141 players entered the HPT Bounty tournament today.  This sets up 18 players getting ITM with $4127 and a $1650 ME seat on top.  Each player also has $50 on their heads.

I start out at table 13 seat 7 and am hoping that I can cement myself to the seat, as this table is normally used as the final table.  I do have history with seat 3, as it’s one of the players from the Joliet league that I’ve played against a number of times.  I do have a pretty good read on him and that is, that he is a smarter LAG that is good with being able to read hands and situations.
I thought that Saturday was a roller coaster ride, well this day is picking up where I left off.  I look down at AJs the first hand and open to 250 from MP (blinds are 50/100 and we start with 12k chips).  I get flatted by seat 1 in the SB and then seat 3 makes a huge 3-bet to 1500.  That sets off every alarm in the building for me, as he wants to play be a small ball lag and see a ton of pots and now all of a sudden, on the very first hand, he makes a huge sized 3-bet.  That definitely doesn’t look right to me, screams monster hand that he’s worried about an ace with, so probably JJ-KK and I quickly muck.  Seat 1 tanks for a min and folds too.  As he’s folding, seat 3 tables a pair of cowboys. 

The rest of the first four levels are about as uneventful as you can get.  I’m getting total trash for cards, only play 5 hands and see 3 flops.  I did finally win a hand though about 5 min before break, as I opened AK, saw a king high flop 3-ways and took it down with a bet on the flop.  I end the first session with 10900 chips, which considering how bad my cards have been, isn’t doing awful.  It is too bad, however that T2 wasn’t a prop hand, as I had it fourteen times in those two hours.

We get back from break and at the end of the first orbit, I get a raise and two calls in front of me and when I see AA, needless to say, I’m making a standard raise.  I get one caller and take the pot down when the flop is a rainbow low board.

Two hands later, I’m at it again.  I pick up AK on the button and flat an UTG raise with it.  The BB comes along and I see a K57 flop.  The BB leads into me and after UTG mucks, I flat as while I could raise here, I want to see if I can get another barrel out of him.  The turn bullet makes it interesting, as I now have two pair.  The opp leads into me for about 40% of my remaining chips, so I have one play, “I’M ALL IN!”  The opp snap-calls and turns over KJ thinking he’s good… OOPS!  I double up and get to 28300 as we find out how many are actually left, which is just under 80 players.

At 400/800/100, I pick up another one as I open AQ, get two callers and take the pot down when I get a queen high flop.  This puts me up to 33k chips with 69 players left.

I play another hand at this level when I look down at JJ and make the table standard open to 1k.  I then get shoved on by a shorty that has 3500 chips.  When it folds to me, needless to say, for only 2.5BB, I’m snap-calling, especially with an opportunity to get a $50 bounty.  OOPS!  I thought I was over this streak, from playing online, as I’ve been shoving into aces now for three solid weeks.  Well, now it’s not just an online thing as I just shoved into AA live.  The board runs out blanks, so I’m down to 26k.

At 500/1k/100, I get a very interesting surprise… my table is actually breaking and with 63 left, I’m off to table 16 seat 7.  This one has a totally different table dynamic from my first one.  Instead of just about everyone raising when getting into pots, this table is a total limpfest (minus the 2 players that I know have a clue, and go figure they’re 2 of the 3 largest stacks).

As soon as I get to the table, I get a huge key hand.  I get a tight/passive nit that opens to 2500.  I look down at AK hearts and decide to flat.  I flatted because of two things.  First, I’m in position, on the button and I’m thoroughly expecting the SB to squeeze as I’ve got some history with him from other tournaments and know he loves squeezing.  My hope is to get the SB to squeeze, then shove over him, if he doesn’t bet enough to put me in and the opener goes away.  He bets out 20k and before he is finished putting his chips into the middle, the ABC nit to my right snap-calls by throwing his bounty chip into the middle (he had just under the number of chips).  Well, I’m confident that I’m ahead of the SB, but the insta-shove from the nit, while I like AKs, I’m never ahead of this guy’s range there, so after a couple minutes in the tank, I muck.  It made my decision easier due to the fact that I couldn’t win a bounty.  My read’s proven correct, as the SB flips over AQ and the nit shows pocket queens to cripple the SB. 

