Twenty Kay

Final Table $20K Guarantee NLHE (T10,000)

I’ve had some success in Final Table’s $10K tournaments over the past year, but in fourteen outings, I’d never been able to crack one of their bigger events until last night. They run a $20K the first Friday of the month. In months like May, with a fifth Friday, they run another, so you get the nice benefit of big tournaments for low buy-ins in consecutive weeks, this year just in time for the summer Vegas poker blowout.

The game didn’t get off to an auspicious start, with the tournament software crashing just after the start of the second 25-minute level. The staff apparently hadn’t saved the game file, so even though things started off on time at 6pm, the tedious task of going through and figuring out who was where took over 20 minutes; we were just lucky that the crash didn’t happen further into the tournament after a bunch of rebuys, or after the break when add-ons were in play.

My game started off decently but then I took a big hit and was down to 60% of the starting stack. The turning point for me was a lucky river Qx when I was all-in pre-flop with queens against kings. Lost most of my add-on after the break, but then floated pocket nines on a flop with two kings and made a full house on the turn, which got me all-in against trip kings.

I kept on hitting sets through the night. Four hours in, just after the second break, a player who’d shown two pocket pairs of aces and a pair of kings ended up all-in against me with QxJx against my flopped set of tens, a hand that pushed me up to 110,000. Five minutes later, I didn’t make much money but won a hand with flopped quad nines.

I yo-yoed down to 70,000, up to 90,000, and back down to 60,000. Then luck struck again and I was all-in pre-flop with 9x9x against KxJx. The flop was AxQxJx and I was shoving my chips forward until I saw the dealer pushing the pot and the other player’s chips toward me, because I’d hit a flush. That put me back over 100,000.

A button raise while we were six-handed at four tables was a gift. I raised from HJ with AxKx and got a call from BB. The flop was A86 and I shoved, despite not having a spade. BB dialoged and tried to get me to answer questions, before finally calling after several minutes with AxQx, also without a spade. For most of his stack. I couldn’t complain.

An hour later, seven-and-a-half hours into the game, action folds to short-stacked SB, who shoves with Ax6x. I have AxKx and call and knock him out, putting me up to 240,000. We hit the money bubble about ten minutes later.

The tournament chip leader was on my immediate right at two tables, and he was raising liberally. Eventually, I shoved on him with QxQx and he called with AxKx. First card in the window was an ace, but the queen followed right behind and the rest of the board was low, doubling me up to the point where I had about a fifth of the 3.1M chips in play when we got to the 10-handed final table.

A couple deals were floated, but there were holdouts for each one. Typically, because of IRS reporting rules, the prize pool gets chopped up so the players make less than $5K each, under the reporting trigger point, but not tonight.

I was up to 900K at six-handed. The last point where an even chop of the money was less than $5K was at 4-handed, but the fourth player went out without a deal.

I shoved KxQx from SB and got called by the short stack in BB with AxKx, then had to play the shortie myself, though to be true, nobody was particularly deep-stacked at 25,000/50,000/5,000 and only 60BB between the three of us. I still had about 10BB.

My last hand was Tx4x in BB. The big stack limped in from the SB and I should have shoved, knowing that I couldn’t do any worse than third place and that he was likely pretty light, but I neglected to do it and thought I might be good with a ten-high un-coordinated flop. He checked and I shoved, but got Brunsoned when his Tx2x had flopped two pair. Like I said, I couldn’t do any worse than third at that point.

Only about half the payout I would have liked. With other events putting a brake on my earnings the past month, my summer Vegas bankroll isn’t where it needs to be, but I’m still hoping to catch the end of the WSOP.

Ten hours and thirty minutes. 3rd of 156 entries. 1563% ROI.

Something Shiny Pulled From a Pot of Crap

As I mentioned at the end of last month’s communiqué, I was preparing to go to the Grand Sierra Resort’s Fall Pot of Gold tournament in Reno in mid-October. I had my tickets weeks in advance, worked hard to get various projects in the office out of the way, checked in to my Monday morning flight mid-afternoon on Sunday, then saw this on the 2+2 thread about the event:

GSR CancellationA subsequent post confirmed the post, and I called the GSR poker room to get my own independent verification. I canceled my room reservation and managed to get a $30 credit for my flight, but the rest of the ticket was gone. Apparently the first event—a $100K guarantee—had fallen short by some 30%, and to prevent something similar from happening on the following weekend’s $200K, they just canceled the rest of the series. When is a guarantee not a guarantee? When your airline reservations depend on it.

That put me in a foul enough mood that I went out to Encore and took fourth place for a small cash in their $1K Sunday night guarantee. Played a dozen more events over the next couple weeks without a cash, then got in the 10pm $500 guarantee at Encore (after busting out of the weekly $10K at Final Table) and chopped it two ways.

Since it’s more cost-effective to purchase airline tickets a couple weeks out, I’d already bought a flight to Vegas with a couple of Wynn Fall Classic $100K and $250K guarantee events in mind, with daily $15K Caesars Palace Poker Classic series events to back me up. I knew they wouldn’t be canceled.

Took an early Monday morning flight to get to the Wynn, made my way over to the Encore side of the complex where the big events were starting out, and picked up my ticket for the second of two flights for the $100K, then waited a couple of hours in the coffee shop.

I played one hand. Opened with A5 and got a substantial raise from the other end of the table. The flop was 294x. On that board, I’m statistically ahead of  kings and almost even with aces. Obviously, that didn’t work out, as the guy with kings went all in on the flop and I took the chance that didn’t pan out. Not a glorious start to the week.

It was a long, hot walk in the sun down to Caesars, where I got into the $15K. I made it through more than half the field but never really found a good footing and busted around 90th of 214. Jumped into the 4pm PLO game. I enjoy the various forms of Omaha (except Big O, which is an abomination), but I play more PLO8 than PLO and not much of that, so I was pleasantly surprised to make the final table—even in a field of only 36—but I only made 8th place and missed the money.

Got up the next morning and took another shot at the noon game at Caesars. More accurately, I took two shots, as it looked like the tournament might not make the guarantee at the time I first busted. By the second time I busted, it had made the guarantee. Again, I made it through about 60% of the field (though this time I had to shoot two bullets to do it).

That afternoon’s Double Stack Turbo game was already under way and it didn’t look like there were a lot of players, so I decided to skip it, got some dinner and a rest, then headed to the Venetian for the 7pm game there. Tuesday night is a $150 buy-in Green Chip ($25) Bounty tournament. I’d played a bounty game at the Venetian during my summer of ignominy in Vegas last year; I was determined to do better this time.

