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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vegas or Bust Poker League

We had all 10 league players seated around the poker table last Friday competing for two all expenses paid WSOP trips to Las Vegas next summer. This would be the eighth of 12 league tournaments. From left to right were Dealer Larry, Bobby Dee, Lil' Annie Okie, Ranger Rick, Big Daddy, J-Dawg, Philly Phanatic, Stamps, Tin Man, and yours truly, Lucki Duck.

Coming into the tourney I was in third place, trailing Philly by four points and needing to close the gap. One thing I couldn't afford was to lose any more ground. With only four tournaments left after this one, I needed to stay on his heels.

The first big hand I was involved in was with my main nemesis Philly. With blinds at $20-40 (starting stacks were $1500), I open raised to $100 from middle position with K-Q off. J-Dawg called from the small blind, as did Philly from the big. Both opponents checked a K-4-4 board and I pushed $150 chips out. J-Dawg folded, but Philly raised to $500. Since he hadn't 3 bet me pre flop, I didn't put him on A-K, but he loves playing baby aces and I was afraid he might have backed into trips with A-4. If I called, I figured I would be in the same position on the turn and river, and would probably end up with all my chips in the middle.

One thing I learned long ago is that you can't win a tournament in the early levels, but you can sure lose one. At this point in the tourney, I felt like it wasn't worth the risk, since an early exit would severely hurt my chances at one of the seats to the WSOP. I folded my king face up and Philly tabled K-T. Sometimes you're wrong and fold the best hand :(

Just a few hands later I got involved in another big pot, this time with Big Daddy. Raising from the cut off with A-Q, he was my only caller. We both checked a K-T-4 rainbow board, but I bet $150 when my Q paired on the turn. Big Daddy made the same play that Philly had and 3 bet me with a $500 raise. It was a tough call, but his body language didn't portray strength,  so I tossed in the calling chips. We both checked the river and my queens were good. Whew.

Big Daddy was eliminated a few hands later, followed by J-Dawg, who had his A-A cracked when Lil' Annie Okie flopped a set of sixes. Bobby Dee was next to fall on his sword, with Philly dropping next. His elimination was huge for me as it allowed me to make up some ground on my main opponent.

Tin-Man and Stamps were next to go, leaving just four of us at the table. The all-ins kept doubling up, and we were all still in it when we reached the top blind level ($500-1000) where we capped it. Usually we are done to heads-up play when the top level of blinds are reached, so this was pretty unusual.

Ranger Rick finally knocked out Dealer Larry, then also felted Annie and suddenly we were heads up with almost identical chip stacks.

I started getting some big hands and was able to take a 4-1 chip lead when the final hand was played. I completed from the SB with 8-5 of clubs and we saw a flop of 6c-9c-kd. Rick moved all-in with his top pair and I felt I had enough outs (flush draw + gutter) to justify a call. The turn was a blank, but the river was a 7, completing my straight and giving me a much needed tournament win.

Because of Philly's relatively early exit, I not only closed the gap, but actually moved into second place. Now all I have to do is hang on. Easy, right?

CLICK HERE for the current standings.

Till next time, win the flips.

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