Won my first tournament of the year today (well, chopped it, anyway).
It was a low-stakes freeroll, I bought the optional add-on at registration, so I’d started off with T4,000 about forty minutes into the game and blinds at 100/200. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many suited connectors and one-gappers in my life, and I played a few without getting anywhere, then managed to back into two flushes that netted me large numbers of chips. By the break, I had more than T18,000 and didn’t bother to do he add-on.
The pivotal hand for me came while we were still at two tables, with about a dozen players. A young player with a big stack was moved over and he shoved over my mid-position raise. I had [7x 7x], and thought he was shoving with [ax kx] (a common mistake, for me), but he turned over the pair: [ax ax]. He had my T26,000 covered, so I more than doubled when a straight landed on the river.
In situations like this, there’s always muttering about “two-outers”, but the reality is different. Against mid-range pair,s aces have about a 20% chance of being cracked, heads-up. With five cards to come, the simpler calculations of odds for post-flop odds are useless, and it’s much smarter to take the line that while an 80% hand is very strong, it’s still got a decent chance of losing.
My last hand of the 2012 WSOP (maybe my last hand of any WSOP) went pretty much the way of the rest of my time here in Las Vegas the past couple weeks.
I was in the third level of the 2pm Deepstack tournament. They’ve been huge, but today’s was particularly large; we’re near the Main Event, the final table of the One Million for One Drop benefit was playing out, and there weren’t any smaller buy-in bracelet events starting today, just a $10,000 6-Handed NLHE event and a $3,000 PLO8, both of which sound like a lot of fun but which are a little out of the range of most players. So the field in the Deepstack was 1,711 today, with a prize pool of $333,645, 198 places paid, and a top prizer on the schedule of $61,796 (I was on a table with a guy the other night who said he was in a 16-way chop at the end of one of them last weekend, with each player taking home over $10,000 on a $235 investment). Overflow from the Derepstack led to tables being set up in hallways a few hundred feet from the tournament area, practically up at the registration area of the Rio.
I’ve been up and a little down in the tournament. Currently, I was down to between 10,000 and 11,000 chips, with blinds at just 100/200, so I have 50 big blinds. Our table has just four of its original players remaining (including myself). There are three New York/New Jersey guys in seats 1, 3, and 4. There’s a woman in seat 2. All are what I think of as “older” but they’re probably only ten or fifteen years older than me. All of them seem to be pretty competent and have won good-sized pots. The guy in seat 1 just won an enormous pot that took out three players a few minutes earlier. I’m in seat 6.
Seat 5 is a South American guy who sat down for his first hand, made a raise UTG, then folded it after four all-ins, which is what led to the three open seats. Seats 7 and 9 are occupied by a couple of younger European guys who showed up after the all-ins. Seat 7 has proven aggresive and already managed to lose some chips to Seat 1 after winning a pot or two.
Anyway, the button is on me, and I pick up [kc ks]. The blinds are on the Euroguys (I saw the funniest Euroguy at the Venetian the other day: he had sort of shaved-side head with a peroxide mop thing on top, and a white ski jacket with a neck that made him look like he was wearing a brace or some sort of medieval gorget). Seat 1 raises to 450 and gets 2 callers, I don’t remember who, exactly. I re-raise to 2,100 with my kings. The blinds are out. Seat 1 three-bets to 4,500 and the other callers go away.
I’m pretty certain at this point that I’m up against aces. It’s going to cost me just less than half my stack to see if I can hit a set on the flop and make life difficult for him. There’s 7,800 in the pot, I need to call 2,400. 3.25:1. I can recover from 6,500.
The flop puts out three spades, none of them the ace, none of them face cards. Seat 1 goes all-in and, having just taken out three players plus other winnings, he’s got me well-covered. There’s now 16,700 in the pot. 2.5:1 to call.
If he’s got aces—and I’m pretty sure he does—there’s a 50% chance that he doesn’t have [as]. If he doesn’t, I’m still behind, but have a lot of outs to make my flush; even [as] would be dead to him unless the board paired. If he does have [as], then I’m drawing incredibly thin, hoping for [kh] or [kd] and no more spades.
