didn’t figure the queen made much of a difference to his hand and called. I double-paired with J on the river and the button turned over 99, behind from the flop.

A lucky AA just four hands later more than doubled me up to more than 5K when I took out two players with  JJ and QA. Three hands after that a tentative excursion with A2 made trips on the QAA flop and both other players to the flop having queens kept them on the line through the river.

I took some hits that brought me down from more than 3K fro 6,500, then started building again. An AJ Mutant Jack at the 40-minute mark netted me 4,400 and put me over 10K for the first time, but only by making me sweat for the river A to beat the pocket QQ of the all-in I called.

Just before the first break, a relatively innocuous-looking K6 ended up in my hand in the cutoff position. Blinds were 80/160. The hijack, with called. I called, and everyone behind me limped in, too. The flop was 42K and I had top pair as well as a 2nd nut flush draw (and potential straight flush). The blinds and hijack checked and I made a small bet of 240. Button folded, small blind called, and everyone else got out of the way. The 7 hits on the turn. There’s 1,300 in the pot. I can’t make a straight flush any more but with me holding the 6. the only way he can is if he’s got A5—and if he’s got the ace and can make any flush he beats me. He can’t have a full house yet. His stack is 3,500, I’ve got him covered by almost 10K. He checks and I feign weakness with a bet of 240. He calls. Maybe he’s got a single club and he’s hoping for a fourth on the board. Maybe he thinks the same of me. The T shows on the river. There’s no chance of a full house. He has to have two clubs with an ace to beat me. He bets 650 and I raise to put him all-in. He has a flush but it’s J5 and I’m sitting just under 18K while the break is on.

The graph shows a little blip after things start back up when I take a couple of hits. A call against a 4K stack goes awry when he has pocket KK and I only have JJ in mine and four to a straight on the board. Losing another 1,500 on the next hand with AJ busts me down to 11K, but the third monster in a row—AK—almost doubles me up when I call two all-ins holding AJ and 99 then get a KQK flop that stays good through the river.

The most notable event of this match was a mechanical mistake on my part. The game had been going for about 300 hands, we were 100 minutes in (it’s Rush poker). The blinds were 200/400/50 and I was on the button with J9 and 39K in chips, 3rd at the table in stack size. UTG+3 limped, the hijack (#2 stack with 49K) raised to 1,600. I called, thinking it might be a largish pot and I might be able to take it if the cards came out in the middle ranks. The big blind (13K, the smallest at the table) called and UTG+3 (25K) was along for the ride. The flop was TQ5 which didn’t do much for my hearts but did give me an open-ended straight draw. There were two checks and the big stack bet 4K. I called, along with the blind and UTG+3 folded. Another spade dropped on the turn: 5, pairing the board, as well. The small-stacked big blind went all-in, getting a call from the big stack. I did not want to call a bet for a third of my stack here, even with 5,600 already in the pot. Potential flush on the board, full house possibilities—heck, just a 5x had me beat—but I didn’t pay close enough attention to my cursor and—honest— called instead of folding. 7 showed up on the river, the short stack had my rank but in diamonds (J9, and the big stack had my flush with a bigger card 6Q that made top pair on the board and took a profit of 32K.

After that I struggled along for another 100 hands, making some ground and then losing it, briefly making it over 30K again but having trouble keeping ahead of the blinds. My last hand was 140 minutes into the game. I was the short stack in the big blind at 500/1,000/125, with 25K in chips. My cards were another A2. UTG+3 min-raised, hijack called, I called, and the big blind folded. The flop was 5QJ, not particularly good for me but I put in a bet of 1,500 to test the waters and got called by both other players. Another diamond (5) on the turn told me to push but I should have taken another look at the board before I did that because I still would have had ten big blinds deep in the tournament. I bet 2,000 and was called by UTG+3, but got a raise to 12,000 from the hijack. I called, along with UTG+3. I thought I was so special when the 3 showed up on the river and went all-in for 9,335. UTG+3 got out of the way with 40K but the hijack showed his JJ for a full house and took in 42K.

34th place out of 1,219 entries. ROI of 232%. Top prize in the tournament was about 72 times what I made.

Full Tilt MiniFTOPS Event #1 (5,000 chips)

I took the profit I made from the Rush tournament and put it into the first event of the series.

Play went slowly for me for over an hour. I’d dropped almost 2,000 chips, almost steadily, until about the 90th hand. My best hand—AQ—met absolutely no resistance and got me 60 chips of blinds; nothing else I had made more than a couple hundred. I was watching pros bust out right and left; WSOP Main Event 3rd-place finisher Joseph Cheong was gone before I was.

