There were 33 players that showed up tonight in the thirty below zero wind chill to play the league and I start out at table 5, seat 1.  As I look at my seat assignment, while I hate being in seats 1 or 10 due to not being able to observe all of the other players, I think that I have a decent draw for seats.  I’d have rather been in seat 2, as this player likes to be in a higher percentage of flops, but overall, I’m happy with my starting table and think that I should have a skill edge on just about all of them.

I see how this night’s going to go very early.  I win the BB for the first hand and look down at 33 and call a raise to 125 to setmine and get a flop of AKK.  Not exactly what I want to see with a small pair.  Needless to say, it’s an easy muck. 

Later in the level, I pick up 66 and with 3 limpers in front of me, I get another easy decision to limp behind in position to setmine.  This time however, seat 2 raises to 150.  The stacks are deep enough, so I’m in a 4-way pot trying to spike a 6.  Unfortunately, the flop is Q J 8 and when I get a bet and raise in front of me, this is another easy fold for me.

The blinds now go up to 50/100 and from MP, I look down at AKo.  I make a standard raise to 300 and get two callers.  The flop is 8 6 2 and the BB leads into me.  I know they’re playing very wide and will defend with just about anything, so with A high, into the muck they go.

Three hands later, I pick up AQ and with a raise to 250 already in front of me from a looser player, I flat and see a flop in position.  This time, the flop is K 8 6 and get led into again.  I know they have some part of the board, so into the muck my cards go and as I muck, the opp shows a K.

This is not the way that I wanted the night to go, as I’m already lower in chips from short-stacking it. Now I’m having to see flop after flop and missing everything.  If this doesn’t change, I’m going to be in shove mode a whole lot faster than I really want to be.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and I pick up 55 and limp behind again.  Go figure, I get three broadways on the flop, so it’s another easy check/fold.

The next hand, I look down at AK of clubs and make a standard raise to 500.  Seat 3 now 3-bets me to 1500.  It folds around to me and with 1250 more in front of me, here goes nothing… I’M ALL IN!  Needless to say, seat 3 calls and flips over pocket jacks.  The flop is both good and bad as it’s J 4 Q.  The opp hits a set, but I now have a gutterball to a ten.  The turn is a K and the river is the 10 of diamonds so I get a badly needed double-up.  The break hits soon after and I’m sitting with 3550 chips, up from the 3k that I started with.

The second hour starts and the antes kick in.  I don’t have to wait long to get involved, as at the end of the first orbit, I get three limps in front of me and look down at KK from the BB.  I make a standard raise to 1100 (2.5BB+1BB for each limper) and expected to get action from at least one, if not two of the limpers.  Unfortunately one of them tanks, then folds (says after the hand that he folded A9).

The blinds now go up to 200/400/50 and I’m now going totally card dead.  On my BB, I get a shorter stack that shoves, but when it folds to me, while I’ll call his stack-size very wide here, a suited Effsea is not in that range… and into the muck they go. 

I then get another hand that I really want to play.  I get a short-stack shove, but then a larger stack re-shoves.  When it gets to me on the button, I look down at two red 5’s.  Of all the pots where everyone shoves instead of limps, why now?  If I was up against the short stack, I’d think about re-shoving to isolate myself, but I’m not calling two shoves with it for my tourney life… into the muck my lucky hand goes.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and due to being card dead (kept getting Q6 and 29 all night), I’m now looking for any spot to shove.  I get my chance when the shortest stack at the table in seat 10 shoves.  I’ve got 1950 in front of me and look down at 99 and am hoping that a re-shove will isolate him as basically all of the table is very short.  I’M ALL IN!  It folds to seat 4, which flats for the overwhelming majority of his stack?!  Interesting.  If I’m in his shoes and want to play the hand, I’d have just re-shoved.  The reason I’d re-shove again is that by flatting, he’s letting the BB (one of the best players in the league that has already won a week), have irresistible pot odds for just about anything.  Obviously, he calls too, so I go to a 4-way flop… not what I want with a marginal pair.  The flop is K 8 3 and now seat 4 shoves the rest of his stack in and since he missed, the BB mucks.  I know that seeing the K is a problem and sure enough, seat 4 flips over the amateur hand (KJ).  The board runs out two blanks for me and I’m out somewhere around 19th-20th place.  There were multiple people that busted from not only my table, but another one and at least one of them didn’t swipe their player’s card, so that’s why I’m not sure exactly where I went out. 

It’s not the finish that I wanted, but it’s a score that I can keep if I have to.  It will be interesting when the new leaderboard comes out, as there were 7 players above me that had already missed a week and with less showing up today, that number could grow.  Playing all 9 weeks is worth 25 bonus points, AFTER, your average score is calculated from your 7 best scores, so the players that will miss the bonus might be ahead of me now, but they won’t be after this is added in.  I just need to get a hand to hold for me so that I can get a top 3 or another two final tables, so that I can skip the semi-finals this time.

There were two plays that were made in hands that I wasn’t involved in that stuck out to me, that I wanted to bring up as a lesson for everyone.

The first was by a player on the button with 8BB.  It folded to them and while I’m absolutely going to shove with a very wide range there, 28o is nowhere near that range.  If I just paid the blinds, I have 6 more hands before the blinds get back to me, to find a better hand to shove with.  Yes, it’s a good spot for a shove, but especially with the BB being another short stack that will be calling very wide, I need to muck the 28o and find a better spot.  It did end up working for the player though, as they caught a miracle 8 8 on the flop, but it’s a huge –EV play.

The second one was in a hand where it folded to the SB in a hand where the BB only has just over 3BB left in front of them.  The SB decided to open-limp.  As any of you can tell from all of the tournament HA’s that I do, when I’m the first one into the pot, I’m either raising or folding, not open-limping, as open-limping is a play that is very exploitable.  Imagine this, the BB instantly ships.  If I’m the BB here, with a limp in front of me, I’m shoving two wet bar napkins in this spot as my cards are basically irrelevant due to the pot odds.  The SB tanks for a second… then folds?!  If you’re ever in a situation like this, with the BB only having 3BB left in front of them, either open-shove, so that the BB has to play for all of their chips or just fold to start with.  Limping, then folding is just throwing an extra 1/2 BB into the air and saying… please take these chips, I don't want them.