The Recovery Act

Encore Club (5,000 chips)

A late game on the Westside seemed like a nice way to relax at the end of the day. The first hour started off quite well. A player two seats to my right was heads down over his chips and shoving late into the hand what seemed like a little too frequently. I picked up [ax 8x] and we played cautiously, with me catching third pair on the turn. He made a big bet on the river and I called with my eights, which were better than anything he had. That seemed to put a stop to the endless raising.

Got really lucky and picked up [ax ax] in late position, just watching people put money in, re-raised it well but not too much and was pleasantly surprised when there was an all-in to my left that let me push. The aces held up, I forced a re-buy, and things were looking good.

A couple of missed opportunities. Even with the chips I had I was loath to call some large bets with [3x 3x] in my hand but was really wishing I had when a [3x] dropped on the river, with that set beating the two pair that won the hand. A [6x 9x] I dropped pre-flop would have made a [tx].

Another player fell victim to my play while I was speculating with [3d 5d]. I had the flush by the turn, he didn’t seem to believe me, and the diamonds double-crossed him.

I was one of the bigger stacks at the table toward the end of the hour when I got [kx kx]. I was in seat #4 and the guy in seat #1 had been playing seriously and aggressively but he was well behind me. We were all-in before the river and the best he had was a gutshot straight draw to 8, but he made it and my kings were taken to the cleaners for 7,600.

Going into the break, I had 12,700 chips. I would have had about 30K if I’d won that last hand. From here on, it was harder going and almost all downhill, doing things like raising to 1,200 with [ax tx] only to have to fold when other stacks went all-in.

Got knocked down to 8,700 when I called a small stack all-in. We were heads-up but his [kx kx] held up against my [ax 9x]. I picked up blinds and calls with a suited [ax kx] all-in raise.

My big regret of the night? Laying down a [4x 5x] pre-flop from the big blind at 400/800 with just a 1,000 raise on top. There were five callers, the flop was [ax 5x 4x], and many thousands of chips went in before the river when another [5x] was down. My full house would have been best. I can remember before tossing the cards thinking: “If only they were suited….”

Just 8,300 by the second break. Seat #6 had 40,500. My notes from the Tournament Director screen showed there were 14 of 33 players still in play. There were 10 re-buys, and the total pot was $1,075, paying 5 places.

I was out before consolidation to the final table, in 11th or 12th place. I had [tx tx] and re-raised all-in but got called by seat #1 who had enough chips he wouldn’t notice a loss. He showed very low connectors but managed to pull a [6x]-high straight.

D and I had discussed playing in some of the $40 satellites to the Mizrachi/Levy $340 tournament this weekend, but my schedule just wasn’t working out for it.

In other news, @pokermutant is now followed on Twitter by Portland-based online player Dusty “Leatherass” Schmidt and I’ve got copies ordered of his Don’t Listen To Phil Hellmuth: Correcting The 50 Worst Pieces Of Poker Advice You’ve Ever Heard and Treat Your Poker Like A Business (although I’m rather hoping my poker playing is more successful than the various business ventures I’ve been involved in).


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 [ax 9x]. B was in the hand with myself and his wife No. The flop had [ah], 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 [8x 8x] on a [tx tx 9x] board and we were all-in before the river. T had me crushed with [qx qx] 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 [ax 6x] 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 [tx tx] 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.

Essen Gee

Continuing on with the Andy Bloch “Tournament Checklist” Challenge at Full Tilt Academy.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Technically, this isn’t a turbo tournament, but the levels are only six minutes long, so you’re going to be seeing the blinds go up almost every time they come around. Watch your back.

I was on my second small blind (at 20/40) when I got [ac qs]. Two players called and I raised to 120, getting calls from everyone but the big blind. The flop was [ah tc as] and everyone checked. The [jd] on the turn gave a potential straight in addition to a possible full house, so I bet the pot: 400. Everyone folded.

Raised to 125 with [kd qc] a few hands later (with the blinds up to 25/50) and the only caller was the big blind who had a stack of about 3,000, twice my size. The flop was [ah 2s 2c] and I bet 100 after a check from the BB. He called and [6s] showed up. We checked it down past the river [4c] and he showed the same pair I had, with [7c qd] but not a very good kicker.

After that it was mostly downhill. Last hand was a decent [ah qs], a raise to 240 that got called by both blinds, and [ac js] drawing two pair by the flop. Out in 31st after 29 minutes and 30 hands.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Got a Mutant Jack ([ah jh]) on hand seven sitting on the small blind. Everyone folded to the button, who limped in, and I raised to 180, bringing it down to just me and the button. The flop was [5c td as]. I put in 400 for a bet and was raised to 800, then I shoved and was called by [ad th], who had me covered. Things looked bleak with the [7d] on the turn but [jc] popped up on the river for a suck-out. Up to almost 2,800 chips.

