I wasn’t sure how I was going to make my return to Portland poker after my unproductive stint in Las Vegas. I thought about the Thursday night game at the Encore Club, but skipped it, then was too busy early Saturday evening to make starting time for the weekly $10K there. By the time I was free, the first break would have already begun, and there was no way I could make it across town. So the 9pm $200 Freeroll at Portland Players Club it was.
Except that when I got there the door was locked and there was a sign saying they were closed for the evening. Yikes! I was on the loose, Encore wouldn’t have a game open for an hour, I was probably too late to make the 8pm at Aces. It just left the dreaded Final Table. So I high-tailed it out Glisan.
The Final Table $400 Guarantee NLHE (T4,000)
I got to Final Table just as Level 1 was ending and took a seat at the empty second table. I had to wait a couple of minutes for the first table to be split, and were started off five-handed.
Took the first hand I played (at 50/100), from SB with [ax tx]. There were three players to the flop, the highest card on the board by the turn was a 9, and I bet 100 to win the poison pot, so you know where this story’s going.
Fifteen minutes into my game, I got [ax jx] on BTN and open-raised to 300, getting called by SB. BB went all-in for 3,000. I had him covered by 75 and went all-in, and SB came along. They flipped over [kx qx] (SB) and [ax tx] (BB). I had the best hand, but I was statistically a hair behind the [kx qx]. The flop put out a wheel draw of [2x 3x 5x] , but the turn was a king, sending my hopes into a tailspin. The river brought relief with a [4x], though, and BB and I chopped up the pot, with me getting an extra 75 for my trouble.
Five minutes later, on BB with [ax jx] and I called 550 from UTG1 (same guy who’d been BB in the split). UTG (who’d had the money in the pot when we chopped it) came along again. The flop was [2x 3x 4x] and I mischievously shoved to open. UTG1 called with [ax qx] but the board double-paired and we split the pot again.
Ten minutes later, I wasn’t so lucky. I was all-in UTG1 with [ax jx] after losing a hand and the same player I’d been tangling with called with [kx jx] He pulled out a straight on the river and I broke the No Re-buy Rule.
I stopped keeping notes after that, wondering if I’d do any better paying more overt attention to what was going on, but it didn’t help. By the break I was down to a half starting stack again, and I lost most of my add-on in a single hand, so I was riding the short stack through to the final table (I did manage to outlast the guy I’d been tangling with).
Made a couple of crucial double-ups, but I was still under T10,000 after nearly three hours of play, with blinds at 1,500/3,000/300. I shoved UTG with [ah qh] and got a quick call from UTG1, who’d been steadily accumulating chips all evening with sometimes marginal (but lucrative) calls. Her [kx tx] did it again, making Broadway and putting me out of the first tournament I’d played in ten days.
Two hours and twenty minutes (late arrival). Eighth of 21 players.
Final Table NLHE Shootout
I’m not normally a shootout player, but I was roped into this one and since I’d been knocked out of the tournament twice by hands that I had beat by 3:1 or 2:1, I viewed it as an opportunity to use up some more of that great luck. I never managed to get ahead far in the game, but I ended up just a few dollars down, and managed to qualify for the high hand bonus for the evening when my pocket tens matched up with a rivered ten to make the best full house possible on the board. So, up a little for the evening because of a fluke.
It’s been a busy couple weeks here at Mutant Poker Central, as I get ready to head down to Las Vegas to see if the minor success I’ve had in Portland can finally translate to an out-of-town venue. So far, I’ve struck out at Foxwoods, the Venetian (twice), and Pendleton, but the number of events I’ve played too small to be statistically significant.
So much to do with plans to be in Vegas for two weeks. First off, my venerable card cover—the helmet off of a figurine of Professor Frink from The Simpsons—has seen a lot of wear over the past couple of years. I’ve been hoping to find a way to get it machined in aluminum and asked a friend with a CNC machine shop about it but, as expected, he said it would cost an incredible amount of money to get it made. He did mention that there were 3D printers who did metal pieces, though (he has a plastic 3D printer) and when I looked into it, I found Shapeways.com, which will print your 3D designs in just about everything from plastic to glass to silver to a stretchy polymer. All of my 3D design software is on my old pre-Intel Mac, and at first I was a bit stymied about how I was going to develop the model but eventually I managed to pick up enough about the free, open-source 3D tool Blender to get my model done in a day. With a couple of missteps, I managed to get an order in for copies in alumina and stainless steel and hopefully they’ll arrive before I set off for Vegas (didn’t happen, but they arrived in Portland the night I left and someone special is going to ship them). If you’re from Oregon and you see the cap, say hi to the Mutant.
Then I got an offer of a free room from MH—Portland player and fellow college alum—for nearly half my stay, so that was fine. I spent an evening running an alumni tournament with him during the annual reunion weekend. Paying bills up, getting some decent summer clothes together (it’s supposed to be 108° in Vegas next week). A lot of stuff to do. Since I’m driving down (and it’s supposed to be 108° in Vegas), get the car checked out for its 50,000-mile service.
Plus, of course, there’s the last-minute drive to build up the bankroll a little bit.
Encore Club $1,800 Guarantee Freezeout (T8,000)
I wasn’t taking perfect notes on this tournament, but I hit something in the first ten minutes on a [7x 7x 7x 3x 3x] board that put me up about 1,700 chips.
I played [kd 3d] from SB at the half-hour mark and hit the bottom of the flop, but a jack and a bet of 1,500 on the turn made me fold, so I was back down to 8,800 after that hand.
UTG1 with [ax 2x] and a min-raise got three calls but I won the hand.
At the 45-minute point, I called a 1,025 chip all-in post-flop holding [qx 8x] on a [qx kx tx] flop. He had [kx tx] and boated on the turn with [kx]. I boated on the river with [qx] but nobody cared.
SB with [th 4h] and the flop was [tx 4x tx]. I checked, then raised to 2,000 over a 600 bet. Maybe I should have just called.
T11,100 at fifty minutes.
[4x 4x] on UTG1, I tried to get people off, but the flop was horrible.
BB holding [6h 7h] and I double-paired on the flop but had to gut out a raise with a flush draw on the turn until [6x] on the river made my full house and my all in won the pot.
In SB with [6s 8s] on the next hand and I saw a flop of [5x 5x 6x]. Bet 600 and won the pot.
CO two hands later and I got [9x 9x] I raised 700, BB goes all-in and gets two calls. Flop is [Kx Qx 7x] and I bet 600. The other player calls but folds to another bet on the river and I knock out BB.
At the break, I have T24,350.