Finally, I managed to double up by doing something stupid. I had AQ and 750 in the 1,950 pot heads-up on a flop of J35. My opponent checked, I bet 220, and he went all-in with a larger stack than mine. I called with 2,220 and crossed my fingers and Q shoed on the turn, with T on the river. He turned over JK. No flush. I was up to 6,390. I lost a bit when I was bluffed off QQ with a board holding an ace, a pair of 8s and three spades. To rub it in, the guy showed a garbage JQ. He busted out thirteen hands later, though.

I had a little lull before I started building back up, but I was nowhere near the chip average. Then my flushing problem again reared its ugly head. I called a min-raise to 400 from the button with 9A. Both the blinds were in, as well as UTG+2, who’d made the raise. The flop was 677 and UTG+2 bet 1,000. I called. I probably should have raised but I doubt that would have done anything for me except lose me more money. The blinds folded and T hit the turn. I had a gut-shot straight draw to go with my nut flush draw. He bet another 2,000 and I had to call. But it was not to be. 6 on the river. He showed JJ—even a river ace would have beaten him—and I was down to 4K.

I turned diamonds into chips with JT about ten minutes later, though. I had about 3,500 in the cutoff at 120/24/25 and called a raise to 480 from UTG+2. A call from the big blind meant there were three of us to the flop. I had a gut-shot straight draw with 48Q and decided to take a stab at it with a 500 bet when both players ahead of me checked. Only UTG+2 called. The turn was 2 and I just checked the action through to the river, which was J. UTG+2 had about 1,500 more than me and bet out nearly half his stack with 1,800. I raised all-in to 2,500, not believing he had the queen. Then he folded and I was up over 7K again.

That was brief, as I dipped down below the starting stack again before recovering to almost 9K with K6 (more diamonds!) It was an incredibly ugly hand. I called the 280 big blind (holding 5,300 behind) from UTG+2. The button raised to 840, with another 4,400. The large stack (21K) at the table in the big blind called the raise, and when I did the same there were three to a flop of 4TK. The big stack checked and I opened with 750 to see if that would protect my pair. It did, but only marginally. After the button called the big stack folded, which probably saved me on this one.

With 2 on the turn, the hand was decidedly unfriendly to my diamonds, but I put out a bet of 560 into the pot of 4,385 and got a call. The 5 hit the river. I decided to see what the button would do and checked. Check. He had QJ for an open-ended straight draw but no spade and my kings were best.

It was a decidedly un-premium diamond hand just four deals later that got me to my peak in the tournament. I had Q2 in the small blind with three limpers behind me and over 8K in chips, so I put in another 140 chips. The big blind checked and five players got to the 384 flop. I had third nut flush draw in first position to act, so I bet 420. Only the big blind and hijack called. The K gave me the second nut flush. The A was still out there potentially, so I only opened with 560. It was down to me and the hijack. T on the river. No four of a kind or full house possibilities. The only thing that could beat me was a hand with two diamonds including the ace. I made another 560 bet. The hijack raised to 2,240 and I called, figuring I had another 5K if he had the better flush. He had the A but his second card was only a J, so I was up to 13.5K.

It wasn’t for long, though. Just seven minutes later I was dealt AK in the small blind. UTG+1 raised to 777 and there were four callers, including the hijack and both us blinds.

The flop was 535. I should have taken the story of the earlier A to heart and left it alone—since I had no connection to the cards on the board—but instead I opened with a 510 bet. UTG+1 dropped out but three of us saw the 4 on the turn. A gut-shot straight draw!

I really need to pay more attention to pairs on the board.

I checked, to be sneaky. The big blind checked. Hijack bet 1,020 which only I called. I made a pair with the K on the river. I bet about 10% of the 6,903 pot. Then the hijack went all in for far more than I had. He was just bluffing, right? I called.

33 in his hand. Full house since the flop. If only I’d had 53 instead.

142 minutes of play, made it to 12,140th place in a field of 27,539 (top 45th percentile). Not a stellar showing but I outlasted more than half the field.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Doubled up at the five-minute mark withKA. Then I got only minimal return when a larger stack shoved all-in on the turn and was called by me and a start-size stack. I had KQ with the board showing QK22 for two pair; the big stack had KA for just kings and twos; the small stack had 7A for a flush draw. If there had to be a diamond, I wanted it to be the queen; I didn’t want an ace to counterfeit my queens; I could have lived with another two to chop. But the river was the 4. The small stack tripled up to 4,300 and I made a profit of 150 chips.

