I went to Harrah’s Joliet to play in their $80+$10 bounty tournament today.  There were 22 people that played with the top 5 getting ITM and a $20 bounty on everyone’s head.

I started out at table 7, seat 8 and although I knew a number of players at the other tables, didn’t know anyone at my table.  Dave started on table 6.  The blind structure is identical to the league that I’ve played there, but you start with 6k chips after the add-on for the dealer toke. 

I start out at the 25/50 blind level and find 33 from MP with two limpers in front of me.  The stacks are plenty deep enough to setmine, so I call and so do three others.  The flop brings KQJ with two spades, so needless to say, when someone bets 250, it’s an easy muck for me. 

The next hand that I’m involved in is from UTG+1 when I look down at AK and make a standard opening raise to 150.  It folds to the BB that calls.  The flop comes A 8 4 and I make a c-bet of 225 when it’s checked to me that is called by the BB.  The turn is a 7, the opp tanks for a minute and checks.  Something in my gut said that she was playing A/rag and could have hit two pair on me.  I bet 375 and am snap-called.  The river is a 2 and she now leads into me for 600.  That bet confirmed it for me (along with her showing ace/rag twice later in the tourney), so I muck top pair/top kicker. 

The final hand I play at this level is 77 in another setmining spot with 4 limps prior to my button.  The flop comes A J 4 and I fold to a pot-sized bet.

The blinds now go up to 50/100 and here’s when it starts to get interesting.  I’m quiet the first orbit as I’m getting trash cards, but pick up pocket 10’s in the BB.  The CO raises to 300 that is called by the button and me.  I could have re-raised here, but with unknown opps, I decided to sandbag my hand a bit by just calling.  The flop comes K 10 5 with two diamonds.  With 2 opps and me first to act, I need to bet 2/3 pot to price out the flush for both of them (whether they know they’re priced out or not), so I bet 600.  The preflop raiser calls and the button goes away.  The turn is a rainbow 8, so with only one opp, I bet 1k… and have the preflop raiser shove.  He’s got me covered by about 600 chips due to my missed hands, so I decide, if he’s got KK, then so be it, I’m calling.  He flips over AK and I double up.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a bounty.

The next hand I play is at the same level.  I pick up AK diamonds and open for 300.  I get called by the button and both blinds.  The flop comes A 6 2 with two diamonds.  I bet 800 when it’s checked to me and am called by the SB.  The only info that I have on the SB is that they have not showed a hand yet and have a VPIP of about 50%.  The turn is the J of clubs and when the SB checks, I bet 1200.  The SB tanks for a minute and calls.  The river is the 9 of spades and now the SB leads out for 2k.  With as many pots as this opp was buying, I wasn’t having any of it and called.  He turns over 35 for a missed straight draw and I take down another big pot.  We’re now down to 20 players and I get moved to table 5 seat 7 as the blinds go up to 100/200.

I only know 4 of the opps at this table, seat 9 from the league and three that moved with me from my old table.  I very quickly realize that seat 6 has more chips than I do, by about double, and three bounty chips. 

The first hand that I’m involved in, I pick up 55 in the SB.  Seat 2 has been the table sheriff since I sat down and was involved in almost every pot and raises to 600.  There are 2 callers, including the big stack (that the others at the table are talking about being a luckbox), so I’m happy calling to setmine here.  The flop comes K 4 4 and since it’s a good board to try a play with, I lead out for 1k.  Seat 2 goes into the tank and starts talking, “Wow, you got a 4!”  After a couple min, he mucks, along with the others.  After the hand, he’s trying to get me to tell him what I had, which I do not do, and goes into a rant about mucking AA there to my 4.  Needless to say, I’m laughing pretty good inside on that one.  That’s the only hand I’m involved in at the blind level, so I end the first hour with over 14k in chips.

