It's been a long time since I've done one of these. This is partially because of schoolwork, but also partially because I've slowly fallen out of poker over the months and grown back into a different card game intended for children. But since my semester is done, I went down to my local casino for their $60 weeknight tournaments.

(Apologies if this intro seems rushed - I had typed out several entry paragraphs that were all deleted when I accidentally clicked on a link, and I didn't feel like typing everything again).

Anyways, there's one big difference in these tourneys from last year. Previously, it was $60 for 6000 chips, with an optional $5 dealer add-on that did not go to the prize pool for an additional 1000 chips. Now, however, the dealer add-on is mandatory, meaning the rice is $65 for 7000 chips. I think it's to make things less confusing for new players.

I get table 4, seat 6, which is right in the middle of the table. The first players on my table are an (east) Indian man with glasses in seat 8, and an old guy in a T-shirt that read "Quicksilver." He half-joked that he had never played before (in reality, he played plenty of home-games, but had never played in a casino), so I thought he'd be a good target.

Things get off to a rocky start right away. Seat 8 raised 150 first hand on the button, and I look down at AQo in the big blind. I 3-bet to 450, which he quickly calls. The flop is A25 two hearts. I c-bet around 1/2 pot, or 500 chips, which he quickly calls again. The turn is a 3. This isn't a great turn - because of the straight on board, he's not calling another bet from me with worse. So I check, planning on calling a smallish bet from him. Sure enough, he quickly fires out 800 (around 40% pot). This isn't very large, so I call. The river is the 2 of hearts, which pairs the board AND puts a flush out. There is no way I'm good, so I check and hope it checks through. It wasn't to be - he bets 2000, around 80% pot. I think for a bit, and I think that he either spiked the river flush, was overplaying some sort of ace (including AK), or played something dumb like A4 or 46. In any case, I can't call - I fold. Judging by his comments later, he didn't think I actually had an ace. In any case, I'm already down almost 2000 chips one hand in - not a good start.

I don't do much more when it's three-handed, other than stealing the blinds once with KJs. I do quickly realize that seat 8 is aggressive and seat 4 is a big fish who once called a small bet on a wet river with K-high. But we soon get another couple of players at our table. In seat 2 is a man in glasses with a pot-belly. His demeanor and the beer in his hands made me realize he was drunk, which is good in the long run but causes great variance for myself. In seat 10 is a familiar old guy with a handlebar moustache, who I finally learn this tournament is named John. I also remember how he plays pretty quickly - the moment he sits down, he raises to 4x (200) utg explicitly without looking at his cards. He got only one caller who folded to a c-bet on a J-high flop, and John turned over QJs.

Another player showed up after that - a young Phillipino kid with a dirt moustache, who sat in seat 1. But he didn't get up to much, because I soon get into a hand with the drunk in seat 2. He raised 6x utg 6-handed, or 300 chips. I look at my cards and I wake up with Kings! Cool! I think about sizing for a bit before realizing the guy's probably extremely drunk and would call very wide, so I make it 900. Surprisingly enough, John in the Small Blind cold-calls this huge raise of 18x the blinds, and it doesn't stop the drunk, who 4-bets me to 3000. Although Aces are definitely in his range, his intoxication could mean a wide variety of other hands as well, so I 5-bet shove to 5250. John gets out of the way as the drunk snap-calls... with AQo. It's better than I thought he had, but still a very bad play. I need to dodge an ace, but the king on the turn seals the deal as I double up to over 11,000 chips and cripple the drunk.

The other seats start to fill up. In seat 7, a guy in a western-style shirt with a receding hairline, but is still fairly young. I eventually learn his name is Aaron, but more on that later. Seat 9 is another guy I've seen around - he's an old guy with a big moustache, but long hair and a baseball cap. Seat 5 is another man I think I've seen before but can't be sure - he sort of looks like a hipster and is wearing a plush vest. Seat 3 brings a tall, young latino man dressed like my grandfather in a sweater vest and an old driving cap. Near the end of the level, the drunk loses the rest of his chips to Aaron, when he went all-in on a 6665 board with J5s... and Aaron had kings like I did. The drunk went to rebuy.

