Well, this one is the week for the seat.  I go sign in and see that there are three tables of seven players and I draw table 7, seat 1.  I see that I have an interesting seat, as one of the better players is in the 2 seat.  There are also three others that I need to watch out for.  The good thing, is that this is a satellite, so I only need to outlast 11 players in order to get to the finals.

I start the night off by winning the button and the first orbit is uneventful.  I finally get a chance to open the second orbit, as I look down and see QQ and make a standard raise to 150 (3BB+1BB for each limper) and win my first pot when the others fold.

When it gets to my BB, I get two limpers in front of me and look down at 33 and decide to try and setmine.  Unfortunately I miss, so I let this one go on the flop.  I notice on this first level, that everyone’s playing very tight and more passive than normal.  I’m hoping to be able to take advantage of the passive play.

The blinds now go up to 50/100 and I get an opportunity.  It folds to me in the cutoff with AJs and I make a standard opening raise to 300 and take down another pot. 

The very next hand, I pick up QQ and make another standard raise to 300 when it folds to me.  I get flatted by seat 3 (read on this opp is LP preflop and fit/fold postflop).  The flop is K 8 2 and I decide to make a c-bet of 350.  The opp tanks for a second and min-raises me.  This to me, with my read on the opp is a huge red flag.  As passive as he is, this is at least a K, if not even better and needless to say, my QQ is behind and I’ve only got two outs.  Into the muck my queens go, along with about 20% of my stack.

The rest of this level is very uneventful, as I’m getting junk and the action at the table is starting to pick up.  With more and more of the opps raising, the passivity of the table is almost gone (minus two opps).

The blinds now go up to 100/200 and I get what I believe is going to be an easy spot to get chips in my BB.  It folds to the SB that completes (serial limper), and when this happens, I’ve already decided to raise to standard raise to 500 before I even look at my cards.  I see A3o, so I’m guessing that I’m even ahead.  The flop however is a scary one of QJ6.  The opp likes playing broadways, so it smacks their range.  The opp checks and while I’d normally c-bet, I don’t like this situation for one, as the opp is basically never folding a pair, as they’re really sticky.  Due to this, I check behind and see a turn of the 4 of clubs.  The opp checks again and now is where I’m going to make my play and I put 500 chips into the pot.  The opp quickly folds and I pick up some badly needed chips.

An orbit later, we finally lose a player and consolidate to two tables.  My table breaks and I’m off to table 5, seat 6.  When I get there, I see that this is not a very good draw, as table 5 is much tougher than table 6, as 7 of the best players left are at my table.  Seat 4, which we’ll hear from later actually says to me when I sit down “How are you in the semis, I’d figure you’d have been in the top three?”  My reply was that I didn’t run very good and had a few earlier than normal exits due to it.  Those runs happen and you just have to go with the flow and keep playing your game.

The rest of this level is uneventful and I end the first hour with 3600 chips, down from my 4k starting stack and we have 18 left, with 10 transferring. 

It’s going to be harder to get chips, but I’m going to have to start swinging as the antes now kick in at 100/200/25.  The problem spots for most will be seats 2 and 4, as they are very loose and seat 2 is also nearing shove-mode. 

The first few hands are uneventful for me, but seat 2 doubles, so now that he has chips, I expect him to start seeing every flop that he can.  From the button, I look down at AJs and make a standard raise to 500 and get some badly needed chips when everyone folds.  The very next hand, I get a limper in front of me (go figure) and make a standard raise to 700 with AKs.  This time, I get called and see a king/rag/rag flop.  When it checks to me, I fire out 875 and take down another one.

A few hands later, I now get three limpers (go figure seats 2 and 4 are two of them) and when I look down at TT, I make another standard raise to 1100 and take down another one preflop.  While I’m taking this pot down, I hear three all-ins on the other table and we’re now down to 16 as two more are eliminated.

The rest of this blind level is uneventful for me as I’m getting some real garbage with others raising and shoving (unfortunately, the shorties are winning). 

