Return to Profitability?

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

I chugged along fine here for ten minutes, creeping up to 1,600 chips until my KA met a QQ on a JJJ flop. I was down to 310 chips after that and only lasted another three hands. 392nd place out of 1,198.

Cake Poker No Limit Hold’em (1,500 chips)

This was a no-guarantee game with 42 players. I had a good hand about half an hour in when I got eights full of fives on the river with Q8 to beat a flopped straight. I lost a lot of chips along with another player at the hour mark when each of us were holding jacks (J8 for him, J9 for me) and the flop rolled out 3J4. The spaded jack was first to act and went all-in for 1,605. The player between us called with another 760 behind and I re-raised to 3,210. A fourth player mucked but the second player to act called all-in, flipping over 44.

I was down to 1,655 and was lucky enough to get QQ on the  next hand so I threw it in pre-flop. I was in the big blind (125/250/20), two players ahead of me had gone in for 750 and the raiser went all-in to push the caller out. The queens were heads-up against 99 but the flop went down 74JT8 and the nines straightened out. If only one of them had been on the board instead of the 4! Out in 11th place with no money.

Cake Poker Roma Turbo 6-Max

Just had a little bit of money left in my Cake Poker account and put it into a ring game. Not only did my last hand of 77 get double-counterfeited by the Q898Q board, but the other guy had AA. – 135BB/100 hands.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Another classic example of me blowing the best position to bust out—or win a lesser prize, in this case. My first hand was a dreamy KK. I went to the flop after a re-raise and call with one other player. I got KA3 and made a doubled the pot with a bet of 555. He raised and I went all-in, getting a call. As I suspected, he had a very strong ace: QA but a pair was the best he could muster against my set and I was over 3,000 chips.

Only four hands later I was dealt QQ. A pair of cracked aces had eliminated another player, so there were two of us with stacks around the 3K level. I made a min-raise (to 40), got a call, was re-raised to 120, four-bet to 280 and got a call from the other raiser and we were heads-up. Once again I got a set on the flop: 58Q. I put out a tiny 60 chip bet into the pot of 620 to see if I could get a read and he raised to 800. He might have a flush draw or an over pair or another queen. Maybe a straight draw of some kind. I went all-in and got a call. He had a set with pocket 99. No 9 showed up so I was clear.

It was another set that cost me big. The table was down to five players. My stack was about 4,300, almost 1,500 ahead of anyone else. I was the big blind at 60/120 with a decent JT. The cutoff raised to 360 and I was the only caller. The flop looked very nice: T2T. I checked to see what he’d do and the bastard put out 780 to try to steal the thing from me! I put him all-in and he called. With AT. A 68 on the turn and river gave me four to a flush but that was how I lost 2,600 of my chips. I never managed to get back in to the top two slots for a Step 2 ticket.

Live by the kings, die by the kings. My last hand in the match was KK. We were down to four players. Everyone playing was assured of at last a Step 1 ticket. I was the small blind at 100/200. UTG raised to 400. I put another 1,000 on top of that, leaving 780 behind, hoping to indicate some ambiguity and wanting to get more than the blinds and the raise. Big blind folded and I got a call. The flop was a worrisome J8T but I went all-in. I got a call (the player was the same one I’d lost my chips to earlier) and he showed 98. I was ahead through the 6 on the turn but the Q on the river did the deed. 4th place and a Step 1 ticket.

Full Tilt Zoom Rush 6-Max

I don’t think there’s anything of note in the 111 hands I played in this cash game session. I almost recovered from a couple of 15-20BB losses. -4.5BB/100 hands.

Full Tilt Step 1 18-Player (1,500 chips)

JJ on the second hand here got me off to a good but unsustained start. I was over 2,000 almost immediately and the exact same hand ten minutes in put me past the 2,500 chip mark. I hovered around that point for about fifteen minutes, sank below 2,000 for twenty minutes, and very briefly managed to get up to 3,500 before slipping back down to starting stack territory (albeit at a somewhat higher blind level). 54 minutes, 78 hands, 11th place, no prize.

