They Play H.O.R.S.E, Don’t They?

Carbon Poker $200 Guarantee H.O.R.S.E Freeroll

I’ve been playing the four daily Carbon Poker freerolls whenever I can, and one of the tournaments that fits into my schedule better than others is their H.O.R.S.E. game. which is great, because I have been getting increasingly interested in other forms of poker.

The games are relatively hard to beat, because while they tend to get 2,500 to 3,000 entrants, they only pay a couple dozen spots, so you really have to battle and get lucky to get even a small piece of the $200 guarantee. I started off placing in the mid-range, but in my most recent outing, I got up to the top 10%, where I’d be getting paid if it wasn’t a freeroll.

These particular tournaments cycle through Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, 7-Card Stud, and 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo, with the game changing every six hands. Everything’s played as Limit, which makes committing to draws a bit easier, and there are eight players to the table.

I sat out a few hands of Hold’em at the opening level of 20/40, then woke up with AA in SB. Two limpers; I raised, BB and the limpers called. The flop gave me the nut full house: A66 with only pocket 66 beating me, and I opened, BB called, UTG1 called, CO raised, I reraised, BB and UTG1 dropped out, CO made the final raise to 80, and I called. The 9 turn opened a very small possibility for another hand that could beat me (and the pocket sixes), a backdoor straight flush, but it seemed unlikely something like 78 or 8T would have stayed through the previous betting. This time we ran it up to 120. Ditto for betting after a 4 on the river. As it turns out, with K6 he didn’t have better than a set, and he only had a 4% chance to beat me. Another 120 went into the pot after the river’s 4 sealed the win for me, and I took in 840 chips.

I went out on a limb during the first round of Omaha Hi-Lo with 9635, hoping that if Ax2x showed up I might snag the low, but I dropped 210 in a four-way race to the river.

A couple hands later, though, an inauspicious Q48K did me some good. Pre-flop action raised the bet to 60 and five players saw the flop of JK2. BB checked to me and I bet 30, with one fold and 0ne call after me, a raise from CO, calls fromBB and me, and a call from HJ. The turn was 3 and it got checked around to CO who bet, but everyone called. The river T ruled out a low hand, which wasn’t my intention anyway, although I only had king high. Checks went around to CO again, who bet 60. BB folded but me and HJ stayed on. CO had a busted low hand with JK23T; HJ had a pair of kings like me, but with kicker problems and believe it or not, a single pair took the entire pot of nearly 1,000 chips in an Omaha game.

My next hand was [k5]2QK and I made it through betting rounds of 90, 90, and 60 to the river with nothing better than a pair of threes on the board and a five paired from my hand for the high, but because I held on, I caught the low hand and 382 chips.

The second hand of Razz won me 120 chips on the first round of betting. There was only one call after the bring-in and both other players folded after my completion with 937.

I won an actual hand the next hand. Antes were 5, bring-in was 15, Completion/Small Limit was 50, and Large Limit was 100. I was third to act, with T48, and called the bring-in after UTG1. Four of us made it to fourth street. Bring-In (BI) was showing K7, UTG1 showed 52, I added A, and UTG4 showed K3. UTG1 led off with a bet of 50 and only BI folded. On fifth street, UTG1 showed 52T, I had T48A5, and UTG4 was showing K39. I was first to act, betting 100, with a call from UTG4 and a fold from UTG1. A J for me and 3 for UTG4 slowed us both down on sixth street—my “low” went to ten—but with 6 down on seventh, I bet 100 and got called but UTG4 wasn’t even close, with two pairs in his hand and his best low a king-high.

I sat out the las two hands of the Razz round, getting high cards both times, then we were into 7-Card Stud. The first was a throw-away, but I had pocket 44 with 6 showing at 10/25/100/200. Only UTG (Q showing) and I called BI (2 showing). Fourth street gave both BI and UTG aces (A and A, respectively) but I picked up 4. One of the folded players had A showing. UTG bet, I raised, BI folded, and we went to the max for 400 chips. I’d started the hand with 2,350 chips but UTG had only 630 to begin with, and after fifth street he was all-in. My hand ran out 4464385, missing the straight and full house possibilities (as well as the four-of-a-kind). UTG had a respectable 7QQQJ6A two pair by seventh street, but he fell and I took him out.

The next hand went almost as well. A77 with me as UTG and just three of us to fourth street, with my disguised pair against a showing 4 and J. BI got K and UTG1 got Q, but I picked up 7 for a set and opened with a 100 bet. UTG1 called but BI dropped. Fifth street only gave me T and UTG1 6, when I bet 200 he folded.

I started the next hand with 3,284 chips, which must have made my head fuzzy, because I got all the way to seventh street with 79KJA28. No pair, no straight draw after sixth street, no flush after fifth, just calls of two 200 chip bets. I only lost 435 (including ante) but what was I thinking?

