Monday, September 22, 2008

Running Good: Ace-Trey = 1st in Event 3

The key to running goodThis here PokerListings Run Good Challenge has turned out surprisingly well for yr humble gumshoe.

Little or no expectations going in. In fact, if I had to be honest, the primary goal here was to avoid embarrassment. But after playing well the first couple of weeks -- and getting a bit lucky in Week 2 to land in the money -- the third tourney was the best yet for me, both in terms of how I played and running good.

The format was like that of Event 1 -- a regular no-limit hold’em tourney with 15-minute levels. There had been some talk of a split hold’em-PLO event (which I’d have liked), but that didn’t come to pass.

There were several key hands along the way, though I’m just going to mention a few here. We had 13 runners for this one, although Dr. Pauly would get blinded away as he was at Yankee Stadium celebrating his birthday. The other contestants: Amy Calistri (whose blog is currently in limbo), Change100, Kid Dynamite, Matt Showell from PokerListings, Michele Lewis, Pokerati Dan, PokerListings Dan, the Poker Shrink, the Spaceman, the Wicked Chops entities, and Yakshi.

As I look back to the very first hand of the tournament, I see I was dealt Ac3d. (I’d actually see ace-trey offsuit again on the last hand of the tourney, too.) It folded around to me in the hijack seat and I actually thought about raising, but decided to sit tight. Good thing, as Kid Dynamite raised to 60 on the button, then PokerListings Dan -- winner of Events 1 and 2 -- repopped to 240 from the small blind. Amy C. got out of the way, and Kid Dynamite promptly shoved all in! And PokerListings Dan called!

PokerListings Dan had a pair of queens, meaning Kid Dynamite was in sad shape with his pocket sevens. Then came the flop: 8d8h7c. No queen came to save PokerListings Dan, and our defending champ was out just like that.

Given how well PokerListings Dan had played the previous two weeks, I don’t think any of those remaining were too upset to see him out of the way here at the outset.

I would hover around my starting stack for a while, building up to almost 1,900, then slipping back down to 1,330 (my low point, I think). Then at the start of Level 3 I had a big hand with the Poker Shrink. We’d both limped in from middle position (I was behind him), and the flop came 8dJs6c. He bet 100, and I called with my 9hTs. The turn was a good one for me -- the Qd -- giving me my straight. As it turned out, the turn was especially bad for the Shrink, as he held queen-jack and had made two pair. We’d get it all in there, and as I barely had him covered (and no queen or jack came on the river), he was knocked out. I was up to 2,800.

We were stuck at five-handed for a good while, which for us was really four-handed as Dr. Pauly was MIA. I suffered one bad beat in there. It had folded around to Amy C. who raised from the small blind. I decided to call from the big blind with 9d8h. I had about 3,300, and Amy was down to just 1,000. The flop brought two eights, and when Amy shoved I quickly called. She showed pocket jacks, but spiked her two-outer on the river to stay alive.

I had the chips to endure that one, though. I’d eventually build back up to 3,200 and take a similar gamble versus a short-stacked Change100, calling her preflop raise from position with QhJc. The board came queen-high and Change shoved, showing Big Slick. I faded the turn and river, and the final nine were reseated at the final table.

Pokerati Dan, down to just 555 chips, picked up the hammer and decided what the hell. He was out in 9th. Yakshi soon followed, thanks to some serious misfortune. And yeah, I was sorta involved.

I had 4,605 to start the hand -- second place behind Kid Dynamite, but well ahead of the other six (nearest was Matt from PokerListings with 2,400). I open-raised to 300 from the hijack with Ah5h, and it folded back to Yakshi who reraised to 800 from the small blind. Michele folded her big blind, and seeing Yakshi only had 565 behind I went ahead and shoved. He called quickly, showing AsAd.

The flop came 8h3hTh, and I’d laid the bad beat of the tourney on the civic-minded creator of Government Cheese. I’m not sure what happened to that blog, but here’s a recent sample of Yakshi’s wisdom over on PokerListings. Fans of Julius the Goat, Melted Felt, or life in general should click through without delay.

Dr. Pauly finally blinded out in 7th, then chip leader Kid Dynamite suddenly hit hard times. He lost a race with A-J versus Matt’s pocket deuces. Then he ran pocket jacks into Amy’s rockets, and was suddenly down to 795. He’d last one more hand, going out in 6th.

A while after that, I picked up ace-queen and outraced Michele’s ace-ten, sending her out in 5th. On the very next hand, Matt knocked out the Spaceman in 4th, and we were in the money. When three-handed play began, we were fairly evenly-matched. Matt and I each had about 7,000, while Amy trailed with a bit less than 5,000. It was anybody’s game.

We pushed back and forth a bit. I had built up to 8,985 and Amy had 5,805 when we played what was probably the decisive hand of the tourney. Matt folded from the button, Amy completed from the small blind, and I raised 3x to 750 from the big blind with Js6s. Amy called. I liked the flop -- ThQs5s. I also liked that Amy checked, so I bet 1,250, and she called. The turn was the Qh. Amy checked again, and I figured it best just to take the free card. The river brought my spade, the 4s. Amy checked, and I bet 2,250 into the 4,000-chip pot. Amy promptly check-raised all in with her last 3,780.

Oh, well. Looking at about 1,500 more to have a chance at that suddenly huge pot of 10,000, I didn’t have much choice. If I’m beat I’m beat, I thought, and called. Amy turned over 8s7s for the lesser flush, and we were down to heads up.

I had about a 3-to-1 chip advantage over Matt, and after seven hands of modest pushing and pulling, I found myself in the big blind with As3h. The blinds were now 125/250, and when Matt raised to 600, I decided to reraise with my ace, figuring I might push him off the hand and thus not have to play it out of position. I made it 1,550, and Matt hesitated before calling.

The flop came AcAh3d. Nice flop, eh? Too nice, I feared.

I checked, and Matt shoved his last 3,885. I quickly called and saw he was drawing dead with JdTc.

With the rollover of PokerListings Dan’s money from last week, the win brought me a very nice chunk o’ change, indeed (especially for my short-stacked standards). You can read more about Event 3 by checking out Matt’s write-up here. In fact, over at PokerListings they have a whole category of Run Good Challenge posts amid their various blogs which you can reach here. We have one more event next Saturday for the top six point-getters (of which I’m one).

Big thanks again to PokerListings for hosting this sucker! Sounds like a second one of these in the works, so you bloggers should head over to see Matt’s post announcing such.

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