Making it into the top three percent of a tournament with more than 1,200 players takes a fair amount of good luck, as well as some skill. The stats for this run are pretty great, even though there were a couple of setbacks. I can look at this to console myself after making what may have been one of the worst a calls ever last night in the Final Table $20K, just a few spots from the money.
Hand 27♥7♣ D 9,990 10/20 UTG opens to 60 with J♦K♣ and UTG2 calls with 6♠7♠. I call, and SB comes along with A♦2♦. The flop is 8♣3♠5♥, I’m in the lead, but UTG bets his open-ended for 150. I call, SB calls, UTG drops out. 5♦ turn gets checked around, as does the 9♥ river, which makes UTG2’s straight. I’m such a wimp.
Hand 6J♣Q♠ UTG2 9,780 20/40 I open to 120, getting calls from HJ (T♠Q♣) and SB (A♦A♠). I check the 3♠6♦[ td] flop, then fold after a bet from HJ and check-raise from the aces (which win the hand).
Hand 7 8♣8♥ UTG1 9,660 20/40 I open to 120 and get called by HJ and D (K♠T♦ and K♦J♦, respectively). The flop is low and clubby: 3♣7♣2♣ and I get my c-bet of 200 through.
Hand 189♥K♥ BB 9,900 40/80 UTG1 min-raises with Q♥A♥, I call, the flop is 7♦Q♦7♥ and I call a c-bet of 180. Probably a good thing the turn is 3♣, because a heart would have gotten me into lots of trouble. I check fold to a bet of 440.
Hand 29J♣8♣ D 9,370 50/100 UTG limps with A♥8♥. UTG 1 is down to 690 and goes all-in with K♦Q♠. I call because I’m on the button, and UTG calls. The board gets checked to the river: K♥5♦3♠K♣7♥, the short stack triples up.
Hand 366♥T♥ BB 8,680 75/150 UTG raises to 376 (yes, it’s one of those) with Q♠A♠. UTG1 has 9♣Q♣ and calls. CO calls with A♥J♣, and they let me see a cheap 4-way flop with crap when I’m relatively deep-stacked: 4♠4♥K♥. UTG bets 573 and I’m the only caller. A♣ on the turn and I bet 1K just to throw him off, which he calls. 9♥ on the river. I check it to see what he does. He just checks, and I’m finally up over starting stack.
Hand 37 J♣T♠ SB 11,456 75/150 Action checks to me, I open to 450, and BB raises to 1,050 with K♥K♣. I fold.
Hand 509♥9♦ UTG3 10,706 100/200 I open to 600 and get called by CO and SB. We all check the J♣3♥A♦ flop, CO has A♠A♥. SB, with 6♠5♦ bets 1,200 with an open-ended straight draw on the 4♥ turn, I fold, CO calls his set and hits quads with the A♣ on the river. He check-raises a 2,200 bluff from SB, leaving him with half a starting stack.
Hand 55 Q♥J♠ D 9,606 125/250/25 UTG2 min-raises with 4♣4♠, getting calls from me and BB with 9♠A♠. The flop is 5♠A♦6♦, gets checked around, and after a 6♥ on the turn, UTG2 bets 925. I fold, BB calls, and wins on the river 8♠ with the better two pair.
Hand 619♣J♣ UTG1 8,976 150/300/30 I open for 900 and get a call from the button’s T♣T♦. The flop is 9♠4♦8♠ and he’s more cautious than me, because he folds to a bet of 1.5K.
Hand 64K♣J♣ SB 10,206 150/300/30 UTG1 raises to 700 with 9♠9♥, I call, and BB is in with Q♣J♦. The flop is checked, but after the 7♠ turn, BB goes all-in for 2.8K. UTG1 and I both fold.
Hand 69A♦J♠ UTG2 9,346 200/400/40 UTG min-raises with K♣J♦ and I call. BB is in with Q♥8♦. Both have me well-covered. I call a bet of 800 after the K♥K♦2♦2♠ turn, then another 1.6K on the deceptive A♣ river and lose to the full house, naturally.
Hand 72Q♦Q♥ BB 6,026 200/400/40 UTG1 raises to 950 with 7♣7♠, off a 7.5K stack. There are big stacks at 19K, 26K, and 40K; everyone else is below the 10K starting stack, and I’m second-shortest. D calls with A♥9♣; he has the 26K stack. I shove my remaining 6K. UTG1 calls (?) leaving just 1.5K back, then D raises to 11.4K and he has to go all-in to call. The board runs out dangerously but ends up okay for me: 8♥8♦8♥4♠2♣. UTG1 gets a side-pot of 3K.