Is he bluffing me? Or is he sucking me in?
Sucking in, as it turned out. He had me beat before the fourth (and fifth) spade turned over on the board. No straight flush, unfortunately.
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 [ax 8x], 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 [2x 2x] 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 [qx 9x] but folded to an all-in war that ended up with [kx kx] drawing a set against [ax ax]. T7,500 now.
UTG again with [8d td] and I check-called a 300 raise. Flop of [ax 4x 5x] and I was out of there. Forty-five minutes in: T7,050.
[qx tx] as CO and I called a big pre-flop raise but folded to an all-in after a flop of [jx tx 8x] 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 [ah kh], I raised to 2,000 and was re-raised all-in. I called against [as ts] 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 [qx 7x 2x] and I bet 1,000 to take the pot. Back over starting: T11,275.
Raised UTG with [jx tx] to 500 getting two calls half-an-hour later. The flop was a beautiful [kx qx 9x] 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 [ax kx]. My straight held.
[tx 4x] in BB ten minutes later and I see the flop of [qx tx 4x]. 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 [8x 2x] I call to see [4x 2x 2x] 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 [9x 8x] after calling 800 pre-flop. The board is [qx jx 8x] 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 [ax 8x], then taking a pot atay from several callers with a post-flop raise with [qx jx] on a jack-high flop that put me up to T41,625.
In SB with [3s 4s] I called a raise to 1,700 from BB. The [qx 2x 5x] gave me an open-ended straight draw and I bet 2,000 into it. BB tossed his cards and said he had [ax jx]. 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 [8x 8x] 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 [tx tx]. 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 [6x 6c] and laid in wait to see a flop of [6x 4x 2x]. 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 [3x 5x], 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 [kx kx]. 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 [qx jx tx] flop. What premium hand isn’t beating me here? [ax kx] has the straight and my only hope against it is some sort of backdoor full house (or another ace to chop). [qx qx] [jx jx], or [tx tx] 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 [8x 9x] 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 [qs tc] over two calls, the flop is [ks ts 8s]. I try to get another spade but I’m lucky and don’t, losing to [as tx].
Coming up on the end of the fourth hour of play as SB with [2x 2x] and I call an all-in of 4,700. He has [qx tx] and hits two pair on the flop. I start the next hour down to T50,600 with the chip average at T33,000.
With [ax ax] in CO I raise to 8,000 and get a call. The flop is [9x 6x 4x] and I’m all-in over a raise, getting a call from [jx jx] for a win.
In UTG1, I call 4,600 with [9c tc]. The flop is [7x 9x Jx] 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 [2h 3h] and take the blinds and antes.
UTG1 again. I call 3,600 with [qs 9s] and fold to UTG’s 10,000 bet after the [kx 8x 5x] bet.
In my SB, I raise to 11,000 with [jc qs]. BB calls and the flop is [kx jx 9x] This time it’s me who throws the 10,000 continuation and the guy to my left folds.
Raised 7,000 with [qx jx] and called an all-in who showed [ax kx]. 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 [qx tx] beating a nominally better hand on a [8x tx 8x] flop and bringing in 20,000.
Raised 10,000 a couple minutes later with [6x 6x] and lost to an all-in. Back down to T54000 by five hours and thirty minutes, with 28 players left.
I shoved with [kx kx] 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 [ax 9x] over two calls and managed to win a pot that put me up to T40,600. Then, on my BB with [tx tx] I shoved over three calls and took another one down. Right after that I raised UTG with [jx tx] 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 [kx qx] 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 [kx 9x 2x] and I bet into it, hoping that nobody had [ax kx]. 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 [jx tx] to make the straight. The small stack had [qx tx]. 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 [jd 9d], getting several calls. The flop was a perfect [tx 8x 7x] 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 [jx tx], 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 [qc 3c] against UTG’s [ax jx]. and was down to T18,925 at fifteen minutes in. Missed an opportunity by folding [tx 3x] in SB when I didn’t call the 25 extra and the flop was [tx 7x 3x].