Our table was getting crushed by a woman a couple seats to my right who said she was a former dealer from the San Diego area. I was doing okay, but when I was up to about 40K, a quick count of her stack gave me an estimate of 90K or more. I kept plugging away, and even though I didn’t acquire a monster stack, I seemed to be able to find the pressure points on short stacks. Suddenly, it seemed, we were down to the final table, and I had two-thirds my buy-in in bounties safely in my pocket.

The woman with the early massive chip stack was the short stack by the time we got to final, and was the first to go. I started accumulating chips, getting up to second place with 175K (with the 200K chip leader on my immediate right).

175KOver the course of the final, I took four more bounties. My stack did get whacked at one point after that photo, knocking me down to 80K, but I quickly climbed back over 100K and managed to build up to 200K as we got down to four players. A couple propositions for a deal had been discussed, with the usual wrangling and posturing. The chip leader wanted $300 more than anyone else in an otherwise equal split; the old guy with the short stack said if he was in it at four players there’s be no more talk of a deal. In the end, though, the two bigger stacks got an equal amount, the old guy and the other stack got a smaller, equal amount, and since I’d just taken the chip lead, I got the hardware.

Venetian Poker Room Daily Tournament Champion

Venetian Poker Room Daily Tournament Champion

My second shot at the Wynn the next day went a lot better than the first, but not well enough. The first flight of the $250K guarantee had played until just before 10pm the night before. I was over chip average for over five hours on the second flight, then made a stupid mistake followed up by another, and was out and on my way home within a couple of hours.

Assume the Position

You might think that because I haven’t posted anything for nearly two months that things hadn’t been going very well. For part of the time, that might have been true–although that wasn’t a poker-related “not going well”.

The home game tournament series I play in has been on hiatus since before the WSOP, with the only event being a six-handed deepstack mixed Omaha tournament I put together (PLO, PLO8, Big O, and Courcheval, changing each level, a lot of fun). I won that.

Followed up the Carbon Poker blow-off with a deep run in a $1K 6-Max online game, then a 2nd and a 1st, for 1300% and 1800% profit, respectively. I made a small cash in a 1,000+ player field, then hit 3rd in a $1K. Because of other life things, I wasn’t playing live much (or getting much done on my WSOP database), though, which is where my bigger wins have come. Then I was in the top 4 chop of a $10K at Aces Players Club, for 1,400% profit, and took 2nd two weeks later in a 5-way chop of the same tournament for 1,200%.

Sunday, I got home from work and jumped right into the opening hands of Poker Maximus VI Event #8, a $70K guarantee. More on that below.

Had to miss the $50K reopening tournament for The Final Table in their new location. Stupid job.

But it’s back down to Las Vegas tomorrow morning for the Caesars Palace Kick-Off Classic Seniors Tournament, unless it’s got just a few people signed up by the 10am start, in which case I’ll save my energy for the noon $15K guarantee. There are a couple Maximus events in the evening if I bust one or both of the Caesars games, then there’s another $15K on Thursday.

Anyway, I was reasonably pleased with my performance in my first Maximus event, the first online tournament I’ve played for $100+ stakes since before Black Friday. I did something I’ve tried in tournaments before, using the field size and position stats to track my progress throughout the game. Sadly, they’re not part of the hand history data stream, so PokerTracker doesn’t store them, but they make an interesting accompaniment to the hand history.

Carbon Poker Poker Maximus #8 $70K NLHE

The top graph shows the number of players in the tournament (green) and my position in the tournament (blue). The red line shows the bottom of the cashing field, based on the final number of payouts (which wasn’t finalized until the end of the re-entry period).

The second graph is very similar, but shows my position in relative, rather than absolute, terms.

I entered about 15 minutes into the game, just after the beginning of the second level. My participation was 200 hands, I’m not going cover every one this time.

Hand 4 JJ CO T4,925 15/30
As you can see, there’s a huge drop from a mid-range field position very early on. UTG min-raises and action folds to me. I re-raise to 200, BB flats, and UTG re-raises to 460. I call and BB follows along. Almost 1,400 in the pot and the flop is 753. BB checks, UTG bets 697, and both BB and I call (not in that order, naturally). Pot is 3,500. The turn is A, BB checks, UTG bets half pot, and I realize that I’m beat and fold with T3,800 left. BB shoves and gets called by AA for a real cooler, since he had 77 and top set on the flop. He’s busted with the T on the river. My chip stack is still 126BB, but I drop to 293/322 on the leader board since most of the other players haven’t lost 25% of their chips yet.

Hand 7 QT UTG2 T3,768 25/50
I open for 150 and HJ flats along with BB. The flop is AAA, BB checks and I c-bet 200. HJ just calls; BB folds. 5 turn, check-check. 7 on the river and I make another stab for 418, HJ calls and shows 88. With 3,000 left, I drop to 315/327.

Hand 13 QQ CO T2,863 25/50
This is the hand where the poker gods smiled on me. UTG, the winner of Hand 4, opens to 125. HJ calls and I re-raise to 475. UTG four-bets to 950. HJ folds and I get stubborn, going all-in. Naturally, exactly one round after having aces against my jacks when I’m in CO, he has AA and calls, with 6,309 behind. The board runs out 798T to the turn, which gives me as good a chance as I can have on the river, then Q spikes and I double up to over 5,900, which puts me in the top quartile of the leader board.

Hand 19 JJ BB T5,926 50/100
Jacks again. Maybe they won’t lose this time. What am I saying? Of course they will. The CO min-raises to 200 from 62BB and I just call. 22T on the flop. I bet 300 that gets called. A turn and I try with a 400 bet, but get raised to 1,200 and call hoping for a flush. 8 river, I check-fold to a bet of 2,250. Back down to the bottom quarter, but the amount of differentiation means that’s not all that bad.

Hand 27 KA UTG T4,176 50/100
Someone else’s turn to lose with jacks. I raise to 300. UTG3 re-raises to 800 and it folds to me. I shove 42BB, UTG3 calls with JJ, and I get two pair by the turn, doubling up and leaving UTG3 with 7.5BB. The win puts me in the top 20% of the (then) 380-player field for a brief time.

Hand 37 A5 BB T8,202 60/120
The guy who lost to my AK opens to 300 from UTG2 and I defend. He bets 280 on the TQ3 board, and I call, as he has less than 1,000 behind. 9 on the turn, and I put him all-in. He calls with AK and doubles up, but I’m still in pretty good shape.

Hand 44 TK UTG1 T6,704 75/150
I open to 450 and get flatted by UTG2 and SB. The flop looks fantastic: K9K. SB checks, I bet 800, and get called by SB. 8 on the turn and SB checks again. I bet 1,600 and he calls. 7 river, and he checks. I’m beat by a few hands, now, including JxTx or even 5x6x, but I check and I was behind from the beginning as he held the second nut trip hand: KQ. Drop back down below starting stack and into the bottom 20%. Still 26BB.

