Had a very nice time talking poker with reader BP on Thursday, then he headed over to the Encore $1,800 game that night. I’m bearing down on the big games with 50+ players in preparation for the WSOP starting up this weekend, so I waited to head over until Friday’s $5,000 guarantee.
I was seated in seat 7 at the first red table, with JL—one of the recognizably better regulars at Encore—two seats to my right. I came in fresh off reading Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed and most of Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula 2, so I was ready to work hard.
UTG2 with K♠2♠, I raised over a UTG call to 125. UTG called and we saw a flop of AxJx9x. I continued with a bet of 200, which UTG called. After that, we both checked through a 7x on the turn and 8x on the river. He must have been worried about a ten, because his 7♣8♣ was good and he didn’t bet it.
I called with Q♥8♣ as CO to see a flop of Qx6x4x. UTG2 bet 200 and I raised to 500, getting a call. We both checked to the river and my pair held up against his missed straight draw.
UTG3 holding 6♣9♣. The flop was AxTx8x and it was checked around with four players still in. With a 9x on the turn, I bet 275, which was called around. I folded to a 550 bet on the river 8x.
Half an hour in, down to T8,875 and I’d already missed two opportunities to make two pair on the flop, with Q♥6♦ and 4♠8♠.
Called a 300 raise with Q♦8♦ from BB to see a flop of A♥7♦T♣ but folded to a 550 bet from BTN. Down to T8,325.
The first hand that turned things around at the table for me was 4♦6♦ as CO. I limped to see the flop with several others and saw 2x5xTx, calling a 250 bet with one other to get to the 3x on the turn. HJ bet 500 and I reraised to 1,500, then UTG2 shipped it and I called with the nuts. HJ bailed and UTG2 turned over 2 pair. Ax on the river didn’t help him, and I doubled up to T17,800.
Just a few minutes after that, disaster struck with A♦7♦. I open-raised to 275, getting three calls to the Ax7x8x flop. With a little over 1,000 in the pot, I bet 1,000, hoping to shake off some people but only one dropped out. Qx on the turn and I bet 2,500, getting a call from the first player and an all-in from the other end of the table for 2,900 more. I called that, then the player who’d called me first shoved over the top for almost 8,000. By this time, there’s nearly 25,000 in the pot, and I call the extra 5,000. The original all-in has AxKx, the second all-in has beaten my two pair with AxQx, and a useless card on the river drops me down to somewhere over 6,000 chips.
I look down at K♣Q♠ on my next hand and try something, by open-shoving from early position while the blinds are still just 50/100. It seems like a steam bet, what with only 150 in the pot, and amazingly enough, two players call, including one who’s just sat down into the BTN and the short-stacked BB. Two of us are all-in and the flop has a king on it, along with a ten. Tens on the turn and river give me the full house and before I have a chance to count up after my loss, I’m dragging in a big pile of chips.
A couple minutes later on BB and I three-bet an UTG 800 raise to 2,200. He lays down AxJx and I show him my AxAx. Another KxQx on the BTN and I drag another pot with a raise.
In the same round with 8x8x in HJ, I raise to 800 over three limpets, when the guy in CO who just folded AxJx to me shoves for 5,275. I call and he has 7x7x, which don’t get any better. He has to re-buy.
Seventy minutes into the game, the chip average is 11,739 and I’m sitting on T29,775.
UTG1 with KT I raise to 750. UTG2 calls and BTN shoves. I fold, but UTG2 (who was just busted with sevens ten minutes earlier) calls with AxKx and gets two pair on the turn.
In CO with [an][enticing][K♦Q♦, I raise to 1,100 and get a caller, but fold to an all-in bet on the J♠7♠8♠ flop.
I’ve lost some ground halfway through the second hour, but with T27,325 I’m still more than twice the average stack when we get to the first break.
I get the T6,000 add-on. By the time break ends, there are 110 entries, 38 re-buys, and 96 add-ons, for a pot of $9,800 and a first prize of $2,820, with fourteen places paying.
