Good Thing There’s Bounties

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Just five minutes in and I make top pair from the SB holding JQ on a safe-looking J32 flop after four of us have limped in. I bet out 100 as first to act, getting two callers. 6 for a turn and I bet out 300 more, again two calls. 2 is the river and I check, BB checks, UTG2 puts both of the blinds all-in to call, and I do. He’s been holding a set with 33 in the pocket from the flop.

Out 622 of 714.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

A big one that got away from me. I had quite a setback on my 12th hand, holding QT on the button at 25/50. There was a raise and a call to 175 ahead of me and I probably should have ejected, but I saw the flop of A3Q and decided to play it. UTG1 bet 250, UTG2 wisely got out, I called, and 4 appeared on the turn. Another 250 from UTG1 and myself, 5 at the river and I called his last 250 bet before he turned over 6A. That knocked me down to 735.

I’d dropped to just 435 ten hands later after some other action and JT came into my hand. UTG called the blind of 60, UTG1 raised to 120, UTG2 called, I (UTG3) decided to make a move and made my tiny shove. That got called by UTG, UTG1, and UTG2. My role in the hand was over as I watched the flop roll out 388. UTG1 went all-in and drove the other two players out, then showed AQ, so any chance of a flush I had was shot; I needed a pair. J showed up on the turn and an inoffensive 5 was the river. I bounced back to 1,830.

AT on the next hand. We’d lost a the guy who’d played the previous hand with me to re-shuffling and I was UTG1. I open-min-raised to 160, getting four callers. The flop was 379, probably making someone happy but the blinds just checked and I bet 200 to open. Only the big blind dropped out. K on the turn was interesting and I opened with another 200, inducing everyone to fold and making me an easy 1,245 profit, which put me just over 3,000.

Nothing much happened for twenty minutes. I’d drifted down to 2,250 chips when 77 came into my hand. It’s not my favorite pair of cards but I was at less than 19BB and the Andy Bloch “Tournament Checklist” is all about going all-in with the small pairs when you’re getting short-stacked. Did I listen? No, I raised to 300 and there were three callers. The flop was 322. Checks from the blinds and this was where I shipped it, for 1,950. SB called, BB raised all-in to 2,750, then SB called that. SB had A4 for a one-ended wheel draw, BB had us seriously in trouble with 52 and a set. 8 shoed for the turn, giving me a chance for a backdoor flush, and the river A completed it. I took in 7K (but significantly did not learn me lesson about shipping with small pairs, something that comes back to bite me later).

The last significant hand was my final one, forty minutes later. I still had only 6,675. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was BB. Picked up AQ. UTG3 goes all-in for 8,374 and I call. He’s got KQ, so I’m good unless he catches diamonds or a Kx. The flop is 93J and anything else is irrelevant. Could have gone the other way but it didn’t.

98 minutes, 87 hands. 1 bounty collected. ROU: -85%. Finished 829 of 3,687 players.

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Another one-minute wonder. Called the 120 min-raise of UTG3 from BB on the second hand, flop was 972; I bet 120, he raised to 660; I three-bet to 1,200; he called. J on the turn; I’ve got 180 chips, an inside straight draw, and an ace. Might as well. He calls with the AJ. 9 for the river. I’m sort on my flush and short on my straight and out of the game.

One minute. Two hands. 1,013th of 1,196 players.

Full Tilt $36,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Six minutes in with most of my starting stack I get 77 again, this time in late position on the button. Two players limp in. I raise to 300, ten times the big blind. BB and UTG2 call. The flop shows up with 6QT and everyone checks. Another 6 on the turn. UTG2 opens with 340 and I call. BB has the sense to bail. Another over card on the river. K and UTG2 bets 810 to put me all-in if I call. I bail.

