Can lightning strike twice?
Just got back from the Gold Rush 2004 super-satellite tournament at Lucky Chances in Colma.
After winning last week at Artichoke Joe’s Sunday night no-limit tournament I decided that since I reached that goal, I should step it up a notch. I had decided I would play in the 12:30 pm Lucky Chances no-limit tournaments on Sunday which have a buy-in of about twice as much as Artichoke Joe’s with a similarly larger prize pool. When I was looking at the website I noticed that they are having a big tournament series in November called Gold Rush with qualifying tournaments during the week and on Saturday. I almost cancelled my trainer to go to the tourney, but decided not to, but then he cancelled out on me so I ended up going.
The buy-in was $50+$15 fee for $1000 in chips with re-buys for the first 3 rounds of $50 for an additional $1000 in chips. There were 90 seats and I think 23 alternates were used for a total of 113 players. The prize structure was 1st-6th: $2000 worth of entry fees + $60, 7th-8th: $550 worth of entry fees + $50, and 9th-10th: $50 worth of entry fees + $50. A super-satellite tournament is basically a tournament to get entry fees to larger tournaments. For instance, the $2000 entry fees breaks down into 1 $1000 tourney, 1 $500 tourney, and 1 $300 tourney (plus fees). For people (like myself) who don’t think they should put that much money on the line for a large tournament, this is a good way to earn your way into them.
Unlike the AJ tournament, I didn’t re-buy right away because there is no discount for re-buys vs. the buy-in. My first hand was 22, someone raised to $250. I called. The flop missed me, he bets and I fold. He shows his hand, QT, with a T on the flop. Good fold. I notice that this guy is totally hyper, totally aggressive, and very dangerous. He can really be playing with any two cards. I like to stay out of hands with these type of players. A few hands later I’m big blind with Qd2d and there are a couple callers around to me. I check and we see the flop, Td, 8d, 2s. So I have a pair and a decent flush draw. I bet at the flop, around $300. Next person behind me raises all in and it folds around to me. I put him on Tx and do the math. This is basically a coin flip with me being a little ahead. We are still very early in the tournament and you can still rebuy, so I call. We expose and he shows QT off suit. Because he had me dominated, that takes away a couple of my outs and he is now ahead in the hand. Nothing comes for me and I am busted, so I rebuy for $50 to put myself back at $1000 in chips. A few hands later I get Ax and make a call of 2x the blind against hyper-aggressive guy. The flop comes QQ7, which I have no piece of. I check he checks. 7 comes on the turn. Again we check. Nothing shows up on the river. I check. He bets about half my chips. I figure he is just grabbing for the pot and we might split (I don’t think I have ever been right about this, by the way). I call and he shows his QT and beats the crap out of me with his boat. Its interesting that I have never judged this correctly, I think that I might from now on assume that they are winning when they bet in this situation. I’m down to around $400 in chips so I decide that I should re-buy to put myself up at $1400 so I can get some value if I get a good hand.
Its now the end of the re-buy period so we are allowed one more add-on that gets you $2000 in chips for $50 — this puts me up to only $3800 or so. If I had known that the add-on was so much I might think about just getting blinded off and plan to buy-in for $165 instead of $65 and start with around $3600, which is more than enough to be competitive. In the first hand after the break I make my first big mistake. I bet 88, I raise about half of my chips, someone goes over the top and raises all in. Its heads-up and I call. We expose and he has QQ. Ugh, looks like I am going home… until an 8 comes and I have doubled-up. Two hands later I get another pair of snowmen, bet at the pot, someone raises all in and this time I fold and show my 88 having no interest in betting another 4–1 shot — — he shows he has pocket JJ. Good fold, but it was tempting because of my earlier mistake.
The rest of the “middle” of the tournament is uneventful down to around 4 tables. Ours gets broken up and I drop in as under the gun at table 1. I look at my cards and I have TT. I raise it to 3x the big blind. One person calls, another raises all in, I call, the other person calls. We expose. It turns out that I am up again AK and KK. Ugh, it appears that I am defeated once again. I’m not covered by either of them so I won’t be out, but it turns out it doesn’t matter as a T comes on the river and win the hand and knock out two players. I’m now the chip leader at that table and continue to play aggressively. Watching the hands it looks like the underdogs are winning way more than their fair share, but maybe those are just the hands that I remember. I moved twice more as we get down to fewer than 20 players. I end up at table 2 with the second largest stacks. I playing well, stealing blinds here and there, keeping myself even or better. As we get down to 12 players I get dealt TT again. Someone goes all in, I smallish stack and I call. He shows two random cards like J7 so he has some outs but nothing comes till the river and that is a T anyway. He goes home, we are now down to 11. The very next hand someone else goes all in and I look down at my AT. I call. They expose my least favorite hand (which I was never dealt at this tourney) KJ. Nothing comes at all and I win the hand and knock out 11th place to put all the remaining players in the money and gives me a huge stack of chips, more than twice anyone else.
We break and reassemble as a single table, I am by far the chip leader and could probably go and sit down somewhere and wait to find out what happens, but thats not really good for my game which is what me playing is mostly about. When I sit down it turns out I get the dealer button to add insult to injury. It goes around, I steal the blinds twice, which are now pretty high. Its around $1500/$3000 and I have about $100k in chips. I’m the big blind and it folds around to the small blind who has about $10k. He goes all in and I am basically forced to call to remove another play even though all I have is 57 unsuited. He shows his AQ. Again the suck out, I get a 5 on the flop and nothing else comes and he is out of the tournament and we are one more player closer to top 6. I’m now on the button, under the gun raises and it is folded around to me. I look down at Ac4c. I set them, they are short stacked and have to call. They show KQ unsuited, there is an A on the flop and now we are down to 8 players. The guy to me left knocks the next person out in another eventful hand where he is behind but wins it on the river, I think this time by making a gut shot straight. No one is winning when they are ahead and push the chips in.
Another short stack goes all in and he is called by one other player. They expose and it turns out that the short stack has KQ unsuited vs. the other players AA. We all sigh with relief knowing that we are in the money, especially the next to shortest stack. But wait… KQ on the flop, nothing more comes and now the new short stack laments that he can’t even win with someone else’s cards. Three hands later he is all and is busted by the guy to my left and that ends the tournament with nothing left but the accounting. As it turns out I have the most chips so I get credited with 1st place which gives me some points for their weird “Qualifier Bonus” and some bragging rights. Two tournaments in a row! Sweet!
Now I need to convert these tournament entries into cash by placing. I’ll be at the tables on Nov 10th, 13th and 14th if you have some extra money you can play too…
Hands I didn’t see: AA, KK, JJ, AK, AQ
Hands I did: 1 QQ, 3 TT, 2 88, 1 55, 1 22, 1 AJ, 1 AT