Comebacks and Failures

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #2 No Limit Hold’em (10,000 chips)

It took me a little bit to figure out where my table was Saturday, after blowing out of one satellite early and then getting $100 out of a 3-way chop in a second. I was on one of the tables up on the stage at one end of the main tournament room, once again well out of sight lines to any tournament clocks.

In the first twenty minutes, I was dealt [9x 9x] UTG twice and raised only to encounter horrible flops and laid them down to post-flop action. Between that and other hands I entered—with reasonably playable cards—I was down 800 chips.

By forty-five minutes in, I’d managed to win a hand with [ac tc] and then lose some with the same hand. Then I lost more getting tricky with [kh 3h] and was down to 8,350.

If you get [7x 7x] on BB, what do you get for the flop when you call a raise? [ ax jx 9x]. No. Down to 7,900 on the hour.

Thought I might make a little back with [qs 9s] and two queens on the flop. Unfortunately, a jack on the board was the only other hight card, so I lost to [qx tx] instead of chopping.

I saw a flop of [5x 4d 2d] with [kd 5d] and called an all-in who just had [tx 4x]. He binked a ten on the turn and I was down to just 3,000 chips just eighty minutes into the game.

Immediately, I went into cornered wolverine mode and when I managed to connect to a flop on the next hand, I shoved and made it up to 3,700. I had some regrets folding [qx 9x] and seeing the flop put out [jx tx 8x] a couple minutes later, but after losing the hand earlier, I was a little shy of what I’m calling “the mini-Butcher.”

Just before the first break, I was dealt [qx qx] on BB and shoved over a raise ahead of me. The raiser called and showed a suited ace, but lost the pot and I was left a little more breathing space with 6,700 chips.

One of the players from my table in Event #1 was seated on my immediate right at this table, and he was in bad shape. He shoved about fifteen minutes into the second session, and I called him with [ax kx]. His [kx qx] made a king-high straight on the flop, putting me in bad shape, but I caught a two-outer with a queen on the turn to make Broadway and zoom up to the stratospheric level of 8,250 chips.

Ten minutes later, I was back over the starting stack. About that time, another player from our table busted and another player mentioned that he was Tam Nguyen, the all-time money winner at the Wildhorse Poker Round-Up.

Two big pre-glop pots brewed up something good for me. I played [kc jc] and made two pair against [ax kx[ who just paired the king, then hit an ace on the flop with my own [ax kx] calling an all-in of 4,700 with another caller. Forty-five minutes after the break, I was up to 22,500 and over the chip average.

I raised three calls at 150/30/25 to 1,200 with [8x 8x] on BTN, got a call, then bet again on the flop and took it down. Then I lost some chips but missed a bullet when the river of a hand where I had [qs ts] and a flush draw slowed down the action and revealed my opponent had a king-high flush. I was still over 20,000.

As we were getting to fours hours in, I min-raised with [kx kx] and a short-stacked player shoved. I called him and beat his [9x 9x], putting me up to 24,800. Then I blew 6,000 and change calling with [ah 8d] after three diamonds showed on the flop. No more heats ever came. At 250 minutes, I was sitting on 21,575.

Then, when [qx jx] never went anywhere with a flop of [ax kx jx], I was broken right back down below starting stack, to 9,975. Back to wolverine mode.

I waited until I picked up [tx tx] about 280 minutes in. There were pre-flop raises to 2,500 and I shoved, getting called by [ax qx]. That doubled me up to 20,650. Set-mining was getting costly, and I lost 2,400 in two hands calling wit [3x 3x] and [6x 6x]. Then I made the mistake of calling a 3,000 bet from BB with [jc 8c].

My own experience with over cards against [tx tx] fared about as well as my earlier opponents’ did. A short stack across the table shoved and I thought he had a low pair. I was right in that my [qc jc] were both overs, but nothing came through for me and I was down to just 2,500 at the five hour mark. That was an M (or CSI, if you prefer) of 0.8.