Hand 75A♦7♦ CO 18,198 200/400/40 We”re seven-handed at the table and I call a min-raise from UTG1 (T♦J♦). D calls after me with 6♦9♦. The flop is T♠4♥8♠, UTG1 shoves for 17K and takes the pot.
Hand 80J♠A♦ SB 16,658 250/500/50 UTG limps with J♥A♠, CO raises to 1.5K with T♦K♦, I call, and UTG shoves for 13K to win the pot.
Hand 827♥7♦ CO 15,058 250/500/50 I open to 1.5K and BB comes along with T♠Q♠. He folds when I c-bet 3♠9♣3♥ for 2K.
Hand 83K♠K♥ HJ 17,158 250/500/50 I open to 1.5K a second hand in a row, D 3-bets to 3.9K with a slightly larger stack, I 4-bet to 8K, and he calls. The flop is 6♠3♠6♦, I shove my remaining 9.1K and he calls with slim odds. The turn and river are 9♦9♠ and I double.
Hand 84A♣J♥ UTG2 35,366 250/500/50 On a bit of a roll, something you need to make it deep. There are eight players seated. Two of us are in the mid-30K range, the other big stack is in BB on this hand. UTG and UTG1 have 20K and 6K. HJ has only 4K, and CO is down to his last blind-and-a-half after doubling me up. On the button is a stack of 9K, and SB has 17K. So there’s some variety, and it’s nice to be on the top of the heap for a bit. UTG min-raises this hand with A♠9♥. I call and we’re HU. We both check down to the river: 3♠6♣T♥2♦7♠ and my kicker clinches it. Three in a row.
Hand 87T♠9♠ BB 37,346 300/600/60 I call a raise to 1.8K from UTG with 6♠6♣, hit top pair against a set on a 4♣9♦6♦ flop, don’t bet it, and thank my lucky stars afterward that I didn’t have an ace when I fold to a bet on the A♣ turn. I’m a genius.
Hand 88K♠8♠ SB 35,486 300/600/60 Action folds to me, I raise, BB folds his J♦5♠.
Hand 898♥6♠ D 36,506 300/600/60 BB is all-in for his last 377. UTG2 raises with 9♠J♣. I’m the only caller. I fold to a bet after the 4♦T♣4♠ flop, the turn and river are K♥A♠, BB has 6♣Q♠, nobody has a pair, BB ends up with 1.9K.
Hand 918♦7♦ HJ 35,186 300/600/60 I open to 1.8K and win.
Hand 92Q♥K♣ UTG2 36,506 300/600/60 I open another hand, D calls with J♦T♣ and hits bottom pair with J♠2♦A♥. I c-bet 2K and he calls. We check through to the river (7♠9♦) and he takes the hand.
Hand 962♥A♥ BB 32,446 400/800/80 UTG goes to 2.4K with 9♦9♣. I make kind of a loose call, and whiff the flop of 6♣K♥3♠. The Q♥ on the turn is tantalizing: I check-call 2.9K, but lose when the river is Q♦ and we both check.
Hand 98A♣J♦ D 26,566 400/800/80 UTG1 opens A♦Q♣ to 1.6K, HJ has K♣T♦ and calls, and I’m in, in the worst shape of the three hands by far. Fortunately, after a bet from HJ of 2,450 on the 2♠6♥[9k] flop, I fold, as does UTG1. Aggression wins the day.
Hand 102Q♠Q♣ UTG1 24,646 400/800/80 BB calls my raise of 2.4K with A♣5♣, calls the c-bet of 3K on a T♣J♠K♦ flop, then check-folds to a bet of 6K when I hit the straight on the turn with 9♥.
Hand 105K♦T♦ SB 32,026 500/1K/100 A pivotal hand. HJ raises to 2K with 4♠8♠. CO calls with T♥Q♠, I call, and BB is in with 6♦3♦. The 5♦J♦4♣ flop gives a little bit to almost everyone: I have the best flush draw, HJ has bottom pair, and BB has the open-ended straight (and thinks he has the flush, most likely). It checks to HJ, who bets 4.4K. I call, along with BB. 8♦ on the flop makes my flush, gives HJ two pair, and makes an inferior flush for BB, who’s drawing dead at this point. I check, BB goes all-in for 11K, HJ calls with less than 6K behind, and I shove. HJ folds. The river is a J♣ and I pick up a sizable pot that more than doubles me up.
