The Slice

Cake Poker $25,000 Guaranteed Semi-Final, 20 Seats Guaranteed (2,000 chips)

I decided to play this tournament because it looked as if from the early stats that the overlay would be pretty good for twenty guaranteed seats. I’d intended to use this part of my Cake bankroll to make another run at the Irish Open Semi-Final but the last couple of weeks of March it didn’t look like there would be enough people playing the satellites to actually award a seat in the monthly final. So, go for the money.

My second hand I was on the BB. UTG3 opened with a min-raise to 40. Action folded to me with J4 and I called. The flop was spadey: 7K8. I bet 60, getting a call. Q hit the turn, which wasn’t helpful, but I continued with a 60 bet. UTG3 raised to 120 and I called. My flush came through with a river 6 and I made a pot-sided bet of 450. UTG3 called, showed a pair of queens with JQ and I took in a 680 chip profit.

Ten minutes later I picked up the same amount, this time from SB with A9. Three players limped in and I raised to 50. BB folded but all of the limpers called. 84A on the flop gave me top pair and I bet 200. Only UTG called this time. The turn was 2, and I checked but UTG bet 310. I called. The river card was T. I checked again and this time UTG didn’t try anything. He showed 8K. I was up to about 3,500.

My next hand on the button was QK. CO limped in for 30; I raised to 75. BB called and CO folded. Top pair on the flop again with 38Q. BB checked and I bet an amount almost the size of the pot: 175. BB raised to 448, with only 877 behind. I re-raised to 721 and BB called. It was a 6 on the turn, BB went all-in for his last 604. I called and he showed Q9. The 3 on the river paired the board and gave us both queens and threes but my king gave me the win and a total of more than 4,900 chips.

Things went to hell at the half-hour mark. Action folded around to me in CO at 25/50 holding TT. I raised to 200, was re-raised by B to 650, and both the blinds folded. I called and the flop was Q54. I checked, B bet 800, and I called, thinking B had something like AxKx and was trying to push me off. 4 on the turn and I stepped into it even further, with a 580 bet. B called. The river was A, I checked, B bet 650, and I called, only to see him flip QQ. I lost almost 2,700 chips, taking me down to 1,618.

Fortunately, I was able to recover within less than ten hands. I was in SB with AJ at 50/100. Action folded to the button who went all-in for 3,006, twice as many chips as I had and about half the stack of BB. I called, then so did BB. B had 77, BB held JJ, so I had a chance. I got my ace on the 29A flop, nothing came through for the other players, and I tripled up to 4,629.

My pattern for the next sixty hands was to maintain at about 4,500 or 5,000 chips for 15 hands, get busted down to 2,500 chips for a few hands, double up, and repeat. Not exactly where you want to be when the blinds are running 300/600/50. I finally broke out on a hand where I was CO. I raised to 2,000 holding AA. BB went all-in for 4,010 and I called, with 146 behind. BB flipped JJ. He came one 8x away from getting a straight, but the aces held up and I made it to 8,866.

Three hands later I had a pair of tens again but this tie they didn’t get shot down by queens. BB was all-in with only 137 chips. I had TT in UTG1 and min-raised to 1,200. Everyone folded and I was heads-up with the all-in. The board looked familiar—Q6445—but the BB had 7K and was out. I was pretty solidly in the top 20 by this time.

A walk on my big blind a couple hands later netted me 850 with 26 and put me over 10K just before the second break.

It took about twelve more minutes to get the final elimination. I got down as low as 8K but finished with just over 12K.

132 minutes, 138 hands. Tied for “1st” with 19 out of 86 players.

Cake Poker $25,000 Guaranteed (5,000 chips)

Fifty minutes after the end of the Semi-Final, the real match began. The first half-hour was uneventful, with my stack bumping between 5,000 and 5,500 chips.

Blinds were 25/50 and I was UTG3 with 77. Action folded to me, I raised to 125, B called, and SB raised to 413. I called and B followed along. The flop put two over cards out—JT2—and it got checked all around. The 5 on the turn didn’t change things much. SB checked again, I put out just 100 into a pot of 1,289. B and SB came along. 7 on the river gave me a set and when SB checked again I bet 500. That forced B out but got a call from SB who showed 99. I was up to 6,851.

I was the only caller on the next hand, holding JT heads-up against BB. The 8K9 flop gave me an open-ended straight draw, so I bet 200, which bought me the pot.

In UTG1 on the next hand I had an unimpressive 44. I limped in, UTG2 raised to 400, UTG3, B, and I called. The four of us saw a 824 flop. I bet 500, UTG3 was the only caller. An A turned over next, I bet 1,000 and UTG3 followed along. 9 for the river. I checked, wanting to see if he’d bet out more but he checked as well, then showed KK. That put me up over 9,800.

On my next BB, I had the Q7 “internet hand.” There were two limpers, I checked, and the flop was 59Q. I bet 200 on my top pair, UTG2 called, and HJ folded. The turn was 3 and I bet another 200 and got another call. I felt fairly secure with the river 6 and bet 101 to leave an even 9,000 behind. UTG2 raised all-in for 2,889 and I called. He only had a TJ and my queens were good enough to bring me up to 13,140.

I promptly lost 2,400 on the next hand with 9A. I had top pair on the AT7 flop but BB picked up two pair with T7.  6 on the turn gave me a flush draw but it didn’t come through.

I spent the next fifty minutes ranging a couple thousand chips on either side of the 10K mark. I was down to my lowest point just under 8,300 when I got fours on the button at 150/300: 44. UTG1 raised to 600, action folded to me and I made a big raise to 2,000. That pushed the blinds out. UTG1 went all-in for 9,862, and my all-in call was about 1K less. He turned over AK. The board was Q8Q33, and I doubled up to just over 17K. This briefly put me in the top six.

Over ten minutes I slid down to 12K, then popped back up to about 17K with an A7. I was at about 16,500 at the end of the second hour.

Just after coming back from the break, I thought I was in pretty good shape when I got KK in UTG. Blinds were 200/400/40, and I opened with a raise to 1,000. I got calls from UTG4, HJ, B, and BB. The flop was 89T and I bet 2,000 after BB checked. That got a call from UTG4, HJ folded, then B went all-in for 19,171, about 6K more than I had. BB folded, I called, UTG4 folded, and B showed 99 for a flopped set. Q showed on the turn, making Jx good for me as well as Kx but the last card was 7. Could I have raised enough to keep the nines from playing the hand? Could I have been smart enough to have folded the kings after the all-in raise? Maybe next time.

124 minutes, 117 hands. 67th place out of 159 (30 places paid).