Encore Club $1,500 Guarantee (T6,000 + T500 bonus)
First hand I called 175 with [kx 3x] and hit the bottom of the [qx tx 3x] flop. I put another 400 out for the [jx] turn but folded to a bet of 1,100 and probably missed a straight. At least I didn’t take the poison pot.
UTG with [kc jc] and I raised to 125, getting four calls. Opened with 300 on the [kx jx 4x] flop and took the hand.
Picked up [ah jd] in SB and called a raise to 375 from CO with 3-way action. The flop was [qs ts 6s] and got checked around. [ac] on the turn and I bet 600, CO and BTN stayed in. I bet 1,000 with [4d] on the river and took it down, but with the loss on the first hand I was only up to T8,350.
I raised to 150 with [kh 8s] stringing along several others, hitting top and bottom pair on the [ks qs 8x] flop (it was a couple of very spadey hands). Nobody wanted to play when I bet.
I entered the hand with a negligible [7c 5s] and checked three streets with two aces and three cards to a flush on the board with me having nothing stronger than a [5x] on the river. Somehow, nobody else wanted it more than me. My bet on the river took the pot!
[kx 9x] and middle pair on a flop of [tx 9x 5x] won. Forty minutes in and I was up to T9,600.
Called 700 pre flop with [qx 8x] and got a [kx qx 7x] flop to pair, but folded to an all-in bet on the [ax] turn. The hand went to showdown; a [qx] on the river would have given me the winning set.
T8,375 at 50 minutes.
Won a nice pot with [jx tx] but lost a bigger pot of a couple thousand shortly thereafter with [jx 9x]. I made top pair on the nine-high flop but a river [tx] gave my opponent two pair.
Made a small raise with [kx kx] and was ready for fireworks after the [ax kx 6x] flop, but everyone folded when I bet the turn.
The loss with the jack had cut a chunk out of my stack, leaving me with just T6,650 at 75 minutes. 30 of 34 players were left.
I raised UTG with [qx tx] and got two calls to the [qx jx 8x] flop. The BB went all-in and I called, the third player opted out, and BB showed his own [qx tx]. We ended up chopping.
Called 1,175 with [jx tx] with 3 other players to the flop. It was [5x qx 5x] and got checked around. A [qx] on the turn was also checked. The [tx] river card twitched my nerves and I shoved all-in for the first time in the game, taking down the hand.
Last hand before the break, I had [ks 8c] and raised to 800 from CO. Two players called, the flop was [qx 7x 5x], and I folded to a SB bet. I went into the break with T8,635, nearly 2,000 below average, and got the T4,000 add-on.
Once the break was over, I went on a sort of mini-roll, taking three pots in a row without a showdown. UTG2 with [ax 8x] and an eight-high flop got me the first. UTG1 with a [ax kx] took the second when I bet on the river ace. [qx qx] UTG I raised pre-flop and got a couple callers, SB checked dark and I went all-in on the ten-high flop. Gotta love those dark checks.
In ten minutes, I’d picked up over 11,000 chips, putting me above average (14,923) and over 20,000.
Had a bit of a setback a couple minutes later with [4x 4x] on BTN. I hit my hoped-for set on the turn, and re-raised over a raise of 3,000 from CO, but his [kx kx] made their own set on the river and I was cut back down to 13,200.
I laid low for about 15 minutes, then saw [7d 2d] through to the flop in BB at 400/800. I bet 1,200 on the [9x 7x 3x] flop but folded to a 3,300 raise.
On BTN with 10,400. Another premium hand: [8s 3s]. Average stack was 15,520.
Another 20 minutes and I was all-in with [ax 7x] in BB to take the pot. Then I laid down an [ax 5x] to two all-ins ahead of me that would have won against [8x 8x]. I’ve been tossing a lot more weak aces than I used to. Can’t say the results have been bad.
Two-and-a-half hours in and I was holding T12,200, with the average at 16,689 and 23 players left of the original 34.
Called a 1,200 bet holding [8x 3x] from SB and got a flop of [ax tx tx]. Not much there. It got checked through, the turn was [8x] and I bet 2,500 getting a single call. The river ace counterfeited anything I might have had and I folded.