Hand 111A♠Q♠ UTG 68,946 500/1K/100 I open to 3K and SB calls with 8♦K♠. BB is all-in for 65. The flop is 9♣7♦6♣, SB goes all-in for 16.2K with his open-ended straight draw and I fold. BB has 2♥Q♣, a K♥ hits on the river, and SB wins the pot. The A♥ turn would have given me the pot.
Hand 128 A♠9♠ UTG1 59,826 800/1.6K/160 I raise to 4.8K and everyone folds.
Hand 129Q♠K♦ UTG 63,506 800/1.6K/160 I open another hand and everyone folds. I have the best hand, but in an 9-way all-in, I’m actually a few points behindJ♠6♠. The power of suited. The two player to my right (in the blinds in this hand) both have me covered by 30-50K. The two players on my left are below me, but have enough to cripple my stack. Three seats to my left is another stack that covers me, but by less than the blinds. There are a couple of <20BB stacks, and on the button is another potentially-crippling stack.
Hand 140Q♦A♥ SB 60,906 1K/2K/200 UTG1 now covers me and raises to 5,555 with 5♦5♠, natch. I’m the only caller. Flop is 5♣6♥4♦, I check-fold to a bet of 8,888.
Hand 145Q♠Q♣ UTG2 54,201 1.25K/2.5K/250 I open to 7.5K and win the pot.
Hand 151J♠A♥ CO 54,951 1.25K/2.5K/250 On the button to my left is a stack 10K smaller than me (17BB). The blinds both have me covered by at least 8BB. UTG is a short stack with just 5BB, UTG1 has about the same as the button, and the table leader is in UTG2 with almost 60BB. Another short stack in UTG3 (8BB) and HJ has me covered with 36BB. Action folds to UTG3, who shoves A♦7♦. I re-shove and the blinds fold. The board runs out Q♠[hs]J♦A♣8♥ and I win the pot.
Hand 161J♥9♥ BB 72,361 1.5K/3K/300 UTG ships 5♥K♥ with just under 2.5BB and it folds to me. I call with a hand I would have played anyway and lose on the K♦8♦Q♣3♣5♦ board.
Hand 168Q♦A♦ UTG1 61,283 2K/4K/400 Hopefully, the diamonds will do me better than the hearts in hand 140. I raise to 12K and everyone folds. Not a pair among them.
Hand 172Q♦Q♠ D 62,883 2K/4K/400 SB has 64BB and leads the table. BB has 8K. UTG is sitting with almost 50BB, UTG1 has 22BB, HJ has 28BB, and UTG3 and CO both just have me covered with 18BB. One of those spots you’re hoping nobody with a big stack decides to blast off with an ace before it gets to you. The second chip leader folds 3♦7♠. UTG1 makes a bit more than a min-raise to 9K with Q♣K♥. three covering stacks ahead of me fold J♣7♦, 3♣8♥, and 4♥4♣. I have 15BB, there’s 4.5BB in the pot and a minimum 3-bet leaves me with less then 10BB, so I shove. The big stack has 3♦7♠, the short stack makes a tight fold of A♣J♥, and the original raiser lets it go.
Hand 179Q♠Q♣ SB 72,855 2.5K/5K/500 This has to be some kind of personal record. If you’re keeping track, this is the third time I’ve had queens in less than 35 hands. It’s the fifth time in the tournament so far. As I’ve said before, the distribution of starting hands only equalizes in the long run. I’m sure I’ll pay for this later. The short stack is UTG, and he shoves 6BB with A♣J♠. Big stacks in UTG1 and UTG2 fold. UTG3 has J♦Q♥ and folds with several covering stacks behind. There goes one of my queens. HJ ships a stack slightly smaller than mine with T♠T♦. CO folds my other queen with K♠Q♦, he’s got 25BB. D has 12BB and folds 6♦3♠. BB is the table chip leader, with a stack four times my size, but I can’t really worry about that with the queens. I shove, and he calls with 2♣2♠. The board is 5♦3♦7♣9♥4♦, and I win a massive pot. Bizarrely enough, preflop odds with the dead cards taken into consideration had me more or less even with the other three players. If the queens aren’t dead, then my equity preflop is 78%.
