Comebacks and Failures

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #2 No Limit Hold’em (10,000 chips)

It took me a little bit to figure out where my table was Saturday, after blowing out of one satellite early and then getting $100 out of a 3-way chop in a second. I was on one of the tables up on the stage at one end of the main tournament room, once again well out of sight lines to any tournament clocks.

In the first twenty minutes, I was dealt 9x9x UTG twice and raised only to encounter horrible flops and laid them down to post-flop action. Between that and other hands I entered—with reasonably playable cards—I was down 800 chips.

By forty-five minutes in, I’d managed to win a hand with AT and then lose some with the same hand. Then I lost more getting tricky with K3 and was down to 8,350.

If you get 7x7x on BB, what do you get for the flop when you call a raise? AxJx9x. No. Down to 7,900 on the hour.

Thought I might make a little back with Q9 and two queens on the flop. Unfortunately, a jack on the board was the only other hight card, so I lost to QxTx instead of chopping.

I saw a flop of 5x42 with K5 and called an all-in who just had Tx4x. He binked a ten on the turn and I was down to just 3,000 chips just eighty minutes into the game.

Immediately, I went into cornered wolverine mode and when I managed to connect to a flop on the next hand, I shoved and made it up to 3,700. I had some regrets folding Qx9x and seeing the flop put out JxTx8x a couple minutes later, but after losing the hand earlier, I was a little shy of what I’m calling “the mini-Butcher.”

Just before the first break, I was dealt QxQx on BB and shoved over a raise ahead of me. The raiser called and showed a suited ace, but lost the pot and I was left a little more breathing space with 6,700 chips.

One of the players from my table in Event #1 was seated on my immediate right at this table, and he was in bad shape. He shoved about fifteen minutes into the second session, and I called him with AxKx. His KxQx made a king-high straight on the flop, putting me in bad shape, but I caught a two-outer with a queen on the turn to make Broadway and zoom up to the stratospheric level of 8,250 chips.

Ten minutes later, I was back over the starting stack. About that time, another player from our table busted and another player mentioned that he was Tam Nguyen, the all-time money winner at the Wildhorse Poker Round-Up.

Two big pre-glop pots brewed up something good for me. I played KJ and made two pair against Ax[kx[][who][just][paired][the][king,][then][hit][an][ace][on][the][flop][with][my][own][AxKx calling an all-in of 4,700 with another caller. Forty-five minutes after the break, I was up to 22,500 and over the chip average.

I raised three calls at 150/30/25 to 1,200 with 8x8x on BTN, got a call, then bet again on the flop and took it down. Then I lost some chips but missed a bullet when the river of a hand where I had QT and a flush draw slowed down the action and revealed my opponent had a king-high flush. I was still over 20,000.

As we were getting to fours hours in, I min-raised with KxKx and a short-stacked player shoved. I called him and beat his 9x9x, putting me up to 24,800. Then I blew 6,000 and change calling with A8 after three diamonds showed on the flop. No more heats ever came. At 250 minutes, I was sitting on 21,575.

Then, when QxJx never went anywhere with a flop of AxKxJx, I was broken right back down below starting stack, to 9,975. Back to wolverine mode.

I waited until I picked up TxTx about 280 minutes in. There were pre-flop raises to 2,500 and I shoved, getting called by AxQx. That doubled me up to 20,650. Set-mining was getting costly, and I lost 2,400 in two hands calling wit 3x3x and 6x6x. Then I made the mistake of calling a 3,000 bet from BB with J8.

My own experience with over cards against TxTx fared about as well as my earlier opponents’ did. A short stack across the table shoved and I thought he had a low pair. I was right in that my QJ were both overs, but nothing came through for me and I was down to just 2,500 at the five hour mark. That was an M (or CSI, if you prefer) of 0.8.

The guy who’d doubled up against me and I went into a sort of war just before the dinner break. He shoved, and I called with Ax5x, making two pair against his 6x6x, then I called his all-in with just T7. He showed AxKx, but not only did I pair the seven, but I made a straight by the river, which cut him back considerably.

