I Could Almost Smell It

Encore Club Anniversary $25K Guarantee (12,000 chips)

I re-read parts of Lee Nelson’s Kill Everyone: Advanced Strategies for No-Limit Poker Tournaments and Sit-n-Gos on Saturday afternoon before this game, and I think that—despite my falling short of the money—I played some of the best poker of my life.

I got off to a very hot start, with some semi-strong holdings that encouraged me via Kill Everyone to a lot of three-betting. I managed to take down five of the first seven hands with only one showdown. I had [7x 7x] and was heads-up with a player in the blinds Several over cards appeared on the board and we essentially walked it to the river, when he showed [ax 6x] which had paired the lower card but I had him beat. Then again, I broke off one hand where I’d flop-paired [kx] after [ax] showed on the turn and another where [2x 2x] was up against a pair of queens showing, so I was only up to 12,925 at the end of the first orbit despite having won a majority of the hands.

I sat quetly after that rush and waited for my opportunities. [ac js] won a big pot for me when it made two pair on the turn and then a spade flush on the river. Fifty minutes into the game I was up to 15,625.

I was saved from a huge loss with [qx qx] when I pushed back on a 1,600 re-raise pre-flop with a 3,200 four-bet and was called. [ax kx] on the flop reined me in and I showed my queens when I folded. The guy in seat 10 flipped over [kx kx] and said something about “thanks for the chips.”

I got it back and more almost immediately. I picked up [jx 8x] and paired the jack on a queen-high flop. He three-barreled it and tried to push me off the hand, but my pair of jacks ended up costing him 6,000 chips.

Then I got my own comeuppance trying to get tricky with [ac 7c]. I only hit middle pair on the flop and a flush beat me. Seventy-five minutes in: 14,600 chips.

Just before the first break, a hand had one of the players in the tank for a couple of minutes before folding as the clock ticked down to less than a minute. A couple of the players headed off to get pizza or get in line for the bathrooms. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was in CO and when I looked at my cards I had [kx kx]. I raised and ended up heads-up with SB. The flop was jack-high, SB bet, I raised all-in and he called, to show [ax ax]. The board gave me no solace and his aces held up, leaving me with only 925 chips (my profit from the first orbit of the button).

I was still in, although extremely short-stacked even with the 8,000 chip add-on. Early on, I doubled with [ax kx] v [kx kx] when an ace hit on the flop. at 2:22 into the game, I had 17,800 chips.

[qs 4s] gave me a moment of deliberation from BTN before tossing it. When the hand played out, I would have hit a flush and beat the single pair that took a large pot.

Blinds were up to 300/600/75 when I called a raise of 1,800 from BTN with [as 9s]. I hit top pair on the flop and pushed after a raise to win the hand. Then I lost several thousand playing with [kx tx] v [9x 9x] which made a set on the flop. At 2:50 I was back down to 14,000.

A push with [8x 8x] on an ace-high all-diamond flop took down another hand, then I picked up blinds and antes at 400/800/100 with a raise and [9x 9x] from HJ. Up to 16,125 at 3:10, then 19,000 at 3:30.

All-in from middle position with [kx tx] took blinds and antes again at 1,000/2,000/300, but four hours and forty minutes into the game I was still at 18,700 chips, below the amount of the starting stack and add-on.

I pushed on a 6,000 re-raise with an all-in holding [ax 5x] in BB and managed to suck in some more chips, then I got extremely lucky with [tx tx] when I pushed pre-flop from BTN and doubled through SB’s [8x 8x]. We both made sets on the flop, but I stayed ahead. That catapulted me to nearly chip average, with 53,000 chips at 4:50.

Sliding back down, I called an all-in of 13,600 with [6x 6x]. He had [ax kx] and I almost got free, but he hit Broadway on the river. At 5:10 I was back down to 41,000. There were fifty of the original 154 players left.

Another river did me bad when I called another small (11,600) all-in with [kx jx]. We both paired out top card on the flop, then I paired the jack on the turn. Then the river gave him another four.

Right after that, I shoved on a 9,000 raise with [kx tx] and after some thought, the player gave it up. With that, I managed to get back up to 40,000 by 5:25, with 44 players remaining.

I doubled again by hitting my ace with [ax 9x] v [kx jx]. and fifteen minutes later was sitting on 69,800 chips, which sounds great, but with only 38 players left after the start of break 3, was only 90% of the chip average. With blinds at 3,000/6,000/500, each orbit was costing 13,500. Not a good time to go card dead, but that’s what I did. I was down to 45,500 at 6:15 and there were 29 players left, with eleven spots to go before the money.

The BB hit me at 4,000/8,000/500 and I had [jd 9d]. Not exactly something you’d write the Internet about, but the best thing I’d seen for a while. BTN raised to 24,000 and I went all-in for a total of 36,000, knowing the best I could expect were two live cards. He had [ax qx], he was the favorite as I expected, but it was still only 3:2. I almost made a straight with the series of mid-level cards that flopped, but his ace took the day.

Six-and-a-half hours. -100%ROI. Finished 26th of 154 players.

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