I hadn’t had a chance to play the Encore $10K for more than a month and I was eager to get back to where I’d made my biggest-ever cash.
I got in a little late and ran into a couple of aggressive players to my right who were stomping on pots, even at 50/100, which lost me a few hundred the first couple of hands. On the fourth hand I played, I made a small raise UTG with 7x7x from early position and hit middle set. I made a continuation bet, got a couple callers, and true to form, the guy in BB raised to 2,000. I snapped all-in. Everyone folded around to him and he sat and faux thought about it for a while, then folded and I took my chips.
I wasn’t taking notes of my hands, but the first big jump in my stack came 45 minutes into the game with a knockout of seat 1 that put me up to T23,000. I took another player out ten minutes later, and was over T30,000.
Had a couple of setbacks after that. Played AxKx and totally missed the flop, folded, then watched the hand contested by AxJx and AxTx, neither of which made a pair. Preflop-folded one of those SB hands for a call of 150 that would have turned into a very deceptive full house with a lot of chips in contention. Then, when I did call down a hand, I had the weaker ace and was down to T27,000.
Got an add-on at the break and QxQx for the first hand, which won and put me over T40,000. Than a call of an all-in took me down to T32,000, but that wasn’t the bottom, because I fell to T24,400 before I began a recovery.
One of the pot-stompers mentioned above had been showing a number of bluffs (although he hadn’t been showing good hands). I had A♣Qx when three clubs hit the flop and I followed him all the way down to the river as he poured chips into the pot. I had him slightly out-chipped, and when that last club showed up I forced him all-in to call, which he did. He looked pretty disgusted with me. I was up over T58,000.
By three-and-a-half hours in, I was up to T75,000 after another knockout. Fifteen minutes later, with just over half the field of 96 gone, I had an even T84000; more than twice the chip average and a little more than half what I figured the average chip stack would be at the 12-player payout level.
A big knockout right around midnight (five hours in) put me at T135,000, more than 60 big blinds. I was moved to a new table, with a player on my left who was sitting on an increasingly short stack. I made change twice for him for T5,000 chips, then he managed to triple up to around T20,000 after catching two nines on the board with Ax9x against two aces with better kickers. Shortly after that, he doubled up and then some with KxKx in BB. I was BTN the hand after that, action folded to me, and I put out a raise with A♠9♠ to T13,000, which he kicked up with an all-in for over T30,000 more from SB. I thought about it for a little bit and called, but he had KxKx a second hand in a row, which actually doubled him up past my chip count, once I’d paid him off. At the third break, I was down to T85,000, below chip average with nine players between me and the money.
A table change when we consolidated to two and another hour and I’d managed to recover a bit. Six hours and twenty minutes into the game, I had T123,000—about T20,000 more than average. 20 big blinds.
I was moved to the other table to balance, and had the tournament chip leader on my left. I made another mistake, simply calling an UTG raise to T17,000 from BB with AxKx. He exploited my T15,000 donk bet on the QxQx9x flop and shoved. I didn’t want to go out before the money; I had to lay it down. If I was going to play it, I should have shoved pre-flop.
I’d had the 4,000/8,000/1,000 blinds sweep through me at the other table before I moved in front of the blinds at the new table, so I was down to T58,000. We were down to 14 players, there had been an ongoing discussion about paying a double bubble, but the big stack was refusing. Then he lost more than half of his stack on a semi-bluff just as I picked up 6x6x in middle position. I probably should have re-proposed the double bubble before I shoved. I was called by SB with 9x9x and he caught a nine on the flop. Unless I’d had AxAx, I would have been a goner even with kings. I could hear the bubble discussion re-opening as I walked away from the table.
Six hours and ten minutes. 14th of 96 players. Top prize was scheduled for +2850% of buyin+addon+door.
The Final Table Third Friday $10,000 Guarantee (T10,000 + T1,000 early registration bonus)
Got a copy of Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed, his (almost) hand-by-hand account of winning an Aussie Millions tournament. Whatever you might think about Hansen’s style of play (and despite the fact that things may have changed a lot since he wrote the book) it’s a very interesting read and incredibly thoughtful and I don’t think I could possibly recreate hands as well even if I was using his tape recorder transcription method. Sorry. Also picked up Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula (volumes 1 and 2) and I’m hoping to pick out nuggets of useful info from there.
Met up at the Eastside Ringside before the 10K with BP, a Mutant Poker reader (I guess there are a couple) who recognized me at a Friday Encore game a couple weeks back. Had a great time talking poker, had a drink or two (which I almost never do before a game), and then headed down the street.