By the next hand, things were clear again. My cards as UTG2 were a draw-heavy 675. There were three nines and four diamonds showing among the eight players, with only one higher than a ten. Five saw fourth street (BI with 3, UTG with 4, UTG1 with T, me with 7, and CO with Q). Action folded to me and naturally, I bet 100 on my two pair. Everyone folded, except for UTG1. 6 hit me on fifth street; UTG1 got 8. I had most of the cards he needed for a straight between the 5 and 8; three of the 9xs he needed above the 8 were showing on the board; he needed runner-runner for a flush. I bet 200 and he just called. Seventh street made me a full house: 7. Meanwhile, UTG1 got another 8. He led the betting, I raised to 400, and he didn’t re-raise. The only card that could have improved my hand was the 7 but I got 3 instead. UTG checked, I bet 200 and got a call. His hand was 8AT5882, and he’d been behind at every street, although he’d done as much as he could to keep the losses to a minimum. I was fortunate he hadn’t hit Ax, Tx, or 5x on seventh street. The pot was 2005 chips.

I was on a roll with Stud. On the next hand, two of us went to showdown without any bets after fourth street. My hand was 9J9T6K8 for just a pair of nines, but the other guy went all the way with 52537KA, or a pair of fives.

Not to say that I couldn’t lose. My chip balance was up to 4,250 and I went to showdown with a player starting with just 570. He was half-in after fourth street, with 89 showing. There wasn’t any more betting until after seventh street. My hand had run out with 7KT5AT8. He was showing 8996 and I though I might be able to get away with another pair-over-pair win. He called, though, because his seventh street card improved his hand and gave him A389963. It was about here that one of the players started complaining that the site was giving me cards I couldn’t expect in live play.

So I was rather glad a couple hands later to pick up 88T. The bigmouth was BI with 3 showing and completed for 150. UTG1 (with my 8) and I called. BI got K and checked. UTG1 got 9 and checked. I made a set with 8 and bet 150. Both of the other players came along. Fifth street made things tricky. While bigmouth BI got 2, UTG1 got a showing pair with 9. I got A. Potentially, there was a bigger set out there, but I bet 300 and got calls from both players. Sixth street complicated things even more, with K for BI, and just 4 and 4 for UTG1 and me. I was last to act after two checks and just let it lie. Seventh street’s Q didn’t improve me and surprisingly, everyone checked again. When the cards came out, BI had AT3K2K7 for not much from the beginning, UTG1 had just missed flush and straight draws with QT89946, and my set of eights won a pot of 1,920. The next hand was 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo.

I won the second hand with a bet on fifth street, with a strong 2KA6A. I had almost 5,000 chips and nobody else at the table had more than 1,500.

The Hold’em round didn’t do me much good, and I folded the few hands I did play for the most part, dropping to 3,450. Meanwhile, another player with a stack the same size had been moved to the table, another had climbed up to 3,500, and a big stack with more than 9,000 was sat immediately behind me in the action. Then I picked up K9 as SB. One of the other similarly-sized stacksin CO limped in for 200, I raised to 400, and only CO called. The 689 flop gave me a troublesome top pair, but I bet 200 and CO called. Same thing only for 400 chips after the J turn card. The river K gave me two pair and I bet another 400, getting a call and seeing I was up against 8J. The pot was 3,000 chips. This sent the bigmouth into a paroxysm, claiming I’d sucked out. When I pointed out that I had top pair on the flop, one of the other dumbos chimed in to claim I hadn’t. Apparently, some people just aren’t paying attention.

I folded the rest of my Hold’em hands and we were back to Omaha Hi-Lo. On the first hand, I went too far down the road to revenge, trying to knock out the bigmouth (who had only 612 chips v. my 5,100) only to double him up. I had JAA9, which seemed as if it might be promising, but the board ran out J7KJ8, giving his 349Q the best hand by the turn when he was all-in. Other contributions to the pot actually nearly quadded the little sucker.

The next hand got rid of him, though. It was a complicated five-way hand with four players all-in. Short stack in SB was in for just the ante of 25. UTG called the 250 BB, I called from UTG1 with 8JK7, bigmouth in BTN called, BB raised to 500, and everyone who could called. The flop was 58J, giving me top two pair. BB bet 250, UTG called, I raised, BTN called, BB and UTG called. 6 on the turn gave me an open-ended straight draw. This time, BB bet first for 500. UTG and I called, BTN raised, BB re-raised all-in for a total of 1,096. UTG called the re-raise, then I added another 500. BTN stuck in his last 149 chips and UTG called. 8 on the river gave me the second nut full house. UTG checked to me with just 379 chips left, and I bet 500, which he called. There were four pots to settle. The first was split between me and UTG. My full house won the high pot, he had the nut low with 42A5 and we each took 826. There was a very small side pot including the bigmouth who had 63AJ and had just blown the couple thousand chips he’d won on two pair and an iffy low. UTG and I split about 80 chips each from there. The first side pot had nearly 8,000 chips in it and included BB, who had a great low hand with good pre-flop possibilities: 25A3. BB and UTG quartered the low pot of 1,981 each and I took 3,982. We did the same with the 800 chip primary pot. All that work for a couple thousand chips profit, most of which went to the big stack when I folded my next hand.