The glow from a third comeback wasn’t to last long, though. At least, not much longer than the dinner break. About ten minutes into the session, I shipped with AxQx over a 5,000 raise by a player who’d been playing a lot of suited connectors, much to the detriment of other stacks at the table. This time, he had KxKx. I hit a Qx, but never improved beyond that and was out.

Six hours and fifteen minutes. ~180th of 478 entries. $95,732 pot.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #3 No Limit Hold’em Shootout (10,000 chips)

I sat down at the table Sunday and tournament director K from The Final table was the dealer. While it’s always nice to see a familiar face, I have to point out that my track record in tournaments at TFT is not good. For whatever reason, my performance at other venues is far better. Not that I actually believe the dealers have anything to do with it, but if you were the kind of person who did take omens and portents seriously….

Once again, I tok the poison pot. In fact, I took the first two hands with ease. I lost some chips to post-flop bets, but I was holding my own ahead of the starting stack a quarter hour in when a woman who’d been at one of my tables in Event 1 was eliminated on a very loose all-in shove. I was sorry to see all her chips go across the table. To someone else.

I picked up a pot with JxJx, even with an ace on the flop, lost 500 with the Mutant Jack against AxQx with nothing on the board higher than a ten. Then I pushed with 8x8x from late position nd won heads-up against the SB with J96x on the flop. Half an hour in, I was at 10,450.

My first big mistake was calling a 3,000 post-flop raise with a Broadway draw needing a ten. Just after the first hour, I was down to 6,325.

I raised UTG with TxTx and got shoved on by a slightly larger stack in BTN. I called him and he flipped TxTx. Nobody flushed and we chopped the 300 chips in blinds.

I didn’t even bother to record what my last hand was. All I know is that it was before the break.

Eighty minutes. 228 entries.

Tomorrow’s the Limit Omaha Hi-Lo tournament. I hope I do better than I’ve been doing in cash games. In one this afternoon, I was down to 10% of my buy-in, then managed to get up to 160% in almost no time. I should have pushed back and taken my profit, but I almost felt like I owed it to stay in a while longer because I’d hardly been there for twenty minutes. I need to put those types of feelings aside, because I ended up felted after another near-bust, recovery, and bust. Like I told the players at the tournament, I’m a master of the short-stack comeback, but that’s not exactly something you want to have to be good at.

So Close (x2)

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

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

Sixty minutes. 3rd of 10 entries.

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

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

Sixty minutes. -1/2BB.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eight hours. ~90th of 548 entries.

Falling Out of Orbit

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Is Not My Beautiful Full House

Encore Club $25,000 Guarantee Freezeout (12,000 chips)

My best results in tournaments have been at Encore, and I was hoping this game would give my bankroll a little boost before the summer tournament season got into high gear. But like the last Encore $25K, I was gone early.

I quickly lost 450 playing 6xTx, hitting the ten as the high card on the flop and going up against AxTx. Just fifteen minutes into the game, I called 600 with JxTx and folded to a bet and eventual all-ins on the 4x9x3x flop. Kx turn card was the one the eventual winner wanted to see, because it gave him a higher set than the 9x9x of the original bettor, but Qx on the river would have made my straight the best hand.

I stuck it out to the end with straight and flush draws on 58 but didn’t get there, and twenty minutes into the game I was already down to 9,300. I slid another 1,100 down the drain with Ax2x drawing to a wheel.

Ax2x on BTN lost me chips again when I two pairs came on the board but my opponent made a full house with a full house. Half an hour and I was nearly 5,000 chips.

Finally, I won a pot with KT, hitting two diamonds and a ten-high flop, with another diamond on the turn, gaining about 2,000 chips.

I bided my time and lost the ground I’d regained with a missed nut flush draw and A9. Then I busted a short(er) stack with 8x8x against AxQx, turned around and lost 1,200 on the next hand calling with Jx9x. I hit middle pair but folded to a post-flop bet. Even with the knockout I only had 8,725 chips just before the first hour ended.

