Ill-Timed

I keep going back to The Final Table despite the fact that the only time I’ve ever cashed there was in the Santa Bounty game last Christmas. My ITM there is truly horrible, unless you limit it to events with 50 or more players, and then my rate’s pretty much the same as it is anywhere else in town with 50 or more players. The only event I cashed in there, I made it to the final table of 131 players. These two games show a screw-up and just plain bad luck.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee (T7,000)

Started off with the extra T1,000 because I signed up on-time. Picked up KT UTG with a flush draw on the flop of A2A and hit my flush with 5 on the turn but it made a full house for my opponent who called with Ax5x.

Made a least flush on the flop with A3 and took down a T3,000 pot about twenty minutes into the game, then went up against KxQx with KxTx and top pair on the flop. We both drew down to four spades on the board, which kept the pot smaller since neither of us had one. I was holding T8,350 after that hand.

9T and I made a jack-high straight on the turn. I bet 650 and shoved over a re-raise to felt a player half-an-hour in. T12,150 and I got moved to a newly-opened table.

Forty minutes into the game, I called 1,600 early with JxTx. Two pair on the flop and a full house on the river and I tripled up against two all-ins. Then I lost T6,000 almost immediately as SB drawing for a flush with 35. QxTx made a full house on the turn. Three-quarters of an hour into the game and I was still sitting on T28,125, with the chip average at just T7,655.

Kicked myself a bit for folding Jx6x when I would have double-paired on the flop and hit a river boat in a hand with two players all-in.

Played JxQx and raised to 600, calling a re-raise to 1,800 pre-flop, then folding to an all-in on the 3x3x[x] flop. Down to T24,800.

Lost several thousand with Q7 against 8x9x on a flop of 6x7x8x. I had trips on the turn, but a Tx river card made his straight.

Ten minutes later, I lost more than half my stack with KxKx again, calling an all-in against pocket sixes that made a set on the flop. I went into the break with just T7,825. The add-on more than doubled me up.

I called with 74 and hit the 9x7x6x flop lightly. I bet 1,100 and got a call then hit my 4x on the turn and managed to get an all-in called to take it down with two pair. That put me back up to T27,700, with the average at T17,733.

Raised to 1,000 from UTG2 with A9. The flop was 727 and I folded to a 2,500 bet.

Two hours in on BB with Q3 and the flop was all diamonds. I called the bets down to the river to see another diamond and bet 2,300 to win without a showdown.

T33,525 at two hours and five minutes.

Raised with AT to 1,200 and got four calls. Everyone checked it to the river which turned up a king. The BB won.

I raised to 1,500 from CO with QT and got an uncomfortable Ax96 flop, then folded to a 2,500 bet.

My next BB I had AxKx and re-raised to 3,800 from 800, getting an all-in from SB, which I called. He had 9x9x, the flop was AxJx[8] and the rest of the cards didn’t matter.

Two-and-a-half hours in and I was up to T34,450. Then I lost a chunk with J5 against KxQx. I was ahead on the JxAx8x flop but running tens gave him Broadway. Ten minutes later, my stack was at T28,800 (average T26,600), there were 20 players left, with 17 re-buys and 29 add-ons.

With 45 from BB, I saw a Kx2x2x flop then called a bet of 3,200 after the five on the turn. Another 1,200 went down the hole calling 1,200 on the river six. I was out soon after with Ax9x against KxKx.

Three hours. 17th of 33 players.

He’s a Caller!

Encore Club $250 Freeroll

Wandered down for the freeroll since I’d already paid the door fee when I picked up my ticket for the $25K game. Don’t remember where I went wrong.

Two hours and thirty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 24th of 65 players.

Encore Club Freezeout

The 2pm freezeout game was already forty minutes in when I busted out of the freeroll, but I got into it anyway and managed to get through most of the fild. I was the short stack as it got short-handed and I called with two overs on my last hand. As usual, if I’d waited, I might have made more money, because the next player out was right behind me.

Three hours. +112% ROI. 4th of 24 players.

Encore Club $25,000 Guarantee

It was really a rogue’s gallery at my table. I’d taken a break to go home and grab something to eat after the 2pm game, so I missed the first couple of hands. DV from my home game was improbably seated at the same table. DTwho’d been at my first $10K final table–was a couple seats on my left. Regular winner JL was on my immediate right. The guy who’d taken first in the Tournament of Champions where I came in second, DM, was sitting on DV‘s right. And directly across the table from me in seat 1 was Angry Old Tattooed Guy, who’d been sooo much fun to play with at Final Table’s Santa Bounty game.

Things got off to a phenomenal start within the first orbit. I’d won a couple of small pots already when I picked up QxQx. I raised from late-middle position, DT re-raised and I eventually called an all-in. He just had 9x9x and my queens held through the river, breaking him down to practically nothing (he’d picked up a pot or two himself). Meanwhile, I had more than doubled my starting stack. DT kept repeating “You got my number” for a couple of minutes. After he eventually busted out, he kept coming back to check on his chips, which was both funny and a little distracting.

I wasn’t able to make much traction with the big stack, though. I got decent if not premium hands, but every pot I entered with a call or raise, got picked off, mostly by DM, either with a large-re-raise or a large bet after a flop that he seemed to have a good feel hadn’t connected. He seemed particularly adept at that. My stack dwindled back down to starting stack and below before the break.

Finally, I decided to call him on it. I bet large with AxQx pre-flop and we went to the river before he pushed all-in. I hadn’t connected but I called and he put his cards on the table face-down. He was busted to less than 4,000 chips. AOTG picked this point in the game to go ballistic, berating DM for trying to bluff me, hoarsely yelling “You know he’s a caller!” across the table. I should have kept my mouth shut, but I could hardly resist the urge to (as PPC reg DL puts it “tap the fish tank”) and explained that DM had been picking off raises all through the game and that I’d figured it was time to test him. AOTG would have none of it (surprise!) and just talked over me. I could swear I heard JL on my right doing something like “la-la-la” with his headphones on.

Not too long after that, I pushed over 50,000 chips (about two times the average) by bluffing the heck out of 2x2x on a 9xAx9x flop.

My final hand was a doozy. I had AT and re-raised pre-flop to 10,000. A player on my left with a larger stack went all-in and got a call from a slightly smaller stack on my right. There was something like 120,000 chips in the middle, it was going to cost me 40,000 and the tournament to call, so I did. Both of the other players flipped over KxKx. I was actually in better shape than if I was up against just one pair of kings or even two different pocket pairs. A 1 in 3 chance to win it all. It just didn’t happen.

My name is Poker Mutant. I’m a caller.

Three hours and twenty minutes. -100% ROI. 107th of 150 players.

Foxwoods Before the Storm

On a business trip to Boston and I had a day to kill before Hurricane Irene hit New England. So I decided to head down to Foxwoods in Connecticut, which is running deep stack tournaments at 6pm every night. The WPT Poker Room at Foxwoods is advertised as the largest poker room on the East Coast, so I figured it could be a bit of an eye-opener for me, having played poker in a small tribal casino as my first casino experience just a few weeks back and the only other casino I’d been in being Spirit Mountain.

I got to Foxwoods with some time to kill before the tournament and went downstairs to where the cash action is. Lots and lots of cash action. There was a short wait for a seat at a $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em  table; I got my WPT Poker Room card and some chips.

The games at Foxwoods were definitely not as soft as Spirit Mountain. I managed to lose my first stack with a made straight on the flop hoping that nobody had already made the bigger straight draw. Got it all back when I doubled my stack holding 5x5x with KxKx on the board and the big stack thought I was completely bluffing. Then I managed to lose the whole thing, with my last hand being A7. The board gave me a pair of aces and wheel draw but Kx2x actually made the wheel. I went to get a late lunch.

When I was ready to face the music again, I happened into the start of a $1/$2 Pot LImit Omaha Hi-Lo game and signed up. This session went incredibly well. A three-card run in one hand turned into a straight that won me a double-up, and I caught another couple big hands, nearly quadrupling my buy-in. I actually threw down a hand with both Broadway and wheel draws after a turn bet from across the table that would have cost me about two-thirds of the profit (above the buy-in and the two stacks I’d lost in Hold’em) because I figured I needed to slow down for a second. As it turned out, the wheel came through and I probably could have added another couple stacks because I would have scooped the pot and both the other players were nearly all-in.

