Somehow I missed two whole days, but in the meantime I managed to cash for small amounts several times.

Things didn’t start off well, however, with a $3K guarantee Cake R&A game on Wednesday evening. My biggest pot ever was in a $5 re-buy (in which I did not re-buy) but generally I try to avoid both re-buying and playing in re-buy tournaments. I never managed to get my poker legs, re-bought twice, but even the add-on couldn’t save me.

I entered a $1K turbo tournament at the 75/150 level with 1,500 chips, gained a little ground, then managed to double up with KK. Then I almost lost it all and things were looking grim with less than 1,000 chips at 200/400/40 until I managed to arrest the tailspin and get up over 8K, then settle down to about 5K at 400/800/75. By the 600/1200/120 level I’d been whittled down to 2K when my AJ ran into AQ on my all-in and I went out in 21st place of 181, with 81% ROI.

A $1K turbo 6-max put me out on hand 23 when I called the all-in of a KJ with AK. Naturally, the jack paired on the turn.

A bounty tournament with a $1K guarantee was the last game on Cake in this series. The only bounty I saw was the one I generated, though. Blinds were 75/150 and UTG+1 had limped in. I raised to 550 from UTG+2 with AQ. Action folded back around to UTG+1, who went all-in for 3,875, more than my 2,617. I called and was just a little behind his 55. Two spades hit the board but the pair held up and I was out.

Late Thursday night I moved over to Full Tilt and played the $36K Rush Guarantee which was about 20 minutes in. It’s both re-buy and multi-entry but I didn’t do either and was felted after about half an hour when my KJ came one card short of drawing to a king-high straight to beat a pair of kings.

Last night it was back to Midnight Madness. It was a slow and steady climb without any real setbacks from the starting stack of 1,500. I think the one real mistake I made was my final hand, calling a larger all-in with JT which had served me well earlier in the tournament. With 15K and blinds at only 250/500/50, I could have given up the $1K bet I’d made, then made a deeper run than 560th and better ROI than 23%.

Despite not having had the best of luck playing simultaneous tables in the past, for most of Midnight Madness I was also participating in a $5K guarantee KO game, with a $0.50 bounty for each player. I don’t know if I was less inclined to take fliers of dodgy hands because I had two games going or if I was just playing well or lucky, but I hit the money here as well. This game was a bit less even than Midnight Madness. I did take in six bounties but at one point I lost more than 6K in the space of five hands with AK and AK (picking up 9,400 with AJ over AQ did sort of make up for that). I lost half a 23K stack with QT when my queen paired on the board but so did that of a player with AQ. I managed to get up to 36K by the time the blinds were 500/1,000/125, then lost a chunk when my AT paired the top card on a T58 flop but lost to pocket QQ. Nothing connected after that and it was AJ running into KA that put me out with four hearts on the board—62A Q 2—and a flush for the better hand. 226th place and my bounties was good for an ROI of 184%.

Tomorrow morning is the weekly Irish Open semi-final qualifier. Only about twenty people registered so far and at least three tickets to the monthly final, which is in the early afternoon and will have more than thirty folks chasing a single $7K prize package plus about $3,850 in cash for second through fourth place.

Too Busy

No post yesterday does not mean that there was no poker played. This is what I’ve done since the last post.

Got into a 3FPP Hyper-Turbo Steps Special for an NAPT ticket. You only start off with 500 chips. Second hand in I get KK and call an all in. Two more callers makes it me versus: 9A, 7A, and 99. The board rolls out T2Q J 5 and I’m gone.

$15K 6-max guarantee on Full Tilt and I’m cruising along with a couple hundred above the starting stack of 3K. I’ve got TJ and paired the board with the jack. There’s a Q on the flop. I pushed the first bet and called 500 on the turn which was just a 7. There’s 1,500 in the pot when the K shows on the river and my 120 bet is met with a raise to 1,860. I could call it but fold and the guy shows his 89 for nothing better than a busted nine-high gut-shot straight. Grrrrr. I lose another 1,000 to see the flop with a pair of sevens a little later but the fold’s a good one. I make it back on the next hand but three hands later I push too hard with JQ and I’m down to 5 chips. I manage to make it up to 45 before elimination.

Another 6-max, this time with $8K guarantee. It was actually doing quite well with a QK giving me an ace-high straight on hand 5 and netting a couple thousand chips. Another five hands and J9 turned into a full house, putting me at nearly three times the starting stack. Pairs of tens and queens had me over 11K half an hour into play and in the top 20 chip stacks. Ten minutes later, I was over 13K with KA. I took my hits with the blinds and lost a couple of hands with decent cards but was over 10K when I called a cutoff bet of 566 with 98 from the small blind (100/200, with only five seated at the table and the button calling). Three of us to the flop and I got a straight right away, with T67. First to act, I bet 1,500. Cutoff had me covered by about 4K and called, with the button folding. 7 shows on the turn; I’ve got a flush draw in addition to my straight and I bet 1,600 but I should really have pushed. The cutoff calls. Then 7 shows on the river. I check and my heart sinks when the cutoff bets 4K. I call, he’s got the T for a full house, and I’m down to 2,360, which goes all-in on the next hand with AQ and loses.

