Diamonds Are Forever

Cake Irish Open Quarter-Final Satellite (1,000 chips)

I guess I still have my heart set on going to Dublin in April. There are so few people playing on Cake that, comparatively, it’s actually harder to make it the next level of play in these contests. A lot of the Quarter-Final events (eight a day) get cancelled for lack of players, and even some of the ones that run don’t award tickets to the Semis, because there’s no guarantee. So I entered this Q-F satellite to see if I could maximize my investment.

AK about ten minutes in put me over 2,600 when I called a short-stack all-in on a 44J flop and caught A on the turn to beat jacks-up. My own pocket pair of JJ almost felted me seven hands later, when I called another all-in and he got his second ace on the flop.

I managed to work my way back up with hands like AQ and 7A and 99. A little over an hour into the game I’d made it to the 4,500 chip mark, just as the final table was consolidated. A lay-down with TA on a Broadway draw that went as far as the turn turned annoying when the other guy flashed his unpaired 9K. I went out on a T9 hand with an unfilled open-ended straight and four-flush against an ace-high caller. Got sixth place and a sub-min cash leftover prize for 100 minutes of play. ROI of -27%.

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

Did my usual brief submarining in this event, skimming just below the starting stack while I tested for the right opportunity and hoping that it actually showed up. Eight minutes in, I picked up JT. I was down to 1,070 after losing blinds and bets on a couple of suited QxKx hands. Action folded to me in the hijack and I min-raised to 60. The button—big stack at the table with more than 3,500 chips—raised to 150. The big blind called, as did I. I had top pair on the T36 flop and bet 300  after a check from the big blind. Button raised to 615 and I called, leaving 300 back. The blind got out of the way. I checked after a Q on the turn and the button put me all-in to call. I didn’t figure the queen made much of a difference to his hand and called. I double-paired with J on the river and the button turned over 99, behind from the flop.

A lucky AA just four hands later more than doubled me up to more than 5K when I took out two players with  JJ and QA. Three hands after that a tentative excursion with A2 made trips on the QAA flop and both other players to the flop having queens kept them on the line through the river.

I took some hits that brought me down from more than 3K fro 6,500, then started building again. An AJ Mutant Jack at the 40-minute mark netted me 4,400 and put me over 10K for the first time, but only by making me sweat for the river A to beat the pocket QQ of the all-in I called.

Just before the first break, a relatively innocuous-looking K6 ended up in my hand in the cutoff position. Blinds were 80/160. The hijack, with called. I called, and everyone behind me limped in, too. The flop was 42K and I had top pair as well as a 2nd nut flush draw (and potential straight flush). The blinds and hijack checked and I made a small bet of 240. Button folded, small blind called, and everyone else got out of the way. The 7 hits on the turn. There’s 1,300 in the pot. I can’t make a straight flush any more but with me holding the 6. the only way he can is if he’s got A5—and if he’s got the ace and can make any flush he beats me. He can’t have a full house yet. His stack is 3,500, I’ve got him covered by almost 10K. He checks and I feign weakness with a bet of 240. He calls. Maybe he’s got a single club and he’s hoping for a fourth on the board. Maybe he thinks the same of me. The T shows on the river. There’s no chance of a full house. He has to have two clubs with an ace to beat me. He bets 650 and I raise to put him all-in. He has a flush but it’s J5 and I’m sitting just under 18K while the break is on.

The graph shows a little blip after things start back up when I take a couple of hits. A call against a 4K stack goes awry when he has pocket KK and I only have JJ in mine and four to a straight on the board. Losing another 1,500 on the next hand with AJ busts me down to 11K, but the third monster in a row—AK—almost doubles me up when I call two all-ins holding AJ and 99 then get a KQK flop that stays good through the river.

The most notable event of this match was a mechanical mistake on my part. The game had been going for about 300 hands, we were 100 minutes in (it’s Rush poker). The blinds were 200/400/50 and I was on the button with J9 and 39K in chips, 3rd at the table in stack size. UTG+3 limped, the hijack (#2 stack with 49K) raised to 1,600. I called, thinking it might be a largish pot and I might be able to take it if the cards came out in the middle ranks. The big blind (13K, the smallest at the table) called and UTG+3 (25K) was along for the ride. The flop was TQ5 which didn’t do much for my hearts but did give me an open-ended straight draw. There were two checks and the big stack bet 4K. I called, along with the blind and UTG+3 folded. Another spade dropped on the turn: 5, pairing the board, as well. The small-stacked big blind went all-in, getting a call from the big stack. I did not want to call a bet for a third of my stack here, even with 5,600 already in the pot. Potential flush on the board, full house possibilities—heck, just a 5x had me beat—but I didn’t pay close enough attention to my cursor and—honest— called instead of folding. 7 showed up on the river, the short stack had my rank but in diamonds (J9, and the big stack had my flush with a bigger card 6Q that made top pair on the board and took a profit of 32K.

