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Smokin' Poker - The ABC of 2NL

Helping newbies to bubble up from the bottom of the fishtank
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It's red, it's spadey, it's a RED SPADE

Along with about 6000 freerollers, who picked up tickets by taking part in PSO training sessions  I tried to Satellite into the Red Spade Open. Using the advice given by PSO trainers, I was very careful in my hand selection, and didn't put my whole stack at risk until it was pretty clear that I needed to double up in order to get past the bubble. I ran pretty good early on, with aces doubling me up to a reasonable position on the leaderboard. There were thousands of rebuys and these increased the number of seats, but I didn't need to rebuy. In fact, I barely lost a hand if I chose to play it. I chose to add on for the bargain price of $1, as it seemed necessary to double my stack in order to increase my chances of making it past the bubble. As everyone's stacks declined in size in relation to the escalating blinds, I picked up a few big hands. I got my money in good with TT and 99 and knocked out a couple of shorties and then I got aces again and held, followed immediately by a back-to-back win with KK. My rungood was coming at the perfect time, as players were busting out on every hand, while I was doubling up and getting into the top 150. The good fortune had to end, however. After being all in and winning 5 times, I was faced with a string of trivial 5bb calls when shorties shoved into my big hands in the blinds. Unfortunately, I lost every flip. AJ < 88, 66 < AK and AJs < 99 left me crippled, all in with Q4o and losing to 87s.

I'd had fun, although I'd had high expectations of booking a ticket and playing against full time pros, so my pulse was racing immediately after losing the most important flips.
At the same time as playing the tourney, I was listening to GarethC23's live session, which was all about coping with and preventing tilt. That helped a little, but finding GC's forum post in which he was selling some of his tournament action really brightened up my day. I jumped at the chance to buy 1% of his action for $4, as that meant I could sweat him in the Red Spade Open, and I might make some money from the tourney without even having to play it!
For the rest of the evening, I was railing Gareth as he progressed through the minefield. I also opened up tables in which some other well known players were building their stacks. In particular, I was closely following Joe Stapleton, xflixx, Elky and a few PSO members that sattied in. The field was so large that it was hard to find the famous Team Pros  in the list of entrants, even with Red Spade logos next to their names.

It was quite tense as the bubble approached. Stapes missed out by a couple of hundred places, but he had a great run, and was even cracking jokes in the chatbox while he played. GarethC23 and xflixx made it safely into the money, while Elky was having his usual rungood. From a fairly short stack, he opened JJ UTG. A bigger stack 3-bet, and he must have been conscious he would earn a $100 bounty for busting Grospellier. Elky jammed and showed pocket jacks. The villain snap called and showed aces, but Elky's bounty was never really in danger. He flopped quad jacks!So sick!” indeed.

Using skype and twitter to keep up with PSO team members was a great way to give them support. Stapes even retweeted a message I sent to him. At the end of the day, Felix and Gareth only managed to min-cash for a little more than double their money, but in a field so large, I think they played superbly to survive for so long. I even made a little money from staking Gareth.

On the whole, I think I probably enjoyed railing more than I would actually playing. It was a fun tournament to watch, and just being a small part of the spectacle, cheering on from the sidelines was well worth the time.

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