He’s a Caller!

Encore Club $250 Freeroll

Wandered down for the freeroll since I’d already paid the door fee when I picked up my ticket for the $25K game. Don’t remember where I went wrong.

Two hours and thirty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 24th of 65 players.

Encore Club Freezeout

The 2pm freezeout game was already forty minutes in when I busted out of the freeroll, but I got into it anyway and managed to get through most of the fild. I was the short stack as it got short-handed and I called with two overs on my last hand. As usual, if I’d waited, I might have made more money, because the next player out was right behind me.

Three hours. +112% ROI. 4th of 24 players.

Encore Club $25,000 Guarantee

It was really a rogue’s gallery at my table. I’d taken a break to go home and grab something to eat after the 2pm game, so I missed the first couple of hands. DV from my home game was improbably seated at the same table. DTwho’d been at my first $10K final table–was a couple seats on my left. Regular winner JL was on my immediate right. The guy who’d taken first in the Tournament of Champions where I came in second, DM, was sitting on DV‘s right. And directly across the table from me in seat 1 was Angry Old Tattooed Guy, who’d been sooo much fun to play with at Final Table’s Santa Bounty game.

Things got off to a phenomenal start within the first orbit. I’d won a couple of small pots already when I picked up QxQx. I raised from late-middle position, DT re-raised and I eventually called an all-in. He just had 9x9x and my queens held through the river, breaking him down to practically nothing (he’d picked up a pot or two himself). Meanwhile, I had more than doubled my starting stack. DT kept repeating “You got my number” for a couple of minutes. After he eventually busted out, he kept coming back to check on his chips, which was both funny and a little distracting.

I wasn’t able to make much traction with the big stack, though. I got decent if not premium hands, but every pot I entered with a call or raise, got picked off, mostly by DM, either with a large-re-raise or a large bet after a flop that he seemed to have a good feel hadn’t connected. He seemed particularly adept at that. My stack dwindled back down to starting stack and below before the break.

Finally, I decided to call him on it. I bet large with AxQx pre-flop and we went to the river before he pushed all-in. I hadn’t connected but I called and he put his cards on the table face-down. He was busted to less than 4,000 chips. AOTG picked this point in the game to go ballistic, berating DM for trying to bluff me, hoarsely yelling “You know he’s a caller!” across the table. I should have kept my mouth shut, but I could hardly resist the urge to (as PPC reg DL puts it “tap the fish tank”) and explained that DM had been picking off raises all through the game and that I’d figured it was time to test him. AOTG would have none of it (surprise!) and just talked over me. I could swear I heard JL on my right doing something like “la-la-la” with his headphones on.

Not too long after that, I pushed over 50,000 chips (about two times the average) by bluffing the heck out of 2x2x on a 9xAx9x flop.

My final hand was a doozy. I had AT and re-raised pre-flop to 10,000. A player on my left with a larger stack went all-in and got a call from a slightly smaller stack on my right. There was something like 120,000 chips in the middle, it was going to cost me 40,000 and the tournament to call, so I did. Both of the other players flipped over KxKx. I was actually in better shape than if I was up against just one pair of kings or even two different pocket pairs. A 1 in 3 chance to win it all. It just didn’t happen.

My name is Poker Mutant. I’m a caller.

Three hours and twenty minutes. -100% ROI. 107th of 150 players.

Loss Weekend(s)

Looks like I’ve got some serious catching up to do. Here, first of all, but really at the tables.

The Final Table Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

Another one of those PLO8 experiences where you get a wad of chips early on only to lose them, re-buy (resolution broken again), make it to the add-on break, then bust out half-way through the first round after the break.

Eighty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 26th of 28 entries.

Carbon Poker $200 Guarantee HORSE Freeroll

In the interests of getting this update done, not going to bother with a hand-by-hand for this brief game.

Thirteen minutes, 15 hands. 2,566th of 2,798 entries.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee

Didn’t rebuy. First player permanently out.

Sixty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 39th of 39 players.

The Final Table Big “O” 5-Card Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

I hadn’t played Big “O” as a tournament before this, but I’d been intrigued by it and my early exit from the $1K Guarantee gave me the chance to give Final Table’s alternate Friday early afternoon game a try. I did reasonably well, I think, except for the part about not making any money.

Two-and-a-half hours. -100% ROI. 16th of 34 entries.

The Final Table $10,000 Guarantee

It’s the game I was waiting for. Didn’t make it as far as the second break.

Three hours. -100% ROI. 107th of 144 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Guarantee Freeroll

Wandered over to PPC after I got booted from the $10K. Came in a few minutes late but started to pick up chips and made it to the bubble. Dropped my median ROI by a bit.

 Two hours. +0% ROI. 5th of 24 entries.

Portland Players Club $250 Guarantee

It was the first anniversary of the new regime at PPC and CB had a bunch of prizes added to each of the day’s tournaments. The early game had a month’s pass added to first place; I only made it about half-way through the field.

Two hours and fifty minutes. -100% ROI. 21st of 44 entries.

Portland Players Club No Limit Hold’em

Slid over to the well-in-progress second tournament of the day. I did not last long.

Ten minutes. -100% ROI. 9th of 9 players.

2011/12 Puffmammy Poker Tour Event #14

Couldn’t play the later PPC events on their anniversary because of the home league game. Busted out twenty minutes into the tournament after I was out-kicked by WA. Re-bought (resolution doesn’t apply to the home game), then busted the next two players myself within an hour. Several reversals of fortune happened: I ended up in second place to JT, the first of the players I busted out. The two payouts went to two of the three players who re-bought. Median ROI dropping like a rock.

