Home, Again


I wasn’t sure how I was going to make my return to Portland poker after my unproductive stint in Las Vegas. I thought about the Thursday night game at the Encore Club, but skipped it, then was too busy early Saturday evening to make starting time for the weekly $10K there. By the time I was free, the first break would have already begun, and there was no way I could make it across town. So the 9pm $200 Freeroll at Portland Players Club it was.

Except that when I got there the door was locked and there was a sign saying they were closed for the evening. Yikes! I was on the loose, Encore wouldn’t have a game open for an hour, I was probably too late to make the 8pm at Aces. It just left the dreaded Final Table. So I high-tailed it out Glisan.

The Final Table $400 Guarantee NLHE (T4,000)

I got to Final Table just as Level 1 was ending and took a seat at the empty second table. I had to wait a couple of minutes for the first table to be split, and were started off five-handed.

Took the first hand I played (at 50/100), from SB with AxTx. There were three players to the flop, the highest card on the board by the turn was a 9, and I bet 100 to win the poison pot, so you know where this story’s going.

Fifteen minutes into my game, I got AxJx on BTN and open-raised to 300, getting called by SB. BB went all-in for 3,000. I had him covered by 75 and went all-in, and SB came along. They flipped over KxQx (SB) and AxTx (BB). I had the best hand, but I was statistically a hair behind the KxQx. The flop put out a wheel draw of 2x3x5x , but the turn was a king, sending my hopes into a tailspin. The river brought relief with a 4x, though, and BB and I chopped up the pot, with me getting an extra 75 for my trouble.

Five minutes later, on BB with AxJx and I called 550 from UTG1 (same guy who’d been BB in the split). UTG (who’d had the money in the pot when we chopped it) came along again. The flop was 2x3x4x and I mischievously shoved to open. UTG1 called with AxQx but the board double-paired and we split the pot again.

Ten minutes later, I wasn’t so lucky. I was all-in UTG1 with AxJx after losing a hand and the same player I’d been tangling with called with KxJx He pulled out a straight on the river and I broke the No Re-buy Rule.

I stopped keeping notes after that, wondering if I’d do any better paying more overt attention to what was going on, but it didn’t help. By the break I was down to a half starting stack again, and I lost most of my add-on in a single hand, so I was riding the short stack through to the final table (I did manage to outlast the guy I’d been tangling with).

Made a couple of crucial double-ups, but I was still under T10,000 after nearly three hours of play, with blinds at 1,500/3,000/300. I shoved UTG with AQ and got a quick call from UTG1, who’d been steadily accumulating chips all evening with sometimes marginal (but lucrative) calls. Her KxTx did it again, making Broadway and putting me out of the first tournament I’d played in ten days.

Two hours and twenty minutes (late arrival). Eighth of 21 players.

Final Table NLHE Shootout

I’m not normally a shootout player, but I was roped into this one and since I’d been knocked out of the tournament twice by hands that I had beat by 3:1 or 2:1, I viewed it as an opportunity to use up some more of that great luck. I never managed to get ahead far in the game, but I ended up just a few dollars down, and managed to qualify for the high hand bonus for the evening when my pocket tens matched up with a rivered ten to make the best full house possible on the board. So, up a little for the evening because of a fluke.

Blast From the Past

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 KJ and I raised to 125, getting four calls. Opened with  300 on the KxJx4x flop and took the hand.

Picked up AJ in SB and called a raise to 375 from CO with 3-way action. The flop was QT6 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 K8 stringing along several others, hitting top and bottom pair on the KQ8x flop (it was a couple of very spadey hands). Nobody wanted to play when I bet.

I entered the hand with a negligible 75 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 K8 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 72 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: 83. 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 67 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 J9. 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 Q9 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 63 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 89. 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.

Comebacks and Failures

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #2 No Limit Hold’em (10,000 chips)

It took me a little bit to figure out where my table was Saturday, after blowing out of one satellite early and then getting $100 out of a 3-way chop in a second. I was on one of the tables up on the stage at one end of the main tournament room, once again well out of sight lines to any tournament clocks.

In the first twenty minutes, I was dealt 9x9x UTG twice and raised only to encounter horrible flops and laid them down to post-flop action. Between that and other hands I entered—with reasonably playable cards—I was down 800 chips.

By forty-five minutes in, I’d managed to win a hand with AT and then lose some with the same hand. Then I lost more getting tricky with K3 and was down to 8,350.

If you get 7x7x on BB, what do you get for the flop when you call a raise? AxJx9x. No. Down to 7,900 on the hour.

Thought I might make a little back with Q9 and two queens on the flop. Unfortunately, a jack on the board was the only other hight card, so I lost to QxTx instead of chopping.

I saw a flop of 5x42 with K5 and called an all-in who just had Tx4x. He binked a ten on the turn and I was down to just 3,000 chips just eighty minutes into the game.

Immediately, I went into cornered wolverine mode and when I managed to connect to a flop on the next hand, I shoved and made it up to 3,700. I had some regrets folding Qx9x and seeing the flop put out JxTx8x a couple minutes later, but after losing the hand earlier, I was a little shy of what I’m calling “the mini-Butcher.”

Just before the first break, I was dealt QxQx on BB and shoved over a raise ahead of me. The raiser called and showed a suited ace, but lost the pot and I was left a little more breathing space with 6,700 chips.

One of the players from my table in Event #1 was seated on my immediate right at this table, and he was in bad shape. He shoved about fifteen minutes into the second session, and I called him with AxKx. His KxQx made a king-high straight on the flop, putting me in bad shape, but I caught a two-outer with a queen on the turn to make Broadway and zoom up to the stratospheric level of 8,250 chips.