Hand 45 99 UTG T3,854 75/150
Open to 450. Action folds to SB who shoves 1,642. I call and the board runs out 65[6hjh]J, the short stack has a decent-but-not-good enough QK and his chips take me back up over starting stack.

Hand 48 AQ BTN T5,421 75/150
UTG2 opens to 525 and I raise to 1,200. He folds.

Hand 51 A6 UTG3 T6,151 100/200/20
I open for 600. Everyone folds.

Hand 54 AJ UTG T5,971 100/200/20
I open to 600. Everyone folds.

Hand 56 55 SB T6,811 100/200/20
HJ min-raises and both blinds defend. The 85K flop makes my set, I check, BB checks, and HJ stabs at it with a bet of 690. I raise him to 2,000 and they both fold.

Hand 59 TT HJ T8,421 100/200/20
UTG min-raises and I call, sort of wanting to make sure there isn’t too many over cards on the flop with tens. SB jams of almost 3,350. That gets rid of BB and UTG, and I take it head-on against 99. I’m liking the TQQ flop, bust the same guy for the second time, and add 17BB to my stack, which puts me back near the top 10%.

Hand 78 QK UTG2 T11,095 150/300/30
I raise to 900 and everyone folds.

Hand 85 AK CO T12,145 150/300/30
Open to 900 and the blinds fold.

Hand 101 5T SB T10,858 200/400/40
Everyone folds and I call the BB. He checks and we see the 5J4 flop. That’s pretty good for me. I bet 700 and he calls. The turn is 9. I check and let him bet 1,280, nearly a quarter of his stack, into my flush. I raise him all-in—I have him covered by 3,000—and he calls with 32. I can’t figure it out but I win a pot of 16,500.

Hand 102 JA BTN T19,643 250/500/50
Just antes and a big blind in the pot before action. UTG1 min-raises, I flat, and we’re HU. Flop’s 257 and we both check. K on turn, UTG1 bets 1,250 and I let it go.

Hand 115 AA UTG2 T17,243 250/500/50
I make my standard 3x raise from middle position. Nobody wants to play.

Hand 118 AQ BB T18,243 250/500/50
UTG1 min-raises with a stack slightly larger than mine. Action’s back to me and I 3-bet to 3,000. He calls and the flop’s KQJ. I jam on him, thinking he would have more than min-raised with AxKx. He folds and shows AJ (the Mutant Jack loses again!) snarkily asking if that’s the only move I have. As if I’ve been all-in in this tourney on a regular basis. I’m up in the top 20% of the field again, but it’s going to be for the last time. All (or mostly) downhill from here.

Hand 120 KA UTG T21,493 250/500/50
Raise to 1,500 and everyone folds. Easy game, no?

Hand 127 KA UTG2 T21,373 300/600/60
I’m officially a cardrack. I open to 1,800 and everyone folds.

Hand 129 8A UTG T22,333 300/600/60
Open for 1,800 and everyone folds.

Hand 133 KQ CO T22,573 300/600/60
HJ bets 1,800 and I call. We see the AJ2 flop HU, he bets 2,120 and I fold despite the tempting (to me, at least) Broadway draw.

Hand 136 JA UTG2 T20,593 300/600/60
Open to 1,800 and everyone folds.

Hand 150 JA HJ T20,053 400/800/80
I’m 55th of 166 players at this point. Not trying to do anything fancy, we’ve still got more than 50 players to go before the bubble. UTG3 raises to 1,800 and I flat. We see the flop HU, it’s 669. He bets at it and I fold. The loss drops me down to 68th position.

Hand 151 99 UTG3 T18,373 400/800/80
I continue my 3x raises with a bet of 2,400 and get called by BTN. The flop is K46 and I bet 3,000 at it only to get shoved on by a stack covering me. I fold and drop out of the cashing field, to 109th.

Hand 159 AJ CO T11,213 400/800/80
Time for the Mutant Jack to do it’s thing. I open-shove with 14BB and get called by a stack of 59BB with KJ in SB. The board runs out an unnecessary flush for me and I double back to 49th and the middle of the cash field, with 156 to go.

Hand 179 77 BB T18,846 500/1,000/100
As other players have chipped up and I’ve lost 20 hands of blinds and antes, my position in the field has dropped to 76th. We’re still almost 40 spots from the money bubble. Normally, I don;t like playing a pair as low as sevens on an almost full table, but I am BB. Action folded to one of the very short stacks at the table, CO with just 7BB. He shoves for 6,440. BTN and SB fold (they both have decent-sized stacks). I stand to lose a third of my stack if I lose, but I figure he’s in desperation mode and I might have the better hand by a margin. He has QJ, he doesn’t pair (an ace hits on the flop, so I’m glad he didn’t hit that), and I get a little bump.

Hand 183 QK HJ T25,606 600/1,200/120
I open for 3,600, with the two larger stacks at the table having folded already. CO shoves for 17,100, gets an all-in call from BTN, and another all-in from BB. BB’s the smallest stack, with just 4BB before paying for the hand. SB was the most worrisome, since he had a stack just smaller than mine, but he folded. BTN has 9BB, and CO has 14BB, two-thirds my own stack. The pot has more than 36,000 in it, I’m getting 2.7:1 on my money, but if I lose (With KQ? Nah.), I’ll be down to 4BB with 31 places to go before the money. I fold, and as you might expect, everyone beats me. CO has AJ, BTN has KK, and BB has A6. The ace on the flop gives the whole thing to CO, but four spades roll out by the river and my king was the only spade of the four hands. A win would have put me at nearly 58,000.

Hand 186 QK UTG1 T21,646 600/1,200/120
I open to 3,600. SB calls. The flop is 8KJ, SB checks, I bet 6,000, and he piles on 25,000, putting me at risk. I’m obviously not going to make the same mistake as in the previous KQ hand, so I call. He has QK and we chop the pot.

Hand 187 JA UTG T22,666 600/1,200/120
Open to 3,600. UTG2 shoves for 11,200. CO is all-in with just 4,300. I call with 11,450 behind. It’s me v 77 and KK; behind everyone, as usual. Both pairs hold up (with the kings getting a set on the flop) and I end up behind both of the other players in the hand, dropping down to 101st place, outside the cashing field with just 15 players before the money.

Hand 199 A6 HJ T6,410 750/1,500/150
The cards have not been kind. Nor have the blinds. I have, however, managed to outlast enough bust-outs over the past dozen hands that I’ve reached the money with 4BB. Action folds to me, and I shove, getting called by BB, who started the hand with 34BB. He has 89, the flop is QQA, and I win the hand.