Three and a half hours. +62% ROI. 2nd of 7 players.

Oak Tree Casino 2-10 Spread Limit Hold’em

After the home game, I headed up to Woodland to see if I could get into some Omaha but there wasn’t anything going. Played spread limit for the first time.

Two hours. +8 big blinds.

Aces Players Club $1,500 Guarantee

I’d really like to play the noon game at Aces more often but it’s just gotten so large that I can’t make obligations in the early evening if I go deep. Not that I did here, but I don’t plan to go home early.

One hour and fifty minutes. -100% ROI. 30th of 44 players.

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee

This was my first big game at Encore for the new year and I managed to hold on through round 12. I avoided a nasty encounter on the last hand before the second break that would have busted me; my hand was strong but wouldn’t have won. By the fifth hour, I was up to more than 125,000 chips; more than half-again the chip average at that point. Then in the middle of the hour I lost all but 16,000 of it in a hand I can’t recall at this time but likely one of those scenarios where I probably shoved incorrectly. I was out less than two minutes later.

Five hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 24th of 112 players.

D’s Dealer’s Choice

This is usually a money hole for me,  but surprisingly I came out on top for a change. A couple good hands of Omaha made my day.

Four hours. +50 big blinds.

Oak Tree Casino Limit Omaha 8

In my constant search for Omaha action, I drove up for one of the morning tournaments. I have to say, the lack of info screens, low number of chips, and the small size of the field doesn’t really make it worthwhile for me.

Two hours. -100% ROI. 10th of 28 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Freeroll

Nothing like a late-night game at PPC. I mean that quite literally. It can be sort of crazy when people who bust out can re-buy and immediately have more chips than your stack after you busted them.

Two hours. -100% ROI. 11th of 23 players.

Encore Club $1,000 Guarantee

Another game that ended for me half-way through the round after the add-on. Got my double-stamp for the day, though.

Eighty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 27th of 32 entries.

Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee

Didn’t even make it to the add-on in this game.

One hour. -100% ROI. 112th of 117 entries.

Oak Tree Casino 3-6 Hold’em

I had an hour after the $5K before another tournament started. I figured Oak Tree might have some Omaha running on a Friday night and I headed up there instead of waiting. Big mistake. I’d forgotten about their grand opening celebration, they were giving $500 away each hour in a drawing, and every table was packed. Every waiting list was packed—except for 15-30 HE, and even that had a waiting list—there was only one Omaha table, and I was about #15 on the list. As it was, I could have made it back to Encore before anything opened up. I went in on a table, made a little bit, lost a little bit, then players started drifting away after the last drawing of the night and it broke.

One hour. -10 big blinds.

Oak Tree Casino 2-10 Spread Hold’em

I took a seat at this table despite my best judgment.

One hour. -130 big blinds.

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee

If you’ve made it down this far you know that it’s been a little while since I posted a win. More importantly, it’s been a while since I posted a substantial win. Surprisingly, my In The Money (ITM) percentage hasn’t faltered much; although there are a lot of games listed in this one post, they were played over a period of three weeks and represent a fairly small number compared to the total number of tournaments in my database. But I can’t live forever on past winnings. So I resolved to play this past week’s $10K at the Encore very tight at the beginning.

It didn’t help much. Before the first break, I was down to just over 20% of the starting stack. I did manage to chip back up to 7,500 by the break, then did the add-on, but it was rough, as the most premium hand I’d gotten was TxTx. Then, in round 6 on my big blind, I looked down at QxQx and decided to go for it. UTG raised, there were a couple of calls, and I shoved with about 10,000 chips. Everyone folded but UTG, he flipped KxKx, they held, and I was out.

Three hours and forty minutes. -100% ROI. 58th of 80 players.

Encore Club $500 Guarantee

Hung around the club this time for the next game.  Don’t remember much about it. Maybe I’m going to start keeping notes again.

Two hours and ten minutes. -100% ROI. 16th of 27 players.

Encore Club Midnight Madness

Not a big field. Not much money. Not a very good showing. At least I didn’t re-buy.

Twenty-one minutes. -100% ROI. 6th of 7 players.

So, a couple weeks of garbage in there cleaned out. On the definite up side, though, a shout out to reader DS who came up to me between games at the Encore on Saturday and said hello after she’d spent a little time to figure out just who the Poker Mutant is (it’s not that difficult now that I’ve grown my beard back). When someone with more success than you have takes the time to say hello, you really can’t complain.

Speaking of which, this next week I get to host a visit from a WSOP bracelet winner and someone who was in the top dozen of the Bluff 2010 Player of the Year list (they’re the same person).

Cusp

Carbon Poker $200 HORSE Freeroll (1,000 chips)

I called UTG with 93 and got a flop of JQA. BB and I checked it through the 5 turn and A river and split the pot with his 94. Won a couple more hands with just bets holding king-high. No pots of any real size happened in Hold’em, the biggest was 250 when my pocket nines won.

I won a big hand at the beginning of Omaha Hi-Lo, then got rocked back down to 600 chips. I was down to under 400 when I played 684J from UTG1 and caught the full house on the 664 flop. Q hit on the turn and I bet into it but Q on the river slowed me down a bit with four players going to showdown. I picked up a pot of 630.

Lost big with a flopped full house on the next hand when my deuces full of nines were beat on the turn by deuces full of aces, exactly the type of situation I’d been concerned about in previously. The river 5 actually gave me two beaten full houses because I had a five, as well.