Right on the hour mark, I was BB and picked up KxKx. There was a raise and several calls ahead of me but I wanted to get value and just called. Unfortunately, while the flop gave me top set, it was entirely diamonds. A player at the other end of the table bet 1,000, SB called, and I shoved with about 7,500 left, hoping that I might scare off a weak flush or flush draw, or that I could catch a board pairing to make my full house. The original post-flop bettor folded but SB called with A9, the last two cards didn’t pair the board, and I was out on the hour.

One hour. Alternates were still being seated.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee (7,000 chips)

I took the poison pot on the first hand with 5x7x, making two pair by the turn. I bet 200 and got two calls. Two queens rolled out on the turn and river, counterfeiting my fives, but my two pair was still the best and I won.

Called 250 pre-flop with J8 and called the re-raise to 450 but with a 9x8x6x flop I folded to the next bet.

A 3x4x in the BB made it to the flop and paired the four. Suited cards started to show up and by the river I had a baby flush with the trey. A small bet seemed to be enough for everyone else, because I won. All that, and a dozen minutes into the game I was up a grand total of 300 chips.

Then I got KxJx and blew 1,150 drawing for a queen to make Broadway, putting me down 900 from the starting stack twenty minutes in.

With 5x5x in SB, I called a 150 bet post-flop but folded after the turn when there were four overs. I got a little of it back with KxJx, betting at a Jx2x2x flop. I was sliding, though, with 6,050 at the half-hour mark, and 5,650 five minutes later.

With J2, I called a pre-flop raise to 250 along with three others. The flop was Ax3xAx and I bet at it, bluffing everyone off the hand.

Called a 250 raise with 36 and got an open-ended straight draw with a flop of Kx4x5x. Went out on a limb calling a post-flop re-raise of 1,750 but was rewarded with a 2x on the turn. I shoved and was called by Kx8x, which finally put me over the starting stack again, with 13,750 at 50 minutes into the game.

Taking notes on that hand, I didn’t notice action come around to me on the next as BTN and I was flustered enough by the two all-ins ahead of me that when I looked at AxKx I folded it rather than get into what looked to be a bloody battle. I figured it was likely a couple of players had aces, I would have been putting most of my stack (if not all) at risk, so I thought not. I should have throughout it through, better, though. As it was, none of the players had premium hands, none of them had anything higher than a king, and it was a pair of kings in the hand of the guy I’d just doubled up against that took the pot. I’d had all three stacks covered. My ace kicker would have taken out three players. Another instance of failing to pull the trigger.

I called 1,100 with Qx9x but folded it to a post-flop bet, then put in another 825 on K3 to call a raise and had to fold to 2 all-in pre-flop bets.

Raised to 600 from BTN with A3 and got called by the blinds to see a 8x7xQx flop. A bet of 700 won the pot and put me at 12,700 just past the one-hour mark. Then I lost just about everything with 8T when my eight paired the top card on the board and I fell to a set of fives. I was done in when AxTx called my all-in with AxJx.

One hour and twelve minutes. 21st of 27 entries.

Deep in the HORSE****

Carbon Poker $200 Guarantee HORSE Freeroll (1,000 chips)

Karina Jett’s mention of a weekly HORSE tournament at the MGM Grand during the Tulalip Poker Pro Challenge last weekend got my juices flowing for some mixed-game action this week, and since there’s nothing in town I turned online for my fix.

I took my first pot in the second hand, with A5 as UTG3. I made the first raise, to 40, getting calls from BB and UTG. The flop was an unpromising Q7Q, which got checked, as did the Q turn. I had a very beatable full house with the 5 river and called a bet by the BB who just had 8J.

I lost my gain on the next hand when 2A failed to connect with 458 and make a straight by the river, then had to fold 22 post-flop after calling a raise. 55 on the fourth hand didn’t pan out, either. By the time I folded my first hand pre-flop (49 on the BB), I was down to 850 chips.

