I start off the long weekend in HPT Event 1, a $230 buy-in NLHE tourney with 329 entrants.  The story of the day is the third hand into the tourney.  I get dealt AK in position and when it gets to me preflop, there are 3 limpers, so I make a standard raise to 6BB and get four callers.  The flop comes AK3 and it checks to me.  With 4 opps, I make my standard c-bet here which is a pot-sized bet that is called by two opps.  The turn is an 8 and when it checks to me, I make another standard bet of 2/3 pot but this time, I only get the HJ that calls (I’m on the button).  The river is a J and the opp now leads into me for just over 1/2 pot.  I know this bet is trouble, but the only hands this card could have put in front of me are JJ and QT… and both would have made –EV calls the entire way thru the hand.  I’m glad that I didn’t raise, which I was tempted to do, but since I did have showdown value, I just call.  The opp flips over JJ for a rivered set.  I come to find out later from his play that he cannot ever lay down a pair.  He chased down 55, 88, 77 all the way to the river and couldn’t even let go of them on the river if he missed.  I end up losing 40% of my chips to him, but go figure… he’s KO’d from the tourney way before I am.

The next hand that I’m involved in is KT from the BB where I see a free flop.  The flop is 10 7 2 and I lead out 2/3 pot due to having two opps.  The turn is a J and I decide to check for pot control and so do the others.  The river is another 10.  I make another 2/3 pot value bet and am called by an opp from mid position… that has A 10.  After this hand, I’m just trying to survive and get a hand and go card dead for a couple hours.  I eventually get KO’d when the board (that is notoriously slow updating player counts) shows 150 left… but I’m guessing that I probably finished about 120th or so.

After dinner, I decide to jump into a 1/2 NL cash game.  I play for five hours and see that the same luck followed me in there.  There were two big hands that cost me winning pots over $200 each.  The first one, I flopped 18 outs (flush, gutshot, two overs).  Needless to say, I needed to see both cards and totally missed and mucked on the river when I missed.  The other hand, I had A9s and got a flop with an A, value bet the flop and got two callers.  The turn is another A and I make another value bet and get only one caller.  The river is a 7, which should be a blank.   I make a thin-value bet on the river and get raised.  The only hand that the 7 could have helped is 77 and as I run the math of calling, I see that I only have to be right that they do not have 77 or a better A (which should have raised me earlier in the hand to protect against drawing to a full house) about 1 in 7… so I call.  Of course, the opp chased all the way to the river with 77 and hit a boat on the river.  Instead of being up over $400, I end the session down 1/3 of my buy-in.

Saturday begins another day and I start out in the sister casino to where the tourney is at and am playing a quarter deuces wild video poker machine.  This one turns out to be an omen for the day, as I hit five threes on it for $50, a good start to the day.  I then go to the other casino to see how Dave and Rob are doing in their HPT tourney.  Unfortunately, Rob gets knocked out early and goes back to winning in the cash games.  Dave gets down to about 50 left and gets 3-outed, then goes back to the cash games.  Instead of the cash games, I decide to jump into a $50 single table satellite.

After waiting for about an hour for a table to open to start the game, I get seated in seat 2.  The second hand of the tourney, I get dealt AK from UTG and make a standard raise (the first hand was a limpfest with a bunch of station play) and get three callers.  I get just about as good of a flop as I can hope for.  K 10 3 all clubs, which is great for me because my A is the ace of clubs.  I make a c-bet and everyone calls.  The turn is the 2 of clubs and I lead out again.  This time I only get one caller.  The river is the 5 of hearts and I lead out again and this time the opp folds.  I pick up a large pot and am now sitting very good position in the tourney, as the top 2 get ITM.
I fold everything for the next two orbits until I pick up 99 and since the blinds have gone up considerably, it’s a bit on the large side, but I open-shove and get called by seat 5 with AJo.  My 9’s hold and I’m now the chip leader. 

I now am on the button and get four limpers and I look down at KK and make a standard raise.  Both blinds and two limpers call.  The flop comes K 8 2 rainbow, so I’m thinking to myself.. how do I get them to put their chips into this pot.  Well, I didn’t have to worry about it because after tanking for a minute, the SB leads and the BB shoves that is called by seat 7.   I look at the SB and see that she’s already uncapped her cards, so needless to say, I’m all-in!  I take out two opps and now have a sizable chip lead and am in great position.  Knowing that I most likely have enough chips to cash, I’m invoking satellite play and unless I’m ahead after all 5 are on the board, I’m not playing hands and throwing away my chips.

