Encore Club $1,500 Guarantee (T6,000 + T500 bonus)
First hand I called 175 with Kx3x and hit the bottom of the QxTx3x flop. I put another 400 out for the Jx turn but folded to a bet of 1,100 and probably missed a straight. At least I didn’t take the poison pot.
UTG with K♣J♣ and I raised to 125, getting four calls. Opened with 300 on the KxJx4x flop and took the hand.
Picked up A♥J♦ in SB and called a raise to 375 from CO with 3-way action. The flop was Q♠T♠6♠ and got checked around. A♣ on the turn and I bet 600, CO and BTN stayed in. I bet 1,000 with 4♦ on the river and took it down, but with the loss on the first hand I was only up to T8,350.
I raised to 150 with K♥8♠ stringing along several others, hitting top and bottom pair on the K♠Q♠8x flop (it was a couple of very spadey hands). Nobody wanted to play when I bet.
I entered the hand with a negligible 7♣5♠ and checked three streets with two aces and three cards to a flush on the board with me having nothing stronger than a 5x on the river. Somehow, nobody else wanted it more than me. My bet on the river took the pot!
Kx9x and middle pair on a flop of Tx9x5x won. Forty minutes in and I was up to T9,600.
Called 700 pre flop with Qx8x and got a KxQx7x flop to pair, but folded to an all-in bet on the Ax turn. The hand went to showdown; a Qx on the river would have given me the winning set.
T8,375 at 50 minutes.
Won a nice pot with JxTx but lost a bigger pot of a couple thousand shortly thereafter with Jx9x. I made top pair on the nine-high flop but a river Tx gave my opponent two pair.
Made a small raise with KxKx and was ready for fireworks after the AxKx6x flop, but everyone folded when I bet the turn.
The loss with the jack had cut a chunk out of my stack, leaving me with just T6,650 at 75 minutes. 30 of 34 players were left.
I raised UTG with QxTx and got two calls to the QxJx8x flop. The BB went all-in and I called, the third player opted out, and BB showed his own QxTx. We ended up chopping.
Called 1,175 with JxTx with 3 other players to the flop. It was 5xQx5x and got checked around. A Qx on the turn was also checked. The Tx river card twitched my nerves and I shoved all-in for the first time in the game, taking down the hand.
Last hand before the break, I had K♠8♣ and raised to 800 from CO. Two players called, the flop was Qx7x5x, and I folded to a SB bet. I went into the break with T8,635, nearly 2,000 below average, and got the T4,000 add-on.
Once the break was over, I went on a sort of mini-roll, taking three pots in a row without a showdown. UTG2 with Ax8x and an eight-high flop got me the first. UTG1 with a AxKx took the second when I bet on the river ace. QxQx UTG I raised pre-flop and got a couple callers, SB checked dark and I went all-in on the ten-high flop. Gotta love those dark checks.
In ten minutes, I’d picked up over 11,000 chips, putting me above average (14,923) and over 20,000.
Had a bit of a setback a couple minutes later with 4x4x on BTN. I hit my hoped-for set on the turn, and re-raised over a raise of 3,000 from CO, but his KxKx made their own set on the river and I was cut back down to 13,200.
I laid low for about 15 minutes, then saw 7♦2♦ through to the flop in BB at 400/800. I bet 1,200 on the 9x7x3x flop but folded to a 3,300 raise.
On BTN with 10,400. Another premium hand: 8♠3♠. Average stack was 15,520.
Another 20 minutes and I was all-in with Ax7x in BB to take the pot. Then I laid down an Ax5x to two all-ins ahead of me that would have won against 8x8x. I’ve been tossing a lot more weak aces than I used to. Can’t say the results have been bad.
Two-and-a-half hours in and I was holding T12,200, with the average at 16,689 and 23 players left of the original 34.
Called a 1,200 bet holding 8x3x from SB and got a flop of AxTxTx. Not much there. It got checked through, the turn was 8x and I bet 2,500 getting a single call. The river ace counterfeited anything I might have had and I folded.