The Mutant Jack failed me a little while later. AJ in the small blind with 2,600 chips, #2 stack at the table. Min-raise to 80 from UTG+2, I re-raise to 200, big blind calls, and UTG+2 is in. The flop’s 4TJ. I bet 600, everyone falls into my trap and calls. T on the turn. I have two pair with top kicker. I’m all-in. Big blind calls but he’s about 1,300 short. UTG+2 folds. QK for an open-ended straight draw. River’s 9. Well, I still have 1,275. At least, I do until QA slams into AA and drops me below 300. I battle back up over 1,000 before 88 cuts me down in the 21st minute. 357th place out of 1,137 entrants.

Cake Poker Roma 6-Max

Played some short-handed cash game to kill some time. Killed 80¢ faster than I killed time.

Full Tilt Satellite to MiniFTOPS #2 (300 chips)

Didn’t I say something about not playing Super Turbo tournaments? Shouldn’t that go double (at least) for Omaha Hi/Lo Super Turbo satellites? I wanted to see if I could get in to the $50K Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament without paying the full entry fee—not having played anywhere near as much Omaha as Hold’em—and figured this would be a chance to see how I fared.

I did well almost right off the bat. On the third hand I was on the small blind and got J64T. There were four limpers (including myself) and the big blind checked. The flop came out 7Q8 leaving me needing 9x for a queen-high straight. There were four checks and a bet of 150—half everyone’s stack— from UTG+3. I called and two other players were in, too. A T on the turn cinched it up for me. I went all-in. UTG called, having a little bit over my stack.  UTG+1 re-raised all-in, also having me covered, followed by an all-in call by UTG+3 and a call from UTG. The river was 9.

There was 1,142 in the main pot with a side pot of 66. My queen-high straight was the best hand and I got the main pot but the side pot went to UTG, with 6396 for a ten-high straight. No low hand.

I lost most of it in short order. AK5T in my hand. There’s a 4 and a 3 on the board by the turn and I’m hoping for a deuce on the river. But someone else makes it and takes both high and low pots and I’m back down to starting stack with the blinds at 20/40.

Two pair on the flop knocks me down to 17 chips but I manage to triple that up with a different two pair the next hand. It all goes away then. 81st out of 155.

Puffmammy Tournament 20 (1,500 chips)

What a mess. I was worried that if I missed the game tonight I’d fall too far behind D to realistically catch up. The good news is that he only gained two points on me. The bad news is that I could have skipped the game to see Stan Ridgway, lost four instead of two points and been three buy-ins and an add-on richer.

Two ugly points about the night. I was all in after the flop for, I think, the second time of the night. Playing against W, who’s typically pretty loose. I had AxQx and W flips Ax2x There’s an ace on the board. Everything goes fine until the river when another two shows up and I’m re-buying.

Then, just before the end of the re-buy period, I’ve got most of my stack in the pot. I can’t re-buy again but there’s an add-on available at the break coming up. I started the hand with AxTx and flopped KxQx but nothing showed on the turn and there are two large stacks all-in in front of me. If I don’t catch my card, I’m out first for the night. If I fold, I’ve got a paltry stack that I can almost double with the 500 chips. I fold and the Jx shows on the river. G wins the hand with a king-high straight and I kick myself for the rest of the night as my little chips dwindle away. No recovery this night.

Made it to see Stan, though.

February Wrapped Up

Full Tilt $12,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

The buy-in for this tournament was low, and I’m trying to get a strategy worked out for the Rush tournaments, so I entered this even though I tend to avoid the rebuy games. Three of the players at the table double-stacked themselves before the first hand began, but the size of the guarantee was good. My play wasn’t, though. Hand nine and I had KT. UTG raises to 60 and I call and we’re heads-up. The flop gives me two pair: 2K2. UTG bets 165, I pop him to 660 and he three-bets to 8K. I only have 720 left. He could have the other two kings, he could have a one of the other twos or he could have the two aces he shows when I call.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

This game doesn’t have either the lows or the highs of the previous Midnight Madness. Sure, I dip down below 1,000 chips a couple of times in the early levels, but nothing catches fire and by the time I pick up KA in the big blind at 150/300/25, I’ve dropped from 8,300 to 2,650 in twenty hands. The small blind shoves and puts me all-in to call, which I do. He’s got JQ and pairs the queen on the turn. 120 minutes and I go out in 645th place of 3,707.