The blinds go up to 50/100, and now that we're almost a full table, Aaron on my left minraises utg, and a lot of callers came along. I looked at A6s in the big blind, and with the great pot odds, I call intending on going for a flush. The flop is 345 rainbow, so I have a straight draw. But then the hipster on my right in the small blind suddenly donks-out a pot-sized amount. There's no way I can call that with just a straight draw, so into the muck my cards go.

Next hand, the fish in seat 4 limped to open in the cutoff. I'm in the small blind, and I look down at 56s. It's a decent drawing hand, so I call to see a cheap flop. Aaron checks. The board was 39x, and I have nothing, so I check. Surprisingly enough, it checks around. When a 4 comes on the turn, I gain a straight draw, so I bet out 100 to take a stab at it (in hindsight I should have bet more). Only Aaron called, and the 8 river blanks out. Despite this, I highly doubt Aaron has anything, so I bet again, 250 this time. Aaron folds, and I take down a small pot with a bluff.

Soon after, another big hand occurs. John had raised to around 300, and the fish in seat 4 had called, along with several others. In any case, the pot was about 1500 in size at the flop. The flop was K87, and the fish suddenly donked out 500, or 1/3 pot. Everyone folds... except John, who calls and keeps making comments about how small the bet was. The turn was a 5, and the fish did the same thing - a 500 chip bet into a 2500 pot. John almost snap-calls this time. The river is a 9, and John checks - the fish bets out 2000 (much bigger), and John check-shoves, which the fish calls. John says, "you let me get there," and turns over JTo for a spiked gutshot straight. The fish sighs as he tables his AKs for top pair+top kicker and leaves, having been busted.

Everyone soon had a good chat about how that's John's playing style - if he thinks he has any sort of implied odds, he gets super stubborn with a drawing hand and tends to be a luck-box. The worst part is how many chips he gets doing this. In any case, the drunk from earlier is now on his 3RD rebuy, and has come back to our table... in the exact same seat! Seat 2 again! What're the odds?

Soon, John shows off his luckbox status again when he limped with 23s. The hipster loses a good chunk of his stack to him when John spiked trip 3s on the river.

The blinds go up again to 75/150, and we get someone to replace the fish - it's an unshaven young man in glasses, wearing a cap with a D logo on it (don't know what it's for). I only get into one hand this level - with KQo in the hijack, which I raise to 450 and only John calls. He's barely paying attention to the hand, as for the last five minutes he's been ranting about Canadian territories and Nunavut, none of it making much sense, and he quickly folds to my c-bet on a Q-high flop.

I'm card-dead the rest of the level, so I just watch the fun happen. The drunk busted again, this time to the hipster on my right. The drunk limped near the button, and the hipster raised his big blind to 650. This caused the drunk to limp-raise to 2000, which the hipster called. The money went in on the J87 flop, the drunk turned over AJo for top pair+top kicker, and the hipster turned over 88 for middle set. The J on the turn brought a sweat, but the hipster dodged the outs and the drunk FINALLY left the tournament as the rebuy period ended.

There was one more interesting hand before break: On a 96x board, both Aaron and John get all the money in. Aaron (who was short) had 87o for an open-ended straight draw, and John had J8o for a gutshot draw+one overcard. Unfortunately, I forget the exact run-out, and my notes are contradictory, but I remember the turn gave John a straight and the river gave a bigger straight to the both of them, causing a chop. In any case, I go to break with 11,500 in chips, which will be 13,500 after the $10 add-on.

After the break, the blinds go to 100/200 with a 25 ante, and I go card-dead. This is good, though, and I get into a big discussion with Aaron about the World Series of Poker. Apparently he's played in the past, mostly a bunch of $1500 events and even the Collossus. He's never won, but he's placed in the top 100 in a couple of different holdem events, so I'm a little wary of him.

The only notable things that happen this level (other than the multitude of times I was dealt 28o), were the hipster busting to John when he got all the money in on the flop with A9s against John's pocket 3s... with a 9 and a 3 on the board. I also got A8o in the big blind when long-haired moustache and D-cap limp, and I should have punished these limpers. But I didn't and checked, and I had to fold when I whiffed the flop.

