If I’m Going to Live Fast and Die Young I’d Better Get On With It

Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee

My big game for the week was the Encore on Friday night rather than Saturday because I had plans for Saturday (more of that in a bit). This game got off to a great start for me and then went all to hell as it so often does.

Several players at the table had chipped up a bit from the 9,000 starting stack, although the table behind us was the one announcing re-buys every few minutes (they’d been a late-seated table and there was a re-buy on their first hand). I was in the SB at what I think was only 50/100 still, and looked down at 8x8x. There was some raising ahead of me, but I had to see the flop; there was a couple thousand in the pot pre-flop.

Then the flop showed 8x7x2x in a rainbow of colors. If I remember the sequence correctly, I believe I checked it. BB bet out 2,000 chips. SH—a club regular seated in HJ position—called, followed by BTN. I raised to 5,000. SB pushed all-in for 13,000+, SH shoved over the top, and I was so twitchy to get my chips into the middle I set off alarms and BTN didn’t have to think about it and folded. SB had 2x2x and SH had the 7x7x, so we were set over set over set. I couldn’t have been happier as my top set held through the river and I raked in a pot of about 40,000 chips.

That was the end of the good times, though. I held my fire through to the break, playing patiently. Nut the hands weren’t coming, not even suited gappers. The one time I picked up a KQ in BTN position, I was ready to make a move when SH—who had re-bought and managed to build up a decent stack by that time—shoved it in. I pushed the cards away, thinking I’d find a better spot, but it just never came. When I did make a call of a raise with a speculative hand, it got picked off by stacks large enough I just couldn’t stick with it.

Eventually, I got to the point where I was getting cut down by better hands. By the end of my night, I was down to less than 10,000 chips, picked up AQ, and shoved from late position, hoping just to take the blinds. The player in BB looked down at her hand, called, and flipped over AxKx, hitting the king on the river.

Three hours and forty minutes. -100% ROI. 50th of 108 players.

Tomer Drops By

It was an honor to have Tomer Berda, WSOP $2,500 No Limit Hold’em bracelet winner and #12 on Bluff‘s 2010 Player of the Year list (#22 on CardPlayer‘s 2010 list) over at the house last Saturday, as he and his friend made a trip through the Northwest. He’s been a source of inspiration and useful data since we reconnected shortly before he won his bracelet. We had the usual fantastic dinner at Khun Pic’s Bahn Thai.

Loss Weekend(s)

Looks like I’ve got some serious catching up to do. Here, first of all, but really at the tables.

The Final Table Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

Another one of those PLO8 experiences where you get a wad of chips early on only to lose them, re-buy (resolution broken again), make it to the add-on break, then bust out half-way through the first round after the break.

Eighty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 26th of 28 entries.

Carbon Poker $200 Guarantee HORSE Freeroll

In the interests of getting this update done, not going to bother with a hand-by-hand for this brief game.

Thirteen minutes, 15 hands. 2,566th of 2,798 entries.

The Final Table $1,000 Guarantee

Didn’t rebuy. First player permanently out.

Sixty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 39th of 39 players.

The Final Table Big “O” 5-Card Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

I hadn’t played Big “O” as a tournament before this, but I’d been intrigued by it and my early exit from the $1K Guarantee gave me the chance to give Final Table’s alternate Friday early afternoon game a try. I did reasonably well, I think, except for the part about not making any money.

Two-and-a-half hours. -100% ROI. 16th of 34 entries.

The Final Table $10,000 Guarantee

It’s the game I was waiting for. Didn’t make it as far as the second break.

Three hours. -100% ROI. 107th of 144 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Guarantee Freeroll

Wandered over to PPC after I got booted from the $10K. Came in a few minutes late but started to pick up chips and made it to the bubble. Dropped my median ROI by a bit.

 Two hours. +0% ROI. 5th of 24 entries.

Portland Players Club $250 Guarantee

It was the first anniversary of the new regime at PPC and CB had a bunch of prizes added to each of the day’s tournaments. The early game had a month’s pass added to first place; I only made it about half-way through the field.

Two hours and fifty minutes. -100% ROI. 21st of 44 entries.

Portland Players Club No Limit Hold’em

Slid over to the well-in-progress second tournament of the day. I did not last long.

Ten minutes. -100% ROI. 9th of 9 players.