Unfortunately, this knocks me down to 20100 as we hit a break to color off the green chips with under 50 left.

As we come back from break, a table breaks, so I now know we have 45 left as we’re playing 9-handed at every table.  At 600/1200/200, the chips are starting to go quick and I have to wait until I’m down to just about 10BB before I can make my next move.   I get an open from UTG+1 and when I look down at aces, I have one play left, “I’M ALL IN!”  It folds to UTG+1, they snap call and show AKo.  OOPS for them and I’m back up to 28k chips.

As we near breaking another table and getting down to 36, I get into a 2-hand battle with the player on my right (nit that plays fit/fold and folds too much).  Both hands are on my BB and it folds to him both times and he completes.  The first time, I have total trash and check to see a free flop.  Well, when 3 broadways hit the flop and he bets out, needless to say, my 24o is going into the muck.  The second time is the next orbit and the same thing happens.  I’ve got garbage again, so check and see a Q76 flop.  The guy bets out 5k (he min-bet the first time), so I think it’s a bluff trying to steal the pot from me… so “I’M ALL IN!”  The opp now goes into the tank, so it’s not a steal with air, he’s probably got a 6 or 7 and if he calls, I’m in deep trouble.  He mucks and I get some extra blinds and antes.

With 4 tables now left, half of the remaining get ITM, but I know that I need chips, so I’m still looking for spots to get them and when I look down at AJ and open to 4500 at 1k/2k/300.  The player to my left, that is shorter than me, shoves and when it folds back around to me, I’m absolutely calling for another 4bb.  The opp turns over A9, so I’m ahead going for a bounty.  The flop is K46 but the turn is a 9, UGH!  The river is a Q and instead of getting $50 and chips, I’m now down to 9800 chips with 2k for the BB… not a good situation. 

Well, with only 4.5bb left after paying my ante, I get a raise to 6k by the player on my right.  When I look down at A4, it doesn’t take long for my bounty chip to be into the middle.  It folds around to the player that opened and he goes into the tank?!  What in the world is this guy even thinking about?  He has to call 1.5bb more and has the correct price to play two wet bar napkins, let alone what cards a fit/fold nit may have.  He finally says, “Well, I guess I have to call” and I about fall out of my chair when I see that I’m actually ahead somehow when he flips over A3.  I get a 4 in the window and double up.  I’m still only at 10bb, but I still have a chair.

Players are now slowly busting, so we’re down to 31 players and I look down at AQs after an open, so “I’M ALL IN!”  This time, I get called by A7 and when the board blanks, I’m now up to 20bb!

The TD now announces that with 29 left, when we get to 27, we’re going to do a standard redraw for seats.  With 28 left, the player in seat 9 at my table goes from being the effective stack in the tourney, to about a 25bb stack by shoving and winning four straight hands (2 at showdown, one with two broadways, the other with a raggy ace).  He opens the fifth in a row and it folds around to me and I look down at AQ.  With a player that has been in 5 straight pots and sitting on a 16bb stack, this is a great situation to re-steal, so in goes my bounty chip.  Leave it to me, to find the one time where the guy has a real hand, as he turns over pocket aces.  I’ve been on a run playing online over the last month where it’s just one of those variance runs that I keep shoving into AA… now I’ve done it twice today live.  The case ace hits on the flop, so I’m out in 28th place.

Even with the three coolers where I made the correct play each time, I played great today and definitely played good enough to at least final table it, if not win.  It’s really disappointing to play this well for an entire tournament and to come up empty due to cooler after cooler.

I have at least two more shots though.  I’m going to play a Main Event satellite Thursday and a Survivor tournament on Saturday.