Last night it was back up to Fort Edward for week II of the Adirondack Poker League. Never really knowing how much traffic I am going to find on a Friday night on the Northway I leave about 5PM and get there about 30 minutes early. I help Mike set up as does Ray for tonights league action. Let me just preface the nights action by saying I had finished 4th and in the money in a 45 person sng on stars (Lee showing me some love) earlier in the afternoon. I cranked some Grateful Dead on my way up and was ready to rock and roll.
3 tables with 24 members. Karen and Steve are away in Arkansas for a music festival featuring Little Feat( I've seen them a bunch in my day) and have a sub sitting in for them. I draw the red table, and to my immediate liking, I have no women at my table which means the league ATM is wreaking havoc at another one. The other three ladies Tracy, Zoe, and Juddy are at the other table, as is Ray. I'm in the 3 seat which is also to my liking as far as me having to deal from, but I'm also the BB first hand. Trent is at my table, a few spots to my right. Exactly where you want a LAG player. Trent plays LAG extremely well and it beats having him on my left. He announces he is going to play extremely tight which means he doesn't come in for a raise until hand Two!!. Mike our League, manager is also at my table. I post the BB of $50. A bunch of limpers and I check with A9 spades, figuring I'll just see a flop. I hit top pair on the flop with my 9 and top kicker and take down the first hand right there. It always feels good to take down your first hand especially when it is the first hand of the tourney.
A few hands from my first table of note. I call a raise from Bill (an older gent-Juddy's hubby and Zoe's Dad), with KQos. I hit my King. Figuring I have top pair with a decent kicker I bet. Bill either smooth called me or raised me Trent folds, I call the raise as there is a J and I figure I can semi bluff two pair. When the hand plays out I am down a bunch of chips as Bill played a pair of pocket Aces very nicely for value. Turns out Trent folded the same hand as me. KQos will be a major hand for me later on it will turn out. Hand II of note is a nice win for me. I am dealt pocket KK. I raise it up 4x BB. I get one caller in the form of Darren. I hit my set and check. He bets about $400 and I re-raise him. He mulls it over and calls. When I fire another bet. Darren announces Nice Bet and flashes me his hand A7 diamonds. I show him my Cowboys. Shortly, thereafter Doug pulls the same AA move on Bill as Bill had pulled on me. Table I is playing solid poker and Doug seems to have the momentum. Another losing hand of note is when I raise with TT and get called by George. George is another older fellow. He played in this years WSOP on a direct buy-in. One thing I noticed about George is, his hands shake when he has a hand. I would say ROCK. The board is not nice for my TT nor is it nice apparently for George. He bets the turn after I check and I decide to pay to see the cards. My read was off he had pocket JJ to my TT and it costs me about $1800. The hand that proves my turning point as far as momentum going my way involves Doug. He raises to $900 (3X). I call the raise with AJd. I hit my Ace on the flop and one of the other cards is a 7 . Doug bets I call. Another Ace hits he bets harder I just smooth call. River a 7. I fill up and take down a huge pot against Doug's QQ. No fiasco like my infamous JJ J33 during prseason.
I get moved and am at a table where a few of the guys have nice stacks because they have emptied the ATM who apparently went all in when she hit a 6 and that was like the low pair on the board. I've played Lex before, and Rich (Ray's bro who was last weeks runner-up). Mark (Steve and Karen's sub), is playing very well and Dane last weeks first out are also at this table and I have no info on them. Rich gets bounced, then I bounce Lex when he is short stacked and pushes all-in. I move in from relatively EP when I am dealt KK to discourage any callers. Lex flips AK and my Cowboys hold. Cowboys were extremely nice to me last nite as I had them about 3 times, maybe 4. I then get moved back to my original table when we condense down to two.
The overwhelming theme of the nite was that the players who did extremely well first week are first out(Remember it was a full moon). What is the saying the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Finally, it is down to the final table. Eric (E-dawg) is the short stack. He's between me and Ray. Other players at the FT were Mark (the sub), Tracy, Zoe, George, Darren, Dane and Doug. Eric and Doug hit the rail. Mark pushes in and I call his all in with TT. Darren and George both call. They have AK and AJ neither one hits. Mark does have a Q and the board hits a Q and he quads up. Ray coaches me that I should have moved in to push out other callers. That would have prevented Mark from quading up. I completely understand his reasoning there but was gun shy at the time after my previous foray. George busts out next. Tracy busts out to Ray when I'm the Dealer. Both of them have High connectors. Tracy hits first and it looks like a double up for her, but I deal Ray the card he needs to take the hand and he has accumulated a nice stack of chips. For Tracy's bubble efforts she wins a nice pokerstars sweatshirt. I refuse to go down without a fight and push first with JJ (no callers) to stay ahead of the blinds. I push with AQ and get Zoey to call with KT (if I remember right) and double thru her. She's now the short stack. She double's back up thru Ray who is now playing big stack poker and Ray's A5d runs into either AK or AQ. I'm into the money and most importantly my points earned are a big improvement over last weeks 17th place. 6th will earn the buy-in back. I'm now playing to win and am in okay shape but with a fairly low M I really am playing short stack poker which is one of my strengths. I was extremely aware of my chip stack in relation to the other smaller stacks vs Rays big stack.