After that I struggled along for another 100 hands, making some ground and then losing it, briefly making it over 30K again but having trouble keeping ahead of the blinds. My last hand was 140 minutes into the game. I was the short stack in the big blind at 500/1,000/125, with 25K in chips. My cards were another A2. UTG+3 min-raised, hijack called, I called, and the big blind folded. The flop was 5QJ, not particularly good for me but I put in a bet of 1,500 to test the waters and got called by both other players. Another diamond (5) on the turn told me to push but I should have taken another look at the board before I did that because I still would have had ten big blinds deep in the tournament. I bet 2,000 and was called by UTG+3, but got a raise to 12,000 from the hijack. I called, along with UTG+3. I thought I was so special when the 3 showed up on the river and went all-in for 9,335. UTG+3 got out of the way with 40K but the hijack showed his JJ for a full house and took in 42K.

34th place out of 1,219 entries. ROI of 232%. Top prize in the tournament was about 72 times what I made.

Full Tilt MiniFTOPS Event #1 (5,000 chips)

I took the profit I made from the Rush tournament and put it into the first event of the series.

Play went slowly for me for over an hour. I’d dropped almost 2,000 chips, almost steadily, until about the 90th hand. My best hand—AQ—met absolutely no resistance and got me 60 chips of blinds; nothing else I had made more than a couple hundred. I was watching pros bust out right and left; WSOP Main Event 3rd-place finisher Joseph Cheong was gone before I was.

Finally, I managed to double up by doing something stupid. I had AQ and 750 in the 1,950 pot heads-up on a flop of J35. My opponent checked, I bet 220, and he went all-in with a larger stack than mine. I called with 2,220 and crossed my fingers and Q shoed on the turn, with T on the river. He turned over JK. No flush. I was up to 6,390. I lost a bit when I was bluffed off QQ with a board holding an ace, a pair of 8s and three spades. To rub it in, the guy showed a garbage JQ. He busted out thirteen hands later, though.

I had a little lull before I started building back up, but I was nowhere near the chip average. Then my flushing problem again reared its ugly head. I called a min-raise to 400 from the button with 9A. Both the blinds were in, as well as UTG+2, who’d made the raise. The flop was 677 and UTG+2 bet 1,000. I called. I probably should have raised but I doubt that would have done anything for me except lose me more money. The blinds folded and T hit the turn. I had a gut-shot straight draw to go with my nut flush draw. He bet another 2,000 and I had to call. But it was not to be. 6 on the river. He showed JJ—even a river ace would have beaten him—and I was down to 4K.

I turned diamonds into chips with JT about ten minutes later, though. I had about 3,500 in the cutoff at 120/24/25 and called a raise to 480 from UTG+2. A call from the big blind meant there were three of us to the flop. I had a gut-shot straight draw with 48Q and decided to take a stab at it with a 500 bet when both players ahead of me checked. Only UTG+2 called. The turn was 2 and I just checked the action through to the river, which was J. UTG+2 had about 1,500 more than me and bet out nearly half his stack with 1,800. I raised all-in to 2,500, not believing he had the queen. Then he folded and I was up over 7K again.

That was brief, as I dipped down below the starting stack again before recovering to almost 9K with K6 (more diamonds!) It was an incredibly ugly hand. I called the 280 big blind (holding 5,300 behind) from UTG+2. The button raised to 840, with another 4,400. The large stack (21K) at the table in the big blind called the raise, and when I did the same there were three to a flop of 4TK. The big stack checked and I opened with 750 to see if that would protect my pair. It did, but only marginally. After the button called the big stack folded, which probably saved me on this one.

With 2 on the turn, the hand was decidedly unfriendly to my diamonds, but I put out a bet of 560 into the pot of 4,385 and got a call. The 5 hit the river. I decided to see what the button would do and checked. Check. He had QJ for an open-ended straight draw but no spade and my kings were best.