The next hand was the first of Omaha Hi-Lo and I had what for me was an interesting 2967. I had two pair on the 7A9 flop, but never got all of the pieces needed to connect a straight and folded after the river.

On BTN with 575K and down to 730 chips, I called a raise to 60 from UTG1 with two other callers ahead of me and BB calling, as well. The 86A flop gave me the best high hand possible and I opened with a bet after action was checked to me, with only BB calling. Q on the turn and 9 on the river didn’t change anything; I bet the turn and BB bet the river, calling when I raised him. I scooped the pot with my flush for the high and somehow managed to with the low with nothing lower than a five. That put me up to 1,285

Another sort of oddball hand was next: 4552. All eight players at the table saw the 35A flop and I’d made the wheel straight along with the lowest possible hand and potential for quad or a full house redraws. Two players dropped out in the post-flop betting that went up to 120 chips from each player, then the Q came on the turn. Bidding went up to 240 this time, with one player dropping out, then the same happened after a 9 on the river. No flush possibilities, no full houses, the wheel was the best possible straight. Only one of the other three players had the straight; we chopped the money for the high and low pots; about 1,600 apiece.

My next hand was 99TT as HJ. The pot was raised by UTG, then CO, then SB, and I called each time. I started the hand with 2,215 chips; only two of the other players had more than the 1,000 starting stack, and there were a couple of players who were seriously short, which was to my advantage in this hand. The flop was 2Q4, nowhere in my range and not the right color for my only potential flush. Action checked through to UTG, who made the first post-flop bet, then it was raised again by the smallest of the stacks in CO, re-raised by SB, and raised again by UTG. CO was all-in after calling the last raise. Four players made it to the river, with everyone all-in except for me. The turn and river were J and K, so there wasn’t a low. I took the side pots for a total of 1,585 chips with my king-high straight, the smallest stack on the table had an ace-high straight and took the main pot but since he’d started with just 215 chips, it was only 1,530. Two players were knocked out.

We switched to Razz on the next hand and I folded my first three deals. On the fourth hand I got 534 and called a completion to 50 as fifth to act. Three players went to fourth street, one showing 5Q and the other with A3. Everyone checked. There weren’t any more bets until seventh street, by which time my promising hand had turned less lovely with a 9-7-5-4-3 low. Not exactly a winner. The other players had 5-Q-7-5 and A-3-J-8 exposed. The latter of those players opened with a 100 bet and I called; the other player folded, and lo and behold I was the winner because the other guy had two pairs in his hand, making the jack the top end of his low.

I went as far as fifth street on the next hand, but that was the last of Razz for the moment. I started Seven Card Stud with 3,210 chips but didn’t play a single hand through to seventh street and was down to 2,820 by the time we started Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo. I had a slight chip advantage over two other players over 2,500 chips, and the rest of the table was under 1,000, with antes at 15, bring-in at 30, and limits of 150/300.

My first hand was A39 and I decided to try for the low. It was cheap, I just needed to call the bring-in to see 8 on fourth street. The other players in the hand were showing 73, 34, 3Q, and Q7, and a couple of those gave me pause on the low. I decided to bet at it and managed to cut the field down to just two other players, one who was nearly equal to me in chips and the other who’d begun with fewer than 400. The next card for me was 7. My larger opponent was now showing 736 and the smaller had 345. Things looked even worse now. I picked up a J and 2 on the last two streets and called bets of 300 on each. Perseverance paid off, this time, my 8-7-3-2-A low bested anything the other two hands had and I took half the main and side pots for 1,582 (a net gain of only about 270 chips, though, since a lot of them were mine). The larger of the two stacks actually lost some ground, with a portion of their chips going to the small stack in the main pot.

I folded two more hands then played a J9Q hand to seventh street. Action on the hand was cautious, everyone was checking through, and with nothing better than a pair of nines and J-9-7-6-3 for a low, I folded to a bet at the end. Ditto for a hand with just a pair of visible twos and unpromising low possibilities that I folded to a bet on sixth street heads-up. Then it was back to hold’em, with 2,507 in the bank.

