Thirty-two players showed up tonight in the bad snowstorm to play week five.  With as bad as the weather was, I was surprised this many showed up.  I start off at table 7, seat 1.  I’m glad that I’ve been playing some 6-max games online, as the first 2 levels were not played with more than 8 at the table.  The tables are not combined until after the second level, when late registration ends, so we have some extensive short table play.  I actually start off with only 6 players at my table.

From the first two hands, I see what the hand of the night is, 95s, as I start off with spades, then get clubs the next hand.  The first hand I’m involved in, I get three limps in front of me and I look down at 77.  I decide to limp behind and the BB raises from 50 to 150 (small considering the whole table’s in the hand).  Everyone calls, so we go to a 7-way flop as we just added a player that late registered.  I see a flop of A K T, so this makes it an easy muck for me.

The following two orbits were a bunch of easy decisions… see cards, throw into the muck.  The blinds now go up to 50/100 and I get another perfect situation to setmine on the button when the whole table limps.  I look down at 66 and gladly call behind.  The flop is K J 6 and somehow it checks to me.  With the entire table in the hand, someone at least has a K, J or broadway draw, so I need to make a bet here both for value and to protect against a broadway draw, so I bet 600 (a pot-sized bet) and get two callers.  The turn is an A.  With everyone limping preflop, QT is in basically everyone’s range as the others would have called me with an OESD.  It checks to me and I fire out 800 and both players call again (was surprised one of them didn’t raise me).  The river is an 8 and both opps check to me.  Here’s one of those moments that we’ve all had at one time or another…. I check… and immediately say to myself “That’s stupid, I just missed a value bet”.  I turn over my set and win the pot, but I know that I left a number of chips on the table by not betting.

After screwing up that hand, I think I played the next one pretty well.  I pick up JJ and make a standard raise to 300.  I get one caller (smarter player that’s in the top 10) and he’s got position on me.  The flop is K 8 4 and I bet 450.  I get called again.  The hands I’m putting him on, are either slowplaying a K or floating me with Ax and both plays are ones I’ve seen him make multiple times before.  He could have 8x too, but there are no real draws for him to have.  The turn is an A, so now the only hands in his range that I’m ahead of are 89, 78.  All of his K’s or A’s now have me crushed.  I check to him and he bets out 1200 (well over half his remaining stack).  I know this player’s smart enough to know when he’s pot-committed, so the rest are going in on the river and I’m not putting another chip into this pot with third pair, so into the muck my JJ goes.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and table 8 breaks as we’re at 27 players left.  The first orbit, I don’t pick up anything for cards (but I did see 95s another two times).  I then look down at 33 and since I limped the first two small pairs, this time after a limp, I make a standard raise to 700 and take this one down preflop.

On my BB, I get two limpers in front of me and I look down at AQ.  I decide to check my option and see the flop as my gut was telling me that one of them (seat 6) has a big one.  It’s a good thing I did because the flop was K/rag/rag and after I check, seat 4 bets 600 and seat 6 snap-shoves.  The snap shove has to be either aces or a set and after seat 4 mucks, seat 6 shows his aces.  That decision saved me a bunch of chips because if I’d have raised pre, I’d have made it 900, then had to put another 1k+ in as a c-bet to represent a K.

Two orbits later, on my BB again, I run into almost the same situation.  This time I get two limps then someone else going Hollywood before limping behind.  I’m smelling aces again and look down at AJs.  This would be another one where I’d normally raise, but with the action in front of me, especially the read on a monster, I check my option.  This time the flop is Q/rag/rag and after I check, when it gets to the one that acted out of character preflop, they overbet shove… and show aces when everyone mucks.

The last hand before break, I’m UTG and look down at AQ and make a standard raise to 500.  It folds to seat 6 that goes straight into the tank.  With under a minute to go until break, I’m not sure if he’s just stalling time or has a middle pair and is debating calling.  He eventually mucks and I take down another pot when the rest fold.  At break, he told me he mucked TT.

I end the first hour with 4025, up from my 3k starting stack, with what I thought was 23 left, but someone at another table busted on the last hand before break, so we’re at 22 left.

We start the second hour and the antes kick in.  Table 5 loses a player the first hand, so we’re now at 21 players left.  I start off in the BB and after three limps, I look down at 77 and check to try to setmine.  The flop totally misses me and into the muck my cards go when the opps start betting.

I now start to go totally card dead, which is not what you want to have happen after the first hour’s up, as the blinds go up quickly and between that and the antes, you’ll be a short stack really quickly.  By the second level this hour, a starting stack at a full table won’t even last 3 orbits.  By the last level of this hour, a starting stack has an M of less than 1.5.  Due to this, I need to find some cards or situations to steal… and quick.

I don’t get to play another hand the first of these levels, but right after the blinds go up to 200/400/50, it folds to me in the SB.  I make a standard raise to 1k (2.5BB) and the opp folds A7o face-up thinking he was dominated… NOT!  My J8s quickly goes into the muck without anyone seeing it.

The next orbit, I get a bunch of trash and hit the jackpot on my BB.  I get a short-stack shove and if it folded back to me, I’m going to have call with anything as it would only be 425 more for me to call.  Fortunately for me, the button re-shoves, so when I look down at my 27s, it’s an easy muck.

When it gets to my button, it folds to me and I look down at ATs and make another standard raise to 1k and take another one down preflop.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/75 and we’re still at 21 players left.  Normally the second hour is the hour of carnage, when everyone busts, but we’ve played over 2 levels now without a single person busting.  I was hoping to be in the mid/lower teens by now. 

The first orbit here, I get a bunch more trash and have to muck everything, especially with two of the hands being shoves.

It then folds to me again in the SB and I look down at K7s and have 1750 in front of me. I’M ALL IN!  The BB tanks for a second and calls.  I’m thinking he has A/rag again, like he folded to me last time, but he flips over T6o?!  I thought I’d be behind, but I’m a 2-1 favorite.  The flop is Q J 3, so now I’m a 3-1 favorite.  The turn is a 9.  I’m a 7-2 favorite now, but while they lost their outs to a T, they pick up an OESD.  As soon as I see the 9, I say to myself… "Now’s when I’m going to hit my pair".  Sure enough, what’s the river, a king that gives me a pair, but hits the opp’s straight and knocks me out in 21st. 

When the standings come out, it will be interesting to see how many above me have missed.  I was 16th going into this week, but with 5 above me having missed, I was basically in 11th.  I still need to get another deep run or two to get into the top 10, but with more and more players missing, maybe only one more deep run will be enough to get me in, due to the bonus points.  I’m playing much better than what my league standing is, so hopefully that catches up and I’ll be able to get a run going (preferably in week 10 when the WSOP ME seat’s on the line).