It was a decidedly un-premium diamond hand just four deals later that got me to my peak in the tournament. I had Q2 in the small blind with three limpers behind me and over 8K in chips, so I put in another 140 chips. The big blind checked and five players got to the 384 flop. I had third nut flush draw in first position to act, so I bet 420. Only the big blind and hijack called. The K gave me the second nut flush. The A was still out there potentially, so I only opened with 560. It was down to me and the hijack. T on the river. No four of a kind or full house possibilities. The only thing that could beat me was a hand with two diamonds including the ace. I made another 560 bet. The hijack raised to 2,240 and I called, figuring I had another 5K if he had the better flush. He had the A but his second card was only a J, so I was up to 13.5K.

It wasn’t for long, though. Just seven minutes later I was dealt AK in the small blind. UTG+1 raised to 777 and there were four callers, including the hijack and both us blinds.

The flop was 535. I should have taken the story of the earlier A to heart and left it alone—since I had no connection to the cards on the board—but instead I opened with a 510 bet. UTG+1 dropped out but three of us saw the 4 on the turn. A gut-shot straight draw!

I really need to pay more attention to pairs on the board.

I checked, to be sneaky. The big blind checked. Hijack bet 1,020 which only I called. I made a pair with the K on the river. I bet about 10% of the 6,903 pot. Then the hijack went all in for far more than I had. He was just bluffing, right? I called.

33 in his hand. Full house since the flop. If only I’d had 53 instead.

142 minutes of play, made it to 12,140th place in a field of 27,539 (top 45th percentile). Not a stellar showing but I outlasted more than half the field.

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

Doubled up at the five-minute mark withKA. Then I got only minimal return when a larger stack shoved all-in on the turn and was called by me and a start-size stack. I had KQ with the board showing QK22 for two pair; the big stack had KA for just kings and twos; the small stack had 7A for a flush draw. If there had to be a diamond, I wanted it to be the queen; I didn’t want an ace to counterfeit my queens; I could have lived with another two to chop. But the river was the 4. The small stack tripled up to 4,300 and I made a profit of 150 chips.

The Mutant Jack failed me a little while later. AJ in the small blind with 2,600 chips, #2 stack at the table. Min-raise to 80 from UTG+2, I re-raise to 200, big blind calls, and UTG+2 is in. The flop’s 4TJ. I bet 600, everyone falls into my trap and calls. T on the turn. I have two pair with top kicker. I’m all-in. Big blind calls but he’s about 1,300 short. UTG+2 folds. QK for an open-ended straight draw. River’s 9. Well, I still have 1,275. At least, I do until QA slams into AA and drops me below 300. I battle back up over 1,000 before 88 cuts me down in the 21st minute. 357th place out of 1,137 entrants.

Cake Poker Roma 6-Max

Played some short-handed cash game to kill some time. Killed 80¢ faster than I killed time.

Full Tilt Satellite to MiniFTOPS #2 (300 chips)

Didn’t I say something about not playing Super Turbo tournaments? Shouldn’t that go double (at least) for Omaha Hi/Lo Super Turbo satellites? I wanted to see if I could get in to the $50K Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament without paying the full entry fee—not having played anywhere near as much Omaha as Hold’em—and figured this would be a chance to see how I fared.

I did well almost right off the bat. On the third hand I was on the small blind and got J64T. There were four limpers (including myself) and the big blind checked. The flop came out 7Q8 leaving me needing 9x for a queen-high straight. There were four checks and a bet of 150—half everyone’s stack— from UTG+3. I called and two other players were in, too. A T on the turn cinched it up for me. I went all-in. UTG called, having a little bit over my stack.  UTG+1 re-raised all-in, also having me covered, followed by an all-in call by UTG+3 and a call from UTG. The river was 9.

There was 1,142 in the main pot with a side pot of 66. My queen-high straight was the best hand and I got the main pot but the side pot went to UTG, with 6396 for a ten-high straight. No low hand.

I lost most of it in short order. AK5T in my hand. There’s a 4 and a 3 on the board by the turn and I’m hoping for a deuce on the river. But someone else makes it and takes both high and low pots and I’m back down to starting stack with the blinds at 20/40.

Two pair on the flop knocks me down to 17 chips but I manage to triple that up with a different two pair the next hand. It all goes away then. 81st out of 155.