2011/12 Puffmammy Poker Tour Event #14

Couldn’t play the later PPC events on their anniversary because of the home league game. Busted out twenty minutes into the tournament after I was out-kicked by WA. Re-bought (resolution doesn’t apply to the home game), then busted the next two players myself within an hour. Several reversals of fortune happened: I ended up in second place to JT, the first of the players I busted out. The two payouts went to two of the three players who re-bought. Median ROI dropping like a rock.

Three and a half hours. +62% ROI. 2nd of 7 players.

Oak Tree Casino 2-10 Spread Limit Hold’em

After the home game, I headed up to Woodland to see if I could get into some Omaha but there wasn’t anything going. Played spread limit for the first time.

Two hours. +8 big blinds.

Aces Players Club $1,500 Guarantee

I’d really like to play the noon game at Aces more often but it’s just gotten so large that I can’t make obligations in the early evening if I go deep. Not that I did here, but I don’t plan to go home early.

One hour and fifty minutes. -100% ROI. 30th of 44 players.

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee

This was my first big game at Encore for the new year and I managed to hold on through round 12. I avoided a nasty encounter on the last hand before the second break that would have busted me; my hand was strong but wouldn’t have won. By the fifth hour, I was up to more than 125,000 chips; more than half-again the chip average at that point. Then in the middle of the hour I lost all but 16,000 of it in a hand I can’t recall at this time but likely one of those scenarios where I probably shoved incorrectly. I was out less than two minutes later.

Five hours and fifteen minutes. -100% ROI. 24th of 112 players.

D’s Dealer’s Choice

This is usually a money hole for me,  but surprisingly I came out on top for a change. A couple good hands of Omaha made my day.

Four hours. +50 big blinds.

Oak Tree Casino Limit Omaha 8

In my constant search for Omaha action, I drove up for one of the morning tournaments. I have to say, the lack of info screens, low number of chips, and the small size of the field doesn’t really make it worthwhile for me.

Two hours. -100% ROI. 10th of 28 players.

Portland Players Club $200 Freeroll

Nothing like a late-night game at PPC. I mean that quite literally. It can be sort of crazy when people who bust out can re-buy and immediately have more chips than your stack after you busted them.

Two hours. -100% ROI. 11th of 23 players.

Encore Club $1,000 Guarantee

Another game that ended for me half-way through the round after the add-on. Got my double-stamp for the day, though.

Eighty-five minutes. -100% ROI. 27th of 32 entries.

Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee

Didn’t even make it to the add-on in this game.

One hour. -100% ROI. 112th of 117 entries.

Oak Tree Casino 3-6 Hold’em

I had an hour after the $5K before another tournament started. I figured Oak Tree might have some Omaha running on a Friday night and I headed up there instead of waiting. Big mistake. I’d forgotten about their grand opening celebration, they were giving $500 away each hour in a drawing, and every table was packed. Every waiting list was packed—except for 15-30 HE, and even that had a waiting list—there was only one Omaha table, and I was about #15 on the list. As it was, I could have made it back to Encore before anything opened up. I went in on a table, made a little bit, lost a little bit, then players started drifting away after the last drawing of the night and it broke.

One hour. -10 big blinds.

Oak Tree Casino 2-10 Spread Hold’em

I took a seat at this table despite my best judgment.

One hour. -130 big blinds.

Encore Club $10,000 Guarantee

If you’ve made it down this far you know that it’s been a little while since I posted a win. More importantly, it’s been a while since I posted a substantial win. Surprisingly, my In The Money (ITM) percentage hasn’t faltered much; although there are a lot of games listed in this one post, they were played over a period of three weeks and represent a fairly small number compared to the total number of tournaments in my database. But I can’t live forever on past winnings. So I resolved to play this past week’s $10K at the Encore very tight at the beginning.

It didn’t help much. Before the first break, I was down to just over 20% of the starting stack. I did manage to chip back up to 7,500 by the break, then did the add-on, but it was rough, as the most premium hand I’d gotten was TxTx. Then, in round 6 on my big blind, I looked down at QxQx and decided to go for it. UTG raised, there were a couple of calls, and I shoved with about 10,000 chips. Everyone folded but UTG, he flipped KxKx, they held, and I was out.

Three hours and forty minutes. -100% ROI. 58th of 80 players.

Encore Club $500 Guarantee

Hung around the club this time for the next game.  Don’t remember much about it. Maybe I’m going to start keeping notes again.

Two hours and ten minutes. -100% ROI. 16th of 27 players.

