Back to Derby Lane we went last Saturday night to take another shot at the 6pm tourney. We've been running pretty good in the tournament, one of us has cashed in it maybe half the time. I chopped with 3 others a few weeks ago for $600 and the PQ chopped it a week or 2 before. So Saturday we felt pretty good about our chances.
I've been trying to be a bit more cerebral in my approach, think it through a little more and also be more aggressive, especially in position. I'm still not playing all that loose but in late position I'm playing back a bit more and raising a bit stronger while out of position I'm avoiding playing some hands I might have played in the past. I'm also watching the betting habits of my opponents more and that's paying some dividends too.
We got to the room a bit early so I decided to play a little 1-2 no limit holdem while I waited on the tourney to start. Didn't have much going on but I made a couple of hands and was up about 15-20 bucks when the tourney started. I just stuck my chips in my pocket and headed over to table 3-4. I sat down just in time for the first hand.
Unfortunately that didn't mean much. I really did not get much to play with for the first few levels. I did manage to use my position to take down a couple of pots. That kept my stack near the 20K starting level. In the third level I called a raise with 8-9 of hearts. Flop was 8 high with 2 hearts. I bet into the raiser and he called my bet. Next card was a black jack. I bet again and he let it go which put me over the 20K stack. I really didn't play much else until right before the first break. I was in the small blind with JJ. Blinds are 400-800 and a guy across from me raised to 1600. It was folded to me and I reraised him to 3600. That got his attention because he knew I hadn't played much but he did call my reraise. Flop was A-7-2. I had put him on a pocket pair by his raise, I hoped it wasn't aces, so I led out for 4500 and he flashed me QQ before folding. I told him I had AQ. Poker players are such liars. So I made it into the break sitting on 28K and while that wasn't a big stack, I at least felt I could still play.
At another table, the PQ was doing quite well. In the 2nd level, she had gotten all in with 2 guys. She raised preflop with QQ and got called by the 2 guys. Flop was a bingo A-Q-6. First guy to act goes all in, the 2nd went all in and she called them both while having them covered. Both of them had an ace and her set held up. She was sitting on over 60K at the break. Needless to say, I was envious.
In the first level after the first break, Derby Lane gives away an entry to a bigger 2 day tourney coming up in a few weeks. It's usually a $150-175 entry fee tourney. The PQ won an entry to one of them a few months ago as a matter of fact. She didn't score in it but she did have fun. We were most of the way through the round when I looked down at the magical AA in my hand. I'm sitting one off the button and of course everyone folds around to me. The blinds were 600-1200 with a 100 ante. I'd been watching the guys in the blinds for a while and felt pretty sure if one had any kind of hand, they'd push all in. So I decided to just call. One thing I've kept in mind is a saying TJ Cloutier wrote back when I first read some poker books "If you're not gonna raise aces, don't go broke with aces". If the button and blinds all called, I was prepared to play very carefully unless I really hit my hand.
The button and small blind both called but the big blind bailed me out and pushed all in for almost 20K. Thank you sir. It came back to me and I thought for a bit. I really didn't want to play this one multi-handed so I pushed in for almost 30K. The other 2 folded and we flipped over our hands. He had A-10 off vs my AA. First card on the flop was a 10 and I'm thinking, "damn he's gonna flop a set." But no, the other two cards were an Ace and an 8. All were hearts but since neither of us had a heart, I was safe unless it came runner runner hearts for a split pot or 10,10. Turn was a 9 of clubs and I'm safe. River was the 8 of spades and I've got Aces full. Which turned out to be the top hand of the level at that point. The dealer had forgotten about the promo and so had I for a moment but then as he was gathering the cards I asked him if that wasn't the high hand. He turned it back over, called over the floor and they confirmed the hand. It ended up holding up so not only did I win over 20K on the hand, I won an entry to the big tourney. Win/win even if I don't hit the money in this tourney.