Puffmammy Tournament 20 (1,500 chips)

What a mess. I was worried that if I missed the game tonight I’d fall too far behind D to realistically catch up. The good news is that he only gained two points on me. The bad news is that I could have skipped the game to see Stan Ridgway, lost four instead of two points and been three buy-ins and an add-on richer.

Two ugly points about the night. I was all in after the flop for, I think, the second time of the night. Playing against W, who’s typically pretty loose. I had AxQx and W flips Ax2x There’s an ace on the board. Everything goes fine until the river when another two shows up and I’m re-buying.

Then, just before the end of the re-buy period, I’ve got most of my stack in the pot. I can’t re-buy again but there’s an add-on available at the break coming up. I started the hand with AxTx and flopped KxQx but nothing showed on the turn and there are two large stacks all-in in front of me. If I don’t catch my card, I’m out first for the night. If I fold, I’ve got a paltry stack that I can almost double with the 500 chips. I fold and the Jx shows on the river. G wins the hand with a king-high straight and I kick myself for the rest of the night as my little chips dwindle away. No recovery this night.

Made it to see Stan, though.

Mutant Jacks Rule…For a While

Puffmammy Tournament 19 (1,500 chips)

This seemed to be going okay at first. My goal for the night was to bust out later than D, who took the POY lead away from me last event but was only a point ahead. He was seated two seats to my left at the second—six-handed—table at the beginning of the event. I was holding my own until the player between us wiped out the first of six (out of thirteen total) players she’d eliminate before she won first place. After that, the dynamics changed a lot, and I got over-extended on one particular straight draw that she bluffed me out of on the turn. I was close to dead after that and since it was after the end of re-buys I went out ignominiously in twelfth place. D made it to the money and extended his lead to twelve points. That means no skipping out to attend Stan Ridgway’s concert at Mississippi Studios on March 7th if I want to maintain a chance to win by the series’s end in May.

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

This tournament didn’t work as an attempt to clear the taste of my earlier loss at the live game from my mouth by getting back on the Steps. I won a hand with JT, lost twice as much with QA, then played JQ on the tenth hand from UTG and got a Q32 flop. There was only 120 in the pot and the small blind bet out 120, I re-raised to 300, he three-bet to 480 and I called. A T hit on on the turn and he went all-in. I stupidcalled and he flipped over Q3 for two pair and a flush draw. The A nailed the coffin shut.

Encore Club (5,000 chips)

My initial outing here went well for the first hour. I got AJ about thirty-five minutes into the game and pushed hard on a player on the other end of the table who I figured had flopped kings and tens. I just had a gutshot straight draw on the flop but another ace on the turn scared him off when I raised, putting me up about 3,000 from the starting stack, overall. He wasn’t happy when I showed my hand, and shortly thereafter he had to re-buy.

I took the same player out on the last hand before the break with another Mutant Jack: AJ.

The second hour didn’t go so well, however. I only got a couple of good hands; everyone folded on a raise with AKo, and then a big blind special of AK met an extremely ugly flop and I folded. I can’t even remember my last hand, but it came not too long before the end of the second hour, at the final table. Seventh place out of eighteen, three positions short of the money.

I Never Flush

Full Tilt Midnight Madness (1,500 chips)

Three hands in and there are four after the flop with 390 chips in the pot. I have 8A, there’s 2QJ on the board and I’m first to act in the small blind. I bet 200, there’s a fold and two calls. The turn’s 4 and I push out another 200. UTG+1 calls and UTG+3 goes all-in for 1,180. Everyone calls. The last card’s 8 and UTG+3 with QT loses to UTG’s straight made with T9 (as do I).

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

I win exactly one hand during my four minutes in this match and it does not come with a knockout bounty.

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

Ten minutes in and I get JK as UTG+1. I raise to 120 (4xBB) and get a re-raise to 405 from a stack with twice my chips in the hijack. I call. The flop is 52A and I check, then he bets 625. I call and the turn’s 7. I’ve got nine possible draws to an ace-high flush, just like I did in Midnight madness. I bet 120 with 865 behind and he raises all-in. I call. The river is T. He’s got KA and I’m out.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 6-Max (1,500 chips)

I did a little better here than in my last attempt. I managed to get up to 4K, then was busted back to 1.5K, with a last-minute double-up before I busted out in third place. No step up but I didn’t lose any ground.