I was down to 277 chips but still active with 4J23 in the BB. A player was all-in for  60 and there was a call ahead of me. The flop was 285, I bet , the other caller folded, and the all-in player flipped A65J. I had a nearly 50% chance of scooping the pot, and I did when the 6 came on the river. Not exactly a big win, though.

Razz was my downfall. I ended up mostly all-in with 64A67 but got high cards on sixth and seventh streets. A deuce would have tied me with the winner, but he had two of them.

Seventeen minutes, 33 hands. 2,476th of 2,546 entries.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee, +$200 First Place

Really can’t remember this one. It was the last of the +$200 for first place games I could make in the year, I re-bought but didn’t add on because I had a bunch of chips, then I busted out not long after the break.

Ninety minutes. -100% ROI. 40th of 43 players.

The Final Table Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

Got into the PLO8 game a little late but did reasonably well, including my usual variant stack. Made it to the final table and got into a couple of hands with C, winning one big pot but eventually losing it all well before the money.

Two hours and forty minutes. -100% ROI. 9th of 27 players.

Oak Tree Casino Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

I’d had reasonable results at Foxwoods playing Omaha Hi-Lo, and I figured if I could do well there, I should be able to do okay at the new Oak Tree Casino in Woodland. I wasn’t disappointed. Sitting in the game for an hour I picked up a tidy profit and moved on to my next task for the day.

One hour. +29 big blinds.

2011/12 Puffmammy Event #13

Action was tough and I did not last long beyond the re-buy period end, but I did manage to snag one of the bounties, the only player not in the money to do so.

Ninety minutes. -67% ROI. 8th of 9 players.

Oak Tree Casino Limit Hold’em

There were seven names on the board for Omaha, but they weren’t opening up a table. Finally, I sat down at a Hold’em table and proceeded to prove to myself how much more I like tournament Hold’em over cash games.

Two hours. -33 big blinds.

Encore Club Pot Limit Omaha

Really, I shouldn’t have even been playing this tournament. My plan was to check in on the size and head to Oak Tree if it was small (which it was) or at the very least wait until the $1,000 guarantee game at 8pm. My failing for playing games I don’t get to play often took hold, though, so I signed up and ended up being the first man permanently out (after a rebuy).

 

Forty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 8th of 8 players.

Encore Club $1,000 Guarantee

Was doing pretty well then made an extremely bad call with the bottom end of four cards to eight-high straight on the board. My opponent had nines, of course, and I lost 80% of my stack. Eventually, I called an all-in with AQ and the guy I’d called said “Good luck, sir” before flipping his AxKx, then conceitedly told the rest of the table at length as I walked away that the ace-queen was the “parking lot hand.” I didn’t bother to tell him that he was—even with his dominating hand—only 7:3 against. I knew my chances.

Oak Tree Casino Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

Wandered back up to Woodland to see if I could recoup some of the day’s losses. At first, it looked like I’d just be adding to them—at one point I was down to only about 40% of my original buy-in—but I got back in the game and started pulling in pots, particularly from one player who I think thought he’d had me pegged as a fish in the beginning. I may be a fish, but some of us have small, sharp teeth.

Two hours. +37 big blinds.

Carbon Poker $200 HORSE Freeroll

Things started off on the wrong foot when Carbon’s client didn’t respond to my click for a call fromUTG with 5Q and sat me out. I would have made top and bottom pair on the flop and beaten the ace-high that won the hand. Made it up a bit on the next hand by hitting Broadway from TJ, then lost my winnings when my two pair was beat by a better two pair.

A river 5 gave a full house to a player in the second hand of Omaha Hi-Lo, knocking me down below half the starting stack. I pulled back a little on the next hand with 23TA, making two pair with the ace and deuce for a chop of the high hand and taking all of the low because I had the trey.

My “garbage hand” 3297 not only gave me the low on the next hand but it made a ten-high straight, beating the eight-high of my opponent. I won parts of the next several pots and by the time we hit Razz, I was back up over 1,200 chips. I won one pot in Razz, but I’d crashed back to 680 chips by the time Stud began.

A set of threes (with one hidden) pushed me back into contention for a bit, but a full house in Stud Hi-Lo brought me down.

Thirty minutes, 40 hands. 1,802nd of 2,955 entries.

Santa’s On His Way

The Final Table $5,000 Guarantee — $500 Santa Bounty (7,000 chips)

‘Twas the night before Christmas Eve
And all through Portland
There was not a poker game
With a guarantee of ten grand…

Encore’s doors would be shut Christmas Eve, so they weren’t running their $10K game this week. Aces replaced their Friday night $10K with a $50 buy-in with $500 added for first place. Final Table’s Friday night game was the same buy-in, but with a $5,000 guarantee; instead of $500 for first, they had five $100 bounties on selected players. I had to go for the Final Table guarantee, not so much because I thought there wouldn’t be $5,000 in the pot at Aces, but because I figured the field size would be larger because of the guarantee. I don’t know if I was wrong, but in any case, they were already open to ten tables when I signed up, and the eventual field size was more than 130.

I started off the game at the same table I’d played for one of the FT morning $1K Guarantees, with the aggressive M immediately on my right and even more aggressive N two spots to his right. As often is the case M built up a good-sized stack by going over the top from position, but as is almost as often the case when I’ve played with either of them, they both busted out and rebought before the first break and they were gone before the second.

I got chopped down in the middle of the first segment, then managed to double up to just over starting stack before break one. By break two, I was at 40K, more than twice the chip average.