Raised to 225 with [kx qx] in CO, go two calls, then got a flop of [2x 3x 4x]. 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 [4s 6s] and got one call. Bet 500 after the [8x 7x 4x] flop and took it down.
A couple hands later I called 350 in a 3-way hand with [qd 5d] in BB but had to fold after whiffing the flop.
SB on the next hand with [kc jc] and three limpers. I raised to 55o and won. A couple hands later as CO I raised to 250 with [ax 3x] 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 [8s 4s], 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 [2x 3x], but missed on the river and had to fold to a bet, losing 800 chips in the encounter.
Opened to 575 with [8h 9h] and got two calls. The flop was [td 6d 3d], 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 [tc 6x] on BTN and saw a [tx 7x 2x] 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 [ah qd] and three-bet from 1,200 to 3,000. SB called and the flop hit as [8x 7x 8x]. I folded to a bet of 4,000. That cut me down to T9,300 eighty minutes into the game.
Raised UTG2 with [jx tx] 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 [jd 9d] again and I raised to 600 to see a flop heads-up: [kx 4x 5x]. We checked to the turn, he bet 700, I folded, and he flipped [kx tx]. No need.
In HJ, called an 800 raise in a three-way hand with [3c 4c]. Flop was [ax 5x tx] 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 [ks ts]. 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 [ks qs] (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 [qc 6c] as SB and I bought the barest of fingernails on a [jx 8x 6x] flop. I bet 800 and got two calls then folded to a turn bet. [jx 5x] made the best hand by catching the low end of a nine-high straight on the river.
Raised with [kd 9d] and got a call. The flop was [ax 9x 6x] 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 [jc tc] to see a flop of [as qs jx]. Everyone checked. [5s] 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 [kx 6x] and got called by a shorter stack. The flop was [kx tx 9x] 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 [kx tx] 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 [jx jx] 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 [ad 8d] when an all-in came after me.
Pulled another fast one with [ad td] when I raised to 2,700, got two calls, and saw a flop of [7x jx 7x]. My shove won.
Moved again after just twenty minutes.
UTG with [qh ts] and I called a raise of 2,500 to of heads-up to a flop of [as 5s js]. 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 [ax qx] but got called by a smaller stack holding [jh 9h]. 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 [jx tx] my all-in was called by [kx jx] and I was out.
Three hours and fifty minutes. 44th of 99 players.
Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Sit-n-Go Satellite (2,500 chips)
Two places in this satellite paid. I managed to lose some chips then come roaring back, really in the thick of it with three left, only to push at the wrong moment and get whacked by the biggest stack who knocked me out of the money.
Sixty minutes. 3rd of 10 entries.
Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
My first-ever losing session playing limit Omaha 8, although it was just a small loss. One of the players I know from the late Deuces who’s now at The Final Table was racking up the chips, and I managed to recover from a couple of early losses to over half again my buy-in, then got snockered down to less than 40% of my original stack. Pulled it out before people adjourned to play the tournament, though, so I was down just half a small blind when I cashed out.
Sixty minutes. -1/2BB.
Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Event #1 (10,000 chips)
Built up steadily through the first session of the tournament, picking up nearly 6,000 chips by the first break. Then a call against a shorter stack cost me more than half my chips, dropping me down to 7,175.
I kept looking for whatever edges I could find and managed to climb back up over the starting stack, to 12,525, lost a couple of hands, then picked up [7x 7x] and managed to get called all-in after I’d hit a middle set on the flop That pushed me back into healthy territory at 18,750.
Naturally, when the player I’d doubled against shoved a couple of hands later and I was holding [ax kx], I called. He flipped over [jx jx] and it was a race as far as the flop which had a jack on it. It was nothing you’d even think of calling a race when he made quads on the river.
When the third session began at 300/600/75, I was sitting on only 12,200. I called 2,500 with a high-suited ace and got a flop that was uncool, then watched my stack string to 7,200 (only 9 big blinds at 400/800/100). After paying my small blind on that round, I was down to a meagre 5,600 chips.