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

A slightly longer run into the $10K than the one above but nothing to be proud of. I got beat down on a couple of hands where TA and KT failed to connect, then managed to pull off a triple up. I was in the big blind at 20/40 when I picked up AA. UTG raised to 155, action folded to the button, who called, the small blind folded and I raised to 640. Both of the others came along and the pot had over 1,900. After the flop of Q67 I went all-in for 1,270. UTG called. The button went all-in for 2,525 and UTG gave up. There was 5,750 in the pot, the button flipped over Q8 and with T on the turn and 4 on the river it was mine. I managed to blow it with another ten combo—TK—just seven hands later when trip sixes beat my pair of kings and straight draw, taking 4,630 off of me. I lasted about 20 minutes after that but never made it back over 1,200 chips.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18 Players (1,500 chips)

I had a couple near-fatal setbacks in this tournament, but in the 18-player Sit & Gos Steps the top four spots all step up. I’d been up over 3K, then back down to just over 2K when I played 9A from the small blind. There were four to the flop, which was an intriguing 7T2. I made a pot-sized bet of 800 after the flop and the button raised all-in to 1,240. After my call, the turn made my nut flush with 3. Then the whole thing fell apart with a 2 on the river and a TT in my opponent’s hand. I managed to build up to 5K by the end of the tournament, about 75 minutes after the first hand.

Full Tilt Rush Flash

It had been a while since I sat down at a ring game and even longer since I hit the Rush tables. I played for about half an hour, losing my entire first stake on the second hand with pocket 9s against pocket kings. I bought back in and rebuilt, eventually coming out ahead with a BB/100 hands of 11.

Cake $1,000 Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Stupid moves on my part knocked me out here in 106th place out of 161 players. Another ATo I shouldn’t have played, and an obvious pair of kings on the board that beat my pocket 9s, even without another king in my opponent’s hand.

Full Tilt Rush Mach 10

A quarter hour at a slightly higher stake, I managed to pull out of a trough and make it into profitability before the end with a ten combination but only because my cards were higher than the other player who followed the trip sevens on the board. BB/100 of 3.5.

Full Tilt Rush Mach 10

This 77-minute excursion managed to eradicate the gains of the earlier sessions. After the seventh minute, I was never in the black. A QK made it to four spades by the turn but no flush. TJ paired the ten on the flop for both myself and the guy holding QT. KA paired but couldn’t beat trip fives. BB/100 of -15.5.

Full Tilt Step 2 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Turbo it was. Thirty minutes from start to finish—even with only nine people—is pretty fast. I got knocked down to 1K fairly quickly but managed to double up after a dozen minutes with an all-in move and KA that matched the king on the turn. Another lucky AK only ten hands later breathed some more life into my stack. I ended up going out in third place with a K9 that failed to connect with anything. Didn’t lose ground but no step up.

Puffmammy Tournament 18 (1,500 chips)

Lost a couple of early pots that hindered my play in the first rounds. Managed to build things back up but had a huge chip stack on my right for most of my night. I was in decent shape going into the break but just didn’t get the right cards at the right time as I was trying to outlast D. Didn’t work. Lost the POY point lead for the first time since mid-October, going out 6th of 8. Only down by a point, though, since D went out on the bubble (4th).

Cake $1,000 Guarantee – Bounty (3,000 chips)

Took two bounties in a three-way ace-off three-quarters of an hour into the match. I had AQ on the button at 75/150. UTG+3 goes all in for 1,959. Cutoff is all-in for 1,123. I’ve got 4,560 and call, the blinds fold. The cards go over 9A for UTG+3 and A7 for the cutoff. The board delivers K5Q A T and I’m up to almost 8K. I lose most of that running pocket queens into pocket aces a few minutes later, build back up to more than 5K, then end up with less than 2 big blinds when my AQ is beat by A4. Someone takes my bounty on the next hand when I go out 37th of 96.

Full Tilt Step 2 (1,500 chips)

Nine players in another Steps outing, hoping to get far enough during FTOPS to play a game. JJ in the big blind puts me over 2,500 chips and into first position a dozen minutes in when the chip leader and I play chicken with our pocket pairs. It’s a scary board for me with 49AQ5 but I would have assumed it was even more so for his 77. I mostly rest and slide (with a couple of wins) down to 1,950 when I get AT in the big blind. There are seven players left, the hijack raises to 300, and the button foes all-in for 1,385. I call and so does the hijack. A tantalizing 247 shows on the flop, I check, and hijack raises to put me all-in. There’s nearly 5K in the pot; I’ve got nine outs to the nut flush; I call and each of my opponents turn over a pair of queens. Their hands aren’t going to improve. Mine doesn’t with a J on the turn, but the river is 6. At 40 minutes in I’m back in first place (top two win Step 3 tickets).