I started off in BB and folded a couple hands, then raised to 125 on BTN with Ax8x, calling a re-raise to 325. The turn was Q-high and I bet out for 700 but folded to a re-raise.
UTG with 2x2x and I was drawing the low end of a straight on the flop, but BB flopped the nuts. and half an hour in I was down to T8,200.
Called 350 with Qx9x but folded to an all-in war that ended up with KxKx drawing a set against AxAx. T7,500 now.
UTG again with 8♦T♦ and I check-called a 300 raise. Flop of Ax4x5x and I was out of there. Forty-five minutes in: T7,050.
QxTx as CO and I called a big pre-flop raise but folded to an all-in after a flop of JxTx8x and a bet on the Ax turn.
Fifty minutes in and I’d lost more than half my starting chips: T5,250.
In BB with A♥K♥, I raised to 2,000 and was re-raised all-in. I called against A♠T♠ and doubled up to almost where I’d begun: T10,650.
Back on BTN, I raised to 400 and got one call. The flop was Qx7x2x and I bet 1,000 to take the pot. Back over starting: T11,275.
Raised UTG with JxTx to 500 getting two calls half-an-hour later. The flop was a beautiful KxQx9x and it was checked around. The turn was a non-threatening Ax, it was checked to me and there was a bet of 3,000. I shoved over the top and was called by AxKx. My straight held.
Tx4x in BB ten minutes later and I see the flop of QxTx4x. A guy who’s been going all-in throughout the game bets into it and I re-raise. As I expect, he shoves and I call because I’m pretty sure he’s not holding The Butcher, and my two pair knocks him out. He doesn’t show.
Next hand in SB with 8x2x I call to see 4x2x2x on the flop and check. BB bets out 600, UTG calls, and I raise to 2,000 getting both of them to fold. I show the hand.
A couple minutes later it’s my turn to fold 9x8x after calling 800 pre-flop. The board is QxJx8x but my bottom pair and low-end gut-shot isn’t good enough to call the 2,000 bet.
One hour and forty-five minute into the game and I’m up to a healthy T30,575, more than 40% above the chip average. Five minutes later, I’m buying the add-on of T8,000 chips. There are 84 entries, with 18 re-buys. The break sees 69 add-ons and the pot’s $13,650, with 13 places paying. 77 players left at the break.
After the break, I get to work, raising and taking the blinds and antes with Ax8x, then taking a pot atay from several callers with a post-flop raise with QxJx on a jack-high flop that put me up to T41,625.
In SB with 3♠4♠ I called a raise to 1,700 from BB. The Qx2x5x gave me an open-ended straight draw and I bet 2,000 into it. BB tossed his cards and said he had AxJx. According to the odds calculators, if that was the case, we were almost exactly 50%-50%.
I re-raised to 7,000 over a 2,400 raise with 8x8x and a small stack shoved for 6,950 more. Was my pair good? Was it a desperate move to steal 10,000 chips? It was going to cost me about 3.5:1 to find out. I called, was up against queens and lost.
Pretty quickly I was back on track with TxTx. I raised over two calls to 4,000 and took the pot. One of the guys muttered he’d folded jacks. I was down to T32,000 but near chip average.
Then in my BB I picked up 6x6♣ and laid in wait to see a flop of 6x4x2x. I’ve learned my lesson about being shy with flopped sets. I pulled the trigger and didn’t worry about the possibility that someone might have come along with 3x5x, I bet 2,000 and got a call, then bet 7,000 after the Tx turn card and cracked some aces. I was back up to T43,400 at the end of three hours.
UTG fifteen minutes later with KxKx. I keep losing with kings, often by simply walking away from the board after a horrible flop. I raised to 2,700, getting three calls and a rather ominous QxJxTx flop. What premium hand isn’t beating me here? AxKx has the straight and my only hope against it is some sort of backdoor full house (or another ace to chop). QxQxJxJx, or TxTx has a set already and I need that ace or backdoor full house again. Any multitude of two pair hands in there that are playable by someone in a $10K tournament. Even 8x9x has me beat. So naturally when the player on my right goes all-in for more than 30,000 chips, I call. He has The Butcher, for two pair, but a miraculous 9x shows on the turn and I knock him out with the straight.
Two hundred minutes into the game I’m up to T71,875. The chip average is T27,081. Twenty minutes later, there are 55 players left and the chip average is just over T30,000.
I raise with Q♠T♣ over two calls, the flop is K♠T♠8♠. I try to get another spade but I’m lucky and don’t, losing to A♠Tx.