Encore Club Midnight Madness

Not a big field. Not much money. Not a very good showing. At least I didn’t re-buy.

Twenty-one minutes. -100% ROI. 6th of 7 players.

So, a couple weeks of garbage in there cleaned out. On the definite up side, though, a shout out to reader DS who came up to me between games at the Encore on Saturday and said hello after she’d spent a little time to figure out just who the Poker Mutant is (it’s not that difficult now that I’ve grown my beard back). When someone with more success than you have takes the time to say hello, you really can’t complain.

Speaking of which, this next week I get to host a visit from a WSOP bracelet winner and someone who was in the top dozen of the Bluff 2010 Player of the Year list (they’re the same person).

Twenty-Two

Puffmammy Season 2010/11 Tournament 22 (1,700 chips)

Only seven players at the Catsino, and with just two regular events left in the season before the Main Event, D’s 39 point lead for the Player of the Year may be insurmountable. I was the first player to need to rebuy; my only consolation was that D only gained a point on me because he was the third player to be busted out, just ten minutes after I was knocked out second. I doubled up through him with a suckout on a heads-up Ax6x vs. AxTx battle then lost the chips soon to B. I guess that was consolation, too.

Tomer starts Day 2 of EPT Berlin tomorrow in about 50th place out of 350. I have less pleasant plans.

The Nines

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

I ended up entering this tournament twice. There were a total of 435 entries from 295 players. Looking at the payouts, it’s sort of sobering to see how the multi-entry format makes it possible to make it into the money but still be behind at the end. One ninth of the forty-five players who got payouts were anywhere from a couple cents to an entire buyin underwater.

My first entry came to a screeching halt fairly early with KA. I’d fallen to just over 1,000 chips and got some good cards in UTG+3, raising to 125, but got a call from the small blind. The flop was uncoöperative with 3T7 and I tried to push it with a 300 bet but got an all-in from the SB, who still had an inferior hand with their 89 but was in good shape with a larger stack. I called (obviously, or I wouldn’t know their cards) and a 6 made their straight on the turn.

I had a little better luck with the second entry (I don’t make them simultaneously) but it was AK that did me in after a bit longer session. I was in the small blind, UTG+3 limped in, I raised to 600 and it was down to me and the UTG+3 when he called. 4TT on the flop. I made the desperate move of going all-in and he called me—with more than 20K and 8T in his hand, who wouldn’t? I was out—twice!—first in 142nd place and then in 86th. 28 minutes total.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

15 minutes. 140th place out of 264 entries.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

7 minutes. 152nd place out of 223 entries. Not an improvement.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #44 6-Max KO $350,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Play started off slow for me in this game: at least, it felt slow compared to the Rush games. But I really do like the 6-Max format, and the fact that this had knockout bounties and a large purse made it very attractive to me, despite the rather ugly history of my previous miniFTOPS outing.

I’d only lost a hundred or so chips to blinds when I picked up my first win ten minutes into the game with KJ. There was 140 in the pot and a flop of K3K which three players checked around. Another 3 on the turn and I popped out 40 for a bet, getting one call from a player who’d already lost a couple thousand chips. The 9 meant nothing to my full house, so I matched the pot and got a callI don’t know why—from the other player, holding A7.

The same guy got into it with me on the next hand. I had A2 and I was heads-up after raising to 90 pre-flop. The flop was J77, and I bet 75 after a check from the other player. 3 on the turn and we both checked. I got a pair with the river A. He bet 105 and I just called. He could have had another 7x or an Ax with a higher kicker—it wouldn’t have been hard—but no, just T2. It baffled me but I took the chips. He was moved to another table shortly thereafter.

Twenty minutes into the match we were playing five-handed and, I got Q8 in the UTG+1/hijack seat. Sort of an iffy hand—not high enough to make a killer pair, tent ends of a straight—but it’s in The Grid for six-handed play. Blinds were 15/30, UTG folded, and I raised to 75. Small blind called and the flop made the hand iffy no longer: [1h]26. I bet 120 after SB checked, then he called. 8 on the turn and he led out with 180, which I re-raised to 360, getting a call. 4 on the river. He checked and I made a 300 chip bet hoping that seemed weak enough to lure him in. He called and showed 77. I was up over 6,400.