My all-in with [kq] crushed an [ak] with a queen on the river and just about eliminated the other player, then I got [ax kx], [ax qx], and [qx kx] again in three consecutive hands, doing some severe damage around the table, building my stack up to T30,000, and helping to bring the number of players down to 18.
At the three-hour mark, we were down to 15 players. I had T28,000, a little above the 25,866 average.
On BTN with [ax kx] just after the hour and I was all-in over CO’s all-in with [ax tx]. The flop put a ten out and my heart sank, but there was a jack-high straight on the board by the river, and we chopped it.
Next CO and I raised 4,000 with [6s 7s] to take the blinds. T32,000 at the second break.
Coming into the third session, I made two knockouts in a row raising to 4,500 with [jd 9d]. One caller and we see a queen-high flop with a jack on it. He goes all-in and I call his [kx 8x]. He misses both the turn and river. Next, I called an all-in with [ax 8x] against [tx 9x] and won. My next hand I had [qx 9x] and tossed it pre-flop with a raise of 15,000 out there, but it would have won the way the cards played out.
UTG with [qd 9d] and I raised to 4,500, got a caller, then BB went all-in for 20,500. I folded, SB called, and BB’s [7x 7x] took the day. It would have taken a bigger chunk of my day, too. Trying to play more defensively these days; I might not have laid that down a month ago.
Three hours and thirty minutes in, T55,000, with the average at 35,275 and ten players left. We got to the final table five minutes later and I was placed in seat 1 on BTN.
My second hand, I raised to 8,000 with [ax qx] over an UTG2 call and took the blinds and the call.
When BB got around to me, I called a CO raise of 6,500 with [6h 3h] and shoved all-in on the [kx 6x 3x] flop to win. I showed. Encore regular SH was sitting to my right, and on the next hand the flop is [jx 6x 3x] and he goes to showdown with [6x 3x] against [ax jx] but the turn and river are both fours and he’s counterfeited.
The button’s dead and both blinds are short-stacked when I’m CO and action folds to me. I min-raise with [kx 4x] and get called by BB. The flop is [kx qx tx] and I put him all-in. Apparently, he thinks I’m just pushing him around. He calls and becomes the next player knocked out.
Got a little frisky in BB on the four-hour mark and called a raise to 11,000 with just [8d 9h]. The flop was all hearts but I didn’t have it in me to call the all-in of 50,000 to see if my nine would be good.
With [qx 5x] on my next BB, I called 6,500 against a big stack at the table and see a flop of [qx 5x 7x]. Did he raise with the computer hand? I would, but not likely. Maybe he’s got a pair of queens. He bets 5,000 and I raise to 12,000, then he shoves all-in. I call and he flips [ax ax] against my two pair, which fills up with a five on the turn. The river’s a blank and I’ve got another knockout.
On the next hand, I knock out the BB when I call from SB with [ax 9x] against his [ax 7x].
Four hours and fifteen minutes into the match and I have T153,000. Average is 97,000.
Fifteen minutes later, I’ve lost some ground: 20,000 with [kx qx] and another 40,000 in a race with [ax 9x] versus [7x 7x]. By 4:35 in the game, I’m back down to T82,000, well under average.
I called with [qx 7x] from SB and missed the flop, but bet 10,000 and got a call. Had to give up on the turn.
Gained a little ground back with [5x 5x] and a raise to 18,000 from BTN, but my stack had dropped to T75,000 at 4:40.
In SB with [5x 7x], I called and the flop ran out a wonderful [4x 6x 8x]. I checked, BTN bet 12,000, I raised to 25,000 and he called, which won me a very large pot. Almost immediately, however, I lost 60,000 on a hand where I held [kx jx]. Still, I was holding T142,000 nearing the end of the fifth hour.
With blinds at 4,000/8,000, I did my duty with [kx qx] and raised over a call to 25,000 to win the call and blinds, and hit the five-hour mark with exactly 150,000.
From here on out, notes get hard to take when things are short-handed. Suffice it to say that the final outcome was with me placing second after about five-and-a-half hours, for a nice cash in the newly-increased noontime guarantee game at Encore.
And as often happens when I cash, I forgot to take the damn photo.
Five-and-a-half hours. +646% ROI. 2nd of 29 players.