The blinds now go to 200/400/50 and I go totally card dead.  Luckily for me, there are a number of shorter stacks than me, so I’m hoping to outlast them and get into the top 10.  I can’t even play a hand, as there are raises and shoves.  The good thing, however, we’re now down to 14 players left, the bad news is that two shorties doubled and went around me.

The blinds now go up to 300/600/50 and at the end of the first orbit, the other table busts one, so we’re down to 13 left.  On my BB, I get into an interesting one.  The button (seat 4 that likes to limp/look at flops) open-limps and the SB mucks.  I look down at 67o and decide to see if I can outplay him postflop.  Remember, this is the guy that was shocked that I was in the semis in the first place.  I decide to check and see if I can sandbag him a bit and we see a flop of 7 8 T.  That’s not bad, as I hit bottom pair with a gutshot.  However, as loose as the opp is, this board could have hit him really well too.  I decide to check and see what he does and I'm highly considering check/shoving on him.  He looks down and starts to count out chips and bets 1500 but I notice that his facial reaction is different than it’s been all night.  I look down at my stack and if I’m going to play the hand, this bet will pot-commit me, so I’ll need to shove.  Into the tank I go… yes, I have a pair and a draw, but that different reaction to the previous hands that he played is telling me to muck, so after about a minute, into the muck my cards go.  I find out later that my decision was 100% correct, as he tells me that he had JT, so he had a higher pair and the same straight draw.

Three hands later, I hear “I’m all in” at the other table and we’re now down to 12 left.  In-between hands, I decide to do a little recon and walk over to the other table to see what everyone’s chip stack is. I find one shorty and that the other two that were low, have been the ones winning pots, so I’m now sitting with 11th stack and only 10 getting in, so I need to get some chips.

At the end of the orbit, the shorty at the other table shoves and gets two callers.  Great, that should get us to hand-by-hand… until he flips over A8 and spikes the 8 on the flop.  UGH!  His triple now puts the pressure squarely on me, as I’m now the effective stack with just about 6BB left.  The next orbit, is not helping my cause, as seats 2 and 4 are limping every hand, so if I shove, I’m facing multiple opps, with total junk for cards.  I look down at 38o, J2o, Q3o, 48o… not the hands that I want to be playing multi-way pots with and also no first in vig either.

I’m now down to just over 4BB and seat 1 (seat 2 at my original table that made the FT at the HPT deepstack last December), that has now been raising a ton to steal chips, raises yet again.  I’m going to have to pick a spot and shove over him and he’ll be priced in to call me whenever I do so.  I look down at ATo and decide that since this is the first playable hand I’ve seen and being already in the SB, I’m going with it.  “I’M ALL IN!”  It folds to seat 1, that calls and flips over… of all things, pocket tens.  That’s not good because now I’m down to 3 outs.  The flop is Q 8 Q.  Not good, but I still have three outs.  The turn is another 8, so I’m out in 12th place. 

A totally disappointing run to a league where I ran horrible the whole time.  I played much better than what my finish was and had two very key big folds.  I’m going to end up skipping the next league session, as due to the low turnout this time, they are not guaranteeing a seat, so it will be a cash league with whatever ends up in the pool.  Also, week 10, when all the money that is there, is on the line, is the week of my annual golf outing, so I won’t be home that week.  I’m definitely NOT playing a league that ends up being effectively a 50% rake ($50+$15+$10), where I can’t even try to take advantage of the majority of the prize money.  With that being the case, it would be almost impossible to turn a profit, so I’ll spend my time and money elsewhere. 

The next tourney that I’m going to be playing in is the 22nd and 23rd in St. Louis, as I’ll be in WSOP Circuit event 2B.  It’s a $365 buy-in, 10k stack with 30-40 minute levels.  I also should know a few players in it, as a couple of the guys from the Tuesday league are supposed to play in it and also QueenBee9979 is going to meet up with me and play in it.  After the last 3 beats that I’ve taken in STL, being in a different casino for a tourney will hopefully be what I need, in order to break my streak of missing out on being ITM due to taking horrible beats… yes, they happen live, just like online.  Poker is poker, it happens.