Limped in from the cutoff with [7c 9c] a little while later, then called an all-in to 445 from BB. Button called, as well, so the pot had 1,400 in it pre-flop. [kc 6s 3c] gave me a flush draw and I went all-in to push out the button. He dutifully folded and the all-in players cards went over: [5h 8h]. The turn and river were [th 6d] so I never made as much as a pair but I was still ahead and up to more than 3,300 chips.

That quickly bled away with “premium” hands. I drew [qs ad] in SB at 30/60 and raised to 210 with two limpers. BB and UTG+1 called, then the button three-bet all-in to 955. Everyone called so there was 3,820 in the pot. The flop was [7d ts ks]. I checked and BB went all-in for 1,815. UTG+1 called but I decided not to wait for the [qx] and folded. It didn’t show up, BB took a pot of 7,500 with [js kd]. Down 955 chips on that one.

A bigger loss came two hands later with [ac tc]. Our table was down to six players at 40/80 and I three-bet a UTG raise of 320 to 640. BB called with just 60 behind and UTG went all-in for 1,362. I called; BB went all-in. I was pretty much screwed from the flop, the board was [6c 6d jd] and  UTG had [jc js] for a full house. Down to less than 1,000.

My final hand was shortly thereafter. I called the BB and a limper from the SB for 80 with [8h th] and saw a flop of [jh 6s ts]. I checked to the BB who bet 240. UTG called and I went all-in for 831 with my middle pair. Both of the others called. BB bet 80 after a [3h] turn (which gave me a flush draw) and got an all-in call from UTG. BB was holding [tc ad], UTG had top pair with [jc kh]. [2d] on the river didn’t change anything. UTG took the 4,161 chips and I was out in 17th place. 35 minutes of play, 31 hands.

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

Got [jx tx] twice in a row (sixth and seventh hands), profiting especially nicely from the second.

FBlinds were 20/40 and I was the cutoff on the first outing. UTG limped in and I raised to 100. UTG called and we were heads-up. Flop was [ks jc 9c], UTG checked and I bet 160 which he called. [6d] on the turn, which we both checked. The river was [8d], we checked again, he showed [as ts] and my jacks took it.

There was a call from UTG+2 on the next hand and I raised to 140. Button and UTG+2 called. The [6c jd 5c] flop gave me another pair of jacks and I bet 400 into the 480 pot when UTG+2 checked. Button came along for the ride and UTG+2 folded. [2c] on the turn gave me a flush draw in addition to the highest pair on the board. I bet another 400 and the button went all-in, covering me by more than 300. I called and he flipped [8s 8d]. [ah] on the river left me in front and I took in a pot of 5,700.

My own pocket pair—[qd qs]—cost me almost 1,500 ten minutes later. I raised three times the blind to 240 from UTG, getting calls from cutoff and SB. The flop was [9s 9c ks] and I bet 400 after SB checked. Cutoff checked and SB folded. [tc] on the turn gave me a potential straight. We both checked. The river [2c] made a potential flush; the king was troubling, but I bet another 800 in the hope that he had an ace of some sort. Nope. He called and showed [jh kd]. I still had over 4K, though.

It took me about 15 minutes to find a spot to pick it back up. In UTG again with a speculative [9h td], I min-raised to 240. SB re-raised to 480 with only about 1,700 behind, and I called, putting us heads-up. The flop was [ad 3h 9d], not particularly good for me. SB checked it and I checked behind. The turn was [9s] and when SB bet 840 I put him all-in with my trips. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he called with [qh jh], I guess he must have thought I was bluffing, but that was a bounty for me and put me up over 6,600 chips.

It was nearly half-an-hour before I had another big hand, by which time blinds and small losses had whittled my stack down to about 5,200. There were a couple of very short-stacked players at the table in the blinds (200/400/50), flanked by two 20K+ stacks, one of which was just to my right. One of the big stacks opened to 850 and I re-raised all-in with [ad 9d] and 5,135 chips. There were folds around to BB, who went all-in with 1,740. The big stack folded and BB showed a [ks ah] big blind special. The flop was a grim [qs jc 5s], but [9h] on the turn and the river [6h] saved my bacon and gave me another bounty, along with a total of 8,300 chips.

