Ever have one of those days where you just knew things would be trouble?  Well that was today for me.  I got hit with the flu Sunday night and while I’m starting to turn the corner on it, I still wasn’t anywhere near 100% going into tonight’s last league qualifier.  I make my usual stop at Starbucks, which is on the way from home to the casino.  However, unlike any of the previous times, as I’m driving to the casino, the lid comes off my coffee and I end up wearing about 1/3 of it in my lap... yuck!

I get to the casino and I start out at table 7, seat 10 and see that we have 28 that show up to play.  In order for me to get into the top 10 and skip the semis next week, I figure that I need a top 3, so I’m going to come out swinging. 

I start in the second hand of the tourney, as there are 3 serial limpers in front of me and I look down at AKo.  I make a standard raise to 300 and get one caller.  The flop is A T 5 with two clubs and when the opp checks, I fire out a 350 chip bet and take down my first pot of the night. 
Three hands later, I look down at 88 and decide to limp behind this time into a family pot.  The flop Is A K 7.  I check and so does everyone else, which I think is a little weird, as the flop should have hit someone.  The turn is a 2 and I check again, expecting to see a bet from a king.  Everyone checks again.  The river is a 5 and I decide to make a 150 chip value bet if none of the four opps has an A nor K, then I should be good.  I get one caller and my 88 holds when the opp flips over a 2. 

The blinds now go up to 50/100 and I’m back at it again.  I look down at 44 and make a standard opening raise to 300 and get one caller.  The flop is K 7 2, so with only one face card, I think it’s a great board to make a c-bet at and bet 375.  The opp mucks and I take down another one.

I get another opportunity a few hands later, as I look down at AJs on the button and make another raise to 300.  This time I take the pot down without a fight.

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and one table breaks, as we started with 4 tables.  I start off by looking down at AKs and make another standard opening raise, to 500.  Another pot is mine preflop.
Two hands later, I look down at AA and once again raise to 500.  This time I get a caller from seat one.  The flop is K T 7 and I fire out 650.  The opp says “Well, if I knew there was a Q coming, I’d call” and flips over AJ. 

Three hands later, I look down at 66 and have two limpers in front of me.  I decide to limp behind and try to setmine.  The flop totally misses me, so this one’s an easy muck.

I then look down at AQo and make another standard raise to 500.  This time I get two callers.  The flop is K56, all diamonds.  The blind leads out for 1200, so this one’s another easy muck since I don’t have a diamond.

The last hand before break, I look down at KQs and open again to 500 and get a reaction that I did not want to see as the tightest player at the table shoves on me.  Well, KQ is good enough to open with, but it’s nowhere near strong enough to call a shove with, especially from the tightest player at the table, so into the muck my cards go.  I end the first hour with 4050 chips, up from my 3k starting stack.

We get back from break and surprisingly, we’ve only lost 3 players in the first hour (although two were 1 and 2 in the standings).  With the antes kicking in, I’m going to need to be accumulating more chips.  The first orbit is an easy one for me, as I’m getting total trash, so have to fold everything. 

I then look down at AKs and make another standard opening raise to 500, but get raised to 1200 from the SB.  I decide to flat and see the flop in position.  The flop is three low cards and the opp bets 1200 again.  I have some history with this opp, as he’s the one that I had to showdown 24s a couple weeks ago to.  He’s either got a set or a big pair, so I let this one go to the flop bet.

At the end of the level, I get two limpers and decide to call with QTo.  The flop is QJ9 and I lead out for 600.  Seat 1 raises to 1200.  Well, calling this is going to pot commit me, so I need to shove or fold.  I’ve got top pair and an open-ended straight draw and have two cards to get there if I’m behind.  I decide to shove and get snap-called by QJo.  Unfortunately, I don’t catch any of my outs to the straight, so I’m out in 20th place.

With this finish, I’m off to the semis next Tuesday at 3pm and then hopefully to the finals at 7pm, where someone will win a WSOP ME seat.  I haven’t run very good this whole league, so I hope that I can get a run going next Tuesday and have a shot to win the $10k seat.  It will be really interesting though to see exactly who ends up in the semis, as a number of the better players in the league are going to be in the semis… it may end up being harder to get thru to the finals, than to actually win the finals.