I take a flier on KT a few hands later and lose 1,000 so I decide I’d better cool it. Ten minutes later we’re down to five players and I get A5 on the button. I’m down to 3,830 chips, the blinds are 80/160. I call after two folds and the small blind is in. Three to the flop of 343. Once again, very tantalizing. Everyone checks for another card, the 2 which makes my straight and gives me a flush draw. Not to mention a straight flush draw. The big blind bets 160 when it’s his time and I raise the 640 chip pot to 1,600. Big blind goes all-in and there’s 4,860 in the pot when the Q shows on the river. He’s got J3 for trip threes but no 2, 3, 4, or jack shows to save him from fifth place.

I clamp down hard on myself. With 6,100 chips, I have twice what any of the other three players do. I do push an AT hard on a 2879 turn to push two players off and pick up 1,200 but mostly I let the rest of the players fight amongst themselves. The final hand I get 55 in the small blind and follow the short stack all-in for about 2K. I have enough behind that I’m still the chip leader if I lose. He has AK but the flop is 45Q. Even A on the turn doesn’t help him.

I guess I do flush once in a while.

40.40

Just a couple of uneventful and unprofitable games last night, both lasting about two-thirds of an hour, after the previous day’s flurry.

A shot at Midnight Madness petered out after some calls with decent hands failed to connect and I had to abandon ship. At the end, an ace-high flush draw died without issue and I was out in 2,357th place (Full Tilt’s new multi-entry thing is wreaking havoc on place calculations).

A $5K guarantee tournament right afterward didn’t go anywhere either. We started at 2,000 chips and I never broke above 2,600.

I told Tomer D had almost caught up to me in the home league’s POY race (we’re sending someone to the WSOP for one of the $1K events). He wrote back:

Tell your friends their best investment would be to send you to the WSOP even if you don’t win the race because you have a private coach there 🙂

Too Busy

No post yesterday does not mean that there was no poker played. This is what I’ve done since the last post.

Got into a 3FPP Hyper-Turbo Steps Special for an NAPT ticket. You only start off with 500 chips. Second hand in I get KK and call an all in. Two more callers makes it me versus: 9A, 7A, and 99. The board rolls out T2Q J 5 and I’m gone.

$15K 6-max guarantee on Full Tilt and I’m cruising along with a couple hundred above the starting stack of 3K. I’ve got TJ and paired the board with the jack. There’s a Q on the flop. I pushed the first bet and called 500 on the turn which was just a 7. There’s 1,500 in the pot when the K shows on the river and my 120 bet is met with a raise to 1,860. I could call it but fold and the guy shows his 89 for nothing better than a busted nine-high gut-shot straight. Grrrrr. I lose another 1,000 to see the flop with a pair of sevens a little later but the fold’s a good one. I make it back on the next hand but three hands later I push too hard with JQ and I’m down to 5 chips. I manage to make it up to 45 before elimination.

Another 6-max, this time with $8K guarantee. It was actually doing quite well with a QK giving me an ace-high straight on hand 5 and netting a couple thousand chips. Another five hands and J9 turned into a full house, putting me at nearly three times the starting stack. Pairs of tens and queens had me over 11K half an hour into play and in the top 20 chip stacks. Ten minutes later, I was over 13K with KA. I took my hits with the blinds and lost a couple of hands with decent cards but was over 10K when I called a cutoff bet of 566 with 98 from the small blind (100/200, with only five seated at the table and the button calling). Three of us to the flop and I got a straight right away, with T67. First to act, I bet 1,500. Cutoff had me covered by about 4K and called, with the button folding. 7 shows on the turn; I’ve got a flush draw in addition to my straight and I bet 1,600 but I should really have pushed. The cutoff calls. Then 7 shows on the river. I check and my heart sinks when the cutoff bets 4K. I call, he’s got the T for a full house, and I’m down to 2,360, which goes all-in on the next hand with AQ and loses.