The table was down to six players ten minutes later with me in SB at 300/600/75. UTG limped in. I had BB and UTG covered (although barely in the latter’s case) and went all-in with [ac td] after everyone ahead of me folded. Only UTG called, showing [ah 6d]. The [4c qh 5h jh qd] board didn’t hit either one of us and I was up to about 12,600, earning my third bounty.

The end was only three hands later at another table with eight players. Blinds were up to 400/800/100, so I only had 15BB despite my double-up. I was in the BB with three stacks bigger than mine at the table, including one of more than 32K. UTG+1 opened with an all-in of 16,764. Everything folded to me and I called with [ac td], the same hand that had just doubled me up. It wasn’t going to be as effective against [ad qd]. I was knocked out in 16th, a little short of the money. 86 hands, 78 minutes, 3 bounties, no prize money, -55%ROI.

Full Tilt Turbo $3.5K Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Just three significant hands in this tournament for me: one good and two bad. I got [as ac] in UTG+1 early on and min-raised to 80 to see what kind of action I could get. CO re-raised to 300 and I three-bet to 960 after the blinds folded. CO went all-in and I called with 300 behind. He flipped over [kh ks] and I crossed my fingers and hoped against a repeat of the nasty surprise of Monday night’s live game. My aces filled up with a [5s td ad 9h tc] and I was up to nearly double the starting stack five minutes in.

The Mutant Jack failed to come through for me at the twenty-minute mark. I made a 3x raise to 180 from UTG+2 with [jc ac] getting a call from only SB. The flop only gave me middle pair—[qc 7d jh]—but I bet another 300 after a check from SB. He re-raised to 960 and I should have ejected but I pushed all-in and he called, with me having him covered by about 1,000. His [kd qd] was in front, and it stayed there with [2d 2c] on the turn and river. The next hand I threw a [kx 2x] and saw a board that would have made that best two pair, with [8x 8x] winning a pot of 2,200.

My last hand was [qs th]. I limped in from UTG+1 for 80. BB raised to 240 and I called. [2d 9h kh] on the flop gave me a gut-shot straight draw. We both checked. [3h] made a flush draw on the river. BB checked, I bet 520—leaving me with 155—and BB was all-in. I called. With [ah kc] he had top pair and beat me on a flush. I needed a jack but the river was [2s].

Out in 594th place of 684 players. 23 minutes, 31 hands.

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

Short and sweet. [ah kh] on the fourth hand. Raised to 75 from UTG and got three callers. Flo was [4d 7s as] and I bet 300 after a check from BB; only caller was UTG+1 who had doubled up on the first hand. [jc] on the turn and I bet 900, getting raised to 1,800. Went all-in and the lucky UTG+1 shoed he was really lucky, with [ac js] when he called. Just a [5h] on the river and I was out in 85th after less than five minutes.

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

The first fifty minutes of this tournament went rather poorly. I won only a few small pots and was down to 1,165 chips when I got a Mutant Jack in UTG at 150/300/25. I raised all-in with [js as]; the button re-raised to 3,300; SB went all-in for 5,625 and got a call from the button. SB had [4h 5s], button held [kd td], and the cards on the board were [7c 8s 9c 3c 8h]. My ace kicker was good for almost 4K of the 13K pot and I was semi-alive.

My next hand was [jc ks] on the big blind. UTG+1 limped in, SB raised to 600, and I pushed all-in for 3,920 getting both the other players to fold. I was over 5K.

Two hands later it was [7s 7c] on the button. Blinds were 200/400/50. Cutoff raised to 1,000 and I pushed all-in again for 4,695. SB called with more than 20K behind and everyone else folded. He had [kc ac] but the board was free of clubs, aces, and kings: [qs 5d td 6d 9s]. The entire pot of 11,090 was mine.

Eighty minutes in I got [ks kd] on the big blind (300/600/75). The table was six-handed. HJ raised all-in to 6,035. Action folded around to me and I called with 3,700 behind. The kings held up, I picked up a bounty, and I was over 16,500. [tc jc] on the next hand won me another 1,900 chips.

I picked up blinds and antes worth almost 2,400 with a raise to 2,500 and [kd td] shortly thereafter, then dropped over 4K speculating with [ad 9s].

The very next hand I was on the big blind (500/1,000/125) with a massive [3d 2s]. The button raised to 2,000, SB folded, and I called, not expecting much. I hit the bottom end of the [5h 2c 7s] flop and opened all-in for 12,275. SB had 49K but folded and I gained a bit more than 3K. On the small blind I had [ts 9s] (with the blinds having gone up to 600/1,200/150). Action folded to me and I raised to 2,400. BB called and the flop was [qs as 3c]. I pushed again for 14,975, this time covering the BB, who folded. That pushed my total over 20K.