My first big hand after the bread was [ax qx]. I made a full house on the flop (aces over queens) and took most of the stack of a player with [ax kx]. Then I picked up the suited [ad qd] on the next hand and won against two all-ins, putting me up to 39,900 at 90 minutes.
I made a flush on the turn with [jd 7d] and took the last 3,500 from another player. Ten minutes later, I was up to 53,100.
With [7x 3x] UTG1, I bet on the [6x 6x 7x] flop but folded to a raise of 2,100 from BB. Action on that hand and a couple previous took me down under 50,000.
UTG with [kx jx], I called, then called a raise to 2,000 from BB. Folded to a bet on the [3x 3x 5x] flop.
Raised to 1,300 from SV with [ax 2x] and BB re-raised 3,300 all-in. I called the extra 2,000 and lost to [ax kx]. By the time I was in HJ position, just before the end of the second hour of play, I was down to 44,200, but the average stack was still way down at 13,700, with 35 of 60 players left.
In UTG3, called a UTG2 raise to 1,600 along with the BB but folded to a UTG2 bet on a low flop.
Just after the hour, I was down to 39,200 (average: 14545). 33 players left.
Raised with [ks 4s] to 1,800 and was heads-up to the flop of [4x 5x 7x]. A bet of 2,200 took it down.
UTG with [kh th] and I raised to 1,800 again, getting a flop of [ax qx 8x]. I folded to an all-in.
On BB, I folded [ax 8x] to two all-ins (the largest of which was only 4,200). The other two players were [ax 8x] and [ax qx], and the eight won with a pair, so I would have chopped up one of the players.
My count when the button came around at 140 minutes was T37,100, still more than twice the T16,000 average. Half the field was gone.
I laid low for a couple of hands, then played [kd td] UTG3 and raised to 1,600. UTG3 went all-in and I called against [5x 5x] to knock out another player. I really ought to have been playing a bounty tournament.
UTG with [ah 8h] a few minutes later and I raised to 1,600, getting a call. The flop was [4x 4x 8x] and I bet 10,000 to win.
Two-and-a-half hours into the game and I was back up to T43,200. 25 players left and the chip average was T19,200.
A raise to 2,500 from HJ with [7h 9h] took the blinds fifteen minutes later; when I was UTG2 at 2:50 (with 22 players left) I had T44,400, still 213% chip average.
UTG ten minutes later with [7s 7d] and I raised to 3,600 with blinds at 800/1,600. BB called and the flop was [qx 9x 6x]. I went all-in after he checked and took the pot.
By the time I was BTN again five minutes later, there were only 19 players remaining, I was holding steady at T44,600.
Fifteen minutes later, I noted that I knocked out a player but couldn’t remember with what. In any case, the number remaining was down to 17, and I had reached T63,000, 223% of average.
I promptly lost over 10,000 holding [2x 2x] in CO with a three-bet to 5,000. UTG went all-in with [7x 7x] and I called, so halfway into the third hour I was back down to T49,200, this time only 143% of the chip average with 14 players left.
Raised to 5,000 from CO with [kx jx] and took the blinds, but I was down to T47,200 on my next BTN with the average at 40,000 and 12 players left. [2x 2x] did me in again there when I called a 6,500 raise and folded to an all-in on a [kx qx 8x] flop.
Then I lost 13,000 as CO with [qx tx] after I folded to an all-in over my 6,500 raise.
Fifteen minutes before the end of the third hour saw me below the average stack for the first time since the beginning of the game, with just T28,000 (70% of average).
Then, about ten minutes later, I picked up [ax ax] in SB and raised to 6,500 to win a hand and opened from BTN to 7,000 with [4h 6h] to take down the blinds. I tried the same thing UTG1 with [ad 3d] and got three calls to see a flop of [5x 7x 9x] but folded to a BB all-in.
Just after midnight (four hours), I’d clawed up to T30,000. With 11 players remaining, that was still losing ground, though, at 69% of average.
The blinds were eating away at my stack. Without much in the way of what even I consider playable cards, I was down to 25,500 and then 19,500 after the next two passes of the button.
UTG with [8x 8x] I shoved and was called by both a short stack and BB. They had [6x 6x] and [5x 5x], but a set on the flop for me pretty much guaranteed my win.
Next hand, an all-in with [ax qx] over a SB limp took it down.
In the course of the next round of the button, I was up to T113,000, above the average of 80,000, with six players remaining. I was the chip leader by 1,000. We did a 6-way ICM chop; my lead (0.21% of the chips) was worth an extra $5 0.14% of the pot).
Five hours. +925% ROI. Six-way ICM chop, 60 entries.
Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee (T9,000)
Fifteen minutes in, I call a raise to 250 in a 3-way pot from UTG2 and get a [9x 7x 2x] flop. Bottom pair and bad kicker! Just my type of hand! I called 350 to see a seven on the turn, then BYN bet 600 and I folded. BTN showed [9x 9x].
UTG1 with [qx jx] and I call 375 in a 4-way pot. I’m on safer territory with [qx 6x 4x] and a bet of 700 takes it down.
UTG with [ad 6d] and I called 900 on a flop of [ax 2x 5x] but something about a bet on the turn scared me off and I folded.
[8x 4x] on BB and I called down to the river after a flop of [kx 7x 5x] but I didn’t get anywhere.
On CO (what? I didn’t play two hands?) I raised to 250 with [ad qd] and got three calls. Ended up losing to [2x 4x] and a wheel possibility on the board that I completely missed. Thirty-five minutes in and I was down to T5,350.
I raised UTG3 with [jc 9c] and got two calls. A bet of 1,000 on the [js 7c 5c] flop won; I was kind of hoping all they put me on was a flush draw. That got me a few hundred back.
I saw the flop with both my blinds; by the time I was on BTN I was back down to T5,500.
Just after the first hour, I raised 450 from late position with [ac 8c] and was re-raised to 1,700 by BTN. Encore reg SH shoved from SB. I folded. I don’t remember what BTN or SH had, but I remember it didn’t beat what I would have had with two clubs on the flop and another on the turn.
I’d been moved to the same table as my poker league capo, DV, and when I limped UTG with [kd qd], he raised to 1,700. I shoved and he called with [tx tx]. I doubled up. The usual conversation about suited vs. unsuited broke out. I think I’m going to start explaining it this way:
Say you’re in a tournament and there’s going to be a chop of $100,000. You haven’t got a large stack, so you’re not going to get the bulk of the money, but you’re offered a choice of $12,000 or $15,000. Is the $12,000 just as good because there’s only a $3,000 difference? No! $15,000 is much better than $12,000, because it’s 25% more, in relative terms.