Mark and Darren bust out in 5th and 6th (cant remember which order and results aren't posted yet). Zoe goes out 4th. After Eric had busted, Ray was on my immediate right a reversal of our table last week. Last week we never tangled. He mentions this and I make the statement that before the season is out the two of us will be heads-up for the weekly title probably at least once, if not a couple of times. When it is still 4-way I point at him and at me and our stacks and nod my head meaning I'm predicting we will go heads-up tonite. Now if only I can predict my cards that well!!
After busting out first last week, Dane is now playing for the win too. He got so annoyed by Joyce last week it sent him on Tilt. I also correctly assume he is the man to go after. I am tourney Savvy enough to not mess with the big stack. Ray is going to have to come after me. Besides he has 35 years of poker under his belt (started playing at about 8) and big tourney experience. The person who he most reminds me of as far as style of play is Poker Analysis Elite 9 member Clark (Kelarob/Razrback-blog link at right). Just like Clark, (who has staked me and who I met in Vegas) he has absolutely no ego and besides being fun to play against has been generous with poker advice. Plays with controlled aggession extremely well. Hard to get any reads on but will blush on occasion!! Thats okay, Im close to breaking out in hives at this point.
Ray puts me all in from the little blind at one point. I have KQos which I fold. He flashes me AK and I show him my hand. He had me dominated. I know Harrington would say it was an auto call there but I had taken a hit with the same hand earlier against Bill. I consider it a trap hand meaning play it and you get trapped. I had to respect the raise from Ray and I want to be the one pushing not the one being pushed. It proves to be a brilliant move on my part.
I immediately go in Kill Phil mode and start pushing against Dane I push with all my Aces, I push with 88, we see a flop with me SB vs BB and I have J9s. I hit an open ender on the turn and semi bluff the pot. I then look down and am dealt AKc. I push again and I reckon by this time he was tired of my antics. He asks Mike the league manager what 2nd vs 3rd prize money is. He decides to call with connectors 78 I believe it was. He hits two pair but there are two clubs on the flop. I'm thinking I go home but the river card is a JC. Ray and I are looking at the two pair thinking Dane had me (that would have left me with T100) but Lex announces "Look at the board, she caught her flush". I have now doubled up and knocked out Dane.
My bold prediction holds true just a little sooner then expected. Ray and I are going heads-up. I am about a two to one dog to his stack. But thats okay. I've won tourneys where I have been a ten to 1 dog going into heads up. Lex takes over the deal so we can concentrate. We go round and round battling the blinds which are now 1500/3000. I raise Ray with KJ. He contemplates the call and I believe pushing me all in but folds. I tell him I'll tell him later what I had. Lex pipes in with "how much later". That gets me blushing. I look down and have 55 in the BB. Ray puts me all in. In retrospect I should have called here. I look at him and ask how big is his pocket pair. Nothing but his poker face. I lay down. The next hand is the hand that does me in. I cant remember if Ray raised and I called from the BB but regardless, holding Q5 I hit my Q. He puts me in on the flop and I call. His Q6 vs my Q5 is no good for me when he turns two pair. There was a chance of a split pot until he got his two pair. The best player last nite won.
$100 for my runner-up finish after 5+ hours of poker last nite and good leaderboard points. Always feels good to drive home with more money in your pocket then you started with. I decided my live winnings are going to go into an envelope for next year and Vegas. That was only my 13th live tourney (two at the Taj, the Ladies event at the Orleans this year, three tourneys at Treasure Island, two at the Sahara, one home game at Trent's, two preseason APL's and two actual league events. I've cashed twice, both times finishing #2. I've bubbled twice and finished one off the bubble another time (5 Final tables total) and went deep in two of the other Vegas tourneys but missed the money. Not really a bad start to live play.
I found out later that the hand I had 55 on Ray had mid connectors (79 if I recall our post match convo correctly) and it would have been a race with my small pair. I proved a quick study of his use of gappers which he used on me effectively: I knocked Sham out of the Aces Cracked tourney with 79s tonite and took a big pot down with 8Tos. Unfortunately I ran my TT into QQ when we were three way tonite on pokerstars. I read the board correctly that CNS1 had no Ace or J but didnt think he had QQ or KK. I put him on 99 or 88 incorrectly. Still cashed for more then my buy-in of $11 winning $20 for third.
Aces Cracked was all for today as I'm over-tired. By the time I got home last nite it was after midnight, Bailey my kitty was hell-bent for action and so I played catch with him (I got a cat that plays catch like a dog). Then I couldn't fall asleep because I was replaying hands in my head. I worked over-time this morning from 7 AM to 12PM and was up at 5:30 with about 2.5 hours sleep. Tried a quick catnap this afternoon but the sun was beaming in thru the skylights of my condo and I only dozed. I'm running well again in bigger buy ins and figure a good sized win is right around the corner.