My first bounty came with a player who’d lost all but 600 of his chips half-an-hour in, most in a 3-way battle with him having AxTx double-paired against a guy who was playing a suited queen and drew to a flush (not me). I was in the small blind with 99. UTG and the small stack on the button limped in. I raised to 120, which was met by both the limpers. 386 was the flop and I figured I’d keep the gas on, fairly certain that the small stack was going all-in. UTG dropped out; the button raised all-in for 490. I called and he flipped over 77, which wasn’t good news for him. J and Q on the turn and river. Pushed me up to just about 7K.

More pocket pairs: JJ on the big blind. Button—big stack at the table—raised to 150 and I re-raised to 325. The flop was T67. I bet out 400 and got a call. 8 on the turn improved my hand to a straight draw, which I checked just for fun, provoking an 800 bet. Who wouldn’t call that? The river 3 didn’t make any difference, but I was a little concerned he might have a 9x. I checked and he did, too, but his A6 wasn’t going anywhere and I was the big stack at the table for the next hand, with over 7,600 chips.

The Mutant Jack showed up to propel me over 10K about 45 minutes in. I was in the cutoff position with JA at 30/60. Two players to my left had more chips than I did (both had been brought in from other tables). UTG raised to 180, hijack called, I called, small blind called. 780 in the pot when the 4QA flop showed. UTG bet 780, so I was guessing he had an Ax. I called (Did he have a Kx? Was he already double-paired?). T for the turn. He bet again: 420. I figured: “What the heck, it’s the Mutant Jack.” 7 river. A whole lot of potential double-paired kicker combos out there; he might not need to have anything better than the J. He bet another 600, I gulped and paid the price, but all he had was A2. I only had 10,017, so I didn’t stay above the line for more than a hand.

AT was my last hand before the first break, and I picked up about 500 chips with it, which got me back over the line by 50. I popped off a note to Tomer, who had just arrived in Austria for EPT Snowfest. At the break, the chip average was 6,900, there were 10,900 players (registration was still open), and I was in 1,188th place. Tomer wrote back that he was watching my table while he ate dinner. Yikes!

A quarter-hour after the break, I’d only won one hand—and that was just the blinds. I was down to about 9K when I picked up 7Q on the button. Everything I said about 8Q above goes double for this pair of cards, and it won’t even make the straight. But it is on The Grid for six players, so long as you don’t put too much faith in it. The blinds were 50/100 and hijack raised to 214. I called and the big blind came along. Both stacks were a good bit smaller than me. The flop was a semi-promising TJ4. BB checked, HJ bet 345, I called and BB folded. A K showed on the turn and HJ bet another 645. I had a straight and flush draw but nothing else. I called. 7 on the river, a bet of 1,245 from HJ. I folded and consoled myself with having an 80% win rate at showdown, but I was down to 7,900 chips.

I continued a steady, slow bleed of chips after that, at one point folding five hands in a row after putting out blinds or bets. I was down to 6,000 before I managed to turn things around with JJ that turned into trips on the flop. My real breakthrough came halfway through the second hour when I made the first of two big mistakes.

I was on the button with about 7,200 chips. Both the blinds (which were 80/160) had about 3,500. UTG and cutoff were both over 10K, and hijack had a few hundred more than I did. Both the big stacks stayed out of this hand, but HJ bet 324. With 99 in my hand, I raised to 560. Short-stacked big blind went all-in for 3,561. HJ folded but I thought BB was pushing with a strong ace. Calling would cost me half my stack if I lost but I did it, feeling very stupid when he flipped over QQ. The 653 flop was bleak, but the turn and river were 99 for some major suckage. Another bounty and I was up to 11K. I managed to get over 12K, but within 20 minutes I was back below the 8K mark.

Someone else’s nines didn’t fare so well against me just before second break. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was on the button again, only with AA. UTG—with only about 2,500 chips—raised to 555. I re-raised to 1,080, the blinds got out of the way, and UTG called. The flop was K52, he checked, and I bet 480, fairly sure he was committed to going all-in. He did and I called. 99, but no miracle for him on the turn and river, just 24. That netted me 3K and put me back near 12K. I was falling further behind the leaders, though, with all of this up-and-down motion.

My last bounty came through no action of my own, shortly after the second break. I was big blind with A7, so I was playing, no matter what. Action folded all the way around to the small blind, who had only about 2,200. He went all-in and I called, with more than 9K behind. He flipped K3, the board ran out Q99A8, and I scooped his chips.