Of course, where that explanation breaks down is in the fact that poker odds are a zero-sum equation. It doesn’t matter in a chop if you’re taking money from someone (unless you really hate them), but when your hand’s odds improve in poker it is at the expense of your hand losing. If you have a 12% chance of winning a pot, you have an 88% chance of losing. That’s a ratio of 1:7.33. If your hand improves to 15%, it can only lose 85% of the time, which is a ratio of 1:5.66. That’s considerably better. The math skills of my fellow Americans dismay me.
Anyway, I was up to T8,450 at seventy-five minutes; not quite back at starting stack.
With [kc tc] I raised on a [kx 5x 6x] flop and BB went allin for 1,700 (even shorter stacked than me). I called and he showed bottom two pair, but a king turn and a ten on the river made my house full and my stack slightly more so.
At the half-hour when I was UTG1 again, I was up to T10,100, and I bought the T6000 add-on at break.
I laid low for most of the first half-hour then flopped Broadway heads-up with [qc jc]. I checked, then bet 2,000 on the queen turn and won.
UTG with [ax ax] and I raised 1,000, then called a re-raise. An ace hit the flop, my opponent bet and I raised all-in. He called with [ax kx] and I knocked him out.
That gave me a little momentary fred, so when I raised to 1,300 from HJ with [qc 6c], nobody peeped.
As the button approached again early in the third hour, I’d managed to get up to T29,525, almost 40% above chip average, with 93 of 117 players remaining.
The third hour was quiet, with me picking up some small pots but no major hands. Half-an-hour in, I was up to T32,425. Then ten minutes later I tried a raise of 1,800 with [9x tx] from HJ, got a call, checked the [ax jx 2x] flop, then folded to a bet of 3,500 from BTN. Blinds were up to 600/1,200/200.
UTG with [qh 6h], I raised to 2,500 and was raised by BB. I called and saw a [qx qx 7x] flop. He shoved and I called for the knockout. A queen in the next hand meant another knockout, then I was moved to a new table, where I sat down with T77,000 (average 31,285). With just 63 players remaining, half the field was gone at the end of the third hour.
Didn’t do much for the first half-hour; when I was on the button after three-and-a-half hours of play, had T73,600.
Then, as CO, I called 1,600 with [qx 8x] in a 5-way pot. The flop was [ax tx 9x] and I stayed with it to the river as everyone checked it, but didn’t go anywhere and folded to a bet without even a pair.
Ten minutes later, I lost a chunk trying to draw a straight with [qx 9x], but with an all-in on the turn, I folded and I was down to T53,000.
UTG with [ax jx]. I call 2,000. Action folds to SB, who calls. BB checks. Flop is [jx 8x 5x] and BB bets 3,000. I raise to 15,000 and he calls. On the river, we chop the pot. T59,100.
[ax ax] again, this time on BTN. UTG goes all-in, HJ calls, I shove, and HJ open folds [8x 8x], which would have won on the river if he’d stayed in. Another knockout.
I call a raise to 6,000 with [jx kx] and the flop is [kx tx 6x]. He bets another 6,000, I raise to 13,000, then he shoves and I fold.
T65,000 at midnight, after four hours of play, but a quarter-hour later I’m down to T52,800. Then I move tables again.
In SB, I call 12,000, flop [9x 8x 6x] and shove, getting called by [qx qx] and losing 22,500.
BTN a couple minutes later, all-in with [kx jx] over a call. SB calls with [ax qx] but I make a straight on the turn and double back.
In UTG3, I’ve got 36,900, with the chip average at 56,314. 35 players left, blinds 2,000/4,000/500.
UTG2 with [ah 2h], I raise 9,000. BB goes all-in for 1,600 more and I call. He has [9x 8x], the board is [ax 9x 3x 3x 2x], and I knock out another. T52,500.
BB with [qc 5c] and SB calls. Two clubs on the flop and a five on the river and I manage to knock him off. I pop up to T95,500, back above the 61,593 average, with 32 players remaining.
Blinds up to 3,000/6,000/500 and I called an all-in with [jx tx] He had [qx tx] but the jack made all the difference to fill in the holes of a straight.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. UTH with [ax tx] and I raised to 13,000 but had to fold to an all-in from UTG1. BB with [4x 4x] and I folded to an all-in of more than 40,000, though I would have preferred to see the flop.
At the end of the fourth hour, I raised from CO with [kx jx] and made a straight. Then UTG2 with [kd 8d], I called an all-in from SB, then folded to a large all-in to see them flip over [7x 7x] and [tx tx] and a flop full of diamonds.
Still, I’d climbed to T143,50, more than twice the average stack, by the time blinds got to 4,000/8,000/500.
I called 18,000 with [qs 6s] but folded after missing the flop. A couple more hands like that and on HJ, I was down to T111,000, with 24 players left and a chip average of just under 90,000.
I raised UTG to 16,000 with [kx tx] and won, but was still slipping due to the antes.
Have I ever mentioned how much I like dark checks? Not that I ever do them. UTG1 and I raised to 18,000. BB called and the flop was ten-high. He’d checked dark and I shoved, which I might have done even without the ten.
Another ten-high flop fifteen minutes later matched my [kx tx] in a five-way call of 12,000 to the flop. I opened with a bet of 20,000—just a third of the pot—and won.
In SB with [4c 5c], I got involved in a 3-way hand to the [jx tx 5x] flop and folded to a UTG bet of 20,000.
1:45am. Nearing the end of five hours of play we consolidate to two tables. Blinds are 8,000/16,000/2,000 and the chip average is 109,500, for an M of just over 3, well in the Red Zone. Even at 162,000, I’m in the Red Zone, with an M of 4.5.
I tread water for fifteen minutes, as two players fall by the wayside, then open-raise from CO with [ax 7x] to 36,000 and take the blinds and antes.
Another middling ace in HJ, [as 8s] and I made the same raise. This time SB called with [qx 9x], but I won the hand and was up to T245,500 with just 12 players left ten minutes into hour six.
Another all-in from a short stack and I called with [ax qx] to knock out [qx 8x] just before the half-hour, then I raised [ax 8x] to 40,000 from SB and missed the flop, folding to an all-in. Eleven players, chip average 179,181, and I had T280,000.
About 2:47am we set the final table. I didn’t have much to work with, and with the blinds as high as they were, I lost 100,000 chips just to blinds and antes in half-an-hour.
Then at the end of the top of the hour, BTN just calls ahead of me in SB, I call, and BB shoves. Oddly, I didn’t record what I had, but note that I was up against [qx qx] and made a flush on the river.
