Had a very nice time talking poker with reader BP on Thursday, then he headed over to the Encore $1,800 game that night. I’m bearing down on the big games with 50+ players in preparation for the WSOP starting up this weekend, so I waited to head over until Friday’s $5,000 guarantee.
I was seated in seat 7 at the first red table, with JL—one of the recognizably better regulars at Encore—two seats to my right. I came in fresh off reading Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed and most of Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula 2, so I was ready to work hard.
UTG2 with K♠2♠, I raised over a UTG call to 125. UTG called and we saw a flop of AxJx9x. I continued with a bet of 200, which UTG called. After that, we both checked through a 7x on the turn and 8x on the river. He must have been worried about a ten, because his 7♣8♣ was good and he didn’t bet it.
I called with Q♥8♣ as CO to see a flop of Qx6x4x. UTG2 bet 200 and I raised to 500, getting a call. We both checked to the river and my pair held up against his missed straight draw.
UTG3 holding 6♣9♣. The flop was AxTx8x and it was checked around with four players still in. With a 9x on the turn, I bet 275, which was called around. I folded to a 550 bet on the river 8x.
Half an hour in, down to T8,875 and I’d already missed two opportunities to make two pair on the flop, with Q♥6♦ and 4♠8♠.
Called a 300 raise with Q♦8♦ from BB to see a flop of A♥7♦T♣ but folded to a 550 bet from BTN. Down to T8,325.
The first hand that turned things around at the table for me was 4♦6♦ as CO. I limped to see the flop with several others and saw 2x5xTx, calling a 250 bet with one other to get to the 3x on the turn. HJ bet 500 and I reraised to 1,500, then UTG2 shipped it and I called with the nuts. HJ bailed and UTG2 turned over 2 pair. Ax on the river didn’t help him, and I doubled up to T17,800.
Just a few minutes after that, disaster struck with A♦7♦. I open-raised to 275, getting three calls to the Ax7x8x flop. With a little over 1,000 in the pot, I bet 1,000, hoping to shake off some people but only one dropped out. Qx on the turn and I bet 2,500, getting a call from the first player and an all-in from the other end of the table for 2,900 more. I called that, then the player who’d called me first shoved over the top for almost 8,000. By this time, there’s nearly 25,000 in the pot, and I call the extra 5,000. The original all-in has AxKx, the second all-in has beaten my two pair with AxQx, and a useless card on the river drops me down to somewhere over 6,000 chips.
I look down at K♣Q♠ on my next hand and try something, by open-shoving from early position while the blinds are still just 50/100. It seems like a steam bet, what with only 150 in the pot, and amazingly enough, two players call, including one who’s just sat down into the BTN and the short-stacked BB. Two of us are all-in and the flop has a king on it, along with a ten. Tens on the turn and river give me the full house and before I have a chance to count up after my loss, I’m dragging in a big pile of chips.
A couple minutes later on BB and I three-bet an UTG 800 raise to 2,200. He lays down AxJx and I show him my AxAx. Another KxQx on the BTN and I drag another pot with a raise.
In the same round with 8x8x in HJ, I raise to 800 over three limpets, when the guy in CO who just folded AxJx to me shoves for 5,275. I call and he has 7x7x, which don’t get any better. He has to re-buy.
Seventy minutes into the game, the chip average is 11,739 and I’m sitting on T29,775.
UTG1 with KT I raise to 750. UTG2 calls and BTN shoves. I fold, but UTG2 (who was just busted with sevens ten minutes earlier) calls with AxKx and gets two pair on the turn.
In CO with [an][enticing][K♦Q♦, I raise to 1,100 and get a caller, but fold to an all-in bet on the J♠7♠8♠ flop.
I’ve lost some ground halfway through the second hour, but with T27,325 I’m still more than twice the average stack when we get to the first break.
I get the T6,000 add-on. By the time break ends, there are 110 entries, 38 re-buys, and 96 add-ons, for a pot of $9,800 and a first prize of $2,820, with fourteen places paying.
UTG1 with 5♠6♠, I raise to 800 and get one call. The flop is 6x4x3x and UTG3 bets 1,600, but I raise to 3,200 and he folds. T25,725.
On BB with 3x5x I check through with several others to see the flop roll out Kx3x4x. I bet 1,000 and get raised to 2,500, which I call. Another Kx on the turn makes things look very unpromising and after I check my opponent bets and I fold.
Cautiously called a 1,025 raise from JL holding A♥9♦. The flop was Tx5x5x and U folded to the first bet.
In CO with KxJx I raised to 1,100 over a single limp. HJ called and we saw a flop of QxJx6x. I bet 2,000 for the win.
At the two-hour mark, I was still down from my peak, but had T33,550. Average was still at T19,670 with 97 players left.
Ten minutes into the hour, I picked up 7♣7♦ UTG1. UTG called the 400 blind and I raised to 1,800. SB, who was the second-largest stack at the table next to me, three-bet to 3,800 and BB and UTG got out of the way. I called, and the flop was 6♣8♣T♣. SB checked to me. There was a better than 50% chance he didn’t have a club in his hand; I knew where at least four of them were already. Four of the remaining clubs were smaller than mine. So there were only five cards I was concerned about: 9♣, J♣, Q♣, K♣, and A♣. Even if he had one of those cards in his hand, unless he was paired, he was still behind me. He was behind me even if he had a pair of aces and one of them wasn’t a club. So I shoved with my made pair, my straight, flush, and straight flush draws. He showed A♣Q♥. I was a 54%/46% favorite. With J♣ on the turn, though, I was down to needing the 9♣ to keep from losing, but the river was K♣. The hit was for nearly 30,000 chips.
Down at T3,400 with blinds at 300/600/75. Ten minutes after my big loss, I went all-in from BB with J♦T♦, getting a call from the short-stacked BB who just had me covered. He turned over AxAx. I paired my ten on the flop and had two diamonds on the board by the turn, but the river was no help and I was out.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. 90th of 110 players.
Best wishes to my home league host DV, who’s playing in Monday’s World Series of Poker Event #2, a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, for his second shot at WSOP glory. According to a Tweet from poker stats nut Kevin Mathers, there’s going to be a system in place at this year’s WSOP that lets people track chip counts at the breaks from home, so you can follow your friends.
Here’s some info on ChipTic, the service the WSOP will use to attempt to track every player’s chip count: bit.ly/K1ZlHJ
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.