Cake Irish Open 2011 Quarter-Final Freezeout (2,000 chips)

This month’s Irish Open Finals snuck up on me. I had intended to try to qualify in one of the weekly Semi-Finals earlier in the month so that I wouldn’t be playing the Semi the same day as the Final, since it looks like the ticket winners have to join after the match has begun. Anyway, this wasn’t a game that would qualify me for anything. I played for 50 minutes and briefly broke 3,000 chips, finishing 14th of 18.

Full Tilt $19,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

This could have gone well but I got overconfident with pocket TT after nearly quadrupling my stack over 20 minutes. I was in the small blind at 60/120 and UTG raised to 480. I called and was heads-up, relatively confident with a flop of 878.  I shouldn’t have been, though. I bet 1,000 and got a call. J came on the turn, giving me a flush draw and a potential straight flush. I checked and UTG bet it all, putting me all in if I called. Of course I did. Unfortunately, he had T8 for a set of eights from the flop. He had one of the tens I needed (which would give him a full house but me a better full house). The river was 7, giving him an unnecessary improvement to a full house. I was out 377th of 557.

Cake Irish Open 2011 Quarter-Final Freezeout (2,000 chips)

Another game that goes nowhere but down. Out in 12th of 15 players.

Cake Irish Open 2011 Quarter-Final Freezeout (2,000 chips)

Is my heart in these? 11th place of 12 players.

Cake Irish Open 2011 Quarter-Final Freezeout (2,000 chips)

Something screws up on my computer at the last minute and I can’t get out of this match before it begins. Only six players sign up and there’s no semi-final ticket awarded, just cash distribution. Another pair of tens is my final hand.

Cake Irish Open 2011 Semi-Final (3,000 chips)

I tote up and enter the Semi directly. Things get off to a decent beginning and by the first break I’m up to 5,200, actually in the prize ticket zone. Not great but not under the starting stack. Another hour and I have slipped below that number, to 2,500 chips. Not where you want to be after two hours of play.

There are seven players at my table. There’s a stack of 14K to my right, three stacks between 9K and 11K, and a couple of about 5K. I’ve actually made it to the last two tables out of 45 players (Cake runs 10-player tables). There are eight tickets being awarded to the Final, which just started. Blinds are 150/300/30 and I raise to 600 with 33. One of the 5K stacks goes all-in. I call and he’s got KK. A 3 is the first card on the flop, the rest of the cards go 8J35. He’s got a king-high flush but I’ve got quad threes. My Expected Value graph goes crashing through the floor but I more than double my anemic stack. I’m still at barely above half the chip average.

My last hand in the match is a better starter but it isn’t nearly as lucky. I’m heads-up with another player after calling his 750 raise from the small blind in the same level as the above hand. I’ve got JQ on a board of K3T for a straight draw. I bet 900 after the flop and get a raise that puts me all-in. Or I can stay with the 4K I’ve got behind. I call. He’s got AK. An 8 and 7 appear but no ace or nine. Just over two hours, 15th place out of 45 players.

Cake Daily $700 Guarantee Turbo (4,000 chips)

This is almost a classic good trend for a tournament. I probed for a chance to build my stack through the first half hour, losing blinds and one small showdown. I doubled up to 5,800 with a AJ Mutant Jack, then won another 2,900 with JQ three hands later.

An hour into the match I had over 15K, after a pocket 88 made a set on the flop then a back door full house that won me almost 7K. A dozen hands more and I was over 23K. At the ninety-minute mark I was over 32K. I almost went out going all-in with 28K in chips (with blinds at 3,000/6,000/300) and QA against JJ pre-flop; luckily the river card was Q.

I wasn’t so lucky a few minutes later when I put AK up against A6. I was in the big blind at 2,000/4,000/400, there was a raise from the cutoff to 10,600, and I re-raised to 17,200, which was called. The 276 flop hit the six and he went all-in, having me covered by 20K or so. I called and lost. 123 minutes, 16th place of 174 players, ROI 90%.

It all went south on Hand 133.

Cake $1,000 Guarantee Turbo 6-Max (3,000 chips)

I managed to build well in the first hour of this match but hit a rough patch and lost three big hands that whittled my stack from 14K to 5K. Then I had the bad luck to think that my AT was the strongest hand of the two players who went to a T8K flop only to find that it was actually the guy with the other two tens in his hand. 64th of 211 players.