The third segment was tough. I took a couple of tumbles, doubling up all-ins and getting knocked down to 10,000 chips. A table change brought me into the company of a real peach of a player who seemed to pick one target at each table he was at to denigrate. It didn’t bother me so much—although I did have to check myself a couple of times from making snarky comments—but the woman who was his next target after me was pretty upset. He seemed to get ruder as I stacked back up to 40,000 and picked up one of the $100 bounties. Average at third break was 31,400.

Moved into overdrive in the fourth segment and knocked out another player in a race , putting me up to 140,000 (of a total of 1,600,000) chips with 25 players left. Six-and-a-half hours after we started, we were in the money (17th got a bubble payment of $100). AN hour later we made the final table with ten players.

I’d made a big misstep not long before the final table. I was in the SB with A on my left. I had KxTx and raised to 16,000 at 4,000/8,000/500 after action folded to me. She called and the flop came Ax7xAx. I checked and she bet at it, the board eventually had Ax7xAx7x9x and there was 50,000 of my chips in the pot. I didn’t think she had the ace and thought I might have the best kicker but….

Blinds were eating through the stacks at the final table. A number of people were pressuring the big stack to make a chop; I gave him my advice to fight to the end. I was down to 51,000 chips with blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000. Definitely the short stack at the table at that point. I picked up KxTx again and shoved from UTG+2 and almost got away with it. Action folded to BB, who thought about it for a long time, then called me with 5x7x. She had a 33% of winning and managed to hit it, pulling out a nine-high straight.

A little birdie tells me that it went on for a little longer after I left, then they chopped it for what would have been just over $1,000 each.

Forgot to take a picture!

Eight hours. +143% ROI. 10th of 131 players.

Concentration

Now that my attempt to get to Prague for my birthday is over (unless someone decides to donate $20,000 to the effort in the next few days, which seems unlikely) I’m looking at where to concentrate my efforts. With that in mind, these are some stats from my attempts in $10K guarantee tournaments at the Encore Club.

DateDoor FeeBuy-InAdd-OnTotal CostEntrantsPlacePrize Money
2011-06-11*$10‡$100$50$1601428$650
2011-08-13*$20$100$50$17013948$0
2011-10-08*$20$100$50$17014160$0
2011-11-12†$10$120$50$1807154$0
2011-11-19†$10$120$50$180751$4,275
TOTALS$70$540$250$860$4,925

* Monthly event prior to October schedule change.    † Weekly event after October schedule change.    ‡ Discount from usual monthly door fee for frequent player card.

That’s two cashes in five attempts. On the other hand, I haven’t managed to cash once in the Aces $10K in 13 tries.

The Big Play

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

Time was running out. If there was any chance of getting to EPT Prague for my 50th birthday, last weekend was pretty much make-or-break time. The second starting day kicks off at noon on December 6 (St. Nicholas’s Day); I’d have to catch a flight on the 4th to get there in time, which meant having the money and arrangements made the week after Thanksgiving at the latest. To do that, I needed to to get to an event (or series) with a potential prize large enough to cover the €5,300 ($7,125) entry fee and expenses for a nice little Yuletide vacation for Ms. Poker Mutant and myself (which only got higher as the date got closer). Not that I hadn’t been trying before.

I suppose I should have kept notes on what turned out to be the biggest win of my poker career so far, but I’m back in the mode of not being obsessive about it (plus my iPhone was low on charge). And after the whirl of the past couple of days, I’m not sure how much or how accurate my recollections of the event are.

I started off the night at red table 2 in seat 7; we were ten-handed, as usual in Encore’s $10K games (the same table was used for the final). My stack made its usual ups and downs, the first thing I can remember of any significance was when I’d managed to chip up to about 35,000 and a player in seat 1 pushed all-in from BB for the third or fourth time after raises in front of her. I stood to lose about a quarter of my stack calling her with K6 and she flipped over 9x9x, but got knocked out.

The older guy to my immediate left reacted with indignity with the usual cant about how it was a stupid call. I didn’t point him to my calculator. In a nine-handed game, a pair of nines is the best hand 17% of the time. K6s is good 13%. My “relative par” rating—comparing each hand’s win/tie percentage to that of a pair of aces—for K6s is 19.19%; it’s 26.87% for nines (for nine-handed play).

Before I knew that the player I’d knocked out was related to my neighbor, I tried to explain why I’d called: that she’d made the same move several times from the blinds, that I had her stack covered substantially, etc. but he actually flipped his hand at me and said something like “Stop talking. Phffft, phfft, phfft.” I had a hard time suppressing outright laughter at the performance.

My own feeling is that I had at least a 33% chance of taking out a player without losing more than a quarter of my stack. Not good odds in a cash game, but tournaments aren’t cash games. I think people forget that sometimes. Every player knocked out gets you closer to the money in a tournament. UPDATE: Essentially, this is the same situation described in this Card Player hand matchup between Pius Heinz and Phil Collins at the WSOP Main Event final table earlier this month, right down to the pocket nines, with the difference being that the player with the draw—Collins—was the one at risk. Maybe Mr. PhfftPhfft would like to take his point up with Collins.

I don’t remember exactly where the tipping point in the game came. Unlike some other games, I never seemed to be significantly stacked higher than anyone else; but somehow as the night progressed people kept leaving and we eventually ended up at the final table with more or less even distribution of chips. Play was exceedingly friendly, although one of the players to my right said almost nothing throughout the night.