My last note from the game is that I had T343,000 with the chip average at 394,200, which meant five players were left. People were getting tired, and while I could easily have gone on, with everyone more or less evenly-stacked, we decided to take our money and run.
Seven hours and fifteen minutes. +1,690% ROI. Five-way even chop, 117 entries.
I could go on, like with a story about how I walked into a PLO8 game 45 minutes late while my car was getting serviced and managed to win it without buying the add-on; or the last two $10K games I played before I headed out to the WSOP, but the road between Reno and Las Vegas awaits and it’s way past the time I could be getting on the road here.
Had a very nice time talking poker with reader BP on Thursday, then he headed over to the Encore $1,800 game that night. I’m bearing down on the big games with 50+ players in preparation for the WSOP starting up this weekend, so I waited to head over until Friday’s $5,000 guarantee.
I was seated in seat 7 at the first red table, with JL—one of the recognizably better regulars at Encore—two seats to my right. I came in fresh off reading Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed and most of Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula 2, so I was ready to work hard.
UTG2 with [Ks 2s], I raised over a UTG call to 125. UTG called and we saw a flop of [ax jx 9x]. I continued with a bet of 200, which UTG called. After that, we both checked through a [7x] on the turn and [8x] on the river. He must have been worried about a ten, because his [7c 8c] was good and he didn’t bet it.
I called with [qh 8c] as CO to see a flop of [qx 6x 4x]. UTG2 bet 200 and I raised to 500, getting a call. We both checked to the river and my pair held up against his missed straight draw.
UTG3 holding [6c 9c]. The flop was [ax tx 8x] and it was checked around with four players still in. With a [9x] on the turn, I bet 275, which was called around. I folded to a 550 bet on the river [8x].
Half an hour in, down to T8,875 and I’d already missed two opportunities to make two pair on the flop, with [qh 6d] and [4s 8s].
Called a 300 raise with [qd 8d] from BB to see a flop of [ah 7d tc] but folded to a 550 bet from BTN. Down to T8,325.
The first hand that turned things around at the table for me was [4d 6d] as CO. I limped to see the flop with several others and saw [2x 5x tx], calling a 250 bet with one other to get to the [3x] on the turn. HJ bet 500 and I reraised to 1,500, then UTG2 shipped it and I called with the nuts. HJ bailed and UTG2 turned over 2 pair. [ax] on the river didn’t help him, and I doubled up to T17,800.
Just a few minutes after that, disaster struck with [ad 7d]. I open-raised to 275, getting three calls to the [ax 7x 8x] flop. With a little over 1,000 in the pot, I bet 1,000, hoping to shake off some people but only one dropped out. [qx] on the turn and I bet 2,500, getting a call from the first player and an all-in from the other end of the table for 2,900 more. I called that, then the player who’d called me first shoved over the top for almost 8,000. By this time, there’s nearly 25,000 in the pot, and I call the extra 5,000. The original all-in has [ax kx], the second all-in has beaten my two pair with [ax qx], and a useless card on the river drops me down to somewhere over 6,000 chips.
I look down at [kc qs] on my next hand and try something, by open-shoving from early position while the blinds are still just 50/100. It seems like a steam bet, what with only 150 in the pot, and amazingly enough, two players call, including one who’s just sat down into the BTN and the short-stacked BB. Two of us are all-in and the flop has a king on it, along with a ten. Tens on the turn and river give me the full house and before I have a chance to count up after my loss, I’m dragging in a big pile of chips.
A couple minutes later on BB and I three-bet an UTG 800 raise to 2,200. He lays down [ax jx] and I show him my [ax ax]. Another [kx qx] on the BTN and I drag another pot with a raise.
In the same round with [8x 8x] in HJ, I raise to 800 over three limpets, when the guy in CO who just folded [ax jx] to me shoves for 5,275. I call and he has [7x 7x], which don’t get any better. He has to re-buy.
Seventy minutes into the game, the chip average is 11,739 and I’m sitting on T29,775.
UTG1 with KT I raise to 750. UTG2 calls and BTN shoves. I fold, but UTG2 (who was just busted with sevens ten minutes earlier) calls with [ax kx] and gets two pair on the turn.
In CO with [an enticing [kd qd], I raise to 1,100 and get a caller, but fold to an all-in bet on the [js 7s 8s] flop.
I’ve lost some ground halfway through the second hour, but with T27,325 I’m still more than twice the average stack when we get to the first break.
I get the T6,000 add-on. By the time break ends, there are 110 entries, 38 re-buys, and 96 add-ons, for a pot of $9,800 and a first prize of $2,820, with fourteen places paying.
UTG1 with [5s 6s], I raise to 800 and get one call. The flop is [6x 4x 3x] and UTG3 bets 1,600, but I raise to 3,200 and he folds. T25,725.
On BB with [3x 5x] I check through with several others to see the flop roll out [kx 3x 4x]. I bet 1,000 and get raised to 2,500, which I call. Another [kx] on the turn makes things look very unpromising and after I check my opponent bets and I fold.
Cautiously called a 1,025 raise from JL holding [ah 9d]. The flop was [tx 5x 5x] and U folded to the first bet.
In CO with [kx jx] I raised to 1,100 over a single limp. HJ called and we saw a flop of [qx jx 6x]. I bet 2,000 for the win.
At the two-hour mark, I was still down from my peak, but had T33,550. Average was still at T19,670 with 97 players left.
Ten minutes into the hour, I picked up [7c 7d] UTG1. UTG called the 400 blind and I raised to 1,800. SB, who was the second-largest stack at the table next to me, three-bet to 3,800 and BB and UTG got out of the way. I called, and the flop was [6c 8c tc]. SB checked to me. There was a better than 50% chance he didn’t have a club in his hand; I knew where at least four of them were already. Four of the remaining clubs were smaller than mine. So there were only five cards I was concerned about: [9c], [jc], [qc], [kc], and [ac]. Even if he had one of those cards in his hand, unless he was paired, he was still behind me. He was behind me even if he had a pair of aces and one of them wasn’t a club. So I shoved with my made pair, my straight, flush, and straight flush draws. He showed [ac qh]. I was a 54%/46% favorite. With [jc] on the turn, though, I was down to needing the [9c] to keep from losing, but the river was [kc]. The hit was for nearly 30,000 chips.
Down at T3,400 with blinds at 300/600/75. Ten minutes after my big loss, I went all-in from BB with [jd td], getting a call from the short-stacked BB who just had me covered. He turned over [ax ax]. I paired my ten on the flop and had two diamonds on the board by the turn, but the river was no help and I was out.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. 90th of 110 players.