Hand 200 QK UTG3 T14,770 750/1,500/150
UTG1 opens to 4,000 from a 25BB stack, and I shove 10BB. SB (who I’d doubled through in the previous hand) shoves 29BB, and UTG1 gets out of the way. I’m racing against 88 and I lose, going out with a min-cash.

VPIP for this tournament: 17.2%. I won 48% of the hands where I saw the flop, went to showdown with 61% of the hands where I saw the flop, and won 64% of the hands when I went to showdown.

Four hours. 200 hands. 92nd of 710 entries. +82.6% profit.

Leveling Out Back East

Fall 2012 Wildhorse Poker Round-Up Events #1 and #2 (10,000)
Final Table $1,000 Guarantee (8,000) 

All of the bracelets to be awarded during the Fall 2012 Wildhorse Poker Round-Up.

I headed out to Pendleton for the first two events of the Fall Poker Round-Up last weekend. Drove out first thing in the morning on Friday and after three-and-a-half hours made it to the casino with plenty of time to spare before the tournament started. That was a good thing, because I’d been bought in by the folks at Portland Players Club, but the folks at the tournament window didn’t seem to know quite what to do about pre-paid entries and folks started backing up behind me while the two ladies in the office worked through it. Just a few minutes later, the line was stretching down the hall, and by the time  Event #1 began, we were already twenty minutes past noon.

The first event didn’t go well for me. I hadn’t factored in the antes kicking in as aggressively as they did; in level three when they first appear (100/200/25), they’re only 1/8 the big blind, but by level six (200/400/75) they’ve jumped to half-again as much. I rode a short stack through the second break, then busted before dinner. My last hand, I had QJ, action folded to SB, he went all-in and I called only to be up against AxAx. I’m sure he was crestfallen not to get any action for his aces. My little stack made up for it a bit.

Saturday’s game went quite a bit better. For a while. I ramped up the aggression, and a combination of that, some good cards, and a different mix of players at the table, put me in the position of one of the big stacks for most of my time in the game. I’d doubled up by the first break; just two hours in (level 4) I had enough chips that I rode A4 down to the river with straight and flush draws to catch a trey and knock a player out. He went off and started in about how I was a “shitty” player. I mentally composed my response for the next time that happens and I’m raking in someone’s chips: “I know, I know. It’s like a fucking curse.” That put me over 31,000 chips. I was still there and table leader with just 50 big blinds when we got to level 7 (300/600/75), which gives you an idea of the kind of jeopardy a lot of the other stacks were in. Now, if I could just avoid doing anything stupid. I figured I was 30% of the way to the average stack when we got to the money. I raised to 1,600 from middle position with AQ and got a call from BB, a guy I think I had just about managed to call off his stack a little earlier with a suspiciously-large bet when I held top set on the flop. The flop fell 46T, I continued with a bet of 2,000, he re-raised 4,000, and I called. My thinking was he definitely had a club, quite possibly A. I figured that even if he had two lower clubs and a made flush, there was a possibility that my queen could be best if a higher club hit. The turn card was Q and it was my downfall. I checked, he shoved in over 16,000, and I managed to convince myself that he had AKx. I could beat that. What I couldn’t beat was A5, which is what he actually had. Stupid call that cost me 2/3 of my stack and put me down to less than 20bb. I didn’t last to dinner that game, either.

Haven’t had much time to play in town since Pendleton this week, but I did get into one game at The Final Table. Took a chance early on with a suited connector and tripled up, then was over 55,000 on the first break (average was 11,800). Didn’t bother with the add-on. I flirted briefly with 100,000, but started bleeding chips and by the time I finally made it to the 10-handed final table I was the short stack. The first round of blinds at final left me with just about 14,000 on my big blind, at 2,000/4,000/500. A limp and a raise ahead of me, and I shoved with ace-something, which got called by the raiser. I caught my card and tripled up to about 40,000, which actually put me ahead of a couple other stacks. Players started going bust right after that, and I managed to find my way to some chips, so that when we hit the money, I had nearly 100,000 and was a distant second from the big stack at the other end. The player who had doubled me up from my short stack got the bubble payout but nobody was talking about a chop because of the size of the big stack. Then I raised early (heck, everything’s early five-handed) with 57 and got called by the big stack on BTN (who was raising or calling everything, naturally). The flop was Tx9x6x, and I checked it. BB shoved. I had just the door and buy-in invested in the tournament so I was making a decent profit whatever happened. I called against top pair, hit my eight, and made it to chip leader. Then we chopped.

Back out to Pendleton in the morning for the Main Event!

Five hours. Five-way chop in 39 entries. +933% ROI.

Hand by Hand

The Final Table Poker Club Fifth Friday $20K Guarantee (T10,000)

It’s been a little while since my last post. Lots of roofing going on the past month-and-a-half, not nearly as much poker. Both pursuits can be costly.

Met up with BP before this event at Ringside East, and things got off to a rocky start right away when I walked through the bar where I knew BP had a table, didn’t spot him, then IMed him to get him to tell me where he was (in the bar) and his response to my query was:

Bar
Bar
Bar
B
A
R
Guess where I am?

We eventually got things straighted out, had some food and drinks, then headed over to Final Table.

I’m experimenting with recording every hand I’m dealt—at least for some tournaments—so here’s the record, with a nod to Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed. I don’t have his talent for recording action and flops, but this is what I’ve got.

Hand 1. AQ UTG1
I’m in seat 8 on table 2. We’re ten-seated, but not all the seats are filled yet, I open-bet to 175 and win.

Hand 2. A4 UTG
I open with a bet to 150, everyone folds.

Hand 3. 95 BB
Fold to a raise.

Hand 4. KxJx SB
Called a raise of 150; folded post-flop when I didn’t connect.

Hand 5. 3J BTN
Folded.

Hand 6. T3 CO
Folded.

Hand 7. J7 HJ
Folded. Ten minutes into the game, T11,650.

Hand 8. Q4 UTG2
Folded.

Hand 9. 9T UTG1
Folded.

Hand 10. AK UTG
Raised to 125, both blinds called. Folded to a bet on a 395 flop.

Hand 11. KT BB
Re-raised from 250 to 450 and was HU with original raiser. Flop was a promising KxJKx. We checked to a turn of Q. I bet 800 with my made set, flush draw, and straight draw and got a call. A on the river made my straight but put a lot of ugly full house potential out there. Original raiser bet 1,300. We were using a variety of chip colors because of the size of the tournament and I bungled my call, ending up re-raising to 2,600. He thought about it, then called the raise and turned over AxTx and we split the pot.

Hand 12. 7x9x SB
Folded.

Hand 13. Qx7x BTN
Folded.