The second hour starts and the first one I’m involved in is the hand of the night.  I’m in the BB and have a five limps, then the SB raises to 1200.  I look down at 99 and call to setmine.  ALL FIVE limpers behind me call (one is all-in for 1175), so we see the flop seven handed.  The flop starts shooting off fireworks in my head as I see 9 9 5.  The SB checks (easy tell they’re on two high cards from being the preflop raiser then checking) and needless to say, I check since there is no single card in the deck that can beat me.  The player to my left checks and seat 2 takes his stack of black/purple/orange chips and puts them into the pot (4600 bet, leaving behind his 450 chip stack in greens).  Everyone between him and me fold (except for the one all-in preflop) and I see that the player to my left has uncapped his cards and has half mucked them already.  Knowing I’m not getting action from him, “I’m ALL-IN!”  UTG mucks and it gets back to seat 2 and everyone at the table can see that he did not want to see anyone call.  He tanks for a couple minutes and angrily says “I guess I have to”, calls, and flips over… 2 6 offsuit?!  I flop quads and a guy tries to bluff me with 26 off.  At least the player that went all-in preflop had a big ace.  I take down a MONSTER pot and get two bounty chips in the process.  It also gets me close to even with seat 5 and the two of us should have the chip lead.

The next hand I’m in, I get AQ toward the end of the level and open for 500.  After seeing my quads, the table’s scared of me, except for seat 5 that calls.  The flop comes Q 8 2.  When seat 5 checks, I lead out for 750, he tanks for a second and mucks. 

We’re now down to 10 left, so play is stopped and I move over to table 6 and am happy to see that Dave’s still in.  We draw for seats and I get seat 6, Dave’s in seat 5.  I also now recognize a number of players from the leagues, including the cash league finals winner and another player that has won individual weeks.

I’m not involved in any more hands at that level, so we’re now to 200/400/50.  I’m pretty card dead, but have plenty of chips to wait it out as some of the smaller stacks start to get desperate.  One of the short stacks busts to the guy from seat 5 of my last table (seat 2 here) and his hand shows me exactly what type of player he is.  Since he’s got a big stack, he’s bounty hunting and calling with about anything.  He calls and turns over 45.  He gets a 4 and a 5 and his two pair knocks a player out.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and the first hand I’m involved in, there’s a limp (seat 1, cash finals winner), a limp (seat 2 big stack), then a raise to 4500.  Dave mucks and I look down at KK.  With three shorter stacks behind me, let alone the two limpers, I decide the best play is to 3-bet to isolate the guy that raised to 4500, so I 3-bet to 12k.  That way, if someone behind wants to play ace/rag to try to outdraw my kings, they’re doing it blind for their tournament life.  It folds around to seat 4, that goes into the tank, counts his chips (I’ve well got him covered) and he decides to call.  The board comes out low, so I add another chunk to my stack and get my third bounty.  We head to break and I’ve got over 25k chips.

The third hour starts and I see that I gained 25 chips at break, as my three greens that were colored up won a race and got me an extra 100 chip. 

The blinds are now 500/1k/100, so most of the players are shoving and getting short.  There are a number of shoves and we’re now down to 6 left, with the top 5 getting ITM.  The weird thing about it, is that just like some of the 20% payout structures on PokerStars (depending on how many get paid and the number of entrants), a min-cash here does NOT even cover the buy-in.  Counting the add-on, this tournament costs $90 to get in, but due to the low turnout (they had over double this number last month according to the floor manager), a min cash is only worth $55.

The next hand I’m involved in, I see Dave say “I’m All-In” and shoves his stack and bounty chip in.  I look down at pocket J’s.  Dave needs to chip up and could be shoving a wider range than normal, then again, he could really have a hand too and pocket jacks normally burn me.  I call and Dave shows a hand toward the top of his range, AQs.  There are neither aces nor Q’s on the board, so unfortunately for him, Dave’s the bubble, going out in sixth and I get my fourth bounty chip.  Dave went over and jumped into the cash game, so I hope he made back what he lost in the tournament with interest.