The player in seat 1 was fairly tight, and I went all-in with [kx qx] following him, hoping for jacks or tens. What he had was [ax ax]. But the flop put out two more queens, and the river sealed the deal with a king. He got to spin the Wheel of Misfortune. I still only had 10,300 chips, he got off cheap.
The blinds came around again, at 600/1,200/150, and I had just 6,300 after paying the small blind. Five big blinds and a couple antes. Then something miraculous happened and I managed to double up twice. Suddenly I was sitting on 45,000 chips.
According to the tournament clock (which wasn’t updated as often as you might like) there were 180 players (33% of the original field) left at the dinner break. I had nearly 50,000 chips, about 40% more than the chip average, although one of the players who’d been moved to our table had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000.
I doubled up again with [8x 8x] when I shoved on a pot with a bunch of chips in it already call behind me. He had [qx qx] but one of the players who’d been in the pot and folded said he’d had pocket queens as well. Then the board rolled out quad eights for me.
On my next hand I had [ax ax] and went over the top of a smaller all-in. This time, it was my turn to go to the Wheel, when quad tens rolled out. That was relatively cheap, as well.
Certainly, it was much cheaper than the next hand, where I raised with [as js] and called a re-raise from the table leader. I made top pair with a jack on the flop and I should have tried to shut it down right there, but a [kx] on the turn and a bad decision cost me another 9,000 when she turned over [ax kx]. Still, I had 54,000 chips.
That didn’t last long though. I lost another 9,700 in a three-way all-in call with [kx jx] against [kx kx]. The board needed a queen to make my straight, but instead, I was down to 47,000. Then I lost another big hand with [ax jx] vs. [ax kx].
18,600 chips. I shoved with [ax 9x] from HJ and took down the blinds and antes to put me up to 23,800.
I had [7x 4x] in SB. There was an extremely short stack in BB. BTN called and I figured I’d see the flop for 1,500. I made bottom two pair on the flop and shoved as first to act. That put me up to 27,400.
I had 30,000 at the first break after dinner, once the 100 chips had been raced off. Blinds were headers into the 2,000/4,000/500 range, so I was still in severe territory. Only 90 players were left; we were still forty-odd places away from the money.
My last hand was the second after the break, right on the eight o’clock hour. Seat 1 shoved for more than I had. I was hoping he was going with [ax kx] or something of the sort; I shoved my stack in with [8x 8x] but he turned over [jx jx]. This time the over pair held against the eight onslaught.
This event wasn’t the biggest buy-in I played in, by far, but it’s the largest live event I’ve played so far. Disappointed not to have made the money—here or in the satellite—but I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ll leave that until after the weekend.
I’ve been through a recent drought of pocket pairs, but the skies broke yesterday and rained them down on me to both good and bad effect. I started the day off at PPC and was sat at table 2, seat 4, a couple places to the right of DL. I struggled for a bit, then busted and re-bought, while DL began to amass a goodly stack of chips, over 20,000 by the first break. Seat 2 had a player I’d been up against once before who seemed to have been having some recent success at PPC; seat 9 was a tight player who kept exclaiming over the hands he’d laid down when he saw what people were raising (and winning) with.
The re-buy and add-on gave me a little breathing room, and then the cards started coming. I took a couple big chunks out of DL‘s stack, almost knocked out seat 2, and was stealing a lot of chips off the table. DL then lost the last of his pink 1,000 chips to me in a pot that had over 30,000 chips in it.
A PPC regular who can’t seem to hold his legs still—except for when he’s heads-up waiting for the cards to drop—was moved in-between DL and myself and started pushing all-in on my raises. We eventually got to a hand where I had [9s 7s] and hit my flush on the turn. The board paired on the river making a couple of likely full houses, though, and I raised big. He folded his [js 8s] face up and said he couldn’t call. I flipped over my lower flush and he seemed to tilt a bit. I picked off his chips shortly thereafter.