The guy who’d doubled up against me and I went into a sort of war just before the dinner break. He shoved, and I called with [ax 5x], making two pair against his [6x 6x], then I called his all-in with just [tc 7c]. He showed [ax kx], but not only did I pair the seven, but I made a straight by the river, which cut him back considerably.

The glow from a third comeback wasn’t to last long, though. At least, not much longer than the dinner break. About ten minutes into the session, I shipped with [ax qx] over a 5,000 raise by a player who’d been playing a lot of suited connectors, much to the detriment of other stacks at the table. This time, he had [kx kx]. I hit a [qx], but never improved beyond that and was out.

Six hours and fifteen minutes. ~180th of 478 entries. $95,732 pot.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #3 No Limit Hold’em Shootout (10,000 chips)

I sat down at the table Sunday and tournament director K from The Final table was the dealer. While it’s always nice to see a familiar face, I have to point out that my track record in tournaments at TFT is not good. For whatever reason, my performance at other venues is far better. Not that I actually believe the dealers have anything to do with it, but if you were the kind of person who did take omens and portents seriously….

Once again, I tok the poison pot. In fact, I took the first two hands with ease. I lost some chips to post-flop bets, but I was holding my own ahead of the starting stack a quarter hour in when a woman who’d been at one of my tables in Event 1 was eliminated on a very loose all-in shove. I was sorry to see all her chips go across the table. To someone else.

I picked up a pot with [jx jx], even with an ace on the flop, lost 500 with the Mutant Jack against [ax qx] with nothing on the board higher than a ten. Then I pushed with [8x 8x] from late position nd won heads-up against the SB with [jd 9d 6x] on the flop. Half an hour in, I was at 10,450.

My first big mistake was calling a 3,000 post-flop raise with a Broadway draw needing a ten. Just after the first hour, I was down to 6,325.

I raised UTG with [tx tx] and got shoved on by a slightly larger stack in BTN. I called him and he flipped [tx tx]. Nobody flushed and we chopped the 300 chips in blinds.

I didn’t even bother to record what my last hand was. All I know is that it was before the break.

Eighty minutes. 228 entries.

Tomorrow’s the Limit Omaha Hi-Lo tournament. I hope I do better than I’ve been doing in cash games. In one this afternoon, I was down to 10% of my buy-in, then managed to get up to 160% in almost no time. I should have pushed back and taken my profit, but I almost felt like I owed it to stay in a while longer because I’d hardly been there for twenty minutes. I need to put those types of feelings aside, because I ended up felted after another near-bust, recovery, and bust. Like I told the players at the tournament, I’m a master of the short-stack comeback, but that’s not exactly something you want to have to be good at.

Fooling Around In Omaha

Portland Players Club Player of the Month High Hand Jackpot (7,000 chips)

I made four-of-a-kind with a hand in March at PPC, which got me an extra 1,000 bonus for this game. With the 3,000 pre-add-on, I was starting with 11,000 chips.

Picked up a free note-taking tool for my iPhone called MomentDiary which I came to like quite a lot during this tournament. The plan was to try it out at the Poker Pro Challenge but their ban on electronic devices kept me from using it. The great thing about it for poker notation is that it timestamps each entry. Haven’t found a way to batch delete a bunch of notes yet, though; I made more than 75 notes in tournaments on April Fool’s Day.

Won the first hand with [jx 8x], hitting a straight on the flop. One of the other players said it was the “poison pot” and maybe it was (as you’ll see).

Almost immediately after that, I picked up [kx kx] but was smart enough to lay it down early on a board that was turning into a straight that left me just out of the mix. The winner made quad tens by the river, although it didn’t actually go to showdown.

I more than made up for that fold playing [4s 5s] and hitting a 7-high straight on the flop. I called and pushed on seat 9 and took several thousand chips from him at showdown when all he had was [ax ax].

My next hand was [4x 4x] on BTN and I would have bet it but CO discarding accidentally flipped a four over and I just folded instead of hoping the case card would show on the flop to make me a set. That saved me a couple hundred at least; the board was far too high to make a pair of fours happy.

