The Midwest

Cake Poker Daily $800 PLO/8 Guaranteed (3,000 chips)

Tried this for a lark. First online cash play since Friday.

My first hand was TJ6Q as UTG in ten players at 10/20. I raised to 45 and there were three callers. Flop was JJ7 making me a set, and I half-potted to 105. One call. 3 on the turn, I bet the pot (420) and got a call. 2 for the river, we both checked, my set was the high hand and the other guy got a low. Most of the money in the pot belonged to us, so we only made a 60 chip profit.

Got 5J46 on the big blind. UTG raised to 70 and got three calls. SB re-raised to 440. I called and everyone already in the hand stayed in, so there were six players to the see the A87 flop. I had a low straight draw, when SB went all-in for 2,540 I called. UTG went all-in for less than the bet, UTG1 called, there was a fold, and BTN was all-in for another 10 chips. I called and UTG1 called. Turn was J, which didn’t do much of anything for me, but UTG1 raised his last 70 chips and I called with mine (he’d been the low I split the pot in the last hand). BTN showed AK65 for a pair of aces and one of my straight draws. SB had 3AJT for aces and jacks and an inside straight draw to the Jx. Things were looking grim for any real hand for me. UTG, with 3QKQ had to hope for a Tx to make Broadway to win. UTG2 had 9QTK to fill in the gap between the nut straight. The river was 4. Amazingly enough, I had a low hand with A4567 and took back my 70 chips from the last round of betting. BTN had the same low, and we split the rest of the low pots, with me taking a total of 3,905.

The fourth hand, I picked up QA53. I raised to 70 from BTN, SB re-raised to 120, UTG2 three-bet 460. Both SB and I called. 82T on the flop gave me the nut flush draw. I potted it to 1410, SB called for less, UTG2 went all-in for more than 5,500 and I called all-in. SB had J76A for not much of anything, UTG2 showed 48A2 for two pair. The turn and river were unclubbed: QK, turning SB’s not much into Broadway. He got the main pot of 5,130; the two-pair took 4,210 (a good bit less than he’d started the hand with, but then I got nothing).

5 minutes, 4 hands. First player of thirty permanently out because I refuse to rebuy.


Puffmammy Tournament 23 (1,700 chips)

Only one more regular game between last night’s game and the Main Event and I lost another point to D, putting me a nigh-insurmountable forty points behind on the leader board, so it looks like he’s a lock for the WSOP entry fee.

I was a little encouraged early on, when he had to rebuy in literally the first couple of hands after being busted out by K. There was an incredible amount of action early on compared to our usual game, it seemed.

I managed to build up a good stack of chips, twice with sets of fours—including chasing down to the river for my third to make a full house— but took a major hit when I pushed with KxKx and V on my right called with AxAx. Never recovered after that.

Two hours of play. Finished a meagre sixth out of seven.

Black Friday Freeroll

Encore Club $500 Guarantee Freeroll (5,500 chips)

I don’t know if this freeroll noon-time tournament was planned ahead of the Black Friday shutdown of the big online poker sites in the US, but it seems like an auspicious time for the local card rooms to try to step into the rather large void left by PokerStars and Full Tilt. Me, I’d  have played it anyway.

The game was at least 20 minutes late getting started, and about seven tables were full when one of the staff came around to drop off an extra red 500 chip for everyone in their seats. A couple table’s worth of stragglers came in during the first hour but for the most part everyone started with the bonus.

Ducks were all over the board during the game, and in fact my first win was holding 2x2x in BB as several of us limped to the flop, which was 5x5x2x. I stepped up the pressure with my full house and everyone folded.

My second take came with 67. The flop was a Qx8x5x, and apparently my open-ended straight draw was more awe-inspiring than anything anyone else had because another raise took it.

Flopped top two pair holding AxKx and grabbed some more. Forty-five minutes into the game at the 75/150 level I was holding 8,325 chips.

Pushed with A3 and won a pot of 1,400, which I promptly lost speculating on Ax6x.

The last hand before break 1, I had Ax6x again. The flop was Tx5x8x and there were several of us in the pot, with me leading out for 500. The turn was 9x and I was almost there, leading out with another 500. Finally, the 7x showed on the river and I bet 2,500 (keeping in mind that Jx could beat me), getting a call from the woman sitting to my left. We flipped our cards and the dealer called her as the winner, pushing out the 5x and 7x for two pair. The chips got pushed over to her and she started stacking before I got it together to ask what she’d won with, and I pointed out that my 6 should have been good for the straight. A couple of players backed me up and they and the dealer tried to reconstruct the pot, so I ended up with about 7K, which gave me 9,400 going into the break. I opted out of the add-on.

