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Grinding away with chip, chair.... and hopefully + ROI


Getting an HPT Final Table

By: JWK24 @ 14:19 (EDT) / 648 / Comment ( 6 )

I start out Monday by jumping in the $200 HPT bounty tournament ($50/head) and when I register, I see that I draw the 1 seat at table 21.  IMO, the 1 and 10 seats are the worst at the table, as you can’t see all of the opponents to be able to observe them... so it’s harder to get reads on them.

I didn’t know that it was going to be this bad though.  The tournament starts and the very first hand, I look down at aces.  There are 3 limps, then a raise to 400 (at 50/100) in front of me, so I make it 1k to go and get three callers.  The flop is KsTs6d and I lead out for 2100 when the first opp checks.   The next opp quickly folds, but the opp that checked, snap-calls.  The turn is the 8d and since that card shouldn’t change anything, I fire out 3750 when he checks to me.  The river is just about the worst card in the deck for me… the J of spades and the opp snap-shoves on me.  UGH!  Well, granted it’s only 1 hand, but when passive opps bet and bet big, they always have it and since, while I do have aces, it’s only one pair, so into the muck my cards as the opp shows AQ.  Not the way that I wanted to start the tournament, almost getting the turd award and losing over half my starting stack.

Into short-stack grinder-mode I go.  I get down to 3k chips, then I pick up AKo and since the blinds have now gone up to 100/200, when there are 4 limps in front of me.. I’M ALL IN!  Everyone mucks and I pick some chips up.   Same thing happens at the beginning of the next level, as the blinds are the same, but the antes have started.  Limp, limp, limp… I’M ALL IN! (J6o) and win another one.   I then 3-bet shove 99, get called by 44 for a double up, so I’m back to just over 10k chips.  I end the first session with 8950 chips, but at least I’ve got a chair. 

I get back from break and find out that 134 players have entered, 18 get ITM, and there are now 90 left.  Just as another table is breaking (80 left), I’m on a re-steal stack of 17bb and look down at JTs and when the loosest guy at the table opens, I gladly ship my chips in over him and he snap-calls me with A5o.  There isn’t much suspense when the flop has two hooks on it, so I’m now up to 17k chips and am finally above a starting stack.

We switch from 10 player tables to 9 player tables as players bust and when we get to 63 left, my table breaks and I’m off to table 14 seat 6.  I’m hoping that I can glue myself to this seat, as they normally use this table for the final table.

As the blinds are now escalating, I’m back down to 18bb, so I’m looking for another spot to re-steal and I get an opportunity when there is an open and I look down at AKo.  I’M ALL IN!  The opp quickly mucks and I’m up to 21k chips at 400/800/100.

With 47 players left and the blinds now up to 600/1200/200, I’m back on a re-steal stack again and get an open by an active player.  I look down at AK clubs and I’M ALL IN!  The opp snap-calls and flips over AQ, so I’m ahead 70/30.  Unfortunately for me, there’s a Q on the flop, so I’m out in 47th.  If I win that hand, I’d be sitting above the average stack and be in a good position to get ITM.  It’s not the finish I wanted, but at least I didn’t finish last in it.

The next day, I enter Event 3 for $150 to get into a field of 166 players with 18 getting ITM.  As I get to table 21 seat 7, I quickly notice that I get thrown straight into the shark tank.  There are two players that have HPT main event final tables and an HPT circuit grinder that I played with the day before and is a very solid player.  Add to that, three players that make the final table in this event… and that makes for a very hard place to start.  Not only that, the worst of them, a player in the top 50 all-time with over $170k in earnings just from the HPT, is in the seat directly to my left.

The first level I don’t get much for cards, but do take down a pot with a 3-bet on a small pair and win it preflop.  As the next level begins,  I get into it with a shorty that punted off the majority of his 10k stack the prior hand and looks to be steaming.  I standard raise KTs from the cutoff after two limpers and the shorty in the BB shoves his last 1400 over me.  Well, I’ve got the hand equity to call it off, especially with the guy being on tilt, so in my chips go.  He flips over a coocoo (T9o) and my hand holds when the flop brings a ten and he doesn’t hit a nine. 

The blinds go up again to 100/200 and I get into it with the fish on my right.  He opens to 600 and when I look down at AA, I 3-bet to 1500 and am quickly called.  The flop is K84 and the opp donks into me for 2k, only leaving about 3600 behind.  If he’s got a set, so be it (saw him make this play with TPTK already), so in goes the pile.  He tanks for about 30 seconds and calls, thinking his 99 is good somehow when he turns them over.  I show my AA and win when the rest of the board blanks.  I tell him good game and he replies back “I thought you’d call and try to get me to bet the turn if you had an overpair.”  Well, I didn’t reply back to him, but think to myself… you’re the one that pot-committed yourself with the 2k bet, why wouldn’t I shove if I wanted to play the hand.  He goes and re-enters and unfortunately doesn't end up in his old seat as I would have gladly taken more chips from him.  This gets me up to 18500 from my 10k starting stack, so I’m well ahead of the majority of the field.

