Since my concentration on live tournaments after missing out on my home league’s Player Of the Year WSOP buy-in pool and Black Friday’s crushing of the online poker action in the US, I’ve played 169 tournaments, mostly at Portland-area poker venues.
I had a couple of goals:
Make it to the WSOP. I hoped to put together enough between 1 May and mid-June to make up for missing out on the POY pool, so I could play one of the low-end WSOP events and visit with Tomer. Two early wins at the PPC right off the bat gave me some hope, but times were tight, I had to dip into my poker bankroll for personal expenses, and June slipped away before I made it up.
Make it to Prague. My next goal was to make it to the EPT event in the Czech Republic that started on my 50th birthday. Prague’s supposed to be a great place to be just before Christmas, I could take Ms. Poker Mutant with me for part of the trip, we’d make a little European vacation of it, and maybe I’d get lucky. Problem was, I figured I needed about $20,000 for travel expenses, the $7,500 EPT buy-in, and some money for side events that might make the trip worthwhile, poker-wise. Kept coming up waaaaay short until a win just a couple of weeks before I needed to be on my way made it possible—if unlikely—to build the roll up. No luck, but I tried.
The end of the year approaches and Poker Mutant got in a batch of games the past couple of days. Not exactly good games….
Carbon Poker $200 Freeroll (1,000 chips)
Skated around the starting stack for a dozen hands, then grabbed a few hundred chips only to lose several hundred with the second pair. Got all-in three-way pre-flop with K♠T♠ against 8♥K♦ and Q♦A♣. A 7♥J♥8♦ flop made most of my straight draw but meant I wanted it kept low. T♦ for the turn put me in the lead but made the upper straight draw very bad. The river was Q♥ and knocked me out.
Twelve minutes, 22 hands. 3,207th of 4,216 players.
Carbon Poker $200 HORSE Freeroll (1,000 chips)
Got off to a good start here in Hold’em in the third hand with K♣T♥ against my nemesis (see above) Q♦A♠. Made a king-high straight on the turn and collected 350 chips. A few hands later my opponent hit bottom two pair on the flop, I had top pair and made another on the turn. That pot turned into over 1,000 chips.
My chip advantage had melted away by the time the first four hands of Omaha8 were over, though, and by the time we started Razz I was down to 525.
I won small amounts in three hands there but started Stud with only 380 chips and limits at 100/200. There was a completion (A♠ showing) and a call (K♣) ahead of me, I had J♣8♠ down and 8♦ showing. Two of the other jacks were showing. J♠ called after me, and four of us made it to fourth street. Showing there was J♠6♠, A♠2♠, K♣6♦, and 8♦2♥ for me. The ace bet 100, the king called, I raised to 200, the other jack called, then the ace raised to 300. The king folded, I put in my last 70 chips, and the other jack called. The ace picked up 2♣ on fifth street, I got 3♣, and the jack got 7♦. The ace’s bet of 200 blew off the jack and we were heads up for the main pot. The final showdown was my J♣8♣8♦2♥3♣2♦A♣ against T♣4♣A♠2♠2♣9♠7♠ and my two pair was good for a pot of 1,415 chips.
A few hands later I was all-in with two pair on sixth street, up against a better two pair and an ace-high straight that got there on seventh street.
Twenty-three minutes, 39 hands. 2,277th of 2,911 players.
The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee, +$200 First Place (6,000 chips)
Re-buys are just so seductively attractive. I know I shouldn’t do them. Yet here I was at another Final Table tournament, re-buying and adding on even though it would likely be unprofitable unless I won third place or better.
Two hours and forty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 21st of 45 entries.
The Final Table Omaha 8 (5,000 chips)
Bought into this after I’d busted out of the $1K and chipped up nicely enough before the break with a couple of sneaky straights that I didn’t bother to add on. That was probably just as well, since I busted halfway through the first level after the break.
Thirty minutes. -100% ROI. 26th of 28 entries.
The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee No Rebuy (6,000 chips)
Got all-in in the first round with the worst of three hands. I wasn’t the only KO. Took me longer to drive there than I played, and I was driving fast. The less said the better.
Five minutes. -100% ROI. Somewhere in the twenties, but they were still signing up players.
Encore Club 2-7 Triple Draw (5,000 chips)
I headed to Encore intending to (try to) get the bitter taste of defeat out of my mouth by getting in their $1K guarantee game, but manager S inveigled me into the Tuesday mixed game which was supposed to have started at 7 but was waiting for someone else to sign up forty-five minutes later. I’m a sucker, I admit it. With six players there was no chance of making a decent ROI, but how often do you get the chance to play 2-7 in Portland?
I sat down to the table with S, J—a player I’d mentioned in my write-up of the $10K I won at Encore, and L, both of latter of whom appeared to be at least semi-pros. There were a couple of other guys at at the table as well. Things got off to a bit of a rocky start with the guy on my immediate left who seemed to be getting increasingly upset over trivial matters and ended up storming off to demand his money back after just a few minutes.
I did reasonably well in the early stages of the game and managed to outlast two of the players , but bubbled after just about two hours. L had built up a big stack and even through I managed to decent qualifying hands while she was drawing against me, she managed to get there and eventually busted me. I sat and talked to J as they played it out about playing the WSOP Circuit at The Bike in LA next month and the advantages of the Venetian Deep Stack I vs. the LAPC in early February. We’ll have to see how things go, if I get lucky maybe his comments will be relevant. (J eventually won).
Two hours. -100% ROI. Third of five players.
Encore Club $500 Guarantee (5,000 chips)
This was another one of those games where you sort of want to snark at the people giving you poker “advice” that the need to give such advice is a result of a deep sexual insecurity. I drew out on the player to my immediate right twice in quick succession. A hyperactive guy on the far end of the table was predicting doom and gloom on my head. L (see above) was seated at the same table and we were pretty friendly, I thought. She was picking up chips (including some from me). Eventually I shoved with 4♠8♠ on a double-spaded board and a pair of fours with a player ahead of me all-in for considerably less. L called from position and opened up with A♠6♠. I was good until the river when my second pair (8♥) gave L a straight. SH—a regular Encore player—on my left started muttering about how people were “flush-happy”. I pointed out that I had a pair on the flop and straight draw potential—even a back-door straight flush—but that didn’t make him happy and there was general carping all around. Ah, well. I re-bought and continued on.
I had to suppress my laughter when, on the last hand before the break, SH shoved everything in from the button and L called him from the BB with a much larger stack. Even if she hadn’t flipped over AxAx, the fact that SH put his stack at risk for the blinds with Ax4x after complaining about my flush draw call was ludicrous. A4o is at best a 3:2 hand against any two cards between 5x and Kx. It’s a 1:2 dog against any pair other than treys or deuces.