Facing the Music


Encore Poker Series VII #2 $30K NLHE

I’ll be honest with you my droogies, it has not been the most comfortable of years here at Poker Mutant Central. I got into poker in part because I didn’t have much else going on, in terms of work, and a good part of the reason I’ve spent a lot of time on analysis of stats was tying to determine whether my trends were up or down, because the margins I work on are pretty thin.

I spent part of the middle of the year trying some new ranges and tactics, in order to counteract a perception I had that I was getting to, or close to, the money with too short of a stack to make it deep. Because it takes a while for actual trends to overcome short-term variance in live play, that led to a few really unpleasant months before I could determine for sure that the improvements were a worse option than what I was trying to improve on. Coupled with some non-poker life events that impacted my already meagre bankroll, and despite the surge in notoriety I’d gotten from the summer series roundups, my appearances with Limon, and the weekly tournament info I’ve been publishing, I’d decided that the two events at the EPS that I was able to play were going to determine whether I could continue with poker. I’d had a decent fifth-place cash in a $9K at Encore on Columbus Day, but I was going to have to cover property taxes in November…well, you folks don’t want to hear about that kind of real-life crap.

Let’s talk about poker and what went right.

Thursday night was the first of the EPS events, a $20K guarantee with a $100 buyin, one rebuy, and a $50 addon. The info on the event didn’t specifically say it was a live rebuy—which I kind of hate—but it was, and there were 110 rebuys in the event, which doubled its guarantee. I didn’t make it that far, busting after two-and-a-half hours with [ax kx] and top pair on the river after bluffing into a turned set of 8s.

Friday night in Event #2, I sat down with this summer’s Golden One, Micah Bell, on my right. I picked up a few chips playing [tc 6c] from the button and hitting trips, and managed to work my way up to 24K from the 15K starting stack by the break.

Then, the first hand after the break, I l;et myself lose the 10K I’d bought with the addon chasing a flush on a paired board with a suited ace, hitting the ace on the turn and paying off a 3K value bet on the river to [8s 5s] in the big blind, who’d called my early position pre-flop raise along with three others and flopped trip 8s.


I slid down below the starting stack on the next couple of hands as I payed the blinds, had decent defense cards, then folded after the flop, but doubled up to just about what I’d bought in chips ten minutes later (that’s the little bobble you see in the graph above on either side of the first white vertical bar that indicates a break).

By the end of level 6 (last chance for entry), I’d crept back above the 25K in chips I’d bought (15K start, 10K addon), but was well behind the chip average. Things started moving in the third session. I had less than 20BB in level 8 when I picked up a pot that got me over 40K, then I shoved another suited ace on the flop against a set not long before the third break to push me up near 100K. By then, half the field of 190 was gone, and I was over the chip average for the first time in the game. A three-bet with [kx kx] over an opening raise from Micah put me above 100K as we went into the break.

Our table broke in level 11, and on the last hand before that I picked up [qx qx] and shoved as part of the closing action over two all-in short stacks, knocking both of them out and moving up to 125K. Winning a couple of races pushed me to 250K in just 15 minutes at the new table. The capable Max Young shoved 90K with [ax qx] and ran into my [tx tx]. A few more chips before break 4 and I was at 355K. The chip average with 38 of 190 players remaining was 155K. Including rebuys and addons, there were about 5.9M chips in play.


The 8K, 10K, and 12K big blind levels were similarly fruitful, as I doubled my stack again in 75 minutes. We hit the money at 21 places before the next break. Before the level after break was over, I passed 800K and we were down to two tables. Then I picked up [ax ax] in the BB and caught an [ax qx] all-in from an under-average stack. That bumped me over 1.3M chips and cut the number of players to 15.


The stack took a bit of a hit when I doubled up [ax ax] with [ax kx], but I was still over a million. We finally hit the final table after nine hours and fifteen minutes, and while some other players had caught up a bit, I still had the chip lead. I played a bit tight because we had some good people at the final, like WSOPC ring-winner Jeff Dobrin, who was pounding away on my immediate right. So I eventually slipped below a couple of the other stacks until I shipped a hand over one of his raises that put me back into the lead.


I’d first proposed a chop back when were seven-handed or so, where the chop wouldn’t have triggered any time-consuming tax paperwork (it’s all the same to me, I pay my taxes, but it does get you paid off faster). There were a couple of objections, then again when ICM numbers were run for five players. As we headed into the 100K big blind level, however, it became apparent to everyone that the chip leader (me) had all of 14BB, and everyone else had less, so with a disparity of $3.4K for fifth and $13.7K for first, we were all flipping for between $800 and $10K with every hand we played. Even chop agreed to.


So the Mutant still roams the wilds of the poker rooms in Portland and beyond, for a little longer. He left $600 for the dealers, because he wants poker to continue in Portland, and volunteer dealers have to eat, but he’s got property taxes of his own. He expects he’ll see some of you in Pendleton next week.

Ten hours and twenty minutes. 3080% ROI.


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