I went to play in the new $200 HPT 6-max event yesterday and was surprised by the turnout.  They were running a 1 in 10 transfer satellite earlier in the day and was surprised to see how few entered it (it was the satty I made it thru last time).  The last time, it paid 8 seats with 9th getting the bubble money, which was over half of what the seat cost.  This time, they barely covered the guarantee as it only paid the minimum 5 seats.   With the turnout being lower for it, I’m wondering how the new side event would end up.  Well, it went over great with the players, as the event on the schedule it replaced normally drew 100-150 players and we end up with 214 entrants, which puts over $8k on top and pays 23 places.

I get to table 10 seat 2 and the dealer gives me my 12k starting chips.  While I’ve played a bunch of 6-max sng’s online (and done very well with them), it’s the first time I’ve played a 6-max live as most of the 6-max’s are at least a $565 entry, so I’d always passed on them in favor of two $365 events.  I hope this stays on the HPT schedule, as it’ll become my standard side event to play, instead of the bounty or even the $300 deepstack. 

I get a very interesting table dynamic for my table.  In the seat to my left is an older lady that after about 10 minutes, is a total open-book.  She’ll limp marginal hands, but when she bets, she’s always got a big hand.  Seat 4 is loose/passive, there’s always one or two of these in a live tourney at your table.  Seat 5 is a tight player (too tight for 6-max), seat 6 is an older guy that plays a bunch of Chicago tourneys, seat 1 is an unknown that I find out will bluff at any river when you check to him and seat 2 is a guy I’ve seen around before, but never played against.

I start off the first hand in the blind and get 2 limpers in front of me, so when I look down at 79s, I’m more than happy to see a flop.  The flop’s 9 high and I lead out and take down the first pot of the tourney.  With it being a 6-max, my plan is to stay as active as I can be at the table and for the first two levels, I’m up and down like a yo-yo.  I get a couple small pairs that miss setmining, win one with AJo, lose one with KQs.  I’m in just under half the hands and unlike the couple of passive players, I’m not playing their limpy-looky game, I’m coming in for raises and also raising behind the majority of the time.

As we get to the third level (100/200/25), I get a raise from UTG with seats 6 and 2 calling.  I’m in the SB and look down at 77 and I’m well deep enough to setmine, so I call and the BB comes along too.  The flop is 789 rainbow and with 2400 in the pot, I lead out for 1350.  It folds around to seat 6, that shoves just over 5k chips.  Seat 2 gets out of the way and with a set, even if he does have the straight, I’ve got plenty of outs, so I snap-call.  He turns over J9 for top pair with a gutter and when the board bricks, I take down a decent pot to get me up to 18k chips.   As we hit the break at the end of level 3, I’m at 15925 and have been as high as 20k (won a hand with AKo right after the set) and as low as 8k early.

We get back from break at 150/300/25 and here’s a hand where I make the most of my read on the lady to my left.  Seat 4 opens to 725 and I look down at AKo and 3-bet to 1600.  She instantly snap-shoves and the only hands she’s bet with have been at worst top pair (mostly 2 pair or better) and has never raised anything more than a min-raise preflop.  Needless to say her shoving in just under 6k chips is a huge red flag (I immediately say to myself, AA or KK and most likely aces).  Seat 4 instantly snap-reshoves about 21k chips!   I know at least 2 of my outs are counterfeited, maybe more and if I want to play the hand, MY tourney life’s on the line, so after tanking for a minute, I muck.  Seat 4 turns over 99 and as expected, she turns over AA.  I’m happy to see her get chips, because I know exactly how to get them from her.  Bet and bet and bet made hands and if she pushes back, duck unless I’ve got the nuts.

I get some of those chips very shortly, as I open 78s from UTG and she min 3-bets me.  The rest of the table gets out of the way and for a min-raise, I’m absolutely calling as I’m certain I can outplay her postflop.  The flop is T94 with two clubs.  I check to her, she min-bets 400, so needless to say, I’m snap-calling that.  The turn is a J and I check again and she checks behind.  Too bad that 4 on the flop wasn’t an ace because I’m certain she’s got Ax.  The river is a blank and I lead out and take down the pot.