Ten minutes later, I was back over the starting stack. About that time, another player from our table busted and another player mentioned that he was Tam Nguyen, the all-time money winner at the Wildhorse Poker Round-Up.

Two big pre-glop pots brewed up something good for me. I played KJ and made two pair against Ax[kx[][who][just][paired][the][king,][then][hit][an][ace][on][the][flop][with][my][own][AxKx calling an all-in of 4,700 with another caller. Forty-five minutes after the break, I was up to 22,500 and over the chip average.

I raised three calls at 150/30/25 to 1,200 with 8x8x on BTN, got a call, then bet again on the flop and took it down. Then I lost some chips but missed a bullet when the river of a hand where I had QT and a flush draw slowed down the action and revealed my opponent had a king-high flush. I was still over 20,000.

As we were getting to fours hours in, I min-raised with KxKx and a short-stacked player shoved. I called him and beat his 9x9x, putting me up to 24,800. Then I blew 6,000 and change calling with A8 after three diamonds showed on the flop. No more heats ever came. At 250 minutes, I was sitting on 21,575.

Then, when QxJx never went anywhere with a flop of AxKxJx, I was broken right back down below starting stack, to 9,975. Back to wolverine mode.

I waited until I picked up TxTx about 280 minutes in. There were pre-flop raises to 2,500 and I shoved, getting called by AxQx. That doubled me up to 20,650. Set-mining was getting costly, and I lost 2,400 in two hands calling wit 3x3x and 6x6x. Then I made the mistake of calling a 3,000 bet from BB with J8.

My own experience with over cards against TxTx fared about as well as my earlier opponents’ did. A short stack across the table shoved and I thought he had a low pair. I was right in that my QJ were both overs, but nothing came through for me and I was down to just 2,500 at the five hour mark. That was an M (or CSI, if you prefer) of 0.8.

The guy who’d doubled up against me and I went into a sort of war just before the dinner break. He shoved, and I called with Ax5x, making two pair against his 6x6x, then I called his all-in with just T7. He showed AxKx, but not only did I pair the seven, but I made a straight by the river, which cut him back considerably.

The glow from a third comeback wasn’t to last long, though. At least, not much longer than the dinner break. About ten minutes into the session, I shipped with AxQx over a 5,000 raise by a player who’d been playing a lot of suited connectors, much to the detriment of other stacks at the table. This time, he had KxKx. I hit a Qx, but never improved beyond that and was out.

Six hours and fifteen minutes. ~180th of 478 entries. $95,732 pot.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round Up 2012 Event #3 No Limit Hold’em Shootout (10,000 chips)

I sat down at the table Sunday and tournament director K from The Final table was the dealer. While it’s always nice to see a familiar face, I have to point out that my track record in tournaments at TFT is not good. For whatever reason, my performance at other venues is far better. Not that I actually believe the dealers have anything to do with it, but if you were the kind of person who did take omens and portents seriously….

Once again, I tok the poison pot. In fact, I took the first two hands with ease. I lost some chips to post-flop bets, but I was holding my own ahead of the starting stack a quarter hour in when a woman who’d been at one of my tables in Event 1 was eliminated on a very loose all-in shove. I was sorry to see all her chips go across the table. To someone else.

I picked up a pot with JxJx, even with an ace on the flop, lost 500 with the Mutant Jack against AxQx with nothing on the board higher than a ten. Then I pushed with 8x8x from late position nd won heads-up against the SB with J96x on the flop. Half an hour in, I was at 10,450.

My first big mistake was calling a 3,000 post-flop raise with a Broadway draw needing a ten. Just after the first hour, I was down to 6,325.

I raised UTG with TxTx and got shoved on by a slightly larger stack in BTN. I called him and he flipped TxTx. Nobody flushed and we chopped the 300 chips in blinds.

I didn’t even bother to record what my last hand was. All I know is that it was before the break.

Eighty minutes. 228 entries.

Tomorrow’s the Limit Omaha Hi-Lo tournament. I hope I do better than I’ve been doing in cash games. In one this afternoon, I was down to 10% of my buy-in, then managed to get up to 160% in almost no time. I should have pushed back and taken my profit, but I almost felt like I owed it to stay in a while longer because I’d hardly been there for twenty minutes. I need to put those types of feelings aside, because I ended up felted after another near-bust, recovery, and bust. Like I told the players at the tournament, I’m a master of the short-stack comeback, but that’s not exactly something you want to have to be good at.

Falling Out of Orbit

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Super Satellite #1 (4,000 chips)

Poker Mutant is sad. After promising myself that I was going to play this event very ABC, I managed to screw it up and go all-in before the first break.

I took the poison pot with a small raise right off the bat, then played mostly quality hands, managing to pick up some chips with an early AxAx then a set of fives and then losing some hands when I folded after uncooperative flops. I was skating down around 3,000 chips about an hour into the game when I was on BB with seven players in the hand and 69. Two clubs and a six on the flop held me in through the river when I made my flush, and the number of people in the pot from the start made it big enough I was up over 5,000 by the time it was done.

I think I started getting a little squirrelly when I found myself calling a post-flop all-in from a shorter-stacked player that would have cost me about two-thirds my chips if I was wrong. I counted it out and pushed in the chips, he flipped over AxQx and so did I, so we split the few hundred chips in the pot from the blinds and earlier callers.

My last hand went wrong when I bet 1,200 post-flop with AxJx. The flop was Ax4x5x. Two players got out of the way, but a player who’d been moved from a broken table just a few hands earlier put out enough ping 500 chips to put me all-in. I called, and he flipped over the AxQx, which held through the turn (4x) and river (2x). That was the last hand before the break.

Ninety minutes. 171 entries, 35 players receiving tickets to the Main Event.