The Ante Up! Intercontinental Poker Series II: Electric Boogaloo began this past Saturday with the first event, no limit hold ’em. The Ante Up! guys have smartly planned a schedule that has tourneys occurring once a month. The buy-ins are $5.00+$0.50 (except for Event No. 12, which will be $24+$2). Saturday’s event attracted 111 players with enough money left over at Full Tilt Poker -- or who had figured out how to transfer funds there in time for the tourney. The top 18 spots paid.
I have to say I wasn’t terribly optimistic going in on Saturday. I’d had a pretty rough week at the limit tables, and haven’t been playing tourneys much at all for the last six weeks or so. Once the tourney finally began a little after noon on Saturday, I realized I was having a hard time even focusing on the action. Not the best frame of mind with which to enter a tourney, short on both confidence and concentration.
Nothing too remarkable happened for me during the first few orbits. I won a couple of small pots, lost those chips back in minor skirmishes, and was sitting with 1,490 chips in Level 4 (30/60 blinds) when I picked up in middle position. An early position player with 1,355 min.-raised to 120, and I bumped it up to 350. Everyone folded and the original raiser called. The flop came and my opponent quickly pushed his remaining 1,005 into the middle. I thought for a moment, typed “AJ?”, and folded my hand. He showed , typing “lol.”
Despite losing some chips, that hand actually helped my confidence a bit. The very next hand knocked it back down, though. I was now in early position (UTG+2) and was dealt . It folded to me and I actually just called, hoping one of the remaining players would put in a raise and I could repop it. A little more fancy than I usually prefer, and, in fact, if I had put in a raise here it probably would’ve been read by someone as steaming and I’d have gotten action anyway. But I was greedy. To my dismay, it folded to the button who just called, and three of us (including the big blind) saw a horrific flop of . I had to see where I was, and so when the big blind checked I bet out 120. The button smooth-called and the big blind folded. The turn was the . I timidly bet 220 into the 670 pot and the button rightly pushed all-in (regardless of what he had). I had to muck.
So we’d been playing just over a half-hour and I was down to 740 chips, putting me 89th out of the 93 remaining players. Now I just had to sit tight and be content to nurse the short-stack. And try not to beat myself up too much over bungling those pocket rockets.
By the start of Level 6 (50/100), I’d fallen to 530 chips (76th of 78). I pushed with A3, a pair of deuces called me, and doubled up when both an ace and trey came on the flop. By the one-hour break I had 1,210 (59th of 76). Still alive. But not too healthy.
Somehow I hung in, pushing about every other orbit or so and either picking up blinds and antes or occasionally winning a coin flip and a modest number of chips. I never really had enough chips to make more than a single move in a given hand, so I can’t honestly say I was playing solid poker. But I was at least doing enough to make those few chips I had last. The total players dwindled down to 50, then 40, then 30. I was near the very bottom the entire way, but I was still playing.
At one point we were down to about 27 players and I had a measly 1,795 in chips (25th place). The blinds were 150/300 (plus 25 ante), so once again it was desperation time. I was in the big blind and it folded all the way around to the button who raised to 800. The small blind folded and I considered my holding -- . With all of the dead money in the pot, there was 1,475 out there. He’s gotta be stealin’, I thought. At the very least I probably have two live cards. I pushed. My opponent thought for a bit and called me with . I think we both played that hand well, actually. I survived the board and had 3,915 in chips -- about the most I had all tournament, in fact.
After a couple dozen hands we had reached the bubble. I was getting absolutely nothing card-wise, and despite stealing blinds and antes a couple of times with squat I couldn’t stop my stack from dwindling back down under 2,000. When we got to 19 players left, I was one of three essentially tied for last. The tourney was played hand-for-hand. I watched as one dribbled down to 600 chips or so, then luckily won an all-in versus two other players to triple up.
Finally came the moment of truth for your humble servant. The blinds were 250/500 (50 ante) and I was in middle position with a pair of treys. I had about 1,900 chips left, and the blinds were getting close. I had a slight edge over one other player chipwise, but not enough to be able to ride it out. It folded to me. I decided to push and watched the table fold around to the big blind. He thought for 15 seconds or so, then called with K7-suited.
The flop came AQJ rainbow. The turn was another ace. If I could dodge ten outs on the river, I’d be okay.
But the river was a 10, giving my opponent the straight, and bouncing me out in 19th place.
I was initially bummed at having earned the ignominious distinction as bubble boy, particularly after that rough week at the cash tables. But I got over it soon enough. Indeed, looking back to where my head was at the start of the tourney -- never mind how that first half-hour went -- I was pretty thrilled to have lasted as long as I did. I never had much more than 4,000 the entire tourney -- that’s not even 1/40 of the chips that were in play -- and still somehow made it to 19th. Little bit hard to fathom, really. Talk about “Short-Stacked” . . . . (Figured out what Wordsworth, Fielder, and Moneymaker have in common yet . . . ? And me?)
Next up, Stud. Where’s my Roy West? Gotta go review his book. Perhaps I’ll cook myself up a steaming pot of macaroni-and-cheese and cut up some hot dogs to go in it, just to put myself in the mood.
Labels: *on the street