The blinds go up to 300/600/75 and on my first bb, I get a family pot limpfest.  With 25 of clubs, I’m more than happy to see a free flop of Ad 3c Jc, which is a great flop for me as I have both a flush draw and a gutterball to a wheel.  I check, granny leads out for another min-bet of 600 (she’s either got a broadway jack or ace/rag) and by the time it gets to me, 3 others call, so I’m more than happy to see the turn.  The turn is a 7 and she min bets again (yes, 600 into a pot of over 7k).  The other 3 callers all go away, but there’s no way at all I’m even considering folding.  I know I’m behind but I’ve got a ton of outs.   The river is a jackpot card for me, Ac.  If she’s got Ax , as long as it’s not A3 or A7, I’m golden.  I take a little bit to try to figure out what bet she’ll call as her mistakes are calling mistakes, not betting ones.  She’s got about 6500 behind and won’t call a shove unless I’m beat, so I fire out 3500.  She calls and I flip over my flush and get to 25600 chips.

The next hand I get into is with seat 1.  He opens on my bb to 1600 and when I look down at 79 of spades, I call and flop a spade draw.  I check to him and he checks behind.  The turn is a 9 and I lead out for 1800 and get called.  The river is a J and it goes check/check.  I was planning on calling a reasonable bet if he made one and my 9 holds and gets me to 31700 at the second break. 

As we come back from break, there are under 100 left and now it’s time to get into it with seat 2.  The first time I open, he 3-bets me and I let him have it.  The next time I open T9s on his bb, he 3-bets me again, but unlike the last time, when I thought he had it, this time’s different as he’s got a totally different demeanor.  He’s either got an absolute monster or it’s a garbage 3-bet steal, so I decide to find out right here and now and 4-bet him.  He’s surprised  as it’s the second time I’ve 4-bet and the other wasn’t shown but was QQ, says ‘REALLY!’ and mucks.  I’d been raising and 3-betting, but the only 3-bets I’ve had to table were all real hands (they let me have the bluffs either preflop or on a flop c-bet).

I win another hand with QJs where I flop second pair and it holds and win another with AKs after the blinds go up to 500/1000/100 to get me up to 43500 with 84 players left.

As the blinds go up again, I’m down to 35k chips with 72 left, then 66 left.  With 60 left, the blinds go up to 800/1600/200 and I’m down to a resteal stack, even though I’ve basically got the average stack.  As it gets to 54 players left, the table behind mine breaks, so our table is next.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to see a new seat as with 51 left, I’m sitting on a resteal stack and look down at AA from UTG.  With the way the table’s playing, it’s a bit too much to open-shove, so my plan is to open it, then shove any flop.  I open and get 2 callers, which sets up a perfect SPR to shove, so I’m doing it regardless and get a flop of 678 with two hearts.  I shove, seat 4 goes away, so the action’s on the bb in seat 2 that is a total station that I have played with a bunch in the past.  He tanks, so I expect to see a pair and/or a draw, but what does he call and flip over… 45 of diamonds.  UGH!  

I did notice something afterwards that was interesting.  The HPT is streaming ALL of the later action in their side events this series, at www.twitch.tv/hptpoker.  This is the first time they’ve ever broadcast any of the events other than the main.  I saw they were doing this when I got home and to tell you how tough of a table I had, all five of the others at my table made it ITM, four of them made the final two tables and two made the final table (they did 7 for the FT instead of 6). 

While I didn’t cash, that was the most fun I’d had in a tourney in a really long while and if they run a 6-max event again, it WILL be my standard side event that I play, instead of the bounty.  I’ll be back at it tomorrow, as I’m playing a Main Event monster stack satellite at 11am and if I can make it thru, I’ll play the ME day 1 on Friday.