The midnight game yesterday morning had 2,200 players and $4,400 in guarantees. I was in the big blind for 40 chips (out of 2,000 to start) on hand 7. The hijack—who was up 1,200 chips—bet 80 after action folded to him. The cutoff folded. The button raised to 160 and the small blind three-bet to 240. I called with my TT. Hijack called. Button went all-in for 1,790. Ten things got real crazy when the small blind called. I called, leaving 260 behind. Hijack got out, probably wondering what the hell was going on. The flop was 748 which meant nothing to me. The small blind put out a bet large enough to get me al-in to call. In for 1,790, in for another 260  I always say. The turn was the T. After a 3 showed on the river, I saw that I was up against QQ (button) and AA (big blind]. I tripled up but a couple of subsequent losses brought be down to 687 a dozen hands later. An hour into the tournament, I’d managed to built back up to 7K. Blinds were at 350/700/85 and a stack half my size made an all-in move. I had AJ and called but the cutoff—with a stack twice my size went in for enough to put me all-in. I called and was fine against the smaller stack’s A3 but seriously in trouble with the big stack’s JJ. Nothing bigger than a nine showed on the board and I was out 50 places short of the money.

The first of my attempts at yesterday’s Irish Open quarter-finals had a slow start but a third of the way in a pair of sevens miscalculated against my AJ. The turn and river put three nines on the board giving him a full house, but the J on the flop gave me a better one and I doubled up from the starting stack of 2K. A6 in my hand earned another 2.5K with a flush just past the first hour of play. Then a pocket pair of sevens worked in my favor with a 7 on the flop and I was up to 8K and the chip lead shortly thereafter.

There were enough players in the tournament that there were three tickets to the semi-finals as well as cash prizes for the next four spots. I managed to stay in contention for the tickets until a little past the 90-minute mark (125/250/20) when I raised to 625 with TT from the hijack position and was met with an all-in for a little less than I had from the big blind. I should have been thinking “position maintenance” but called instead to see AQ, leaving me with 350 behind. An A  on the turn mostly sealed my fate.

I say “mostly” because I’m never one to say give up and die at the poker table. I doubled up with JK four hands later and did it again three hands after that with JQ (where were these cards when I needed them before?) Eight hands after my lowest point of 290 chips I had increased that by more than 1,100% to 3,645 and I was in contention for fourth place out of seven remaining players (the top three stacks were between 10.6K and 16.4K).

I played fairly tight from here on out, never managing to get above 5K but never falling below 3K. I took out one player with a small number of ships, another player fell victim to the blinds, and the last of the other small stacks tried to make a move with Q4 and was beat by king high. My own move came with an A8 that I tried to rep a flush to a big stack with on a 52K 4 7 board, but since he had 2K and four times more chips than I had, that didn’t work too well. I got my buy-in and another $8.50.

Mutant Catsino

The Catsino was up and operating last night for the 17th regular game of our home league, although turnout was light. It was not operating well for myself or K, the POY leaders going into the night. I bled chips left and right, having to rebuy fairly early (only once, though). K rebought a bit later. I only made it to round 7 when I went up against W, who was short on chips, thinking he was trying to make a move. I only had A6o but thought I had him. I was right, too, until his A4o caught a 4 on the river and I was down to just a few hundred chips. He took those soon enough. K went out in the next round. I’m still point leader but I do mean point leader because it’s only by one. D’s almost caught up to me (although he had me tied a couple months back and I managed to pull away again) and he’s moved back ahead of Kent.

We were talking before the game began about the WSOP schedule, because the agreement is that the POY goes to play in one of the $1K events at this year’s series. Apparently it was released yesterday afternoon, so now we need to finalize the league schedule and final date. The first of the possible events is 4 June.

After I got the Catsino operation put away, I entered the 11PM Irish Open quarter-final. These late contests are a little harder because there aren’t as many entrants—particularly on Cake Poker—so they either get cancelled or there’s only one ticket.

I suffered an early setback when my K2 was out-kicked on a juicy 8K877 board by K9. I worked my way back up to the starting stack and then to 2,400 within about 10 minutes.

By the 75-minute mark—about 130 hands in—I’d made it to 10,000 chips, playing very conservatively. We were already down to four players and I was the chip leader, with the other three at 7,300, 4,100, and 600, and blinds at 75/150. Despite my best efforts and a couple of premium hands (particularly so for short-handed play) I lost a couple of pots and slipped to second place. Then one of the smaller stacks took a big chunk out of the top man and I was back on the throne. The same player shortly eliminated the other short stack and had about as many chips as I did.