That whittled me down considerably. I’m at 660 13 minutes into the game when I get QQ. UTG raises the big bet three times to 120. I re-raise to 280 but should probably be all-in here. SB calls, BB is all-in for 1,245. UTG calls, SB raises all-in to 1,560. UTG calls. Three all=ins. Here’s the cards. SB 88, BB AK, UTG: JA. I was a 43% winner so far. The flop’s fine: 569. It put a lot of diamonds on the board for BB, as well as a straight possibility for SB. The 4 for the turn didn’t change anything, my win percentage was up to 57%. The 7 on the river completed the straight, though. Maybe an all-in pre-flop would have induced the eights to fold.

14 minutes, 37 hands. 683rd of 1,324.

Cake Poker Series 2011 Super Satellite (1,500 chips)

Nothing to say about this. I was stuck just below the starting stack size twenty-odd minutes in, got priced in with TA and shoved, with J9 and KQ calling—altogether we made a long straight—and the hearts won out.

24 minutes, 17 hands. 8th of 16.

Full Tilt 90-Player KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

No movement for twenty-five minutes here, I was in CO at 3,270 with the blinds up to 60/120 when everyone ahead of me folded. I held 98 and min-raised to 240. Button and BB called. The flop just gave me bottom pair: JA9. BB checked and I bet 180. B called, and BB was gone. The turn was 2, giving me an ugly flush draw. I checked and B bet 600. Calling left me 2,250 behind. A tantalizing A hit the river. I bet 1,000, concerned about pocket jacks making a full house. B must have thought he had it but he was far behind with JQ. That picked me up 2,300.

QQ made me the next jump a dozen minutes later. UTG3 raised to 540 at the 120/240/25 level. I was on the button and re-raised to 2,500, about half my stack. The blinds folded and UTG3 four-bet all-in to 3,540. I called with 1,740 behind and he showed JJ. The flop went my way with 6KQ, and he was out. I was at 9,450. First bounty.

I caught one of the mid-sized stacks trying to pull something three hands later. I limped for 240 in after UTG called, CO called and SB as in. The flop was 63T and everyone checked. J hit on the turn. SB bet 480, BB and UTG folded, I called and CO was out. The river was 4 and SB checked. Worried about a flush, I checked too, but SB had 8J, so I had the best of it and was just short of 11,000.

Just eight hands later I was UTG2 at 200/400/50. I open-raised to 800 with QT and the only caller was SB. Got a pair in the T6J flop. SB bet 1,200 and I called. A turn 9 gave me second pair and a straight draw. SB bet another 1,600 and I called again. I made trips on the river with T and when SB checked I shoved all-in. Amazingly enough, he called with 44. That put me over 18K and made a second bounty.

The end was fast and violent just five hands later. I was UTG with 17,790, holding 77. Blinds were at 250/500/50 and I opened with a raise to 1,250. A slightly smaller stack in UTG1 was the only caller, so that was good. The flop was a promising 528 and I bet another 1,250 but I probably should have gone bigger. UTG1 called. The A on the turn pretty much shut things down as far as I was concerned. Flush draw and an ace on board? I checked and then folded after UTG1 bet 6,150. That took me down 2,550.

Next hand, I was in the big blind with just 24. There was a raise and call to 1,000 and I decided to see if my low cards would hit anything, with pot odds of 6.3:1. The flop was T6T, when the initial raiser bet 3,650 I got out of there pronto.

Still, I had 14,190 in the small blind. Suited connectors: 98. That looked good. The only player into the pot ahead of me was UTG1, who’d min-raised to 1,000. I called. The flop gave me a dangerous pair: 8AA. I bet 750 and got called by UTG1. The A showed on the turn and I had a full house. Did he have the other ace? I bet 1,000 and he smooth-called. 3 on the turn didn’t change anything. He needed the fourth ace or a pocket pair better than eight to beat me. He bet 7,500, I called, and of course he had AJ. I was down under 4,000.

The last hand for me was at 300/600/75.  I had KQ in UTG1 and went all-in for 4,815. What’s Andy Bloch say? Fewer than 10 big blinds? Check. Open-raise with KxQx? Check. UTG2 called, everyone else dropped out and I was up agains the Mutant Jack: AJ. The board was tantalizing with 2T898 but I didn’t make the straight or the flush and I was someone else’s bounty.

66 minutes, 77 hands. 2 bounties, no prize, ROI of -70%.