Success is fleeting, however. The tournament, a $15,000 guarantee with about 140 players didn’t last very long for me. I could only console myself with the fact that I wasn’t the first person out of the game. It was off to my hotel to get some sleep after that.

Back out to Foxwoods for the morning turbo. Took a bit of a hit after an OK start, but made it to the second table out of 50 entrants. Picked up AxKx in the big blind. After a big raise from a mid-position player and an all-in from button, if I got lucky, I might triple my stack. The raiser was largest stack, both were bigger than me. I called all-in, and the big stack called. The big stack also had AxKx, the button held AxAx which held up, taking me out in 15th. First place paid $917.

The morning bounty tournament was still in the first level, so I bought in there. I plugged along with about the starting stack as the average chip level went up, then took a hit that put a mark on my stack. By the time the blinds were up to 500/1000/150 I was down to about 7bb. I shoved with AQ and got called by someone who could afford the chips to race with TxTx (who I’d knocked out of the turbo game earlier). I placed 14th of 42. The prize pool was $5,149, with $1,803 going to first and just six players paid.

I’d lasted long enough that the early afternoon turbo was beyond it’s buy-in, so I got lunch and some goodies for friends back home, dragged things back to the car, then stepped downstairs to the cash games again.

I haven’t ever played much 7-Card Stud. My advice is, do not make your first live experience against a bunch of geezers at someplace like Foxwoods in a Fixed Limit $1/$5 game. I made a couple of blunders that marked me as a neophyte in the first couple of hands. Seriously, people were laughing. I managed to get a little bit of respect (and some chips) back with a sneaky move and a flush, but mostly the stack went down and down. The slower speed of the game did kill some time, though. I killed some more watching people play Sic Bo.

Finally, the $20,000 guarantee tournament. Our table started out laughably short-handed with just four players despite being set up for ten. People started to filter in as time went on. I pulled an iron out of the fire on one hand when a short-stacked player who had announced she was “on tilt” and I both seemed to have paired a Kx on the flop. Hers was presumably better than my KxTx until the river when I called her all-in as the Tx hit. My turn came later, when AxJx and an Ax on the board ran into a set of 3x with two of them on the board after the turn. That knocked me down to about a quarter of the starting stack and I was out relatively soon, in 98th place of 140. The prize pool was more than $27,000, with fourteen places paid and more than $7,700 to first place.

Back to Portland.

Freeroll to Nowhere

Despite the fact that it’s supposedly now the top tourist destination in the state (and that’s a state where half a million people a year visit a bear-infested fish hatchery) I’d never been to the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grande Ronde since it opened fifteen years ago.

For one thing, I’m not much of a gambler. Despite the poker fixation, I have no interest in games of pure chance like roulette and slot machines, or card games where you have absolutely no control, like blackjack. I’ve built roulette and slot simulators, I’ve even worked with some of the people who design real electronic systems, and they just don’t interest me.

It’s a long drive down to the Mountain. Sure, it’s the closest real casino (sorry La Center, but “8 tables” doesn’t cut it) to Portland, but it’s more than half-way to the coast. Sixty-five miles by the shortest route, which takes you through the ugly traffic jam around Dundee; more than 80 miles if you go south on I5 to Salem and across.

And I’m not a cash game player. I really prefer tournament play, the bigger the field and the slower the blind structure the better. Without knowing more about the games at Spirit Mountain, there wasn’t any real draw for me.

But this weekend they are running their “Summer Showdown 2011,” a $440 buy-in tournament for 20,000 chips with $100 bounties. It was tempting with the money from the Champions game last week rattling around in my pocket. But it was too big a hunk. However, Friday they were running a $90 satellite tournament, and 20% of the field would get seats in the big game. Easy-peasy, right? I headed down there after getting some work done in the morning.

Spirit Mountain $1/$3 NLHE

Since I arrived more than an hour early (expecting more traffic on the I5 route than I ran into), I bought my tournament entry (getting a bonus of 500 chips) and then stood around a bit. Two tables of $3/$6 Limit Hold’em were running—not my game—but one of the hosts asked me if I wanted to join in a $1/$3 No Limit HE game that was starting up. I bought in for $100.

I picked up about $25 early on, then lost it a bit later after I had to lay down a straight draw to a re-raise. Then I got very lucky with a Q9 and a flop with two hearts on it. There was money from four players in the pot pre-flop, I pushed all-in when another heart showed on the turn and got called, hoping that the other guy didn’t have A or K. As it was, he apparently didn’t even have a flush and I more than doubled up. A little after that I left the table for a bite to eat and cashed for $241. I’d just paid for my satellite buy-in and gas and then some.

30 minutes. ROI: 141%.

Spirit Mountain Summer Showdown 2011 Event 1 (4,600 chips)

It was supposedly an “event” but it was actually just a satellite to the big game on Saturday. The room filled up pretty quickly, a lot of the folks at table 12 where I was seated (table draw was from unlucky table 13) seemed to know each other and the dealer (with whom I discussed the relative “safeness” of the Encore and Aces; with her opinion being that she liked the neighborhood around Aces better—she’s the second person I’ve talked to whose car’s been broken into at Encore). Signing up over an hour early got me an extra 500 chip to go with my Coyote Club 100 bonus. I was feeling upbeat after my performance at the cash game, but I needn’t have bothered.

I lost a couple of smallish pots through the first half-hour of play. The levels were 30 minutes and we started at 25/50 but a couple of players busted out, with everyone looking their way in disdain. Just hold out, dudes! One in five gets through to the big game tomorrow! 20,000 in chips!

The last hand before the blinds went up, I was on the BB and drew 84. There were five limps and the flop rolled out 8x7x4x. One of the mid-position players raised to 300, got a call, and I re-raised to 1,500 with my two pair, only to get a check/all-in from the first actor. Everyone folded out of the way and I made a stupid call. She showed 5x6x for the flopped straight I hadn’t even seen. I was crushed and when the hand was over I had a single 25 chip which went into the small blind.

AxTx managed to quintuple me up, but a few hands later I was completely out.

So, a long drive to Grande Ronde on a sunny day, half-an-hour of good cash game play, and an incredibly stupid move in the first half-hour of a marathon tournament. Driving back to town I was kicking myself for the call but when I ran the numbers I saw that it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it was. Oh, it was still bad—especially when my tournament life was on the line—but I had between a 27% and 30% chance of winning the hand, which was better than I thought it was on the drive back.

30 minutes. -100% ROI.

 

End of An Era, Pt. 7

Full Tilt Flash Rush

Sat quietly for 35 hands, then open-raised to 2.4BB with JA from HJ. BTN re-raised to 8BB and I called. Flop was 479, I bet 5.2BB, BTN raised to 16BB and I called. 7 for the turn. I bet all-in with 27.4BB and BTN folded, earning me 22.2BB.

Made my big killing with AA on BTN. HJ limped in, I raised to 3.2BB. Only called was HJ. Flop hit 84Q. HJ checked and I bet 2.8BB, getting re-raised to 5.6BB, which I three-bet all-in for 70.8BB. HJ called quick and showed QK. I took in 139.8BB total. Hung around for a while after that without managing to lose it but I should have exited and banked the profit before doing anything else.

32 minutes, 67 hands. +124BB.

Full Tilt Flash Rush

Just minor losses and fewer wins for fifty hands here, then I picked up JK as UTG3. Open-raised to 2BB, got calls from BTN and the blinds. Flop was T23 and we checked all around. 2 for the turn. I opened with 3.2BB bet, only SB stayed in. 8 on the river and I had second nut flush. SB went all-in and I had to follow. Of course he had the A.

Re-bought and laid low again for forty hands. Got QQ as UTG and raised to 2.2BB. UTG1 immediately three-bet to 8.6BB and everyone dropped out until it got round to me again. I four-bet to 46.8BB and this time UTG1 just called. The flop was 4TA and I put him to the test with an all-in of 42.4BB. He folded.

Nothing else really dramatic. I did manage to draw out 19BB from a pair of jacks by weak-playing some aces. I didn’t quite manage to make my original buy-in back.

