R-Day Minus 17

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Well, that went better than I expected.

At this time last night, we were down to three tables at the Final Table $10K GTD NLHE, one of the last weekend events I’m going to get to play before my self-imposed retirement from poker goes into effect in 1 January.

Just for some perspective, I’ve played 28 $10K GTD or larger events at Final Table alone this year, more than 2-1/2 workweeks of my spare time. Overall, including live and online, more than 15 40-hour weeks of my time playing poker. Hardly a full-time job, but quarter-time, anyway.

Anyway, I was in for just a single buyin and an addon last night, but I was a little short on chips as we maneuvered through the last ten or so players to the bubble. I had to make a couple of risky shoves  (one with Q8 UTG) to stay alive long enough to make the 10 scheduled payouts.

I had a pleasant chat with Paul, one of the local dealers-turned-pros about his ability to go up to British Columbia to play on PokerStars (which I envy). A Seattle player in Seahawks gear (natch) with a big stack sat on my left keeping things real by playing most of the hands down to the bubble.

It took about an hour to go from 15 players to the final table. Three bubbles were proposed and then two bubbles, and almost immediately a couple of players went out and the first was paid (only $100 each, though).

I was one of the three shortest stacks at the 10-handed final. I got the prime position in seat 1 (where the button started) so with the big blind ante I wasn’t paying anything for nearly 20 minutes.

We were an hour into the final when things started to shift. Paul was now on my immediate left. The big stack was on the other side of the dealer in seat 10. Two players had busted out, I’d picked up a few chips and was just over 200K, but that was still 10bb, and with the big blind ante, you’re losing a fifth of that in one whack. Anyway, seat 8 was UTG and he raised from one of the other short stacks to 55K. Seahawks guy had over 600K and called—he’d been making good use of suited connectors all night. I had AxQx and I shoved, hoping that I had enough to get the big stack to fold when it came back around. paul shoved behind me with a bit more. After a long moment considering, the original raiser called all in, then the big stack bowed out and it was tens for the original raiser against kings for Paul and an ace hit the flop, essentially tripling me up to the chip lead or very near.

Between us, the big stack and I had two-thirds of the chips in play, and I cruised along for a while with a couple more eliminations until I raised Seahawks’s big blind and he shoved into my AxKx with K2. Which I called. It was over pretty soon after that, the other two players (including Ron S., who’d been my only railer when I took 3rd this February at Chinook) had a total of 25% of the chips and I had the other 75%. It was 4:30am and we were all amicable so I kicked back $290, the other guys split that along with 2nd and 3rd money for about $2Keach, and I got $3K straight up. Better than the ICM.

I had been thinking that if I got down to this point I was going to play it out no matter the consequences, and after all the 3-person Sit-n-Gos I’ve been playing on Ignition, I’m pretty sure I could have maintained by first-place, but I wanted to get home and see if I could come up with some other options for my quest for $100K.

One was the Bay 101 Shooting Star Satellite this morning. While the tournament itself isn’t until March (and it isn’t a WPT event this time around), I figured if I won the seat before the end of the year it wouldn’t violate my self-conditions. It was at 9am in San ose.

The Bicycle Casino had two flights to a Quantum $250K GTD NLHE tournament at 11:30am and 4pm.

And, of course, there was the Venetian/CPPT $500K GTD NLHE with a $3500 buyin if I wanted to emulate the path I took after my first $10K 1st place at Encore Club back in 2011.

The flights, though, were killer. This far into the holiday season, with short notice, everything is hideously expensive. I didn’t want to blow it all (and more) on a one-shot at the Venetian, getting to San Jose in time was just not happening by the time I got home, and trying to make the first flight at LA was pretty awful, too. Unfortunately, even the flights to Vegas in two weeks—just before New Year’s Eve—aren’t great, either, So I’m open to suggestions.

Waiting to go to a holiday party, I played an Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go, got a 5x payout, and won it on a hand where both the shorter stacks shoved when I had kings.