Cake Poker Internazionale 6-Max (20BB)

66 on the third hand in CO. Open-raised to 3BB, called by SB. Flop was 8Q8 and we both checked to the turn 7. SB bet 4BB and I called. 7 river card counterfeited my pair and I was playing the board. Another 4BB bet from the SB and I folded.

88 a little later in HJ and UTG raised to 3BB. I re-raised to 7BB and everyone folded. I was still stuck 6BB.

Down to 7.5BB fifteen minutes in and picked up A6 in the CO. UTG raised to 2BB, I called and B did as well. Flopped well with A86, HJ and I checked, B put out a bet of 7BB. That was the end of it for HJ but I called all-in for less than the bet. He flipped 98 and the race was on. No diamonds on the turn or river—Q5—and my two pair held up. Just down by 2BB now.

I was on the BB with 78. Min-raise from HJ and a call from CO. I went along and got bottom pair in the Q7J flop. I opened with a bet of 2BB, HJ raised to 5BB and I called for some reason. A on the turn and it didn’t take the 3BB bet from HJ to get me out of there. Back down to 12BB.

In HJ with K4. Min-raised with a call from CO and re-raise to 6BB from B. I’m the only caller. The flop is 56T. I check and B shoves his entire stack of 185BB into the ring. I call for some reason and he shows QQ. T makes the turn and my hopes for a backdoor flush are gone. The river J ends this session.

Full Tilt $9,000 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Started off with a bang eight minutes into the game with KJ on the button. UTG1 limped in and HJ min-raised to 80. I re-raised to 140, getting calls from SB, UTG1, and HJ. The flop was 55A, SB checked, UTG1 bet 400. There was a fold from HJ and I re-raised to 800. SB folded, UTG1 re-raised to 1,675, and I made a dangerous call that left me with 80 chips. He had a set with 57. The 4 on the turn looked grim, then a safe 8 made the river and I doubled up plus I got a bounty.

A similar hand on the button ten minutes later got me into trouble. Three limps were ahead of me with KT. I raised to 250, which got a call from SB and a re-raise to 450 from BB. UTG3 called, I called, SB called. The flop was AQ7. SB checked and BB bet 1,410 all-in. UTG3 fled the scene, I called, and SB folded. BB was way ahead and had me dominated with with AT but a Jx could put me on top. Didn’t happen, though, and I lost 1,860 chips.

The blinds were 30/60 a little later, I was still around 2,500 chips and got 97 in UTG2. UTG raised to 120, I called, and BB was in. The flop of JTQ gave me flush and open-ended straight draws. BB checked, UTG went all-in for 1,205, I called rather than go over the top, because BB had me by 1K. BB folded anyway and I was heads-up against two pair: TQ. K for the turn gave me my straight but opened up the flush for him. The river was 6 and I took another bounty, as well as 1,475 chips, which put me up to 3,995.

Speculating on some unsuited ace hands cost me over the next quarter-hour, so I was down to 3,115 when I got KK as UTG. I min-raised to 160, getting four callers. The flop was 965. SB opened with a 240 bet that got BB to fold. I raised to 1,500, enough to put SB almost all-in but not necessarily scary for the others. They both folded, though, then SB pushed for 1,680. I paid the extra 180 and he showed a gutshot straight and an ace: A7. He got his ace on the turn with A but that gave me four to a flush, which came in the shape of a 9. Up to 5,435 and another bounty.

On the 60/120 big blind with A9. B raises all-in to 683. SB calls. I call. The flop gives me top two pair: A92. Right now I’m beating AxKx. SB checks and I go all-in for 5,142. SB folds, B has QA, and the rest of the hand is irrelevant. I have almost 7,200 chips and another bounty.

Took a big hit on the big blind again at 100/200. Q9 in my hand; not one of my favorites. Action folded to the button, who raised to 700. I called and we were heads-up. The flop looked pretty good—7J7—and I opened with 750. B went all-in for 2,670 and I called. An 8 showed on the turn but the queen-high straight was going to be harder and pointless with TT in B’s hand. The last card missed me: 5 and I was down to about 4K again.

