Tonight there were 55 players that showed up to play in the new session of the league.  I start out at table 3, seat 7 and notice two very familiar faces at other tables.  Dave is at table 8 and JD is at table 5 (more from both of them later).

As I look around at my table, I definitely see that I’ve got a good sized skill advantage over basically the entire table.  The closest one to being a threat is seat 2 and I’ve got a very good read on him due to his bet sizes from multiple prior leagues.  The rest of the table were loose/passives, LAG’s and a couple tight/passives. 

The action at this table is crazy and unfortunately, I get absolutely nada for cards to take advantage of it.  Chips are flying and being spewed by the handfuls and I keep seeing trash.  At 50/100, I finally do get to see a 5-way flop from the BB with JT of hearts but the flop is Axx with all black cards.  Needless to say, I have to check/fold when a tight passive bets, as I know he’s got an A.

This continues for the first 2+ blind levels.  I keep having to fold and the chips keep flying from the other players.  Two players, then a third get KO’d from my table.  Unlike the last league, where table 3 was the third to last table to break, my table is the first one that breaks, right after I pay the 200 for the BB.  I draw table 8 seat 4 and when I get there, I notice this table is tons tougher, as there are a few capable players at it and some guy named Dave in seat 3.  With him in seat 3, I’m very happy to have him on my right.  The one problem with the change, I go right back into the BB… not a good thing when you’re card dead. 

This table starts out and is no better than the last one.  Bottom 10% hand after bottom 10% hand.  Finally, after an orbit and a half, I get a limp in front of me from seat 1 and I look down at AQo and make a standard raise to 700 (2.5BB+1BB for the limp).  Everyone folds and I finally, almost an hour into the game, take down my first pot.  I end the first hour with 3475 chips, down from my 4k starting stack.

The second hour starts and the antes kick in.  I get nothing the whole first orbit, then I get a chance to open from MP with 66 and make a standard raise to 500.  I then get 3-bet to 1500 and another opp calls the 1500.  Well, with 3k in chips, I either need to shove or fold and with two opps, I’m definitely not liking my 66 as much, so I’m forced to muck.  I then get a tap on the shoulder and find out that I’m moving in order to rebalance the tables, so I’m off to table 5, seat 6.

 I get there and see that seat 7 is JD and he’s got a HUGE stack!  I’m thinking to myself… Great, I go from having Dave on my right, to JD on my left… this is NOT good.  I also see another problem.  I’m right back into the BB.  Two table changes, twice, directly into the BB.  Having JD on my left is not a good thing, because my tight table image won’t mean anything, because with as large of a stack as he has, I’m going to get basically zero blind steals from late position, as I expect him to call me with just about any two cards.

The rest of this level is a repeat of the prior tables, basically nothing for cards and I need to muck every hand.  Table 8 now breaks and who moves into seat 1, some guy named Dave.  This really makes the table interesting, because while he’s got more chips than me, he’s still a shorter stack and I know that JD is going to try to take out either one of us every chance he gets. 

I finally get a situation to try and win a pot when the blinds go up to 200/400/50, as I look down at AK and open to 1000.  Everyone mucks and I take down a pot.

I then have to fold and fold and fold, until I get down to 1950 chips.  On Dave’s BB, it folds to me and I look down at AA and with less than 5BB, I’ve got one play, “I’M ALL IN!”.  It folds around to Dave who says, “I have to call” and puts his chips in.  He’s got me covered and turns over JJ.  The board runs out all blanks, so I double up and Dave’s left with a very short stack.

Dave is able to accumulate some chips, and then gets into it with JD.  Dave shoves and JD goes into the tank for a second and calls.  Dave has JJ and JD flips over 89o.  The flop is K Q x.   The turn is a J, so Dave has a set, but it gives JD a gutshot.  The river is a 10, so Dave’s out and JD’s got about 16k chips.  Yes, these beats happen just as much live as they do online!

The blinds go up to 300/600/75 and I’m back to being card dead but luckily, another table breaks to get us to 30 left and we’re at a full table, so the blinds don’t quite hit me as fast.

There is one very interesting hand here that has a great lesson to beginning players.   There is a limp by UTG (passive that has chips and was open-limping all night at my first table.  I also know from prior league games that this player hates to fold in a big pot and will stay with just about anything if the pot’s big enough).  It folds around to seat 3, that shoves in his short stack of 1600.  It folds around to the button that goes into the tank.  Just looking at seat 3 and forgetting about the player that open-limped, the button puts in about 8k chips, which is plenty enough to cover seat 3.  However, he does NOT even look at UTG’s stack size, which has over 12k in it.  UTG now shoves!  Well, with as many chips as the button has in the pot already, he now has to call off UTG’s limp/re-shove (which screams monster hand).  Seat 3 flips over KK, the button shows A9, and UTG shows AA.  The board runs out xx9A9.  Seat 3 is eliminated, but because the button did not even look to see how many chips UTG had, he is now crippled.  Remember to always know what every opp’s stack size is before making a play.  A9 plays well against a short-stack shover’s range, but it does not play anywhere near as well in a 3-way pot, especially when you have to put in over 40% pot equity.  If the button had looked and saw how large of a stack UTG had, it would be a much better play to call or even fold A/rag here instead of re-shoving.  If it had been only the blinds, then I’d re-shove to try and isolate with A9, as they both had shorter stacks that couldn’t damage me… but not with one of the only two stacks at the table that can cripple me already in the hand.

Right at the end of the level and just as I pay the BB, my table breaks as we’re down to 20 left.  I move to table 6 seat 3 and have 3525 in chips.  I come back from break and see that I won the race for the greens at the table, so I’m now at 3600.  However, for the third time tonight, I go right into the BB at my new table.  UGH!   This really isn’t good, as the blinds are now 500/1k/100.  I have to muck my first 6 hands at this table, as others are going all-in and I look down at 37, 28, 49, 37 again, 29 and 38.  I will shove wide here, but not that wide, especially to prior shoves. 
I then get a shove from the player on my right (third time he’s shoved, so I know he’s wider too) and look down at 33.  In go my last 1400. 

Now, we get another lesson for everyone.  It folds to seat 6, that I immediately saw had no clue what he was doing, when I got to the table.  He puts out 1400 and puts them over the bet line?!  Well, there’s a problem with that.  The bet isn’t 1400, it’s 7300 (the original shove’s stack)!  The floor is called over and he correctly tells the player that the 1400 has to stay in the pot, but he does have the option to fold to the 7300 total, if he wants.  He tanks for a couple minutes, then mucks.  Know what the amount of the bet is before you make an action and NEVER put chips across the betting line that you do not want in the pot, because once they cross the line, they stay in the pot.

Everyone else folds and the opp flips over KQ, so I got my chips in, not only into a large +EV situation, but as the favorite to win the hand.  Unfortunately for me, the second card on the flop is a K and the turn/river run out 22, so I’m out in 16th place. 

One thing I will be interested in, is to see how many of the players forgot to swipe their players cards when they were knocked out, as the first few weeks, there are always ones that do it and if so, they get demoted to last place points, regardless of where they finished (I'm expecting to see a large number of players that did this).  It wasn’t the finish that I wanted, but seeing how I only had a few chips more than a starting stack at my highest point, a 16th place of 55 isn’t bad and is a keeper score since we keep our 7 best out of 9 weeks.  Hopefully next week will be better.