My next turn on the big blind was with [td ks]. Two players limped in and I checked to the flop. [qs jd 3c] gave me an open-ended straight draw, I bet 3,000, and the others folded.

Seven hands went by and we were in our first hand at the final table. I was down to 15K, blinds were 1,000/2,000/250 and I was on the big blind with [qd ks]. HJ called, CO raised to 8,000, and I re-raised to 14,925 all-in. HJ got out of the way and CO called with 40K behind. And [kh kc]. I got a [qs] on the river but it was too little, too late. I was a goner.

I took the smallest payout for ninth place. 97 minutes, 101 hands, only one bounty due to my poor showing in the first hour. ROI of 85%. In that first hour, I managed to fold a [3s 4s] in the small blind to a raise to fulfill one of the two sub-tasks for the 25-50BB section of the “Tournament Checklist” challenge. If I’d been able to cash in a regular-speed tournament within 48 hours of this one, I would have finished the fifth task, but that didn’t happen.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

[ad jd] Mutant Jack knocked me down under 900 on the fourth hand in a three-way battle for a 4K pot that had two of us all-in. The cards on the board missed everyone. The smallest stack took over 3K with [qh qs] and I got the 870 side pot, beating out the largest stack’s [qd kc].

[kd kc] a little later doubled me up to just about 2,500 but I ran into [ah as] with [jd qc] just three hands after that, making two pair on the turn and going all-in but with [ad] showing on the river to make a set.

19 minutes, 20 hands. Finished 28th.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

The fourth hand was even worse in this game. I held [td ts] in the big blind, with a limper in UTG and a min-raise to 60 from UTG+1. I raised to 200 after action folded to me, UTG got out of the way and UTG+1 and I went to the flop. It was a safe-ish [8c 4c 2d] and I bet another 200. UTG+1 raised with all but 30 of his chips to 1,045, and I called, which left me with only 195. [4d] came with the turn and I raised to put him all-in, making the pot just under 2,600 chips. He held [ac 3d] for a straight draw, but he only had seven outs. Naturally, the river was [as], making his better pair.

[ks ac] on my next hand allowed me to triple up my 165 over a [ad 4c] and another hand that was pushed out by a post-flop raise from the weak ace. There were two aces on the board by the river; presumably the folder didn’t like the one that showed on the flop.

It took about five minutes of play but I managed to get back over the starting stack with [ad 9h]. We were at 25/50 and I open-raised all-in from UTG+1 with 715 chips. The guy who’d taken most of my stack earlier had done well since and was over 5K. He called from CO and we were heads-up with him holding [8s ks]. The flop could hardly have been better for me: [ac 6d 9s]. A turned [kd] gave him a slim opportunity for a set but cut off any backdoor flush, and the river [4s] didn’t do anything.

I drifted down below 1,000 over the next nine hands until limps by UTG and SB let me play [7s 8h] from BB. The flop set me up for a double-gutter straight draw: [5c js 9h]. I was good with either a [6x] or [tx]. I bet 120 after SB checked the flop, getting a re-raise to 240 from UTG. SB folded; I called. The [tc] turn gave me the higher straight. There was 720 in the pot, I had 645 and it went all-in, getting a call. UTG had [jh 3h] and was drawing dead before the river [9c] showed. Suddenly, I was the third-largest stack at the table, with 2,010.

That was to be extremely short-lived, however. As anyone knows, playing the blinds can get you into trouble. [qc 6d] on the small blind when you’ve got 25BB? Two players limped in for 80, I called, BB said all was good and the flop was an enticing [8c qs 3d]. I bet 200, action folded to HJ and he raised to 920 with 380 behind. I still had 1,730 and could have kept it but I put him all-in, he called, and then he showed [tc qh]. [td] on the turn sealed my fate and I was back down into the hole, with 290. This time I wasn’t able to recover and I went out in 30th place four hands later.

34 minutes, 32 hands.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

I seriously can’t figure out what I was thinking on this hand. I had [ad js] on the eighth hand, the board ran out [4s 4c 3c 9c jc] and I was all-in with a slightly-smaller stack before the river, which is the first time I had anything. The other player had a set on the flop, with [4d 5d]. 8 minutes, 11 hands, 35th place.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Lost 440 early on chasing a flush with [9c qc] from UTG then picked up 1,000 on the next hand with more clubs. The [9c ac] didn’t flush but the lower card paired on the turn to beat [8s 8c] held by SB. Lost the whole thing with a [as js] Mutant Jack that missed Broadway and lost to a set (and a bigger hand) [ah kc] and a [9d ks qh kh jd] board.