I made a couple of attempts over the next ten minutes but nothing panned out. Finally, I got 44 in UTG3. Action folded to me, I followed Bloch’s instruction on what to do when you’re under 15 blinds and open-raised all-in with the low pair. Everyone but the BB folded. He showed TT. The board ran out 82343 and I came an Ax or a 6x away from a straight, but I was bounty-bait. The other part of the goal on Bloch’s “Tournament Checklist” is to win with that move.

105 minutes, 100 hands. 3,831 players and I made 939th. Four bounties and ROI -39%.

Full Tilt $20,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Just nine hands and nothing of note here. I was down about 300 from a KQ play. My last hand was 88. I raised all-in after a single limp at 30/60 for 1,230. The button isolated me by going all-in for more than 4K., showing KK. By the turn I had a little bit of hope with 6JT9 showing but a queen would give a straight to the kings. Instead, he got trips with a river K.

Four minutes. 1,385 players, finished in 617th.

Full Tilt 90-Player Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Surprised I lasted as long as I did in this game. I was steadily downhill and under the starting stack for forty minutes until a Mutant Jack rescued me. Got AJ in the big blind at 60/120 holding 1,845 chips. UTG called and everyone else folded. I raised to 725. He three-bet to 1,330 and I shoved for 1,845, getting a call. Naturally, he was pleased, he had AA and I looked like a goner. The 455 flop gave me some life, though. I hung in suspended animation through the 8 turn, then T came on the river and I doubled up, leaving UTG with a little more than 3BB.

Got my own comeuppance in short order four hands later when I had KK as HJ. Blinds were up to 80/160 and UTG min-raised. I re-raised to 995. UTG and I were heads-up after some folds, and he went all-in for 3,010. I called with 985 behind and he showed TT. The first card out was T, with 37 making another nice flush draw for me, but it was JJ on the last two streets and I wasn’t the one with a full house.

I managed to build back up to about 1,800 but the blinds were getting big and I was down to 1,240 at 200/400/50 when I tried to make 8K work for me. UTG raised all-in to 800, UTG1 and SB called, and I re-raised all-in. UTG1 called with more than 11.5K left, SB called holding another 27.5K. The board was Q6797 with the big stacks checking it down to the river. Nobody had much of anything 9A for BB, AT for UTG, but SB had a TQ and the queen pair was good enough to take it.

63 minutes, 57 hands, one bounty. 32nd place of 90 players. ROI -85%.

Essen Gee

Continuing on with the Andy Bloch “Tournament Checklist” Challenge at Full Tilt Academy.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Technically, this isn’t a turbo tournament, but the levels are only six minutes long, so you’re going to be seeing the blinds go up almost every time they come around. Watch your back.

I was on my second small blind (at 20/40) when I got AQ. Two players called and I raised to 120, getting calls from everyone but the big blind. The flop was ATA and everyone checked. The J on the turn gave a potential straight in addition to a possible full house, so I bet the pot: 400. Everyone folded.

Raised to 125 with KQ a few hands later (with the blinds up to 25/50) and the only caller was the big blind who had a stack of about 3,000, twice my size. The flop was A22 and I bet 100 after a check from the BB. He called and 6 showed up. We checked it down past the river 4 and he showed the same pair I had, with 7Q but not a very good kicker.

After that it was mostly downhill. Last hand was a decent AQ, a raise to 240 that got called by both blinds, and AJ drawing two pair by the flop. Out in 31st after 29 minutes and 30 hands.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Got a Mutant Jack (AJ) on hand seven sitting on the small blind. Everyone folded to the button, who limped in, and I raised to 180, bringing it down to just me and the button. The flop was 5TA. I put in 400 for a bet and was raised to 800, then I shoved and was called by AT, who had me covered. Things looked bleak with the 7 on the turn but J popped up on the river for a suck-out. Up to almost 2,800 chips.