UTG1 with 5♠6♠, I raise to 800 and get one call. The flop is 6x4x3x and UTG3 bets 1,600, but I raise to 3,200 and he folds. T25,725.
On BB with 3x5x I check through with several others to see the flop roll out Kx3x4x. I bet 1,000 and get raised to 2,500, which I call. Another Kx on the turn makes things look very unpromising and after I check my opponent bets and I fold.
Cautiously called a 1,025 raise from JL holding A♥9♦. The flop was Tx5x5x and U folded to the first bet.
In CO with KxJx I raised to 1,100 over a single limp. HJ called and we saw a flop of QxJx6x. I bet 2,000 for the win.
At the two-hour mark, I was still down from my peak, but had T33,550. Average was still at T19,670 with 97 players left.
Ten minutes into the hour, I picked up 7♣7♦ UTG1. UTG called the 400 blind and I raised to 1,800. SB, who was the second-largest stack at the table next to me, three-bet to 3,800 and BB and UTG got out of the way. I called, and the flop was 6♣8♣T♣. SB checked to me. There was a better than 50% chance he didn’t have a club in his hand; I knew where at least four of them were already. Four of the remaining clubs were smaller than mine. So there were only five cards I was concerned about: 9♣, J♣, Q♣, K♣, and A♣. Even if he had one of those cards in his hand, unless he was paired, he was still behind me. He was behind me even if he had a pair of aces and one of them wasn’t a club. So I shoved with my made pair, my straight, flush, and straight flush draws. He showed A♣Q♥. I was a 54%/46% favorite. With J♣ on the turn, though, I was down to needing the 9♣ to keep from losing, but the river was K♣. The hit was for nearly 30,000 chips.
Down at T3,400 with blinds at 300/600/75. Ten minutes after my big loss, I went all-in from BB with J♦T♦, getting a call from the short-stacked BB who just had me covered. He turned over AxAx. I paired my ten on the flop and had two diamonds on the board by the turn, but the river was no help and I was out.
Two hours and fifteen minutes. 90th of 110 players.
Best wishes to my home league host DV, who’s playing in Monday’s World Series of Poker Event #2, a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, for his second shot at WSOP glory. According to a Tweet from poker stats nut Kevin Mathers, there’s going to be a system in place at this year’s WSOP that lets people track chip counts at the breaks from home, so you can follow your friends.
Here’s some info on ChipTic, the service the WSOP will use to attempt to track every player’s chip count: bit.ly/K1ZlHJ
Portland Players Club Noon $250 Guarantee (2,000 chips)
Got the 2,000 pre-add-on. Won the first hand with 5♠7♠, hitting the straight on the flop and a straight flush draw on the turn. Pulled in over 1,500 chips from the pot and was still up over 5,000 chips after 15 minutes.
Went all-in with K♥J♦ with top pair and three diamonds on the flop and got called by a hand holding the A♦. Caught a third king on the turn and no more diamonds showed up. Then I won a couple smaller pots with just a pair of kings on one hand and sixes on the other. By forty-five minutes in I was up to 12,000 chips.
Got involved in a three-way all-in with just 7x7x against TxTx and Ax9x. The tens made a full house and I lost 2,400 chips. Lost some more drawing to a flush with just 4♠2♠ and was down to 8,000 at fifty minutes.
Bet hard post-flop with QxQx from SB and again with AxTx that made a wheel on the river and took two pots down without showdown, which put me back up to 12,300 ten minutes later.
One of the players hit three full houses in the time I was at the table and I got caught by one of them, losing 1,600 on Tx4x with just top pair against his 3x3x. At break 1 I was down to 9,200 and added 4,000.
Slowly crept back up to 10,300 chips by the middle of the second hour, but got knocked out when I went all-in with 5♦6♦ and middle pair when I was called by the big stack who had jacks for top pair. I think I almost managed to bluff him off, he would have taken a big hit if I’d managed to make a set or two pair, and he said he was expecting to see kings when he called me. But he did call me and he won.
115 minutes. -100% ROI. Finished 21st of 26 players. Pot was $615, including 16 re-buys, and over 50 addons (both pre- and post-).