Several hands in, I min-raised to 400 UTG with A2 getting calls from HJ and SB. The flop gave me the flush draw with 5T6, but I checked it after the SB and HJ pass on the opportunity to bet, as well. Q on the turn got a pass from everyone and so did the 4 river. I had nothing but that was still the best hand: SB had 9J for the lower flush and an up and down straight draw; 89 gave HJ a double-gutter straight draw. My ace-high was worth 2,000 chips.

I lost some of that as BB with Q4 in a battle of blinds that began with a 738 flop. I called a post-flop bet of 200 from SB, then when the K on the turn slowed him down, I bet 400 and got called. We both checked the 4 on the river (my only connection to the board) and he turned over 7J to win 800 of my chips.

I raised to 400 from HJ a few hands later with 33 and was rewarded on the 39A flop. I checked it, then bet 400 after the 9 showed up on the turn. My sole caller folded and I was back up to 3,307 chips.

Another heart-suited ace (A8) on my next hand and I raised to 400 from UTG2, getting calls from UTG and UTG1. All three of us checked through the 6J5 flop, but I bet into the J turn and UTG1 folded. UTG and I both checked the 4 on the river, and fortunately my kicker was slightly better than his 7A so I won the 2,300 pot.

The next hand started with 4,807 chips and KQ but it was ugly. I called a raise from BB to see the 762 flop, called another bet of 200 post-flop, and even called a 400 bet after the 5 turn. Why? I don’t know. I folded to a 400 bet on the 9 river and my opponent showed AA. What was I thinking? Down 1,000 chips.

QK on the next hand did me okay when I bet the 26K turn and got the only other player in the hand to fold. Then we were back to Omaha Hi-Lo.

I was BB at 125/250/25 with K569. UTG raised to 500, getting calls from UTG2, SB and myself. The flop came out K5T and I was hooked. I bet 250 and the other three called. The same thing happened on the 4 turn. K on the river gave me the second-best full house, with no now possible, and I bet it again. This time only SB called, showing 832J for a flush but not beating me.

A couple hands later gave me 6KAK, which looked pretty good for a high. I raised to 500 from BTN, getting called by both blinds and HJ. The flop wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but everyone checked it and the 9 turn. 3 on the river didn’t seem to be anyone’s favorite, either, and with no possible low, when the cards turned over, my two pair was the best hand, escaping defeat with a 15% chance on the river. Everyone else had straight draws or full house draws by the river; the only three cards that kept me from losing were the other threes. That hand put me up to 9,657.

The next hand I started with a commanding leadoff more than 7,000 chips over my nearest competitor at the table. One of the players was all-in for just a portion of the ante. My cards were 8A63 and I called the 250 big blind from CO along with everyone but UTG. The K7T flop gave me an inside straight draw. UTG2 bet 250, which I called, then BTN raised to 500. SB, UTG2, and I all called and saw J on the turn. I still had the straight draw—although it didn’t look as nice with the possibility of the high straight—and a flush draw. Everyone checked it through, so I didn’t need to make a decision at that point. The river card was 9. SB and UTG2 checked to me, I bet 500, BTN raised to 732, and SB and UTG2 folded. BTN may have misread his hand; he had Q74Q for just a pair of queens but he might have thought he had a straight. The stack that had started out with 10 chips in the ante had 99KQ and did have the king-high straight to take the main pot, but that was only 80 chips. No low again and my ten-high straight won the side pot of 5,069, knocking out the player in BTN.

With over 13,000 chips, I had more than six times my nearest tablemate, and there were a couple of players with fewer chips than the combined big blind and ante of 275. The BB on the next hand was all-in for less than his blind. I had JK72 and could easily afford to call the unraised blind to see the 49K flop. SB and UTG1 checked to me, I bet 250, and was called by BTN and UTG1. The 8 made my flush I bet 500, getting a call only from UTG1, who may have been chasing a low, because my bet at J on the river made him fold. My only opponent at showdown was the all-in player, who only had two pair. I took both pots with my flush and was over 15,000.

