Put a Spade In It

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Trying to get back on the track. Aces in the first three hands and I win only the very first (AK) and that’s just 30 chips. Another ace with a lower kicker pairs. I have to back off 66 when triple paint shows on the flop, and AQ loses out to a pair of sevens.

Full Tilt Step 1 Super Turbo (300 chips)

I will never enter another Super Turbo so long as I live. You might as well just roll dice.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Lost 600 on the first hand when an ace showed up late, doubled up from 395 only because a guy with 3K stayed in for absolutely nothing against my AJ all-in, then lost the whole thing with KK when 8A paired up.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Entered into the tournament twice and neither went anywhere. Got knocked out the final time by a Mutant Jack that paired over my eights.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Played pretty conservatively for twenty minutes until I got A5 at 60/120 when we were down to six players. I raised to 240 from the cutoff and got a call from the big blind. The flop was 348 and I bet another 240 after a check. He raised all-in and I called for everything I had. His 78 gave him a pair and the K K after the flop didn’t improve me any.

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

Another conservative game until the last hand. I got QQ and raised from the big blind of 30 to 210 in the hijack seat. The button re-raised all-in for 1,410 and UTG+2 went all-in to 2,385. Either one put me in and with QQ I took the plunge for 1,493. I saw KK and KK. Neither would improve but they didn’t need to. A pair of nines and a pair of aces on the board with an errant 6 and it was over.

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

Reasonably good going for fifteen minutes until I was dealt JQ in the small blind at 25/50. UTG+1 raised to 100, UTG+3 called, and both the blinds went along for the ride. I got top pair with TQ5 and bet 150. UTG+1 called but UTG+3 raised to 1,000. I wasn’t about to let him get away with that. But I should have. I called and the 9 on the turn gave me an up-or-down straight draw. I put in my last 280 and he went all-in to call, 40 short of my stack. The 3 didn’t connect with anything and when the cards turned over he had a a pair of queens, too, but with K instead of an ace for the kicker. I managed to quad up on my next hand but somehow that’s not so satisfying when you’re doing it with only 40 chips.

Aces Players Club (5,000 chips)

I’d managed to almost recover from some early losses with a 67 that turned into an 8-high straight on the flop. On another hand I double-pair A3 and push all-in to drive off an A5 that only connects on the top. Then I got JJ and raised to 250 with the blinds at 50/100. Several players came along and the flop was somewhat disturbing, with a Q. Everyone checked through that and the K on the turn. J on the river gave me trips but at the far end of the table a player bet 1,000. I came over the top for 2,500 and everyone but him dropped out and he called. It wasn’t until he turned over his 57 that I realized there was another spade on the flop. A little while later I had A9 and bet hard but the big stack two places to my left got three spades (including 9) on the flop to flush out his K5, which I saw after I tried to bluff him off. I had a small chance with runner-runner 9s or aces or any combination thereof to make a full house, but it didn’t happen and I was out in less than an hour.

That’s nine losses in a row. I think the streak is off.

Short Tournaments

Nothing elaborate, just a couple of short tournaments since the last post.

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

Came into the Rush game I’ve played before ten minutes late but near the beginning of the second level (15/30). No problem there. Didn’t lose any huge hands until the end but never managed to crack 2K.

Picked up KK after 15 minutes of play (at 30/60) and raised to 180 from the cutoff after everyone ahead of me folded. Big blind called. The flop was 69J and he put me all-in. I called and was ahead of his A6 until the A turned over. No king on the river for me and I was out 344th of 1,210.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

This was downhill from the first hand. I literally did not win a single pot, losing the last hand holding T6 on a glop of 3KA to a pair of jacks that wasn’t made until the river.

Cake Poker Irish Open Quarter-Final Freezeout (2,000 chips)

Another bad start here. There were three tables when I began and we were five-handed on my first hand as I was in the big blind with 23. The cutoff raised to 70 after a fold from UTG. The small blind came along and a I didn’t throw my hand away as I should have. The flop was 655. Action checked to the cutoff and he bet 125. The small blind folded but I decided to chase the straight and called.

The 4 was the turn. I had my straight. I had four to a flush—I even had two outs for a straight flush—I bet the pot for 460 and got a call. Then the 5 landed on the river. I checked, my opponent bet 380, and I paid him off to see his TT make a full house after pulling a 9% chance out of his pocket.

I maintained at around 900 chips for about ten minutes until I pulled JJ. There were six players at the table and I was back in the big blind (still at the 10/20 level). The cutoff, button, and small blind limped in and when I raised to 100 everyone called.

The flop was T63, pretty safe for my jacks. I bet 790 all-in after the small blind checked and the button was the only caller, flipping over T9. And, of course, the 9 was the next card to flip, with a useless Q on the river, and I was the second player eliminated from a pretty small field.

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%.


Somehow I missed two whole days, but in the meantime I managed to cash for small amounts several times.