Coming up on the end of the fourth hour of play as SB with 2x2x and I call an all-in of 4,700. He has QxTx and hits two pair on the flop. I start the next hour down to T50,600 with the chip average at T33,000.
With AxAx in CO I raise to 8,000 and get a call. The flop is 9x6x4x and I’m all-in over a raise, getting a call from JxJx for a win.
In UTG1, I call 4,600 with 9♣T♣. The flop is 7x9xJx and UTG bets 10,000 (a pattern his big stack will repeat throughout the rest of the night) and I have to fold my middle pair and gunshot. Still, I’m back up to T72800.
I open from the CO with 2♥3♥ and take the blinds and antes.
UTG1 again. I call 3,600 with Q♠9♠ and fold to UTG’s 10,000 bet after the Kx8x5x bet.
In my SB, I raise to 11,000 with J♣Q♠. BB calls and the flop is KxJx9x This time it’s me who throws the 10,000 continuation and the guy to my left folds.
Raised 7,000 with QxJx and called an all-in who showed AxKx. I stayed behind as my chips raced to the other end of the table.
Hitting midnight after five hours of play, I was a little over the chip average, with T54,500.
The Butcher came through, with QxTx beating a nominally better hand on a 8xTx8x flop and bringing in 20,000.
Raised 10,000 a couple minutes later with 6x6x and lost to an all-in. Back down to T54000 by five hours and thirty minutes, with 28 players left.
I shoved with KxKx from BTN sort of hoping to double up if someone thought it was a position play but just won the blinds and antes. Even so, by the time the I’d made it through the blinds, I was down to T50,300, more than 10,000 below average.
Just twenty minutes later, that had dwindled to half the average, at T34,700, with only 22 players left. Just nine before the money bubble.
As we approached the end of the sixth hour, I shoved with Ax9x over two calls and managed to win a pot that put me up to T40,600. Then, on my BB with TxTx I shoved over three calls and took another one down. Right after that I raised UTG with JxTx and won again. In twenty minutes I doubled my stack to T71,000 without a showdown. I was still below the T76,666 average.
As quick as it came, though, it went away. I picked up KxQx mid-position and raised to 10,000 from the 4,000 big blind. I got two callers, including the big stack on my immediate right. The flop was Kx9x2x and I bet into it, hoping that nobody had AxKx. Both of them came along. The Qx on the turn put me all-in, the first call was from the a smaller stack, the second was from the mega-stack, who’d snuck in there with JxTx to make the straight. The small stack had QxTx. No king or queen for me on the river and I was out short of the money. BP went on to a 4-way chop at 5:30! Congrats!
Six hours. 19th of 84 entries.
Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee (T10,000)
This was one of those up-and-down rides.
I folded my first two hands from seat 10, then raised over a couple of limpers to 125 with a nice little J♦9♦, getting several calls. The flop was a perfect Tx8x7x and I bet 300. Seat 2 raised me to 600, the players between us folded, and I three-bet 2,300. He called and the turn put out Jx. I go all-in with the rest of my full stack, he calls with JxTx, and my straight holds through the river. I’ve got him covered by a quarter because he was SB in the first hand.
I lost a little ground raising UTG1 with Q♣3♣ against UTG’s AxJx. and was down to T18,925 at fifteen minutes in. Missed an opportunity by folding Tx3x in SB when I didn’t call the 25 extra and the flop was Tx7x3x.
Raised to 225 with KxQx in CO, go two calls, then got a flop of 2x3x4x. It was checked around. With a 5x on the turn, I folded to a bet.
Half an hour in and my excursions had cut me down to T17750.
Raised from UTG1 to 225 with 4♠6♠ and got one call. Bet 500 after the 8x7x4x flop and took it down.
A couple hands later I called 350 in a 3-way hand with Q♦5♦ in BB but had to fold after whiffing the flop.
SB on the next hand with K♣J♣ and three limpers. I raised to 55o and won. A couple hands later as CO I raised to 250 with Ax3x but folded to a bet of 800 on a king-high flop.
In the twenty minutes leading into the end of the first hour, I went from T17,775 to 17,575.
At the stroke of the hour, I played 8♠4♠, and made a straight to the eight by the river, but the guy I’d busted on my first hand had a straight to the 9 and knocked me almost back to the starting stack. T10,875.
Not one to sit around dejected, I had a wheel draw with 2x3x, but missed on the river and had to fold to a bet, losing 800 chips in the encounter.
Opened to 575 with 8♥9♥ and got two calls. The flop was T♦6♦3♦, which got checked around. Another Tx on the turn and I folded to a bet. Right color but too diamondy for me.