At the 150/300 (25 ante) level, I soon get moved tables as my table breaks up, as we're down to 30 players. 41 entered, and the top two get paid - the winner gets around $750. Moved along with me to table 5 are D-cap, who moves to seat 5, Aaron, who moves to seat 8, and John, who moves to seat 9. I get seat 10, so all these guys are on my right. The new guys at the table are a generic-looking guy in his 50's in seat 1, a familiar black man with white hair in seat 2 (who I learn is named Jamie), a bearded man in an East-coast cap and a hoodie in seat 3, a familiar Israeli-looking bearded guy with a southern accent in seat 4, a lanky guy who bore a strong resemblance to Allan Cunningham (which both I and one of our dealers pointed out, but Aaron didn't see it and the guy himself doesn't know who that is) in seat 6, and and old man in glasses and an H-cap in seat 7.

First hand at the table, I finally get a hand - ATo. But Aaron had raised in middle position, so I just called. I whiffed, and Aaron took 800 chips from me. Aaron's getting a lot of action, even as I'm going card-dead again. He got into a big pot against Cunningham. The latter had bet into a KTK flop, and Aaron minraised him (after some confusion of the bet sizes). Cunningham called, and the turn was a 2. A shove took gave Aaron the pot.

Soon, John raised a decent amount from early position. I look down at ATo, and I realize this isn't a good spot, so I make a disciplined fold. There's another call but D-cap suddenly 3-bet squeezes over 7000 chips deep for a 24bb squeeze, which John quickly calls. D-cap turns over A5s for an obvious play attempt, but John turned over QQ. But the flop has an Ace. The turn gives a flush draw for John, but the river bricks, giving D-cap the pot (and me, if I had gotten in - which I never would with that action).

The blinds raise again to 200/400 with a 50 ante, and I'm still card dead. But people are busting and shoving a lot. First, H-cap busts to Cunningham when his ATo lost to AJo, and east-coast Hoodie busted to generic old-guy in a hand I missed. Aaron also lost a big pot to D-cap, when he bluffed a big amount on the river with K-high... and got snap-called by A-high. What are these hands? Soon, Jamie busts his pocket 7s to John's AQo, and we get a new guy in seat 7: he's a familiar guy at the casino, but he's wearing sunglasses and headphones this time. I remember him having a Widow's peak in the past, but now his hair is curlier.

We move up to the 300/600 level (still 50 ante) and unfortunatle Aaron busts to D-cap when his QJo couldn't outrun 55. He gets replaced in seat 8 by an old fat guy who's surprisingly clean-shaven.

I finally get a hand (some sort of Ace, I believe), and as John limps, I shove my 9600 chips into the middle. 16bb is a big shove, but with the antes and the limp, it's probably a better idea than a standard raise where John would remain very sticky. Southern Israeli considered calling, but ended up folding, and John mucked 52s face-up.

Unfortunately, I soon get moved to table 6 in seat 9 this time. The young hispanic man dressed like my grandfather is here in seat 2. In seat 1 is a familiar grinder who I remember from my first cash in these tournaments. Seat 5 contains a short guy in a track-suit who I dubbed "Leisure-Suit Larry." A familiar man who's face sort of escapes me in an LV hoodie is in seat 6. Seat 7 contains a long-faced woman, and seat 8 is a familiar Hispanic grinder with glasses.

Even more unfortunately, I lose half my stack this first hand. With less than 10bb left, seat 1 limps utg, and I look down at QJo in the big blind against some more limpers. When it checks around on an AJT rainbow board and the turn is an Ace, I think I'm good and make a bet, which only 1 calls. I decide to check-call a 2 river, and he turns over A8s for a limped ace with a short stack and a slow-played top pair/trips. The 2nd break comes, and I'm down to 5200 chips, which will be less than 7bb after the break.