Hand 14. J4 CO
Folded. Blinds were now 50/100.

Hand 15. K6 HJ
Folded.

Hand 16. 57 UTG3
Folded.

Hand 17. 72 UTG2
Folded.

Hand 18. 97 UTG1
Folded.

Hand 19. Q4 UTG
Folded.

Hand 20. 83 BB
Folded. Stack is T11,525.

Hand 21. A7 SB
Folded.

Hand 22. 83 BTN
Folded.

Hand 23. T6 CO
Folded.

Hand 24. AJ HJ
PL, sitting three positions to my right raised to 225 and I re-raised to 450. Action folded back to him and he shoved. I folded. Mutant Jack fails me.

Hand 25. J2 UTG2
Fold.

Hand 26. AK UTG1
Opened to 250 and was re-raised to 700. Completely missed the flop and folded to a bet.

Hand 27. 49 BB
Folded. Down to T10,525.

Hand 28. QJ SB
Called a raise and missed the flop.

Hand 29. K2 BTN
Folded. Blinds go up to 75/150.

Hand 30. A3 CO
Fold.

Hand 31. QT HJ
Called a raise to 325 then folded to a bet on a flop of 852.

Hand 32. 78 UTG3
Called raise to 375 and saw the flop HU. Three overs with no spades and a bet and I folded.

Hand 33. Q8 UTG2
Folded.

Hand 34. 95 UTG1
Folded. About an hour into the tournament, down to T9,775.

Hand 35. A6 UTG
I raised to 400, getting two calls. The flop was 9Q6, I checked, then folded to a raise and re-raise, thinking perhaps bottom pair wasn’t where I wanted to be in this situation.

Hand 36. Q2 UTG3
Folded. Blinds now at 100/200.

Hand 37. A3 UTG2
Folded.

Hand 38. UTG1
Missed recording this hand, but something happened that cost me chips.

Hand 39. J7 UTG
Folded.

Hand 40. 89 BB
Called a late raise to 800, but folded when an early limper re-raised to 2,200.

Hand 41. 53 SB
Folded. Stack sitting at T6,300.

Hand 42. 39 BTN
Folded.

Hand 43. CO
With the break coming up in a couple of minutes, I used this hand to beat the other 200 people in to room to one of the two bathrooms. It was probably AxAx.

Hand 44. Kx9 HJ
Folded.

Hand 45. 79 UTG4
Just outside the range of what I want to play ten-handed but I shoved and won with a pair of nines to put me up to T9,300.

Hand 46. T9 UTG3
Folded my last hand before the break.

With the add-on, I went into the next segment of the tournament with T14,300: 35bb or an M of ~17 (blinds 200/400/25). “Must take on more risk.” Easy to say when you don’t have the biggest stacks at the table on either side of you.

Hand 47. 59 UTG2
Too much risk for me. Folded.

Hand 48. Q6 UTG1
Folded.

Hand 49. 33 UTG
My first pocket pair of the evening, But not ten-handed with a short stack.

Hand 50. 75 BB
If I’d stayed in the hand, I would have won it with a flush, even with the 7.

Hand 51. 75 SB
Folded.

Hand 52. A2 BTN
Folded.

Hand 53. AT CO
Called raise to 400. Folded on Kx7x2x flop.

Hand 54. J2 HJ
Folded.

Hand 55. QT UTG3
Normally, I’d play it, but not short-stacked and ten-handed after a raise.

Hand 56. 62 UTG2
Folded.

Hand 57. 7T UTG1
Folded. Blinds now at  300/600/50.

Hand 58. 29 UTG
Folded. Stack standing at T12,950, down 6,000 from starting stack, bonus, and add-on.

Hand 59. AJ BB
Called raise to 2,250, folded on a 357 flop. TxTx took the pot after going all-in, I would have missed.

Hand 60. 42 SB
Folded.

Hand 61. 9J BTN
Folded.

Hand 62. J3 CO
Folded.

Hand 63. A9 HJ
Folded.

Hand 64. Q8 UTG3
Folded.

Hand 65. KQ UTG2
I opened to 2,000. PL called me and shoved on an ace-high flop that I didn’t connect with.

Hand 66. 28 UTG1
Folded.

Hand 67. 79 UTG
Folded.

Hand 68. 34 BB
Folded. T12,050.

Hand 69. 58 SB
Folded.

Hand 70. JQ BTN
Raised over a limp to 2,400 and the limper shoved for 5,850. I thought about it for a minute, then called. Limper’s 7x7x won.

Hand 71. 84 CO
Not a chance in hell.

Hand 72. K8 HJ
Folded. Blinds up to 400/800/75. I have T5,625 (7bb, M=~3).

Hand 73. T8 UTG3
Folded.

Hand 74. AT UTG2
I shove over limps, the biggest stack at the table with more than T50,000 calls with A7. The board runs out with a pair and an ace and a jack to make it another split pot. T6,200 for my trouble.

Hand 75. 76 UTG1
Folded.

Hand 76. 75 UTG
Folded.

Hand 77. A8 BB
Folded.

Hand 78. TT SB
I shove over a limp and get called by QxQx.

VPIP for the session: 26%, a little higher than I thought while I was playing it. Just two pocket pairs: the treys I didn’t play and the tens in my last hand. The average would have been between four and five (someone else was getting my pairs!) Only went to showdown six times, two of them ended in split pots with minimal profit, I won one, and lost three (including my final hand).

76 Known Hands by Pre-Flop Strength (Win/Chop) Percentile at 10 Players

  • Top 10% [A8s-AA]: 8 hands (10%)
  • 2nd Decile [J8s-Q9s]: 10 hands (13%)
  • 3rd Decile: 7 hands (9%)
  • 4th Decile: 6 hands (8%)
  • 5th Decile: 10 hands (13%)
  • 6th Decile: 7 hands (9%)
  • 7th Decile: 9 hands (12%)
  • 8th Decile: 5 hands (7%)
  • 9th Decile: 7 hands (9%)
  • Bottom 10% [72o-84o]: 7 hands (9%)

Three hours and twenty minutes, 78 hands. 144th of 204 players.

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.

A Tale of Two $10Ks

The Final Table Third Friday $10,000 Guarantee (T10,000 + T1,000 early registration bonus)

Got a copy of Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed, his (almost) hand-by-hand account of winning an Aussie Millions tournament. Whatever you might think about Hansen’s style of play (and despite the fact that things may have changed a lot since he wrote the book) it’s a very interesting read and incredibly thoughtful and I don’t think I could possibly recreate hands as well even if I was using his tape recorder transcription method. Sorry. Also picked up Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula (volumes 1 and 2) and I’m hoping to pick out nuggets of useful info from there.