Limped in from the cutoff with 79 a little while later, then called an all-in to 445 from BB. Button called, as well, so the pot had 1,400 in it pre-flop. K63 gave me a flush draw and I went all-in to push out the button. He dutifully folded and the all-in players cards went over: 58. The turn and river were T6 so I never made as much as a pair but I was still ahead and up to more than 3,300 chips.

That quickly bled away with “premium” hands. I drew QA in SB at 30/60 and raised to 210 with two limpers. BB and UTG+1 called, then the button three-bet all-in to 955. Everyone called so there was 3,820 in the pot. The flop was 7TK. I checked and BB went all-in for 1,815. UTG+1 called but I decided not to wait for the Qx and folded. It didn’t show up, BB took a pot of 7,500 with JK. Down 955 chips on that one.

A bigger loss came two hands later with AT. Our table was down to six players at 40/80 and I three-bet a UTG raise of 320 to 640. BB called with just 60 behind and UTG went all-in for 1,362. I called; BB went all-in. I was pretty much screwed from the flop, the board was 66J and  UTG had JJ for a full house. Down to less than 1,000.

My final hand was shortly thereafter. I called the BB and a limper from the SB for 80 with 8T and saw a flop of J6T. I checked to the BB who bet 240. UTG called and I went all-in for 831 with my middle pair. Both of the others called. BB bet 80 after a 3 turn (which gave me a flush draw) and got an all-in call from UTG. BB was holding TA, UTG had top pair with JK. 2 on the river didn’t change anything. UTG took the 4,161 chips and I was out in 17th place. 35 minutes of play, 31 hands.

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Got JxTx twice in a row (sixth and seventh hands), profiting especially nicely from the second.

FBlinds were 20/40 and I was the cutoff on the first outing. UTG limped in and I raised to 100. UTG called and we were heads-up. Flop was KJ9, UTG checked and I bet 160 which he called. 6 on the turn, which we both checked. The river was 8, we checked again, he showed AT and my jacks took it.

There was a call from UTG+2 on the next hand and I raised to 140. Button and UTG+2 called. The 6J5 flop gave me another pair of jacks and I bet 400 into the 480 pot when UTG+2 checked. Button came along for the ride and UTG+2 folded. 2 on the turn gave me a flush draw in addition to the highest pair on the board. I bet another 400 and the button went all-in, covering me by more than 300. I called and he flipped 88. A on the river left me in front and I took in a pot of 5,700.

My own pocket pair—QQ—cost me almost 1,500 ten minutes later. I raised three times the blind to 240 from UTG, getting calls from cutoff and SB. The flop was 99K and I bet 400 after SB checked. Cutoff checked and SB folded. T on the turn gave me a potential straight. We both checked. The river 2 made a potential flush; the king was troubling, but I bet another 800 in the hope that he had an ace of some sort. Nope. He called and showed JK. I still had over 4K, though.

It took me about 15 minutes to find a spot to pick it back up. In UTG again with a speculative 9T, I min-raised to 240. SB re-raised to 480 with only about 1,700 behind, and I called, putting us heads-up. The flop was A39, not particularly good for me. SB checked it and I checked behind. The turn was 9 and when SB bet 840 I put him all-in with my trips. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he called with QJ, I guess he must have thought I was bluffing, but that was a bounty for me and put me up over 6,600 chips.

It was nearly half-an-hour before I had another big hand, by which time blinds and small losses had whittled my stack down to about 5,200. There were a couple of very short-stacked players at the table in the blinds (200/400/50), flanked by two 20K+ stacks, one of which was just to my right. One of the big stacks opened to 850 and I re-raised all-in with A9 and 5,135 chips. There were folds around to BB, who went all-in with 1,740. The big stack folded and BB showed a KA big blind special. The flop was a grim QJ5, but 9 on the turn and the river 6 saved my bacon and gave me another bounty, along with a total of 8,300 chips.

The table was down to six players ten minutes later with me in SB at 300/600/75. UTG limped in. I had BB and UTG covered (although barely in the latter’s case) and went all-in with AT after everyone ahead of me folded. Only UTG called, showing A6. The 4Q5JQ board didn’t hit either one of us and I was up to about 12,600, earning my third bounty.

