The Brick

Mostly red across the board for the past couple days as I find myself falling into the bad habit of thinking people are bluffing more often than they actually are.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Downhill all the way for twenty minutes. Lots of aces in my hands (4 out of 36) but nothing connected. Biggest loss was with A8 and an eight-high open-ended straight draw on the flop. Didn’t make it, though, and I was out in 1,515th of 2,080.

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

Started off very well here. Joined a few minutes into the game so my first hand was in the big blind (15/30) with a normally unplayable K7. There were only seven players at the table at the time. There were two limpers and I let it run. I hit middle pair with Q67 and decided to play with it a bit so I bet 45. One of the limpers folded and the other raised to 150, which I called. Another 6 on the river and I decided I needed to try to end it so I bet 120 but I got a call from the other side. The river was 2. I checked to see what he had and he bet 540. A 6x beat but I figured it was worth a look so I plopped down a third of my stack to see 45 with busted flush and open-ended straight draws. So that was a nice first hand.

Just a few hands later I picked up KQ in the cutoff. I limped in, as did the button and small blind, and there were four to the flop. 82Q didn’t have a lot of possibilities (apart from a flush draw); when action got to me I bet 90 on my queens, getting calls from the button and big blind. I made two pair with K on the turn, which was a good thing. My bet this time was 400 and I got an all-in call from the button that folded the big blind. I had it covered by 1K, and it was a bounty tournament, after all, so I called. The button had had me until the king showed up, with 8Q; now the smaller of two pairs. Got a bounty and was up to 4,800 chips at the start of hand 5.

The last hand was a whopper. I had A3 in the big blind and was heads-up pre-flop with the biggest stack at the table, with about 9K vs. my 4,900. I got two pair on a 7A3 flop. Not much more than you could ask for there, eh? The big stack bets 120, and I figure he’s got some sort of ace, but I’ve got AxKx beat. I raise him to 510 and he calls. Now things look a little diceier because the turn is K. I’ve still got most ace combinations beat, but there is a massive flush draw on the board. I check. Big stack bets out 1,140 after I check. This is the point where I should tell myself: “You still have 4,355 chips, you’ve only got 570 in the pot. Just stay in the tournament.” I call instead. Q on the turn.

I check again and the big stack shoves in, essentially doubling the pot, since the pot is just a little larger than my stack. I call. Then he turns over 33, a hand I wasn’t even thinking of and which had me walloped from the turn.

Gone in a little over half an hour. 1,725th place out of 1,770 players.

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

Off to a good start with a double-up via QJ giving me a higher straight on hand four. Then the Mutant Jack AJ cut me in half when AQ and I both double-paired—him on the turn and me, uselessly, on the river. Two hands later I had QA and ran into AK, and lost another 1,500 chips.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

Overplayed a TT hand. Our table had six seated at the 120/240 level and hijack raised my small blind to 650. I re-raised to 1,060 and got a call. Then a K hit on the flop and I checked, only to be met with a 720 bet. Raised all-in hoping he just had an ace. No such luck: K7 and he even double-paired on the river. My TT on the next hand didn’t do any better and I was out in 11th.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Popped up on the first hand with 99, then again with an almost identical 99 an hour into the match. Pocket JJ were the harbinger of doom for this game, though, with a Q in the hole connecting with the QA of another player. I managed to crawl up from 400 to 1,900 before pocket QQ knocked me back down to less than 150 and the door. 917 of 2,800.

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

The first 20 hands were good, with my own QQ filling a king-high straight and doubling me to 4,600. Hung around there for a little bit then stupidcalled someone with a flush and lost over 3,000 chips.

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

Over on the fourth hand with TT. There was a T on the flop but K on the river gave KK a better set. Still,

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

My penchant for pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory strikes once again. I double up to 3,300 on hand five with KK, putting me in the top position in the tournament. I stay there for about 20 minutes as eliminations become less frequent, then lose almost 1,000 in four consecutive hands just to see the flop with decent cards that just don’t pan out. I try to get fancy with 97 in the 150/300 big blind when the button raises all-in to 675 and the small blind calls. I go along for the ride and the board gives me a gutshot straight draw: K65. I shouldn’t call the 900 bet of the big blind and we both check our way through the turn (2) and river (5). Button had middle pair on the flop: A6. I’m out on the next hand with QT and an open-ended straight draw on the flop. 10th place gets me another chance at Step 1.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (1,500 chips)

My eighth hand K8 makes top pair on the flop and another player and I go to the mats only to have him outkick me with K9.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Made it up to 6,600 by twenty minutes in and more or less glided into the Step 2 ticket.