19 minutes, 17 hands, 35th place again.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy

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

D and I were talking after the last tournament about playing on Full Tilt and he mentioned that he’s been working on some of their Academy challenges, and that doing so sort of puts you out of your comfort zone, which could be good or bad, depending on how it goes. He wanted the little hat that apparently goes on your badge at the table, too. I went to the Full Tilt Academy and looked for a Challenge for myself, finding “Tournament Checklist” by Andy Bloch.

Basically, the Challenge is to:

  1. With a stack of 50 or more big blinds, call a raise and see a flop with no-gap or one-gap suited connectors smaller than 10 or a suited ace with a kicker of 8 or less. Do it twice.
  2. With a stack of 25 to 50 big blinds, fold the same set of cards to a raise twice.
  3. With a stack of 15 to 25 times the big blind, re-raise all-in (and win) with suited [ax 8x] or less, pocket pair [8x 8x] or less, or [kx jx], [kx qx] (suited or unsuited).
  4. With a stack of 15 big blinds or less, open raise all-in and win with the same set of cards.
  5. Cash in a normal tournament and a turbo tournament within 48 hours.

All of the tasks have to be completed in real money games of 45 or more players; they can’t be Rush, On-Demand, or Multi-Entry tournaments (which makes it a bit hard as Full Tilt keeps adding those options to every tournament).

Anyway, I made my first stab at the Challenge in a 90-player game last night.

My first chance came eight hands in. I had 2,910 chips—73BB—on the button with [5d ad]. But nobody raised! Just three limpers ahead of me. I suppose I could have raised to see if I could provoke a re-raise that I could call before the flop. [6s 8d as] and action folded all the way around to me. I bet 80 and got one call. [qd] on the turn game me a flush draw so I bet 200 after it was checked to me and took the pot.

Picked up [9h 9c] three hands later and raised to 190 (leaving an even 3,000 behind) after one player limped in for 50. Got calls from hijack, cutoff, and the limper in UTG+2. Flop of [4d 7c kc]. Limper checked and I bet 200. HJ called and the others folded. 1,235 in the pot and a [qh] on the river. Limper was down to about 2,100; I had 2,800. I checked and he followed to see the [kh] on the river. I bet another 200 and he must have been hoping his pair was good with [7h 9s]. I can only with the case nine had shown up because I think he would have been all-in.

[as qs] cost me a couple hundred a few hands later but the very next hand I picked up the Mutant Jack: [as js] on the button. UTG limped for 80 and I called. Small blind raised to 320, BB and UTG called, then I re-raised to 640. Everyone called and there was 2,560 (32BB) in the pot preflop. [4s 9s 9h] gave me a nut flush draw. Everyone checked to me and I went all-in for 3,075. I had SB covered; BB had 3,455; UTG was big stack at the table with 8,350.

I had 5,415 on the BB at 60/120 (45BB) a little later with the “computer hand” of [7s qh]. Not exactly something I’d play nine-handed but there was only one caller with a little larger stack than me. The flop was [kh 7h 6d] and I bet 180 on my middle pair, getting a call. [3s] on the turn, I checked and the other guy bet 120, which I called. My seven tripped up with [7c] on the river and I bet 600, getting paid off by the [jd ks].

My premium [9h ah] and [kh qh] hands both cost me more than 1K each shortly thereafter, however, the first after I laid it down in the face of nothing connecting and a large post-flop bet, and the second on the turn after a third club appeared on the turn and my opponent went all-in. Those cut me down from over 6,600 to just under 4,300.

And that’s where I was when my second chance for completing an Academy task came, with [ad 3d] on the BB of 160. I had just over 25 big blinds. UTG raised to 560 and action folded all the way to me. I was supposed to fold to a raise here, per task 2 but I’d miscalculated the division and though I was below 25 blinds and was supposed to try to re-raise and win. I got the first part of it right, anyway. He had only 55 chips behind but [8s 8h] in his hand. No diamonds on the board, just one [tx] short of Broadway.

37 minutes, 31 hands. No tasks completed. No KOs. 46th place.

Hansen, He’s So Hot Right Now

Talking with D a few months back, he mentioned that he and K—the only other person with a chance to win the POY title in our home series this year—had been talking together about how I’d improved, and compared my playing style to Gus Hansen. Personally, I was thinking  of myself as more of an old, fat Phil Laak, but I saw this paragraph in a report today and had to send it to them to see if perhaps it’s what they were thinking about subconciously:

Hansen’s profits over the past week have brought his 2011 earnings to a massive $4 million. However, the Danish poker pro is no stranger to fast starts. In both 2009 and 2010 Hansen opened with multi-million dollar wins in the first few months of the year, only to finish the respective calendar year in the hole.

