Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee (T9,000)
Had a very nice time talking poker with reader BP on Thursday, then he headed over to the Encore $1,800 game that night. I’m bearing down on the big games with 50+ players in preparation for the WSOP starting up this weekend, so I waited to head over until Friday’s $5,000 guarantee.
I was seated in seat 7 at the first red table, with JL—one of the recognizably better regulars at Encore—two seats to my right. I came in fresh off reading Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed and most of Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula 2, so I was ready to work hard.
UTG2 with K♠2♠, I raised over a UTG call to 125. UTG called and we saw a flop of AxJx9x. I continued with a bet of 200, which UTG called. After that, we both checked through a 7x on the turn and 8x on the river. He must have been worried about a ten, because his 7♣8♣ was good and he didn’t bet it.
I called with Q♥8♣ as CO to see a flop of Qx6x4x. UTG2 bet 200 and I raised to 500, getting a call. We both checked to the river and my pair held up against his missed straight draw.
UTG3 holding 6♣9♣. The flop was AxTx8x and it was checked around with four players still in. With a 9x on the turn, I bet 275, which was called around. I folded to a 550 bet on the river 8x.
Half an hour in, down to T8,875 and I’d already missed two opportunities to make two pair on the flop, with Q♥6♦ and 4♠8♠.
Called a 300 raise with Q♦8♦ from BB to see a flop of A♥7♦T♣ but folded to a 550 bet from BTN. Down to T8,325.
The first hand that turned things around at the table for me was 4♦6♦ as CO. I limped to see the flop with several others and saw 2x5xTx, calling a 250 bet with one other to get to the 3x on the turn. HJ bet 500 and I reraised to 1,500, then UTG2 shipped it and I called with the nuts. HJ bailed and UTG2 turned over 2 pair. Ax on the river didn’t help him, and I doubled up to T17,800.
Just a few minutes after that, disaster struck with A♦7♦. I open-raised to 275, getting three calls to the Ax7x8x flop. With a little over 1,000 in the pot, I bet 1,000, hoping to shake off some people but only one dropped out. Qx on the turn and I bet 2,500, getting a call from the first player and an all-in from the other end of the table for 2,900 more. I called that, then the player who’d called me first shoved over the top for almost 8,000. By this time, there’s nearly 25,000 in the pot, and I call the extra 5,000. The original all-in has AxKx, the second all-in has beaten my two pair with AxQx, and a useless card on the river drops me down to somewhere over 6,000 chips.
I look down at K♣Q♠ on my next hand and try something, by open-shoving from early position while the blinds are still just 50/100. It seems like a steam bet, what with only 150 in the pot, and amazingly enough, two players call, including one who’s just sat down into the BTN and the short-stacked BB. Two of us are all-in and the flop has a king on it, along with a ten. Tens on the turn and river give me the full house and before I have a chance to count up after my loss, I’m dragging in a big pile of chips.
A couple minutes later on BB and I three-bet an UTG 800 raise to 2,200. He lays down AxJx and I show him my AxAx. Another KxQx on the BTN and I drag another pot with a raise.
In the same round with 8x8x in HJ, I raise to 800 over three limpets, when the guy in CO who just folded AxJx to me shoves for 5,275. I call and he has 7x7x, which don’t get any better. He has to re-buy.
Seventy minutes into the game, the chip average is 11,739 and I’m sitting on T29,775.
UTG1 with KT I raise to 750. UTG2 calls and BTN shoves. I fold, but UTG2 (who was just busted with sevens ten minutes earlier) calls with AxKx and gets two pair on the turn.
In CO with [an][enticing][K♦Q♦, I raise to 1,100 and get a caller, but fold to an all-in bet on the J♠7♠8♠ flop.
I’ve lost some ground halfway through the second hour, but with T27,325 I’m still more than twice the average stack when we get to the first break.
I get the T6,000 add-on. By the time break ends, there are 110 entries, 38 re-buys, and 96 add-ons, for a pot of $9,800 and a first prize of $2,820, with fourteen places paying.
UTG1 with 5♠6♠, I raise to 800 and get one call. The flop is 6x4x3x and UTG3 bets 1,600, but I raise to 3,200 and he folds. T25,725.
On BB with 3x5x I check through with several others to see the flop roll out Kx3x4x. I bet 1,000 and get raised to 2,500, which I call. Another Kx on the turn makes things look very unpromising and after I check my opponent bets and I fold.
Cautiously called a 1,025 raise from JL holding A♥9♦. The flop was Tx5x5x and U folded to the first bet.
In CO with KxJx I raised to 1,100 over a single limp. HJ called and we saw a flop of QxJx6x. I bet 2,000 for the win.
At the two-hour mark, I was still down from my peak, but had T33,550. Average was still at T19,670 with 97 players left.
Ten minutes into the hour, I picked up 7♣7♦ UTG1. UTG called the 400 blind and I raised to 1,800. SB, who was the second-largest stack at the table next to me, three-bet to 3,800 and BB and UTG got out of the way. I called, and the flop was 6♣8♣T♣. SB checked to me. There was a better than 50% chance he didn’t have a club in his hand; I knew where at least four of them were already. Four of the remaining clubs were smaller than mine. So there were only five cards I was concerned about: 9♣, J♣, Q♣, K♣, and A♣. Even if he had one of those cards in his hand, unless he was paired, he was still behind me. He was behind me even if he had a pair of aces and one of them wasn’t a club. So I shoved with my made pair, my straight, flush, and straight flush draws. He showed A♣Q♥. I was a 54%/46% favorite. With J♣ on the turn, though, I was down to needing the 9♣ to keep from losing, but the river was K♣. The hit was for nearly 30,000 chips.
Down at T3,400 with blinds at 300/600/75. Ten minutes after my big loss, I went all-in from BB with J♦T♦, getting a call from the short-stacked BB who just had me covered. He turned over AxAx. I paired my ten on the flop and had two diamonds on the board by the turn, but the river was no help and I was out.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. 90th of 110 players.
Best wishes to my home league host DV, who’s playing in Monday’s World Series of Poker Event #2, a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, for his second shot at WSOP glory. According to a Tweet from poker stats nut Kevin Mathers, there’s going to be a system in place at this year’s WSOP that lets people track chip counts at the breaks from home, so you can follow your friends.