Today was the final qualifying week for this session of the league and only 34 players showed up to play.   I started out at table 5, seat 1 and got a decent table draw as I knew that a few of the players had to try to accumulate chips for a deep run fairly quickly as the only way for them to get into the top 10 and get a bye to the finals would be with a win or maybe a second.  I hoped to pick up a couple hands early and take advantage of it.

We draw for the button and I win it.  The swinging starts immediately, as UTG that is loose and needs to ship tonight or goes to the semis, immediately raises to 150 (this is the chip up or chip out guy from prior weeks, so the strategy he needs to use should fit him fairly well).  Surprisingly, there are 5 calls of his standard raise before it gets to me?!  I look down at two red jacks and decide that with this many people in already and all having called a raise, I’m just going to call behind and setmine since I’m in position.  Both blinds come along too, so we’ve got a huge pot already.  The board comes out three low cards and it checks to seat 10 that is a very aggressive opp.  He bets 275 and since I don’t want him to shove on me the first hand, I call behind with my overpair and so do three others.  The turn is a 10 and it checks to seat 10 that now bets 300.  I know there are definitely overcards out there to my pair and maybe even a set, so I call again and this time there is only one other caller, the player right behind me on the leaderboard.  The river is another blank undercard and it checks to seat 10 again and he bets 300 again.  I may be losing a bit of value here, but with possible made straights on the board, I’m not giving him a chance to bluff-shove on me this early, so I call behind and the other player mucks.  He flips over AT and I show my pocket jacks to win a very large pot, especially considering it’s only the first hand.

The next hand that I get involved in is two hands later.  This time there isn’t a raise, but everyone is limping into the hand and I look down at 88.  Well, with a limpfest, I’ll gladly try to setmine again.  The flop comes A K 10 and when there is a bet, call and raise in front of me, needless to say, 88 is a very easy muck.

The blinds now go up to 50/100 and on from UTG, I look down at AKo and make a standard raise to 300 and get two callers.  The flop comes Q 5 2.  Knowing that both opps are loose/passives, I take a shot and make a c-bet here, knowing that neither should call me without a Q.  Both opps muck, so I take down another one.

In my next SB there is another limpfest and I look down at 77.  Needless to say, I’ve got the right odds to setmine again, so I complete and see a 6-way flop.  Another total miss with K J 3, so I check and fold to a bet that gets two calls.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and my next play is from the SB.  It folds to me and I look down at J7 and with a read on the BB that says that he won’t play back at me light, I make a standard raise to 500.  He mucks and I take down another one. 

The next hand on the button is yet another limpfest.  With 5 limps in front of me, I look down at 88 and this is another great place to setmine, so I call and see another 8-way flop.  Great situation, but another miss, so  when it gets to me, needless to say, it’s another easy decision to muck.

The next hand is from my SB.  It folds to me and I look down at ATo, which is definitely worth raising BvB.  I make a standard raise to 500, but this time, the BB comes over the top and raises to 1700!  He isn’t doing this light, so after tanking for a minute, I muck.  He flips over an ace and with that bet, I know the other one matches it.

The first hour ends and I’m up to 6150 chips from the starting stack of 4k, but I notice that not many players are getting knocked out as we still have 3 active tables.

The second hour starts and the antes kick in.  We also now get a new player moved into the 3 seat to balance the tables… some guy named Dave.

The first hand that I’m involved in is from the BB when there are three limps.  I look down at Doyle’s hand (2 10 of spades) and check to see a free flop.  The flop comes K 6 3 rainbow.  With nothing, I check and so do all of the others.  The turn brings a 10.  Well, since a K should have bet the flop, I bet 400 for my one shot at winning it.  I get one caller, then another raises, so into the muck my cards go.

Unfortunately for me, when Dave gets to my table, the deck changes on me and I go totally card dead, which is not what you want to have happen after the antes kick in.  I’m getting a variety of trash (37, 38, 49, 69, 48, J5, etc) but unfortunately, no 27’s, especially on the button for Dave’s BB.  I’m not getting any real steal opportunities either.

The blinds now go up to 200/400/50 and I’m still looking down at the bottom of the trash barrel.  At least at this blind level, I actually see a couple face cards, unfortunately, the hands are K3o and Q4s.  I even saw a flop with the Q4s free from the big blind.  Of course I’m suited in clubs and the board is all red cards with an A.

I then look down at 66 from the SB and since it’s another limpfest, let’s try to setmine again.  Another swing and a miss, so into the muck they go again.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and I’m getting the same trash.  Unfortunately, I don’t get a single hand that I can play at this level.  The best opportunity that I had was on the button when it folded to me.  This normally would be a decent steal opportunity; however, since my stack is a shadow of what it was, I don’t very much fold equity, especially considering who the BB is.  I look down at 28o, so I muck.  Now, if it was 27o with Dave in the BB, especially with not much on the line, I’d have shoved on him in a heartbeat.

I end the second hour with 1675 in chips, but when the greens are raced off, I gain a black chip, so I’m now at 1700.  The other big problem is that in the entire time that Dave was at my table, we lost a whole whopping FOUR players, as there are 20 left.  That’s a problem, as I was hoping to gain some points tonight and drop one of my previous scores, but that can’t happen if nobody is getting KO’d.

The third hour starts at 500/1k/100.  That’s a HUGE problem, as I’m in the BB the first hand, so I need a hand her quick, like right now, since 1100 of my 1700 are already in the pot.  UTG makes an open-raise to 3k and it folds back to me.  I know he’s got a real hand, as he’s not going to make a raise like that when out of position with garbage.  I look down at A8o and into the pot my last 600 chips go.  He flips over pocket queens but I get an A on the flop, so now I’ve got some chips to hopefully outlast a few players and gain some league points. 

The next orbit goes by and I’m stuck back with the total trash hands (28, 39, 47, etc), so I have to muck all of them.  The problem is… nobody’s busting as there are still 19 left.

Another orbit of trash goes by and we’re only down to 18 left.  By this time of the night last week, we were already at the final table with only 8 left.  Now, we’re still at 18 left, which is not helping my cause at all.  When it gets to my SB, it folds to me and I look down at KQo and shove my last 1700 in, so my bet is 2200.  The BB only has to call another 1200 and does so.  He flips over Q5o, so I’ve got him dominated.  The flop is a total blank for both of us, but the turn is a 5, so now I’ve only got 3 outs.  The river is a blank, so I’m out in 18th.

Dave kept our streak alive though, as he got another final table.  He’s made the final table of every odd numbered week and I’ve made it every even numbered week.  Hopefully that bodes well for me next week, as the final is week 10.

Dave and I should both be able to qualify straight to the finals as the top 10 get a bye direct to the finals.  The others go to the semis and play down to ten players that transfer to make it twenty in the final next week at 7pm.  I will post a comment when the final standings come out tomorrow as to where we finished at.