Portland Players Club $200 Guarantee Freeroll (2,000 chips)
Got the 2,000 chip pre-add-on. Twenty minutes into the game I’d won a few and lost a few but I’d lost more quantity than I’d won, so I was down to 3,825. Then I picked up J♦9♦ and made two pair on the flop, with the third card being a diamond. My push got called and two more diamonds hit the turn and river, improving me to a flush and putting me up to 7,700 at the 45-minute mark.
Made a stupid mistake after calling 200 with KxTx. The ace-high flop didn’t have much on it for me, and I folded to a post-flop all-in bet of 500, but there were three callers and no more bets as a queen and jack ran out to make what could have been Broadway (and the nuts) for me.
Raised pre-flop at 100/200 to 500 with Ax6x and got two callers. Bet 2,000 on a flop of AxKxJx and took it down, then made a flush draw on the next flop with J♥2♥ and bet 600 for another win. At break 1 I had 9,100 before getting the 4,000 chip add-on.
I raised to 1,000 from 200/400 with AxTx and got a caller, hit the ace on the flop and bet 1,500 to take another pot, then things started to fall apart.
UTG with an up-and-down straight draw, I lost more than 3,000 with KxQx against AxTx. Dropped another 4,000 stupidly betting on Kx5x with a flop of Tx5x2x against the big stack of one of the better players in the house. I had to fold after the turn when he bet enough to put me all-in. He said he had AxTx and I have no reason to disbelieve him; he knows my fondness for JxTx.
J♠T♦ cost me 1,200 after the flop whiffed past me. At 1:25 into the game, I was down to 4,400. Dropped another 1,200 on a weak ace.
Final hand was 9x7x. Blinds were 300/600, I was in BB and there were two all-ins ahead of me. If I was lucky, I could triple up to 8,000 or so. The big stack had TxTx, the other all-in had AxQx, and nothing came close to saving me.
This would have been a good time. The Carbon Poker/Merge client has an optional readout of your made hand—or what your hand would be if you hadn’t folded it. I folded this hand pre-flop, looked down for a second, and when I looked back after the river card, saw it told me I would have had a seven-high straight flush that beat the king-high flush which won the pot. And I would have tied for the low. I didn’t manage to capture a screen shot of the hand in play, but here’s the history.
I played quiet and slow during the first hour. I’d picked up a couple of big pots, then lost a bunch when I chased down the top pair on the flush from the big blind. Unfortunately, the flush was 345, and a couple of major over cards showed up on the turn and river. I’d called about 1,600 in raises but when the guy to my left raised 1,000 on the river I let him take it down even though there was several thousand on the table and a call would only have cost me another 20% or so of my stack. He flipped over A6 for ace-high just to rub it in for everyone who’d contributed.
The last hand before the first break, one of the guys across from me was itching to rebuy and I picked up a respectable T♣J♣. Blinds were at 200/400 and there were several callers but the itchy guy raised to 1,200. A couple dropped out, seeing where this was going, but I matched the raise. The flop was a dreamy 8♣9♣Q♠. He bet another 1,200 and I called. The turn was the Q♣, giving me the first straight flush I can ever remember getting in live play. I was pretty sure I’d won the hand by that point, so when he went all-in it was an easy call. He was pretty flabbergasted with his Q♥9♠. After he’d rebought and returned to the table after the break we were talking about the hand and one of the other players had to point out to him that I’d had him beat from the flop; he hadn’t realized I’d made a straight to beat his two pair which turned into a full house.
Sadly, my last hand was well before the final table. I picked up A♣K♣, a couple of actors in the hand before me limped in for 600, then the player to my right went all in. The count was 6,900, leaving me with 100 behind. I called and we were heads-up. He turned over K♠K♦. There was an ace in the window on the flop. There was an A♠ on the turn. I was crushing this dude’s kings! Then the river was a spade. A fourth spade on the board, to be exact, and that gave him a flush, which beat my set of aces. The 100 went in on the next hand for a pair of nines but a pocket pair of jacks scooped that up.