There are a number of short stack shoves now and I’m just sitting back watching, as I’m getting a bunch of bottom 10% and mostly bottom 5% hands.  The blinds now go up to 600/1200/200.  I do notice one thing here, seat 2 screws up twice in a row trying to raise.  The first time, he puts in 1800, and the next time, he puts in 2100?  Both times he’s immediately corrected by seat 1 and the dealer, that tell him that since the BB is 1200, he has to raise to 2400. These small raises have also been taking a toll on his chip stack, as he’s leaking off chips bigtime. 

I then get involved in a hand with him.  There are two limps (seat 1 and 2) and I look down at JJ again.  I know that the BB, seat 9 the lag that has won league weeks, would want to try to get into the pot cheap, so I’m raising on the button and do so to 6k.  Everyone gets out of the way except for seat 2 that calls.  The flop comes 9 5 2 rainbow and while the guy has been a luckbox, he’s been doing it, I’ve found out with connectors and I’m ahead of all those combinations right now.  He bets into me for 6k and since I’ve got him covered and there are no connectors that have two pair, I shove on him.  Into the tank he goes and calls with 89 for top pair.  The turn is a J, so that’s the end of him.  I’m adding more to my stack and now have FIVE bounties. 

That’s it for this blind level, as I’m getting garbage cards, so I’m not calling the other player’s shoves with garbage.  A bounty is worth $20, a win is worth $495.  My eye’s on the bigger picture.

The blinds now go up to 1k/2k/300 and seat 8 takes out both seat 1 and seat 7, so I’m now HU and I’ve got about 65% of the chips in play.  The first 15 min or so are not that adventurous; as I’m totally card dead, minus three button raises.  Two were with marginal hands and one was a pure steal.  Seat 9 has been shoving/folding the overwhelming majority of the time and I can tell he’s getting frustrated that he’s not seeing the number of flops that he’s used to. 

The blinds now go up to 2k/4k/400 and while I’m picking up some pots, I’m only winning about 1 in 3, so I’m losing chips and am down to about a 2-1 chip disadvantage.  I then get 67s on the button and raise to 12k (I started making 12k my opening raise and he was following suit).  He then shoves, expected a shove or fold.  With only about 42k chips total and 12k already in the pot, “I’m all-in”.  Unfortunately for me, he’s got a hand at the upper end of his range and flips over QJ.  The flop is no help to either of us, so I’ve got six outs.  Jackpot!  The turn is a seven.  When the river blanks, I’ve now got the chip lead back. 

In reviewing this hand, I had to call 30k into a pot of 84.8k (35.4%).  I then go to pokerstove to see if I had this much equity.  I had already seen him show shoving with Ax, Kx, suited Qx (Q5), so I’m taking those plus all pairs, broadways and suited connectors for his range.  Pokerstove comes up with 40.7% equity, so even though I was behind the actual cards shown, it was a +EV call.  If it had been a tighter opp, I’d have mucked, but with as wide as his range was, I thought I had the equity to call and from reviewing it, I did.

He’s now getting tired of playing and upset that I drew out on him and he asks if I want to chop it evenly.  I reply that I’ve got a 2-1 chip lead, so I’d want more than half.  That’s the end of that one and we keep playing.  I pick up A8 on the button and raise to 12k and pick up more chips.  He wins the next one as I muck 48o and then I pick up another one with A2.  He shoves and wins his button, as I muck 39o. 

I then make my standard raise to 12k with big slick.  He shoves and I snap-call.  He says, “What do you have now, aces or kings?”   My reply is, “I’ve got one of each.”  He flips over K5, so all I have to do is to fade a five.  The only board card that plays is the river K, so I get bounty chips six and seven and take down the tournament!

Seven bounties at $20 each and $495 for first place comes to $635, which is an over 6X return on my investment.  Combine this with the league's final table chop last Tuesday and I’d have to say that I’ve had a pretty good week.  Hopefully it will continue, as the new league starts Tuesday evening.