Another series of decent cards that didn’t connect followed that, and I’d slipped down to 9,200 twenty minutes after the second break. Blinds were 170/340/25, and I was on the big blind holding 43, which I would normally just toss. Hijack min-raised to 680, everyone else folded, and I thought I’d get fancy and play my low cards to see if they’d connect. We were almost evenly matched, with me having about 400 more chips. The flop was 223! I had a pair! I bet 1,680 (the pot) and got a re-raise for 8,090. I could have stopped there and saved my 6,800 chips but I called and he rolled over 44. If only my hand had been 2x3x. KJ on the turn and river. On my next and last hand I was one card away from a flush and a straight that would have ended in a split pot but my J8 was beat by a 5J that paired the first card on the flop.

140 minutes, 4 bounties, -38% ROI. Finished 6,311 out of 17,102 players.

It’s a busy week in the non-poker sphere but I’m watching Tomer’s progress at Snowfest today; tonight I’ll be trying to get my quest for the puffmammy POY back on track, and this weekend is one of our double-point quarterly events.

Copenhagen

Tomer Berda at EPT Copenhagen, Day 1B. Photo ©PokerNews.com

Tomer Berda at EPT Copenhagen, Day 1B. Photo ©PokerNews.com

Tomer’s made it into Day 2 of EPT Copenhagen after a rough start that dropped him from a bit over the starting stack of 30,000 chips to less than 10,000. He recovered, but he’ll be going into a new day down 700 from where he began, in 189th place out of 262 players left, with the average stack at 51,400 and blinds beginning at 500/1,000/100.

Update: As of the first count of Day 2, Tomer had chipped up to 74K.

Update 2: During other events I’ve tried to do a little bit of research about the table draws on Day 2 and beyond, but hadn’t been able to find tables. Just ran across the Day 2 draws for Copenhagen now, quite a bit late.

Table 26

  1. Martin Hansen (Denmark). About $50K in tournament winnings, all in the past couple of years. Fourth place in an EPT London side event; 102nd in the EPT London Main Event. 81,000 chips to start.
  2. Michael La Masse (USA). No records. 17,700 chips.
  3. Daniel Lundgren (Sweden). $21K for 4th place in the Malmo Open last August. 67,000 chips.
  4. Jon Spinks (UK). $35K in winnings. Two fifth place finishes for $15K each: a side event at EPT San Remo and UKIPT Brighton. 30,600 chips.
  5. Tomer Berda (Israel). 29,300 chips.
  6. Mike Erst (Ukraine). No records. 32,300 chips. Busted out in this report.
  7. Afshin Alikhani (Norway). No records. 58,900 chips.
  8. Daniel Pettersen (Norway). A 12th place finish for $6,600 in Prague in August. 102,400 chips.
  9. Giacomo Maisto (Italy). $31K in winnings since August in EPT Main Events at Vilamoura (53rd place) and Vienna (20th). 56,800 chips.
  10. Kristian Moller (Denmark). No records. 62,400 chips.

Update 3: According to the latest chip count, Tomer’s been busted. Then again, so is just-back-from-retirement WSOP Main Event winner and Copenhagen hometown fave Peter Eastgate.

40.40

Just a couple of uneventful and unprofitable games last night, both lasting about two-thirds of an hour, after the previous day’s flurry.

A shot at Midnight Madness petered out after some calls with decent hands failed to connect and I had to abandon ship. At the end, an ace-high flush draw died without issue and I was out in 2,357th place (Full Tilt’s new multi-entry thing is wreaking havoc on place calculations).

A $5K guarantee tournament right afterward didn’t go anywhere either. We started at 2,000 chips and I never broke above 2,600.

I told Tomer D had almost caught up to me in the home league’s POY race (we’re sending someone to the WSOP for one of the $1K events). He wrote back:

Tell your friends their best investment would be to send you to the WSOP even if you don’t win the race because you have a private coach there 🙂

Too Busy

No post yesterday does not mean that there was no poker played. This is what I’ve done since the last post.

Got into a 3FPP Hyper-Turbo Steps Special for an NAPT ticket. You only start off with 500 chips. Second hand in I get KK and call an all in. Two more callers makes it me versus: 9A, 7A, and 99. The board rolls out T2Q J 5 and I’m gone.

$15K 6-max guarantee on Full Tilt and I’m cruising along with a couple hundred above the starting stack of 3K. I’ve got TJ and paired the board with the jack. There’s a Q on the flop. I pushed the first bet and called 500 on the turn which was just a 7. There’s 1,500 in the pot when the K shows on the river and my 120 bet is met with a raise to 1,860. I could call it but fold and the guy shows his 89 for nothing better than a busted nine-high gut-shot straight. Grrrrr. I lose another 1,000 to see the flop with a pair of sevens a little later but the fold’s a good one. I make it back on the next hand but three hands later I push too hard with JQ and I’m down to 5 chips. I manage to make it up to 45 before elimination.