Limped in with T♣6x on BTN and saw a Tx7x2x flop. SB opened with a 1,000 bet, mid-position called, and I re-raised to 3,000 to take the pot. Much speculation about my hand. I feel pretty proud of that play and a couple of others in this game.
CO with A♥Q♦ and three-bet from 1,200 to 3,000. SB called and the flop hit as 8x7x8x. I folded to a bet of 4,000. That cut me down to T9,300 eighty minutes into the game.
Raised UTG2 with JxTx to 750 and got 2 calls. A shove on the jack-high flop and I won my way back up to T10,950.
On BTN with J♦9♦ again and I raised to 600 to see a flop heads-up: Kx4x5x. We checked to the turn, he bet 700, I folded, and he flipped KxTx. No need.
In HJ, called an 800 raise in a three-way hand with 3♣4♣. Flop was Ax5xTx and I bet 1,200 with my gut-shot straight draw. I won.
At the first break I had T12,550, the average was T15,833 before the T7,000 add-ons.
At the end of the second hour of play, I called 400 UTG1 with K♠T♠. The blinds came along and the flop was ten-high. SB bet 500, I raised to 1,500 and took it.
Called 1,100 from BB with K♠Q♠ (variations of that hand kept cropping up the night after it put me out of the Friday game), but had to fold after I didn’t connect.
Next hand it was Q♣6♣ as SB and I bought the barest of fingernails on a Jx8x6x flop. I bet 800 and got two calls then folded to a turn bet. Jx5x made the best hand by catching the low end of a nine-high straight on the river.
Raised with K♦9♦ and got a call. The flop was Ax9x6x and I bet 1,000. My opponent must not have had an ace!
Called 1,200 with four others in the hand before me holding J♣T♣ to see a flop of A♠Q♠Jx. Everyone checked. 5♠ on the turn didn’t make my straight but I (and nobody else) could call the 3,000 to see the river so I don’t know if it or the flush would have come in. Still, I was up to T24,000.
Raised to 1,300 with Kx6x and got called by a shorter stack. The flop was KxTx9x and we checked to the Kx turn. I raised to 7,000. He hemmed and hawed and dawdled then shoved for 1,800 more. I figured he had to have the better kicker and called for what was less than 10% of the pot. He turned over KxTx for the nuts. I felt kind of annoyed about the way he’d slow-rolled the nuts. Was it all about getting me to call the other 1,800?
I was back down to T12,900 two and three-quarters of an hour in. Naturally, I got moved to a new table into the BB just a couple hands after paying the last time.
Fortunately, in SB I picked up JxJx and shoved over three limpets to take a hand that put me up to T15,900.
Had to fold a call of 2,700 with A♦8♦ when an all-in came after me.
Pulled another fast one with A♦T♦ when I raised to 2,700, got two calls, and saw a flop of 7xJx7x. My shove won.
Moved again after just twenty minutes.
UTG with Q♥T♠ and I called a raise of 2,500 to of heads-up to a flop of A♠5♠J♠. My opponent bet 5,000 and I raised all-in. At least I had the ten of spades! He folded.
Up to T28,000 but below the T35,836 average.
55 players left at three hours and twenty minutes.
I went all-in over two limps with AxQx but got called by a smaller stack holding J♥9♥. He double-paired by the river and chopped me in almost in half. Down to T19225.
When they chipped up the 25 pieces, the average stack with 45 players left was T43,800. I had just T16,625.
Second hand after the break on BTN with JxTx my all-in was called by KxJx and I was out.
Three hours and fifty minutes. 44th of 99 players.
Carbon Poker Super Bowl Pick-the-Winner $5,000 Freeroll
All you had to do to get an entry into this freeroll was to pick the winner of the Super Bowl, and since I know nothing about sports I figured I had a 50/50 chance of getting a ticket. The early buzz I’d heard had the Giants as the underdogs, so I picked them, figuring that the field might be smaller if more folks were choosing the likely winner. And New York won, so I got my ticket.
Amazingly enough, for a freeroll with a $1,300 first prize, the game wasn’t even half full. The four-times-daily $200 freerolls on Merge have fields of 5,000—even the HORSE tournament gets more than 2,000 every day—but this event was capped at 2,000 and only had 712 entries. Either it wasn’t advertised very well (although I saw it) or everybody picked the Patriots.
This game followed a typical trajectory for me: a zoom to the top, followed by a crashing defeat.