A little ground was made up on the next hand. I was BB and there were four callers who saw the flop of 96J. Everyone checked through to the 4 turn and everyone checked again. T on the river gave me the nuts with a king-high straight, and I opened with a bet of 500, which was only called by one player, who showed a set of tens at showdown. He had me outchipped, so it didn’t cost him that much.

He got it back in spades on the next hand. Or, rather, he got it back in a six-high straight. I ventured out with 95A3: a decent if not perfect low hand. but the board ran A532K, counterfeiting all of my low cards. My three pair was no match for 467T, which scooped more than 6,200 chips and knocked out two players.

An all-in call of 479 pre-flop was as far as I went with the next hand, which I folded after a bet on the river. I was down to 3,269 by the end of the Razz round before I managed to pick up another pot. I was dealt AJ2, ante was 30, bring-in was 75, and limits were 300/600. Two players ahead of me called the bring-in (S1), then I completed the bet to 300. I got one caller (S8: 5), BI dropped out and the two limpers (S3: J and S5: J) called. The limpers got 5 and 5 on fourth street, I got 4, and S8 picked up 3. With the lowest hand, I opened for 300 and only S5 folded. On fifth street, S3 got 7, I picked up a pair with A, and S8 was hit with K. I figured nobody needed to know I was still short of a good low, so I bet 600. S8 folded and S2 called. Sixth street improved things a bit, putting a 9 out for S3 and 6 for me, but I checked. I was still jack-high. Our down seventh street didn’t help me any, with another pair (even if it was a low pair): 2. Fortunately, when I bet another 600, S3 folded and I took a 4,215 chip pot.

Seven hands went by in 7-Card Stud before I went any further than fourth street. I was heads-up on sixth at 40/100/400/800 with 54AK9K against J76T showing when my opening bet of 800 and visible pair of kings induced a fold.

I lost a massive pot just a couple hands later in 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo. I ran down to the river calling bets at 40/125/500/1,000 with 5QQ4756 and no better than pair until sixth street, when I was up against a visible 27KJ. I had three outs on seventh street (one of the fives was showing for S8) that could beat the likely flush, which is what S5 had. Lost 4,040 chips on that one.

Tried to make by own flush on the next hand. It ran out JA829KA and my pair of aces chopped the pot with the only other player for the low. No gain there.

Finally, the next hand, I managed to pull out of the dive. By fifth street, I was heads-up with a pair and a straight flush draw: 987T9. My opponent looked like he was headed low and straight with 245 showing. He had me outchipped and was just calling my bets; after fifth street, I had only 412 behind. When I picked up a straight with J on sixth street, I was all-in and he called, even though he only had a 5. When his cards flipped, he was showing Q32455. He needed the flush to win, but seventh street gave him T. I improved with 5 to a flush. The pot was over 7,600 chips.

Back into Hold’em at 600/1,200/60 and I had A8. I started the hand fifth in chips as UTG2 and was the first to call BB. SB raised, BB folded, and SB and I went up to the limit of 2,400, with him only having another 1,100 behind. The flop came out 837, we went to the limit with SB all-in, and he flipped over AA. J on the turn sealed my loss.

A couple of hands later with 4J as BB, I managed to outbid the only caller with a post-flop bet on a 777 board, but I was down to about 1,000 chips. Lost some chips with a weak king on the next hand, but right after that picked up another bad K8 as BTN. I was all-in for 1,617 (and my 60 ante) pre-flop with two other players fighting over a side pot as well. The board rolled out 76A3K. BB had just 97 and lost both pots to the 99 of UTG2. I tripled up with a pot of 5,631 because of the river king.

Omaha Hi-Lo at 80/800/1,600. UTG and AAT8. Three limpers and BB saw the Q77 flop. I lead out with a bet, only BB followed. Turn: J. River 2. We both checked it through and my aces were good against KK35. I’d made a bit of a comeback, up over 8,000.

I had straight and flush draw possibilities on BB with 85TJ. Four players limped in and we got a flop of 6QA. I lead into my flush and Broadway draws with a bet of 800. Nobody raised and only one player folded. The turn of 2 wasn’t helpful to my cause, as I didn’t have anything decent for a low, and I had to call a bet of 1,600 to see the river. The 5 river busted me and I folded. The winner paired queens and sixes and scooped the low hand, the loser paired queens and twos.

My last hand was 26J4 and I was all-in after the turn on wing and a prayer on the 3246K board. It was the wrong color red for me, though, with flushes winning high hands in four pots where everyone but me took something out.

3.5 hours, 103 hands. Freeroll. Finished 178th of 2717 entries.