Another 6-max, this time with $8K guarantee. It was actually doing quite well with a QK giving me an ace-high straight on hand 5 and netting a couple thousand chips. Another five hands and J9 turned into a full house, putting me at nearly three times the starting stack. Pairs of tens and queens had me over 11K half an hour into play and in the top 20 chip stacks. Ten minutes later, I was over 13K with KA. I took my hits with the blinds and lost a couple of hands with decent cards but was over 10K when I called a cutoff bet of 566 with 98 from the small blind (100/200, with only five seated at the table and the button calling). Three of us to the flop and I got a straight right away, with T67. First to act, I bet 1,500. Cutoff had me covered by about 4K and called, with the button folding. 7 shows on the turn; I’ve got a flush draw in addition to my straight and I bet 1,600 but I should really have pushed. The cutoff calls. Then 7 shows on the river. I check and my heart sinks when the cutoff bets 4K. I call, he’s got the T for a full house, and I’m down to 2,360, which goes all-in on the next hand with AQ and loses.

The midnight game yesterday morning had 2,200 players and $4,400 in guarantees. I was in the big blind for 40 chips (out of 2,000 to start) on hand 7. The hijack—who was up 1,200 chips—bet 80 after action folded to him. The cutoff folded. The button raised to 160 and the small blind three-bet to 240. I called with my TT. Hijack called. Button went all-in for 1,790. Ten things got real crazy when the small blind called. I called, leaving 260 behind. Hijack got out, probably wondering what the hell was going on. The flop was 748 which meant nothing to me. The small blind put out a bet large enough to get me al-in to call. In for 1,790, in for another 260  I always say. The turn was the T. After a 3 showed on the river, I saw that I was up against QQ (button) and AA (big blind]. I tripled up but a couple of subsequent losses brought be down to 687 a dozen hands later. An hour into the tournament, I’d managed to built back up to 7K. Blinds were at 350/700/85 and a stack half my size made an all-in move. I had AJ and called but the cutoff—with a stack twice my size went in for enough to put me all-in. I called and was fine against the smaller stack’s A3 but seriously in trouble with the big stack’s JJ. Nothing bigger than a nine showed on the board and I was out 50 places short of the money.

The first of my attempts at yesterday’s Irish Open quarter-finals had a slow start but a third of the way in a pair of sevens miscalculated against my AJ. The turn and river put three nines on the board giving him a full house, but the J on the flop gave me a better one and I doubled up from the starting stack of 2K. A6 in my hand earned another 2.5K with a flush just past the first hour of play. Then a pocket pair of sevens worked in my favor with a 7 on the flop and I was up to 8K and the chip lead shortly thereafter.

There were enough players in the tournament that there were three tickets to the semi-finals as well as cash prizes for the next four spots. I managed to stay in contention for the tickets until a little past the 90-minute mark (125/250/20) when I raised to 625 with TT from the hijack position and was met with an all-in for a little less than I had from the big blind. I should have been thinking “position maintenance” but called instead to see AQ, leaving me with 350 behind. An A  on the turn mostly sealed my fate.

I say “mostly” because I’m never one to say give up and die at the poker table. I doubled up with JK four hands later and did it again three hands after that with JQ (where were these cards when I needed them before?) Eight hands after my lowest point of 290 chips I had increased that by more than 1,100% to 3,645 and I was in contention for fourth place out of seven remaining players (the top three stacks were between 10.6K and 16.4K).

I played fairly tight from here on out, never managing to get above 5K but never falling below 3K. I took out one player with a small number of ships, another player fell victim to the blinds, and the last of the other small stacks tried to make a move with Q4 and was beat by king high. My own move came with an A8 that I tried to rep a flush to a big stack with on a 52K 4 7 board, but since he had 2K and four times more chips than I had, that didn’t work too well. I got my buy-in and another $8.50.