Encore Club (5,000 chips)

Only eleven players in the game makes my table five-handed and play is slow and methodical, with only one rebuy, yet there’s a steady bleeding of chips in the direction of just a couple of the players. I manage to take a couple of pots but I’m down a bit when we consolidate to a ten-player table. After that action heats up and I’m eliminated 9th of 11.

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

Corkscrewed in after just seven minutes.

Full Tilt The Ferguson (1,500 chips)

Ditto.

Full Tilt Step 2 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

Had my last chips taken by a 5x7x.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #20 $125,000 Guarantee Rush (4,000 chips)

Could this have gone any worse? Sixth hand in I get AK. The flop is 4QA and I’m head-up. I bet 150 after the flop and get raised to 320, which I call. 8 shows up on the turn, so I’ve got an ace pair with a high kicker and the nut flush draw. The other player bets 860 and I idiotically go all-in for 3,600. He calls, shows QA for two pair, a 2 shows on the river and I’m down to 30 chips which are gone the next hand.

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

Got off to an early start—although I joined the game half an hour in—with 87 in the big blind. Three limpers. The flop’s good for both straight and flush possibilities: T29 and I check to see what the mood is. Hijack—with more than 10K in his stack—bets 200 and I’m the only caller. The turn makes my flush with Q and I bet 200, getting a raise to 900. I go all-in for 1,250 total and get a call. He shows 8J for a straight but he’s beat. I pick up another 1,600 just five hands down the road.

My stack hovers around 5K for twenty minutes or so until my AQ runs into a set of sixes and I’m down to 1,500. I double up then next hand beating 4x4x by pairing the smaller part of my A5 but lose the whole thing with KA on the next hand to 53 and a set of fives and TT splitting portions of my stack.

Mutiny of the Bounty

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

Nothing to see here. There were almost 3,700 entrants at the time I busted out. I took an early hit with a A6 that didn’t pan out. An 87 paired the eight on the flop to put me back over the starting stack. I more than doubled up with TT, beating a pair of nines to make it to nearly 4,000 chips twenty minutes into the game. Twenty minutes later, a different suited ace combination (A8) flushed through on the turn to beat a pair of kings.

I was mostly quiet after that, staying between 4,000 and 5,000 chips until just after the first hour of play, when a far weaker A3 combo lost out to A9 that got four clubs on the board. All-in against a larger stack with three clubs on the flop? What was I thinking? Out in 794th place.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Very quiet for the first quarter-hour. I get a couple walks for 15 chips apiece but give it away. A couple of small opening raises go bye-bye when the flop fails to cooperate. Then I get 66 in the small blind (at 20/40) with action folded around to me and only seven seated at the table. I min-raise and get a call from the big blind. The board has three over cards—including a king and queen—to my pair and the big blind keeps firing off small bets but I take the 480 in the pot when he has a pair of twos. The next hand I eliminate a player and make a profit of 1,460 when the bottom end of my AQ pairs on the flop. QA on the very next hand only makes me 40. Then it’s quiet until about the 50-minute mark when I have AK. I min-raise to 200 from UTG+2 (with eight players), getting calls from both blinds. The flop is A49, the blinds check and I open with 600. Small blind raises to 1,200, big folds, and I three-bet all-in. Big mistake. Small blind not only has me covered but he’s got 9A. two more clubs show on the board, and if that king had been a club it would have been real nice, but I’m out in 1,703rd place out of 2,016. Pathetic showing.