My all-in with [kq] crushed an [ak] with a queen on the river and just about eliminated the other player, then I got AxKx, AxQx, and QxKx again in three consecutive hands, doing some severe damage around the table, building my stack up to T30,000, and helping to bring the number of players down to 18.
At the three-hour mark, we were down to 15 players. I had T28,000, a little above the 25,866 average.
On BTN with AxKx just after the hour and I was all-in over CO’s all-in with AxTx. The flop put a ten out and my heart sank, but there was a jack-high straight on the board by the river, and we chopped it.
Next CO and I raised 4,000 with 6♠7♠ to take the blinds. T32,000 at the second break.
Coming into the third session, I made two knockouts in a row raising to 4,500 with J♦9♦. One caller and we see a queen-high flop with a jack on it. He goes all-in and I call his Kx8x. He misses both the turn and river. Next, I called an all-in with Ax8x against Tx9x and won. My next hand I had Qx9x and tossed it pre-flop with a raise of 15,000 out there, but it would have won the way the cards played out.
UTG with Q♦9♦ and I raised to 4,500, got a caller, then BB went all-in for 20,500. I folded, SB called, and BB’s 7x7x took the day. It would have taken a bigger chunk of my day, too. Trying to play more defensively these days; I might not have laid that down a month ago.
Three hours and thirty minutes in, T55,000, with the average at 35,275 and ten players left. We got to the final table five minutes later and I was placed in seat 1 on BTN.
My second hand, I raised to 8,000 with AxQx over an UTG2 call and took the blinds and the call.
When BB got around to me, I called a CO raise of 6,500 with 6♥3♥ and shoved all-in on the Kx6x3x flop to win. I showed. Encore regular SH was sitting to my right, and on the next hand the flop is Jx6x3x and he goes to showdown with 6x3x against AxJx but the turn and river are both fours and he’s counterfeited.
The button’s dead and both blinds are short-stacked when I’m CO and action folds to me. I min-raise with Kx4x and get called by BB. The flop is KxQxTx and I put him all-in. Apparently, he thinks I’m just pushing him around. He calls and becomes the next player knocked out.
Got a little frisky in BB on the four-hour mark and called a raise to 11,000 with just 8♦9♥. The flop was all hearts but I didn’t have it in me to call the all-in of 50,000 to see if my nine would be good.
With Qx5x on my next BB, I called 6,500 against a big stack at the table and see a flop of Qx5x7x. Did he raise with the computer hand? I would, but not likely. Maybe he’s got a pair of queens. He bets 5,000 and I raise to 12,000, then he shoves all-in. I call and he flips AxAx against my two pair, which fills up with a five on the turn. The river’s a blank and I’ve got another knockout.
On the next hand, I knock out the BB when I call from SB with Ax9x against his Ax7x.
Four hours and fifteen minutes into the match and I have T153,000. Average is 97,000.
Fifteen minutes later, I’ve lost some ground: 20,000 with KxQx and another 40,000 in a race with Ax9x versus 7x7x. By 4:35 in the game, I’m back down to T82,000, well under average.
I called with Qx7x from SB and missed the flop, but bet 10,000 and got a call. Had to give up on the turn.
Gained a little ground back with 5x5x and a raise to 18,000 from BTN, but my stack had dropped to T75,000 at 4:40.
In SB with 5x7x, I called and the flop ran out a wonderful 4x6x8x. I checked, BTN bet 12,000, I raised to 25,000 and he called, which won me a very large pot. Almost immediately, however, I lost 60,000 on a hand where I held KxJx. Still, I was holding T142,000 nearing the end of the fifth hour.
With blinds at 4,000/8,000, I did my duty with KxQx and raised over a call to 25,000 to win the call and blinds, and hit the five-hour mark with exactly 150,000.
From here on out, notes get hard to take when things are short-handed. Suffice it to say that the final outcome was with me placing second after about five-and-a-half hours, for a nice cash in the newly-increased noontime guarantee game at Encore.
And as often happens when I cash, I forgot to take the damn photo.
Five-and-a-half hours. +646% ROI. 2nd of 29 players.