The title gives a little bit of a preview.:-D
The day started off with the semi-finals. There were 49 players that qualified for today. The top 10 received a bye straight to the finals and the other 39 qualified for the semis.
I started at table 5 seat 4, as they set it up for 4 tables, expecting 39 to show up... well, 8 decided not to show, so that's a bonus in my eyes, as getting to the top 10 out of 31 is easier than from 39.
I didn't end up at the same table as Dave (TheLangolier), as he was at table 7.
The first level starts off and I get AK and make a std raise to 150 and am called by two opps. The flop comes J84 rainbow. Knowing the other opps are loose passives, I check since I'm out of postion. The first opp bets and the second raises, so with passive players betting out, it's an easy muck for me.
The next hand I get is at the beginning of the second level (50/100). I get AQ on the button with a limp in front of me and raise to 325. The BB and the limper call. Flop totally misses me and the limper that has been very passive every week now leads out for a large bet. From this opp, limp/call then big bet just screams set to me. Due to this, I muck and the opp flips over a set of 7's.
The third hand I get involved in is right before the second level ends. I'm in the SB and have a min-raise and a flat in front of me. I decide to 3-bet to 600 and am called by the min-raiser. The flop comes K92 with two clubs. I lead for 800 and am called. The turn is the 5 of hearts and I lead out for 1200. The opp tanks for a min and mucks. As I muck my cards, I say to myself, "Things are definitely changing. For the first time in the 10 weeks, I finally won a hand with AA!"
At the end of the level, since there are under 30 left and late registration for the 8 no-shows is over, my table breaks and I get transferred to table 6 seat 9.
This is a jeckyll and hyde change for me, as I go from my first table that was very passive (and I knew I was reading everyone correctly), to a very aggressive table (std raise in the 3.5-4.5BB range) with a couple of the players on my 'watch out for' list.
The first two orbits are totally uneventful for me, as I'm getting some rotton cards, or marginal ace/rags when the others are raising and 3-betting.
Just before break, I'm UTG and look down at JJ. I make what for me is a std raise to 600 and take down this one preflop.
This ends the first hour with only 25 left and I've got slightly more chips than what I started with, which is a good thing compared to where I was after losing those first two hands.
The second hour is normally a key one in the league anyway, but with 15 more to go to get a ticket to the finals, it's going to be extremely important and maybe even end the semis too.
The antes start and at the end of the first orbit, I get a spot where it's actually folded around to me in the cutoff with KQ. I make my std raise to 600 (3BB) and take down another pot preflop.
The other hand I'm at least partially involved in is the last hand of the level and was the best laydown I had all night. I'm on the button and have UTG raise to 600, then a flat from MP and another flat from the HJ. I look down at pocket 10's. UTG was a loose player that liked opening, so I wasn't scared of him. The MP call didn't either, as she would not open pots often, but liked calling behind. The scare for me here was the HJ's flat. This is a very solid player that I've played with multiple times. Everytime he was in this type of situation in the past he's shown AK or pocket pairs... but... every time he had shoved to isolate. A flat was 100% out of character for him and a BIG red flag. He'd even isolated with QQ, so I put him on AA or KK and against that range, my pocket 10's are NOT good. Into the muck they go. My read here was 100% correct too, as there was an A on the flop and he had top set.
At the beginning of the next level (200/400 with 50) is my next spot. After losing with TPTK to two pair, the HJ that had a set of aces is now down to just under 5BB with the blind increase and decides to shove from UTG. I look down at AKs and overshove to isolate him, as he needed chips and should be wider than normal (race at worst for me). Everyone else folds and he turns over KTo, so my AKs has him dominated. The flop is 3 blanks, but I get an A on the turn to win the hand and take out one of, if not the biggest threat at the table.
I go thru the blinds with nothing and soon after, we're down to 20 and guess what... my table's breaking again. This time it's off to table 7 and Dave's still there.
We're starting to lose some players, as the shorter stacks are in shove-mode and by the next level, we're down to 15 left. I get one blind steal at this level and hit the second break with about 9k chips.
Here's where I get into a really sticky situation. Our table has a bunch more chips than the other table and I may or may not have enough to get thru without winning another hand, as the blinds are now 500/1k with 100.
We get down to 13 left and I'm in the BB and of all the people, Dave, decides to shove his shorter stack. He's had a couple double-ups as he had a really short stack when I got there, but still has a chair. I look down at AJ diamonds and it's 4600 more to call. Into the tank I go. I count out the 4600, check my cards again, double check the 4600, think to myself, "of all the people doing this, why not the other shorter stack, why Dave, as I want to have all 3 of us in the finals?! But, I also know that he could be shoving lighter here since it's my BB and I need the chips too".
I make the call and Dave immediately says "Good Call" and flips over low suited connectors, making me a 60%-40% favorite to basically be guaranteed a spot in the finals and KO him. Well, he flops a flush draw, turns the flush and even would have rivered a straight if the flush didn't hit. Guess that plan backfired. Now he's golden for the finals and I might have just tossed my shot at it away!
I now need 3 more KO's to get into the finals and to not have one of them be me and I'm the shortest at my table with only about 3BB left. After a couple of min, I calm down and say to myself, "Well, out of everyone left in this, I've got about the most practice at milking a short stack for as long as possible... in this case, I want 3 more KO's instead of getting ITM for league points, but it's basically the exact same type of situation as being in a PSO league game. Stack size isn't going to matter, what does matter is that I'm still in!"