Funding Third Place

Puffmammy Tournament 21 (1,500 chips)

Another grisly night as my three-month POY lead slips further into history. I had one premium pair the entire night, [ax ax] that I was in great position to call a series of three-bets leading to an all-in by G, to my immediate left. I had him covered, I had the best cards possible, and he was groaning when he saw what his [kx kx] was up against. Needless to say, another [kx] showed on the flop and I was short-stacked. The other notable hand of the night I was holding [kd jd] and that paired a [kx] on the flop. Two other players (on a six-player table) had the other kings, one with a low kicker that gave him two pair on the flop, but [9x 9x]  on the turn counterfeited the lower pair and the pot went to the hand holding [ax kx].

Two rebuys and an add-on only got me as far as 10th place out of 12. Third prize for the night equalled my contributions to the pot. D took first place and extended his POY lead substantially with a number of points for this one event equal to twice the points I’ve picked up in the past five events.

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 [kc as]. 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 [3s ts 7c] 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 [8c 9c] but was in good shape with a larger stack. I called (obviously, or I wouldn’t know their cards) and a [6d] 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 [as kh] 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. [4h th td] on the flop. I made the desperate move of going all-in and he called me—with more than 20K and [8s ts] 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 [ks jd]. There was 140 in the pot and a flop of [kc 3s kd] which three players checked around. Another [3c] 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 [9c] meant nothing to my full house, so I matched the pot and got a callI don’t know why—from the other player, holding [ac 7s].

The same guy got into it with me on the next hand. I had [ac 2c] and I was heads-up after raising to 90 pre-flop. The flop was [jc 7c 7s], and I bet 75 after a check from the other player. [3s] on the turn and we both checked. I got a pair with the river [ah]. 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 [tc 2h]. 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 [qh 8h] 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 2h 6h]. I bet 120 after SB checked, then he called. [8d] on the turn and he led out with 180, which I re-raised to 360, getting a call. [4s] 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 [7s 7h]. 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 [ax tx] 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 [9d 9s]. UTG and the small stack on the button limped in. I raised to 120, which was met by both the limpers. [3d 8s 6d] 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 [7c 7h], which wasn’t good news for him. [jc] and [qs] on the turn and river. Pushed me up to just about 7K.

More pocket pairs: [jh jc] on the big blind. Button—big stack at the table—raised to 150 and I re-raised to 325. The flop was [ts 6c 7c]. I bet out 400 and got a call. [8d] 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 [3d] didn’t make any difference, but I was a little concerned he might have a [9x]. I checked and he did, too, but his [ad 6d] 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 [jc ac] 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 [4d qd ah] 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?). [th] for the turn. He bet again: 420. I figured: “What the heck, it’s the Mutant Jack.” [7c] river. A whole lot of potential double-paired kicker combos out there; he might not need to have anything better than the [jc]. He bet another 600, I gulped and paid the price, but all he had was [ad 2h]. I only had 10,017, so I didn’t stay above the line for more than a hand.

[ad td] 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 [7h qh] on the button. Everything I said about [8h qh] 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 [th jh 4d]. BB checked, HJ bet 345, I called and BB folded. A [kc] showed on the turn and HJ bet another 645. I had a straight and flush draw but nothing else. I called. [7s] 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 [jc jd] 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 [9d 9s] 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 [qs qc]. The [6h 5s 3s] flop was bleak, but the turn and river were [9c 9h] 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 [as ac]. 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 [ks 5h 2h], he checked, and I bet 480, fairly sure he was committed to going all-in. He did and I called. [9s 9c], but no miracle for him on the turn and river, just [2s 4s]. 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 [ac 7c], 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 [kd 3s], the board ran out [qc 9s 9h ad 8d], 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 [4c 3h], 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 [2c 2s 3s]! 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 [4d 4s]. If only my hand had been [2x 3x]. [kh jc] 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 [jh 8c] was beat by a [5s jd] 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.

Return to Rush

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

I thought this tournament went pretty well except for a couple of mistakes on my part, one of which ended up with me being very lucky and the other of which knocked me out short of the money.

It took about twenty-five hands—some of which were far better starters—but fifteen minutes into the game I doubled up with [9h qh]. There were four to the flop on a min-raise of 80 and I was third to act. I made top pair with the [qc td 4c] flop and bet 100 after action checked to me. Only the big blind stayed in. He checked when the turn [4s] made a pair on the board, then raised to 360 after my bet of 100. I called and the [7c] came on the turn. He went all-in for 2,240 on a pot of 1,260. I only had 1,045 more but thought I had him with the queens. Mutant Jack: [ad jd]. No good and I took the pot of 3,350, picking up another 660 on the next hand with [ts js].