Fifteen minutes into the game, I was up about 4,000 chips. I raised to 225 with [6d 3d], then called a 600 re-raise. After getting an inside straight draw on the flop I bet another 1,000 but had to fold to an all-in bet down the line.

Another [4x 4x], this time on BB. SB raised to 700 pre-flop and I saw it with two other callers. The flop was [7x 7x 3x] and I bet 1,000 after SB checked. People were guessing my hand and nobody was even close. When one guy guessed that I had a pair of eights, I said that I “had eight.”

Twenty minutes had passed since my last chip count and I was still at 15,125.

I raised to 300 with [jx tx] and made my straight on the river to pick up some more chips to put me at 16,775.

Lost a little ground with [qx tx] after raising to 425 and seeing the board run out [5x 5c 7x 5x 9x]. Had to fold to a bet.

The Butcher [qs ts] messed me over for another 800 when I couldn’t get a king on the board to make Broadway.

Holding [jd td], I re-raised from 1,200 to 2,500 after a [9h jh qh] flop but had to fold to an all-in. The winner showed [ax ah] and the original raiser had non heart [kx kx]. At only about 19% chance to win, my fold was the right thing to do (I was well ahead of the kings) but I sure would have liked to see the rest of the board.

I was knocked back to 12,350, but managed to make a bunch on the last hand before the break with [jx tx] and another flopped straight (queen-high). By the time the counting was over, I was up to 17,350.

Starting back up after the break, I saw the flop as BB with [7x 3x] and had an inside straight  draw again. I bet 700 and everyone folded.

I folded myself after calling 300 with [ah 7h] and seeing an all-spade flop.

About twenty minutes into the second segment of the tournament I was holding 21,800, including the 5,000 add-on from the break.

I put out another 1,100 on [ax 8x] then folded along with several others after a short stack shoved for another 6,000. He showed [6h th] after he raked in his chips.

Another [jx tx] on BTN and I called a raise to 900 along with BB. I had top two pair on a flop with two diamonds. He bet 1,500 and I shoved to take the pot down.

Raised to 800 with [jx tx] just a couple minutes later as HJ and had to fold to all-in from CO, then called 1,400 with [kx tx] and hit top two pair on the flop. I bet 2,500 and got my opponent to fold. He showed [ax qx].

My stack was up to 22,650. I was heavily invested in jack-ten combinations in this game and made two pair on the turn just a couple minutes later on a board with a potential Broadway straight on it. Pushing all-in on a 6,000 post-turn bet cost me over 16,000 when the other guy had the straight and I failed to hit a full house on the river. Down to 6,425.

Ten minutes later I pushed all-in with [jx tx] again after pairing the top card on the flop, ran into [ax ax] and didn’t improve.

Two hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 28th of 41 entries.

Portland Players Club Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo (10,000 chips)

I don’t get to play nearly enough Omaha tournaments, and I’m a real sucker for the split-pot game. It’s definitely my preferred game over high-only. I’ve had some success with it in live limit cash games and had made the final table in a couple tournaments, but never managed to cash before this game. All I can say is it’s hard to take notes on.

Got a 1,000 chip bonus for this game for whatever reason, so I was starting with 11,000 on the table.

About ten minutes in, I played [ax jx 8x 5x] and made a Broadway straight on the turn with a heart flush draw on the board. A third heart came on the river, there was no low, and I ended up splitting the high with another player holding Broadway. No gain and a little loss from blinds; I was at 10,925 at fifteen minutes.

My [5x 6x 7x 8x] wrap completed an eight-high straight in a huge pot with two larger stacks all in over me. I took the high by myself, the main and side pot lows got quartered, and there was five minutes of bickering over what amounted to a 300 chip second side pot. At the half-hour mark, I was holding 22,350.

I called a raise to 1,100 pre-flop with [qh 7h 5c ac], paired the five on the flop and called a bet of 1,025, then folded in the face of another 4-way all-in. Quad eights took the whole shebang.

