I start off in the HPT Bounty tournament along with what ends up being 178 others at table 2, seat 1.  I’m hoping that I can super glue myself to the seat for a while, as I know that this table will end up being one of the last couple tables, so I’m hoping not to move… that is, until I see all of the others that show up at it.  I can tell immediately that this is a pretty bad seat draw, as I have three of the players that made the final table of event 1 (over 1100 entrants), two other competent older guys (that I have some history with from a couple years ago) and then I get one of the laggiest guys in the tourney sitting directly in the seat on my left.  The one good thing though, is that unless the guy on my left gets me, I shouldn’t have to be worried about getting donked out by someone.

The first level plays out just about how I expected it too.  The guy on my left is in just about every pot, but I do pick up two hands where I can play back at him (and another where I open AQs) and build my stack up to 13700 from our 12k starting stack.  The next two 30 minute levels are really easy for me, as I’m just getting junk, and with the table LAG on my direct left, I’m not about to spew chips off to him.  He’s playing more and more pots too, as he busts someone with QQ sucking out on KK.  I hit the break with 13825 and while I haven’t gained a ton of chips, I’m stealing enough to keep up with the blinds and slowly build my stack up.  One good thing that happens though is that two of the better players at the table get moved to balance tables or to open a new table.

When the blinds get up to 200/400/50, I get my first spot to get into a big hand.  I open with pocket kings to 1100, get flatted by the guy on my left (go figure him wanting to be in the pot), two of the opps across the table also flat, then the action starts… the SB, that is newer to the table but has been making a lot of big raises with some marginal hands, shoves for about 8k chips.  Needless to say, with that being over half of my stack, my play now is a no-brainer as I’m re-shoving to try and isolate him.  Well, the guy on my left snap re-shoves after me, which I’m happy to have happen, as he’d have raised AA already, so I’m a huge favorite against his range.  The rest of the opps get out of the way and I find out that BOTH of the opps have AK, so I’m dead in the water if an A hits.  Well, the flop didn’t have an ace, but is just about as bad as it can be without one, as the flop has both a Q and J, so now I have to dodge extra outs.  My kings hold and I am now up to 35k chips with a $50 bounty.

The rest of the second 90 min session is pretty much a wash, as I’m picking up total junk (too bad 23o, 27o or Q2o weren’t prop hands) and I finish it with 30700 chips with under 90 players left.
I come back from break and see that there are 9 tables left and we’re going to switch from 10 player tables to 9 when the next players are knocked out.  I’m just biding my time with more of the junk and with 72 left, I’m sitting on 27.5k chips (still more than double what I started with).  My next spot, is one I normally end up on the wrong side of.  An 8bb stack shoves on my BB and when I look down at ATs, I snap call, hoping to pick up some additional chips and their bounty.  Well, I’m NOT liking the flop, as there’s a 9 in the window to go along with a 3 and K.  The turn is an A, but the river is another K that counterfeits the opp’s flopped pair of 9’s and it means that my ten plays as the kicker, so I’m now up to 38k chips and have half of my buy-in back in bounties.

After two steals preflop (one with AK and the other with junk from the cutoff), I’m up to 46500 chips as we break a table to get to 63 left.  The floor now announces the final numbers for the tournament and we find out that 18 players will get paid with $5430 on top.  I steal another set of blinds to keep my stack about even as we break another table, but since the blinds are going up, I’m now down to 32bb, which is still a VERY playable stack.

As we get to 40 left, I get a tap on the shoulder and I’m off to the table behind me to balance tables.  Well with being able to finally steal a little, even with the loose player on my left, I’m not sure if the table switch right now is a good thing or not.  I’m card dead the first orbit, which drops me to a 27bb stack, so I’m getting down toward a resteal stack. 

The next play sends me straight into an igloo, as it folds to me in the SB and I look down at a suited king, and seeing how the BB only has 7bb, I shove on him.  Well, go figure, he wakes up with an ace, so I double him.  Add in a blind increase and I’m down to 14bb, so I’m between a shove and resteal stack.

We collapse another table as it gets to 36 left and with 34 left, I get another tap on the shoulder and I’m off to the table across the aisle from me.  We only have about 2 more hands before the next break and I get an open by the player on my right and I look down at 88 and on 13bb, “I’M ALL IN!”  The opp tanks and folds, which is fine by me, as I’ll take the free chips that gets me back to a 14bb stack after the next blind increase.

Two hands after break, I get a spot to open-shove from the hijack and take down another one.  As we get to 32 left, I really need a double-up and look down at pocket 5’s after a player limped in front of me, well, that’s good enough “I’M ALL IN!”  This time, I get called by AJ, but the pressure is totally off when I flop a set.  When we get to 27 remaining, we do a total redraw for seats and I end up back with 3 of the guys from my starting table.  The number of players left is dropping… 24 left, 21 left and now I’m down to a 10bb shove stack as I’m getting junk and the rest of the table is in shove mode.  I’ll shove lighter here, but I sure am not calling a shove with 23o, 69o, T4o, etc.
As we hit the exact bubble, we switch to hand-4-hand and I really need to do something as the blinds have gone up yet again, making my stack go from 10bb to 5bb.  Well, I look down at KJs from the cutoff and that’s plenty good enough, so once again, “I’M ALL IN!”  The BB calls and turns over K6.  Well, just like the hand earlier where I had the opp’s ace dominated, what is in the window... a six, but I did flop the flush draw, which hits on the turn, doubles me and should, I hope, get me ITM. 

