There are some changes to the league this time around for the 47 players that showed up tonight .  First, they increased the price $10/week, in order to help get $10k into the prize pool.  Secondly, everyone has to play a minimum of 7 weeks to be eligible for the finals or semi-finals (it used to be six and I'm planning on playing at least 8 weeks, if not all 9).  Thirdly, like the previous leagues, the top 10 in points go straight to the finals, but ONLY places 11-40 are eligible for the semis.  If you place lower than 40th, you're out.   Finally, the BIG change.. a WSOP ME seat is GUARANTEED to the winner of the finals!

I start out at table 8, seat 8 and quickly see I got a pretty rotten table draw.  Seat 3 is a legit league reg that is a candidate to win the whole thing, seat 4 has been top 2 in multiple leagues with multiple weekly wins, seat 6 is another top 5 'usual suspect' and seat 7 just got back from playing in the WSOP ME that he made it to day three, winning his way in thru this league last year.  Throw in a couple of new faces that turned out to play pretty decent (from their bet sizes and what they were showing down) and it makes for a pretty rough table.

The first hand I get involved in, is the second hand of the toruney from the SB.  It folds to the cutoff, that limps and with the BB being AWOL at the moment, I decide to call and see a flop with K4 of clubs.  The flop is A 3 5 with the A of clubs.  Since the opp was NOT reaching for chips while I was deciding my action, I decide to check (one of his tells from previous leagues was that he would reach for chips before it was his turn to act when he had a monster).  He checks behind and I see the 8 of clubs on the turn, so while I've only got ace high, I have 12 outs to big hands.  Since he's not reaching for chips, I decide to check again and this time he bets out 50 chips.  Well, I need to put 50 into a pot that will be 250, which is 20% pot odds and with 12 outs, I have 24% equity, so I gladly call.  The river is a blank, so I check again and fold to his bet of 150.

That's it for the first level.  The blinds now go up to 50/100 and I pick up two chances to set mine into family pots, once with 77 and once with 66.  Unfortunately, both miss, so I muck to flop bets on both of them since the boards came out all face cards. 

Now for the interesting hand of the night that I was not involved in.  Seat 5, a new league player that is an older guy, opens for 300 and is called by seat 3 from the blind.  The flop is A K rag and seat 3, the good, aggressive regular, shoves.  Seat 5 now goes into the tank for about 5 minutes and eventually decides to call.  Seat 3 flips over AQ and seat 5.. KK?!  Seat 3 looks at the 3 of us in seats 6-8 and is like... What in the world was that?  We all look back and say... we've got no clue.  I know if that's me that is last to act, with a set of kings, I'm putting my chips in so fast it'd make the opp's head spin!  Needless to say, I make a HUGE mental note on seat 5 with that one.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and I pick up AQs from UTG.  I make my standard raise to 500 and pick up a set of blinds.  If everyone is going to fold to me, I'm going to step up and start stealing more.  I get another one with KJo from the cutoff and a third with A8 from the button.  I end the first hour with 4125 chips, up from the 4k starting stack.

The second hour starts and my table is the first to break.  I get moved to table 6, seat 9.  This table is more interesting, as I only know seat 2 (cash player that is normally too loose for tourney play), seat 3 (prior league winner) and seat 10 (seat 4 from my initial table).  The second hand, I look down at AT and open from UTG to 500 as the blinds are 100/200/25.  Everyone folds and I take down another pot. 

The blinds now go up to 200/400/50 and I look down at AKo from UTG+1 and make a raise to 1k and get seat 2 that calls.  His call is really fishy, as he's only got about 2500 in chips to start with.  The flop is Q/rag/rag and I know the guy is going to shove and don't want to commit that many chips on a 6 outer.. if I even have 6 outs.  I check, he shoves, I muck, and he shows a set of queens. 

The next hand that I get involved in is from the SB.  Seat 2 limps and seat 6 raises to 1k.  I look down at AKs and decide just to call since I have never seen seat 6 before and she raised, instead of limping behind as she had done in the other hands she was involved in.  If it would have been a player that I knew, I'd have probably shoved as a squeeze play, but with an unknown opp and needing to ladder climb some since there were still over 30 left, I decided that calling and playing fit/fold on the flop was the best thing I could do.  That decision, as it turns out, saved me a ton of league points.  I totally miss the flop and seat 6 bombs it and is check/called by seat 2.  I'd have missed the entire board and been out of the tourney in 34th place becuase there is no way she'd have folded her QQ to my shove.  Seeing that hand helps, becuase after seeing a raise with a made hand and a bunch of limps, I'd tend to bet the limps were marginal, unmade hands... info I thoroughly plan on using in future weeks.  Another table breaks, so we're under 30 left.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and my next shot is from the button into a family pot with 33.  Unfortunately, I miss the flop again and have to give it up to a flop bet.  The cards now take a huge turn for the worse for me.  I go two straight orbits and do not see a face card, nothing suited and no spots in which to steal a set of blinds, as others are shoving due to being short-stacked. 

I'm now down to a whole BB left and from the cutoff, get a limp by seat 8.  I look down at J4s and with less than a BB due to paying the ante, I ship in the rest of my chips.  Both blinds call and I see a four way flop of 4 5 9.  Well, that really should have missed everyone.  Seat 2 shoves and is called by seat 8.  We flip the cards over and seat two shows AQ and seat 8 shows A8.  The turn is a J, which locks up the main pot and the river is an 8, knocking out seat 2.  I go from under a BB to 2700 in chips.   

The next hand that I'm involved in is the last hand before break.  I'm in the BB and the SB decides to limp.  I look down at 99 and with what is soon to be 2BB in another ten seconds, snap-shove!  Seat 8 looks at his cards again, says.. "Well, I've doubled everyone else, I'll double you too" and calls with A5?!  I figured that a call would end up in a race, but I've only got to dodge a three-outer with ace/rag.  Unfortunately for me, the first card on the flop is an A, so I'm out in 22nd place (may end up 21st if someone forgot to swipe-out, as you get demoted to last if you don't swipe your player's card when you get ko'd). 

It's not the finish I wanted, but with not having much for cards or situations, I could have done a ton worse.  This week isn't going to help me get straight into the finals (like Dave's 7th will) but it definitely is a keeper for me to get into the semis and not have to worry about being out of the top 40 and missing the semis.  I also was able to get a pretty reliable read on about 8 of the new players, so this will hopefully help me in future weeks.