If I’m Going to Live Fast and Die Young I’d Better Get On With It

Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee

My big game for the week was the Encore on Friday night rather than Saturday because I had plans for Saturday (more of that in a bit). This game got off to a great start for me and then went all to hell as it so often does.

Several players at the table had chipped up a bit from the 9,000 starting stack, although the table behind us was the one announcing re-buys every few minutes (they’d been a late-seated table and there was a re-buy on their first hand). I was in the SB at what I think was only 50/100 still, and looked down at 8x8x. There was some raising ahead of me, but I had to see the flop; there was a couple thousand in the pot pre-flop.

Then the flop showed 8x7x2x in a rainbow of colors. If I remember the sequence correctly, I believe I checked it. BB bet out 2,000 chips. SH—a club regular seated in HJ position—called, followed by BTN. I raised to 5,000. SB pushed all-in for 13,000+, SH shoved over the top, and I was so twitchy to get my chips into the middle I set off alarms and BTN didn’t have to think about it and folded. SB had 2x2x and SH had the 7x7x, so we were set over set over set. I couldn’t have been happier as my top set held through the river and I raked in a pot of about 40,000 chips.

That was the end of the good times, though. I held my fire through to the break, playing patiently. Nut the hands weren’t coming, not even suited gappers. The one time I picked up a KQ in BTN position, I was ready to make a move when SH—who had re-bought and managed to build up a decent stack by that time—shoved it in. I pushed the cards away, thinking I’d find a better spot, but it just never came. When I did make a call of a raise with a speculative hand, it got picked off by stacks large enough I just couldn’t stick with it.

Eventually, I got to the point where I was getting cut down by better hands. By the end of my night, I was down to less than 10,000 chips, picked up AQ, and shoved from late position, hoping just to take the blinds. The player in BB looked down at her hand, called, and flipped over AxKx, hitting the king on the river.

Three hours and forty minutes. -100% ROI. 50th of 108 players.

Tomer Drops By

It was an honor to have Tomer Berda, WSOP $2,500 No Limit Hold’em bracelet winner and #12 on Bluff‘s 2010 Player of the Year list (#22 on CardPlayer‘s 2010 list) over at the house last Saturday, as he and his friend made a trip through the Northwest. He’s been a source of inspiration and useful data since we reconnected shortly before he won his bracelet. We had the usual fantastic dinner at Khun Pic’s Bahn Thai.


Aces Players Club 10pm Turbo (5,000 chips)

The night started off well. I was in seat three (BB) at the first table and was dealt Qx6x. I stayed in through the flop, hit two pair, and pushed the other players out on the turn. My second hand was A3 and I made the wheel on the flop, with several hundred in pre-flop bets in the pot. I checked, UTG2 opened for 400 and I raised to 1,000. He was the only caller. I bet another 1,500 on the turn and won. Ten minutes into the game, I was up 1,500 chips.

I won another 400 holding AxJx. The board double-paired itself by the turn as I was heads-up with another player and we were checking it down, then with an Ax on the river I made a bet of 200 and took the pot. Q4 made me another small pot when I caught the low pair on the flop and somehow made the best hand. “Pair of fours” became the catch-phrase of the night but it marked the turning point in my fortunes.

KxJx cost me 350 on one hand, then I dropped another 1,200 with JT and a board that went all diamondy. The winner hit the nut flush on the flop. Still, I had 5,975 at the half-hour.

My real turn-around hand was calling an all-in of 2,800 (about half my stack) with JT. It was a classic race with two over cards (suited, in my case) against a pair, but  when I went over the stats, I noticed something odd.


Not only was the suited jack-ten combination favored over the pair of fives but it was the best suited connector hand overall against the lower pair, with an 8% relative advantage over even AK. According to the CardPlayer Poker Odds Calculator, something similar holds for 7x7x and lower, which is where the JTs combination has a better-than-even chance of winning. It didn’t in my case, however.

I went all-in on my next hand, holding KxTx and enough chips to get everyone except the guy to my immediate right to fold. He called and flipped AxAx and my initial buy-in was gone.

It was a turbo tournament, and we were already up to 200/400 by my re-buy. Raises were beginning to get even more aggressive. I called 1,600 with A6 and paired the lower card on the dryish flop, but folded to an all-in from three positions to my right. He took the pot, didn’t show, then announced it had been a “pair of fours”.

I shoved the rest of my second stack shortly thereafter holding 3x3x. Got called by a player two seats to my left, he hit his ace on the flop and I was gone. Even a pair of fours wouldn’t have helped me.

Fifty minutes. 16th of 16 players. -100%ROI.


Hansen, He’s So Hot Right Now

Talking with D a few months back, he mentioned that he and K—the only other person with a chance to win the POY title in our home series this year—had been talking together about how I’d improved, and compared my playing style to Gus Hansen. Personally, I was thinking  of myself as more of an old, fat Phil Laak, but I saw this paragraph in a report today and had to send it to them to see if perhaps it’s what they were thinking about subconciously:

Hansen’s profits over the past week have brought his 2011 earnings to a massive $4 million. However, the Danish poker pro is no stranger to fast starts. In both 2009 and 2010 Hansen opened with multi-million dollar wins in the first few months of the year, only to finish the respective calendar year in the hole.