Three minutes and eleven hands later I have [ah kc] in the hijack. I raise one limper from 50 to 125. The cutoff re-raises to 410 and everyone ahead of me folds. I call. The flop is an unforgiving [jc 5s 2s]; I check and so does the cutoff. An [ad] shows up for me on the turn and I check it, getting a check behind. [5d] on the river. Aces over fives with king kicker for me. It’s possible he has a five but that 410 pre-flop was awfully strong for a five. I go all-in—I’ve got him covered by more than 1,700—and he calls: [tc jh]. I’m up to 5,130.

Seven minutes, twenty hands: [ks kh]. Blinds are still only 30/60. I raise to 180 from UTG+3. Hijack is the only caller. The flop is [7d jh 3h] and I bet 200, getting a call. [td] on the turn, 300 bet, 300 call. [tc] makes a pair on the board on the river but there’s no flush. I check and the cutoff goes all-in for 1,640. I’ve got it covered by 3,260 so I call and he reveals a busted flush draw that could have posed problems: [6h ah]. I’m just under 8K, which briefly puts me in the top 30 stacks.

Sixteen minutes go by—fifty hands, if you’re counting—and I’ve got [jh jc] in the cutoff at 50/100. I’ve been slowly losing chips without any real hands and I’m down to about 6,000. UTG+1 raises to 300, getting a call from the hijack. I raise to 600. Big blind raises all-in to 1,500. UTG+1 folds but hijack (with 8,600 to start) and I both call. We check the [5h 7h 2s] flop, but when hijack checks the [kc] on the turn I raise 1,000 into the 4,850 pot. He goes all in for 7,176 and I fold. One of my smarter moves from the night. The big blind has [5x 5x], Hijack has [kd jd] and wins. Two hands later I manage to win almost the entire amount back with [ad 5d].

One of the hands I’m not particularly proud of had me on the button with [9c 9d] at 80/160. There was a limp by UTG, and a raise to 480 from the hijack, then I re-raised to 800 with 4,100 behind. Everyone folded around to the hijack who went in for 9,127. I thought he had an AK or something of the sort but when I called he showed [ac ah]. Not good. At least, not good until the [qh 3h 8s] flop. I ended up with more than 10K in the last hand before the break. Not enough to propel me back into the top 30 by that time.

Aces were the end of me ten minutes after the break when my [qc qd] just weren’t as lucky as the nines were and I lost an all-in against [ah as].

Full Tilt Flash

Lost my first buyin on hand number three with [kc jh] after double-pairing on the turn. A pair of queens in sprang out of the hole with trips. A top-paired queen with a low kicker ([9d qd]) lost out to [qc ah] and cost me my second. The Mutant Jack ([ad jd]) fell to a common [ks ah] for my third. A fourth was gone with [as 8s] paired on the flop beat by [th 8h] drawing a flush on the turn. I kept at it, though and managed to recover most of a buyin with a [ac kd], then one-and-a-half with [kc kh], and almost two with [jh jc]. After 153 hands (thirty-six minutes) I was -7.39BB/100 hands, still down a little more than half a buyin. 265th place out of 431; 15 minutes.

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

Like a Sit-N-Go in that it needs a certain number of players to get started but then a number of other people can join for a specified amount of time and you can multi-enter. I joined a 36-player game and the number of players quickly ballooned to over 400. I won a couple of decent-sized pots a few minutes into the game but lost a couple large chunks with good [ax] hands, then had a Broadway draw on the flop with [tc ac] get beat by [kd as] that made three of a kind on the river.

Full Tilt Flash

I thought I’d try to make back the half-buyin I lost above. Got [js jh] on the first hand in the big blind. The button limped and I raised to 2.4BB, getting a call. The flop was [7c th 4c] and I tried to end it with a pot-sized raise (5.2BB). Button called. A [5d] was out on the turn, not too worrisome. I checked and the button did, too. The [ah] on the river was a scare card but I tried to make it look like it wasn’t with a value bet of 4.2BB into a pot of 15.6BB. Button folded and I had a profit of 7BB.

On my eighth hand I picked up [ac ah] in hijack and raised to 2.8BB when action folded to me. Nobody played but on the very next hand I got [ac ad] on the button. UTG limped in and hijack raised to 4.2BB. I re-raised to 15.6BB in a classic steal move. I was delighted with the small blind going nearly all-in with a four-bet of 26.8BB and a five-bet to 38BB from UTG. HIjack folded but I went all-in for 48.4BB. The small blind called, which put him all-in (33BB); UTG had 8.6BB after the call. I was up against [ah kd] (small blind) and [jc js] (UTG). The board was loaded for full houses and flushes—[3c 3s ts td qs]—but nobody connected and my aces made a profit of 77.8BB, at which point I felt I’d quit while I was ahead. 538.75BB/100 hands.