Once the action got going again, I had a couple of good hands. AxKx again and I raised 2,500 in a pot of 1,000 to pick that off. Confident play of AT managed to take down a pot of 8,000. By the end of the fourth level I had 18,900 chips.

Picked up AxTx again and raised 2500 on a queen-high flop with middle pair. Took in 6,600.

There’d been a discussion at the table about how KxQx was a losing hand. Another player and I went to war with me holding KxQx and Qx on the flop. I won a pot of more than 20K, then pointed out to the guys who’d been the biggest detractors that I’d just used their least-favorite hand to win the biggest pot at the table so far. Even though we had a different dealer than the previous hour, he managed to nearly screw this up for me, as well by forgetting to count the chips I’d put all-in after matching the raise until I prompted him.

ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad‘s least-favorite hand is AxQx, and indeed, it promptly lost me about 8K of my big win. Still, with seven-and-a-half minutes to go in level 6 (400/800) I had 26,000 chips.

Lost 12K on a flush draw with KQ but still somehow managed to finish the level and get to the second break with 22,800 chips.

After the break, we started up at 500/1,000. Promptly lost 6,500 with JxJx after an Ax showed on the flop. Took the blinds down with a 2,500 raise holding AxKx. Same raise on the next hand took the blinds but with AxAx I was really hoping for some action.

Won another hand with A3 with two more clubs on the flop and a raise. Wasn’t exactly making any headway, though because I still had only 22,000.

Tried to see the flop with 57 but just lost 2K at the 1K/2K level.

I opened with an all-in holding A5. Slightly larger stack called with 6x6x, then flopped a set. No diamonds for me.

About 190 minutes of play. Didn’t count the hands. Out about 30th of 75 players. More than $1,100 in the prize pool by the time re-buys and add-ons were made.

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 Slice

Cake Poker $25,000 Guaranteed Semi-Final, 20 Seats Guaranteed (2,000 chips)

I decided to play this tournament because it looked as if from the early stats that the overlay would be pretty good for twenty guaranteed seats. I’d intended to use this part of my Cake bankroll to make another run at the Irish Open Semi-Final but the last couple of weeks of March it didn’t look like there would be enough people playing the satellites to actually award a seat in the monthly final. So, go for the money.

My second hand I was on the BB. UTG3 opened with a min-raise to 40. Action folded to me with J4 and I called. The flop was spadey: 7K8. I bet 60, getting a call. Q hit the turn, which wasn’t helpful, but I continued with a 60 bet. UTG3 raised to 120 and I called. My flush came through with a river 6 and I made a pot-sided bet of 450. UTG3 called, showed a pair of queens with JQ and I took in a 680 chip profit.

Ten minutes later I picked up the same amount, this time from SB with A9. Three players limped in and I raised to 50. BB folded but all of the limpers called. 84A on the flop gave me top pair and I bet 200. Only UTG called this time. The turn was 2, and I checked but UTG bet 310. I called. The river card was T. I checked again and this time UTG didn’t try anything. He showed 8K. I was up to about 3,500.

My next hand on the button was QK. CO limped in for 30; I raised to 75. BB called and CO folded. Top pair on the flop again with 38Q. BB checked and I bet an amount almost the size of the pot: 175. BB raised to 448, with only 877 behind. I re-raised to 721 and BB called. It was a 6 on the turn, BB went all-in for his last 604. I called and he showed Q9. The 3 on the river paired the board and gave us both queens and threes but my king gave me the win and a total of more than 4,900 chips.

Things went to hell at the half-hour mark. Action folded around to me in CO at 25/50 holding TT. I raised to 200, was re-raised by B to 650, and both the blinds folded. I called and the flop was Q54. I checked, B bet 800, and I called, thinking B had something like AxKx and was trying to push me off. 4 on the turn and I stepped into it even further, with a 580 bet. B called. The river was A, I checked, B bet 650, and I called, only to see him flip QQ. I lost almost 2,700 chips, taking me down to 1,618.

Fortunately, I was able to recover within less than ten hands. I was in SB with AJ at 50/100. Action folded to the button who went all-in for 3,006, twice as many chips as I had and about half the stack of BB. I called, then so did BB. B had 77, BB held JJ, so I had a chance. I got my ace on the 29A flop, nothing came through for the other players, and I tripled up to 4,629.