Full Tilt $10,000 Guarantee Early Antes (3,000 chips)

I’d been curious about the dynamics of these Early Ante tournaments. I didn’t find this one appreciably different from a standard tournament, the antes just aren’t large enough to make much of a difference when people are doing things like going all-in. At the early stages, the antes are slightly larger than the big blind but you’re talking less than 1% of the starting stack size with a 3K stack and blinds of 10/20/3. In the last level I played of this tournament (150/300/25) it’s no different than a regular tournament.

I took a big hit on the first hand of this game with a K7 in UTG position. I limped, UTG+1 limped, the cutoff raised to 100, both blinds called and we limpers went for the ride. The flop was T58 and everyone checked. The turn was 9, giving me an up or down straight draw. The small blind made a pot-sized bet of 524 and I was the only caller. The river was a useless 5, we both checked, and he turned over a 97. A king would have given me a better pair but my straight would have just been a draw.

I doubled up to 4,500 with AA twenty-five minutes in when KK had some bad timing. Forty minutes of languishing at the same level followed, with the inevitable minor ups and downs. Then with AT in my hand in the big blind at 50/100/10, five players limped in to a flop of ATJ. Possible Broadway straight, a flush draw, top pair with an extra pair for me. I checked after the small blind, the hijack position bet 690 with 2.300 more behind. The button called, the small blind folded, and I re-raised to 2,000 to give them something to think about. Hijack went all-in for 3,020 with everyone but me folding. 7,420 in the pot, he had JT, much to my relief and no jack appeared on the turn or river. I was over 9K and in the top 100 stacks.

A QA cost me 1,500 and smaller amounts of less than half that on decent, ill-timed hands, but the blinds and antes ground away at my stack until I was down to about 3,200 at the two-hour mark. There were about 320 players left out of more than 1,100 but only 108 payouts. I got 9K in UTG+2 and called (150/300/25) after action folded to me. The button raised to 1,200 and the blinds folded. He’d been fairly active, so I raised him all-in (3,309) thinking he might be trying a steal. He called, though, apparently feeling good about his 8T (he did have another 11.5K). I was ahead all the way. The next hand played out almost exactly the same way, except for the part where he had a crummy hand. I was out in 315th place of 1,139.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Typically, I don’t enter these more than once (and I’d never play multiple entries simultaneously) but my first entry into this evening’s MM! ended so heinously I had to go in again. I took a big hit on hand six with AT. I was in the big blind, heads up for a pot of just 180 chips with J29 on the flop. I bet 45, my opponent raised to 120, I called and the turn was Q. I put out 120 to test the waters—I had 1,200 behind—he raised to 420 (the “pot smoker raise”) and I called. 3 on the turn. I had nothing and folded when he went all-in. He flashed 4A after collecting his 1,260 profit. OK. I still had 900.

Three hands later. 8J. Heads-up again to the flop. 5T9. Up-and-down straight draw. Flush draw. Opponent checks to me, I raise 120 and get a call. T on the turn. Made flush, up-and-down straight flush draw. Opponent bets 180. He could have a higher flush, pocket nines or fives or ten-nine/five combos for a full house, four tens, or any number of drawing hands. I go all-in. He calls with KQ. Then the 4 shows on the river and his flush beats me.

Eight hands of humiliation wasn’t enough. I started another entry but ended up waiting nearly five minutes for the blinds to get to me to play. Cards are uncooperative and I’m down to 1,245 about thirty-five minutes into the game when I get TT. Blinds are at 80/160, UTG limps in and as UTG+1, I raise to 480. The small blind raises to 1,280 and the two stacks between us get out. I have to go all-in to call. He flips over QA but the board doesn’t cooperate with him, giving me a full house of fives over tens: 755K5. Two hands later the same player gets it all back with interest. I have KK in the big blind. Hijack goes all-in for 200. The guy I tangled with before is in the cutoff and calls, the small blind folds, and I raise to 1,000. There’s a call from the cutoff. The K32 flop gives me a set and I raise all-in. Cutoff goes all-in for less, leaving me 755 in the hole. 6 shows on the turn and 7 on the river. Cutoff has TQ for a backdoor flush and takes a pot of 4,390.

