Black Friday Freeroll

Encore Club $500 Guarantee Freeroll (5,500 chips)

I don’t know if this freeroll noon-time tournament was planned ahead of the Black Friday shutdown of the big online poker sites in the US, but it seems like an auspicious time for the local card rooms to try to step into the rather large void left by PokerStars and Full Tilt. Me, I’d  have played it anyway.

The game was at least 20 minutes late getting started, and about seven tables were full when one of the staff came around to drop off an extra red 500 chip for everyone in their seats. A couple table’s worth of stragglers came in during the first hour but for the most part everyone started with the bonus.

Ducks were all over the board during the game, and in fact my first win was holding 2x2x in BB as several of us limped to the flop, which was 5x5x2x. I stepped up the pressure with my full house and everyone folded.

My second take came with 67. The flop was a Qx8x5x, and apparently my open-ended straight draw was more awe-inspiring than anything anyone else had because another raise took it.

Flopped top two pair holding AxKx and grabbed some more. Forty-five minutes into the game at the 75/150 level I was holding 8,325 chips.

Pushed with A3 and won a pot of 1,400, which I promptly lost speculating on Ax6x.

The last hand before break 1, I had Ax6x again. The flop was Tx5x8x and there were several of us in the pot, with me leading out for 500. The turn was 9x and I was almost there, leading out with another 500. Finally, the 7x showed on the river and I bet 2,500 (keeping in mind that Jx could beat me), getting a call from the woman sitting to my left. We flipped our cards and the dealer called her as the winner, pushing out the 5x and 7x for two pair. The chips got pushed over to her and she started stacking before I got it together to ask what she’d won with, and I pointed out that my 6 should have been good for the straight. A couple of players backed me up and they and the dealer tried to reconstruct the pot, so I ended up with about 7K, which gave me 9,400 going into the break. I opted out of the add-on.

Once the action got going again, I had a couple of good hands. AxKx again and I raised 2,500 in a pot of 1,000 to pick that off. Confident play of AT managed to take down a pot of 8,000. By the end of the fourth level I had 18,900 chips.

Picked up AxTx again and raised 2500 on a queen-high flop with middle pair. Took in 6,600.

There’d been a discussion at the table about how KxQx was a losing hand. Another player and I went to war with me holding KxQx and Qx on the flop. I won a pot of more than 20K, then pointed out to the guys who’d been the biggest detractors that I’d just used their least-favorite hand to win the biggest pot at the table so far. Even though we had a different dealer than the previous hour, he managed to nearly screw this up for me, as well by forgetting to count the chips I’d put all-in after matching the raise until I prompted him.

ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad‘s least-favorite hand is AxQx, and indeed, it promptly lost me about 8K of my big win. Still, with seven-and-a-half minutes to go in level 6 (400/800) I had 26,000 chips.

Lost 12K on a flush draw with KQ but still somehow managed to finish the level and get to the second break with 22,800 chips.

After the break, we started up at 500/1,000. Promptly lost 6,500 with JxJx after an Ax showed on the flop. Took the blinds down with a 2,500 raise holding AxKx. Same raise on the next hand took the blinds but with AxAx I was really hoping for some action.

Won another hand with A3 with two more clubs on the flop and a raise. Wasn’t exactly making any headway, though because I still had only 22,000.

Tried to see the flop with 57 but just lost 2K at the 1K/2K level.

I opened with an all-in holding A5. Slightly larger stack called with 6x6x, then flopped a set. No diamonds for me.

About 190 minutes of play. Didn’t count the hands. Out about 30th of 75 players. More than $1,100 in the prize pool by the time re-buys and add-ons were made.

Cut Off

The last couple of days have been a mixture of frustration and a feeling that maybe I’m breaking through a couple of barriers.

I didn’t play much on Wednesday. A $1K guarantee on Cake that didn’t last long, a bounty tournament where I fell out short of the money after making it to chip leader (but where I mitigated somewhat with a couple of bounties), and a shot at an Irish Open Quarter-Final Satellite that went bust.

Then, Thursday, I was atypically playing two tournaments simultaneously: another Irish Open QFS and a $1K guarantee. Personally, I like to concentrate on how the hands play out—even if I’ve folded—so that I can see what the other players are doing, and having two or more games running is too distracting.

I was managing to hold my own, though. The satellite had been running for 45 minutes and I’d been nearly busted out but worked my way back into the thick of things. We were 19 hands into the guarantee and I was about double my starting stack. Then Cake froze up. I left the client open for more than an hour, tested connectivity from another computer (in case it was my internal network, but I had no problems with Full Tilt or PokerStars). Even the web site was unavailable for a while. Once things got back up and running, my two games were gone, but there were a couple of small tournament awards in my cashier history and it looked like my buy-ins had been refunded. No announcement of what they’d done to resolve the technical glitch in Curaçao.