Best wishes to my home league host DV, who’s playing in Monday’s World Series of Poker Event #2, a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, for his second shot at WSOP glory. According to a Tweet from poker stats nut Kevin Mathers, there’s going to be a system in place at this year’s WSOP that lets people track chip counts at the breaks from home, so you can follow your friends.
Here’s some info on ChipTic, the service the WSOP will use to attempt to track every player’s chip count: bit.ly/K1ZlHJ
The Final Table Third Friday $10,000 Guarantee (T10,000 + T1,000 early registration bonus)
Got a copy of Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed, his (almost) hand-by-hand account of winning an Aussie Millions tournament. Whatever you might think about Hansen’s style of play (and despite the fact that things may have changed a lot since he wrote the book) it’s a very interesting read and incredibly thoughtful and I don’t think I could possibly recreate hands as well even if I was using his tape recorder transcription method. Sorry. Also picked up Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula (volumes 1 and 2) and I’m hoping to pick out nuggets of useful info from there.
Met up at the Eastside Ringside before the 10K with BP, a Mutant Poker reader (I guess there are a couple) who recognized me at a Friday Encore game a couple weeks back. Had a great time talking poker, had a drink or two (which I almost never do before a game), and then headed down the street.
I started off in BB and folded a couple hands, then raised to 125 on BTN with [ax 8x], calling a re-raise to 325. The turn was Q-high and I bet out for 700 but folded to a re-raise.
UTG with [2x 2x] and I was drawing the low end of a straight on the flop, but BB flopped the nuts. and half an hour in I was down to T8,200.
Called 350 with [qx 9x] but folded to an all-in war that ended up with [kx kx] drawing a set against [ax ax]. T7,500 now.
UTG again with [8d td] and I check-called a 300 raise. Flop of [ax 4x 5x] and I was out of there. Forty-five minutes in: T7,050.
[qx tx] as CO and I called a big pre-flop raise but folded to an all-in after a flop of [jx tx 8x] and a bet on the [ax] turn.
Fifty minutes in and I’d lost more than half my starting chips: T5,250.
In BB with [ah kh], I raised to 2,000 and was re-raised all-in. I called against [as ts] and doubled up to almost where I’d begun: T10,650.
Back on BTN, I raised to 400 and got one call. The flop was [qx 7x 2x] and I bet 1,000 to take the pot. Back over starting: T11,275.
Raised UTG with [jx tx] to 500 getting two calls half-an-hour later. The flop was a beautiful [kx qx 9x] and it was checked around. The turn was a non-threatening [ax], it was checked to me and there was a bet of 3,000. I shoved over the top and was called by [ax kx]. My straight held.
[tx 4x] in BB ten minutes later and I see the flop of [qx tx 4x]. A guy who’s been going all-in throughout the game bets into it and I re-raise. As I expect, he shoves and I call because I’m pretty sure he’s not holding The Butcher, and my two pair knocks him out. He doesn’t show.
Next hand in SB with [8x 2x] I call to see [4x 2x 2x] on the flop and check. BB bets out 600, UTG calls, and I raise to 2,000 getting both of them to fold. I show the hand.
A couple minutes later it’s my turn to fold [9x 8x] after calling 800 pre-flop. The board is [qx jx 8x] but my bottom pair and low-end gut-shot isn’t good enough to call the 2,000 bet.
One hour and forty-five minute into the game and I’m up to a healthy T30,575, more than 40% above the chip average. Five minutes later, I’m buying the add-on of T8,000 chips. There are 84 entries, with 18 re-buys. The break sees 69 add-ons and the pot’s $13,650, with 13 places paying. 77 players left at the break.
After the break, I get to work, raising and taking the blinds and antes with [ax 8x], then taking a pot atay from several callers with a post-flop raise with [qx jx] on a jack-high flop that put me up to T41,625.
In SB with [3s 4s] I called a raise to 1,700 from BB. The [qx 2x 5x] gave me an open-ended straight draw and I bet 2,000 into it. BB tossed his cards and said he had [ax jx]. According to the odds calculators, if that was the case, we were almost exactly 50%-50%.
I re-raised to 7,000 over a 2,400 raise with [8x 8x] and a small stack shoved for 6,950 more. Was my pair good? Was it a desperate move to steal 10,000 chips? It was going to cost me about 3.5:1 to find out. I called, was up against queens and lost.
Pretty quickly I was back on track with [tx tx]. I raised over two calls to 4,000 and took the pot. One of the guys muttered he’d folded jacks. I was down to T32,000 but near chip average.
Then in my BB I picked up [6x 6c] and laid in wait to see a flop of [6x 4x 2x]. I’ve learned my lesson about being shy with flopped sets. I pulled the trigger and didn’t worry about the possibility that someone might have come along with [3x 5x], I bet 2,000 and got a call, then bet 7,000 after the [tx] turn card and cracked some aces. I was back up to T43,400 at the end of three hours.
UTG fifteen minutes later with [kx kx]. I keep losing with kings, often by simply walking away from the board after a horrible flop. I raised to 2,700, getting three calls and a rather ominous [qx jx tx] flop. What premium hand isn’t beating me here? [ax kx] has the straight and my only hope against it is some sort of backdoor full house (or another ace to chop). [qx qx] [jx jx], or [tx tx] has a set already and I need that ace or backdoor full house again. Any multitude of two pair hands in there that are playable by someone in a $10K tournament. Even [8x 9x] has me beat. So naturally when the player on my right goes all-in for more than 30,000 chips, I call. He has The Butcher, for two pair, but a miraculous [9x] shows on the turn and I knock him out with the straight.
Two hundred minutes into the game I’m up to T71,875. The chip average is T27,081. Twenty minutes later, there are 55 players left and the chip average is just over T30,000.
I raise with [qs tc] over two calls, the flop is [ks ts 8s]. I try to get another spade but I’m lucky and don’t, losing to [as tx].
Coming up on the end of the fourth hour of play as SB with [2x 2x] and I call an all-in of 4,700. He has [qx tx] and hits two pair on the flop. I start the next hour down to T50,600 with the chip average at T33,000.
With [ax ax] in CO I raise to 8,000 and get a call. The flop is [9x 6x 4x] and I’m all-in over a raise, getting a call from [jx jx] for a win.
In UTG1, I call 4,600 with [9c tc]. The flop is [7x 9x Jx] and UTG bets 10,000 (a pattern his big stack will repeat throughout the rest of the night) and I have to fold my middle pair and gunshot. Still, I’m back up to T72800.