Things went much the same on the next hand. I had K744. None of the remaining five players at my table had more than 1,070 chips. UTG called the 250 blind (even though there was nobody to post it in full), I raised to 500, and UTG called, putting us heads-up for the side pot (the main had only 240 chips). The flop gave me some hope for my flush, with 5JT. UTG and I checked it and a 3 hit the turn. UTG bet 500, which I called, then the 9 on the river made my flush. No low, and unless he had the A and another diamond or Q8, I was going to take this pot. He threw his last 70 chips into the pot and I called. He must have been going for the low or a straight with the 4K32. The other all-in player had a great flop with two pair but it didn’t improve from there. They were both knocked out, and I had 16,544.

We were down to five at the table on the next hand, which was even freakier. The dealer button was dead, I was UTG, and the players after me had 1025 (UTG1), 1021 (HJ), 740 (CO), and 1,026 (BB) respectively. My hand was a lowly 4223, so naturally my first action was to raise to 500. UTG1 raised to 750, HJ called, CO wisely stayed out of the hand, and BB shoved all-in. I called the extra 426 and UTG1 and HJ came along for the ride. The J62 flop gave me some great straight possibilities and even put the potential for a straight flush in play. I already had a set of deuces, so full houses were in the cards (so to speak). I bet 250, which put UTG1 and HJ all-in for less to call. All the hands were flipped and everyone was seriously behind. UTG1 had Q7QJ, HJ was holding T29T, and BB had J5K7. The nail went into everyone’s coffins with the turn’s A. The A on the river that made my full house was unneeded. Three players went out, I was up to 19,600, and the game switched back to Razz.

After the drama of the Omaha segment, I was mostly quiet in Razz, never going beyond fifth street and dropping about 1,000 chips in antes and bets. I was still the chip leader moving into Seven Card Stud and the table had been filled back up, but only one player had more than 10,000 chips and several were very short. I was dealt 964 as first to act and called the bring-in of 100 against a visible 2. None of the other players called, and I got J on fourth street, against the bring-in’s J. We both checked, and I was dealt 2 for fifth street. I bet 800, which more than covered the bring-in’s stack and he folded.

My next hand was a little less of a bluff. I started off with TJQ. Second-to-act called the bring-in, and I completed to 300. The bring-in (showing 2) called, and second-to-act (8) came along. Fourth street paired my ten with T. Both the other players checked to me and I bet 400. This time, only the bring-in called. I got T on fifth street and for some reason I can’t comprehend I checked it through; bring-in got 9. With 5 for me and 6 for him on sixth street, my 800 bet stopped the hand and I was up over 20,000 chips and in the top five of the game with a thousand players left.

I got cocky and played a hand out much farther than I should have. Where can something like 4AQJ646 go? What did I think I was drawing to? Anyway, it cost me about 3,000 chips. I lost another 1,600 looking for a third seven with pocket 77. Two pair wasn’t good enough for the high in the first hand of Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, costing me about 1,700 more.

I’d lost the table lead by the time we were several hands into Stud 8. I got 45K as last-to-act. Bring-in was the table chip leader, showing 6. Second-to-act, one of the other larger stacks (A) called the bring-in and I joined. 2A got a Q on fourth street and bet 500. I called with my measly 6, thinking maybe I’d be looking at a low or possibly a straight. Bring-in got my 5. With a 3 on fourth street, 2A pushed the idea of a club draw with a bet of 1,000, but he couldn’t shake my paired 5 or whatever bring-in had with 2. 2A picked up the last of my fives with 5 on sixth street, I got one of his clubs up—7—making an open-ended straight draw, and BI open-paired with 6. 2A tried to shake us off with another 1,000 bet but we both stayed. My down seventh street was 4, making a rather anemic two pair. Fortunately, neither of the other players bet at the hand, and when we showed, 2A had started out great with a pair of aces, but nothing else had paired, and the sixes were all BI had, so my fours and fives took the whole 8,155 pot.