I managed to keep myself over about 7K through the 90-minute mark (hand 170), although I was back in second place. I was on the button when I picked up KK and raised to 1,000 (with blinds at 100/200). The small blind (with the smallest stack) folded and I got a call from the big blind. The flop was JKQ and the big blind was first to act with a bet of 1,000. An AT or even T9 had me, but I re-raised to 4,000 and got a call. The turn card was 6. The big blind’s bet of 400 was pretty inconsequential compared to the 10,100 in the pot already, so I called. The 6 on the river put me in mind of the hand that beat my straight in the $8K game, but I’m the one with the full house this time. My last 1,865 go in and he folds.

I’m up to 12.565 chips, with the other players at 5,545 and 3,590. Five hands later and I’ve eliminated the small stack and I’m sitting on 17K. The remaining player and I are swapping blinds and making test bets. No time to be complacent; there’s almost nothing in the prize pool beyond the ticket for the first-place finisher.

I suffer a setback with A5 when it runs into 66. I call his all-in, hoping to take him out after 25 hands of heads-up, but all I get is a pair of nines on and a busted wheel draw on the board, so now he’s the chip leader by almost 2K.

At one point he has a lead of nearly 3,000 but a lucky river draw of a queen gives me queens and twos to beat his pair of sixes on hand 218, bringing me back within 1K of his stack. I’m back in the lead (by 130 chips) on hand 223, then he’s on top the next hand. Hand 229 drops JJ on me, with the button. I call the big blind and he pushes to 11,040. That’s got me covered by 120, less than a small blind. When I call he flips over 88. A J is the first card on the flop, and while there’s three hearts and a KA, too, it’s all mine. 21,880.

The next hand puts him all-in for the ante and small blind. I mate a T and he does a 2 but that’s the end of it. The semi-final is Sunday morning, followed by the Final (for those who make it).

Tomer reports that he busted out of Day 1 of EPT Deauxville earlier today.

Min Cash

A busy day (for me) at the virtual tables yesterday.

I started off in a morning turbo game that had over $34K in guarantees. I took a big hit on hand 7 laying down QQ after an ace and a king showed on the flop and turn respectively and a doubled-up stack bet big. I only lasted five more hands.

Didn’t do much better in the $5K guarantee I entered next after calling a short-stack’s all-in with QK halved me. It was a coin toss but I never recovered.

Entered a couple of freerolls without getting very far; ditto with a couple more EPT Steps Special tournaments. The last of those was extra-short. With 200 of 1,000 chips in pre-flop and QQ in my hand, I bet 300 on a flop of 796 and the only caller goes all-in. I call and he’s got TA and a 28% chance of winning, which he does when 8 shows up on the turn giving him a straight. An 8 on the river rubs it in just a little more.

I went 71 minutes into another $6K guarantee but only made it about halfway through the field of 2,100.

My singular win of the day was in a $9.5K guarantee. I made it to 71st place for an ROI of 136%. So that was nice. It’s three cashes in tournaments between 1,100 and 2,500 players in three weeks. Not big money but not big buy-ins, either.


Poker is a game (like most others) where you can literally derive pleasure from the plight of others, specifically by taking their chips away from them. It has the capacity to bring about gleefully vicious comments even by people not involved in the current action In part that’s because any large stack that gets broken down or even a small stack that busts out tends to benefit the rest of the players by making a big stack less dangerous or simply moving people up the ladder to money.

Late last night I experienced a rather large dose of schadenfreude myself in a 6-max $2K guarantee tournament. I entered late, in Level V at 30/60 and was somewhat startlingly seated next to a player using the name of a company I’d once run. By my 19th hand that player was gone and replaced. The guy two seats behind me in action—who’d been raising everyone off  with a pot-sized bet practically—was up to 19K, and I was down to 1,000 chips, a third of my starting stack. The other four players at the table were between 1,600 and 2,000 chips.

I picked up QJ in the cutoff position as action folded around to me. There wasn’t much time left before I didn’t have any breathing space at all so I put out a 400 chip bet into a pot of only 120. The button called, as did the big stack who was in the small blind. Three players to a flop of 2JK. The big stack checked and I shoved my remaining 633 chips into the pot. Both the other players folded and I was back up to 1,913.

That seemed to be a turning point for the big stack in everyone’s mind, though. He still had nine time more chips than anyone else at the table but our inevitable demise was now evitable. Everyone played the next hand but me. The flop of 72T was checked around to the big stack on the button who remained true to form and bet 320. The UTG player went all-in for 1,520 and got called by the big stack. T8 for UTG game him top pair and 7Q gave the big stack middle pair with an over card. The T showed up on the river to make trip tens and the big stack was down for the second hand in a row.