The midnight game yesterday morning had 2,200 players and $4,400 in guarantees. I was in the big blind for 40 chips (out of 2,000 to start) on hand 7. The hijack—who was up 1,200 chips—bet 80 after action folded to him. The cutoff folded. The button raised to 160 and the small blind three-bet to 240. I called with my TT. Hijack called. Button went all-in for 1,790. Ten things got real crazy when the small blind called. I called, leaving 260 behind. Hijack got out, probably wondering what the hell was going on. The flop was 748 which meant nothing to me. The small blind put out a bet large enough to get me al-in to call. In for 1,790, in for another 260  I always say. The turn was the T. After a 3 showed on the river, I saw that I was up against QQ (button) and AA (big blind]. I tripled up but a couple of subsequent losses brought be down to 687 a dozen hands later. An hour into the tournament, I’d managed to built back up to 7K. Blinds were at 350/700/85 and a stack half my size made an all-in move. I had AJ and called but the cutoff—with a stack twice my size went in for enough to put me all-in. I called and was fine against the smaller stack’s A3 but seriously in trouble with the big stack’s JJ. Nothing bigger than a nine showed on the board and I was out 50 places short of the money.

The first of my attempts at yesterday’s Irish Open quarter-finals had a slow start but a third of the way in a pair of sevens miscalculated against my AJ. The turn and river put three nines on the board giving him a full house, but the J on the flop gave me a better one and I doubled up from the starting stack of 2K. A6 in my hand earned another 2.5K with a flush just past the first hour of play. Then a pocket pair of sevens worked in my favor with a 7 on the flop and I was up to 8K and the chip lead shortly thereafter.

There were enough players in the tournament that there were three tickets to the semi-finals as well as cash prizes for the next four spots. I managed to stay in contention for the tickets until a little past the 90-minute mark (125/250/20) when I raised to 625 with TT from the hijack position and was met with an all-in for a little less than I had from the big blind. I should have been thinking “position maintenance” but called instead to see AQ, leaving me with 350 behind. An A  on the turn mostly sealed my fate.

I say “mostly” because I’m never one to say give up and die at the poker table. I doubled up with JK four hands later and did it again three hands after that with JQ (where were these cards when I needed them before?) Eight hands after my lowest point of 290 chips I had increased that by more than 1,100% to 3,645 and I was in contention for fourth place out of seven remaining players (the top three stacks were between 10.6K and 16.4K).

I played fairly tight from here on out, never managing to get above 5K but never falling below 3K. I took out one player with a small number of ships, another player fell victim to the blinds, and the last of the other small stacks tried to make a move with Q4 and was beat by king high. My own move came with an A8 that I tried to rep a flush to a big stack with on a 52K 4 7 board, but since he had 2K and four times more chips than I had, that didn’t work too well. I got my buy-in and another $8.50.

Mutant Catsino

The Catsino was up and operating last night for the 17th regular game of our home league, although turnout was light. It was not operating well for myself or K, the POY leaders going into the night. I bled chips left and right, having to rebuy fairly early (only once, though). K rebought a bit later. I only made it to round 7 when I went up against W, who was short on chips, thinking he was trying to make a move. I only had A6o but thought I had him. I was right, too, until his A4o caught a 4 on the river and I was down to just a few hundred chips. He took those soon enough. K went out in the next round. I’m still point leader but I do mean point leader because it’s only by one. D’s almost caught up to me (although he had me tied a couple months back and I managed to pull away again) and he’s moved back ahead of Kent.

We were talking before the game began about the WSOP schedule, because the agreement is that the POY goes to play in one of the $1K events at this year’s series. Apparently it was released yesterday afternoon, so now we need to finalize the league schedule and final date. The first of the possible events is 4 June.

After I got the Catsino operation put away, I entered the 11PM Irish Open quarter-final. These late contests are a little harder because there aren’t as many entrants—particularly on Cake Poker—so they either get cancelled or there’s only one ticket.

I suffered an early setback when my K2 was out-kicked on a juicy 8K877 board by K9. I worked my way back up to the starting stack and then to 2,400 within about 10 minutes.

By the 75-minute mark—about 130 hands in—I’d made it to 10,000 chips, playing very conservatively. We were already down to four players and I was the chip leader, with the other three at 7,300, 4,100, and 600, and blinds at 75/150. Despite my best efforts and a couple of premium hands (particularly so for short-handed play) I lost a couple of pots and slipped to second place. Then one of the smaller stacks took a big chunk out of the top man and I was back on the throne. The same player shortly eliminated the other short stack and had about as many chips as I did.