The end was only three hands later at another table with eight players. Blinds were up to 400/800/100, so I only had 15BB despite my double-up. I was in the BB with three stacks bigger than mine at the table, including one of more than 32K. UTG+1 opened with an all-in of 16,764. Everything folded to me and I called with AT, the same hand that had just doubled me up. It wasn’t going to be as effective against AQ. I was knocked out in 16th, a little short of the money. 86 hands, 78 minutes, 3 bounties, no prize money, -55%ROI.

Full Tilt Turbo $3.5K Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Just three significant hands in this tournament for me: one good and two bad. I got AA in UTG+1 early on and min-raised to 80 to see what kind of action I could get. CO re-raised to 300 and I three-bet to 960 after the blinds folded. CO went all-in and I called with 300 behind. He flipped over KK and I crossed my fingers and hoped against a repeat of the nasty surprise of Monday night’s live game. My aces filled up with a 5TA9T and I was up to nearly double the starting stack five minutes in.

The Mutant Jack failed to come through for me at the twenty-minute mark. I made a 3x raise to 180 from UTG+2 with JA getting a call from only SB. The flop only gave me middle pair—Q7J—but I bet another 300 after a check from SB. He re-raised to 960 and I should have ejected but I pushed all-in and he called, with me having him covered by about 1,000. His KQ was in front, and it stayed there with 22 on the turn and river. The next hand I threw a Kx2x and saw a board that would have made that best two pair, with 8x8x winning a pot of 2,200.

My last hand was QT. I limped in from UTG+1 for 80. BB raised to 240 and I called. 29K on the flop gave me a gut-shot straight draw. We both checked. 3 made a flush draw on the river. BB checked, I bet 520—leaving me with 155—and BB was all-in. I called. With AK he had top pair and beat me on a flush. I needed a jack but the river was 2.

Out in 594th place of 684 players. 23 minutes, 31 hands.

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

Short and sweet. AK on the fourth hand. Raised to 75 from UTG and got three callers. Flo was 47A and I bet 300 after a check from BB; only caller was UTG+1 who had doubled up on the first hand. J on the turn and I bet 900, getting raised to 1,800. Went all-in and the lucky UTG+1 shoed he was really lucky, with AJ when he called. Just a 5 on the river and I was out in 85th after less than five minutes.

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

The first fifty minutes of this tournament went rather poorly. I won only a few small pots and was down to 1,165 chips when I got a Mutant Jack in UTG at 150/300/25. I raised all-in with JA; the button re-raised to 3,300; SB went all-in for 5,625 and got a call from the button. SB had 45, button held KT, and the cards on the board were 78938. My ace kicker was good for almost 4K of the 13K pot and I was semi-alive.

My next hand was JK on the big blind. UTG+1 limped in, SB raised to 600, and I pushed all-in for 3,920 getting both the other players to fold. I was over 5K.

Two hands later it was 77 on the button. Blinds were 200/400/50. Cutoff raised to 1,000 and I pushed all-in again for 4,695. SB called with more than 20K behind and everyone else folded. He had KA but the board was free of clubs, aces, and kings: Q5T69. The entire pot of 11,090 was mine.

Eighty minutes in I got KK on the big blind (300/600/75). The table was six-handed. HJ raised all-in to 6,035. Action folded around to me and I called with 3,700 behind. The kings held up, I picked up a bounty, and I was over 16,500. TJ on the next hand won me another 1,900 chips.

I picked up blinds and antes worth almost 2,400 with a raise to 2,500 and KT shortly thereafter, then dropped over 4K speculating with A9.

The very next hand I was on the big blind (500/1,000/125) with a massive 32. The button raised to 2,000, SB folded, and I called, not expecting much. I hit the bottom end of the 527 flop and opened all-in for 12,275. SB had 49K but folded and I gained a bit more than 3K. On the small blind I had T9 (with the blinds having gone up to 600/1,200/150). Action folded to me and I raised to 2,400. BB called and the flop was QA3. I pushed again for 14,975, this time covering the BB, who folded. That pushed my total over 20K.