I lost a big hand I didn’t manage to record, and was cut in half to 11,575 near the end of the first hour of play.

Then came the hand that changed everything. [ah kh 2d 5s] looked pretty good on the [tc 7h 3h] flop and by the time [4h] and [9h] were also on the board, I had the nut flush for the high hand and a part of the low. With several players all-in (as usual) my stack jumped up to 50,325.

Even with the big stack, I added on for another 5,000 chips, one of the best decisions I made in this game, as you’ll see.

Just after the break, a [qx 6x] in my hand made me 5,000 when I improved a full house on a [qx qx 2x 2x 6x] board. I lost a little ground on a straight draw, but was still at 58,100 one hundred minutes in.

The two largest stacks in the tournament were me and another player at my table, and we got into it with both tables five-handed. He pushed hard with a straight and full house draw but I hit quad nines and knocked him out, putting my stack up to 108,400 and more than a third of the chips in play.

Knocked out another player with [ax 2x 4x 5x] by making two pair for the high and scooping the low, then took a hand from PPC regular T with [5x 5x ax kx], putting me up to 118,400.

By break 2, I’d hit 140,000.

A big pot with [2x 2x jx qx] made a set to grab the high and put me up to 160,500 as we approached three-hours of play. Then things got grim.

In less than ten minutes, I missed two draws for a Broadway straight and a flush that cost me a total of 22,500. Then I made a set of queens on a flop and called an all-in from B, who had [kx qx] and two pair. Another [kx] on the turn made full houses for both of us but I was on the losing side of that one and was back down to  98,500 as we actually hit three hours.

Ten minutes later I was still bleeding chips and down to 74,500. I managed to take one hand and bet people off my flush, then lost with two pair against a full house and didn’t hit my low. I hit the same straight as a another player and chopped a pot that would have been nice to take in toto, then flopped another straight and was all-in but was outdrawn by a flush that took all but 6,000 of my chips. It was just twenty-five minutes since I’d had 58% of the chips in play and I was down to one big blind. If I had skipped buying the add-on at the first break, I’d probably have busted out already—at best I would have only had 1,000 chips.

The next ten minutes were a blur. I caught some amazing cards, including a couple of high pairs and and managed to double up at least three times. In eight minutes, I was back up to 84,000 chips, then I knocked out B short of the money and hit the last break with 102,000.

Not long after the break was over, we managed to get it down to heads-up. I was back on top with about a 40,000 chip advantage but we chopped the top two positions evenly and called the game at four hours.

Four hours. +272% ROI. Chopped 2 ways with 15 entries.

Hit the Road, Jacks

Portland Players Club $250 Freeroll

I’d barely sat down at table 2 when I was moved (before the first hand) to table 3 in the small blind. I was sitting between a dead stack in seat 2 and a woman on my left I hadn’t played against before.

On the button I raised with [2x 3x] to 150 and made bottom pair on the flop. I stayed with it until the river when I got a [3x], then took a few hundred more off my neighbor who’d hit top pair.

Just a couple hands later, I had a [kx 9x] and raised to 200. The flop was [kx 4x 4x] and I pushed for another 700, ending up heads-up with the same player. [kx] on the turn and I was golden unless she had pocket fours. I bet 1,200 and she called. When the [6x] came on the river, I figured she must have the other king, and it was a chop, so I didn’t bet it (a decision I would come to regret). I flipped over my full house and said I thought it would be a chop; she flipped over [8x 8x] and said she figured I had nothing.

I won a number of other pots simply by betting out, but made a big mistake with [6x 6x]. I pushed after an unassuming flop, thinking the player at the other end (one of the Encore dealers) was on an ace. He flipped [jx jx] and made a set on the flop, reducing my stack by over 3,000 chips.

A dry spell hit me as the break approached and I was down to just 600 chips when I called a raise to 700 with [8s 5s]. Another player called the raise and three of us saw the flop with a split pot. The cards were [jx 5x 4x]. The last caller made a bet that pushed the original raiser out of the hand and it was heads-up for the main pot. He had [qs js], but I got lucky with another five on the river for a set and tripled up.