Then, once we got to the final table, something kicked in. I think I play my best short-handed (naturally it helps if I’ve started to pick up chips). Action got down to me and the quiet guy, with us trading blinds back and forth without flops for quite a while until he was all-in with two high over cards (KxQx if I remember correctly) against my 2x2x. A pair of sixes hit the board but I wasn’t counterfeited and there was no chop.

I thought there might be trouble when quiet guy dropped a $20 on the table and asked where he got paid. He took the payout and headed for the door, leaving the volunteer dealers grumbling. I spread the love, gave something to the security guard for walking me to my car, and headed home to figure out how to try to capitalize on the win.

And the one time I forget to take a picture of the tournament screen…here’s one from earlier in the night that Encore posted on their Facebook page.

Eight-and-a-half hours. +568% ROI (including entry, door, add-on, tips). 1st of 75 players.

Poker Mutant Goes to Vegas

Probably a longer write-up in the next couple of days, but early this morning I took first place in Encore’s $10K Guarantee tournament, a belated first step in my “plan” to be playing at EPT Prague on my 50th birthday in just over two weeks. $4,275, my biggest win ever by far.

To get to Prague, I needed a number of wins of that size (more or less in the ballpark of the maximum you can win on a regular basis in Portland) or I needed to get to a tournament series where I could enter several large events in the hope of hitting one. The wins didn’t come regularly (or large) enough to make the first option work, and with less than two weeks–including Thanksgiving–between now and the big day, there are a limited number of events with large enough prize pools that I could enter.

So most of the winnings are going into a buy-in at The Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza’s $2,500 final event, which meant buying an early ticket to Vegas after I cleared the plan with B, and hoping the flight’s not delayed too long. At the airport right now.

Only 15 winning days before EPT Prague.

Four In One

Started the day off well with a win, then played three more tournaments without a cash.

Encore Club Noon $1,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Got chopped down in the early going of the game and rebought after I lost a race. The second starting stack went a little better. The field was small—only going to three tables—and I started to pick up some momentum, holding over 50,000 chips (out of about 180,000) while we were still at two tables. By the third break, I had more than half the chips in play at the final table, with seven or eight players in. Just missed taking two players out at once with 8x8x; both of them had aces and managed to catch one on the board. I was still chip leader at four players—even after losing 22,000 in another attempt to knock a player out—when a chop was proposed with me taking 30% of the pot and the other players splitting the rest. Didn’t keep notes, walked out without tipping for the first time—got distracted by a need for food—and forgot to take a screen photo.

Four hours. +200% ROI. first of about 26 players.

Encore Club $1,800 Guarantee (8,000 chips)

Made a horrible misread early on and thought I was getting bluffed by an ace when I was holding fourth pair on with 56 the turn. I’d put in a bet of 1,500 and it was down to just two of us with a bunch of chips in the middle, but he shoved and my call revealed his aces. At least I wasn’t the first one eliminated.

30 minutes. -100% ROI. 40th of 43 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Guarantee (2,000 chips)

It was hopping at PPC with ten-handed action right off at a couple of tables. Lost big with a ragged ace that could have filled up two different straights on the river but didn’t and I was out shortly thereafter.

30 minutes. -100%ROI. 21st of 22 players.

Encore Club $500 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Zipped back over to Encore in time for their last tournament of the night. This went a little better than the freezeout, but I still didn’t make the consolidation into two tables.

75 minutes. -100% ROI. 22nd of 32 players.

Only 26 winning days before EPT Prague.

They Play H.O.R.S.E, Don’t They?

Carbon Poker $200 Guarantee H.O.R.S.E Freeroll

I’ve been playing the four daily Carbon Poker freerolls whenever I can, and one of the tournaments that fits into my schedule better than others is their H.O.R.S.E. game. which is great, because I have been getting increasingly interested in other forms of poker.

The games are relatively hard to beat, because while they tend to get 2,500 to 3,000 entrants, they only pay a couple dozen spots, so you really have to battle and get lucky to get even a small piece of the $200 guarantee. I started off placing in the mid-range, but in my most recent outing, I got up to the top 10%, where I’d be getting paid if it wasn’t a freeroll.

These particular tournaments cycle through Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, 7-Card Stud, and 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo, with the game changing every six hands. Everything’s played as Limit, which makes committing to draws a bit easier, and there are eight players to the table.

I sat out a few hands of Hold’em at the opening level of 20/40, then woke up with AA in SB. Two limpers; I raised, BB and the limpers called. The flop gave me the nut full house: A66 with only pocket 66 beating me, and I opened, BB called, UTG1 called, CO raised, I reraised, BB and UTG1 dropped out, CO made the final raise to 80, and I called. The 9 turn opened a very small possibility for another hand that could beat me (and the pocket sixes), a backdoor straight flush, but it seemed unlikely something like 78 or 8T would have stayed through the previous betting. This time we ran it up to 120. Ditto for betting after a 4 on the river. As it turns out, with K6 he didn’t have better than a set, and he only had a 4% chance to beat me. Another 120 went into the pot after the river’s 4 sealed the win for me, and I took in 840 chips.

I went out on a limb during the first round of Omaha Hi-Lo with 9635, hoping that if Ax2x showed up I might snag the low, but I dropped 210 in a four-way race to the river.

A couple hands later, though, an inauspicious Q48K did me some good. Pre-flop action raised the bet to 60 and five players saw the flop of JK2. BB checked to me and I bet 30, with one fold and 0ne call after me, a raise from CO, calls fromBB and me, and a call from HJ. The turn was 3 and it got checked around to CO who bet, but everyone called. The river T ruled out a low hand, which wasn’t my intention anyway, although I only had king high. Checks went around to CO again, who bet 60. BB folded but me and HJ stayed on. CO had a busted low hand with JK23T; HJ had a pair of kings like me, but with kicker problems and believe it or not, a single pair took the entire pot of nearly 1,000 chips in an Omaha game.