My first success (A on the graphic) came just five hands in, with the hand known here in Portland as “The Butcher”: T♦Q♣ (not specifically those two cards, but any QT combo). I was in CO and raised to 50 after one limper. The BB and limper came along. The 9♦4♥J♠ flop gave me the open-ended straight draw, and after a bet of 160 from the limper I just called in position. BB folded. The 8♥ turn card made my nut straight. The limper bet into it for 480 and I shoved for 1,760, which he called leaving only 30 behind. He was drawing dead, with J♣K♥ for just top pair. If he’d been suited in hearts, I would have been gone with the A♥ on the river, but instead I picked up a pot of 4,000 chips, double the starting stack. I was tournament chip leader.
Two hands later as UTG3 (B), I snagged T♣T♥. UTG 2 raised to 70, I re-raised to 220. BTN called, the blinds folded, UTG2 shoved. Both UTG2 and BTN were below the starting stack value; if I lost with my pocket pair I’d just be at starting stack again. I went all-in and BTN was all-in, showing 9♦J♥. UTG2 had two overs to my pair: A♣Q♠, and was statistically slightly favored over me (41% v 38%) with the third player involved (who had a 21% chance). The flop was mercifully low: 5♦7♠4♦. Another 7♣ broke the possibility of a backdoor diamond flush, then a 3♦ on the river solidified my knockout of both players. At 7,680 chips, I was the tournament leader on hand seven.
It only lasted a short time. On hand 15 (C) I had K♥J♣ in HJ. Action folded to me, I raised to 75, CO re-raised to 240, the blinds got out of the way, and I called. The flop was perfect: 4♥K♦J♥. I was ahead of aces. I checked to see how much he’d commit and he bet 393. I shoved way over the top for 7,710 and he called off the rest of his stack for a total of 2,210, showing that he did indeed have A♠A♥. I was 69% good. Until the A♣ on the turn, of course. Then I was drawing dead. Still, I was in the top chip stacks in the tournament, with 5,500, nearly three times the start, just ten minutes in.
I lost a little ground for a while after that setback, going as low as 3,650 chips over the next thirty-five hands. Then I got 9♥7♥ in UTG1 (D) and raised to 120. HJ called me and we were heads-up at the flop. 9♦T♣3♣ gave me middle pair and I bet 250, getting a call. 8♦ turn set me up for another straight draw and I bet 600 into the 830 pot. HJ shoved for 2,551. I really didn’t think he’d hit the board; I risked all but 1,300 chips to make the call and see his 5♥5♣. He was drawing pretty thin. The river was 6♥, which actually made my straight, unnecessary as it was. I was back in contention, although not in the uppermost chip ranks.
Another fifty hands went by before I made another jump (E). It came in a series of three hands about an hour and fifteen minutes into the game. Blinds were 100/200, I was UTG1 with 5♦7♦ and limped after a fold from UTG. HJ limped, but BTN pushed all-in for 1,880. The blinds folded. I had both the all-in and the other limper covered by about 4,000 chips. I didn’t figure the limper would enter the action after me, so I called. The limper folded and I was heads-up against J♠A♠. Isn’t the Mutant jack my hand? It appeared as if it was, because right away there was a flush draw on the board with 9♦2♦T♠; I was actually slightly ahead. K♣ for the turn gave him the Broadway draw and flipped the odds back to 65%/34% in his favor. Then I hit the second-to-the-least pair with 7♥ on the river and made another knockout.
A player who’d joined the table twenty hands earlier with under 1,500 chips had been hanging on despite the 100/200 blinds by going all-in. I hadn’t felt able to call, even when I’d raised pre-flop. Just after beating the Mutant Jack, I was SB with J♦T♦ and finally called his all-in of 930. Another limper who was the only stack larger than me at the table called. The flop was Q♣T♠9♥ giving me the open-ended straight draw and second pair. UTG2 and I both checked to the 9♠ turn and 6♣ river. UTG2 missed the flush with A♠8♠ and the best hand was the short stack’s Q♦K♣. I’d come to regret not having called to see if I could have knocked that stack out earlier.
The next hand proved lucrative, however. On BTN with 6♥A♥ and just over 8,000 chips, I limped in after the big stack (10,500+ in UTG1) and BB. I made middle pair on the 7♦4♦6♣ flop and after it was checked around to me, I shoved. He called with the nut flush draw Ax3x but two spades showed up on the turn and river, so I doubled up to over 16,770 and was back in the top stacks in the tournament. Two pair with The Butcher on the next hand knocked out another player put me up to 19,000 chips, then I picked another 500 off the guy who’d doubled me up, leaving him with just over 2,000 chips. My attempt to take him out a few hands later would double him up when K♥J♥ missed against his 8♦8♠.