Met up at the Eastside Ringside before the 10K with BP, a Mutant Poker reader (I guess there are a couple) who recognized me at a Friday Encore game a couple weeks back. Had a great time talking poker, had a drink or two (which I almost never do before a game), and then headed down the street.

I started off in BB and folded a couple hands, then raised to 125 on BTN with Ax8x, calling a re-raise to 325. The turn was Q-high and I bet out for 700 but folded to a re-raise.

UTG with 2x2x and I was drawing the low end of a straight on the flop, but BB flopped the nuts. and half an hour in I was down to T8,200.

Called 350 with Qx9x but folded to an all-in war that ended up with KxKx drawing a set against AxAx. T7,500 now.

UTG again with 8T and I check-called a 300 raise. Flop of Ax4x5x and I was out of there. Forty-five minutes in: T7,050.

QxTx as CO and I called a big pre-flop raise but folded to an all-in after a flop of JxTx8x and a bet on the Ax turn.

Fifty minutes in and I’d lost more than half my starting chips: T5,250.

In BB with AK, I raised to 2,000 and was re-raised all-in. I called against AT and doubled up to almost where I’d begun: T10,650.

Back on BTN, I raised to 400 and got one call. The flop was Qx7x2x and I bet 1,000 to take the pot. Back over starting: T11,275.

Raised UTG with JxTx to 500 getting two calls half-an-hour later. The flop was a beautiful KxQx9x and it was checked around. The turn was a non-threatening Ax, it was checked to me and there was a bet of 3,000. I shoved over the top and was called by AxKx. My straight held.

Tx4x in BB  ten minutes later and I see the flop of QxTx4x. A guy who’s been going all-in throughout the game bets into it and I re-raise. As I expect, he shoves and I call because I’m pretty sure he’s not holding The Butcher, and my two pair knocks him out. He doesn’t show.

Next hand in SB with 8x2x I call to see 4x2x2x on the flop and check. BB bets out 600, UTG calls, and I raise to 2,000 getting both of them to fold. I show the hand.

A couple minutes later it’s my turn to fold 9x8x after calling 800 pre-flop. The board is QxJx8x but my bottom pair and low-end gut-shot isn’t good enough to call the 2,000 bet.

One hour and forty-five minute into the game and I’m up to a healthy T30,575, more than 40% above the chip average. Five minutes later, I’m buying the add-on of T8,000 chips. There are 84 entries, with 18 re-buys. The break sees 69 add-ons and the pot’s $13,650, with 13 places paying. 77 players left at the break.

After the break, I get to work, raising and taking the blinds and antes with Ax8x, then taking a pot atay from several callers with a post-flop raise with QxJx on a jack-high flop that put me up to T41,625.

In SB with 34 I called a raise to 1,700 from BB. The Qx2x5x gave me an open-ended straight draw and I bet 2,000 into it. BB tossed his cards and said he had AxJx. According to the odds calculators, if that was the case, we were almost exactly 50%-50%.

I re-raised to 7,000 over a 2,400 raise with 8x8x and a small stack shoved for 6,950 more. Was my pair good? Was it a desperate move to steal 10,000 chips? It was going to cost me about 3.5:1 to find out. I called, was up against queens and lost.

Pretty quickly I was back on track with TxTx. I raised over two calls to 4,000 and took the pot. One of the guys muttered he’d folded jacks. I was down to T32,000 but near chip average.

Then in my BB I picked up 6x6 and laid in wait to see a flop of 6x4x2x. I’ve learned my lesson about being shy with flopped sets. I pulled the trigger and didn’t worry about the possibility that someone might have come along with 3x5x, I bet 2,000 and got a call, then bet 7,000 after the Tx turn card and cracked some aces. I was back up to T43,400 at the end of three hours.

UTG fifteen minutes later with KxKx. I keep losing with kings, often by simply walking away from the board after a horrible flop. I raised to 2,700, getting three calls and a rather ominous QxJxTx flop. What premium hand isn’t beating me here? AxKx has the straight and my only hope against it is some sort of backdoor full house (or another ace to chop). QxQx JxJx, or TxTx has a set already and I need that ace or backdoor full house again. Any multitude of two pair hands in there that are playable by someone in a $10K tournament. Even 8x9x has me beat. So naturally when the player on my right goes all-in for more than 30,000 chips, I call. He has The Butcher, for two pair, but a miraculous 9x shows on the turn and I knock him out with the straight.

Two hundred minutes into the game I’m up to T71,875. The chip average is T27,081. Twenty minutes later, there are 55 players left and the chip average is just over T30,000.

I raise with QT over two calls, the flop is KT8. I try to get another spade but I’m lucky and don’t, losing to ATx.

Coming up on the end of the fourth hour of play as SB with 2x2x and I call an all-in of 4,700. He has QxTx and hits two pair on the flop. I start the next hour down to T50,600 with the chip average at T33,000.

With AxAx in CO I raise to 8,000 and get a call. The flop is 9x6x4x and I’m all-in over a raise, getting a call from JxJx for a win.

In UTG1, I call 4,600 with 9T. The flop is 7x9xJx and UTG bets 10,000 (a pattern his big stack will repeat throughout the rest of the night) and I have to fold my middle pair and gunshot. Still, I’m back up to T72800.

I open from the CO with 23 and take the blinds and antes.

UTG1 again. I call 3,600 with Q9 and fold to UTG’s 10,000 bet after the Kx8x5x bet.

In my SB, I raise to 11,000 with JQ. BB calls and the flop is KxJx9x This time it’s me who throws the 10,000 continuation and the guy to my left folds.

Raised 7,000 with QxJx and called an all-in who showed AxKx. I stayed behind as my chips raced to the other end of the table.

Hitting midnight after five hours of play, I was a little over the chip average, with T54,500.

The Butcher came through, with QxTx beating a nominally better hand on a 8xTx8x flop and bringing in 20,000.

Raised 10,000 a couple minutes later with 6x6x and lost to an all-in. Back down to T54000 by five hours and thirty minutes, with 28 players left.

I shoved with KxKx  from BTN sort of hoping to double up if someone thought it was a position play but just won the blinds and antes. Even so, by the time the I’d made it through the blinds, I was down to T50,300, more than 10,000 below average.

Just twenty minutes later, that had dwindled to half the average, at T34,700, with only 22 players left. Just nine before the money bubble.

As we approached the end of the sixth hour, I shoved with Ax9x over two calls and managed to win a pot that put me up to T40,600. Then, on my BB with TxTx I shoved over three calls and took another one down. Right after that I raised UTG with JxTx and won again. In twenty minutes I doubled my stack to T71,000 without a showdown. I was still below the T76,666 average.