The bubble pops, so I’m going to play the first non-bottom 5% hand and it’s a bonus when I look down at QQ.  I get called by two opps, so I more than triple up when my queens hold.  Three hands later, I get a limpfest and look down at AQs, so needless to say, I’m shoving and take down more free chips when they fold.

I then get into a huge pot as there is a player raises and another player shoves in front of me, and when I look down at AKs, needless to say, my chips are going into the middle.  The initial raiser folds, so I’m in a 200k+ pot with AKs against KJo.  Once again, following the theme for the day... what’s in the window, a jack.  Unfortunately, this time the opp holds, so instead of having a final table stack, I’m back to 5bb.

I shove the first hand I see that’s decent and my KQ gets beat by JT when, of course, there’s a jack in the window, so I’m out in 15th place for $382 with an additional $100 in bounties.

I’m back the next morning for a main event monster stack satellite.  1 in 5 get $1650 ME seats and by the time that registration closes, there are 16 seats awarded.  I’m in the 7 seat this time, so I can see everyone at the table and find out real quickly that the loosest and most aggressive player is 2 to my right and the player on my left is also a threat, as he’s a friend that I have a good bit of history with in multiple HPT tourneys.

The first two levels are really uneventful, as I play the whole time between 19k and 22k from our 20k starting stack.  The hand where I won the most, I got into a family pot with ace-crackers (78d) and hit two pair against a pair of pocket tens.  Really bad play on their part to let me get there.

We don’t get a break until after level 6, and I’m still basically at a starting stack, which is now only 22bb, so I’m looking for a spot to resteal and get some chips.  Well, I don’t have to wait long, as the very first hand after break, an opp that I played with for about 3 hours yesterday, shoves 14bb on me and when I look down at my pocket jacks, I reshove to try and isolate him.  When the rest fold, he says “Oh hell!  I saw you do this twice yesterday, so I know it’s a pair” Well, I’ll take jacks over pocket 9s all day and I get some badly needed chips.  I then steal a couple sets of blinds which gets me up to 55k chips and gives me some time.

The next hand I get a shorty shove and I look down at 99 and reshove to isolate and when they hold, I’m up to 75k chips.  A walk gets me up to 83k and then I open-shove 99 BvB and get called by A6, which gets me up to 88500 chips.  The blinds in this are getting HUGE as we’re already up to 1k/2k, so I still may need another set of blinds to get in, but it can be close from here.  It all depends on how the blinds fall and how the table changes workout and when we hit 40 left, I’m off to the table behind me and get into a spot where I won’t have to worry about being impatient… the largest stack in the tourney that is just hitting everything is directly on my left.

I drop down to 79100 at break but with the bb at 3k and going up, it looks huge, but it’s not really a totally safe stack.  As we get to 37 remaining, I catch a big break, as the huge stack on my left is moved to balance tables.

I then get the hand I’ve been looking for, as with the bigstack gone, I’m the largest one at the table, which means I can steal or play against a shortstack if I want to and don’t have to worry about someone coming over the top.  Well, as the blinds go up to 2k/4k, with 31 left, I open rip from UTG figuring that I’ll pick up a set of blinds and then relax for a while… and if someone wants to call, I’m sitting on pocket kings.  Well, some nutcase decides to call me with 79o?  I’m in a spot where I don’t totally have to play, haven’t played a hand at this table in 3 orbits, then all of a sudden open-shove from UTG... I mean, what does the guy expect to see, I’m playing AA and maybe KK here and that’s it.  This gets me above my magic number of 100k as I’m at 103k chips.

My table breaks and I’m off to another new table, which I hope I’m at until the tourney’s finished, as it won’t break.  Well, with 24 left, I get one of those taps on the shoulder again, so I’m off to the table next to me.  The blinds are up to 4k/8k/1k and I’m basically safe, so the only way I’m playing a hand is if I’m abusing a short stack.  Well, with 22 left, there are 8 at my table, which means 20k in the pot to start with and an opp in MP (that had shoved 4 times in the prior two orbits) shoves on my BB for about 40k chips and I look down at the one and only one hand that I’d even consider calling with, and snap him.  He turns over AK, so I’m miles ahead and he’s dead by the turn.   The ONLY reason I played it was that knowing how many shorter stacks there were, even if they got cracked, I still don’t play another hand and get in.  When I hit 100k, I’m not doing anything that can jeopardize the ticket.

With 150k chips now, I’m done… I’m not playing another hand as the shortest stacks are at the other tables.  We consolidate to 2 tables with 20 left, then end up hitting a break on the exact bubble and it pops soon after, so I’m into the $1650 Main Event.

I’m going to play another of these satellites on Thursday, and will sell the $1650 voucher if I get one, then play the main on Friday, with day 2 on Sunday and the final table on Monday, which is done on twitch at www.twitch.tv/hptpoker.  The HPT does live blog updates on their main events, so you can see what is happening at www.hptupdates.blogspot.com.