40 minutes, 158 hands. 2 buy-ins. -28BB.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Had a brief dip for a couple of hands at the beginning then with 1,830 chips and QA in my hand as SB I open-raised to 50 from 10/20. BB came along. Flop was a safe 3A7, I bet 100, BB went all-in for 2,340, and I called. He had bottom pair with T3. Two 4x showed for the turn and river and I was up to 3,680.

Had a few smaller wins after that but my participation was short. I had my own T3 in the BB at 20/40, with 4800 chips. Four players limped in and I checked my option. The flop looked good: 835. SB bet 200, I called, UTG went all-in for 5,760, and I was the only caller.He had 98 for top pair but I was a slight statistical leader going into the turn. That, unfortunately, was 9. Now I needed to make the flush or a 7x for a straight. It was 6 on the river, though, and I was out.

28 minutes, 29 hands. Finished 1,179 or 1,591 players. No bounties.

Full Tilt Flash Rush

Was down over 26BB (out of 80 to start) after 23 hands and got incredibly lucky on the river. Had K6 on BTN, open-raised to 2.2BB, BB re-raised to 3.8, I called, and I hit top pair on K57. BB checked, I bet 8BB, BB re-raised to 16, and I was all-in for 48.6. BB called and showed AA. Q for the turn seemed to spell doom, but my kicker paired the 6 river card, so I was positive again, with a win of 46.6BB.

Managed to increase it to a profit of more than 52% but didn’t get out for some reason. Then I overplayed JK against QQ—which drew a set on the flop—and lost nearly 58BB.

K6 came through for me again, putting me back into positive territory briefly, but AT lost out to a pair of kings, then my flopped set of jacks hit a set of aces on the turn and I was out.

23 minutes, 81 hands. -80BB.

Full Tilt Flash Rush

Skimmed along at the break-even point for most of this first game after the news of Black Friday broke. Only one win or loss greater than 6BB for eighty hands. Then, in the BB, I had 26 and two limpers ahead of me. The flop gave me two pair—6K2—but it was a bit weighted for a flush. Everyone cheched to the A on the turn. Everyone checked again. River was 8. SB went all-in for 54BB with a pot of only 3BB. It seemed like a steal, but it wasn’t. When I called he had the nuts: QJ.

I still had about 4BB left but that went away on the next hand.

21 minutes, 88 hands. -80BB.

Full Tilt Flash Rush

Got down more than two-and-a-half buy-ins in this last outing on the Rush tables for who knows how long. Managed to gain a little back with TQ outdrawing flopped double-paired KA to a club flush on the river.

39 minutes, 169 hands. -39BB.

Full Tilt $2,500 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

The first thing I noticed on this tournament is that the guarantee has been dropped from its usual 10K to a quarter of that. Why am I playing it? How am I playing it? Apparently, the software updates haven’t caught up to me yet by this time Friday eventing. As for why, if the money’s just sitting there on Full Tilt, why not? It’s not like I’ll be able to get it any time soon.

I’m down to 1,365 after a few minutes, with K2 on BTN. I min-raise to 60, both blinds call. Flop is good-ish with 6K5. Both blinds check, I bet 180, BB calls. 9 for the turn, checks from both of us. 9 on the river. BB checks, I bet 300, he calls and his king kicker isn’t great but it’s better than mine: [kq]7. Down to 825.

I go all-in with 720 and KT from UTG1, A9 calls from BB, and I double up when I pair the ten on the flop. Then I take another hit down to 900 a quarter-hour in. A couple of good hands let me eke back up over 1,400 before I hit paydirt at the half-hour mark.

Blinds are 30/60. UTG1 limps in. I had AK as HJ and raise to 210. BTN and UTG1 call. Flop is ugly, with someone else’s flush draw and only an inside straight draw for me: Q2T. UTG1 checks, I go all-in for 1,167. BTN has only 875 and calls, he’s got a set: TT. My straight comes through on the turn with J. If UTG1 had the flush draw, they’d have been unhappy to see the A on the river. I take the pot and I’m up to 2,762. The EV graph in PokerTracker did not like that move.

I make another 500 with KA two hands later, then 600 with 75 a couple hands after that. That was pretty much the peak, though, and after that it was mostly downhill.

41 minutes, 124 hands. Finished 129 of 559.

And that was my last game on Full Tilt for a while.

Good Thing There’s Bounties

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Just five minutes in and I make top pair from the SB holding JQ on a safe-looking J32 flop after four of us have limped in. I bet out 100 as first to act, getting two callers. 6 for a turn and I bet out 300 more, again two calls. 2 is the river and I check, BB checks, UTG2 puts both of the blinds all-in to call, and I do. He’s been holding a set with 33 in the pocket from the flop.

Out 622 of 714.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

A big one that got away from me. I had quite a setback on my 12th hand, holding QT on the button at 25/50. There was a raise and a call to 175 ahead of me and I probably should have ejected, but I saw the flop of A3Q and decided to play it. UTG1 bet 250, UTG2 wisely got out, I called, and 4 appeared on the turn. Another 250 from UTG1 and myself, 5 at the river and I called his last 250 bet before he turned over 6A. That knocked me down to 735.

I’d dropped to just 435 ten hands later after some other action and JT came into my hand. UTG called the blind of 60, UTG1 raised to 120, UTG2 called, I (UTG3) decided to make a move and made my tiny shove. That got called by UTG, UTG1, and UTG2. My role in the hand was over as I watched the flop roll out 388. UTG1 went all-in and drove the other two players out, then showed AQ, so any chance of a flush I had was shot; I needed a pair. J showed up on the turn and an inoffensive 5 was the river. I bounced back to 1,830.

AT on the next hand. We’d lost a the guy who’d played the previous hand with me to re-shuffling and I was UTG1. I open-min-raised to 160, getting four callers. The flop was 379, probably making someone happy but the blinds just checked and I bet 200 to open. Only the big blind dropped out. K on the turn was interesting and I opened with another 200, inducing everyone to fold and making me an easy 1,245 profit, which put me just over 3,000.

Nothing much happened for twenty minutes. I’d drifted down to 2,250 chips when 77 came into my hand. It’s not my favorite pair of cards but I was at less than 19BB and the Andy Bloch “Tournament Checklist” is all about going all-in with the small pairs when you’re getting short-stacked. Did I listen? No, I raised to 300 and there were three callers. The flop was 322. Checks from the blinds and this was where I shipped it, for 1,950. SB called, BB raised all-in to 2,750, then SB called that. SB had A4 for a one-ended wheel draw, BB had us seriously in trouble with 52 and a set. 8 shoed for the turn, giving me a chance for a backdoor flush, and the river A completed it. I took in 7K (but significantly did not learn me lesson about shipping with small pairs, something that comes back to bite me later).

The last significant hand was my final one, forty minutes later. I still had only 6,675. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was BB. Picked up AQ. UTG3 goes all-in for 8,374 and I call. He’s got KQ, so I’m good unless he catches diamonds or a Kx. The flop is 93J and anything else is irrelevant. Could have gone the other way but it didn’t.

98 minutes, 87 hands. 1 bounty collected. ROU: -85%. Finished 829 of 3,687 players.

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Another one-minute wonder. Called the 120 min-raise of UTG3 from BB on the second hand, flop was 972; I bet 120, he raised to 660; I three-bet to 1,200; he called. J on the turn; I’ve got 180 chips, an inside straight draw, and an ace. Might as well. He calls with the AJ. 9 for the river. I’m sort on my flush and short on my straight and out of the game.

One minute. Two hands. 1,013th of 1,196 players.

Full Tilt $36,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Six minutes in with most of my starting stack I get 77 again, this time in late position on the button. Two players limp in. I raise to 300, ten times the big blind. BB and UTG2 call. The flop shows up with 6QT and everyone checks. Another 6 on the turn. UTG2 opens with 340 and I call. BB has the sense to bail. Another over card on the river. K and UTG2 bets 810 to put me all-in if I call. I bail.

That whittled me down considerably. I’m at 660 13 minutes into the game when I get QQ. UTG raises the big bet three times to 120. I re-raise to 280 but should probably be all-in here. SB calls, BB is all-in for 1,245. UTG calls, SB raises all-in to 1,560. UTG calls. Three all=ins. Here’s the cards. SB 88, BB AK, UTG: JA. I was a 43% winner so far. The flop’s fine: 569. It put a lot of diamonds on the board for BB, as well as a straight possibility for SB. The 4 for the turn didn’t change anything, my win percentage was up to 57%. The 7 on the river completed the straight, though. Maybe an all-in pre-flop would have induced the eights to fold.