I managed to climb (with ups and downs of 2,000 to 3,000 chips) to 22,600 before I hit a big snag (F). Both the stacks I’d doubled up above had managed to climb up to 11,000+ chips. The first-mentioned (who’d joined the table with 1,500 chips) shoved from UTG1 and I called him from UTG2. A short stack in CO called all-in, and it was A♣K♦ (short stack) v 8♦8♥ (doubled-up stack) v Q♥J♣ (me). The board almost ran out a straight with 3♣6♠7♣4♠2♠ that would have been topped with one of the eights. That loss just about cut me in half, and put the former short stack over 25,000.
I got back into the top thirty spots about 15 hands later with A♣J♥ on the button (G). Blinds were 250/500/50 and HJ shoved for 9,500 after all action folded to him. The stack I’d doubled up between us folded, SB had about 3,500 chips and BB had 15,500. I shoved and they both folded; HJ showed J♦J♠ and I was on the wrong end of a 70%/30% showdown. The A♥ showed up on the flop, though, and my opponent was down to hoping for that last jack to show up, which it didn’t. So I popped back up to where I’d been eight minutes before. A strong bet after I made second-nut flush not long after put me within spitting distance of 30,000 chips (H). That lasted all of two hands (I). I had A♣Q♠ in UTG2 at 300/600/75. UTG folded. UTG1 was the short stack that had climbed back from under 1,000 to 25,000 now. He limped in and I raised to 2,000, which he was the only player to call. The flop was 9♥2♥6♣, I had position on him and he went all-in. I’d suspected him of shoving light on a lot of his road to recovery, so I followed along for all but 3,000 of my chips. Then he flipped over 9♠T♠ and I had just a 22% chance of not being crippled. The 9♦ showed on the turn and I was doomed. He had 52,000 chips and the tournament lead. I didn’t last long after that (J), ending up seventy places out of the money after going all-in with T♥K♠. Q♣A♥ won that hand.
The tournament went on for another three hours. Both the small stack who’d risen to 50,000 and the player I’d knocked down to 2,000 with a double-up made the final table.
Two hours, 183 hands. 98th of 712 players.
Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee
I’ve really got to try to come up with some better way of recording what’s going on in live games. I don’t know if it was the lesson taught to me by the loss of the lead in the noon online game or what, but I somehow managed to once again make it to the end of a $10K at Encore. What I do remember is that one player—who looked sort of like a drunk Nathan Lane—kept shoving over my raises and that eventually, once we were at the point where the payouts were over $1,000, I called him with Qx8x. He showed Ax4x but I hit the queen on the flop and sucked a couple hundred thousand in chips into my stack (the picture below is about 250,000).
He had a friend with him who kept trying to help stack his chips for him and who he kept kicking. I was tempted to ask that only players and staff be seated at the table, but I held my tongue. Around 3:30am, everyone was still within a range of a 200,000 chips, the blinds were 8,000/16,000/3,000 and a chop for a little over $2,400 each was proposed and accepted. And once again, I forgot to take a picture of the screen.
The Final Table $5,000 Guarantee — $500 Santa Bounty (7,000 chips)
‘Twas the night before Christmas Eve And all through Portland There was not a poker game With a guarantee of ten grand…
Encore’s doors would be shut Christmas Eve, so they weren’t running their $10K game this week. Aces replaced their Friday night $10K with a $50 buy-in with $500 added for first place. Final Table’s Friday night game was the same buy-in, but with a $5,000 guarantee; instead of $500 for first, they had five $100 bounties on selected players. I had to go for the Final Table guarantee, not so much because I thought there wouldn’t be $5,000 in the pot at Aces, but because I figured the field size would be larger because of the guarantee. I don’t know if I was wrong, but in any case, they were already open to ten tables when I signed up, and the eventual field size was more than 130.
I started off the game at the same table I’d played for one of the FT morning $1K Guarantees, with the aggressive M immediately on my right and even more aggressive N two spots to his right. As often is the case M built up a good-sized stack by going over the top from position, but as is almost as often the case when I’ve played with either of them, they both busted out and rebought before the first break and they were gone before the second.
I got chopped down in the middle of the first segment, then managed to double up to just over starting stack before break one. By break two, I was at 40K, more than twice the chip average.
The third segment was tough. I took a couple of tumbles, doubling up all-ins and getting knocked down to 10,000 chips. A table change brought me into the company of a real peach of a player who seemed to pick one target at each table he was at to denigrate. It didn’t bother me so much—although I did have to check myself a couple of times from making snarky comments—but the woman who was his next target after me was pretty upset. He seemed to get ruder as I stacked back up to 40,000 and picked up one of the $100 bounties. Average at third break was 31,400.
