Tuesday, July 19, 2005
This past weekend, I made the short trek out to Scott's for the Diamond Game, Version 7.2005. Randy made it out as well. It's been a while since we have played in a Diamond Game. I was in Vegas for the WPBT tourney during the last game, and both Randy and I were away in Vegas for the one before that, and somewhere in there we missed one due to having a wedding to attend. I was glad to make it out (finally), since that's my favorite home game.
We had 17 participants at 50 a head, spread across 2 tables. T3500 chips to start - 15 minute blinds. The prize pool was to be divided amongst the top 3 winners. The game: no-limit hold'em, as per usual. Shuffle up and deal!
The view from my table:
Seat 1: Andrew (his wife Cathy also played, but at the other table)
Seat 2: Jim (of the Nice Table games - congrats on getting hitched, Jim!)
Seat 3: Kyle (a friend of Ray's if I'm not mistaken)
Seat 4: Mike H (also a friend of Ray's, and ironically a friend of mine from high school and the pizza delivery days - it's been a good 9 years or so since I've seen Mike!)
Seat 5: Sebastian (who won one of the recent mini-Diamond games)
Seat 6: Shelly (that's me)
Seat 7: Derek (a Diamond regular)
Seat 8: Brian (a Cubs fan)
Level 1: 10/20
The very first hand sees our first all-in of the tournament - Jim pushes, and gets no action. He managed to river wins on the second two hands.
Next, we see Derek's first monster bust. Derek raises preflop and gets two callers, Andrew and Mike. The flop comes 8-5-10. I don't have notes on the flop betting, but it was either checked around or called down, as we went 3-handed to the turn. A Jack comes off on the turn. Before Derek has a chance to bet out, Mike takes the lead and bets the turn. Derek raises Mike's bet. Andrew cold-calls the bet and the raise, and Mike calls the raise. The river brings a King. Now, Andrew bets out! What the hell? Mike goes all-in over the top of Andrew, and now Derek is livid. He can say nothing but, "I played this hand PERFECTLY!" but manages to lay the hand down. It turns out Derek had 7-9 for the turned straight. Mike graciously showed his AQ for the nut straight on the river, and Andrew admits that he laid down a set. While Mike's all-in didn't get any action, the previous streets did some damage to Derek and Andrew.
Level 2: 20/40
Brian tells us a story: it's his second trip to the Diamond game, and out of the entire first game, and tonight's game, he has yet to see a pair in hand, or a board pair either of his hole cards. That's some brutal cold-decking! No more stories for level 2.
Level 3: 30/60
Derek runs into his second case of brutality. The hand begins with Derek raising preflop (the aggressor that he is). He finds a caller in Jim. Derek proceeds to bet the flop of 8c-3s-9c (which was called by Jim), and bet the turn - a 2 of hearts. Jim then goes over the top all-in. Derek dives into the tank, where he begins to analyze the hand. "Did you catch a set with the fucking 2? You didn't raise preflop... [incoherent babbling]..." Then, Derek comes up with a read that he probably should have trusted. He looks up at Jim and says, "I think you're putting a move on me! I don't think you've got it! But you NEVER put the moves on me! But I swear, you're doing it right now!" After much debate, Derek folds his hand face up - pocket ten's. Jim shows that indeed, he was putting a move on Derek with Jack-Nine. Derek's ten's were good. Derek was gracious in losing this hand, congratulating Jim on the play, but with 1400 chips left, he wasn't a happy camper.
On the other table, Ed busts out of the tournament first with a brutal beat. I don't have a notation on this one, but I believe it was something like Ed's AK versus A8, and an 8 onboard spiked Ed right through the heart and out of the game.
Derek was next to go - though it was really more like being put out of his misery. Poor guy was getting kicked in the junk left and right. I'm in a hand with Queen Jack, along with Kyle and Derek. Kyle bets out 120 on a flop of Jc-Ac-X. I call with my QJ, and Derek goes all in over the top of us for his remaining 1400 chips. I accidentally announce my call out of turn, as Kyle had made a motion that I thought was a muck of his cards (it was just his hand flinging chips out of the way). Kyle decides to fold, and I call Derek's all-in. Derek shows Jackx-9c for the pair of Jacks and the flush draw. I had the pair of Jacks also, but with the higher kicker. I also had the Queen of clubs for the higher flush draw. I had a boat by the end of the hand, so it didn't much matter, and Derek was put out of his misery and found himself free to start up a cash game on the side.