I managed to keep myself over about 7K through the 90-minute mark (hand 170), although I was back in second place. I was on the button when I picked up KK and raised to 1,000 (with blinds at 100/200). The small blind (with the smallest stack) folded and I got a call from the big blind. The flop was JKQ and the big blind was first to act with a bet of 1,000. An AT or even T9 had me, but I re-raised to 4,000 and got a call. The turn card was 6. The big blind’s bet of 400 was pretty inconsequential compared to the 10,100 in the pot already, so I called. The 6 on the river put me in mind of the hand that beat my straight in the $8K game, but I’m the one with the full house this time. My last 1,865 go in and he folds.

I’m up to 12.565 chips, with the other players at 5,545 and 3,590. Five hands later and I’ve eliminated the small stack and I’m sitting on 17K. The remaining player and I are swapping blinds and making test bets. No time to be complacent; there’s almost nothing in the prize pool beyond the ticket for the first-place finisher.

I suffer a setback with A5 when it runs into 66. I call his all-in, hoping to take him out after 25 hands of heads-up, but all I get is a pair of nines on and a busted wheel draw on the board, so now he’s the chip leader by almost 2K.

At one point he has a lead of nearly 3,000 but a lucky river draw of a queen gives me queens and twos to beat his pair of sixes on hand 218, bringing me back within 1K of his stack. I’m back in the lead (by 130 chips) on hand 223, then he’s on top the next hand. Hand 229 drops JJ on me, with the button. I call the big blind and he pushes to 11,040. That’s got me covered by 120, less than a small blind. When I call he flips over 88. A J is the first card on the flop, and while there’s three hearts and a KA, too, it’s all mine. 21,880.

The next hand puts him all-in for the ante and small blind. I mate a T and he does a 2 but that’s the end of it. The semi-final is Sunday morning, followed by the Final (for those who make it).

Tomer reports that he busted out of Day 1 of EPT Deauxville earlier today.

Best-Laid Plans

I’d intended to play very slowly and carefully last night in my home league’s second quarterly event. I had a 24-point lead on the second-place position in the player of the year list, which was about 13% of the total points. With twelve players in the game last night, I had to go out first and #2 had to take first or second for the night.

I played a couple of hands I shouldn’t have, though, and my plans were all akimbo. A player who’s only been able to make the quarterly games this season went into the final table (seated to my left, after the re-draw) with a chip stack that must have held close to a third of the chips in play and took out five of twelve players. He threw a bit of chaos into the POY race and took second place after having a little less luck nine-handed than he did with six. Still, I didn’t go out until sixth place, #2 went out in third, and #3 took first. They swapped places on the leader board, my lead narrowed to only 14 points (7%) but I maintained my three-month status as #1.

Leave Well Enough Alone

It was a mixed bag of a night.

The evening started off with the sixteenth tournament in my local series. The hands I was dealt were not particularly good and my stack was eaten slowly away. The second hand after I was moved to the other table to replace a bust-out I was felted when my AK was outdrawn by a KQ. I went through those chips as well, forcing a second re-buy before we consolidated to the final table. After that, though, I started to pick up some hands and accumulate chips, knocking out five of the original eleven players. Came up in second place, which meant that not only did I win enough to cover my buy-ins and add-on but I actually extended my point lead for the Player of the Year somewhat (though the second of the quarterly double-point events coming up may eradicate that). I’ve been in the lead (or tied for it) for seven events now, since the middle of October.

Then I messed up in a PokerStars Aussie Millions satellite. I was doing far better than I expected; the satellites have unlimited re-buys for an hour and I not only didn’t re-buy but at the add-on time I maintained a position about 23rd in the field without that, either. As the field narrowed down to about 30 remaining entries (133 originally, with 201 re-buys and 85 add-ons), I was in 2nd position with about 40K in chips. The prize pool was large enough that the top eleven spots were going to get tickets to the $530 qualifier tournament and 12th place would get $455. I was sitting pretty. Except that I refused to sit and soon I was bleeding chips. The blinds, admittedly, were taking chunks out of my stack at 400/800/75, and with more than an hour to go I couldn’t just sit there and glide into the money, but I played it poorly after the having worked my way up from a 1.5K starting stack.