I switched over to Full Tilt for a bit and entered a Super Satellite to the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star Main Event, which had a qualifier playing last night. I didn’t do any better than 13th of 32. Going directly to a satellite was even worse: 15th of 18. Then again, I realized after I’d started playing that I’ve got a pretty big commitment the weekend after the tournament and in the very unlikely event I was to win a seat, I was going to be flaking out on something important just to play poker. And you wouldn’t ever want to do that.

I lasted about an hour in The Ferguson, but was somewhat distracted because I was—for the second time in a day— playing dual tournaments. Half an hour in I entered a $10K guarantee Rush tournament. The last couple of times I’d played the tournaments I’d seemed to have gotten a feel for how to play it, not using PokerTracker or my own tools. For a while, both games were running relatively well, but I ended up all-in in The Ferguson with A2 on a board of 342 only to run into a flopped straight with 56 (which also surprised the original all-in who had 33). No backdoor aces on the board for me, but 1,001st (of 2,159) place let me concentrate on the Rush game with a bit larger buy-in.

The game progressed more or less on a steady build. There was one big chunk taken out about hand 170 when my TA made top pair but pocket kings took the day (the third player in the hand, with AT was surprised , as well, but I wasn’t all-in). A graph of my chip total shows a couple of sharp notches in the line at hands 260 and 280 as well but in both cases I recovered to nearly my previous position within a few hands. KA tripled me up at one point against QK when two players called my all-in and a K was the first card on the flop. Another time I caught A2A on the flop to trip up my TA against KK, which doubled my chip stack.

A min raise at 300/600/75 from a player in the UTG+2 position in hand 325 prompted me to call from the big blind with K2 after everyone else had folded. The flop of 278 gave me at least a pair, and as he’d had several stacks of equal or greater size following him when he raised (with 21K to my 17K) it seemed unlikely that he’d have gone with anything in that range. I bet another 1,200 and he called. A 3 turned and I checked to see what he’d do, still thinking he was probably unconnected to any of it. He bet 2,400, I called, and the river rolled out K. No flushes or straights possible. Nothing that could make a full house. I had the top pair and bottom pair. He didn’t seem aggressive enough to have been holding kings himself or a pocket pair that matched the board. I checked to see what he’d do and he went all-in. I called and won 34K when he showed JQ.

I couldn’t have gone out on a better hand, although it would have been better not to go out. It was 400/800/100 on hand 354. I got AA on the button. UTG+1 made the call and I min-raised to 1,600 (I should really have pushed harder). The blinds dropped out and UTG+1 called, putting us heads-up. The flop was 7Q2, there was 5,300 in the pot, I had 27K against his 43K. He checked; I bet 2,500. He raised to 5,555, I went all-in, he called. He shows QJ for the lower pair. 58,808 in the pot and the turn card’s 5. He needs one of the jacks or another queen. And that’s what shows up on the river: Q. I go out of the tournament in 41st (of 1,062) with an ROI of 170% (he makes it to 16th).

Another $1K guarantee at Cake rounds out this account. No steady climb this. An hour into the tournament I was back at “GO” (i.e. 1,500 chips) but then things took off an in about 20 hands I was over 12K and racing down to the cash. Some laydown I made to avoid getting knocked out before the bubble took me down but a couple of helpful ace hands pushed me back up. A set of threes beat pocket fours to put me back in long enough to take 11th and an ROI of 176%.

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.

Min Cash

A busy day (for me) at the virtual tables yesterday.

I started off in a morning turbo game that had over $34K in guarantees. I took a big hit on hand 7 laying down QQ after an ace and a king showed on the flop and turn respectively and a doubled-up stack bet big. I only lasted five more hands.

Didn’t do much better in the $5K guarantee I entered next after calling a short-stack’s all-in with QK halved me. It was a coin toss but I never recovered.

Entered a couple of freerolls without getting very far; ditto with a couple more EPT Steps Special tournaments. The last of those was extra-short. With 200 of 1,000 chips in pre-flop and QQ in my hand, I bet 300 on a flop of 796 and the only caller goes all-in. I call and he’s got TA and a 28% chance of winning, which he does when 8 shows up on the turn giving him a straight. An 8 on the river rubs it in just a little more.

I went 71 minutes into another $6K guarantee but only made it about halfway through the field of 2,100.

My singular win of the day was in a $9.5K guarantee. I made it to 71st place for an ROI of 136%. So that was nice. It’s three cashes in tournaments between 1,100 and 2,500 players in three weeks. Not big money but not big buy-ins, either.

#10 Downer Street

I meant to add this to the end of the last post because it’s an excellent lesson in come-uppance or the turn of the worm or something. Certainly it’s an example of why you have to have the ability to stand back from your game and see how your own setbacks fall into the patterns established by players before you.

