My Kingdom For a Nine of Clubs

Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee (T9,000)

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.