I then get into it with the guy on my left.  Two orbits in a row, he decides to open-limp on my BB and gets 2-4 other limpers.  I’d like to raise over him, but the first time he does it, I look down at one I’m not raising with, 85 Bears.  Well, the flop is A85, so I lead into everyone and the only caller is the player on my left.  The turn is a J and I lead again and get called.  The river is a 2, so since I’ve seen him bomb two prior rivers when checked to, decide to go for a check/raise and unfortunately, he checks behind with AQ.  The next orbit, I’ve got 37o and get a flop of K37.  I lead the flop, check the turn and bet the river, so I get two bets out of him again, getting me up to 21500 at break.

Registration is now closed and there are 99 players left from the 166 that started.  I go card dead for a bit and am down to 18300 when the game of musical chairs begins when they make the tables 9 players each.  My table breaks and I’m off to table 21 seat 6.  I see two larger stacks at this table and one belongs to another HPT circuit grinder, but luckily he’s two seats to my right.  I open AJs at 300/600/50, get two callers and take it down on a c-bet when the flop is jack high that gets me to 24500 chips but once again, my table breaks and I’m off to table 25 seat 6. 

I get to stay at this table for at least a little bit, and it has a weird table dynamic.  There are two huge stacks sitting two and three to my left, a guy that seems to be trying to get into an argument with about half the table to my left and three micro stacks on my right.  The blinds go up to 400/800/100 then 500/1k/100 and I’m hanging in the 20-25bb range by stealing a couple pots here and there, and seeing the troublemaker punt his stack on a bluff that made absolutely no sense at all when he called a 3-bet pre then open-shoved an AKT flop with 48o.  Needless to say, the bigstack snapped him with AK.  I hit the second break with 22k chips with just under 50 left in the tournament.

The blinds go up to 600/1200/200 and I 3-bet 88 from the cutoff and take one down preflop to get me to 28k chips (23bb).  I then get into a hand that I almost busted up laughing at when the hand finishes.  One of the micro stacks opens to 2400 and I 3-bet to 5k (guy only has about 6k behind).  Being as short as he is, I know he’s passive, but I’m not laying down ATs to a 7bb stack regardless.  He flats and leaves basically nothing behind and we see a 727 flop.  He checks and since he wouldn’t put the rest in pre, I put him in on the flop.  He tanks for a couple minutes… and folds?!  You gotta be kidding me.  He folded and left himself with all of 2bb.   

Well, with 45 left, the game of musical chairs begins again and I’m off to table 20 seat 5 and see a totally different table dynamic.  I’m the second shortest at the table, as there are a ton of chips, including what are most likely the three largest stacks left and two of the others are the HPT circuit grinders from earlier along with another circuit grinder that says to me, “I played in the deepstack with you in St. Louis” to which I replied, “Yes, sir, good to see you again.”  He tells me at the next break that he’s on a streak of cashing in 15 straight HPT tourneys that he’s played and made it 16 as he was first out after the bubble.  Totally believable, based on the history I have with him.

I go back to being card dead and as we hit 1k/2k/300 with 36 left, I’m now down to 15bb, so I’m looking to open-shove, instead of re-steal.  I get a shot when I look down at T9s on the button and it folds to me.  I’M ALL IN!  The blinds muck and I pick one up preflop.  The next orbit, it’s from the cutoff with KJo.  I’M ALL IN! and get another one preflop.  We hit the break with 29 left and I’m sitting at 30k chips, which will only be 10bb at the next level (1.5k/3k/400).

Now for the fun to begin.  The first orbit at this level, I don’t see a card over a 7, so when I look down at J9s from the cutoff after a limp on the next orbit, I’M ALL IN!   I not only get the BB that calls, but also the limper.  When that happens, I’m just hoping to have two live cards.  They check the board down trying to get rid of me and show AQ and KT, but the board brings a 9 on the flop and another on the turn, so I triple up.

The very next hand, the 1 seat opens and I look down at QQ.  Well, I’ve now got a larger re-steal stack, so in they go again, I’M ALL IN!  It folds back around to him and he snap-calls and flips over KK.  UGH!  I finally get some chips again and I’m going to go out… until there is a Q in the window! 

As I’m finishing stacking all my new found chips, two hands later, I look down at AQ and make a standard open.  The table shorty shoves over me and when it folds back to me, needless to say, I’m snap-calling his 44.  An A on the flop and I’ve got my third KO (too bad it’s not a bounty tourney) and as I get everything stacked and counted, I’m now up to 140k chips!