It comes down to a cooler for the player to my right, as she shoves ATs into seat 5’s KK and is eliminated in third, so I win two $100 tournament vouchers and $20 cash which means that tomorrow’s tourney will be half-price.

Sunday starts and I enter HPT event 3, a $340 buy-in NLHE tourney with 181 entrants that pays the top 18.  I start out and am basically treading water the first two hour session.  I’ll win a pot, lose a pot and chip stack’s holding steady.  I do have a maniac at my table, but unfortunately, I don’t pick up a hand against them to be able to get any of their chips.  I’m really happy that this is a 20k starting stack tourney, as the next 4 hours that lead up to dinner break, I’m totally 100% card dead.  I went almost an entire two hours without even playing a hand.  I did however get to miss a couple blinds, as I’m playing musical chairs these four hours as I change tables four times.  At dinner break, I have just over 16k chips with just under 70 left.

After break, I get a situation where I can steal from the button with A9o when it’s folded to me.  The blinds now go up, which sets me up with a great re-steal stack, which I am able to take advantage of twice.  Mid/late position opps open and I shove over them, they muck and I take down decent pots.

The blinds now go up again and we’re down to 51 left and I’m on the button with a large re-steal stack.  I get a perfect scenario too.  MP makes a slightly larger than normal open that is flatted by the CO.  I look down at two black aces and immediately shove!  This is great for me, as I want to be called and could be called lighter due to the prior re-steals.  A double-up with the extra chips in the pot would set me up with an above average stack that I can easily get ITM with.  MP goes into the tank and after a couple minutes decides to muck.  The CO now goes into the tank and after about 3 min decides to call with JT spades.  That hand being flipped over brings back a BAD flashback.  Two years ago when I was in St. Louis playing in a WSOPC, I had black aces beat by JT that knocked me out in a pot that I could have sat out and cashed and now I’ve got the same cards (but in the WSOPC the opp saw a J on the flop before the chips went in).  The flop is 7 K 8 which now gives the opp a gutshot draw… here we go again!  The turn is a 4 but the river is… a nine.  UGH!  I’m gladly getting my chips in here every time in this situation.  Unfortunately, I got one of the 20% of the times where I get beat, so I’m out in 51st and lose out on cashing at least $860 from it.

I get home from the HPT on Monday and enter an online tourney with 508 players where second place wins a VIP ticket to the Derby Poker Championship ($350 value) and the winner gets two grandstand tickets to the Kentucky Derby!  Being a handicapper too that has been to the Derby multiple times in the past, I’m all over playing in this tourney.  I start this one out with an interesting hand in the first orbit.  I pick up QQ and get a raise and 3-bet in front of me.  With a made hand, I plan to 4-bet and since a standard 4-bet would pot-commit me, I 4-bet shove and get called by AK and KJ.  I fade the outs and am the early chip leader. 

The tourney continues and I go card dead for a while until I pick up KK and have someone shove into me.  Needless to say, I’m calling and double up again.  I get down to the final table a couple hours later and here come the coolers.  I have AA blow up on me which knocks me down to 8th and slowly build my stack back up to where I get to HU play.  I’m following my pattern for playing HU (if you haven’t watched Andre’s videos, they’re HIGHLY recommended as they have helped my HU game considerably) and slowly build a chip lead. 

Then, I run into a cooler.  I have KTs on a KK board and the chips go in on the river.  Go figure that the opp has AK?!  I’m now at a 2-1 chip disadvantage and start to build my stack again.  I get to where I have reversed it to a 2-1 advantage for me and I get coolered again when KK loses.  I slowly build my stack back up and pick up A5 from the SB.  The opp shoves and with an A and a 4-1 chip advantage, I call.  The opp turns over 67 clubs.  The board runs out Qd 8d 5d 2c Jc, so my pair of 5’s wins the pot and the tournament!!!!

I’ll find out where the tickets are tomorrow, but ANY grandstand seat for the Derby is a great deal. 

I already had one trip planned for May, but will gladly throw in another trip to Louisville this week.
It could have been a much better weekend, but I still won a satellite and the KY Derby tickets, so the weekend wasn’t a total loss.