After the break, I pulled in a few more small pots, then picked up [tx tx] in the SB. Only one player came into the hand with a raise, then I re-raised to 2,200, only to have BB raise me all-in. The original raiser dropped out and I had to call, only to be up against [jx jx] again. The flop put out another one, and by the turn I was drawing dead.

One hour and thirty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 22nd of 32 players.

Mistakes Were Made

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee (10,000 chips)

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.

Four hours. -100% ROI. 38th of 79 players.

The Barber

Encore Club $3,000 Guarantee Monthly Champions Freeroll (7,000 chips)

After it was all over, I told the manager at the Encore that it was a good thing I’d spent some time establishing my table image as a complete fish earlier in the week, with two noon games where I busted out in the first round. Then again, it was a victory in another noon game that got me into the “Freeroll.”

Now—particularly considering the way things turned out—I’m not complaining, but the Champions event (open to winners of the six daily events through a calendar month) does have a $20 door fee. Six games a day, thirty days a month, minus duplicate winners and people who don’t make the event, and you might get around 150 players. (Last Saturday it was 138.) That puts the take in door fees within a couple hundred dollars of the freeroll guarantee, which sort of means the players are funding at least half of it themselves, given that a bunch of degenerate poker players are likely to be putting out a $10 door on a Saturday night anyway.

Encore August Champions TournamentI got a good start in the first few levels with a full house holding a low pocket pair and managed to pick up about 1,600 chips before [ax jx] let me down as I was drawing for Broadway against an older gent. I needed a [qx] but got a [jx] on the river and bet my two pair, but that made Broadway for his [ax qx] and I was down to about 6,000. I held the line through level 3 and managed to double up just before the first break.

That’s pretty much where I stayed through the next three levels as the blinds leapfrogged from 200/400 to 300/600 to 400/800. At the second break (when I took the photo above) I still had only 13,000 chips even though I’d bought 5,000 in add-on chips. I’d gone from 30bb to 13bb and was at only two-thirds of the average stack.

Another two levels passed without any movement on my part, which was bad, because the blinds took a big jump between level 7 (500/1,000) and level 8 (1,000/2,000). I managed to hold out to level 9 (1,500/3,000) with only four big blinds left then shoved with [kx jx] twice and managed to take the blinds. Pushed again with [jx tx] on a dry board with [tx] as the top card and bets on the table and the take took me up to 35,000 before the third break. I was still a couple thousand chips below average (with 47 players left), and was about to start a level with just eight big blinds, but it was better than my position at the previous break.

The fourth session is sort of a blur for me. It would probably be a lot better if I could remember what happened. All I know for sure is that I sent DV an email during the fourth break just after midnight saying: 2 very good hands in last rounds up to 225000. No idea what those hands were or how they played out, but I did somehow manage to sextuple my stack over the hour. Don’t ask the centipede how he keeps all those feet coördinated.

An hour later and we consolidated to the final table. Incredibly, I was the chip leader, with 510,000, just ahead of the guy to my right who had just under 500,000. Between us we held over half the chips in play (about 1.8 million). He rather quickly set to knocking out other players, and in short order he’d added another 800,000 or so onto his stack by removing five players. I was holding relatively steady at (relatively being the operative word when the blinds are 30,000/60,000).

My only real mistake of the tournament came, I think, in proposing a deal to award the prize money based on current chip standings. The big stack was obviously a good player. I had more than twice what the next player had, and she had half again as much as the fourth player. There was no doubt the big stack was going to hold out for the first prize money. Nobody but me liked the idea of awarding by chip rank, and I probably should have just played it out and seen how the 90,000 chips/orbit affected the small stacks rather than accept the ICM deal for second through fourth, which effectively took $210 from me (assuming I would have kept second place) and gave it to two other players. Nothing’s certain in poker, though.