It had been only a few hours since I’d seen the remarkable self-destruction of the giant stack in the guarantee game and I was in another sub-rung of the EPT Steps competition. I’d had a very lucky triple up early on when three of us drawing four to a straight came up short and my ace kicker paired on the turn. After a few smaller wins I’d doubled up to more than 11K cleaning out three smaller stacks after a J on the river gave me trips. A little up and down around that level and then another pair of jacks got me up to 15,200.

The way the Steps Special tournament is structured, there are only 111,000 chips in play among 111 starting players. At the end, those will be spread out among nine players, averaging about 12,333 each. Some players would have more—maybe a lot more—but as long as you have one chip when the player in 10th place is eliminated, you get the Step A ticket. So this is the spot I should have started folding pretty much everything and let the smaller players slug it out, at least until it looked like I might be a little light for a few rounds of blinds.

Instead, I gambled on a TT and lost 900 above my small blind (300) and ante (50). A little later I went to showdown with KT and lost 2,600 extra chips. Tossed 1,200 away with 57 (admittedly, I was in 400 for the small blind on that one). Seriously? I was down more than 8K in eleven hands but the blinds had only touched me twice in that time.

I was down to 7BB but if I’d  looked at the other totals I could probably have still made it through to the winner’s circle. Instead, I went all-in for 4,740 with 5Q and lost, going out on the bubble and probably making the stacks under me (there were a couple!) very happy.


Poker is a game (like most others) where you can literally derive pleasure from the plight of others, specifically by taking their chips away from them. It has the capacity to bring about gleefully vicious comments even by people not involved in the current action In part that’s because any large stack that gets broken down or even a small stack that busts out tends to benefit the rest of the players by making a big stack less dangerous or simply moving people up the ladder to money.

Late last night I experienced a rather large dose of schadenfreude myself in a 6-max $2K guarantee tournament. I entered late, in Level V at 30/60 and was somewhat startlingly seated next to a player using the name of a company I’d once run. By my 19th hand that player was gone and replaced. The guy two seats behind me in action—who’d been raising everyone off  with a pot-sized bet practically—was up to 19K, and I was down to 1,000 chips, a third of my starting stack. The other four players at the table were between 1,600 and 2,000 chips.

I picked up QJ in the cutoff position as action folded around to me. There wasn’t much time left before I didn’t have any breathing space at all so I put out a 400 chip bet into a pot of only 120. The button called, as did the big stack who was in the small blind. Three players to a flop of 2JK. The big stack checked and I shoved my remaining 633 chips into the pot. Both the other players folded and I was back up to 1,913.

That seemed to be a turning point for the big stack in everyone’s mind, though. He still had nine time more chips than anyone else at the table but our inevitable demise was now evitable. Everyone played the next hand but me. The flop of 72T was checked around to the big stack on the button who remained true to form and bet 320. The UTG player went all-in for 1,520 and got called by the big stack. T8 for UTG game him top pair and 7Q gave the big stack middle pair with an over card. The T showed up on the river to make trip tens and the big stack was down for the second hand in a row.

The next hand played out in a similar fashion. Big stack made a big bet pre-flop from the cutoff. There were a couple of callers (big blind and UTG+1, on either side of me). Flop is an innocuous 84T, big blind bets 880 after a check, UTG+1 calls. On the river UTG+1 goes all-in and gets a call. It’s A[a7] (big stack) against A4 but the small stack has taken another chunk out of the monster, who’s now down to a little over 15K. Still a lot more than any of the rest of us but blood is in the water.

My turn in the big blind with T9. The big stack’s holding back a little bit this time, only betting 240 but I call him and get a beautiful straight completion on the flop KJQ. I coyly check, he bets 1,120, and I’m all-in for 1,673, which gets a call. He’s got 8Q and about a 4% chance of winning if he makes a full house or four queens but the 5 on the turn seals that off. He’s down to 13.4K.

He must have been getting frustrated because in UTG position on the next hand (blinds now at 50/100/10) he launches his whole stack on to the table for an all-in. But he gets a call from the button and when the cards flip the button’s holding AJ against the big stack’s Q6. There’s a bit of tension on the Q88 flop, but an A on the turn gives the win to the small stack. Since the button already doubled up against the big stack once, the pot’s over 6K. In four hands, the giant has been reduced from more than 18K to a bit over 10K.

Rather than reassess, he tries it again. The most recent receiver of the big stack’s largesse and I both limp into the pot. The not-so-big stack blasts everything in as the big blind. The player to my right calls by going all-in and I drop out. Big stack has A8, the caller has JK. K rolls out on the flop with a J following on the turn and the two pair take it. It leaves the “big” stack with 3,926 chips, which is exactly 230 chips more than I have.