My next turn on the big blind was with TK. Two players limped in and I checked to the flop. QJ3 gave me an open-ended straight draw, I bet 3,000, and the others folded.

Seven hands went by and we were in our first hand at the final table. I was down to 15K, blinds were 1,000/2,000/250 and I was on the big blind with QK. HJ called, CO raised to 8,000, and I re-raised to 14,925 all-in. HJ got out of the way and CO called with 40K behind. And KK. I got a Q on the river but it was too little, too late. I was a goner.

I took the smallest payout for ninth place. 97 minutes, 101 hands, only one bounty due to my poor showing in the first hour. ROI of 85%. In that first hour, I managed to fold a 34 in the small blind to a raise to fulfill one of the two sub-tasks for the 25-50BB section of the “Tournament Checklist” challenge. If I’d been able to cash in a regular-speed tournament within 48 hours of this one, I would have finished the fifth task, but that didn’t happen.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

AJ Mutant Jack knocked me down under 900 on the fourth hand in a three-way battle for a 4K pot that had two of us all-in. The cards on the board missed everyone. The smallest stack took over 3K with QQ and I got the 870 side pot, beating out the largest stack’s QK.

KK a little later doubled me up to just about 2,500 but I ran into AA with JQ just three hands after that, making two pair on the turn and going all-in but with A showing on the river to make a set.

19 minutes, 20 hands. Finished 28th.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

The fourth hand was even worse in this game. I held TT in the big blind, with a limper in UTG and a min-raise to 60 from UTG+1. I raised to 200 after action folded to me, UTG got out of the way and UTG+1 and I went to the flop. It was a safe-ish 842 and I bet another 200. UTG+1 raised with all but 30 of his chips to 1,045, and I called, which left me with only 195. 4 came with the turn and I raised to put him all-in, making the pot just under 2,600 chips. He held A3 for a straight draw, but he only had seven outs. Naturally, the river was A, making his better pair.

KA on my next hand allowed me to triple up my 165 over a A4 and another hand that was pushed out by a post-flop raise from the weak ace. There were two aces on the board by the river; presumably the folder didn’t like the one that showed on the flop.

It took about five minutes of play but I managed to get back over the starting stack with A9. We were at 25/50 and I open-raised all-in from UTG+1 with 715 chips. The guy who’d taken most of my stack earlier had done well since and was over 5K. He called from CO and we were heads-up with him holding 8K. The flop could hardly have been better for me: A69. A turned K gave him a slim opportunity for a set but cut off any backdoor flush, and the river 4 didn’t do anything.

I drifted down below 1,000 over the next nine hands until limps by UTG and SB let me play 78 from BB. The flop set me up for a double-gutter straight draw: 5J9. I was good with either a 6x or Tx. I bet 120 after SB checked the flop, getting a re-raise to 240 from UTG. SB folded; I called. The T turn gave me the higher straight. There was 720 in the pot, I had 645 and it went all-in, getting a call. UTG had J3 and was drawing dead before the river 9 showed. Suddenly, I was the third-largest stack at the table, with 2,010.

That was to be extremely short-lived, however. As anyone knows, playing the blinds can get you into trouble. Q6 on the small blind when you’ve got 25BB? Two players limped in for 80, I called, BB said all was good and the flop was an enticing 8Q3. I bet 200, action folded to HJ and he raised to 920 with 380 behind. I still had 1,730 and could have kept it but I put him all-in, he called, and then he showed TQ. T on the turn sealed my fate and I was back down into the hole, with 290. This time I wasn’t able to recover and I went out in 30th place four hands later.

34 minutes, 32 hands.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

I seriously can’t figure out what I was thinking on this hand. I had AJ on the eighth hand, the board ran out 4439J and I was all-in with a slightly-smaller stack before the river, which is the first time I had anything. The other player had a set on the flop, with 45. 8 minutes, 11 hands, 35th place.