Luckily for me, JD's railing us and can give me updates on how many shorter stacks are at the other table and what's happening to them. Before the blinds get back to me, we're down to 12. I need chips and the big stack at the table raises my BB and when it's folded to me I look down at a pair of hooks. I shove and am obviously called, by A9. At least it's only one overcard. The flop doesn't bring an A, but does have a 9, so I've got 5 outs to fade, which I do. This at least gives me a couple times around the table to hope someone else gets KO'd.
We're now down to 11 left and start hand-by-hand. I ask JD where the other tables stacks are and he tells me there's one about the same size as me and one lower. PSO grinder mode to the extreme here. As long as I'm not blinding out first, I'm mucking EVERYTHING! Don't care about how big my stack is, just that I have one and someone else might not. After a muck from UTG, I hear "All-in" from the other table and the short stack from the other table gets to be the bubble.
I haven't felt so relieved at a poker table in a real, real long time. I still have a couple 1k chips left, so I might have the 10th place stack, but as a satellite that pays the same to first thru 10th... I DON'T CARE!
I've now got 35 minutes or so to regroup, go have dinner with Dave and Dave at Paula Deen's Kitchen and get ready for the finals and a shot at the WSOP-ME seat.
We get back to the poker room and I get drawn into table 7 seat 3. Langolier's at my table and JD's at table 8. The players that make the finals are pretty much about who I expected, with a couple of exceptions. The overwhelming majority of the better players did make it.
The finals start off, unfortunately more like weeks 8-9 than the semis. I'm back to being pretty much totally card dead. I do get one hand to play at the second level (50/100) where I raise to 325 and get two callers with AQ of clubs. The flop totally misses me and I check and have to muck to a flop bet.
One player from the other table goes out early, so at least I know I'm not going to be the first one out, which was goal number one. Number two's to make the final table and get ITM and number three is to take it down!
The next hand I'm in is at the third level (100/200). I look down at AK spades and raise to 600 and get called. The flop comes A47 with two spades. I lead out for 800 and get called again. Either he's got a worse kicker, 2 pair or a set and either way, I've still got the nut flush draw. The turn's a blank and I lead for 1200. The opp mucks and I take down a pot.
The antes now kick in and I'm back to... see cards, muck tank prop hand, repeat from step 1. At the second level this hour (200/400 with 50), I look down at KQ from the button, raise and get called. The flop is K high so I c-bet and take down a pot. At least this helps keep my stack from getting too low.
There are a few players that are now getting KO'd and here's where I get my one pure luck moment of the night. The blinds have just gone up to 300/600 with 75 and there is a raise to 1300 from seat 9. It gets around to me and I look down at KK and with about 7BB left, I shove. It gets back around to seat 9 that calls and says "You're going to hate me sir", to which my reply was "I just shoved my kings into aces, did't I?" The flop is three unders, but the turn is the king of diamonds! The river's a blank and I double up and then some.
With a few lower stacks that I know of, that might be just what I needed to get to the final table. Unfortunately, as we're starting to get closer to the final table, Dave hits a couple unlucky hands and is KO'd.
I've got 9800 chips at the second break and with the next blind level being 500/1k with 100, this one should get us to down to the final table. We get down to 11 left, so we start hand-by-hand. I'm getting garbage so I'm mucking, but at the same time both my table and table 8 get an all-in. The short stack at my table triples, but unfortunately, the player at the other table that busts in 11th is JD.
That gets me ITM and moved to table 8, the final table of the finals! I draw seat 3 and since places 3-10 all pay the same, I'm looking for any chance that I can get to try and shove to double up. The first couple orbits are easy, as I'm still getting a whole lot of nothing. During this time, two players bust, so we're now down to 8 left.
I then get QT and shove and am called by Q9. This one holds, so I get some chips to withstand another orbit or two. At the end of the 600/1200 with 300 level, a shorter stack shoves and I look down at K8h and call. The opp turns over Q high and my K holds. I'm not making that many chips, but it's getting me an orbit or two each time. If I could only get two hands within the same orbit to go with.
Same type of situation at the next blind level 1k/2k with 300. I shove again, but this time, they all fold. We're now down to 7, then to 6.
The blinds go up again to 2k/4k with 400. I desperately need to shove before it gets to my blind here. UTG+2, 27o, nope. UTG+1, 38o, nope. UTG, 39o, next gotta be better. I've got 4500 left, so after I post the ante and BB, I literally have one chip left. It folds around to my nemesis the entire tourney series that has KO'd me multiple times already in the SB. He calls?! I turn and say put another hundred in, because my chip is going in anyway. He obviously calls and turns over 94o. At this point, I have absolutely no clue what I've got, as I haven't even looked at my cards yet and flip over J8s making me a 2 to1 favorite.... until a 4 hits on the flop. The rest of the board blanks and I'm out in 6th place.
I did everything I could in the finals to accumulate chips, but didn't get anywhere near the cards nor situations that I did in the semis. Even with it, I was able to get to 6th place, get ITM and a WSOP shirt (that everyone in the finals received). I didn't win the seat, but left with a smile on my face, as I made a great run to get as far as I did and made the best with what I was given.
In the end, the winner wasn't the player that KO'd me, but the player with AA that I cracked.
If they run this league again next year, hopefully I can get back to the finals, get a few better situations and cards and take down the WSOP seat.
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