14 minutes, 37 hands. 683rd of 1,324.

Cake Poker Series 2011 Super Satellite (1,500 chips)

Nothing to say about this. I was stuck just below the starting stack size twenty-odd minutes in, got priced in with TA and shoved, with J9 and KQ calling—altogether we made a long straight—and the hearts won out.

24 minutes, 17 hands. 8th of 16.

Full Tilt 90-Player KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

No movement for twenty-five minutes here, I was in CO at 3,270 with the blinds up to 60/120 when everyone ahead of me folded. I held 98 and min-raised to 240. Button and BB called. The flop just gave me bottom pair: JA9. BB checked and I bet 180. B called, and BB was gone. The turn was 2, giving me an ugly flush draw. I checked and B bet 600. Calling left me 2,250 behind. A tantalizing A hit the river. I bet 1,000, concerned about pocket jacks making a full house. B must have thought he had it but he was far behind with JQ. That picked me up 2,300.

QQ made me the next jump a dozen minutes later. UTG3 raised to 540 at the 120/240/25 level. I was on the button and re-raised to 2,500, about half my stack. The blinds folded and UTG3 four-bet all-in to 3,540. I called with 1,740 behind and he showed JJ. The flop went my way with 6KQ, and he was out. I was at 9,450. First bounty.

I caught one of the mid-sized stacks trying to pull something three hands later. I limped for 240 in after UTG called, CO called and SB as in. The flop was 63T and everyone checked. J hit on the turn. SB bet 480, BB and UTG folded, I called and CO was out. The river was 4 and SB checked. Worried about a flush, I checked too, but SB had 8J, so I had the best of it and was just short of 11,000.

Just eight hands later I was UTG2 at 200/400/50. I open-raised to 800 with QT and the only caller was SB. Got a pair in the T6J flop. SB bet 1,200 and I called. A turn 9 gave me second pair and a straight draw. SB bet another 1,600 and I called again. I made trips on the river with T and when SB checked I shoved all-in. Amazingly enough, he called with 44. That put me over 18K and made a second bounty.

The end was fast and violent just five hands later. I was UTG with 17,790, holding 77. Blinds were at 250/500/50 and I opened with a raise to 1,250. A slightly smaller stack in UTG1 was the only caller, so that was good. The flop was a promising 528 and I bet another 1,250 but I probably should have gone bigger. UTG1 called. The A on the turn pretty much shut things down as far as I was concerned. Flush draw and an ace on board? I checked and then folded after UTG1 bet 6,150. That took me down 2,550.

Next hand, I was in the big blind with just 24. There was a raise and call to 1,000 and I decided to see if my low cards would hit anything, with pot odds of 6.3:1. The flop was T6T, when the initial raiser bet 3,650 I got out of there pronto.

Still, I had 14,190 in the small blind. Suited connectors: 98. That looked good. The only player into the pot ahead of me was UTG1, who’d min-raised to 1,000. I called. The flop gave me a dangerous pair: 8AA. I bet 750 and got called by UTG1. The A showed on the turn and I had a full house. Did he have the other ace? I bet 1,000 and he smooth-called. 3 on the turn didn’t change anything. He needed the fourth ace or a pocket pair better than eight to beat me. He bet 7,500, I called, and of course he had AJ. I was down under 4,000.

The last hand for me was at 300/600/75.  I had KQ in UTG1 and went all-in for 4,815. What’s Andy Bloch say? Fewer than 10 big blinds? Check. Open-raise with KxQx? Check. UTG2 called, everyone else dropped out and I was up agains the Mutant Jack: AJ. The board was tantalizing with 2T898 but I didn’t make the straight or the flush and I was someone else’s bounty.

66 minutes, 77 hands. 2 bounties, no prize, ROI of -70%.

Cake Poker Internazionale 6-Max (20BB)

66 on the third hand in CO. Open-raised to 3BB, called by SB. Flop was 8Q8 and we both checked to the turn 7. SB bet 4BB and I called. 7 river card counterfeited my pair and I was playing the board. Another 4BB bet from the SB and I folded.

88 a little later in HJ and UTG raised to 3BB. I re-raised to 7BB and everyone folded. I was still stuck 6BB.

Down to 7.5BB fifteen minutes in and picked up A6 in the CO. UTG raised to 2BB, I called and B did as well. Flopped well with A86, HJ and I checked, B put out a bet of 7BB. That was the end of it for HJ but I called all-in for less than the bet. He flipped 98 and the race was on. No diamonds on the turn or river—Q5—and my two pair held up. Just down by 2BB now.

I was on the BB with 78. Min-raise from HJ and a call from CO. I went along and got bottom pair in the Q7J flop. I opened with a bet of 2BB, HJ raised to 5BB and I called for some reason. A on the turn and it didn’t take the 3BB bet from HJ to get me out of there. Back down to 12BB.

In HJ with K4. Min-raised with a call from CO and re-raise to 6BB from B. I’m the only caller. The flop is 56T. I check and B shoves his entire stack of 185BB into the ring. I call for some reason and he shows QQ. T makes the turn and my hopes for a backdoor flush are gone. The river J ends this session.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Started off with a bang eight minutes into the game with KJ on the button. UTG1 limped in and HJ min-raised to 80. I re-raised to 140, getting calls from SB, UTG1, and HJ. The flop was 55A, SB checked, UTG1 bet 400. There was a fold from HJ and I re-raised to 800. SB folded, UTG1 re-raised to 1,675, and I made a dangerous call that left me with 80 chips. He had a set with 57. The 4 on the turn looked grim, then a safe 8 made the river and I doubled up plus I got a bounty.

A similar hand on the button ten minutes later got me into trouble. Three limps were ahead of me with KT. I raised to 250, which got a call from SB and a re-raise to 450 from BB. UTG3 called, I called, SB called. The flop was AQ7. SB checked and BB bet 1,410 all-in. UTG3 fled the scene, I called, and SB folded. BB was way ahead and had me dominated with with AT but a Jx could put me on top. Didn’t happen, though, and I lost 1,860 chips.

The blinds were 30/60 a little later, I was still around 2,500 chips and got 97 in UTG2. UTG raised to 120, I called, and BB was in. The flop of JTQ gave me flush and open-ended straight draws. BB checked, UTG went all-in for 1,205, I called rather than go over the top, because BB had me by 1K. BB folded anyway and I was heads-up against two pair: TQ. K for the turn gave me my straight but opened up the flush for him. The river was 6 and I took another bounty, as well as 1,475 chips, which put me up to 3,995.

Speculating on some unsuited ace hands cost me over the next quarter-hour, so I was down to 3,115 when I got KK as UTG. I min-raised to 160, getting four callers. The flop was 965. SB opened with a 240 bet that got BB to fold. I raised to 1,500, enough to put SB almost all-in but not necessarily scary for the others. They both folded, though, then SB pushed for 1,680. I paid the extra 180 and he showed a gutshot straight and an ace: A7. He got his ace on the turn with A but that gave me four to a flush, which came in the shape of a 9. Up to 5,435 and another bounty.

On the 60/120 big blind with A9. B raises all-in to 683. SB calls. I call. The flop gives me top two pair: A92. Right now I’m beating AxKx. SB checks and I go all-in for 5,142. SB folds, B has QA, and the rest of the hand is irrelevant. I have almost 7,200 chips and another bounty.

Took a big hit on the big blind again at 100/200. Q9 in my hand; not one of my favorites. Action folded to the button, who raised to 700. I called and we were heads-up. The flop looked pretty good—7J7—and I opened with 750. B went all-in for 2,670 and I called. An 8 showed on the turn but the queen-high straight was going to be harder and pointless with TT in B’s hand. The last card missed me: 5 and I was down to about 4K again.

I made a couple of attempts over the next ten minutes but nothing panned out. Finally, I got 44 in UTG3. Action folded to me, I followed Bloch’s instruction on what to do when you’re under 15 blinds and open-raised all-in with the low pair. Everyone but the BB folded. He showed TT. The board ran out 82343 and I came an Ax or a 6x away from a straight, but I was bounty-bait. The other part of the goal on Bloch’s “Tournament Checklist” is to win with that move.