Hand 180J♠J♥ D 241,950 2.5K/5K/500 Seven-handed after I eliminated two players (we’re now in the money) with the queens. I’m suddenly the table chip leader, by 6BB. One of the bigger stacks, with 35BB, limps in UTG with 7♠7♥. It folds to the shortest stack, in the CO, who shoves 12BB with 4♦A♦. SB folds. I rip my jacks in for 48BB and UTG calls off. The runout is 8♣T♠9♦A♠5♠. The short stack finds his ace and triples, but I take a substantial side pot that still gives me more chips.
Hand 1948♣A♣ BB 279,650 3.5K/7K/700 Action folds to SB, he min-raises with K♣A♥ and I 3-bet to 50K. He 4-bets for a total of 142K, I call, and get very lucky with a straight on the 9♠J♠6♣T♠7♠ board. No spade! Life is ugly and he goes out 93rd.
Hand 200 8♦8♠ UTG2 418,845 3.5K/7K/700 My turn to be on the wrong side of queens. I open to 21K, it folds to BB who goes all-in for just under 200K. I call, he has Q♣Q♦ and I ship almost half my stack to him. Just arrogance.
Hand 203 J♥J♦ BB 216,599 4K/8K/800 UTG min-raises with A♠7♠, HJ has just 30K and shoves holding T♣K♣. UTG has more than I do; I shove from BB, thenUTG folds. It looks good at first, but the run-out is 5♣J♠9♦Q♦8♥ and he pulls off a straight.
Hand 205Q♠K♥ D 180,779 4K/8K/800 UTG2, one of the two stacks under 100K goes all-in with 9♥9♠. Intermediate positions fold to me and I shove, with two bigger stacks behind. The biggest stack —UTG3 with 5x the shover’s chips—folded A♥T♥. The blinds fold, the board is 6♠T♠3♣K♠7♦ and I knock out a player in 75th.
Hand 211Q♠T♠ UTG 283,659 5K/10K/1K The Portland Nuts. How can I lose? I open to 30K and everyone folds. They know.
Hand 217 Q♠A♣ UTG3 285,659 5K/10K/1K Open to 30K. Folds all around.
Hand 219A♣A♠ UTG1 307,659 5K/10K/1K Sort of a dangerous spot to get this, early in the pecking order, I’m not about to slow-play it at 30BB. Fortunately, UTG goes all-in for about 100K, so there’s some profit to be made if the aces hold up. I shove over the top, everyone folds, he has 8♥8♣, the board is 6♣9♥K♣K♦J♥ and he’s out in 59th.
Hand 2206♣8♦ BB 428,029 6K/12K/1.2K I get a walk.
Hand 2289♦7♦ BB 426,829 6K/12K/1.2K I call a min-raise from D, hit top pair on the 6♣2♣9♠ flop, check-call 24K on the turn when K♦ hits, and we both check the K♥ river. He whiffed with J♠Q♣.
Hand 238J♦Q♥ SB 450,829 8K/16K/1.6K D has the most chips at the table with 736K, but I’m in a tight race for 2nd place v BB. Action folds to me and I open to 32K. BB calls the min-raise, maybe because nearly every other raise I’ve made has been 3x or all-in. The flop is 9♥9♦9♠. I c-bet 35K, which he calls. 6♠ turn. I check-fold to an all-in, he has K♠J♣ and has me dominated.
Hand 241T♣T♦ HJ 343,229 10K/20K/2K I open to 45K and win.
Hand 244A♣7♣ UTG 383,229 10K/20K/2K I open 60K and UTG1 raises to 138K. Everyone else folds and I call. He has K♥Q♥, hits top pair on the K♠6♦J♣ flop, and I check-fold to his delayed c-bet of 158K on the 4♠ turn.
Hand 251T♦T♣ UTG2 200,329 12.5K/25K/2.5K I’m all-in with tens and 8BB, SB has A♠Q♠ and has me covered by just over 1BB. I’m good to the river: J♣5♦2♣6♦A♥.
Five hours and ten minutes. 251 hands. 36th of 1,219 entries. +309% ROI. VPIP: 19.5% (49/251). Won 35.5% of hands played that did not go to showdown (11/31). 36.7% of hands played went to showdown (18/49). Won chips in 66.7% of hands that went to showdown (12/18).