A K4 doubles me up with a flopped set of 4s a little later but spades fail me on the next had and I lose everything trying to triple up on a three-way all-in with A8 against TT and 77. The flop misses everyone and the tens win.

My first entry went out in 2,314th place. The second was 1,500th.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

This was my “good” outing for the day. I entered rather late: nearly forty minutes in with blinds already at 60/120. My third hand, I was on the button with KT. There were two limpers ahead of me. I called and the small blind was in. The flop didn’t look good for me with 42A but everyone checked and I was the last to act, so I checked. The 8 on the turn improved my hand a bit and when the action folded around to me again I bet 320. I got one caller from a large stack to my immediate right. The 6 gave me the nut flush and when I bet 560 after a check the big stack folded.

I blew 300 entering a contest with 86 when one of the short stacks at the table was about to get knocked out. Missed the flop entirely and when the bets and raises started flying I folded. Eventually, two players fell to pocket AA held by the guy on my immediate left. I picked up about 1,200 with a 600 chip post-flop bet my next turn in the big blind holding T5 on a 7K2 board.

Clubs did well by me a little bit later, as well. I was in UTG+2 with 9K with blinds at 250/500/50. I called, as did UTG+3. The giant stack in the big blind checked. The flop was J7K and my 1,000 bet folded the other two players. The next hand I was dealt QA. I raised to 1,000 and the player to my left went all-in for 3,747 with only 2,200 in the pot. I had him covered by just over 1,000 and I called; he flipped AK. The board gave him a king on the river but with J56TK that was actually the last card he wanted to see, because it made my Broadway straight. I took a bounty and nearly 5K in profit to put me over 9,750.

A T9 combo just a couple of hands later in the big blind went up against a couple of limpers. I had nothing on the 65Q flop and both I and the other players checked it through. The T on the turn was interesting, although it could have been a real pain as I found out. I checked again but the first player after me bet 1,199 with 8,122 behind. There was a call from the button and I raised to 3,000. The original raiser folded but the button went all-in to call. 8J, so I wasn’t looking for another spade. The K on the river was wonderfully safe for my pair of tens and I got another bounty.

I pushed as high as 20K but had some setbacks and was down to about 12K by the end of my first hour in the game. 88 came to me on the button in the 800/1,600/200 level. There was an all-in raise of just under 10K, an all-in call for about 2,500, and a call from me with the blinds folding. The flop was a less-than-pleasing K59 but an 8 on the turn made it all good, even with A on the river. I took the 26K pot and two more bounties. Shortly after that—in the 1,000/2,000/250 level—the Mutant Jack appeared in its AJ avatar. I raised to 4,000 as UTG+1. UTG+2 re-raised all-in to 11,280, about half my stack. Everyone else folded and I called. We were interleaved, he turned over KQ. I got a A on the flop and nothing else mattered except the bounty and the 27K pot, which put my total up to 43.5K.

Those were the last of the good days though. I played forty more hands in the match and lost money on all but two of them to antes (from 250 to 600 per hand), blinds (3,000/6,000 by my last hand), or contests (just eight hands). My next-to-last hand I started with less than 10K (after losing 5,600 on the big blind with 74) and 9A. Not usually a hand I push with, but I was down to less than two big blinds. UTG, sitting on far from the largest stack at the table with 60K, raised to 15K. Action folded to my paltry stack of 9,300 (with 2,500 already in for the small blind) and I went all-in. It was a race against 66 but I caught my A on the turn.

I was out on the next hand, though, calling an all-in from a 92K stack with a better ace kicker than my 9.

Five bounties and a small cash for an ROI of 271%. 95th out of 1,774 entries.