Thanks to my tenth place finish in the first event (for which I receieved no points) and my having mistaken the scheduled time for the second one (for which I also received no points, and thankfully little ribbing from others for my absent-mindedness), the only way for me to make next week’s RGC 2 final would be to win the tourney outright on Saturday. Game on!
We had 17 show. My table assignment had me stuck between the two Dans -- Pokerati Dan Michalski on my right and PokerListings’ strategy columnist Dan Skolovy on my left.
The very first hand saw the table fold around to Michalski in the small blind who completed. I had in the big blind, and thinking I’d use this first hand to establish an image to the table, I put in the 3x raise. Dan called. The flop came . Dan checked, I bet 80, and Dan quickly called. Argh. We both checked the on the turn, then Dan check-called my bluff of 160 when the came on the river. Dan showed to take the pot.
I guess you could say I was successful at creating an image there. I showed everybody I was fully capable of donking off 20% of my 1,500-chip stack with ten-high.
Shortly after that -- in the fifth hand, actually -- I lost another 260 chips to Michalski in another brief heads-up battle that got aborted on the turn thanks to a too scary board. In this hand I picked up pocket kings in middle position. The table folded to Dan who raised to 80, I repopped it to 260, it folded back around and Dan called. The flop came and Dan checked. Didn’t like the look of that ace, so I checked behind. The turn was the and Dan promptly bet 460. I let it go.
Down to 960 before the first orbit had even completed, I put my head back in the turtle shell after those initial snafus. We were well into Level 2 when I managed to grab some chips back off of Michalski. I again picked up pocket kings, this time in the cutoff. Table folded to Michalski who called the 30-chip big blind, I raised to 120, and it folded back around to Dan who called. The flop came . Dan checked. I knew I was betting, but how much? The pot was 270, and I had 840 behind. I contemplated a moment, deciding that if I bet pot (or thereabouts) and Dan pushed, I’d be probably be calling anyway. So I pushed, and Dan didn’t take too long to call me with . The turn and river were safe, and I was back up over 1,900. “Sweet oxygen,” I typed.
Not much to report after that. I think I played okay overall, but was a little too dependent on the cards (which generally weren’t cooperating). The hand that ultimately decided my fate on Saturday came later on during Level 5. We were down to seven: Matt Showell (of PokerListings), the Poker Shrink, Dr. Pauly, Kid Dynamite, Spaceman, Change100, and yr humble gumshoe. Kid Dynamite -- the eventual winner on Saturday -- had the chip lead with nearly 8,000, and Change, Spaceman, and I were each sitting on short stacks. I had 1,630, Change 1,260, and Spaceman 1,145. I had reached the point where I was looking for any decent hand with which to gamble.
Finally picked up in middle position and readied myself for the ride. But wait! There’s Change pushing all in before me, and there’s Matt Showell just calling her bet (leaving himself about 2,600 behind)!
I thought a moment, then decided to go ahead and reraise with the rest of my chips. Felt like given Change’s short stack and Showell’s decision just to call, I might actually have the best hand here, although surely my overall equity wouldn’t be much better than 1 in 3. The cards went on their backs:
Not bad at all. Both cards live, as were the diamonds. With everyone’s fingers crossed, the flop came , giving Change her flush draw. The turn was the , pairing her trey. The river was the , giving her the main pot, although I got 740 back for beating Showell. Wasn’t too long after that when Dr. Pauly, free from reporting duties down in Mexico at the aborted LAPT event (read all about it here), finished me off in seventh place with his pocket fives.
No final for Shamus, then. Sequels are never as good, are they? Still, it was a bunch of grins, and the fact that I made out like a bandit in RGC 1 makes it easier to come up empty here in the second Challenge. Big congrats to the Poker Shrink, Benjo, and Kid Dynamite for their victories this month, and good luck to Amy Calistri, Luckbox, Change100, Michele Lewis, Matt Showell, Spaceman, and Dr. Pauly who also made it the big one.
My understanding is Run Good Challenge 3 (in 3-D) is around the corner, so be sure to pick up your glasses in the lobby in order to enhance your viewing experience. Gonna also try to play in that PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker next week (Dec. 15-21), which appears this time to be a series of events (including some non-hold’em stuff, yes!).
All this freerollin’. Makes me wanna dance.