There were 40 players that showed up tonight, which was less than I expected, since we hand 47 and 50 the first two weeks.

I draw table 6 seat 8 and when I get to the table, I see a number of unknowns, but know that seats 5 and 10 are two of the better players in the league and that seat 9 is open.

I start off the first level (25/50 blinds) and really don’t get anything playable.  I did get to see a free flop from the BB with 48o, but quickly mucked when the flop brought three broadway cards.

The blinds now go up to 50/100 and on my button, there is a raise to 225 from seat 2 and a call from seat 3.  I look down at 77 and since everyone’s stack is deep enough, decide to call to set mine.  The SB calls too and I see a flop that totally misses me.  Needless to say, when I see a Q and a K on the board and a bet in front of me, my cards are going into the muck.

The next hand is a couple hands later, when I pick up AK and make a standard opening raise to 300 when it’s folded to me.  Everyone else folds and I take down my first pot.

When the button gets to me, I get involved in another hand.  There is a raise to 225 from seat 3 (unknown prior to tonight that has already gone to showdown with 35o and 28o and open-mucked to three other bets that he made on the river and got called, which I saw later in the game).  I look down at A5o and decide to call, as with what he’s been playing, I’m ahead of his range.  Seat 10 decides to come along and we see a 3-way flop of A 8 3 with two hearts.  It checks to me and I bet 375, guessing that seat 10 will fold to me if he doesn’t have an A and with top pair, even with no kicker; I’d be ahead of seat 3.  Seat 10 mucks and I’m called by seat 3, not a total surprise.  The turn is the 9 of hearts and when he checks, I bet 500 and am called.  The river is the 4 of hearts and he checks again.  I know he’s liable to call with worse, from his prior actions, and decide to bet 1k instead of checking since I have showdown value.  I knew it was a stupid bet the moment that I made it.  He calls and flips over 66 with the 6 of hearts and I muck my 5 of hearts.  Losing when I’m the favorite doesn’t bother me, but when I make a stupid play and spew off a quarter of my stack in a tourney that everyone is short-stacked to begin with, doesn’t sit too well with me, as I should be smarter than that... but everyone makes mistakes and we need to learn from them.  I also now have a very good read on this player to use in the future weeks, with the way he bets/checks on the river.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and for this blind level, I’m totally card dead.  29o must have been the hand of the night, as I saw it three times more at this blind level, in addition to the two times I had it at the first blind level.  The first hour ends and I’m sitting with only 1400 chips from my 4k starting stack.

The second hour starts and the antes kick in at 100/200/25.  I’m now down to where I need to try to find something to shove, as the blinds are going to double from here within 20 minutes.  The first orbit, I don’t get a thing.  Don’t see an A and only see one face card, Q3s with a raise and 2 calls in front of me.  The second orbit doesn’t start any better and I don’t even get a playable hand in the blinds.

When I’m UTG, I finally look down at something playable in AJo and with 5BB left, open shove.  It folds around to seat 3 , that snap-calls.  Seat 5, the other better player at the table, then tanks for a bit (that one worried me, as I knew if he called, I’d be in deep trouble), but decides to muck along with the others.  I flip over my AJ and see that he snap-called with KQo, so I’m a 60-40% favorite.  KQ is something that I’ll happily shove with if my stack size allows for an open-shove, but unless it’s a real short stack that is shoving, it’s nowhere near strong enough to call with.  This is especially true in a league format, where everyone will be shoving real hands, as if they don’t have a hand, they want to ladder climb for more league points.  The first card that I see on the flop is a J, but I see that I’m not ahead for long as another of the flop cards is a Q.  The turn is a blank and the river is too, so I’m out in 29th of 40.

This finish won’t help for trying to get into the top 10, but it’ll help to lock up a seat in the semi-finals worst case.  It also makes my decision for the 13th an easy one, because unless I get a top 2 next week, I won’t need to worry about missing a week.  It doesn’t matter whether I’m 11th or 40th, I’d be in the semis either way. 

If this is what ends up happening, I’ll be playing in at least two HPT events.  I’m going to play Event 1, a $360 2-day tourney with a 32k starting stack and 30 minute levels on Aug 9th-10th.  Event 5, which is a $185 bounty tournament with a $25 bounty on everyone’s head on Aug 13th.  I’ll also play one of the ME satellites (day/price to be determined).  There is some good news, that I was able to win a $360 HPT seat in an online tourney.  I’ll use the $360 for event 1 if I can, if not, then I’ll play a $360 MTT ME satellite with it, where the top 20% get into the $1650 main event.