105 minutes, 100 hands. 3,831 players and I made 939th. Four bounties and ROI -39%.

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Just nine hands and nothing of note here. I was down about 300 from a KQ play. My last hand was 88. I raised all-in after a single limp at 30/60 for 1,230. The button isolated me by going all-in for more than 4K., showing KK. By the turn I had a little bit of hope with 6JT9 showing but a queen would give a straight to the kings. Instead, he got trips with a river K.

Four minutes. 1,385 players, finished in 617th.

Full Tilt 90-Player Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Surprised I lasted as long as I did in this game. I was steadily downhill and under the starting stack for forty minutes until a Mutant Jack rescued me. Got AJ in the big blind at 60/120 holding 1,845 chips. UTG called and everyone else folded. I raised to 725. He three-bet to 1,330 and I shoved for 1,845, getting a call. Naturally, he was pleased, he had AA and I looked like a goner. The 455 flop gave me some life, though. I hung in suspended animation through the 8 turn, then T came on the river and I doubled up, leaving UTG with a little more than 3BB.

Got my own comeuppance in short order four hands later when I had KK as HJ. Blinds were up to 80/160 and UTG min-raised. I re-raised to 995. UTG and I were heads-up after some folds, and he went all-in for 3,010. I called with 985 behind and he showed TT. The first card out was T, with 37 making another nice flush draw for me, but it was JJ on the last two streets and I wasn’t the one with a full house.

I managed to build back up to about 1,800 but the blinds were getting big and I was down to 1,240 at 200/400/50 when I tried to make 8K work for me. UTG raised all-in to 800, UTG1 and SB called, and I re-raised all-in. UTG1 called with more than 11.5K left, SB called holding another 27.5K. The board was Q6797 with the big stacks checking it down to the river. Nobody had much of anything 9A for BB, AT for UTG, but SB had a TQ and the queen pair was good enough to take it.

63 minutes, 57 hands, one bounty. 32nd place of 90 players. ROI -85%.

Down Bound and East

Full Tilt $36,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Fatally short. So short that the client didn’t record the final (fifth) hand. 1,024th place out of 1,279 players. One minute.

Full Tilt 90-Player Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Is frustration setting in? I’m busting out in early minutes far too soon, far too often. This is another five-hand session. It last longer that the previous one, but only because it’s not a Rush tournament. I have JK on the button, blinds are only 15/30 and I still have nearly 2,900 chips. One player limps in, I raise to 75, BB calls as does the limper. 5J8 gives me top pair, both players check to me, I make a 240 bet, BB re-raises to 480, the limper folds, and I call. 8 on the turn, BB bets 1,200, I don’t believe him, and I’m all-in for 2,340. He calls, and I’m right, he’s semi-bluffing with Q9. Then the Q hits the river and I’m out 89th of 90 players.

Full Tilt Scheduled Tournament (3,000 chips, 03/29 00:32)

Lucky off the bat, picking up JA on the first hand after joining this game in progress at 25/50. I was BB, HJ raised to 150, CO re-raised to 250, I called, followed by HJ. 82J and I’m in the same position I was in the previous game, with top pair and nothing better in sight. I bet the pot—775—and get a call from HJ. CO drops out. A troublesome K shows up for the turn and I check it to HJ who checks along. A on the river gives me two pair but makes a potential flush. I put in only 500 and get called by HJ, who’s just got the lower of my two pairs, with JQ. I win 1,800.

QJ works out great for me five hands later at 30/60 from UTG3. UTG calls, I raise to 150, and there are four calls (HJ, CO, BB, UTG). I hit top pair on the Q64 flop and raise BB’s 120 bet to 450. Only BB and UTG see the turn with me; there’s 2,130 in the pot. The card is 6, both of the players ahead of me check, and I check to see another free card in case someone hit a 6x. The river is 5, BB checks, UTG makes a little 120 bet, I call and BB gives up. UTG has Q5, but his kicker (and second pair) is counterfeited, so my kicker wins me the hand and puts me over 6,400.

That’s about the end of the good news, though. Forty minutes go by before I make another hit with 67, and the 780 I make there is well short of the 1,000 I’ve lost in the meantime.

Then on the next hand I pick up a dangerous pocket pair in UTG1: 77. I call the 160 big blind, UTG2 calls, SB raises to 800, BB folds, and I should fold here but raise to 1,600 instead. UTG2 goes all-in for 4,200. SB only has another 40 and goes all-in. Now I should really fold and keep my 4,641 but I stupidcall. BB has me beat with 99. UTG2 has one over card: T9. The board misses all of us: 25KQ2 and nearly 13K goes to BB.

The end comes just seven hands later in an ignominious manner. I call 160 with KA from UTG2 and see the flop with the blinds. 872 on the flop. Everyone checks to the 3 on the turn. Checks all-around to a 8 river. SB bets 800, BB calls, I raise all-in for 1,601, SB re-raises to 2.720. BB folds. SB has 33, made a set on the turn.

57 minutes, 76th of 209 players.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Bought in well after the beginning of the game Didn’t manage to get anything for nearly half an hour until I picked up JA as UTG3. UTG2 limped in for 50 and I raised to 125. CO came along and everyone else dropped out. Flop was 8T2, I bet 100, CO raised to 450 and I called to see a Q turn give me a flush draw. I pushed all-in and got a call, with CO showing AT. No flush, just 7 for the river and I was out.

Did a second entry, lost 1,200 with TT on hand three. Out on the next hand.

Out in 1,689th and 1,921st out of 2,028 places.

Full Tilt Rush Flash (40BB)

Three good hands in here. It’s hard to wrong with AA (although it can happen) and I just about doubled up for 40 big blinds after busting out once. I was lucky, because there was a set of 8x on the board. 8A netted me another 33 big blinds. After flushing on the flop with K9 and getting 25 big blinds, I took my money and went home with a profit of 28 big blinds.

Essen Gee

Continuing on with the Andy Bloch “Tournament Checklist” Challenge at Full Tilt Academy.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Technically, this isn’t a turbo tournament, but the levels are only six minutes long, so you’re going to be seeing the blinds go up almost every time they come around. Watch your back.

I was on my second small blind (at 20/40) when I got AQ. Two players called and I raised to 120, getting calls from everyone but the big blind. The flop was ATA and everyone checked. The J on the turn gave a potential straight in addition to a possible full house, so I bet the pot: 400. Everyone folded.

Raised to 125 with KQ a few hands later (with the blinds up to 25/50) and the only caller was the big blind who had a stack of about 3,000, twice my size. The flop was A22 and I bet 100 after a check from the BB. He called and 6 showed up. We checked it down past the river 4 and he showed the same pair I had, with 7Q but not a very good kicker.

After that it was mostly downhill. Last hand was a decent AQ, a raise to 240 that got called by both blinds, and AJ drawing two pair by the flop. Out in 31st after 29 minutes and 30 hands.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Got a Mutant Jack (AJ) on hand seven sitting on the small blind. Everyone folded to the button, who limped in, and I raised to 180, bringing it down to just me and the button. The flop was 5TA. I put in 400 for a bet and was raised to 800, then I shoved and was called by AT, who had me covered. Things looked bleak with the 7 on the turn but J popped up on the river for a suck-out. Up to almost 2,800 chips.

Limped in from the cutoff with 79 a little while later, then called an all-in to 445 from BB. Button called, as well, so the pot had 1,400 in it pre-flop. K63 gave me a flush draw and I went all-in to push out the button. He dutifully folded and the all-in players cards went over: 58. The turn and river were T6 so I never made as much as a pair but I was still ahead and up to more than 3,300 chips.

That quickly bled away with “premium” hands. I drew QA in SB at 30/60 and raised to 210 with two limpers. BB and UTG+1 called, then the button three-bet all-in to 955. Everyone called so there was 3,820 in the pot. The flop was 7TK. I checked and BB went all-in for 1,815. UTG+1 called but I decided not to wait for the Qx and folded. It didn’t show up, BB took a pot of 7,500 with JK. Down 955 chips on that one.