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

Whittled down to 1,045 chips after six minutes. Picked up [kc as] and raise to 125 at 25/50 from UTG+3 with the small blind calling Flop’s [3s ts 7c]. SB bets half the pot: 150. I raise to 300, he goes all-in for 3,680 and I call. He’s got an open-ended straight draw with [8c 9c] and gets his [6h] on the turn.

I make a second entry and go up instead of down at first. There’s a glitch with [ac qc] but [ad ah] on the next hand fixes it. Then I lose 1K on [qh qs] and make it back two hands later on [9s ts]. Why can’t I just win? [ac 8c] knocks me down 1,100 and [ah tc] pumps me up 1,500. My last hand for the second entry is [as kh], which is beaten by [8s ts] making trips on the flop and a full house on the turn.

435 players. 28 minutes of play; 92 hands. Finishes in 142nd and 86th places.

Cake Poker Arsenal

[ad js] is not a good hand against quad [tx]. 22 minutes, 29 hands, -52BB/100 hands.

New Games

D’s Game

Played in D’s free-wheeling dealer’s choice game again. Didn’t lose my shirt tonight but I only made it most of the way back to even after taking a break when my first set of chips ran out after three hours.

Not having a lot of knowledge of oddball games, I came prepared this time with a copy of The Complete Handbook of Saturday Night Poker that I picked up used (but unused) for a couple of bucks. One of the authors was Phil Foglio, the cartoonist for the old Dungeons & Dragons magazine. I’d run across a reference to it before the first time I played at D’s and we resurrected Council Bluffs, an Omaha variant I’d brought to my first outing there. We also tried out  out Pravda and Bob Dole, both five card stud mods.

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 [ah 8h] 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 [kd 7c]. 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 [qd 6s 7h] 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 [6h] 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 [2s]. 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 [4h 5h] with busted flush and open-ended straight draws. So that was a nice first hand.

Just a few hands later I picked up [ks qc] in the cutoff. I limped in, as did the button and small blind, and there were four to the flop. [8s 2h qs] 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 [kd] 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 [8c qh]; 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 [as 3s] 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 [7c ad 3c] 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 [ax kx] beat. I raise him to 510 and he calls. Now things look a little diceier because the turn is [kc]. 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. [qh] 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 [3h 3d], 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 [qd jd] giving me a higher straight on hand four. Then the Mutant Jack [ac jc] cut me in half when [as qh] and I both double-paired—him on the turn and me, uselessly, on the river. Two hands later I had [qh ac] and ran into [as kh], and lost another 1,500 chips.

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

Overplayed a [th ts] 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 [kh] 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: [kc 7c] and he even double-paired on the river. My [tc ts] 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 [9d 9h], then again with an almost identical [9d 9c] an hour into the match. Pocket [js jc] were the harbinger of doom for this game, though, with a [qc] in the hole connecting with the [qh as] of another player. I managed to crawl up from 400 to 1,900 before pocket [qs qc] 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 [qs qc] 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 [td tc]. There was a [th] on the flop but [ks] on the river gave [kc kh] 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 [kh kc], 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 [9h 7c] 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: [kd 6c 5c]. I shouldn’t call the 900 bet of the big blind and we both check our way through the turn ([2s]) and river ([5d]). Button had middle pair on the flop: [ac 6d]. I’m out on the next hand with [qs tc] 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 [kc 8c] makes top pair on the flop and another player and I go to the mats only to have him outkick me with [ks 9s].

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)


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

Had my last chips taken by a [5x 7x].

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

Could this have gone any worse? Sixth hand in I get [ah kh]. The flop is [4h qs ad] and I’m head-up. I bet 150 after the flop and get raised to 320, which I call. [8h] 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 [qc ac] for two pair, a [2c] 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 [8d 7d] in the big blind. Three limpers. The flop’s good for both straight and flush possibilities: [ts 2d 9d] 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 [qd] and I bet 200, getting a raise to 900. I go all-in for 1,250 total and get a call. He shows [8c jc] 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 [ad qh] runs into a set of sixes and I’m down to 1,500. I double up then next hand beating [4x 4x] by pairing the smaller part of my [ah 5h] but lose the whole thing with [kh ac] on the next hand to [5s 3s] and a set of fives and [ts tc] splitting portions of my stack.