I open from the CO with [2h 3h] and take the blinds and antes.
UTG1 again. I call 3,600 with [qs 9s] and fold to UTG’s 10,000 bet after the [kx 8x 5x] bet.
In my SB, I raise to 11,000 with [jc qs]. BB calls and the flop is [kx jx 9x] This time it’s me who throws the 10,000 continuation and the guy to my left folds.
Raised 7,000 with [qx jx] and called an all-in who showed [ax kx]. I stayed behind as my chips raced to the other end of the table.
Hitting midnight after five hours of play, I was a little over the chip average, with T54,500.
The Butcher came through, with [qx tx] beating a nominally better hand on a [8x tx 8x] flop and bringing in 20,000.
Raised 10,000 a couple minutes later with [6x 6x] and lost to an all-in. Back down to T54000 by five hours and thirty minutes, with 28 players left.
I shoved with [kx kx] from BTN sort of hoping to double up if someone thought it was a position play but just won the blinds and antes. Even so, by the time the I’d made it through the blinds, I was down to T50,300, more than 10,000 below average.
Just twenty minutes later, that had dwindled to half the average, at T34,700, with only 22 players left. Just nine before the money bubble.
As we approached the end of the sixth hour, I shoved with [ax 9x] over two calls and managed to win a pot that put me up to T40,600. Then, on my BB with [tx tx] I shoved over three calls and took another one down. Right after that I raised UTG with [jx tx] and won again. In twenty minutes I doubled my stack to T71,000 without a showdown. I was still below the T76,666 average.
As quick as it came, though, it went away. I picked up [kx qx] mid-position and raised to 10,000 from the 4,000 big blind. I got two callers, including the big stack on my immediate right. The flop was [kx 9x 2x] and I bet into it, hoping that nobody had [ax kx]. Both of them came along. The [qx] on the turn put me all-in, the first call was from the a smaller stack, the second was from the mega-stack, who’d snuck in there with [jx tx] to make the straight. The small stack had [qx tx]. No king or queen for me on the river and I was out short of the money. BP went on to a 4-way chop at 5:30! Congrats!
Six hours. 19th of 84 entries.
Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee (T10,000)
This was one of those up-and-down rides.
I folded my first two hands from seat 10, then raised over a couple of limpers to 125 with a nice little [jd 9d], getting several calls. The flop was a perfect [tx 8x 7x] and I bet 300. Seat 2 raised me to 600, the players between us folded, and I three-bet 2,300. He called and the turn put out [jx]. I go all-in with the rest of my full stack, he calls with [jx tx], and my straight holds through the river. I’ve got him covered by a quarter because he was SB in the first hand.
I lost a little ground raising UTG1 with [qc 3c] against UTG’s [ax jx]. and was down to T18,925 at fifteen minutes in. Missed an opportunity by folding [tx 3x] in SB when I didn’t call the 25 extra and the flop was [tx 7x 3x].
Raised to 225 with [kx qx] in CO, go two calls, then got a flop of [2x 3x 4x]. It was checked around. With a [5x] on the turn, I folded to a bet.
Half an hour in and my excursions had cut me down to T17750.
Raised from UTG1 to 225 with [4s 6s] and got one call. Bet 500 after the [8x 7x 4x] flop and took it down.
A couple hands later I called 350 in a 3-way hand with [qd 5d] in BB but had to fold after whiffing the flop.
SB on the next hand with [kc jc] and three limpers. I raised to 55o and won. A couple hands later as CO I raised to 250 with [ax 3x] but folded to a bet of 800 on a king-high flop.
In the twenty minutes leading into the end of the first hour, I went from T17,775 to 17,575.
At the stroke of the hour, I played [8s 4s], and made a straight to the eight by the river, but the guy I’d busted on my first hand had a straight to the 9 and knocked me almost back to the starting stack. T10,875.
Not one to sit around dejected, I had a wheel draw with [2x 3x], but missed on the river and had to fold to a bet, losing 800 chips in the encounter.
Opened to 575 with [8h 9h] and got two calls. The flop was [td 6d 3d], which got checked around. Another [tx] on the turn and I folded to a bet. Right color but too diamondy for me.
Limped in with [tc 6x] on BTN and saw a [tx 7x 2x] flop. SB opened with a 1,000 bet, mid-position called, and I re-raised to 3,000 to take the pot. Much speculation about my hand. I feel pretty proud of that play and a couple of others in this game.
CO with [ah qd] and three-bet from 1,200 to 3,000. SB called and the flop hit as [8x 7x 8x]. I folded to a bet of 4,000. That cut me down to T9,300 eighty minutes into the game.
Raised UTG2 with [jx tx] to 750 and got 2 calls. A shove on the jack-high flop and I won my way back up to T10,950.
On BTN with [jd 9d] again and I raised to 600 to see a flop heads-up: [kx 4x 5x]. We checked to the turn, he bet 700, I folded, and he flipped [kx tx]. No need.
In HJ, called an 800 raise in a three-way hand with [3c 4c]. Flop was [ax 5x tx] and I bet 1,200 with my gut-shot straight draw. I won.
At the first break I had T12,550, the average was T15,833 before the T7,000 add-ons.
At the end of the second hour of play, I called 400 UTG1 with [ks ts]. The blinds came along and the flop was ten-high. SB bet 500, I raised to 1,500 and took it.
Called 1,100 from BB with [ks qs] (variations of that hand kept cropping up the night after it put me out of the Friday game), but had to fold after I didn’t connect.
Next hand it was [qc 6c] as SB and I bought the barest of fingernails on a [jx 8x 6x] flop. I bet 800 and got two calls then folded to a turn bet. [jx 5x] made the best hand by catching the low end of a nine-high straight on the river.
Raised with [kd 9d] and got a call. The flop was [ax 9x 6x] and I bet 1,000. My opponent must not have had an ace!
Called 1,200 with four others in the hand before me holding [jc tc] to see a flop of [as qs jx]. Everyone checked. [5s] on the turn didn’t make my straight but I (and nobody else) could call the 3,000 to see the river so I don’t know if it or the flush would have come in. Still, I was up to T24,000.
Raised to 1,300 with [kx 6x] and got called by a shorter stack. The flop was [kx tx 9x] and we checked to the [kx] turn. I raised to 7,000. He hemmed and hawed and dawdled then shoved for 1,800 more. I figured he had to have the better kicker and called for what was less than 10% of the pot. He turned over [kx tx] for the nuts. I felt kind of annoyed about the way he’d slow-rolled the nuts. Was it all about getting me to call the other 1,800?
