There were 44 players that showed up to play tonight.  I started out at table 7 seat 2.  This was an interesting table.  There were 3 loose passives, 2 unknowns, 2 cash game players (don’t understand that if you want to bluff for your stack, you’re gone and can’t rebuy) and two of the seats were open.  It should be a table that I will do VERY well at.

I start off in the SB and amazingly enough, the loose passives all muck, so I take down my first pot when it folds to me and I complete.  Three hands later, the open seat to my left is taken by another very loose passive (known to play any 2 suited cards and make abnormally large bets with any pair or draw, as they were at my table the first week).

The next hand is one that I thought was going to set up perfect for me.  I’m in the SB at the end of the first level and there are 6, yes 6, limps in front of me.  I look down at 55 and obviously, I’m getting great odds to setmine and decide to complete since the player in the BB will basically never raise.  Unfortunately, the flop is AKT, so I have to check and fold.  If the flop would have been AK5, I’d have probably stacked at least 2 of them.

The next hand I get to play is from the SB at the next blind level, 50/100.  I get two limps in front of me (go figure, two of the loose passives) and I look down at 78h.  Once again, I complete knowing that the BB won’t raise.  We see a 4-way flop of 992 with the 9 of hearts.  Obviously, I check and the three others do too.  The turn is the 10 of hearts, giving me an open-ended straight flush draw.  Well, one other read that I have on the player to my left is that they won’t go 2 streets without betting very often, so I figure that I’ll check and let them do the betting for me.  Imagine this.  I see a bet of 500.  One of the others calls, so I have to call 500 into a pot of 1900 (26.3%).  I have 2 outs to a straight flush, 7 more to a flush and 6 more to a straight for 15 outs or 30% hand equity.  Needless to say, it’s an easy call.  The turn is the 3 of spades, so I check, having missed my big draw.  When the other two check, I just about fall out of my seat.  I’ve got 8 high with a missed draw… and chop?!  The player to my left had 78o and the other one had 68s.  No way would I have guessed that I was ahead there.

The next blind level (100/200), I wish that 23 was a prop hand.  In the two orbits at this level, I saw it six times (two suited and 4 offsuit).  I end the first hour with 3900 chips, down from my 4k starting stack.

The second hour starts and the antes kick in at 100/200/25.  After the second hand, we are down to 30 left and my table breaks.  I get moved to table 5 seat 4.

The action’s getting interesting, as the player in seat 10 turns into a maniac.  He shoves not once or twice, but three times the first orbit.  He also leaked off most of what he won in two other hands where he called preflop.  He unfortunately hasn’t shown a hand, so I can see if the shoves are with premiums or weak.  His fourth shove, he puts in 1900.  It folds to me and I look down at 44.  It’s almost half my stack to call and into the tank I go.  Someone shoving that often has to be wide and I’m most likely in a race with them if I play.  If I do play the hand, I’ll need to re-shove to try to isolate him.  The blinds are also going up next hand, so in one hand, I have less than 10BB.  I now notice something VERY interesting.  Seat 6 is grabbing for chips (unknown player and something I have NOT seen him do before).  Now, I need to add this into my thinking.  I really don’t mind taking a shot with seat 10, as I’m most likely in a race.  However, 44 plays much worse in a 3-way pot and I really don’t want to be in a 3-way race.  I decide to muck and when it gets to seat 6, he snap-calls.  I would have been facing only 3 overcards, but they all would have missed.  Even though I would have won the pot, I think that the fold is the best play here due to what I picked up on which makes it a 3-way pot instead of a HU pot.

The blinds now go up to 200/400/50 and the cards start to turn some.  I start off looking down at AKs in an unopened pot and make my standard raise to 1000.  Everyone folds and I get some badly needed chips.  On my button, I then look down at JJ with a limper in front of me (once again, imagine this, the loose passive limps).  I make a standard raise to 1400 and take down another one. 

The rest of this level is quiet for me, but as others bust, we hit 20 left, so our table is filled again.  This time I notice three that I need to watch out for.  Cowboy sits in seat 2, Ed (that won the WSOP ME seat three weeks ago) sits in seat 7, and seat 1 is another of the better players (but he’s not here long as he gets moved to the other table to balance it).

We get another player that moves into seat 1 to rebalance the tables again and he’s the one involved in the next hand.  He was one of the unknowns from my first table and plays tight and conservative on his bets.  He’s got a shorter stack and open-shoves 2350 on my BB.  It folds to me and I look down at KK, so needless to say, I snap-call.  My kings hold against his A8o and I’m up to over 8k chips.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and I get another sticky situation.  Cowboy’s down to 2400 chips and when it folds to him, Larry ships in his chips.  I look down at AQ and here we go again.  I’m fine playing AQ against a short-stack shove, especially from a better player.  However, I see seat six start grabbing for chips and counting out 2400.  This is a different player from the one that was grabbing for chips before and another unknown.  I look at it this way.  If I play the hand, I need to re-shove to try to isolate.  If the larger stack is already counting out chips, then instead of a heads-up pot, I’m probably going to end up in a 3-way pot.  AQ plays well against Larry’s range, but not in a 3-way pot.  After tanking a couple minutes, I decide to fold and seat 6 snap calls with TT to Cowboy’s 55.  Of course, the flop has an ace, but I still think that I made another good fold here.

I hit the second break with 8700 chip and 18 players left (Dave’s at the other table). 

We come back from break and the blinds are 500/1k/100, so I’m under 10BB again and am looking for a spot.  We get down to 13 players left and I get a place to take a shot.  I get a limp from seat 9 (serial limper) and a raise to 3200 from seat 3 (bigstack that is new and looks to be pretty fishy, Dave thought so too).  With a limper, that raise is a bit on the small side, as the table standard had been to 3300 with NO limpers.  I look down at AJo and have about 7k in front of me.  I’M ALL IN!  At 7BB, I basically have no other play, as I’m certainly not calling for basically half my stack.  If I’m going to be pot-committed, I’m shipping them in.  It folds around to seat 3 that calls me.  I see right away that my read on him being fishy was right on target, as he shows KQo.  KQ is a strong enough hand to shove with, but it is not strong enough to call a raise.  As the board runs out, I hit a J, but he hits a Q, so I’m out in 13th.

While it’s not the finish that I wanted, 13th is definitely a keeper score and with three top 18’s, I should be assured of getting into at least the semis.  Going into tonight, there have been 65 players that have played at least one of the two weeks and if you’re not in the top 40, you don’t get an invite to the semis.  The top 10 go straight to the finals and 11-40 play down to 10 in the semis.  At least I don’t have to sweat out getting in like I did the last league.  I’ll comment on where the three of us are in the standings when they come out over the next few days.  Dave got 8th tonight, so he’ll be moving up in the standings too.  JD on the other hand, was missing in action tonight, as he didn’t show up to play.