Gotta Know When to Hold Em

Encore Club $35K NLHE Guarantee

Day 4 was playing out down in Las Vegas, most of the Portland poker crowd was back home and Encore scheduled one of their large-guarantee games. A slightly different format than usual, with re-entry instead of a re-buy (or worse, a live re-buy) and with the re-entry through the break after the sixth level instead of level 3 or 4. That meant five hours of re-rentry, with the ability to come in with 35K in chips at the 600/1200/200 level.

I picked up a couple small pots early, then got JxJx and had to fire a c-bet at a king-high flop to win that, then got KxKx with four callers and an ace on the flop, so that got check-folded on the flop. I picked up a couple more small pots, got JxJx twice more, thenproceeded to fold my way down from 30K to 13K as every hand I was involved in just never improved.

I spent my entire tournament sitting to the left of a poker celebrity, Angela Jordison—the winner of the first three events at the 2015 Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up—so I got an up-close and personal look at how she accumulates chips. Obviously, I didn’t figure it out, because I was out of the tournament after five-and-a-half hours.

She did get lucky early on, about a half-hour into the game when she called an all-in for most of her chips with top set against against my friend Sean Gentry’s made straight after the flop, and having the board pair on the river to give her the full house. She put the hammer down enough that by the time a short- stack on my left went all-in from the small blind with about 10K over her cutoff raise, his rivered trips with 9x7x against her AxAx just put a small dent in her stack.

I picked off a couple pots she was involved in. An aggressive player in seat 10 (I was in 6) raised a pot on my big blind to 5K, Angela was the only caller ahead of me in the small, and I called about a quarter of my stack at the time holding 65. The flop was AK6 and when Angela checked, I shoved. They both folded and I just about doubled up. To two-thirds the starting stack.

Another hand was with both of us in the blinds and it was checked to Angela. She raised and I shoved with QxJx, figuring she had an ace but probably a kicker under both my cards. She considered it briefly, showed the A and asked if it worried me. Since I was pretty sure she had an ace when I shoved, I said no.

In the end, I got mega-cooled. QQ in the big blind, I had less than 10BB, seat 1 opens to 2BB and I shove. He has AxAx, there are three diamonds to a flush on the turn (including A) and the river brings quad aces.

A couple of regrettable hands. I opened with 4x4x at one point then laid down what would have been the best hand after a flop of Ax3x3x. The 4x came on the turn after the guys with aces went to war and AxQx lost to a worse ace. And I folded KxQx under the gun when I was at about 15BB because I didn’t want to have to go to war with it against a number of larger stacks. That hand was won by 2x2x when the other player involved failed to pair any of the five cards (including an ace and a king) on the board.

Still, I think I played decently. Had a nice chat with Angela (who was aware of the WSOP updates), and whiled away a few hours when I could have been sorting papers in my office.

Five-and-a-half hours. 95th of 229 entries.

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