A bigger loss came two hands later with AT. Our table was down to six players at 40/80 and I three-bet a UTG raise of 320 to 640. BB called with just 60 behind and UTG went all-in for 1,362. I called; BB went all-in. I was pretty much screwed from the flop, the board was 66J and  UTG had JJ for a full house. Down to less than 1,000.

My final hand was shortly thereafter. I called the BB and a limper from the SB for 80 with 8T and saw a flop of J6T. I checked to the BB who bet 240. UTG called and I went all-in for 831 with my middle pair. Both of the others called. BB bet 80 after a 3 turn (which gave me a flush draw) and got an all-in call from UTG. BB was holding TA, UTG had top pair with JK. 2 on the river didn’t change anything. UTG took the 4,161 chips and I was out in 17th place. 35 minutes of play, 31 hands.

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Got JxTx twice in a row (sixth and seventh hands), profiting especially nicely from the second.

FBlinds were 20/40 and I was the cutoff on the first outing. UTG limped in and I raised to 100. UTG called and we were heads-up. Flop was KJ9, UTG checked and I bet 160 which he called. 6 on the turn, which we both checked. The river was 8, we checked again, he showed AT and my jacks took it.

There was a call from UTG+2 on the next hand and I raised to 140. Button and UTG+2 called. The 6J5 flop gave me another pair of jacks and I bet 400 into the 480 pot when UTG+2 checked. Button came along for the ride and UTG+2 folded. 2 on the turn gave me a flush draw in addition to the highest pair on the board. I bet another 400 and the button went all-in, covering me by more than 300. I called and he flipped 88. A on the river left me in front and I took in a pot of 5,700.

My own pocket pair—QQ—cost me almost 1,500 ten minutes later. I raised three times the blind to 240 from UTG, getting calls from cutoff and SB. The flop was 99K and I bet 400 after SB checked. Cutoff checked and SB folded. T on the turn gave me a potential straight. We both checked. The river 2 made a potential flush; the king was troubling, but I bet another 800 in the hope that he had an ace of some sort. Nope. He called and showed JK. I still had over 4K, though.

It took me about 15 minutes to find a spot to pick it back up. In UTG again with a speculative 9T, I min-raised to 240. SB re-raised to 480 with only about 1,700 behind, and I called, putting us heads-up. The flop was A39, not particularly good for me. SB checked it and I checked behind. The turn was 9 and when SB bet 840 I put him all-in with my trips. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he called with QJ, I guess he must have thought I was bluffing, but that was a bounty for me and put me up over 6,600 chips.

It was nearly half-an-hour before I had another big hand, by which time blinds and small losses had whittled my stack down to about 5,200. There were a couple of very short-stacked players at the table in the blinds (200/400/50), flanked by two 20K+ stacks, one of which was just to my right. One of the big stacks opened to 850 and I re-raised all-in with A9 and 5,135 chips. There were folds around to BB, who went all-in with 1,740. The big stack folded and BB showed a KA big blind special. The flop was a grim QJ5, but 9 on the turn and the river 6 saved my bacon and gave me another bounty, along with a total of 8,300 chips.

The table was down to six players ten minutes later with me in SB at 300/600/75. UTG limped in. I had BB and UTG covered (although barely in the latter’s case) and went all-in with AT after everyone ahead of me folded. Only UTG called, showing A6. The 4Q5JQ board didn’t hit either one of us and I was up to about 12,600, earning my third bounty.

The end was only three hands later at another table with eight players. Blinds were up to 400/800/100, so I only had 15BB despite my double-up. I was in the BB with three stacks bigger than mine at the table, including one of more than 32K. UTG+1 opened with an all-in of 16,764. Everything folded to me and I called with AT, the same hand that had just doubled me up. It wasn’t going to be as effective against AQ. I was knocked out in 16th, a little short of the money. 86 hands, 78 minutes, 3 bounties, no prize money, -55%ROI.

Full Tilt Turbo $3.5K Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Just three significant hands in this tournament for me: one good and two bad. I got AA in UTG+1 early on and min-raised to 80 to see what kind of action I could get. CO re-raised to 300 and I three-bet to 960 after the blinds folded. CO went all-in and I called with 300 behind. He flipped over KK and I crossed my fingers and hoped against a repeat of the nasty surprise of Monday night’s live game. My aces filled up with a 5TA9T and I was up to nearly double the starting stack five minutes in.

The Mutant Jack failed to come through for me at the twenty-minute mark. I made a 3x raise to 180 from UTG+2 with JA getting a call from only SB. The flop only gave me middle pair—Q7J—but I bet another 300 after a check from SB. He re-raised to 960 and I should have ejected but I pushed all-in and he called, with me having him covered by about 1,000. His KQ was in front, and it stayed there with 22 on the turn and river. The next hand I threw a Kx2x and saw a board that would have made that best two pair, with 8x8x winning a pot of 2,200.

My last hand was QT. I limped in from UTG+1 for 80. BB raised to 240 and I called. 29K on the flop gave me a gut-shot straight draw. We both checked. 3 made a flush draw on the river. BB checked, I bet 520—leaving me with 155—and BB was all-in. I called. With AK he had top pair and beat me on a flush. I needed a jack but the river was 2.

Out in 594th place of 684 players. 23 minutes, 31 hands.

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Short and sweet. AK on the fourth hand. Raised to 75 from UTG and got three callers. Flo was 47A and I bet 300 after a check from BB; only caller was UTG+1 who had doubled up on the first hand. J on the turn and I bet 900, getting raised to 1,800. Went all-in and the lucky UTG+1 shoed he was really lucky, with AJ when he called. Just a 5 on the river and I was out in 85th after less than five minutes.

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

The first fifty minutes of this tournament went rather poorly. I won only a few small pots and was down to 1,165 chips when I got a Mutant Jack in UTG at 150/300/25. I raised all-in with JA; the button re-raised to 3,300; SB went all-in for 5,625 and got a call from the button. SB had 45, button held KT, and the cards on the board were 78938. My ace kicker was good for almost 4K of the 13K pot and I was semi-alive.

My next hand was JK on the big blind. UTG+1 limped in, SB raised to 600, and I pushed all-in for 3,920 getting both the other players to fold. I was over 5K.

Two hands later it was 77 on the button. Blinds were 200/400/50. Cutoff raised to 1,000 and I pushed all-in again for 4,695. SB called with more than 20K behind and everyone else folded. He had KA but the board was free of clubs, aces, and kings: Q5T69. The entire pot of 11,090 was mine.

Eighty minutes in I got KK on the big blind (300/600/75). The table was six-handed. HJ raised all-in to 6,035. Action folded around to me and I called with 3,700 behind. The kings held up, I picked up a bounty, and I was over 16,500. TJ on the next hand won me another 1,900 chips.

I picked up blinds and antes worth almost 2,400 with a raise to 2,500 and KT shortly thereafter, then dropped over 4K speculating with A9.

The very next hand I was on the big blind (500/1,000/125) with a massive 32. The button raised to 2,000, SB folded, and I called, not expecting much. I hit the bottom end of the 527 flop and opened all-in for 12,275. SB had 49K but folded and I gained a bit more than 3K. On the small blind I had T9 (with the blinds having gone up to 600/1,200/150). Action folded to me and I raised to 2,400. BB called and the flop was QA3. I pushed again for 14,975, this time covering the BB, who folded. That pushed my total over 20K.

My next turn on the big blind was with TK. Two players limped in and I checked to the flop. QJ3 gave me an open-ended straight draw, I bet 3,000, and the others folded.

Seven hands went by and we were in our first hand at the final table. I was down to 15K, blinds were 1,000/2,000/250 and I was on the big blind with QK. HJ called, CO raised to 8,000, and I re-raised to 14,925 all-in. HJ got out of the way and CO called with 40K behind. And KK. I got a Q on the river but it was too little, too late. I was a goner.

I took the smallest payout for ninth place. 97 minutes, 101 hands, only one bounty due to my poor showing in the first hour. ROI of 85%. In that first hour, I managed to fold a 34 in the small blind to a raise to fulfill one of the two sub-tasks for the 25-50BB section of the “Tournament Checklist” challenge. If I’d been able to cash in a regular-speed tournament within 48 hours of this one, I would have finished the fifth task, but that didn’t happen.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

AJ Mutant Jack knocked me down under 900 on the fourth hand in a three-way battle for a 4K pot that had two of us all-in. The cards on the board missed everyone. The smallest stack took over 3K with QQ and I got the 870 side pot, beating out the largest stack’s QK.