I was back down to T12,900 two and three-quarters of an hour in. Naturally, I got moved to a new table into the BB just a couple hands after paying the last time.
Fortunately, in SB I picked up [jx jx] and shoved over three limpets to take a hand that put me up to T15,900.
Had to fold a call of 2,700 with [ad 8d] when an all-in came after me.
Pulled another fast one with [ad td] when I raised to 2,700, got two calls, and saw a flop of [7x jx 7x]. My shove won.
Moved again after just twenty minutes.
UTG with [qh ts] and I called a raise of 2,500 to of heads-up to a flop of [as 5s js]. My opponent bet 5,000 and I raised all-in. At least I had the ten of spades! He folded.
Up to T28,000 but below the T35,836 average.
55 players left at three hours and twenty minutes.
I went all-in over two limps with [ax qx] but got called by a smaller stack holding [jh 9h]. He double-paired by the river and chopped me in almost in half. Down to T19225.
When they chipped up the 25 pieces, the average stack with 45 players left was T43,800. I had just T16,625.
Second hand after the break on BTN with [jx tx] my all-in was called by [kx jx] and I was out.
Three hours and fifty minutes. 44th of 99 players.
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 [kc tc] UTG with a flush draw on the flop of [ac 2c ad] and hit my flush with [5c] on the turn but it made a full house for my opponent who called with [ax 5x].
Made a least flush on the flop with [ad 3d] and took down a T3,000 pot about twenty minutes into the game, then went up against [kx qx] with [kx tx] 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.
[9s ts] 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 [jx tx]. 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 [3d 5d]. [qx tx] 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 [jx 6x] when I would have double-paired on the flop and hit a river boat in a hand with two players all-in.
Played [jx qx] and raised to 600, calling a re-raise to 1,800 pre-flop, then folding to an all-in on the [3x 3x x] flop. Down to T24,800.
Lost several thousand with [qs 7d] against [8x 9x] on a flop of [6x 7x 8x]. 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 [kx kx] 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 [7c 4c] and hit the [9x 7x 6x] 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 [ah 9h]. The flop was [7c 2c 7s] and I folded to a 2,500 bet.
Two hours in on BB with [qd 3h] 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 [ah td] 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 [qh th] and got an uncomfortable [ax 9d 6d] flop, then folded to a 2,500 bet.
My next BB I had [ax kx] and re-raised to 3,800 from 800, getting an all-in from SB, which I called. He had [9x 9x], the flop was [ax jx 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 [jc 5c] against [kx qx]. I was ahead on the [jx ax 8x] 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 [4h 5h] from BB, I saw a [kx 2x 2x] 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 [ax 9x] against [kx kx].
Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Sit-n-Go Satellite (2,500 chips)
Two places in this satellite paid. I managed to lose some chips then come roaring back, really in the thick of it with three left, only to push at the wrong moment and get whacked by the biggest stack who knocked me out of the money.
Sixty minutes. 3rd of 10 entries.
Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
My first-ever losing session playing limit Omaha 8, although it was just a small loss. One of the players I know from the late Deuces who’s now at The Final Table was racking up the chips, and I managed to recover from a couple of early losses to over half again my buy-in, then got snockered down to less than 40% of my original stack. Pulled it out before people adjourned to play the tournament, though, so I was down just half a small blind when I cashed out.
Sixty minutes. -1/2BB.
Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Event #1 (10,000 chips)
Built up steadily through the first session of the tournament, picking up nearly 6,000 chips by the first break. Then a call against a shorter stack cost me more than half my chips, dropping me down to 7,175.
I kept looking for whatever edges I could find and managed to climb back up over the starting stack, to 12,525, lost a couple of hands, then picked up [7x 7x] and managed to get called all-in after I’d hit a middle set on the flop That pushed me back into healthy territory at 18,750.
Naturally, when the player I’d doubled against shoved a couple of hands later and I was holding [ax kx], I called. He flipped over [jx jx] and it was a race as far as the flop which had a jack on it. It was nothing you’d even think of calling a race when he made quads on the river.
When the third session began at 300/600/75, I was sitting on only 12,200. I called 2,500 with a high-suited ace and got a flop that was uncool, then watched my stack string to 7,200 (only 9 big blinds at 400/800/100). After paying my small blind on that round, I was down to a meagre 5,600 chips.
The player in seat 1 was fairly tight, and I went all-in with [kx qx] following him, hoping for jacks or tens. What he had was [ax ax]. But the flop put out two more queens, and the river sealed the deal with a king. He got to spin the Wheel of Misfortune. I still only had 10,300 chips, he got off cheap.
The blinds came around again, at 600/1,200/150, and I had just 6,300 after paying the small blind. Five big blinds and a couple antes. Then something miraculous happened and I managed to double up twice. Suddenly I was sitting on 45,000 chips.
According to the tournament clock (which wasn’t updated as often as you might like) there were 180 players (33% of the original field) left at the dinner break. I had nearly 50,000 chips, about 40% more than the chip average, although one of the players who’d been moved to our table had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000.
I doubled up again with [8x 8x] when I shoved on a pot with a bunch of chips in it already call behind me. He had [qx qx] but one of the players who’d been in the pot and folded said he’d had pocket queens as well. Then the board rolled out quad eights for me.
On my next hand I had [ax ax] and went over the top of a smaller all-in. This time, it was my turn to go to the Wheel, when quad tens rolled out. That was relatively cheap, as well.
Certainly, it was much cheaper than the next hand, where I raised with [as js] and called a re-raise from the table leader. I made top pair with a jack on the flop and I should have tried to shut it down right there, but a [kx] on the turn and a bad decision cost me another 9,000 when she turned over [ax kx]. Still, I had 54,000 chips.
That didn’t last long though. I lost another 9,700 in a three-way all-in call with [kx jx] against [kx kx]. The board needed a queen to make my straight, but instead, I was down to 47,000. Then I lost another big hand with [ax jx] vs. [ax kx].
18,600 chips. I shoved with [ax 9x] from HJ and took down the blinds and antes to put me up to 23,800.
I had [7x 4x] in SB. There was an extremely short stack in BB. BTN called and I figured I’d see the flop for 1,500. I made bottom two pair on the flop and shoved as first to act. That put me up to 27,400.
I had 30,000 at the first break after dinner, once the 100 chips had been raced off. Blinds were headers into the 2,000/4,000/500 range, so I was still in severe territory. Only 90 players were left; we were still forty-odd places away from the money.