I stopped betting on the next hand when there were two fives showing in the other guy’s hand by fourth street. He got another on fifth and apparently knew that if he bet at the pot I was just going to fold. We got to seventh street and he showed his quads (the fourth on second street).

A couple hands later we were back to Hold’em and I was dealt AA as BTN. Is there any better position? Blinds were up to 300/600/60. I started off with about 18,000, there were a couple other stacks over 15,000, then the others were about 5,000 or less. UTG2 called the blind after folds from UTG and UTG1. I raised to 1,200 and it was a heads-up raising battle between me and UTG2 until we’d pegged at 2,400 pre-flop. The Q55 flop could have given him a better hand, but since he’d started with less than a third of my chip stack, I was willing to see things through to the river. He opened post-flop with 600 and I raised to 1,200 but he just called, and a 4 hit on the turn. He started betting again, I re-raised to 2,400, and he went all-in, showing 76 for an open-ended straight draw and a club flush draw. The 6 river card prevented either possibility and he was out. I had about 25,000 chips for the next hand.

I folder the next three hands, then played 7K to the turn before folding. I made a big mistake playing 76 from the SB hitting middle pair on a 67T flop and hoping it was best through several rounds of betting all the way to showdown when a AT won. That shaved off 4,000 chips or so, and I folded my last couple of Hold’em hands.

6333 should have been folded pre-flop, not played to the turn. I took another couple hands (like A7KJ to the flop but no further. With blinds at 400/800/80, though, aborted stabs at the pot were costing big, and I was getting down below 4,000 chips by the time the Omaha 8 segment was over.

In Razz, my second hand was a deceptive A3K and I made a full bet of 1,000 instead of posting the bring-in. Two players called (showing 7 and 6, respectively) and I picked up 2 on fourth street, with A and 9 for my opponents. They checked it to me and I bet 1,000, with both of them calling. Fifth street paired me with 3, putting 5 and 4 on the other two hands. I was down to fumes. I put my last 1,346 chips in play and got called by both of the other players. Amazingly enough, even though I was paired again on seventh street, and my low was a stunning K-8-3-2-A, both of the other player had worse luck on their draws, with one player actually having a pair and a set by the end. It gave me a much-needed shot.

I made another big pot in Razz with 5JA against a visible 7. I just kept betting and ended up with a 7-5-4-3-2 against a much larger stack that had 8-7-6-3-A. That pot put me back up over 20,000.

Three of us got to showdown in the next hand. I had three cards under 7 to start with, ending up holding 8-6-5-2-A against T-7-6-4-3 and 9-8-6-2-A.

We switched over to Seven Card Stud and I took my third pot in a row, besting sixes and fives with tens and sevens, and pushing over 32,000. Then I blew out most of it going to the mats with a pair of visible kings against a guy with one king showing and another below, who had the top three pairs in his hand before he was done. Lost some more with two low pairs that were beat by aces and fives. That cost me 12,000 chips in one hand.

A bet after a pair of visible aces picked up a small pot, then I somehow managed to win a three-way showdown with just a pair of jacks.

Nines and sixes scooped the 25,200 pot in the first hand of Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, then I lost a chunk calling to get a straight to fill out but losing to aces and nines.

My next-to-last hand started off beautifully, with 96T and only J showing on third street. Could I get a straight flush? By the time A came on sixth street, I was just hoping for any other diamond—only three diamonds were visible in the hands of the three other players—but the best I could do was another ace on seventh street. That wasn’t good enough. Aces and sevens took 35,000 chips in the two side pots, with no lows, the main pot of 28,000 was scooped with a six-high straight.

That left me with just under 5,000 chips. I was all-in by fifth street, but a pair of fours bookended by a king and a jack left me beat by a pair of sevens and without a low to my name.

It didn’t get me to the money—the Carbon Poker free rolls only pay the top 20 finishers—but I was in the top 5% of the entries, which beats my best previous showing of 178th.

103 hands, 106 minutes. 120th of 2,757 entries.

Fooling Around In Omaha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By break 2, I’d hit 140,000.

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

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

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

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

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

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