Mutant Catsino

The Catsino was up and operating last night for the 17th regular game of our home league, although turnout was light. It was not operating well for myself or K, the POY leaders going into the night. I bled chips left and right, having to rebuy fairly early (only once, though). K rebought a bit later. I only made it to round 7 when I went up against W, who was short on chips, thinking he was trying to make a move. I only had A6o but thought I had him. I was right, too, until his A4o caught a 4 on the river and I was down to just a few hundred chips. He took those soon enough. K went out in the next round. I’m still point leader but I do mean point leader because it’s only by one. D’s almost caught up to me (although he had me tied a couple months back and I managed to pull away again) and he’s moved back ahead of Kent.

We were talking before the game began about the WSOP schedule, because the agreement is that the POY goes to play in one of the $1K events at this year’s series. Apparently it was released yesterday afternoon, so now we need to finalize the league schedule and final date. The first of the possible events is 4 June.

After I got the Catsino operation put away, I entered the 11PM Irish Open quarter-final. These late contests are a little harder because there aren’t as many entrants—particularly on Cake Poker—so they either get cancelled or there’s only one ticket.

I suffered an early setback when my K2 was out-kicked on a juicy 8K877 board by K9. I worked my way back up to the starting stack and then to 2,400 within about 10 minutes.

By the 75-minute mark—about 130 hands in—I’d made it to 10,000 chips, playing very conservatively. We were already down to four players and I was the chip leader, with the other three at 7,300, 4,100, and 600, and blinds at 75/150. Despite my best efforts and a couple of premium hands (particularly so for short-handed play) I lost a couple of pots and slipped to second place. Then one of the smaller stacks took a big chunk out of the top man and I was back on the throne. The same player shortly eliminated the other short stack and had about as many chips as I did.

I managed to keep myself over about 7K through the 90-minute mark (hand 170), although I was back in second place. I was on the button when I picked up KK and raised to 1,000 (with blinds at 100/200). The small blind (with the smallest stack) folded and I got a call from the big blind. The flop was JKQ and the big blind was first to act with a bet of 1,000. An AT or even T9 had me, but I re-raised to 4,000 and got a call. The turn card was 6. The big blind’s bet of 400 was pretty inconsequential compared to the 10,100 in the pot already, so I called. The 6 on the river put me in mind of the hand that beat my straight in the $8K game, but I’m the one with the full house this time. My last 1,865 go in and he folds.

I’m up to 12.565 chips, with the other players at 5,545 and 3,590. Five hands later and I’ve eliminated the small stack and I’m sitting on 17K. The remaining player and I are swapping blinds and making test bets. No time to be complacent; there’s almost nothing in the prize pool beyond the ticket for the first-place finisher.

I suffer a setback with A5 when it runs into 66. I call his all-in, hoping to take him out after 25 hands of heads-up, but all I get is a pair of nines on and a busted wheel draw on the board, so now he’s the chip leader by almost 2K.

At one point he has a lead of nearly 3,000 but a lucky river draw of a queen gives me queens and twos to beat his pair of sixes on hand 218, bringing me back within 1K of his stack. I’m back in the lead (by 130 chips) on hand 223, then he’s on top the next hand. Hand 229 drops JJ on me, with the button. I call the big blind and he pushes to 11,040. That’s got me covered by 120, less than a small blind. When I call he flips over 88. A J is the first card on the flop, and while there’s three hearts and a KA, too, it’s all mine. 21,880.

The next hand puts him all-in for the ante and small blind. I mate a T and he does a 2 but that’s the end of it. The semi-final is Sunday morning, followed by the Final (for those who make it).

Tomer reports that he busted out of Day 1 of EPT Deauxville earlier today.

The Lure of the Irish

Darrel in Dublin

It’s been almost exactly a decade since the first (and last) time I was in Ireland. Barbara and I were there for the wedding of some friends in Waterford and we spent a couple of days in Dublin before extending our excursions to Scotland and the Netherlands.

Ireland was the spark for me playing online. Before I ran across Tomer Berda and got serious about playing poker, I’d spotted ads for Cake Poker’s 2010 Irish Open satellites and tried my hand at a few, thinking it would be kind of cool to play poker in Dublin. I guess a year’s gone by because they’re running again. I haven’t been playing on Cake much (please get a Mac client) but I do have to say they’ve got the best Web site graphics of any of the poker sites. Last year I got down to heads-up in two of the five matches I played, coming up in second place (with no prize) each time. Hopefully I’ve improved since then.

My first attempt at one of the Quarter Final matches did not go well, however. A bet to force out players preflop with my AsQs (on hand 13!) ended up with two pair on the board by the turn, which made a full house for one of the other two players who stayed behind.