KK a little later doubled me up to just about 2,500 but I ran into AA with JQ just three hands after that, making two pair on the turn and going all-in but with A showing on the river to make a set.

19 minutes, 20 hands. Finished 28th.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

The fourth hand was even worse in this game. I held TT in the big blind, with a limper in UTG and a min-raise to 60 from UTG+1. I raised to 200 after action folded to me, UTG got out of the way and UTG+1 and I went to the flop. It was a safe-ish 842 and I bet another 200. UTG+1 raised with all but 30 of his chips to 1,045, and I called, which left me with only 195. 4 came with the turn and I raised to put him all-in, making the pot just under 2,600 chips. He held A3 for a straight draw, but he only had seven outs. Naturally, the river was A, making his better pair.

KA on my next hand allowed me to triple up my 165 over a A4 and another hand that was pushed out by a post-flop raise from the weak ace. There were two aces on the board by the river; presumably the folder didn’t like the one that showed on the flop.

It took about five minutes of play but I managed to get back over the starting stack with A9. We were at 25/50 and I open-raised all-in from UTG+1 with 715 chips. The guy who’d taken most of my stack earlier had done well since and was over 5K. He called from CO and we were heads-up with him holding 8K. The flop could hardly have been better for me: A69. A turned K gave him a slim opportunity for a set but cut off any backdoor flush, and the river 4 didn’t do anything.

I drifted down below 1,000 over the next nine hands until limps by UTG and SB let me play 78 from BB. The flop set me up for a double-gutter straight draw: 5J9. I was good with either a 6x or Tx. I bet 120 after SB checked the flop, getting a re-raise to 240 from UTG. SB folded; I called. The T turn gave me the higher straight. There was 720 in the pot, I had 645 and it went all-in, getting a call. UTG had J3 and was drawing dead before the river 9 showed. Suddenly, I was the third-largest stack at the table, with 2,010.

That was to be extremely short-lived, however. As anyone knows, playing the blinds can get you into trouble. Q6 on the small blind when you’ve got 25BB? Two players limped in for 80, I called, BB said all was good and the flop was an enticing 8Q3. I bet 200, action folded to HJ and he raised to 920 with 380 behind. I still had 1,730 and could have kept it but I put him all-in, he called, and then he showed TQ. T on the turn sealed my fate and I was back down into the hole, with 290. This time I wasn’t able to recover and I went out in 30th place four hands later.

34 minutes, 32 hands.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

I seriously can’t figure out what I was thinking on this hand. I had AJ on the eighth hand, the board ran out 4439J and I was all-in with a slightly-smaller stack before the river, which is the first time I had anything. The other player had a set on the flop, with 45. 8 minutes, 11 hands, 35th place.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Lost 440 early on chasing a flush with 9Q from UTG then picked up 1,000 on the next hand with more clubs. The 9A didn’t flush but the lower card paired on the turn to beat 88 held by SB. Lost the whole thing with a AJ Mutant Jack that missed Broadway and lost to a set (and a bigger hand) AK and a 9KQKJ board.

19 minutes, 17 hands, 35th place again.

The Nines

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

I ended up entering this tournament twice. There were a total of 435 entries from 295 players. Looking at the payouts, it’s sort of sobering to see how the multi-entry format makes it possible to make it into the money but still be behind at the end. One ninth of the forty-five players who got payouts were anywhere from a couple cents to an entire buyin underwater.

My first entry came to a screeching halt fairly early with KA. I’d fallen to just over 1,000 chips and got some good cards in UTG+3, raising to 125, but got a call from the small blind. The flop was uncoöperative with 3T7 and I tried to push it with a 300 bet but got an all-in from the SB, who still had an inferior hand with their 89 but was in good shape with a larger stack. I called (obviously, or I wouldn’t know their cards) and a 6 made their straight on the turn.

I had a little better luck with the second entry (I don’t make them simultaneously) but it was AK that did me in after a bit longer session. I was in the small blind, UTG+3 limped in, I raised to 600 and it was down to me and the UTG+3 when he called. 4TT on the flop. I made the desperate move of going all-in and he called me—with more than 20K and 8T in his hand, who wouldn’t? I was out—twice!—first in 142nd place and then in 86th. 28 minutes total.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

15 minutes. 140th place out of 264 entries.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

7 minutes. 152nd place out of 223 entries. Not an improvement.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #44 6-Max KO $350,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Play started off slow for me in this game: at least, it felt slow compared to the Rush games. But I really do like the 6-Max format, and the fact that this had knockout bounties and a large purse made it very attractive to me, despite the rather ugly history of my previous miniFTOPS outing.

I’d only lost a hundred or so chips to blinds when I picked up my first win ten minutes into the game with KJ. There was 140 in the pot and a flop of K3K which three players checked around. Another 3 on the turn and I popped out 40 for a bet, getting one call from a player who’d already lost a couple thousand chips. The 9 meant nothing to my full house, so I matched the pot and got a callI don’t know why—from the other player, holding A7.

The same guy got into it with me on the next hand. I had A2 and I was heads-up after raising to 90 pre-flop. The flop was J77, and I bet 75 after a check from the other player. 3 on the turn and we both checked. I got a pair with the river A. He bet 105 and I just called. He could have had another 7x or an Ax with a higher kicker—it wouldn’t have been hard—but no, just T2. It baffled me but I took the chips. He was moved to another table shortly thereafter.

Twenty minutes into the match we were playing five-handed and, I got Q8 in the UTG+1/hijack seat. Sort of an iffy hand—not high enough to make a killer pair, tent ends of a straight—but it’s in The Grid for six-handed play. Blinds were 15/30, UTG folded, and I raised to 75. Small blind called and the flop made the hand iffy no longer: [1h]26. I bet 120 after SB checked, then he called. 8 on the turn and he led out with 180, which I re-raised to 360, getting a call. 4 on the river. He checked and I made a 300 chip bet hoping that seemed weak enough to lure him in. He called and showed 77. I was up over 6,400.

My first bounty came with a player who’d lost all but 600 of his chips half-an-hour in, most in a 3-way battle with him having AxTx double-paired against a guy who was playing a suited queen and drew to a flush (not me). I was in the small blind with 99. UTG and the small stack on the button limped in. I raised to 120, which was met by both the limpers. 386 was the flop and I figured I’d keep the gas on, fairly certain that the small stack was going all-in. UTG dropped out; the button raised all-in for 490. I called and he flipped over 77, which wasn’t good news for him. J and Q on the turn and river. Pushed me up to just about 7K.

More pocket pairs: JJ on the big blind. Button—big stack at the table—raised to 150 and I re-raised to 325. The flop was T67. I bet out 400 and got a call. 8 on the turn improved my hand to a straight draw, which I checked just for fun, provoking an 800 bet. Who wouldn’t call that? The river 3 didn’t make any difference, but I was a little concerned he might have a 9x. I checked and he did, too, but his A6 wasn’t going anywhere and I was the big stack at the table for the next hand, with over 7,600 chips.

The Mutant Jack showed up to propel me over 10K about 45 minutes in. I was in the cutoff position with JA at 30/60. Two players to my left had more chips than I did (both had been brought in from other tables). UTG raised to 180, hijack called, I called, small blind called. 780 in the pot when the 4QA flop showed. UTG bet 780, so I was guessing he had an Ax. I called (Did he have a Kx? Was he already double-paired?). T for the turn. He bet again: 420. I figured: “What the heck, it’s the Mutant Jack.” 7 river. A whole lot of potential double-paired kicker combos out there; he might not need to have anything better than the J. He bet another 600, I gulped and paid the price, but all he had was A2. I only had 10,017, so I didn’t stay above the line for more than a hand.

AT was my last hand before the first break, and I picked up about 500 chips with it, which got me back over the line by 50. I popped off a note to Tomer, who had just arrived in Austria for EPT Snowfest. At the break, the chip average was 6,900, there were 10,900 players (registration was still open), and I was in 1,188th place. Tomer wrote back that he was watching my table while he ate dinner. Yikes!