My next hand was [k5]2QK and I made it through betting rounds of 90, 90, and 60 to the river with nothing better than a pair of threes on the board and a five paired from my hand for the high, but because I held on, I caught the low hand and 382 chips.

The second hand of Razz won me 120 chips on the first round of betting. There was only one call after the bring-in and both other players folded after my completion with 937.

I won an actual hand the next hand. Antes were 5, bring-in was 15, Completion/Small Limit was 50, and Large Limit was 100. I was third to act, with T48, and called the bring-in after UTG1. Four of us made it to fourth street. Bring-In (BI) was showing K7, UTG1 showed 52, I added A, and UTG4 showed K3. UTG1 led off with a bet of 50 and only BI folded. On fifth street, UTG1 showed 52T, I had T48A5, and UTG4 was showing K39. I was first to act, betting 100, with a call from UTG4 and a fold from UTG1. A J for me and 3 for UTG4 slowed us both down on sixth street—my “low” went to ten—but with 6 down on seventh, I bet 100 and got called but UTG4 wasn’t even close, with two pairs in his hand and his best low a king-high.

I sat out the las two hands of the Razz round, getting high cards both times, then we were into 7-Card Stud. The first was a throw-away, but I had pocket 44 with 6 showing at 10/25/100/200. Only UTG (Q showing) and I called BI (2 showing). Fourth street gave both BI and UTG aces (A and A, respectively) but I picked up 4. One of the folded players had A showing. UTG bet, I raised, BI folded, and we went to the max for 400 chips. I’d started the hand with 2,350 chips but UTG had only 630 to begin with, and after fifth street he was all-in. My hand ran out 4464385, missing the straight and full house possibilities (as well as the four-of-a-kind). UTG had a respectable 7QQQJ6A two pair by seventh street, but he fell and I took him out.

The next hand went almost as well. A77 with me as UTG and just three of us to fourth street, with my disguised pair against a showing 4 and J. BI got K and UTG1 got Q, but I picked up 7 for a set and opened with a 100 bet. UTG1 called but BI dropped. Fifth street only gave me T and UTG1 6, when I bet 200 he folded.

I started the next hand with 3,284 chips, which must have made my head fuzzy, because I got all the way to seventh street with 79KJA28. No pair, no straight draw after sixth street, no flush after fifth, just calls of two 200 chip bets. I only lost 435 (including ante) but what was I thinking?

By the next hand, things were clear again. My cards as UTG2 were a draw-heavy 675. There were three nines and four diamonds showing among the eight players, with only one higher than a ten. Five saw fourth street (BI with 3, UTG with 4, UTG1 with T, me with 7, and CO with Q). Action folded to me and naturally, I bet 100 on my two pair. Everyone folded, except for UTG1. 6 hit me on fifth street; UTG1 got 8. I had most of the cards he needed for a straight between the 5 and 8; three of the 9xs he needed above the 8 were showing on the board; he needed runner-runner for a flush. I bet 200 and he just called. Seventh street made me a full house: 7. Meanwhile, UTG1 got another 8. He led the betting, I raised to 400, and he didn’t re-raise. The only card that could have improved my hand was the 7 but I got 3 instead. UTG checked, I bet 200 and got a call. His hand was 8AT5882, and he’d been behind at every street, although he’d done as much as he could to keep the losses to a minimum. I was fortunate he hadn’t hit Ax, Tx, or 5x on seventh street. The pot was 2005 chips.

I was on a roll with Stud. On the next hand, two of us went to showdown without any bets after fourth street. My hand was 9J9T6K8 for just a pair of nines, but the other guy went all the way with 52537KA, or a pair of fives.

Not to say that I couldn’t lose. My chip balance was up to 4,250 and I went to showdown with a player starting with just 570. He was half-in after fourth street, with 89 showing. There wasn’t any more betting until after seventh street. My hand had run out with 7KT5AT8. He was showing 8996 and I though I might be able to get away with another pair-over-pair win. He called, though, because his seventh street card improved his hand and gave him A389963. It was about here that one of the players started complaining that the site was giving me cards I couldn’t expect in live play.

So I was rather glad a couple hands later to pick up 88T. The bigmouth was BI with 3 showing and completed for 150. UTG1 (with my 8) and I called. BI got K and checked. UTG1 got 9 and checked. I made a set with 8 and bet 150. Both of the other players came along. Fifth street made things tricky. While bigmouth BI got 2, UTG1 got a showing pair with 9. I got A. Potentially, there was a bigger set out there, but I bet 300 and got calls from both players. Sixth street complicated things even more, with K for BI, and just 4 and 4 for UTG1 and me. I was last to act after two checks and just let it lie. Seventh street’s Q didn’t improve me and surprisingly, everyone checked again. When the cards came out, BI had AT3K2K7 for not much from the beginning, UTG1 had just missed flush and straight draws with QT89946, and my set of eights won a pot of 1,920. The next hand was 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo.

I won the second hand with a bet on fifth street, with a strong 2KA6A. I had almost 5,000 chips and nobody else at the table had more than 1,500.