As quick as it came, though, it went away. I picked up KxQx mid-position and raised to 10,000 from the 4,000 big blind. I got two callers, including the big stack on my immediate right. The flop was Kx9x2x and I bet into it, hoping that nobody had AxKx. Both of them came along. The Qx on the turn put me all-in, the first call was from the a smaller stack, the second was from the mega-stack, who’d snuck in there with JxTx to make the straight. The small stack had QxTx. No king or queen for me on the river and I was out short of the money. BP went on to a 4-way chop at 5:30! Congrats!

Six hours. 19th of 84 entries.

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee (T10,000)

This was one of those up-and-down rides.

I folded my first two hands from seat 10, then raised over a couple of limpers to 125 with a nice little J9, getting several calls. The flop was a perfect Tx8x7x and I bet 300. Seat 2 raised me to 600, the players between us folded, and I three-bet 2,300. He called and the turn put out Jx. I go all-in with the rest of my full stack, he calls with JxTx, and my straight holds through the river. I’ve got him covered by a quarter because he was SB in the first hand.

I lost a little ground raising UTG1 with Q3 against UTG’s AxJx. and was down to T18,925 at fifteen minutes in. Missed an opportunity by folding Tx3x in SB when I didn’t call the 25 extra and the flop was Tx7x3x.

Raised to 225 with KxQx in CO, go two calls, then got a flop of 2x3x4x. It was checked around. With a 5x on the turn, I folded to a bet.

Half an hour in and my excursions had cut me down to T17750.

Raised from UTG1 to 225 with 46 and got one call. Bet 500 after the 8x7x4x flop and took it down.

A couple hands later I called 350 in a 3-way hand with Q5 in BB but had to fold after whiffing the flop.

SB on the next hand with KJ and three limpers. I raised to 55o and won. A couple hands later as CO I raised to 250 with Ax3x but folded to a bet of 800 on a king-high flop.

In the twenty minutes leading into the end of the first hour, I went from T17,775 to 17,575.

At the stroke of the hour, I played 84, and made a straight to the eight by the river, but the guy I’d busted on my first hand had a straight to the 9 and knocked me almost back to the starting stack. T10,875.

Not one to sit around dejected, I had a wheel draw with 2x3x, but missed on the river and had to fold to a bet, losing 800 chips in the encounter.

Opened to 575 with 89 and got two calls. The flop was T63, which got checked around. Another Tx on the turn and I folded to a bet. Right color but too diamondy for me.

Limped in with T6x on BTN and saw a Tx7x2x flop. SB opened with a 1,000 bet, mid-position called, and I re-raised to 3,000 to take the pot. Much speculation about my hand. I feel pretty proud of that play and a couple of others in this game.

CO with AQ and three-bet from 1,200 to 3,000. SB called and the flop hit as 8x7x8x. I folded to a bet of 4,000. That cut me down to T9,300 eighty minutes into the game.

Raised UTG2 with JxTx to 750 and got 2 calls. A shove on the jack-high flop and I won my way back up to T10,950.

On BTN with J9 again and I raised to 600 to see a flop heads-up: Kx4x5x. We checked to the turn, he bet 700, I folded, and he flipped KxTx. No need.

In HJ, called an 800 raise in a three-way hand with 34. Flop was Ax5xTx and I bet 1,200 with my gut-shot straight draw. I won.

At the first break I had T12,550, the average was T15,833 before the T7,000 add-ons.

At the end of the second hour of play, I called 400 UTG1 with KT. The blinds came along and the flop was ten-high. SB bet 500, I raised to 1,500 and took it.

Called 1,100 from BB with KQ (variations of that hand kept cropping up the night after it put me out of the Friday game), but had to fold after I didn’t connect.

Next hand it was Q6 as SB and I bought the barest of fingernails on a Jx8x6x flop. I bet 800 and got two calls then folded to a turn bet. Jx5x made the best hand by catching the low end of a nine-high straight on the river.

Raised with K9 and got a call. The flop was Ax9x6x and I bet 1,000. My opponent must not have had an ace!

Called 1,200 with four others in the hand before me holding JT to see a flop of AQJx. Everyone checked. 5 on the turn didn’t make my straight but I (and nobody else) could call the 3,000 to see the river so I don’t know if it or the flush would have come in. Still, I was up to T24,000.

Raised to 1,300 with Kx6x and got called by a shorter stack. The flop was KxTx9x and we checked to the Kx turn. I raised to 7,000. He hemmed and hawed and dawdled then shoved for 1,800 more. I figured he had to have the better kicker and called for what was less than 10% of the pot. He turned over KxTx for the nuts. I felt kind of annoyed about the way he’d slow-rolled the nuts. Was it all about getting me to call the other 1,800?

I was back down to T12,900 two and three-quarters of an hour in. Naturally, I got moved to a new table into the BB just a couple hands after paying the last time.

Fortunately, in SB I picked up JxJx and shoved over three limpets to take a hand that put me up to T15,900.

Had to fold a call of 2,700 with A8 when an all-in came after me.

Pulled another fast one with AT when I raised to 2,700, got two calls, and saw a flop of 7xJx7x. My shove won.

Moved again after just twenty minutes.

UTG with QT and I called a raise of 2,500 to of heads-up to a flop of A5J. My opponent bet 5,000 and I raised all-in. At least I had the ten of spades! He folded.

Up to T28,000 but below the T35,836 average.

55 players left at three hours and twenty minutes.

I went all-in over two limps with AxQx but got called by a smaller stack holding J9. He double-paired by the river and chopped me in almost in half. Down to T19225.

When they chipped up the 25 pieces, the average stack with 45 players left was T43,800. I had just T16,625.

Second hand after the break on BTN with JxTx my all-in was called by KxJx and I was out.

Three hours and fifty minutes. 44th of 99 players.

Ill-Timed

I keep going back to The Final Table despite the fact that the only time I’ve ever cashed there was in the Santa Bounty game last Christmas. My ITM there is truly horrible, unless you limit it to events with 50 or more players, and then my rate’s pretty much the same as it is anywhere else in town with 50 or more players. The only event I cashed in there, I made it to the final table of 131 players. These two games show a screw-up and just plain bad luck.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee (T7,000)

Started off with the extra T1,000 because I signed up on-time. Picked up KT UTG with a flush draw on the flop of A2A and hit my flush with 5 on the turn but it made a full house for my opponent who called with Ax5x.

Made a least flush on the flop with A3 and took down a T3,000 pot about twenty minutes into the game, then went up against KxQx with KxTx and top pair on the flop. We both drew down to four spades on the board, which kept the pot smaller since neither of us had one. I was holding T8,350 after that hand.

9T and I made a jack-high straight on the turn. I bet 650 and shoved over a re-raise to felt a player half-an-hour in. T12,150 and I got moved to a newly-opened table.

