Go, Bob! Go!

Dedicating today’s post to Badih “Bob” Bounahra, my sentimental favorite for taking down the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event during next week’s November Nine Final Table.

Portland Players Club Noon $250 Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Got the 2,000 pre-add-on. Won the first hand with 57, hitting the straight on the flop and a straight flush draw on the turn. Pulled in over 1,500 chips from the pot and was still up over 5,000 chips after 15 minutes.

Went all-in with KJ with top pair and three diamonds on the flop and got called by a hand holding the A. Caught a third king on the turn and no more diamonds showed up. Then I won a couple smaller pots with just a pair of kings on one hand and sixes on the other. By forty-five minutes in I was up to 12,000 chips.

Got involved in a three-way all-in with just 7x7x against TxTx and Ax9x. The tens made a full house and I lost 2,400 chips. Lost some more drawing to a flush with just 42 and was down to 8,000 at fifty minutes.

Bet hard post-flop with QxQx from SB and again with AxTx that made a wheel on the river and took two pots down without showdown, which put me back up to 12,300 ten minutes later.

One of the players hit three full houses in the time I was at the table and I got caught by one of them, losing 1,600 on Tx4x with just top pair against his 3x3x. At break 1 I was down to 9,200 and added 4,000.

Slowly crept back up to 10,300 chips by the middle of the second hour, but got knocked out when I went all-in with 56 and middle pair when I was called by the big stack who had jacks for top pair. I think I almost managed to bluff him off, he would have taken a big hit if I’d managed to make a set or two pair, and he said he was expecting to see kings when he called me. But he did call me and he won.

115 minutes. -100% ROI. Finished 21st of 26 players. Pot was $615, including 16 re-buys, and over 50 addons (both pre- and post-).

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

Got the 2,000 chip pre-add-on. Twenty minutes into the game I’d won a few and lost a few but I’d lost more quantity than I’d won, so I was down to 3,825. Then I picked up J9 and made two pair on the flop, with the third card being a diamond. My push got called and two more diamonds hit the turn and river, improving me to a flush and putting me up to 7,700 at the 45-minute mark.

Made a stupid mistake after calling 200 with KxTx. The ace-high flop didn’t have much on it for me, and I folded to a post-flop all-in bet of 500, but there were three callers and no more bets as a queen and jack ran out to make what could have been Broadway (and the nuts) for me.

Raised pre-flop at 100/200 to 500 with Ax6x and got two callers. Bet 2,000 on a flop of AxKxJx and took it down, then made a flush draw on the next flop with J2 and bet 600 for another win. At break 1 I had 9,100 before getting the 4,000 chip add-on.

I raised to 1,000 from 200/400 with AxTx and got a caller, hit the ace on the flop and bet 1,500 to take another pot, then things started to fall apart.

UTG with an up-and-down straight draw, I lost more than 3,000 with KxQx against AxTx. Dropped another 4,000 stupidly betting on Kx5x with a flop of Tx5x2x against the big stack of one of the better players in the house. I had to fold after the turn when he bet enough to put me all-in. He said he had AxTx and I have no reason to disbelieve him; he knows my fondness for JxTx.

JT cost me 1,200 after the flop whiffed past me. At 1:25 into the game, I was down to 4,400. Dropped another 1,200 on a weak ace.

Final hand was 9x7x. Blinds were 300/600, I was in BB and there were two all-ins ahead of me. If I was lucky, I could triple up to 8,000 or so. The big stack had TxTx, the other all-in had AxQx, and nothing came close to saving me.

Ninety minutes. -100% ROI. 12th of 21 players.

Only 32 winning days before EPT Prague.


Portland Players Club Main Event (10,000 chips)

This was probably the most “interesting” game I’ve played lately, but not because of the cards. The field was small, about 20 players and I was at the middle table in seat 1. Seat 5 had a burly guy named B who everyone knew and  who had amassed a big stack of chips by a couple of hours into play. S was a woman seated down at seat 7. Seat 9 was a hyperkinetic kid I’d run into earlier in the day in another tournament who I could imagine calling himself a “baller” and who kept up a steady stream of patter meant to burnish his image as a man in the know.

Blinds were climbing, I picked up 9x9x in early position and three-bet with about half my stack after an all-in from seat 9. Action folded to B who moved all-in with more than enough to cover me. When it got back around to me I called and B triumphantly flipped over JxJx. Unfortunately for him, a 9x came on the flop and I doubled up with my set, carving a big chunk out of B’s stack. “You weren’t supposed to call me!” he bellowed. “Not with nines!” His friend S joined in the affirmation that it was a donk call. I half-jokingly mentioned that I was pot-committed and they proceeded to tell me I shouldn’t throw around terms I didn’t understand. Just to defuse the situation, I said that I’d meant it jokingly, but since when does having half your stack exposed not make you pot-committed? Then they started in on how far behind I was. I said I wasn’t that far behind, and they didn’t like that answer at all, claiming that I was a 4:1 dog.

Of course, that’s the truth if you look at the numbers in an absolute sense. At the time he went all-in, B didn’t know what I had. I didn’t know what he had when I called. He could have been trying to bluff me off and take my raise with a drawing hand. If I’d had KxKx, I would have made the same bet, but he didn’t know that. Where the conventional wisdom is wrong, though is that in terms of relative strength, with three players in the hand (as we were) JxJx loses 39% of the time. 9x9x loses 45% of the time. The relative differential between the two is quite small.

At the next break the hyperkinetic kid came up to me to offer words of advice about how B & S were big-shot players and I shouldn’t get them riled up disputing odds and poker terminology. That was sort of irritating.

B didn’t have a lot of chips left after that hand and was out before the final table. S and the HKK were there, with S seated next to me in seat 6 and HKK down at 3. I wasn’t keeping notes on this game but blinds were rising up and I picked up 7x7x in middle position. I made a large raise after a not-particularly-great flop, putting me heads-up with HKK who called and then bet in the dark. A 7x came on the turn and I went all-in. HKK called and lost to my set. I mentioned in passing that the bet in the dark schtick wasn’t necessarily a great idea and he went ballistic, saying I shouldn’t be telling him what to do. When I pointed out that he’d been “offering” me advice earlier it just seemed to irritate him further but I just didn’t really care.

4 hours. Finished 5th of 21 players. -9% ROI (including buy-in, add-on, tip).