My pattern for the next sixty hands was to maintain at about 4,500 or 5,000 chips for 15 hands, get busted down to 2,500 chips for a few hands, double up, and repeat. Not exactly where you want to be when the blinds are running 300/600/50. I finally broke out on a hand where I was CO. I raised to 2,000 holding AA. BB went all-in for 4,010 and I called, with 146 behind. BB flipped JJ. He came one 8x away from getting a straight, but the aces held up and I made it to 8,866.

Three hands later I had a pair of tens again but this tie they didn’t get shot down by queens. BB was all-in with only 137 chips. I had TT in UTG1 and min-raised to 1,200. Everyone folded and I was heads-up with the all-in. The board looked familiar—Q6445—but the BB had 7K and was out. I was pretty solidly in the top 20 by this time.

A walk on my big blind a couple hands later netted me 850 with 26 and put me over 10K just before the second break.

It took about twelve more minutes to get the final elimination. I got down as low as 8K but finished with just over 12K.

132 minutes, 138 hands. Tied for “1st” with 19 out of 86 players.

Cake Poker $25,000 Guaranteed (5,000 chips)

Fifty minutes after the end of the Semi-Final, the real match began. The first half-hour was uneventful, with my stack bumping between 5,000 and 5,500 chips.

Blinds were 25/50 and I was UTG3 with 77. Action folded to me, I raised to 125, B called, and SB raised to 413. I called and B followed along. The flop put two over cards out—JT2—and it got checked all around. The 5 on the turn didn’t change things much. SB checked again, I put out just 100 into a pot of 1,289. B and SB came along. 7 on the river gave me a set and when SB checked again I bet 500. That forced B out but got a call from SB who showed 99. I was up to 6,851.

I was the only caller on the next hand, holding JT heads-up against BB. The 8K9 flop gave me an open-ended straight draw, so I bet 200, which bought me the pot.

In UTG1 on the next hand I had an unimpressive 44. I limped in, UTG2 raised to 400, UTG3, B, and I called. The four of us saw a 824 flop. I bet 500, UTG3 was the only caller. An A turned over next, I bet 1,000 and UTG3 followed along. 9 for the river. I checked, wanting to see if he’d bet out more but he checked as well, then showed KK. That put me up over 9,800.

On my next BB, I had the Q7 “internet hand.” There were two limpers, I checked, and the flop was 59Q. I bet 200 on my top pair, UTG2 called, and HJ folded. The turn was 3 and I bet another 200 and got another call. I felt fairly secure with the river 6 and bet 101 to leave an even 9,000 behind. UTG2 raised all-in for 2,889 and I called. He only had a TJ and my queens were good enough to bring me up to 13,140.

I promptly lost 2,400 on the next hand with 9A. I had top pair on the AT7 flop but BB picked up two pair with T7.  6 on the turn gave me a flush draw but it didn’t come through.

I spent the next fifty minutes ranging a couple thousand chips on either side of the 10K mark. I was down to my lowest point just under 8,300 when I got fours on the button at 150/300: 44. UTG1 raised to 600, action folded to me and I made a big raise to 2,000. That pushed the blinds out. UTG1 went all-in for 9,862, and my all-in call was about 1K less. He turned over AK. The board was Q8Q33, and I doubled up to just over 17K. This briefly put me in the top six.

Over ten minutes I slid down to 12K, then popped back up to about 17K with an A7. I was at about 16,500 at the end of the second hour.

Just after coming back from the break, I thought I was in pretty good shape when I got KK in UTG. Blinds were 200/400/40, and I opened with a raise to 1,000. I got calls from UTG4, HJ, B, and BB. The flop was 89T and I bet 2,000 after BB checked. That got a call from UTG4, HJ folded, then B went all-in for 19,171, about 6K more than I had. BB folded, I called, UTG4 folded, and B showed 99 for a flopped set. Q showed on the turn, making Jx good for me as well as Kx but the last card was 7. Could I have raised enough to keep the nines from playing the hand? Could I have been smart enough to have folded the kings after the all-in raise? Maybe next time.

124 minutes, 117 hands. 67th place out of 159 (30 places paid).