Full Tilt Step 0 Super Turbo (300 chips)

When I said I would never play another Super Turbo so long as I lived, I should have specified that only idiots play Super Turbos. I am an idiot. Five hands. I’m in my first big blind (there’s 10% of my starting stack right there). I’ve got a wretched J4 but lo and behold the flop is Q23. I know that if I can double up or just grab some chips in this early stage I’ll be a lot better off when the blinds go up on the next hand. I bet the pot to open (90), get re-raised by UTG+1 (the only other player in except for the small blind) and the small blind folds. I shove and UTG+1—who’s already taken out one of the players at the table so he has the bog stack— calls, showing K9. Finished 82 of 99.

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

I’ve taken a run at this low buy-in event a few times in the past without any luck. Bustouts in just four and six hands, half an hour at the best. Last night things clicked—at least for a while.

I was below the starting stack for most of the first ten minutes then managed to avoid having a pair of sevens suck out with a flush on my pair of queens and picked up 900 chips.

My first big win was pushing all-in with A3. Action had folded around to the button, who raised to 480 at the 80/160 level. Small blind folded. I had the button covered by 900 chips (out of 3,200) and my all-in was called. Up against KQ and an A came on the flop. Things were a little worrisome with a turned J but the river was safe and I got my first bounty. I picked up another 960 on the next hand with Q9 that made it to a king-high straight on the turn.

I made a move about 25 minutes later holding QA on the button at 80/160/25. Two players ahead of me were in for 480 and I called, with the big blind following along. The flop was 4AJ. The big blind checked, the next player (UTG+3) bet 755 and the hijack called. I went all-in for 3,875. All thee following players had me covered by 500 to 9,000 chips but everyone folded and I picked up 3,270 to put me over 7,500.

An hour-and-a-half into the game and I’d lost several hands, dropping down to 4,500 with blinds at 200/400/50. My hand on the button was a somewhat less-than-sterling KT. UTG+1 limped, UTG+2 raised to 800, hijack called, I called, as did the blinds, and UTG+1 matched the raise, so the pot held 5,250 prior to the flop. The flop was 957. Nobody had put in 800 with 68, apparently, because everyone checked to the turn, which was 8. UTG+2 bet 1,200 with the hijack calling and I took a stab at it with my four-card straight, raising all-in for 3,655. Everyone folded and I built up to 11,300.

I got knocked down to 5,300 with another KT combo. It was suited (KT) but slightly behind the JK at the end of a board that didn’t connect with either of us.

The same player gave most of the chips back on the next hand. Five players went to the flop, limping in at the 300/600/75 level. My hand was K5 and the flop was A42. UTG+2 bet 1,200, UTG+2 raised to 2,400, and once again on the button I re-raised all-in to 4,620. The blinds and UTG+2 folded, UTG+3 called, showing 9A, and the turn dropped a 3, completing the straight and putting me over 14,000.

The humdinger hand of the night was my second bounty. I had about 13,700 chips in UTG+1 and was dealt QA. We were still at 300/600/75; I raised to 1,200. UTG+3 went all-in for 11,460. Everyone folded to me and I called with him flipping over TT. Things were just about over with a Q5Q flop but 6Q on the river sealed the deal for a 13,000 profit.

I was the big stack at the table for the moment but lost my next five entries into the pot, losing between 1,000 and 4,000 each try until I was down to 8,400. Blinds were nipping at everyone’s heels, at 600/1,200/150. KK fell into my hand in UTG+1. I raised to 3,000. The huge stack with 90K re-raised to 12,600. The button three-bet all-in to 28,297. Action folded to me and I called all-in for 8,259. The big stack called the three-bet. Big stack had KA, the other all-in (the same player I’d traded chips with above) had JJ. The board ran out TQ673 and I took just about 28K of the 68K pot. Two hands later I lost everything to the big stack, going out with a small cash in 207th place out of 3,401 entries after 150 minutes.

Full Tilt Super Satellite to FTOPS Event #44 (1,500 chips)

Sunday was the last day of the FTOPS tournaments, and early in the morning fresh off the KO tournament above I took a shot at a super satellite to the next-to-last event, a 6-max bounty tournament. The field grew to 61 entries by the end of registration, with five entries to the satellite, worth $55 each and two smaller cash awards.