Once I come back from break, the blinds go up to 400/800 with a 100 ante. There's a new guy in seat 10 - he's a bald Hispanic guy who says he's from the US. He has a gigantic stack, and he keeps talking to the woman in 7 about hypothetical real-estate selling ventures.

Soon, after LV hoodie limps out of position, I look down at pocket 8s, and I shove. Seat 10 desperately wants to call, but he decides not to. Instead, Grandpa Hisp calls with KJo. The board runs out XXXQT, and I double up to 12,000 chips, meaning I can play again. LV Hoodie had limp-folded with 77 and seat 10 is upset because he had a T and wanted to bust me. Right after, we get two new players as we move down to 20: seat 3 contains a very tired-looking man with curly hair and a sweater vest, and seat 4 is a familiar French grinder. But the latter doesn't last long as the money goes all-in on a 974 two-spades flop against seat ten. French grinder has 9To for top pair and Seat 10, thinking he only had a draw, had called with 66. But a 6 spikes the river, and the French grinder is out.

Tired sweater-vest has very odd betting patterns. One hand, he raised to 5x out of position, and I had to fold JTo in the big blind. The very next hand, he instead minraised. He does this a couple of more times tonight. However, I manage to get some more chips from LV Hoodie and Glasses Grinder when they limp and I shove my 14bb stack with ATs.

Soon after, I look down at pocket 7s in the hijack. My stack is a bit over 16bb at this point, and there are no limpers, so I raise to 2.5x (2000). Very quickly, seat 10 3-bets me to 6000. I consider 4-bet shoving for a moment, but a few things keep me from doing so: 1) I have almost no fold-equity unless he 3-bets super-light, and I have no reason to believe he does so, and 2) he looks SUPER comfortable and is barely paying attention to the table. I instead decide to fold my medium pair.

Long-faced woman does something very bad soon after: with less than 7bb left UTG, she raised to 4x with pocket Aces instead of shoving. That's really exploitable, hun. There's soon anothjer all-in situation on the flop - tired sweater-vest has 78o and Leisure-Suit Larry has pocket Qs on a 726 flop. A 4d turn brings some gutshot outs, but a 9 river is a brick and tired sweater-vest busts.

The blinds go up once more to 600/1200 with a 200 ante, and things get really crazy. First, Long-faced woman limped with less than 5bb left. Thinking she's weak, I shove my short-stack on her with A6o, but she calls with A8s and is surprised I'm as weak as I am. I explain I thought she was weaker, but the suck-out comes: the flop is K64! However, the turn is the K of hearts, giving her a heart flush-draw. But I spike a third 6 on the river, busting her and getting up to 19,000 chips: 16bb!

Soon after, I raise to 2600 (about 2.) utg with AJo, as we're only 7-handed at this point. However, both LV hoodie and Hispanic Glasses call, and on an 875 two spades board, 8 donks out 4000. I can't do anything about that and I fold. Another weird hand happens where seat 1, in a limped pot, overshoved more than twice the pot on an A river, and when seat 10 tank-called him for almost 1/3 of his stack, it was revealed seat 1 missed his flush draw but spiked an ace, which was good.

Then, with only a bit more than 12,000 utg, I find pocket Aces! Awesome! I shove after counting my stack, and I quickly get called by Leisure-Suit Larry, who turns over pocket Kings. I'm in a good spot for a double up. The flop is QT8 with two hearts - I don't have a heart, but he does, so it's a little worrying. This "little worrying" becomes "full-blown panic" on the turn - it's the J of hearts. He now has a royal flush draw, giving him a total of 13 outs (9 hearts, 1 non-heart ace, 3 non-heart 9s). I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The river is the 9 of spades, giving him a K-high straight. He sucks out, I bust in 13th place.

It was disappointing, but I had sucked out just twenty minutes earlier, so I wasn't too upset. In any case, I drove home with a pop in my car, and surprisingly enough drove past some friends from a Dungeons and Dragons game on an overpass-bridge. I tried calling them to see if they needed a lift, but they were good. Quite a coincidence to see them at the exact time I bust out, though.

It was a fun way to get back into the game. I hope to do it a bit more in the future. Christxof out.