Yet another player halves him on the next hand. Then, with everyone limping in ahead of him, he shoves yet again, though it’s with an anaemic 1,976 chips. Three of us (me and the two players on either side of me) call. I’ve got 66 but the flop is J4A. Not much for me there. The first player to act bets 1,700, more than I have left. I call all-in, hoping for a six to show. The other caller in the cutoff is all-in as well.

When the other cards flip it’s QQ for the former big stack, A8 for the new big stack, and QJ for the cutoff. The all-ins are hoping for trip completions, but 2 7 on the turn and river don’t do it and nobody has even a diamond, much less a flush draw.

So, I went out on the same round as the buy who went from 18.5K to out in seven hands, despite having 69% of the chips at the table and a 9:1 lead over an of his opponents. But I suspect I was laughing more.

Feeling the Disconnect

It was wild and wooly outside this afternoon with lots of wind and rain coming down all over the Pacific Northwest. I started playing another EPT Steps 15 FPP Special tournament and two hands in my connection died. I don’t know if it was the weather or something in my local network for sure but I managed to get back in only to have things go sour again just as I tried to call a raise with a pocket pair of kings from UTG+1. By the time I hooked up an Ethernet cord to my cable modem, that hand was long gone and I was down to 895 chips from the starting stack of 1,000, with the big blind of 100 about to take another chunk out. On the 75 chip small blind the next hand I pulled A4 and went all-in over another all-in of 60 chips and the big blind of 150. The big blind folded, an A hit on the flop and that was good enough to put me back up over the starting stack.

Two rounds later the blinds were at 100/200 and I was dealt K7 in the UTG+1 position. I went all in for 1,005, the next player to act raised all-in to 1,860, and everyone else folded. He flipped over AK but the cards came out 538 2 J and I got some breathing space with 2,285 chips.

Six hands later at 150/300/25 I got 77. Not a pair that’s the best to play nine-handed, particularly from my UTG position but I put in 300. UTG+1 went all-in for 1,872 and it folded around to the big blind who pushed everything in for 2,960. I was completely covered but called. The flop was 677, which left me in pretty good shape. The big blind with AK was out of luck but there was a minimal chance that UTG+1’s TJ could turn into a straight flush, at least until T came on the turn. I took in 7,852.

Someone else’s middle pocket pair was my downfall, when I paired a T with the top card on the board at the turn and 66 tripped up with 6. Out in seventeenth position.

Reversal of Fortune

A couple of hours into a tournament with $7,400 in guaranteed prizes and I’d managed to recover from a couple of drastic losses to get back to the middle of the remaining pack of about 500, with over 26K in chips. One of the big stacks in the game—with twice my chips—was playing just before me.

The blinds were 500/1,000/100 and I was in the big blind. Everyone ahead of the big stack small blind folded. Stackie pushed his 52K onto the table. I had AA so I called. He turned up JJ but nothing untoward showed up as the rest of the cards appeared, so we basically flipped chip counts.

I cashed out in 207th place fifteen minutes later trying to pull in a pot of 151K.


There’s a chance that I might be playing some non Texas Hold’em poker in the next week so I thought I’d play a couple of different games without putting up any actual cash first. Did a 5-Card Draw Limit game where I increased my chips by 20% in about twenty minutes and then a truly bizarre Omaha Hi-Lo No Limit game where I bought in for 300 chips and left the table twelve minutes later with 16,924 after  winning two low pots and two high pots.

Just to see how that might translate into real money, I put $4 onto one of the 2¢/5¢ tables. Six hands later I left with $6.36. I’m going to have to explore this a little more at another time.

Mixing It Up

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now: Don’t blow your lead.

I was in second place in the bottom level of the PokerStars EPT Steps ladder—15 Frequent Player Points to buy in—and the game had been going for about forty minutes. There were only about 18 players left (out of 111 starters) and the top nine positions all got the same ‘Step A’ prize ticket. I had over 11K in chips and got a QK in the cutoff position with the blinds at 300/600/50. The first player to act put in 1,330, the player between us folded, and I called instead of just riding things out. The button and small blind folded, with the big blind making the call.

The flop showed QTT, giving me two pair but making trips for anyone with a ten.  The big blind bet out 1,800 into a pot of 4,950, and UTG called. I had them both covered by more than 7K, so I went all-in. They both called and the cards went over. The big blind only had JQ but sure enough UTG turned TJ. Three of the queens were exposed; getting the case queen for a full house was a long shot. The jack I needed for a straight would give UTG a full house to beat me. No flush possibilities. I needed that queen (which would give me a chop at best) or a couple of kings (which was an even longer shot than the single queen). Didn’t happen, though. The turn and river were 45 and I dropped out of the elite, ending up in 14th place.