The Hold’em round didn’t do me much good, and I folded the few hands I did play for the most part, dropping to 3,450. Meanwhile, another player with a stack the same size had been moved to the table, another had climbed up to 3,500, and a big stack with more than 9,000 was sat immediately behind me in the action. Then I picked up K9 as SB. One of the other similarly-sized stacksin CO limped in for 200, I raised to 400, and only CO called. The 689 flop gave me a troublesome top pair, but I bet 200 and CO called. Same thing only for 400 chips after the J turn card. The river K gave me two pair and I bet another 400, getting a call and seeing I was up against 8J. The pot was 3,000 chips. This sent the bigmouth into a paroxysm, claiming I’d sucked out. When I pointed out that I had top pair on the flop, one of the other dumbos chimed in to claim I hadn’t. Apparently, some people just aren’t paying attention.

I folded the rest of my Hold’em hands and we were back to Omaha Hi-Lo. On the first hand, I went too far down the road to revenge, trying to knock out the bigmouth (who had only 612 chips v. my 5,100) only to double him up. I had JAA9, which seemed as if it might be promising, but the board ran out J7KJ8, giving his 349Q the best hand by the turn when he was all-in. Other contributions to the pot actually nearly quadded the little sucker.

The next hand got rid of him, though. It was a complicated five-way hand with four players all-in. Short stack in SB was in for just the ante of 25. UTG called the 250 BB, I called from UTG1 with 8JK7, bigmouth in BTN called, BB raised to 500, and everyone who could called. The flop was 58J, giving me top two pair. BB bet 250, UTG called, I raised, BTN called, BB and UTG called. 6 on the turn gave me an open-ended straight draw. This time, BB bet first for 500. UTG and I called, BTN raised, BB re-raised all-in for a total of 1,096. UTG called the re-raise, then I added another 500. BTN stuck in his last 149 chips and UTG called. 8 on the river gave me the second nut full house. UTG checked to me with just 379 chips left, and I bet 500, which he called. There were four pots to settle. The first was split between me and UTG. My full house won the high pot, he had the nut low with 42A5 and we each took 826. There was a very small side pot including the bigmouth who had 63AJ and had just blown the couple thousand chips he’d won on two pair and an iffy low. UTG and I split about 80 chips each from there. The first side pot had nearly 8,000 chips in it and included BB, who had a great low hand with good pre-flop possibilities: 25A3. BB and UTG quartered the low pot of 1,981 each and I took 3,982. We did the same with the 800 chip primary pot. All that work for a couple thousand chips profit, most of which went to the big stack when I folded my next hand.

A little ground was made up on the next hand. I was BB and there were four callers who saw the flop of 96J. Everyone checked through to the 4 turn and everyone checked again. T on the river gave me the nuts with a king-high straight, and I opened with a bet of 500, which was only called by one player, who showed a set of tens at showdown. He had me outchipped, so it didn’t cost him that much.

He got it back in spades on the next hand. Or, rather, he got it back in a six-high straight. I ventured out with 95A3: a decent if not perfect low hand. but the board ran A532K, counterfeiting all of my low cards. My three pair was no match for 467T, which scooped more than 6,200 chips and knocked out two players.

An all-in call of 479 pre-flop was as far as I went with the next hand, which I folded after a bet on the river. I was down to 3,269 by the end of the Razz round before I managed to pick up another pot. I was dealt AJ2, ante was 30, bring-in was 75, and limits were 300/600. Two players ahead of me called the bring-in (S1), then I completed the bet to 300. I got one caller (S8: 5), BI dropped out and the two limpers (S3: J and S5: J) called. The limpers got 5 and 5 on fourth street, I got 4, and S8 picked up 3. With the lowest hand, I opened for 300 and only S5 folded. On fifth street, S3 got 7, I picked up a pair with A, and S8 was hit with K. I figured nobody needed to know I was still short of a good low, so I bet 600. S8 folded and S2 called. Sixth street improved things a bit, putting a 9 out for S3 and 6 for me, but I checked. I was still jack-high. Our down seventh street didn’t help me any, with another pair (even if it was a low pair): 2. Fortunately, when I bet another 600, S3 folded and I took a 4,215 chip pot.

Seven hands went by in 7-Card Stud before I went any further than fourth street. I was heads-up on sixth at 40/100/400/800 with 54AK9K against J76T showing when my opening bet of 800 and visible pair of kings induced a fold.

I lost a massive pot just a couple hands later in 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo. I ran down to the river calling bets at 40/125/500/1,000 with 5QQ4756 and no better than pair until sixth street, when I was up against a visible 27KJ. I had three outs on seventh street (one of the fives was showing for S8) that could beat the likely flush, which is what S5 had. Lost 4,040 chips on that one.

Tried to make by own flush on the next hand. It ran out JA829KA and my pair of aces chopped the pot with the only other player for the low. No gain there.

Finally, the next hand, I managed to pull out of the dive. By fifth street, I was heads-up with a pair and a straight flush draw: 987T9. My opponent looked like he was headed low and straight with 245 showing. He had me outchipped and was just calling my bets; after fifth street, I had only 412 behind. When I picked up a straight with J on sixth street, I was all-in and he called, even though he only had a 5. When his cards flipped, he was showing Q32455. He needed the flush to win, but seventh street gave him T. I improved with 5 to a flush. The pot was over 7,600 chips.

Back into Hold’em at 600/1,200/60 and I had A8. I started the hand fifth in chips as UTG2 and was the first to call BB. SB raised, BB folded, and SB and I went up to the limit of 2,400, with him only having another 1,100 behind. The flop came out 837, we went to the limit with SB all-in, and he flipped over AA. J on the turn sealed my loss.