The next hand played out in a similar fashion. Big stack made a big bet pre-flop from the cutoff. There were a couple of callers (big blind and UTG+1, on either side of me). Flop is an innocuous 84T, big blind bets 880 after a check, UTG+1 calls. On the river UTG+1 goes all-in and gets a call. It’s A[a7] (big stack) against A4 but the small stack has taken another chunk out of the monster, who’s now down to a little over 15K. Still a lot more than any of the rest of us but blood is in the water.

My turn in the big blind with T9. The big stack’s holding back a little bit this time, only betting 240 but I call him and get a beautiful straight completion on the flop KJQ. I coyly check, he bets 1,120, and I’m all-in for 1,673, which gets a call. He’s got 8Q and about a 4% chance of winning if he makes a full house or four queens but the 5 on the turn seals that off. He’s down to 13.4K.

He must have been getting frustrated because in UTG position on the next hand (blinds now at 50/100/10) he launches his whole stack on to the table for an all-in. But he gets a call from the button and when the cards flip the button’s holding AJ against the big stack’s Q6. There’s a bit of tension on the Q88 flop, but an A on the turn gives the win to the small stack. Since the button already doubled up against the big stack once, the pot’s over 6K. In four hands, the giant has been reduced from more than 18K to a bit over 10K.

Rather than reassess, he tries it again. The most recent receiver of the big stack’s largesse and I both limp into the pot. The not-so-big stack blasts everything in as the big blind. The player to my right calls by going all-in and I drop out. Big stack has A8, the caller has JK. K rolls out on the flop with a J following on the turn and the two pair take it. It leaves the “big” stack with 3,926 chips, which is exactly 230 chips more than I have.

Yet another player halves him on the next hand. Then, with everyone limping in ahead of him, he shoves yet again, though it’s with an anaemic 1,976 chips. Three of us (me and the two players on either side of me) call. I’ve got 66 but the flop is J4A. Not much for me there. The first player to act bets 1,700, more than I have left. I call all-in, hoping for a six to show. The other caller in the cutoff is all-in as well.

When the other cards flip it’s QQ for the former big stack, A8 for the new big stack, and QJ for the cutoff. The all-ins are hoping for trip completions, but 2 7 on the turn and river don’t do it and nobody has even a diamond, much less a flush draw.

So, I went out on the same round as the buy who went from 18.5K to out in seven hands, despite having 69% of the chips at the table and a 9:1 lead over an of his opponents. But I suspect I was laughing more.

Is It A Bluff?

Got into a late-night/early-morning 6-max turbo tournament a few levels in at 50/100, which put me at just 10 big blinds to start. There were only about 400 players left out of 500 starters, and more than $5,170 in the prize pool. 54 places paid.

I was lucky with my first hand (AT), picking up the blinds with a min raise, then a showdown against an all-in on my first small blind (A7 v. 4A) gave me a pot of over 1,900  when my seven paired on the flop.

Calling another small all-in from the big blind a little later got me a spade flush (I’m not sure I needed anything that strong to beat 5Q), then I picked up AA on the next hand as the big blind eventually going all-in to take a pot of over 9K, mostly from the small blind who had 98.

Three rounds later, with blinds at 200/400/50, I raised to 1,200 from the small blind with 65 and the big blind went all-in for more than my stack of 7,140. It seemed like he’d been using that trick an awful lot so I called and he turned over 9J. The flop of K4T looked rather grim, but A and 2 put me up to 14,480 and third place in the chip ranks at the time (which eventually paid $569).

I sat through another twenty hands without much action, maintaining my stack between 16K and 17K but slowly slipping in the rankings. The blinds had just gone through and I was sitting with the button when I picked up Q9 and I miscalculated my chances. Action folded to me and I min-raised. The small blind (a different player than earlier) shoved his 7.5K in and the big blind folded. I had the bet more covered by more than double and called. He flipped an A7, the board showed two more hearts, but it was the A on the river that sealed the deal.

Still, I was in the running. There were only 65 players left, we were just a dozen spots away from the money, and I still had nearly 9K in chips. Still, the blinds were 400/800/75, so that only left me with 11BB. It was shoving time. I was dealt 2K and decided to test the water with a call from the cutoff after the action folded to me. The guy on the button with all of my former chips went all-in for more than 16K and the blinds crumbled. Did he have a good hand again or was he just using all those chips to squash people? I guessed “squash” and called. I was wrong. His hand was even better than the last one: KA. I had one live card and it was a deuce. Or maybe a heart flush. Amazingly enough, I was only at a 4:1 disadvantage to start. Again, an A was the nail in my coffin—this time on the turn—and I was out at 63rd. My nemesis took his 27K and went on to the final table, winning $113.