I start off HPT week in the $200 bounty tourney on Monday afternoon.  237 players show up and when I get to table 12 seat 7, I recognize absolutely nobody, which is unusual as it’s normally the same crowd of players that you see in these events.

The table is playing about what I’d expect to see though, as there is a ton of limping and family pots and there is really only one other player at the table that is open-raising at all.  Needless to say, when I open one, I’m not limping.  The first 30 minute level is relatively uninteresting.  I get into three pots with small pairs trying to setmine and get boards that are in a different county, so they’re easy folds postflop.  That’s one positive to the limping, as I know I’ll basically always be getting the right odds to setmine. 

Just after the blinds go up to 100/200, I look at QQ from UTG, open to 450 and go figure, get 4 callers behind.  The flop is 234 and I lead out for 825 when it checks to me.  Seat 9 calls and when it gets to the SB, he check/raises me to 1700.  Needless to say, I’m not folding, but everyone can setmine or have Ax, so I could be behind and figure that someone has a draw too.  Seat 9 comes along too.  The turn pairs the 4 and the SB now bets 1300, which I look at as a bet from someone that is scared of the 4.  I call and seat 9 goes away.  The river is a 5, so Ax or 6x just got there and the opp makes another very small bet compared to the size of the pot and throws out 1100.  Well, with the bet size pattern, I’m thinking I’m ahead the majority of the time, but with 4 to a straight, decide just to call since my hand does have showdown value and don’t want to have the opp shove over a raise… which would put me in a really bad spot.  The opp turns over TT and I’m up to 17k chips when I show my queens.

The rest of this level and the next one, I feel like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day.   Get in behind others, with small pairs eight times, and haven’t hit a set yet.  I hit the first break with 14200 chips, up from the 12k starting stack.

We come back from break with the blinds at 200/400/25 and see that it didn’t change much.  Three more small pairs, no sets, so have to give up on bad flops.  One of them was at least pocket tens, but when the flop comes AKK and there is a bet, raise and 3-bet in front of me on the flop… that’s another easy decision.

The blinds go up to 300/600/50 and I catch a huge break.  I open AK of clubs and get 2 callers.  The flop is KT6 and I lead out and seat 8 flats, even though he’s pot-committed and just put in over half his chips.  The turn is a J and when I bet again, the opp now decides to put them in, which needless to say, I’m calling as it’s less than 10% pot equity to call.  I just made a normal bet as since he called the flop bet when pot-committed, he may fold to a shove but call a smaller bet.  He turns over AQ?!  The river saves me for a chop, as it’s a Q, giving us both a broadway straight.

A couple hands later, I’m in the BB with K2o and get 5 limpers, so I check.  The flop is 25Q and it checks thru.  The turn is a J and it checks thru again.  The river is a 7 and it checks thru.  “I’ve got a 2” and everyone mucks.

The blinds are up again to 400/800/100 and I get a shorty shove from UTG+1.  When it folds to my BB, I look down at 66 and for 5 bigs and a $50 bounty on the line, I’m calling.  The opp turns over a coocoo (T9o).  The flop is three hearts, so I now have the only flush draw with my 6h.  The turn is a 9 and the river bricks, so I’m down to 12k chips and lose out on a shot at a bounty.

I then do something that I should have known better with my prior history with playing the last hand before break and make a mistake in the hand on top of it.  I open AT from the CO and get flatted by the BB.  The flop is KJ6 and I make a standard c-bet, which I should have never done because I missed and the board hits his calling range.  He check/shoves, so I muck, losing the extra chips, leaving me with a 10bb shove stack after break.

As we get back from break, we see the final entrant number of 237, with about 130 left.  I’m looking for a spot to shove and get an open-limp from the button on my BB.  I look down at A3h, shove and get snap-called by JTo.  A ten on the flop knocks me out in 103rd place, with no bounties.  Not exactly what I had planned for this tourney.

I’m definitely playing the monster stack satellite the next morning, but there is also a $100 cash tourney later in the evening, so I go into the casino for a bit to use my $5 freeplay and also decide to play paigow poker for a bit.  Well, this was a profitable idea, as it pays for the majority of the buy-in, so I’m jumping into the 8pm cash turbo.

With 10k starting chips and 20 min levels on a fast structure, it’s definitely time to start out swinging.  The first 3 levels don’t go according to plan very well, as I’m totally card dead (missed 3 more tries at setmining), but I do pick up pretty solid reads on how the opps are playing, what their normal bet sizes are (three of them have huge bet tells) and that one opp likes grabbing for chips before it’s his turn.  Neeless to say, I’m putting that info to good use later.

We get back from break and there’s a 4-way limped pot to my button and I look down at red 5’s, so needless to say, I’m setmining again.  Finally, AK5 is the flop and not only do I have a set, but at least 2 of the other opps should have hit the board.  There’s a bet in front of me, so I smooth call after seat 4 calls.  The turn is a 7 and the same opp bets again.  Seat 4 drops, but I call.  The river is a 3 and when the opp bets again, I jam on him as the bet pot-commits me.  He tanks for a second, calls and forcefully mucks his cards when I show my set (assume he had AK).  This gets me up to 15000 badly needed chips. 

Three hands later, I open AJh and get three callers.  Flop the nuts when it’s 289, all hearts.  I check, seat 9 bets, gets called by the other two, along with me.  The turn is the Ks and I check to him again.  He bets, seat 1 calls and so do I.  The river is the 5c and here is where a read is 100% put into play by me.  As soon as the 5 hits the board, seat 9’s grabbing for chips to bet.  Normally, I’d lead the river here, but when I see him grabbing for chips, I know he’s betting, so my plan now is to check/raise and let him hang himself.  I check, and not only does he bet, he shoves!  Seat 1 mucks and needless to say, with the stone-cold nuts, I’m snap-calling.  He shows AQd for a total airball, LOLOL! 

I follow it up with AK that flops TPTK the next hand and get up to 31600 chips and firmly in the game.  The last hand before break gets me again though, as I open AJ, get called by the BB and when the board runs out KQ635, his 26o is good.  I hit the break with 24800. 

We come back from break to see 13 left from the 32 that started and 5 get paid. 

The next hand is the craziest hand I’ve seen in a long time.  Most players are in shove mode and I get a shorty shove (AK), then the huge stack at the table reshoves to isolate with TT.  Needless to say, my 27o from the SB is in the muck, but the BB says, “Screw it, let’s gamble” and shoves his 99.  When the cards are turned over, the AK loves it as he’s live and not counterfeited.  He likes the flop even more when it’s KQJ, giving him top pair.  The turn is a 9, so now the bigstack has a straight.  The river… you guessed it, case 9 for quads!  And people say this stuff only happens online (facepalm).

We get down to the final table and I’m sitting 5th in chips.  The problem though is that everyone’s getting short as the blinds are starting to get pretty high and I go totally card dead.  The first three orbits, the best hand I see is 95o with the popular hands being 23o and 23s, which I’m definitely not calling shoves with. 

With 7 left, I find a spot, as it folds to my button and I look down at Q9o and “I’M ALL IN!”  I get snapped by the SB (quads guy) and he turns over AQ.  The flop is T84 with two diamonds, so I have the jacks as outs and a backdoor diamond draw.  The turn is the 3d, so I now have diamonds and jacks as outs, but the river bricks and I’m out in 7th.

My plan for tomorrow will be to play the $200 monster stack satellite and if I brick it, jump in the $150 event 4 that starts a few hours later.