After this I went on a bit of a tear. I knocked out another guy when my AK beat his AQ. Kept chipping up as I was getting a fair amount of respect on my raises. Made a small flush with 3-5 and while I didn't take out the other guy, I hurt him pretty bad and he went out a little later. I took out 2 small stacks with marginal hands, called an all in with A-4 vs KJ. Flopped a 4 and he never improved. Then I raised a small stack in the big blind with J4 suited from the button. He went all in for a little more with Q-8. He flopped an 8 but I turned a 4 and rivered another 4. Hard way for him to lose but I've had it happen to me enough times.
We were down to 2 tables before long and while I didn't take anyone else out, I did take chips off a few of them and used my stack against some small stacks. We got to the next break and I'm sitting on 200K while the average stack is about 120K. With the number of small stacks left and the blinds and antes, it didn't take long to knock out enough people to get down to the final table. I look over at the other table, where me and the rest of my table will move and there sits the PQ. They drew for seat cards over there first and I saw she was in seat 2 while seat 3 was open. I know how much she hates playing right next to me (as if someone would hate playing next to me, I'm a nice guy aren't I?) and when we drew for seats at my table I was hoping for seat 3 just to mess with her. I got seat 5. I walked over to the table and when I got close I said "Where's seat 3"? My wife, my nice wife with nothing bad to say to anyone, immediately says "son of a bitch". Then I started laughing and said, "well I'm in seat 5". I crack myself up sometimes.
We played for a while and one guy got knocked out putting us down to the bubble. 8th paid $170, not bad for a $60 entry. The PQ was pretty short but not near the shortest stack. We all agreed to pay the bubble $10 each and finally an old guy on my left went all in and lost busting the bubble. Not long after this I tangled with the guy in seat 1. He had about 3/4 of my stack. Blinds were 4K-8K with a 1K ante. 3 of us saw an unraised flop of J-10-6. I had J-9 in the big blind. I raised to 28K and seat 1 surprisingly called me. There were 2 diamonds on the flop so I thought he might have the flush draw. Turn was an 8 of clubs. I thought that was good for me, gave me the open end draw plus top pair. I bet 35K and he surprised me by raising to 75K. I should have dumped it there I think but I really thought I was ahead. So I called and hoped for a 7 or a Q. Luckily a 7 did not hit, instead it was the 4 of spades. I checked the river and he went all in for about 42K more. I went into the think tank but I really didn't want to call off most of my stack here on top pair, 9 kicker. I was a little leery because I was surprised he didn't raise preflop. His hand looked to me like he played a big over pair. Or made the straight. Turned out he had Q-9 and turned the straight. It was good not to lose another 42K but that hand hurt me and put me under 100K.
We played for a while and I started looking for places to shove in. I managed to bluff one hand with QJ and took down the blinds and antes. Then I tangled with the PQ who actually had me covered now. I was in the big blind with K8. 3 others called including the PQ. Flop came out 8-7-4. Small blind checked and I pushed in. It folded to the PQ and she looked at me, looked at her cards, looked at me again and finally folded. I took down a decent pot and got to live a little longer. Shortly after we went on break again and PQ asked me what I had. I told her K8 and she got a sick look on her face. "I folded A8" she said. I breathed a sigh of relief but I wouldn't have minded if she called and knocked me out as at least my chips would have gone to her.
After the break, another guy went out in 6th. PQ started getting short and from the button she pushed all in. I'm in the big blind and look at 4-4. I look at her, look at my cards and finally call. She flips over A-8 vs my fours. I really thought she might have a bigger pocket pair and I didn't mind if she did as then she could take my chips and make a deep run, but as it turned out my fours held up. "I can't believe you called me" she kept saying. She at least made a decent cash in 6th. Not too much later the rest of us chopped the money with 5 of us getting almost second place money. So between us we took 2 of the top 8 places. It was nice for both of us to come home with cash. I picked up the tab for a light night breakfast hoping I wouldn't wake up in the morning tied down to the bed with the PQ taking a baseball bat to me. But she forgave me (or so she said) and I've woken up pain free since then. Tonight we're gonna take another crack at the 6pm tourney. Hopefully we'll both be lucky again.