Moved into overdrive in the fourth segment and knocked out another player in a race , putting me up to 140,000 (of a total of 1,600,000) chips with 25 players left. Six-and-a-half hours after we started, we were in the money (17th got a bubble payment of $100). AN hour later we made the final table with ten players.
I’d made a big misstep not long before the final table. I was in the SB with A on my left. I had KxTx and raised to 16,000 at 4,000/8,000/500 after action folded to me. She called and the flop came Ax7xAx. I checked and she bet at it, the board eventually had Ax7xAx7x9x and there was 50,000 of my chips in the pot. I didn’t think she had the ace and thought I might have the best kicker but….
Blinds were eating through the stacks at the final table. A number of people were pressuring the big stack to make a chop; I gave him my advice to fight to the end. I was down to 51,000 chips with blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000. Definitely the short stack at the table at that point. I picked up KxTx again and shoved from UTG+2 and almost got away with it. Action folded to BB, who thought about it for a long time, then called me with 5x7x. She had a 33% of winning and managed to hit it, pulling out a nine-high straight.
A little birdie tells me that it went on for a little longer after I left, then they chopped it for what would have been just over $1,000 each.
Sometimes my instincts fail me, sometimes they work out OK. The last Encore $10K for the year, they failed me in the wrong spots and with the wrong people more often than they steered me the right direction.
On the plus side, shortly before the first break, I managed to get my stack back up to a respectable size by calling down a guy on my right who was betting into me while I held fourth pair on the board with a king kicker. But the reason I was down to 5,000 in the first place was that I’d gotten myself over-extended with a similar hand against one of the hotheads from a previous game.
I managed to tread water for several more hours, always closing in on the average stack if not quite reaching it, then I made the fatal misstep that put me out. I had JxTx and the older gentleman on my right had something he liked. The flop was Jx7x7x and we got all-in, then he flipped his aces and I was busted exactly halfway through the field. I didn’t need to go all the way with that one.
Still, one bright spot came out of the game. The entire final table chopped the money for the first nine places, which came to $1,579 each and means Poker Mutant keeps the self-appointed crown for largest prize in a $10K event in Portland since Encore went to weekly games in October through the end of the year, because they’re on a holiday schedule the next two weeks.
Aces Players Club Noon $1,500 Guarantee (5,000 chips)
I had another engagement on Saturday evening, so I decided to take another crack at the Aces $10K, so I started off the day at their noon game, which always seems busy. Nothing spectacular happened, I didn’t rebuy, I made it to the break and added-on, but I didn’t make it far beyond there.
Ninety-five minutes. -100% ROI. 30th of 41 players.
Aces Players Club Friday $10K Guarantee (10,000 chips)
It’s not my first choice: despite the higher buy-in, the overall pots are smaller due to smaller fields. I made a couple of big mistakes. One was letting myself get bluffed off a large early pot with one player all-in and two of us calling when I was holding KxTx with the king paired and a jack draw to Broadway. There was a flush possibility on the board, an ace, and I folded to a raise to 3,600 on the turn. The winner at showdown had just Kx5x for a pair of kings. Near the end of my time in the tournament, I raised from BTN with AxQx, then folded to a bet on the king and rags flop, only to see an ace and queen on the turn and river. I still haven’t even come close to cashing in the Aces $10K.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 35th of 59 players.
Hadn’t been out to D’s place for a couple of sessions, but action was already started with me only a few minutes late. Jumped right in and did surprisingly well, particularly off a game of ‘Big O’ five-card Omaha. I was up over two buy-ins in profit then it was an evil downhill slope where I lost my profit, my buy-in, and two more buy-ins before I managed to recover a little.
Four-and-a-half hours. -140% ROI.
Deuces Players Club $122 Win the Button Guarantee
I hadn’t been into Deuces since the inaugural tournament back in July. It was pretty quiet just after midnight when I got there after leaving D’s, with four people sitting around one table playing spades when I was expecting to walk into the last minutes of the first round of their 11:22pm Win the Button tournament (which I’d been interested in trying out). There hadn’t been enough players to start the tournament—and even with me they still had to wait for another—so I hung out a little bit to see if it would get off the ground. After about ten minutes GG walked through the door and we got down to business.
I hadn’t played a Win the Button tournament before, but there’s certainly an extra dimension of strategy involved, even in folding. The winner of the hand gets the dealer button moved in front of them for the next hand, and while some versions of the game rotate the blinds and just give the button player last action, at Deuces the blinds are fixed to the button as in a regular game, so consecutive wins by the same player really punish the positions to his immediate left, especially once the blinds get up there.