Twenty minutes in I got my first break with KK in the cutoff. UTG picked up a ten on the flop to match their T8 for top pair and went all-in and I picked up the KO and 830 chips. I wiped out another small stack of 720 shortly after with QA vs. AT. AA against TT shortly thereafter made another bounty and put me over 4,000 chips. I took out two players (one with only 25 chips in the big blind) holding 88 when the board showed QKQ8Q.

Forty minutes in, I’d been knocked down to only about 2,500 chips again, losing 600-900 chips on hands like A6s and A9o. Kings served me well again when I doubled up through the big stack at the table to 7,700. Another bounty  and 1,495 came my way with TT a few hands after that. I got a couple thousand more holding K6 when the board gave me a 9-high straight on the river and nobody contested my 1,000-chip bet into a pot of 3,270.

A key mistake came when the field was down to about ten players. The cutoff raised from 200/400/50 all-in to 4,105 and I was the only caller, holding QK and 6,200 chips behind. The all-in showed KA and he got aces full of kings by the end of the hand.

Still, I was in the top five, on track to get a ticket to the satellite until I called another all-in by the same player five minutes later. My 66 against his QQ. Out in 7th place with an award about 1.5 times the buy-in and seven bounties, bringing the ROI to 169%.

I Never Flush

Full Tilt Midnight Madness (1,500 chips)

Three hands in and there are four after the flop with 390 chips in the pot. I have 8A, there’s 2QJ on the board and I’m first to act in the small blind. I bet 200, there’s a fold and two calls. The turn’s 4 and I push out another 200. UTG+1 calls and UTG+3 goes all-in for 1,180. Everyone calls. The last card’s 8 and UTG+3 with QT loses to UTG’s straight made with T9 (as do I).

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

I win exactly one hand during my four minutes in this match and it does not come with a knockout bounty.

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

Ten minutes in and I get JK as UTG+1. I raise to 120 (4xBB) and get a re-raise to 405 from a stack with twice my chips in the hijack. I call. The flop is 52A and I check, then he bets 625. I call and the turn’s 7. I’ve got nine possible draws to an ace-high flush, just like I did in Midnight madness. I bet 120 with 865 behind and he raises all-in. I call. The river is T. He’s got KA and I’m out.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 6-Max (1,500 chips)

I did a little better here than in my last attempt. I managed to get up to 4K, then was busted back to 1.5K, with a last-minute double-up before I busted out in third place. No step up but I didn’t lose any ground.

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

A slightly longer run into the $10K than the one above but nothing to be proud of. I got beat down on a couple of hands where TA and KT failed to connect, then managed to pull off a triple up. I was in the big blind at 20/40 when I picked up AA. UTG raised to 155, action folded to the button, who called, the small blind folded and I raised to 640. Both of the others came along and the pot had over 1,900. After the flop of Q67 I went all-in for 1,270. UTG called. The button went all-in for 2,525 and UTG gave up. There was 5,750 in the pot, the button flipped over Q8 and with T on the turn and 4 on the river it was mine. I managed to blow it with another ten combo—TK—just seven hands later when trip sixes beat my pair of kings and straight draw, taking 4,630 off of me. I lasted about 20 minutes after that but never made it back over 1,200 chips.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18 Players (1,500 chips)

I had a couple near-fatal setbacks in this tournament, but in the 18-player Sit & Gos Steps the top four spots all step up. I’d been up over 3K, then back down to just over 2K when I played 9A from the small blind. There were four to the flop, which was an intriguing 7T2. I made a pot-sized bet of 800 after the flop and the button raised all-in to 1,240. After my call, the turn made my nut flush with 3. Then the whole thing fell apart with a 2 on the river and a TT in my opponent’s hand. I managed to build up to 5K by the end of the tournament, about 75 minutes after the first hand.

Full Tilt Rush Flash

It had been a while since I sat down at a ring game and even longer since I hit the Rush tables. I played for about half an hour, losing my entire first stake on the second hand with pocket 9s against pocket kings. I bought back in and rebuilt, eventually coming out ahead with a BB/100 hands of 11.

Cake $1,000 Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Stupid moves on my part knocked me out here in 106th place out of 161 players. Another ATo I shouldn’t have played, and an obvious pair of kings on the board that beat my pocket 9s, even without another king in my opponent’s hand.