There is always a table redraw when you get down to 27 left (26 in this case due to a double bustout) and I’m off again, this time to table 15 seat 5.  The blinds now go to 2k/4k/500 and I’m just biding my time as I’m back to being card dead.  However, I get a couple good laughs out of the rest of the table, as I see two horribad punts with junk as they tried to bluff players that were already pot-committed, then finish the punt the next hand.  One with K5o that totally missed, and another with 48o.  The K5 one surprised me, as I played with her at two previous tables and she seemed to have a clue and then punted off about 300k chips?! These get us down to 21 left. 

Since we’re nearing the bubble and I’ve now got one of the larger stacks at the table, I decide to start some bubble abuse as two of the three stacks to my left are extremely short and trying to get ITM.  I build my stack up to 160k as we hit 20 players left. 

The blinds go up to 3k/6k/1k as we hit hand-by-hand with 19 left and I’m sitting on 150k.  I look down at AQ and make a standard open from middle position and get the table shorty that shoves 40k.   Needless to say, I’m snapping him and when a Q hits on the flop, his coocoo (T9) is a loser and the bubble bursts!

Since we’re down to 18, the game of musical chairs continues as my table breaks and I’m off to table 19 seat 7.

We come back from break to 4k/8k/1k and I get the circuit grinder two to my right that opens for 20k.   I look down at AA and make it 40k that gets called.  The flop is 842 and when I make a c-bet, he mucks.  I put him on a pair and didn't want to give him another free card to try and hit a set.

The next orbit, I find them again and make a standard open to 20k.  When it gets to seat 2 with about 60k chips, he shoves and holding aces, needless to say, it’s an easy call.  I flip mine over and he flips the other two aces over, so you think it’s a chop, right?  Well, there are two spades on the flop and another spade on the turn.  I’m now freerolling him, as I have the ace of spades… spade on the river!  What a sick runout for him, but I’m now up to 190k chips with 16 players left.

The blinds now go up to 5k/10k/1k and I steal another couple pots preflop to get up to 220k but with 13 left, I lose some as I get into it with the other bigstack at the table and lose a pot to drop down to 190k as my TT loses to AK.

We hit the next break with 12 left and I’m sitting on 164k chips with the blinds being 8k/16k/2k, so while it looks like a big stack (and is basically a tenth of the chips in play), it’s still only 10bb.  I’m now guaranteed $455 from this, but I’ve got my eye on the $5125 plus a $1650 ME seat that’s on top.

Right after break, a player busts on the other table, so we’re now on the final table bubble.  I get into it with the grinder again, as he flats my BB from the SB and I check my option with 89s.  The flop is Q53 and when he checks, I fire out a bet, since it was free for me from the BB, I could have any part of it.  The turn is another 5 and when he checks, I slowly check behind.  The river is a 2 and when he checks again, I fire out another bet that makes him quickly fold.

Now for a deja-vu moment.  I broke the money bubble by taking out a coocoo with AQ, well the same thing happens again.  I open AQ, get shoved on by a 5bb stack, so I’m absolutely snapping them.  This time I got the A on the flop and head to the final table with 229k chips (sitting about 3rd or 4th as there is a stack very similar to mine, one huge stack and one at about 300k).  We redraw for seats and I move over to seat 4 and immediately go card dead, which is not good when the blinds are 10k/20k/3k.

I do get a couple steals in at this level but my stack is slowly fading as there are shoves from the shorter players that get us down to 9, then 8, then 7 left.  I clearly see who the luckiest at the table is, as the bigstack is just rampaging thru everyone winning flip after flip after flip.  To get to 6 left, she doesn’t even end up in a flip, she’s got two unders and hits both on the flop after the chips go in. 

As we get to 5 left, I’m now down to 4th stack and being at 10bb, I’m looking for a place to shove.  I do so twice and take down pots pre with JT and KJ so I’m building my stack up a little, then go card dead again.  We get to 4 left, as she steamrolls another when AJ wins a flip against 44.

With 4 left, there is one monster stack (over a mil) and the rest of us near 200k.  I open A4 from the button and get flatted by the bigstack.  The flop is KQ3 and when she checks, I check behind.  The turn hits my 4 and since she likes playing broadways, I check behind when she checks.  The river is a T and sh checks again.  I check behind and win when my pair of 4’s beats her A6.

I now look down at 99 and decide to min-open it, as while the bigstack will fold to a shove, she will shove over small opens and since I’m never folding here, I'm trying to induce a shove, which she does and I snap-call.  She turns over AQ and my evening ends in 4th when there is an A on the flop.

While I wanted to get the win and ME seat, I’m more than happy to get to an HPT final table and pocket $1423 for my fourth place finish.  Hopefully this is a start on many more upcoming final tables and is a good confidence builder, heading into the WSOP next month.  I’m also going to play a ME satty tomorrow, so hopefully can win my way in for this weekend.

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