One hundred minutes in, I was sitting pretty on over 50,000 chips, more than a fifth of the chips in play, with about 14 players left. Seat 8 went all-in after a raise from my [ax ax], naturally I called, he flipped over [kx kx] and then hit a king on the flop. A much bigger axe hit my stack because of a stupid call on my part with [kc jc]. The tight player in seat 9 shoved with 15,000 chips and I called. He showed aces. A club on the river would have made me a flush and probably unleashed a torrent of invective, but it was a bad risk on my part and I could have held onto the chip lead if I’d given it some more thought.
It was downhill after that, with my stack back in the average territory. Don’t even remember the hand I went out on.
Three hours. -100% ROI. 10th of 29 players.
2011/12 Puffmammy Poker Tour Event #16
This game got off to a very wacky start, not just for me. WA was dealing the first hand to me UTG and it was [ax ax]. Naturally, I raised. A couple folks came along, including DV. I eventually walked DV alone down to the river for close to half his stack. An ace hit the board, he had two pair, but my set crushed him.
On WA‘s next deal, he gave me aces again. Again, I got some significant chippage out of it. Not, however, anything close to the kind of windfall KB made. He felted both DV and WA in record time, and proceeded to begin the building of a chip wall.
Meanwhile, I picked up queens, I picked up nines, then queens again. KB busted three of the four players who re-bought; I busted the other. Then he took out four permanently while I took out two. I made one incredibly lucky boneheaded move with [tc 8c] and shoved all-in when I thought there were two clubs on the board. When I was called and we flipped for the showdown, people were scratching their heads since I didn’t have a pair and one of the “clubs” was a spade. Fortunately, I got running clubs on the turn and river to make the flush.
For most of the match, it looked like KB had an insurmountable chip lead. But even though he’d performed most of the knockouts, I’d been doing a lot of damage to players that set them up for those knockouts. When we got to heads-up play three hours into the game, it wasn’t as lop-sided as it might have looked half an hour earlier. With 25,000 chips in play and blinds still at 150/300/25, it looked like we might be in for a long night of it.
As always, luck and stupid mistakes are everything in poker. Early on, I picked up another pair of queens and was prepared to raise the heck out of the pot post-flop if it didn’t have anything scary. It was far from scary, it was: [qx qx 7x]. Then KB decided to push me around and went all-in. I called and flipped my quads over. It wasn’t enough to knock him out, but he was hurting. I played it very cautious, dropping a lot of chips back into his hands against his all-ins. One call I did make with [kx tx], he showed [qx jx]. I made two pair but a nine on the river made his straight. Eventually, though, another queen took him down.
Three hours and fifteen minutes. +343% ROI. First of 8 players.
Aces Players Club Shootout
I went by Aces intending to play the 10pm game but half-an-hour past starting time I was the first person to show up for it. That isn’t the Aces I remember. There was a final table finishing up for what must have been the six o’clock game. No tables for the eight (unless that was the eight’s final), and a single shootout table. Against my better judgment, I got into the shootout. Had a [js 2s] early on and raised with it, got a couple calls, had a gut-shot straight draw and folded to a big raise from he other end of the table. Then the straight came through and the guy who’d raised took it in with another jack. My last hand, I had [7x 7x] and the flop was [qx 6x 5x] I raised big, got re-raised, and went all-in. He showed [jx jx] and I was out.
Even though I was starting to feel the effects of a cold, I felt like I needed to pop up out of the hole for a game before this weekend’s big $25K tournament, so I headed over for the morning action at PPC.