Things didn’t start off well, however, with a $3K guarantee Cake R&A game on Wednesday evening. My biggest pot ever was in a $5 re-buy (in which I did not re-buy) but generally I try to avoid both re-buying and playing in re-buy tournaments. I never managed to get my poker legs, re-bought twice, but even the add-on couldn’t save me.

I entered a $1K turbo tournament at the 75/150 level with 1,500 chips, gained a little ground, then managed to double up with KK. Then I almost lost it all and things were looking grim with less than 1,000 chips at 200/400/40 until I managed to arrest the tailspin and get up over 8K, then settle down to about 5K at 400/800/75. By the 600/1200/120 level I’d been whittled down to 2K when my AJ ran into AQ on my all-in and I went out in 21st place of 181, with 81% ROI.

A $1K turbo 6-max put me out on hand 23 when I called the all-in of a KJ with AK. Naturally, the jack paired on the turn.

A bounty tournament with a $1K guarantee was the last game on Cake in this series. The only bounty I saw was the one I generated, though. Blinds were 75/150 and UTG+1 had limped in. I raised to 550 from UTG+2 with AQ. Action folded back around to UTG+1, who went all-in for 3,875, more than my 2,617. I called and was just a little behind his 55. Two spades hit the board but the pair held up and I was out.

Late Thursday night I moved over to Full Tilt and played the $36K Rush Guarantee which was about 20 minutes in. It’s both re-buy and multi-entry but I didn’t do either and was felted after about half an hour when my KJ came one card short of drawing to a king-high straight to beat a pair of kings.

Last night it was back to Midnight Madness. It was a slow and steady climb without any real setbacks from the starting stack of 1,500. I think the one real mistake I made was my final hand, calling a larger all-in with JT which had served me well earlier in the tournament. With 15K and blinds at only 250/500/50, I could have given up the $1K bet I’d made, then made a deeper run than 560th and better ROI than 23%.

Despite not having had the best of luck playing simultaneous tables in the past, for most of Midnight Madness I was also participating in a $5K guarantee KO game, with a $0.50 bounty for each player. I don’t know if I was less inclined to take fliers of dodgy hands because I had two games going or if I was just playing well or lucky, but I hit the money here as well. This game was a bit less even than Midnight Madness. I did take in six bounties but at one point I lost more than 6K in the space of five hands with AK and AK (picking up 9,400 with AJ over AQ did sort of make up for that). I lost half a 23K stack with QT when my queen paired on the board but so did that of a player with AQ. I managed to get up to 36K by the time the blinds were 500/1,000/125, then lost a chunk when my AT paired the top card on a T58 flop but lost to pocket QQ. Nothing connected after that and it was AJ running into KA that put me out with four hearts on the board—62A Q 2—and a flush for the better hand. 226th place and my bounties was good for an ROI of 184%.

Tomorrow morning is the weekly Irish Open semi-final qualifier. Only about twenty people registered so far and at least three tickets to the monthly final, which is in the early afternoon and will have more than thirty folks chasing a single $7K prize package plus about $3,850 in cash for second through fourth place.

Too Eager

Not much poker yesterday, just a couple of (very) brief excursions into tournaments.

First off was The Ferguson with $2.7K in guarantees. I took a couple of early hits with a suited connector and a gapper, then managed to double up with 55. A JA made top pair on the flop but lost to tripped-up pocket 8s, putting me back on the street after 15 minutes.

A Rush tournament with nearly $11K in guarantee money was very good to me early on. I entered (1,500 starting stack) half an hour into the tournament while the blinds were still only 40/80. My third hand, TA, the cutoff bet 240, I called from the small blind, and the big blind went all in for 1,500. The cutoff called and so did I. Cutoff’s hand was 44; big blind had 9A. Things looked grim on the flop—9AA— but T on the turn meant I was at least chopping the pot. It was J.  I was a little short of the full call from the previous hand’s big blind, so the other ace holder got 160 from the pot but I nabbed 4,260 which put me up in the top 40 or so right off the bat.

Sixteen hands later—which in Rush Poker means four minutes—I drew TT. I didn’t push things, just putting out a 300 bet at the 50/100 level. The small blind had a similarly-sized stack and went all-in for 3,590. I had it covered by only 375 but called. He was holding QA so I had a slight edge until the flop showed TJ6, which gave me a much better edge. He got an A on the turn for a bit of  excitement but the river was J, giving me a full house.

My undoing came less than two minutes (eight hands) later with another pocket pair. There was a limp (still at 50/100), then a bet and a call of 400 ahead of me. I was in the small blind with JJ and called; with another 7K behind I had everyone covered. The big blind folded and the limper called.

The flop was 4T2. I bet 600, the limper folded, the original raiser went all-in for 6,200 and got a call of 2K from the other caller. This is where—in the interests of preserving my high ranking on the tournament leader board—I probably should have folded. But I called. The original raiser had KK but the small-stack caller had TT for a set. I had two cards hoping for redemption from the turn or river. A K showed up on the turn and I was screwed. The 6 ruined the small stack’s thin chance of quads and the kings took in a pot of 16K. I had 851, which didn’t last long in Rush.