Puffmammy Season 2010/11 Tournament 22 (1,700 chips)

Only seven players at the Catsino, and with just two regular events left in the season before the Main Event, D’s 39 point lead for the Player of the Year may be insurmountable. I was the first player to need to rebuy; my only consolation was that D only gained a point on me because he was the third player to be busted out, just ten minutes after I was knocked out second. I doubled up through him with a suckout on a heads-up Ax6x vs. AxTx battle then lost the chips soon to B. I guess that was consolation, too.

Tomer starts Day 2 of EPT Berlin tomorrow in about 50th place out of 350. I have less pleasant plans.

Good Thing There’s Bounties

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

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

Out 622 of 714.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24 minutes, 17 hands. 8th of 16.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cake Poker Internazionale 6-Max (20BB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Down Bound and East

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

Fatally short. So short that the client didn’t record the final (fifth) hand. 1,024th place out of 1,279 players. One minute.

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

Is frustration setting in? I’m busting out in early minutes far too soon, far too often. This is another five-hand session. It last longer that the previous one, but only because it’s not a Rush tournament. I have JK on the button, blinds are only 15/30 and I still have nearly 2,900 chips. One player limps in, I raise to 75, BB calls as does the limper. 5J8 gives me top pair, both players check to me, I make a 240 bet, BB re-raises to 480, the limper folds, and I call. 8 on the turn, BB bets 1,200, I don’t believe him, and I’m all-in for 2,340. He calls, and I’m right, he’s semi-bluffing with Q9. Then the Q hits the river and I’m out 89th of 90 players.

Full Tilt Scheduled Tournament (3,000 chips, 03/29 00:32)

Lucky off the bat, picking up JA on the first hand after joining this game in progress at 25/50. I was BB, HJ raised to 150, CO re-raised to 250, I called, followed by HJ. 82J and I’m in the same position I was in the previous game, with top pair and nothing better in sight. I bet the pot—775—and get a call from HJ. CO drops out. A troublesome K shows up for the turn and I check it to HJ who checks along. A on the river gives me two pair but makes a potential flush. I put in only 500 and get called by HJ, who’s just got the lower of my two pairs, with JQ. I win 1,800.

QJ works out great for me five hands later at 30/60 from UTG3. UTG calls, I raise to 150, and there are four calls (HJ, CO, BB, UTG). I hit top pair on the Q64 flop and raise BB’s 120 bet to 450. Only BB and UTG see the turn with me; there’s 2,130 in the pot. The card is 6, both of the players ahead of me check, and I check to see another free card in case someone hit a 6x. The river is 5, BB checks, UTG makes a little 120 bet, I call and BB gives up. UTG has Q5, but his kicker (and second pair) is counterfeited, so my kicker wins me the hand and puts me over 6,400.

That’s about the end of the good news, though. Forty minutes go by before I make another hit with 67, and the 780 I make there is well short of the 1,000 I’ve lost in the meantime.

Then on the next hand I pick up a dangerous pocket pair in UTG1: 77. I call the 160 big blind, UTG2 calls, SB raises to 800, BB folds, and I should fold here but raise to 1,600 instead. UTG2 goes all-in for 4,200. SB only has another 40 and goes all-in. Now I should really fold and keep my 4,641 but I stupidcall. BB has me beat with 99. UTG2 has one over card: T9. The board misses all of us: 25KQ2 and nearly 13K goes to BB.

The end comes just seven hands later in an ignominious manner. I call 160 with KA from UTG2 and see the flop with the blinds. 872 on the flop. Everyone checks to the 3 on the turn. Checks all-around to a 8 river. SB bets 800, BB calls, I raise all-in for 1,601, SB re-raises to 2.720. BB folds. SB has 33, made a set on the turn.

57 minutes, 76th of 209 players.

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

Bought in well after the beginning of the game Didn’t manage to get anything for nearly half an hour until I picked up JA as UTG3. UTG2 limped in for 50 and I raised to 125. CO came along and everyone else dropped out. Flop was 8T2, I bet 100, CO raised to 450 and I called to see a Q turn give me a flush draw. I pushed all-in and got a call, with CO showing AT. No flush, just 7 for the river and I was out.

Did a second entry, lost 1,200 with TT on hand three. Out on the next hand.

Out in 1,689th and 1,921st out of 2,028 places.

Full Tilt Rush Flash (40BB)

Three good hands in here. It’s hard to wrong with AA (although it can happen) and I just about doubled up for 40 big blinds after busting out once. I was lucky, because there was a set of 8x on the board. 8A netted me another 33 big blinds. After flushing on the flop with K9 and getting 25 big blinds, I took my money and went home with a profit of 28 big blinds.