It may not look like much, but there are sixteen black chips stacked in front of me below adding up to 400,000, with five pink 10,000 chips on the side. If my picture is going to keep showing up online, I’m going to need to do something about my hair.

Seven hours. Second of 138 players. +714% ROI (including entry fee, add-on, and dealer tip; I probably should have counted the diet sodas and something called a Titanic I ordered when I got to the final table, but I didn’t).

 Second Place


Aces Players Club Turbo (5,000 chips, 1 re-buy)

I didn’t keep notes on this tournament, although I really should have.

Started off at table 2. This being a late-night turbo game, there were multiple all-ins from the beginning. I tried to stay out of it for the most part but got tangled up in a hand with (if I remember correctly) a good pair after losing several raises and ended up re-buying.

I moved to newly-constituted table 4 immediately upon buying back in, sitting in seat 9. There were a couple of young what-seemed-to-be-foreign-students in 6 and 7. Then a dapper guy with a lot of chips was moved into 8 and my cards hit a cold spell. Fortunately for me, he was moved again within a few minutes. Seat 6 was on a bit of a tear, but not a good one for him as he ended up felted not long after 8 was moved away. He re-bought but before he could play a hand the tournament director informed him that he’d already re-bought and the late-night turbo (in the interests of shutting down before dawn) doesn’t allow more than one.So a dead stack was placed next to his friend, who seemed very unsure of himself. It was just then that I caught a great run of cards, the blinds started reaching the dead stack, then the unsure foreign guy, then me, and within four hands unsure foreign guy’s stack (which he’d just replenished with a re-buy) was in front of me, along with a lot of chips from elsewhere on the table. We hit the break, played a few more hands, and then the table broke and I moved to table 1 seat 9.

This table is sort of like a blur at this point. I had one of the bigger stacks at the table and just slowly grew things. Mr. Loud was seated in 6, across from me again, yammering on about how I was going to double up his chip stack. He almost seemed to lick his lips when I went to showdown holding [3s 4s] on a flush draw with a player from the other end of the table for about 5K. He and a loud guy who’s a regular seated in 4 were harassing seat 1, who was partially blind. When seat 4 asked him what he thought he was doing at one point, he mentioned he had a hard time seeing, got a quick apology, then the harassment continued. He was busted not long after and left with a sarcastic “Thanks for making the evening fun.” The pair focused their attention on me at one point, when Mr. Loud called me “son” and I said that I was probably a good bit older than he was. Loud, Jr. started in about how Loud had seen way more hands than I ever had (probably true). The bravado was pretty ludicrous considering that my stack was several times larger.It’s not the quantity of the hands that counts.

By the final table, when I just moved to seat 7, I had about 60K in chips. Seat 6 was a guy from Alaska who’d been the big stack when he was next to me at table 3, where he’d started a long discussion/argument when one of the guys he’d knocked out refused to shake his hand. Most of the table (loudly) endorsed the non-shaking position. By the final table, Alaska was on the ropes and a bit down from his cheerful demeanor a couple of hours earlier. He was out in ninth place not long after the table voted to pay all nine. I picked a couple of prime spots and kept building. The turning point was probably a hand in which Mr. Loud (now seated in 9) was involved. He’d doubled up a couple of times, the blinds were 5K/10K, I had about 90K, I think, and was on the BB. My hand was [ah 6h], there was a raise from down the table to 20K, I called, Loud called, and the flop was something like [4x 7x 8x], rainbow suits. I believe it got checked around to Loud, who went all-in for 28K. The guy from down the table folded, but I had enough chips to make the call and leave me with 40K or so. He flipped something like [jx tx], a [qx] hit the turn, then [2x] for the river and my ace-high took the pot, much to the consternation of Loud and his railers, not to mention the folder, who I overheard telling one of his friends that he’d have hit a hand if he could have called the raise. Over my shoulder, I heard cries of “He wasn’t supposed to call me!” but with 60K in the pot pre-flop, I wasn’t letting go of the ace or the straight draw.