My last hand was the second after the break, right on the eight o’clock hour. Seat 1 shoved for more than I had. I was hoping he was going with [ax kx] or something of the sort; I shoved my stack in with [8x 8x] but he turned over [jx jx]. This time the over pair held against the eight onslaught.
This event wasn’t the biggest buy-in I played in, by far, but it’s the largest live event I’ve played so far. Disappointed not to have made the money—here or in the satellite—but I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ll leave that until after the weekend.
Encore Club $25,000 Guarantee Freezeout (12,000 chips)
My best results in tournaments have been at Encore, and I was hoping this game would give my bankroll a little boost before the summer tournament season got into high gear. But like the last Encore $25K, I was gone early.
I quickly lost 450 playing [6x tx], hitting the ten as the high card on the flop and going up against [ax tx]. Just fifteen minutes into the game, I called 600 with [jx tx] and folded to a bet and eventual all-ins on the [4x 9x 3x] flop. [kx] turn card was the one the eventual winner wanted to see, because it gave him a higher set than the [9x 9x] of the original bettor, but [qx] on the river would have made my straight the best hand.
I stuck it out to the end with straight and flush draws on [5h 8h] but didn’t get there, and twenty minutes into the game I was already down to 9,300. I slid another 1,100 down the drain with [ax 2x] drawing to a wheel.
[ax 2x] on BTN lost me chips again when I two pairs came on the board but my opponent made a full house with a full house. Half an hour and I was nearly 5,000 chips.
Finally, I won a pot with [kd td], hitting two diamonds and a ten-high flop, with another diamond on the turn, gaining about 2,000 chips.
I bided my time and lost the ground I’d regained with a missed nut flush draw and [as 9s]. Then I busted a short(er) stack with [8x 8x] against [ax qx], turned around and lost 1,200 on the next hand calling with [jx 9x]. I hit middle pair but folded to a post-flop bet. Even with the knockout I only had 8,725 chips just before the first hour ended.
Right on the hour mark, I was BB and picked up [kx kx]. There was a raise and several calls ahead of me but I wanted to get value and just called. Unfortunately, while the flop gave me top set, it was entirely diamonds. A player at the other end of the table bet 1,000, SB called, and I shoved with about 7,500 left, hoping that I might scare off a weak flush or flush draw, or that I could catch a board pairing to make my full house. The original post-flop bettor folded but SB called with [ad 9d], the last two cards didn’t pair the board, and I was out on the hour.
One hour. Alternates were still being seated.
The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee (7,000 chips)
I took the poison pot on the first hand with [5x 7x], making two pair by the turn. I bet 200 and got two calls. Two queens rolled out on the turn and river, counterfeiting my fives, but my two pair was still the best and I won.
Called 250 pre-flop with [jh 8h] and called the re-raise to 450 but with a [9x 8x 6x] flop I folded to the next bet.
A [3x 4x] in the BB made it to the flop and paired the four. Suited cards started to show up and by the river I had a baby flush with the trey. A small bet seemed to be enough for everyone else, because I won. All that, and a dozen minutes into the game I was up a grand total of 300 chips.
Then I got [kx jx] and blew 1,150 drawing for a queen to make Broadway, putting me down 900 from the starting stack twenty minutes in.
With [5x 5x] in SB, I called a 150 bet post-flop but folded after the turn when there were four overs. I got a little of it back with [kx jx], betting at a [jx 2x 2x] flop. I was sliding, though, with 6,050 at the half-hour mark, and 5,650 five minutes later.
With [jc 2c], I called a pre-flop raise to 250 along with three others. The flop was [ax 3x ax] and I bet at it, bluffing everyone off the hand.
Called a 250 raise with [3d 6d] and got an open-ended straight draw with a flop of [kx 4x 5x]. Went out on a limb calling a post-flop re-raise of 1,750 but was rewarded with a [2x] on the turn. I shoved and was called by [kx 8x], which finally put me over the starting stack again, with 13,750 at 50 minutes into the game.
Taking notes on that hand, I didn’t notice action come around to me on the next as BTN and I was flustered enough by the two all-ins ahead of me that when I looked at [ax kx] I folded it rather than get into what looked to be a bloody battle. I figured it was likely a couple of players had aces, I would have been putting most of my stack (if not all) at risk, so I thought not. I should have throughout it through, better, though. As it was, none of the players had premium hands, none of them had anything higher than a king, and it was a pair of kings in the hand of the guy I’d just doubled up against that took the pot. I’d had all three stacks covered. My ace kicker would have taken out three players. Another instance of failing to pull the trigger.
I called 1,100 with [qx 9x] but folded it to a post-flop bet, then put in another 825 on [ks 3s] to call a raise and had to fold to 2 all-in pre-flop bets.
Raised to 600 from BTN with [ad 3d] and got called by the blinds to see a [8x 7x qx] flop. A bet of 700 won the pot and put me at 12,700 just past the one-hour mark. Then I lost just about everything with [8s ts] when my eight paired the top card on the board and I fell to a set of fives. I was done in when [ax tx] called my all-in with [ax jx].
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.
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.
My first hand was a decent [kd jd] and I bet it strong pre-flop, only to have the cards show up midd-of-the-road and black. I kept betting and one other player followed along, but I gave up after the turn put a spade draw on the board and there was nothing for my diamonds to stick to.
The next flop, on the other hand, came out [kx jx jx], which would have been great with my first hand but was considerably less so with my [kx 6x]. I stayed through to the turn [3x] when the betting got very heavy, only to watch [kx] drop on the river to give me the nuts if I’d stayed in. The winner had [3x 3x] in her hand and had made her smaller house on the turn; the loser had [qx tx] and missed a straight that would have lost anyway.
Still, [tx tx] looked pretty good for my third hand, and I bet it, going heads-up and all-in after the [ax tx jx] flop. My opponent showed [ax jx] for top two, then we both made full houses on the river with another [ax]. Lucky me. I re-bought as I was moved to another table, despite comments that perhaps I should listen to the poker gods and call it off for the day.
I really should have. I struggled for a while, then chipped up after the break a bit, then lost a big chunk to DL and was down to just 1,500 with blinds at 200/400. I managed to build back up to several thousand before the table broke, and grab a couple of sets of blinds (shoving with [7d 9d], for instance) once I got there. Kicked myself on one hand when I was on the verge of shoving with [2d 4d]. I didn’t, I know I would have gotten called by the much bigger stacks that chose to get involved, and I would have hit a winning flush on the river. ATC. Instead, I went all-in with [ax qx] a few hands later and was called by [ax kx] in the big blind. Got a king and a couple of tens on the board, but no jack.