Forty minutes into the game, I called 1,600 early with JxTx. Two pair on the flop and a full house on the river and I tripled up against two all-ins. Then I lost T6,000 almost immediately as SB drawing for a flush with 35. QxTx made a full house on the turn. Three-quarters of an hour into the game and I was still sitting on T28,125, with the chip average at just T7,655.

Kicked myself a bit for folding Jx6x when I would have double-paired on the flop and hit a river boat in a hand with two players all-in.

Played JxQx and raised to 600, calling a re-raise to 1,800 pre-flop, then folding to an all-in on the 3x3x[x] flop. Down to T24,800.

Lost several thousand with Q7 against 8x9x on a flop of 6x7x8x. I had trips on the turn, but a Tx river card made his straight.

Ten minutes later, I lost more than half my stack with KxKx again, calling an all-in against pocket sixes that made a set on the flop. I went into the break with just T7,825. The add-on more than doubled me up.

I called with 74 and hit the 9x7x6x flop lightly. I bet 1,100 and got a call then hit my 4x on the turn and managed to get an all-in called to take it down with two pair. That put me back up to T27,700, with the average at T17,733.

Raised to 1,000 from UTG2 with A9. The flop was 727 and I folded to a 2,500 bet.

Two hours in on BB with Q3 and the flop was all diamonds. I called the bets down to the river to see another diamond and bet 2,300 to win without a showdown.

T33,525 at two hours and five minutes.

Raised with AT to 1,200 and got four calls. Everyone checked it to the river which turned up a king. The BB won.

I raised to 1,500 from CO with QT and got an uncomfortable Ax96 flop, then folded to a 2,500 bet.

My next BB I had AxKx and re-raised to 3,800 from 800, getting an all-in from SB, which I called. He had 9x9x, the flop was AxJx[8] and the rest of the cards didn’t matter.

Two-and-a-half hours in and I was up to T34,450. Then I lost a chunk with J5 against KxQx. I was ahead on the JxAx8x flop but running tens gave him Broadway. Ten minutes later, my stack was at T28,800 (average T26,600), there were 20 players left, with 17 re-buys and 29 add-ons.

With 45 from BB, I saw a Kx2x2x flop then called a bet of 3,200 after the five on the turn. Another 1,200 went down the hole calling 1,200 on the river six. I was out soon after with Ax9x against KxKx.

Three hours. 17th of 33 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.

So Close (x2)

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Sit-n-Go Satellite (2,500 chips)

Two places in this satellite paid. I managed to lose some chips then come roaring back, really in the thick of it with three left, only to push at the wrong moment and get whacked by the biggest stack who knocked me out of the money.

Sixty minutes. 3rd of 10 entries.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

My first-ever losing session playing limit Omaha 8, although it was just a small loss. One of the players I know from the late Deuces who’s now at The Final Table was racking up the chips, and I managed to recover from a couple of early losses to over half again my buy-in, then got snockered down to less than 40% of my original stack. Pulled it out before people adjourned to play the tournament, though, so I was down just half a small blind when I cashed out.

Sixty minutes. -1/2BB.

Wildhorse Spring 2012 Poker Round-Up Event #1 (10,000 chips)

Built up steadily through the first session of the tournament, picking up nearly 6,000 chips by the first break. Then a call against a shorter stack cost me more than half my chips, dropping me down to 7,175.

I kept looking for whatever edges I could find and managed to climb back up over the starting stack, to 12,525, lost a couple of hands, then picked up 7x7x and managed to get called all-in after I’d hit a middle set on the flop That pushed me back into healthy territory at 18,750.

Naturally, when the player I’d doubled against shoved a couple of hands later and I was holding AxKx, I called. He flipped over JxJx and it was a race as far as the flop which had a jack on it. It was nothing you’d even think of calling a race when he made quads on the river.

When the third session began at 300/600/75, I was sitting on only 12,200. I called 2,500 with a high-suited ace and got a flop that was uncool, then watched my stack string to 7,200 (only 9 big blinds at 400/800/100). After paying my small blind on that round, I was down to a meagre 5,600 chips.

The player in seat 1 was fairly tight, and I went all-in with KxQx following him, hoping for jacks or tens. What he had was AxAx. But the flop put out two more queens, and the river sealed the deal with a king. He got to spin the Wheel of Misfortune. I still only had 10,300 chips, he got off cheap.

The blinds came around again, at 600/1,200/150, and I had just 6,300 after paying the small blind. Five big blinds and a couple antes. Then something miraculous happened and I managed to double up twice. Suddenly I was sitting on 45,000 chips.

According to the tournament clock (which wasn’t updated as often as you might like) there were 180 players (33% of the original field) left at the dinner break. I had nearly 50,000 chips, about 40% more than the chip average, although one of the players who’d been moved to our table had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000.

I doubled up again with 8x8x when I shoved on a pot with a bunch of chips in it already call behind me. He had QxQx but one of the players who’d been in the pot and folded said he’d had pocket queens as well. Then the board rolled out quad eights for me.

On my next hand I had AxAx and went over the top of a smaller all-in. This time, it was my turn to go to the Wheel, when quad tens rolled out. That was relatively cheap, as well.

Certainly, it was much cheaper than the next hand, where I raised with AJ and called a re-raise from the table leader. I made top pair with a jack on the flop and I should have tried to shut it down right there, but a Kx on the turn and a bad decision cost me another 9,000 when she turned over AxKx. Still, I had 54,000 chips.

That didn’t last long though. I lost another 9,700 in a three-way all-in call with KxJx against KxKx. The board needed a queen to make my straight, but instead, I was down to 47,000. Then I lost another big hand with AxJx vs. AxKx.

18,600 chips. I shoved with Ax9x from HJ and took down the blinds and antes to put me up to 23,800.

I had 7x4x in SB. There was an extremely short stack in BB. BTN called and I figured I’d see the flop for 1,500. I made bottom two pair on the flop and shoved as first to act. That put me up to 27,400.

I had 30,000 at the first break after dinner, once the 100 chips had been raced off. Blinds were headers into the 2,000/4,000/500 range, so I was still in severe territory. Only 90 players were left; we were still forty-odd places away from the money.

My last hand was the second after the break, right on the eight o’clock hour. Seat 1 shoved for more than I had. I was hoping he was going with AxKx or something of the sort; I shoved my stack in with 8x8x but he turned over JxJx. This time the over pair held against the eight onslaught.

This event wasn’t the biggest buy-in I played in, by far, but it’s the largest live event I’ve played so far. Disappointed not to have made the money—here or in the satellite—but I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ll leave that until after the weekend.

Eight hours. ~90th of 548 entries.