I was sitting on a stack of 195,000 by the time we got to three-handed play: 78% of the chips in play. Not quite the disparity I’d had in my last tournament, but then there were only 35 players in this game. I honestly don’t remember the last hand. I think it might have been [kx qx]. I called UTG’s all-in from SB, BB called, with exactly the same number of chips in his stack as UTG, and when the cards were out I’d knocked both of them out so they split the pot and I took home first place again.

I wish I knew what I was doing right.

261% ROI on the evening, above entry fee, buy-ins, dealer tip and (ugh) Diet Pepsi.


Portland Players Club $1,000 Guarantee Freeroll (4,000 chips)

I hadn’t been in PPC since the middle of last May, preferring the comfier chairs of Aces, but a Facebook invite from their new owner and the potential for nearly-free money lured me in. The format allowed for re-buys during the first hour and an add-on, all for 4K in chips. About 70 players started.

I caught a big break early on in a four-way all-in holding [jx jx]. Two players had drawing hands but the guy in seat 1 had [ax ax]. The board had other ideas, however, and drew out to a jack-high straight, giving me a pot of about 17K. By the time of the first break I was at 19K.

Playing [jd qd] and the board turned up some more diamonds. A king-high flush gave me another win that put me up to 30K. At the 140-minute mark, I was up to 40K.

I thought I’d lost a big stack with [qx qx] when an all-in matched the cards in his hand for two pair, but a pair of twos on the board gave me a second pair, as the dealer pointed out. He got a good tip later. That hand put me up to 75K and I was starting to dominate the table. I took a look around during the second break and I’m pretty sure I had the biggest stack in the room.

An hour after I was at 40K I hit the 100K mark. We’d started with eight tables; by the time it was consolidated to two I had 101K.

The blinds were getting up there and several of my hands failed to connect, with me just letting my raises go rather than trying bluffs, but at the four-hour mark I was down to 89K and there were a couple of other stacks at my table that were close to or possibly even larger. I lost another 6K to the woman on my left when I tried to play bottom pair on the flop from [kc 5c].

At the third break, I was down to 83K, but still one of the larger stacks. Not dominating any longer. The first hand after the break, though, I picked up [ax kx] and managed to bust out two smaller stacks, boosting me up to 110K.

Got into it with the big stack on my left with [5h 3h] that double-paired on the turn. The woman on my left was all-in, I had called and had 30K in the pot and was ahead of her [8x 8x] until she made a set on the river and took it down. Even so, with some more wins I was sitting on 170K when we redrew seats for the final table four hours and forty-five minutes into the match.

The woman who’d doubled up through me earlier had been seated directly on my right for the final table and had a healthy stack. She went all-in with about 70K and I called her with [jx jx]. She flipped over [9x 9x], I made a set on the flop and I was up to 247K.

I caught another player all-in with [9x 9x] while I was holding [tx tx], then took out the second-largest stack at the table when he shoved with [ax kx] and I had [ax ax] in the big blind. Incredibly good luck.

By the fourth break I had about 475K in chips. The blinds were 4,000/8,000, we were down to three players, and I was raising every hand I could with opening bets of 25K, which was over half the stack sizes of either of the the other two players. Barring a double-up, they had only a few hands each left before they were blinded out, and they proposed a chop that left me first place with them splitting second and third. I had no problems with that.

After paying the door fee, an add-on, and a tip for the dealer (plus a couple of Diet Cokes) my ROI was +450%.

Portland Players Club Shootout

Since I’d already paid my door fee for the day, I figured I’d go back over to PPC for the last tournament, but while their 7pm game was going strong, I was only the second person signed up for the 9pm turbo when I got there at 8:45. It wasn’t promising and I waited around for one of the shootouts to start, playing Tonk with the owner and a couple of the dealers.

Supposedly, you buy into the shootouts for 25-50BB but it seemed as if some of the players re-loaded above the top level after the game had been going for a while. Just sayin’. I bought in for 30BB. The game was set to play for 90 minutes.