Early on, I picked up [js 7s] in late middle position. A bunch of players had limped in for what I believe was still just 50, and I popped it up to 225, getting a couple callers but dropping most of the field. The flop was a tantalizing [jh 7h 4x] and I bet into it, followed by the player on my immediate left. Another heart on the turn slowed both of us down, but I made a large bet on the river and got a call, thinking I was probably beat, but he showed [ax ax] and my two pair was good. The guy in seat nine—who’d been in the hand through the flop—was indignant, decrying my pre-flop raise with “junk.” I tried not to laugh, out of respect for the guy who’d just lost 1,500+ chips next to me and tried to point out the straight possibilities, the flush, etc., but he seemed to be more upset than the guy who’d had his aces cracked. I got moved to an expansion table not long after that. UPDATE: Suited jack-seven wins or ties 14.8% of the time in a 9-handed showdown; it’s the 51st-best hand with nine players. The 50th-best hand is a pair of sevens; it wins or ties 15.1%. Your chances of winning in a nine-handed showdown with suited jack-seven are better than with any pair of sixes or lower. Of course I’m going to raise with it. I’d raise with a pair of sevens.
I did pretty well at the new table, knocking out one tight player with a full house over another full house. The I had just [8x tx], the board ran out [8x 3x 2x], then put another [3x] on the turn. The tight player had [2x 2x] in his hand and hit his house on there, but he didn’t go all in until the [8x] on the river and I think he missed the possibility he was counterfeited by any eight or trey.
I got cut down a bit in a race before we were moved back to my original table, where I was seated on the left of the player whose aces I’d cracked earlier, with DL on his right and the tight player on DL’s right. My last hand was [kx jx]. I tried to make a move, the tight player pushed, and if I’d given it some more thought I would have folded, knowing the hands he’d been playing, but I hoped I might have a couple over cards. No luck: [as ks]. I was a card away from a straight by the river but I was still away.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 13th of 28 players.
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 [ks ts] against [8h kd] and [qd ac]. A [7h jh 8d] flop made most of my straight draw but meant I wanted it kept low. [td] for the turn put me in the lead but made the upper straight draw very bad. The river was [qh] 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 [kc th] against my nemesis (see above) [qd as]. 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 ([as] showing) and a call ([kc]) ahead of me, I had [jc 8s] down and [8d] showing. Two of the other jacks were showing. [js] called after me, and four of us made it to fourth street. Showing there was [js 6s], [as 2s], [kc 6d], and [8d 2h] 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 [2c] on fifth street, I got [3c], and the jack got [7d]. The ace’s bet of 200 blew off the jack and we were heads up for the main pot. The final showdown was my [jc 8c 8d 2h 3c 2d ac] against [tc 4c as 2s 2c 9s 7s] 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 [4s 8s] 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 [as 6s]. I was good until the river when my second pair ([8h]) 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 [ax ax], the fact that SH put his stack at risk for the blinds with [ax 4x] 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.
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 [jx tx] and the older gentleman on my right had something he liked. The flop was [jx 7x 7x] 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.
My PPC player’s card was full of stamp so I had a free entry into the club for my first live tournament of the month (I played an online HORSE freeroll on Carbon earlier in the morning). Did well at first then ran into a bit of difficulty and busted out well short of the first break. I broke the rebuy rule (again), then caught some wind, with both good cards and some judicious play. I turned my 6,000 rebuy stack into 21,000 by the break, more than twice the chip average, and probably a little above the other stacks at the table.
Solidly into the next level, I was between 30,000 and 40,000 chips when I picked up [ax ax] and raised from early position, getting several callers. The [as] showed on the flop, and another player and I were eventually heads-up, with him at risk with a spade flush draw against my made set. The board didn’t pair and he pulled his spade out on the river, which cut me down to about 15,000 as we were getting close to the end of the 400/800 blind level. A short while later, I was trying to double through the same player with an open-ended straight draw against his pair of aces but his pair held (he did lose a hand in-between to someone else when he had [as] and was drawing to another flush).
I need to go back to my “no rebuy” rule.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 11th of 25 players.
Aces Players Club Wednesday Freezeout (6,000 chips)
I didn’t manage to get to the game until level three had already started, and I was out 700 chips from blinds. Not an auspicious beginning, but nowhere near as bad as when I pulled [ax kx] v [ax ax] in the hand of the player on my immediate left. A little later, just short of the break and chance to add-on, [ax kx] proved to be my downfall again, when he called my all-in push on an un-coordinated king-high board with [kx tx].