Pictured above is an exclusive, live action photo taken during the first of two events scheduled for the PokerListings Run Good Challenge 3: WSOP Edition (click to enlarge). That’s the Poker Grump out in the lead. He’d end up taking it down, thereby winning an entry into a $1,500 preliminary event at this summer’s WSOP. The Spaceman is close behind; he’d finish runner-up. And there are F-Train, Michele Lewis, and the others trailing.
That’s me in the back with the fedora. I’d finish an ignominious 20th (out of 25 runners). Lasted into the third level, and really, all told only had a single hand where afterwards I found myself thinking if I could’ve possibly done something differently to alter my fate.
There were eight players at my starting table. Going counterclockwise, we were seated as follows: myself, Benjo, Bruechips, Dan Skolovy, the Poker Grump, Spaceman, CarmenSinCity, and Pokerati Dan. I’d played with most of these folks before in previous Challenges, having butted heads most significantly with Dan Skolovy, the strategy writer over on PokerListings.
Back last fall in the first Run Good Challenge, PokerListings Dan knocked me out of the first event in fourth when his A-J outran my pocket jacks. Then in the second event, I made it to heads-up only to fall to PL Dan again. I won the third event of that first challenge, though have to say my triumph was helped somewhat by the fact that PL Dan went out early in that one.
Knowing PL Dan is an aggressive player, I didn’t care too much to see him a couple of seats to my left. (In fact, during previous RG Challenges we’d joked about how he always seemed to be seated on my left.) When I was in the cutoff, he’d be in the big blind, meaning it wouldn’t be such a simple matter to steal should the opportunity arise.
Still, I managed to win a few small pots early on without catching any real cards, then found it necessary to fold to preflop reraises a couple of times, causing me to slip down below the 1,500-chip starting stack. Was sitting at 1,485 near the end of level 2 when the following hand arose -- to me, the only real interesting one in which I was involved.
It folded to me sitting in the cutoff with . I decided to raise to 100 (a little over 3x). Then Benjo flat-called my raise from the button, which I didn’t care for too much.
When Bruechips folded his small blind, I knew instantly what PL Dan -- sitting there in the big blind with a below average stack of 955 chips -- was going to do. He shoved, and I had a decision. I might’ve considered gambling with PL Dan, since I know his range is very wide here, but with Benjo lurking behind (not to mention having me outchipped), I decided not to risk it. I got out of the way, and Benjo called.
PL Dan had K-9 offsuit, and Benjo pocket sixes. A jack did flop (que sera, sera). Benjo’s pocket pair held up, and PL Dan hit the rail. “Knew he wuz gonna do that” I typed, referring to PL Dan’s attempted squeeze.
Wasn’t long after that when I’d slipped down to an even 1,000 chips. The Poker Grump, our eventual champion, had been the short stack with around 650 chips, having been gutted early on when Spaceman’s outdrew his pocket kings. But then he managed to double up with pocket rockets. It was actually the second time he’d gotten ’em in one orbit, though he didn’t get any action the first time. He’d chipped up a little more to 1,675 when we reached what would prove my last hand.
With the blinds 25/50, I was sitting UTG where I was dealt . Raised to 200, and my only caller was Grump from the button. The flop came all babies -- . I shoved, and PRESTO Grump called, showing pocket fives for the flopped set. No jack came to save me, and I was toast.
I shot PG an email shortly afterwards telling him he now had to take the sucker down. A little while later he sent me a reply telling me he’d fulfilled my request. Have to say I’m especially excited for him, as I would have been for anyone who had emerged victorious in this here winner-take-all tourney. Gonna definitely be fun to see how he does in the WSOP event, whichever one he chooses to enter.
We all have one more chance this Saturday in the second and final event of Run Good Challenge 3. Big thanks again to Matt S. and the PokerListings guys for hosting!