Took a massive hit on my first hand holding [2x 2x] in the BB. Hit a set on the flop, got into a bidding war with a 50BB stack at the end of the table and he beat me holding [6x 6x] when his set made it on the river. I lost about two-thirds of my stack right there.

Not too long afterward, though, I played [7h 9h], went all-in after making middle pair with the nine, made a set on the turn, and got back up to 20BB.

Another suited gapper ([6c 8c]) made two pair for me but another player’s pocket [qx qx] tripped on the flop and cut me back down to less than 8BB.

I slow-played [jx tx] on a flop of [jx jx tx] and managed to get two callers for a triple-up on my full house.

Another [jx tx] doubled me up against a two-paired [ax kx] and [kx kx] when I hit a Broadway straight.

My hand of the night was [jx jx] but it beat me when someone else played it against my [ax qx]. I lost 20BB but was still had over 25BB in my stack after the previous windfalls. Lost another 5BB on [ad 8d] when I missed the flop completely and utterly.

Three spades on the flop and [ks kx] in my hand meant I was all-in against a big stack. He called, the [as] hit on the turn and I was way ahead for the night, with a half hour to go on the timer I had nearly 90BB, triple my buy-in. I should probably have just sat on it, paid my blinds, and waited for the buzzer.

I was sort of intending to do that, and dumped [ax kx] with two all-ins ahead of me. Pocket [8x 8x] took it down, but there was a [kx] on the flop and I could have made more. That’s probably what got me antsy.

I called a 30BB all-in holding [qx qx], they showed [ax kx], pulled an ace, and I was still ahead of where I’d begun but not as much.

Time ended soon after. I’d paid my door fee earlier, after a tip to the dealer and a Diet Coke I had +85% ROI.

Overall for the day: +262% ROI.

Mixing It Up

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now: Don’t blow your lead.

I was in second place in the bottom level of the PokerStars EPT Steps ladder—15 Frequent Player Points to buy in—and the game had been going for about forty minutes. There were only about 18 players left (out of 111 starters) and the top nine positions all got the same ‘Step A’ prize ticket. I had over 11K in chips and got a [qc kd] in the cutoff position with the blinds at 300/600/50. The first player to act put in 1,330, the player between us folded, and I called instead of just riding things out. The button and small blind folded, with the big blind making the call.

The flop showed [qh td th], giving me two pair but making trips for anyone with a ten.  The big blind bet out 1,800 into a pot of 4,950, and UTG called. I had them both covered by more than 7K, so I went all-in. They both called and the cards went over. The big blind only had [jh qs] but sure enough UTG turned [ts js]. Three of the queens were exposed; getting the case queen for a full house was a long shot. The jack I needed for a straight would give UTG a full house to beat me. No flush possibilities. I needed that queen (which would give me a chop at best) or a couple of kings (which was an even longer shot than the single queen). Didn’t happen, though. The turn and river were [4c 5s] and I dropped out of the elite, ending up in 14th place.

Keep Poker Weird

Not a lot of luck at the virtual tables yesterday (two turbo 6-max and one regular tournament on PokerStars, plus a Rush re-buy tournament and Midnight Madness on Full Tilt). Every decent hand I had seemed to get drawn out on (Make your second pair with a three on the river against my single-paired AhJh? Check!)

I did participate in one of the strangest hands I’ve ever seen during the Rush game. Six players went to the flop with 80 chips each in the pot. I was in the hijack position with Kc6c; not the strongest hand but worth a big blind.

Nobody raised on the flop, turn, or river, and the board showed
AdTdTs8h8s at the end of the last round of bets. This was the lay of the land:

  • (small blind) 6h6d
  • (big blind) QsKd
  • (under the gun) KsQd
  • (under the gun + 1) folded preflop
  • (under the gun + 2) 5h5d
  • (under the gun + 3) folded preflop
  • (hijack me) Kc6c
  • (cutoff) folded preflop
  • (button) Js9s

Among six hands, no pair to anything on the board. No pocket pair better than the eights on the board. A six-way chop with everyone getting back their 80 chip investment.