A quarter-hour after the break, I’d only won one hand—and that was just the blinds. I was down to about 9K when I picked up 7Q on the button. Everything I said about 8Q above goes double for this pair of cards, and it won’t even make the straight. But it is on The Grid for six players, so long as you don’t put too much faith in it. The blinds were 50/100 and hijack raised to 214. I called and the big blind came along. Both stacks were a good bit smaller than me. The flop was a semi-promising TJ4. BB checked, HJ bet 345, I called and BB folded. A K showed on the turn and HJ bet another 645. I had a straight and flush draw but nothing else. I called. 7 on the river, a bet of 1,245 from HJ. I folded and consoled myself with having an 80% win rate at showdown, but I was down to 7,900 chips.

I continued a steady, slow bleed of chips after that, at one point folding five hands in a row after putting out blinds or bets. I was down to 6,000 before I managed to turn things around with JJ that turned into trips on the flop. My real breakthrough came halfway through the second hour when I made the first of two big mistakes.

I was on the button with about 7,200 chips. Both the blinds (which were 80/160) had about 3,500. UTG and cutoff were both over 10K, and hijack had a few hundred more than I did. Both the big stacks stayed out of this hand, but HJ bet 324. With 99 in my hand, I raised to 560. Short-stacked big blind went all-in for 3,561. HJ folded but I thought BB was pushing with a strong ace. Calling would cost me half my stack if I lost but I did it, feeling very stupid when he flipped over QQ. The 653 flop was bleak, but the turn and river were 99 for some major suckage. Another bounty and I was up to 11K. I managed to get over 12K, but within 20 minutes I was back below the 8K mark.

Someone else’s nines didn’t fare so well against me just before second break. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was on the button again, only with AA. UTG—with only about 2,500 chips—raised to 555. I re-raised to 1,080, the blinds got out of the way, and UTG called. The flop was K52, he checked, and I bet 480, fairly sure he was committed to going all-in. He did and I called. 99, but no miracle for him on the turn and river, just 24. That netted me 3K and put me back near 12K. I was falling further behind the leaders, though, with all of this up-and-down motion.

My last bounty came through no action of my own, shortly after the second break. I was big blind with A7, so I was playing, no matter what. Action folded all the way around to the small blind, who had only about 2,200. He went all-in and I called, with more than 9K behind. He flipped K3, the board ran out Q99A8, and I scooped his chips.

Another series of decent cards that didn’t connect followed that, and I’d slipped down to 9,200 twenty minutes after the second break. Blinds were 170/340/25, and I was on the big blind holding 43, which I would normally just toss. Hijack min-raised to 680, everyone else folded, and I thought I’d get fancy and play my low cards to see if they’d connect. We were almost evenly matched, with me having about 400 more chips. The flop was 223! I had a pair! I bet 1,680 (the pot) and got a re-raise for 8,090. I could have stopped there and saved my 6,800 chips but I called and he rolled over 44. If only my hand had been 2x3x. KJ on the turn and river. On my next and last hand I was one card away from a flush and a straight that would have ended in a split pot but my J8 was beat by a 5J that paired the first card on the flop.

140 minutes, 4 bounties, -38% ROI. Finished 6,311 out of 17,102 players.

It’s a busy week in the non-poker sphere but I’m watching Tomer’s progress at Snowfest today; tonight I’ll be trying to get my quest for the puffmammy POY back on track, and this weekend is one of our double-point quarterly events.

Queen of Spades Kills the Action

D’s Game

Played at the dealer’s choice cash game again, but without the saving coup at the end. My worst beat of the night came on a 7-card stud variation I can’t remember the name of that had wild queens. I got two queens down and a king up, I’d been pushing the pot incrementally, and got another queen up on the last card. Then the queen of spades came as an up card, which killed the hand and broke my quad kings.

Full Tilt $15,000 KO Guarantee 6-Max (3,000 chips)

This game started off with a great overlay of only about 175 players but it was clearly going to meet its guarantee by the time I was eliminated. I’d won nothing larger than 100 chips, waiting for my spot for almost half an hour and dropping about 400 chips when I got 5A in my hand on the button at the 20/40 level. There was a limp and a min-raise, which I called. The blinds dropped out and the limper called.

The flop gave me a straight: 432. The raiser bet 120, I re-raised to 300, and the limper folded. There was a three-bet to 720 and I raised all-in to 2,550. He called and showed his flush draw: AT. The turn J was safe but 9 on the river put me out and gave him my bounty.

Full Tilt Step 1 Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Kind of rocky for the first twenty minutes: meaning I was flirting with the 1,500-chip starting position most of the time. A couple good hands bumped me up to 2K for a few minutes but then a nut flush draw bottomed out and I lost 500.

Then I caught a batch of good hands, starting with TT and a double-up. We were already down to six players and two of us went to the flop after a raise to 300 (at 50/100). The flop was an unpromising QK3, but I called the bet of 700 with most of my stack to be rewarded with T on the turn. I checked again and was put all-in to call. He turned over KA, the river was a 5 and I was up to 2,820. I picked up the blinds on the next two hands with raises holding aces, got a straight on the river with 9T, and extracted a little bit more with 4A.

Ten minutes more and KK made me another 1,800 chips, even without the help of K on the river. That put me up at 5,400 and I managed not to blow it, going out in second place—which was enough to win a Step 2 ticket.

Full Tilt Step 2 Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

I built up to a nearly 2:1 lead over the other stacks by the 40-minute mark with four players eliminated, and over 45% of the chips in play in my stack. We were competing for two Step 3 tickets. Did I get one? No. I risked nearly 2K on a JQ and got knocked down to a minimal lead, then slowly slipped into third place, which is where I went out, earning another Step 2 ticket.

Full Tilt Step 2 Sit & Go 18-Players (1,500 chips)

Made it to almost 6K in chips before the tables consolidated but won just a single hand after that point, going out in sixth place, and getting yet another chance for Step 2.

Aces Players Club $1K Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Took a couple of early hits that nearly chopped my stack in half by the 40-minute mark, but shortly before the first break I caught a double-up with a flush through Señor Frog, a player two seats to my right who had a sparkly amphibian statuette for a card protector who was sucking down chips like they were flies. Didn’t quite make it to the second break, though, when I had QxQx. The flop was 7x9xTx, there was a (shorter-than-me) stack all-in, an all-in by the Frog, and even though I was virtually certain that the Frog had pocket 9x9x, I went all-in to call. Hey! I was right! The initial all-in had AxKx and the Frog ate our chips.

Aces Players Club (5,000 chips)

I hate to even admit this but this blog does not lie. The late-night table was exceedingly wild, with two all-ins and rebuys within the first six hands. I’m playing cautiously, I think. I’ve still got most of my stack left twenty minutes in when I get to the flop with KT in my hand and two hearts on the flop. The lady across the table goes all-in. I call—which means I’m all-in—and another player follows. The lady flips JJx. The other caller flips KT. I look back down at my cards and what I see is KT. Not good. The jacks win. I decide my eyes need some rest but instead I play some poker.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Everything’s peachy until the last hand. Bleed some chips looking for a good hand, win a chunk of chips, repeat. It doesn’t work when my A9 runs into 88, though. Four players go to the flop: me, in the big blind, and three limpers. I make top pair on the 289 board, make a pot-sized raise that gets one call, and a player on the button raises to 450, which I call. Then the player who’d called my bet goes all-in for more than either of the other two of us in the hand. Mr. raise-to-450 gets out of the way and I stupidcall. Trips end my tournament.

Full Tilt $18,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

I’m above the starting stack for less than 20% of this tournament. My last hand is AA. The flop is AJ7. 98 calls my 628 all-in pre-flop, just from a starting stack. The turn of 6 and river T make his straight and my trip aces are no good.

Full Tilt On Demand (1,500 chips)

More textbook tournament stack building ruined by stupidcalling. Forty minutes in, I’d quadrupled my stack. I got J8, min-raised at the 40/80 level, got a call from the small blind, a raise from the big blind, and calls all around. The flop is J8T. Top pair and an open-ended straight draw. I raise 500, small blind folds and big blind calls. The river’s just 2 but Q shows on the river. I have a chance to bail when a 1,400 chip bet is raised but I go all-in with my Q-high straight. It’s called immediately by KA. Wouldn’t you?