Full Tilt 45-Player Sit & Go (1,500 chips)

Lost 440 early on chasing a flush with 9Q from UTG then picked up 1,000 on the next hand with more clubs. The 9A didn’t flush but the lower card paired on the turn to beat 88 held by SB. Lost the whole thing with a AJ Mutant Jack that missed Broadway and lost to a set (and a bigger hand) AK and a 9KQKJ board.

19 minutes, 17 hands, 35th place again.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

D and I were talking after the last tournament about playing on Full Tilt and he mentioned that he’s been working on some of their Academy challenges, and that doing so sort of puts you out of your comfort zone, which could be good or bad, depending on how it goes. He wanted the little hat that apparently goes on your badge at the table, too. I went to the Full Tilt Academy and looked for a Challenge for myself, finding “Tournament Checklist” by Andy Bloch.

Basically, the Challenge is to:

  1. With a stack of 50 or more big blinds, call a raise and see a flop with no-gap or one-gap suited connectors smaller than 10 or a suited ace with a kicker of 8 or less. Do it twice.
  2. With a stack of 25 to 50 big blinds, fold the same set of cards to a raise twice.
  3. With a stack of 15 to 25 times the big blind, re-raise all-in (and win) with suited Ax8x or less, pocket pair 8x8x or less, or KxJx, KxQx (suited or unsuited).
  4. With a stack of 15 big blinds or less, open raise all-in and win with the same set of cards.
  5. Cash in a normal tournament and a turbo tournament within 48 hours.

All of the tasks have to be completed in real money games of 45 or more players; they can’t be Rush, On-Demand, or Multi-Entry tournaments (which makes it a bit hard as Full Tilt keeps adding those options to every tournament).

Anyway, I made my first stab at the Challenge in a 90-player game last night.

My first chance came eight hands in. I had 2,910 chips—73BB—on the button with 5A. But nobody raised! Just three limpers ahead of me. I suppose I could have raised to see if I could provoke a re-raise that I could call before the flop. 68A and action folded all the way around to me. I bet 80 and got one call. Q on the turn game me a flush draw so I bet 200 after it was checked to me and took the pot.

Picked up 99 three hands later and raised to 190 (leaving an even 3,000 behind) after one player limped in for 50. Got calls from hijack, cutoff, and the limper in UTG+2. Flop of 47K. Limper checked and I bet 200. HJ called and the others folded. 1,235 in the pot and a Q on the river. Limper was down to about 2,100; I had 2,800. I checked and he followed to see the K on the river. I bet another 200 and he must have been hoping his pair was good with 79. I can only with the case nine had shown up because I think he would have been all-in.

AQ cost me a couple hundred a few hands later but the very next hand I picked up the Mutant Jack: AJ on the button. UTG limped for 80 and I called. Small blind raised to 320, BB and UTG called, then I re-raised to 640. Everyone called and there was 2,560 (32BB) in the pot preflop. 499 gave me a nut flush draw. Everyone checked to me and I went all-in for 3,075. I had SB covered; BB had 3,455; UTG was big stack at the table with 8,350.

I had 5,415 on the BB at 60/120 (45BB) a little later with the “computer hand” of 7Q. Not exactly something I’d play nine-handed but there was only one caller with a little larger stack than me. The flop was K76 and I bet 180 on my middle pair, getting a call. 3 on the turn, I checked and the other guy bet 120, which I called. My seven tripped up with 7 on the river and I bet 600, getting paid off by the JK.

My premium 9A and KQ hands both cost me more than 1K each shortly thereafter, however, the first after I laid it down in the face of nothing connecting and a large post-flop bet, and the second on the turn after a third club appeared on the turn and my opponent went all-in. Those cut me down from over 6,600 to just under 4,300.

And that’s where I was when my second chance for completing an Academy task came, with A3 on the BB of 160. I had just over 25 big blinds. UTG raised to 560 and action folded all the way to me. I was supposed to fold to a raise here, per task 2 but I’d miscalculated the division and though I was below 25 blinds and was supposed to try to re-raise and win. I got the first part of it right, anyway. He had only 55 chips behind but 88 in his hand. No diamonds on the board, just one Tx short of Broadway.

37 minutes, 31 hands. No tasks completed. No KOs. 46th place.