A couple of hands later with 4J as BB, I managed to outbid the only caller with a post-flop bet on a 777 board, but I was down to about 1,000 chips. Lost some chips with a weak king on the next hand, but right after that picked up another bad K8 as BTN. I was all-in for 1,617 (and my 60 ante) pre-flop with two other players fighting over a side pot as well. The board rolled out 76A3K. BB had just 97 and lost both pots to the 99 of UTG2. I tripled up with a pot of 5,631 because of the river king.

Omaha Hi-Lo at 80/800/1,600. UTG and AAT8. Three limpers and BB saw the Q77 flop. I lead out with a bet, only BB followed. Turn: J. River 2. We both checked it through and my aces were good against KK35. I’d made a bit of a comeback, up over 8,000.

I had straight and flush draw possibilities on BB with 85TJ. Four players limped in and we got a flop of 6QA. I lead into my flush and Broadway draws with a bet of 800. Nobody raised and only one player folded. The turn of 2 wasn’t helpful to my cause, as I didn’t have anything decent for a low, and I had to call a bet of 1,600 to see the river. The 5 river busted me and I folded. The winner paired queens and sixes and scooped the low hand, the loser paired queens and twos.

My last hand was 26J4 and I was all-in after the turn on wing and a prayer on the 3246K board. It was the wrong color red for me, though, with flushes winning high hands in four pots where everyone but me took something out.

3.5 hours, 103 hands. Freeroll. Finished 178th of 2717 entries.

Return of the Mutant Jack

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

The club email announced this as the last of the monthly $10Ks. Once you got there you found out it was because they’re changing up their schedule after the summer and running it every week. We’ll have to see if the prize pools stay the same size; this one ran to $23,500, with a top prize of $5,675.

I got to the game halfway through the first hour, with the blinds already in the second (50/100) level, although the dead stack I bought into didn’t seem affected. Supposedly, I got one of the last two seats of the night, back in the “Batcave” among the employee bikes and personal items.

My first play was a rather tricky K2, calling 350 pre-flop.  I made bottom pair on the non-diamond flop and folded to a bet of 700. Following A7 to four hearts on the turn, I folded again to an 800 bet.

More speculation with KQ cost me 500 to see the flop along with four others, three of whom folded along with me to a 400 post-flop bet. A6 (was I getting frustrated?) and 200 more chips were gone once there was a 525 bet after the flop. My stack was down to 8,050 at one hour into the game.

Blinds were 150/300/25 (level 4) when I got my first premium hand—or at least JxJx—in CO position. I re-raised pre-flop to 2,000 and pushed all-in after the flop, inducing a fold from the one caller. That put me back up just over the starting stack, with 10,500 chips at ninety minutes (or an hour after I’d arrived).

I didn’t even have to think about tossing Kx3x pre-flop on the last hand before the first break, but it would have made Broadway and taken down a nice pot if I hadn’t. With the 7,000 chip add-on, I started round 2 with 16,825.

Had to give up 1,600 on AxTx after seeing the flop. Likewise, J2 was a loser of 1,200 when the flop showed no heart (although I did make bottom pair). Another AxTx on BTN paired my Ax on the flop, with Qx and Kx showing up by the turn. I bet hard and fast and got a fold before the river to take the hand. Still, at 2:30 into the game I was down to 14,975.

Suited JT has become a sort of favorite lately, and in the last hand before the Batcave table broke, I won a decent pot from S—the manager of the Encore—with JT.

My first win at the new table was one step down: 9T. I’d made a straight by the turn and hit the flush on the river. With a couple of wins I’d doubled up to 30,100 before the third hour of the game.

Payed an unsuited JxTx and hit top pair on the flop, with a bet taking the pot. Then I hit a set on a flop with 3x3x in my hand and pushed to take it down, bringing me up to 36,500 by 3:15.

There was a post-flop bet of 3,500 ahead of me with AQx on BTN. I had top pair and pushed all-in. BB called with KQ, hitting the flush by the river. One more diamond…. That cut me in half, to 17,275.

I was saved by the Mutant Jack. I called a smaller stack’s all-in with AJ and was up against AxTx, getting a knockout and a chip infusion. Then a couple of big rounds of betting with the guy who’d hit the flush against me led to my JT making Broadway. In twenty minutes I’d made up my ground and then some, with 48,225 chips.

Blinds were up to 600/1,200/200. and I speculated 6,000 to see the flop with K8. I missed entirely. Two of the other callers went all-in and it was 6x6x v. AxJx, with the pair winning with a six-high straight.

At break 2 there were 77 of the original 141 players left.

I lost big drawing to s ten-high spade straight flush from the bottom end and was down to 20,500 at 4:05.

Called with AT in UTG (at 800/1,600/200) with three more in the hand behind me. I bet just 2,000 after pairing the Ax on the flop and took the pot. Then I lost 4,800 in SB to see the flop with KxQx.

Seriously short-stacked, I called a larger all-in from BTN with A4 hoping to have my Ax live, at least.  Instead, I was up against AxQx. I managed to get a 4x on the flop, though, and doubled up.

I had the AQx on the next hand and re-raised all-in from CO. The original raiser had a slightly smaller stack than me. He called and flipped AxKx. There were four black cards on the deck by the turn and I held my breath for a minute but only three of them were spades. That cut me down to 2,000 chips.

Back to Ax4x. All-in with four limps ahead of me, got called by TxTx and I was out.

Four-and-a-half hours. -100% ROI. 61st of 141 players.