Full Tilt Rush Mach 10

A quarter hour at a slightly higher stake, I managed to pull out of a trough and make it into profitability before the end with a ten combination but only because my cards were higher than the other player who followed the trip sevens on the board. BB/100 of 3.5.

Full Tilt Rush Mach 10

This 77-minute excursion managed to eradicate the gains of the earlier sessions. After the seventh minute, I was never in the black. A QK made it to four spades by the turn but no flush. TJ paired the ten on the flop for both myself and the guy holding QT. KA paired but couldn’t beat trip fives. BB/100 of -15.5.

Full Tilt Step 2 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Turbo it was. Thirty minutes from start to finish—even with only nine people—is pretty fast. I got knocked down to 1K fairly quickly but managed to double up after a dozen minutes with an all-in move and KA that matched the king on the turn. Another lucky AK only ten hands later breathed some more life into my stack. I ended up going out in third place with a K9 that failed to connect with anything. Didn’t lose ground but no step up.

Puffmammy Tournament 18 (1,500 chips)

Lost a couple of early pots that hindered my play in the first rounds. Managed to build things back up but had a huge chip stack on my right for most of my night. I was in decent shape going into the break but just didn’t get the right cards at the right time as I was trying to outlast D. Didn’t work. Lost the POY point lead for the first time since mid-October, going out 6th of 8. Only down by a point, though, since D went out on the bubble (4th).

Cake $1,000 Guarantee – Bounty (3,000 chips)

Took two bounties in a three-way ace-off three-quarters of an hour into the match. I had AQ on the button at 75/150. UTG+3 goes all in for 1,959. Cutoff is all-in for 1,123. I’ve got 4,560 and call, the blinds fold. The cards go over 9A for UTG+3 and A7 for the cutoff. The board delivers K5Q A T and I’m up to almost 8K. I lose most of that running pocket queens into pocket aces a few minutes later, build back up to more than 5K, then end up with less than 2 big blinds when my AQ is beat by A4. Someone takes my bounty on the next hand when I go out 37th of 96.

Full Tilt Step 2 (1,500 chips)

Nine players in another Steps outing, hoping to get far enough during FTOPS to play a game. JJ in the big blind puts me over 2,500 chips and into first position a dozen minutes in when the chip leader and I play chicken with our pocket pairs. It’s a scary board for me with 49AQ5 but I would have assumed it was even more so for his 77. I mostly rest and slide (with a couple of wins) down to 1,950 when I get AT in the big blind. There are seven players left, the hijack raises to 300, and the button foes all-in for 1,385. I call and so does the hijack. A tantalizing 247 shows on the flop, I check, and hijack raises to put me all-in. There’s nearly 5K in the pot; I’ve got nine outs to the nut flush; I call and each of my opponents turn over a pair of queens. Their hands aren’t going to improve. Mine doesn’t with a J on the turn, but the river is 6. At 40 minutes in I’m back in first place (top two win Step 3 tickets).

I take a flier on KT a few hands later and lose 1,000 so I decide I’d better cool it. Ten minutes later we’re down to five players and I get A5 on the button. I’m down to 3,830 chips, the blinds are 80/160. I call after two folds and the small blind is in. Three to the flop of 343. Once again, very tantalizing. Everyone checks for another card, the 2 which makes my straight and gives me a flush draw. Not to mention a straight flush draw. The big blind bets 160 when it’s his time and I raise the 640 chip pot to 1,600. Big blind goes all-in and there’s 4,860 in the pot when the Q shows on the river. He’s got J3 for trip threes but no 2, 3, 4, or jack shows to save him from fifth place.

I clamp down hard on myself. With 6,100 chips, I have twice what any of the other three players do. I do push an AT hard on a 2879 turn to push two players off and pick up 1,200 but mostly I let the rest of the players fight amongst themselves. The final hand I get 55 in the small blind and follow the short stack all-in for about 2K. I have enough behind that I’m still the chip leader if I lose. He has AK but the flop is 45Q. Even A on the turn doesn’t help him.

I guess I do flush once in a while.