Early in the game I was on the BB with 7♠2♠ and called a 5x raise pre-flop to pair the deuce. Another deuce hit on the turn and I kept calling. A 7x on the river made my full house but I wasn’t abel to get any more money out of them. I flipped over the hand and was the object of much derision for the rest of the game, with some mentions that I should read the copies of Super System in the lounge area. I sort of had to laugh. I eventually ended up re-buying and doing an add-on, but several other re-buys worth of chips at the other end of the table seemed to be taking the day by the time I was out.
90 minutes. -100% ROI. Placed 4th of 5.
Encore Club Noon $1,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)
Worked for a while on my birthday morning, then headed off to the Encore. This is one of those times when I really wish I was keeping better track of my play, but it was my birthday and I was playing mostly for fun. I’d been knocked down a bit and thought I was going to double up with KxKx against an ace-high hand, but the board put out four spades and with his A♠ he knocked me out. I got my re-buy stack (first in the tournament) and a newly-sat player on my right pushed on the next hand. I called him with TxTx and he flipped 9x9x. My barely-higher pair held and I was up to 10,000.
That sank to about 7,400 by the first break. I picked up the 3,000 chip add-on, along with another 21 of the remaining 28 remaining players. Not long after the break ended, I got another pair handed to me and pushed up to 17,100 with JxJx against 9x9x.
With no action ahead of me, I raised from from BTN with QxTx and got an all-in from BB. I called and he showed 5x9x. I made an unnecessary set of tens. On my last hand before the break I ended up all-in with AxAx against Ax9x and hit a full house by the river. That put me up to and even 30,000 chips at the second break, with 15 players left and a little more than 10% of the chips in play.
That’s where I stopped recording regularly. Three hours into the game, I was at 68,000, then back down to 60,000 (with the chip average under 32,000) when we made the final table. At the four-hour mark I had 131,000 chip, and was over 50% of the chips in play by the time we got to 3-way play. Every hand I was getting had some sort of ace in it, and I was putting the two other stacks at risk continuously. They were talking about how they were playing for second and third at that point, I was prepared to make a deal of some sort, then I shoved with 2x2x—the hand I’d won with in the $10K—and the larger of the two stacks decided he’d had enough and called. I don’t remember what he had, but he had enough chips that when he hit a better hand by the river, his stack was larger than mine. That caused me problems on the next hand when I shoved with 3x3x and got called again, because then I was out, with less than half the money I could have won from some smarter play.
Four-and-a-half hours. +134% ROI (including tip). Placed 3rd of 34.
Encore Club 10pm $500 Guarantee (5,000 chips)
Aside from the re-buy, I broke my other cardinal rule and had a drink (on the house, courtesy of S) while was playing. Hell, it was my birthday, I had two drinks. Busted out shortly after the first break.
Eighty minutes. -100% ROI. 17th of 23 players.
Deuces Players Club $122 Win the Button Guarantee
Wandered back across the river to Deuces and made it possible for the Win the Button game to get going. PO—who used to run mixed games elsewhere—was behind the desk and it was good to see him again. My second run at this game went considerably better. By the time it was down to just GG and myself, I had him at a bit of a disadvantage, and this time there wasn’t much joking about my need to brush up on Brunson, especially with me winning the button 80% of the time and a small blind representing 3% of the chips in play.
I was magnanimous. It was late, the 2:22 game was due to start in fifteen minutes, and there wasn’t that much money at stake. We chopped evenly.
Two hours. +53% ROI. 1st of 6 players.
Deuces Players Club $222 Guarantee Last Call Freeroll
I thought this game was going to go a lot differently. Not long after we got going, a player sat in seat 9 and started blowing through buy-ins. He was all-in on his first hand and it seemed like his only move was all-in. Inevitably, he’d get called and while he did win a couple showdowns, it wasn’t because he had the best hand to start. Or even a good hand. Anyway, some large stacks got made at our table because of it. I picked up quite a few and was doing well until after the final table was made, then tangled a couple of times with other big stacks and got cut down.
Deuces has been trying to run a 24-hour operation, but later in the day after I was there the web site changed to say they were only going to be open late-night from 11pm to 7am. I wish them (and everyone else in the Portland poker scene) luck with that.
One hundred ten minutes. -100% ROI. 9th of 15 players.
The field in the Encore $10K Guarantee I won a couple weeks back wasn’t the largest since it went to a weekly schedule at the beginning of October (there have been six events so far, with one week replaced by the Anniversary $25K Guarantee) and it had the fourth-largest pot, but with all the chops going on, my first-place $4,275 prize is the largest single prize awarded in the weekly game so far.