Chip Leader Flirtation

Carbon Poker $2,000 Guarantee (2,000 chips, 1 Re-Buy, 1 Add-On)

Haven’t been playing many tournaments online lately but I tried this one on a whim after my live successes over the past week.

I joined the game in progress part-way through the first level and ended up at a short-handed table to begin with. My second hand was JT, which I overplayed on a two-way straight draw flop of Q9A, and with Q on the turn and nothing better I had to give it up and abandon ship to the guy with trips. I was down to 1,670 early on.

My first BB was the Doyle Brunson hand: 2T. No thanks, and the raises to nearly 300 ahead of me made it an easy lay-down. I dropped several more hands of the same ilk.

Nine hands in I had a something a little tasty, a 7K UTG. I raised 3x the big blind to 90, got two callers, then BB went all-in with his already-swollen stack of 5,722. I put my remaining 1,535 up against it and everyone else folded. BB flipped over AK. The flop, though, was 53Q and he was dead at that point. I doubled up and we moved on.

A few hands later at a new table, I picked up 9T on BTN. Two players limed in for 40 ahead of me, I limped and both the blinds were in. I hit an open-ended straight draw on the flop with 8A7. A big stack in BB bet 150, UTG1 called, CO folded, I raised to 500, SB called, BB folded, and UTG1 called. 1,850 in the pot when the 6 made my nut straight on the turn. It was checked to me and I bet half the pot. SB was all-in for 1,410, UTG1 folded, and I had to call. J on the river improved my straight but did nothing for SB’s Q6 and I was up to 5,865 at the first break. I bought the add-on for another 3K.

99 cost me almost 800 when I went up against KQ (one of my favorite hands) which made a full house by the turn. That was just some stupid betting on my part.

I got a little tricky with A2 on the BB a bit later. UTG2 raised to 180, I was the only caller. The flop was 2A7 and I checked to get a 300 bet from UTG2. I just called. 9 gave me a potential nut flush on top of my two pair. I hoped he didn’t have another card to go with his ace and checked. He bet 660 and I raised to 2,500. That left me with 4,715 behind, which was coincidentally equal to his bet and remaining chips. He pushed all-in and I called. He had the better ace with QA but the 3 on the river sealed his fate and I came out with just under 13K. I raised to 180 on my SB with 24 and BB called; I made a pair of twos on the flop and bet another 180, BB folded, and I was over 13K.

About forty minutes into the game, I had a less-than-ideal 43 as SB at the 50/100 level. There was a stack of 16K on my right as BTN, CO and I were both at about 12K, BB and UTG2 were in the 5.5K range, UTG1 was sitting on a little more than 10K and the short stack was UTG with 1,400. CO called, BTN called, I limped in, and BB checked. The flop fit me like a glove: 562. I checked. BB bet 266, two players folded, and I raised to 1,198. He re-raised all-in to 5,742 and I called. He did have two pair, with 26 but the turn and river only had high hearts and he was out. 18,242 in the stack.

The very next hand was a monster for me, with AK on BTN. I was already in one of the top five slots on the leader board. UTG limped for 100, HJ called, I raised to 500. BB folded (no SB this hand) and both of the other players called. The flop wasn’t particularly good for me: Q98. I was two cards off of anything. It was checked around to me and I gave it a check myself, getting K on the turn. Another 100 bet from UTG, another call from UTG2, and I decided to test the water with a raise to 2,000. UTG immediately shoved to 9,936 all-in. UTG2 fled the scene. I had an interesting dilemma, because while I did have the better kicker on the king, there were straight possibilities, double pairs, etc. But I had the bet covered and I’d still have almost 8K if it didn’t work. I was in bad shape, because he had 98, but then the river card turned out to be the A and I won the pot of 21.5K, putting me over 29K total and about 10K ahead of anyone else in the tournament.

Top prize in the pot was over $620, with $450 for second and so on.  It would be a great week if I could pull this off. So how did I blow it?

About ten minutes had gone by, with me still far ahead of anyone else in the game. My table had a player with about 20K, one with 10K, three with between 5K and 6K and three with 3K down to 800. I was UTG with JK at 100/200. I raised to 600 and got an all-in call from HJ, one of the 5K stacks. I called, he showed 44, I hit J on the turn but the entire board was 87J65, giving him the straight and 11K out of the pot. I can’t fault that call.

AJ Mutant Jack two hands later. Two limpers, I raise to 1,000, get one call from HJ (with a stack of 10K), a flop of 565 that promises a nut flush which we both check, 2 on the turn which gets a bet of 200 from HJ and a call from me, and 6 on the river which gets checked, bet for 200 by me, then raised to 3,400. I’ve got nothing there but the high card for two low pairs. And I’m down to 25K.

I managed to stay above 20K for another ten minutes, then had a sumptuous 9T as HJ. I was still the biggest stack at the table with 22.5K but I was down around tenth overall. Blinds were 125/250/25 and UTG2 pushed with 5,350. I was the only caller, he showed QQ and I was a 1:4 underdog. That disparity increased to 1:19 after the AA5 flop, and it never got better. Down to 17, 155.

44 UTG pushed me back above 20K. I raised to 500 and got HJ (with a nearly even stack) to call. The flop had lots of danger cards—8TT—but I bet another 500 and got another call. 5 on the turn looked harmless but it was still an over card to me. I checked and HJ bet 1,950. I called. J on the river got another check from me, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if HJ bet, but he checked and showed AK.

Managed to hold on for another twenty minutes in a position that would be just out of the money (below 20)if the game ended immediately, as players were eliminated. Blinds were 150/300/25, I was BB with 4K. UTG1 min-raised, BTN went all-in for only 409, I called. I made top pair with 39K for the flop and bet 900, with UTG1 calling. The 8 for the turn didn’t mean much to me and I bet another 900, getting raised to 1,800, which I just called. The river T was a bit concerning and I checked it, but called the bet of 2,100 from UTG1. BTN just had 8J, and UTG1 had nothing real until the river with TA. The win put me up just over 27K and moved me back near the top ten.

Lost out again with QJ in UTG at 200/400/50. I lead off with a bet of 800, and was raised to 8,420 by the table’s 40K big stack at BTN. Naturally, I called it. The flop was A49 and I checkedBTN bet another 6,420 and I had to call it off with my nothing.

From 19K after that hand, I was chopped down to 14K over the next ten minutes, playing marginal stuff. Finally, I had a pair, although not a particularly good one. At 250/500/50, I raised to 1,500 with 88. BB re-raised to 4,500 and I shoved to 13,869. BB called with 14K behind and showed KK. For a second, it looked luke I might get lucky, with 66T7 by the turn, but the river 4 killed that chance.

107 minutes, 99 hands. Finished 56th of 197 players.