Level 4: 50/100 - Nothing to tell
Level 5: 75/150
Andrew takes over for Jim, who had kindly been dealing for us. Jim was pretty liberal with the two's and ten's on the board, and flipped over face cards sparingly. Andrew, however, made like Picasso and threw paint all over the place from the getgo. Good stuff! (Jim's efforts are equally appreciated, though, as they did my stack nicely).
This level saw Sebastian make his exit when he tried to pull a move on Mike. With a board of 2-7-8-9, Sebastian check-raised Mike all-in. Mike, who had a made straight on the ass end with his 5-6, called the all-in and won when Sebastian turned over Jack-6 for the open ended straight draw. A 3 on the river didn't do it, and Sebastian was outta there.
Andrew had reason to sing "Stayin' Alive" when he pushed all-in preflop with his Q-9 of diamonds. Kyle called with AK and we were off! Then, Andrew dealt himself a straight to stay in the game.
Level 6: 100/200
I've been folding a lot at this point. I don't mind though. I've got a decent stack and haven't really been hurt by the blinds during the chilling of the deck. I look down to find myself holding a pair of 3's in early position. I limp into the pot with Andrew and manage to catch a 3 on the flop. It was bottom set, but I could hear the voice that I imagine to be that of DoubleAs in my head: "Sets are gold." Well, alrighty then. Andrew bet out on the flop, and in jest I asked if he was trying to bully the only girl at the table. (Coincidentally, his wife Cathy and I were the only two girls playing in this tournament). I called his bet, and the one on the turn as well. I don't remember the conclusion of the hand, as I don't have notes on it, but the hand did go to showdown and my set of 3's held up. The funny thing is, I almost felt like I should apologize to Andrew for letting him continue to bet into me. I really am a girl, aren't I? Damn.
The very next hand, I find Queens in the hole. The Hilton Sisters. The Lovely Ladies. Aww hell yeah. The deck is blazing hot for me now! I'm in the big blind, and since everyone folded but Mike, who limped on the button, I figured I could afford a slowplay. I want to make some money on these queens. Now, I've gone through phases where I live by the mantra, "No slowplaying allowed!" However, I've found that there are indeed instances where acting as the aggressor preflop scares out a lone opponent, and you end up making no money on the hand. I've seen this mostly in heads-up play, and came to realize that - duh, it also applies to hands when the rest of your opponents have folded and you are heads up with someone else. (I know, Einstein over here). I wanted to keep Mike in the hand, so I checked my QQ in the big blind. I was risking getting sucked out on, but with only one opponent, hopefully that would not be the case. The flop came a most glorious Ace-Queen-Deuce. I've hit my set, and hallelujah - there's an Ace onboard. I'm hoping Mike has an Ace in his hand so I can take him along for the ride. First to act, I check my set. Mike checks as well. The turn comes a blank, but it puts 3 hearts onboard, and Mike bets out. He was chipleader at the time. I raise him all-in (with the fear of God in my soul for what looked like a million hearts all over the table). Mike calls, and I say, "Show me your hearts." In fact, he had no love in his hand and I discovered that he, too, had flopped a bit of a monster and was slowplaying me with his two pair - Aces and Deuces. The river was no help to Mike, and I doubled up nicely.
Right around this time, there's a monster of a hand going on at the other table. At the conclusion of the hand (which I was unable to watch due to my lack of proximity to the other table), I hear Scott (our gracious host) go off on a rant (I think to Rodney) with these words (quoting as accurately as I can from my scribbled notes):
You try to take out the best player at the table and you end up doubling him up again - brilliant!"
Yes, Randy just doubled up on the other table, apparently for the second time. You go, baby!
Level 7: 100/200, 25 ante
Kyle doubles up with pocket 9's versus Jim's pocket 6's. (Those are evil, anyway, Jim).
Level 8: 200/400, 25 ante
Scott takes a licking when his Hilton Sisters run into JJ. How can that be, you say? When the board puts a four-flush up that completes a suit for the Jack's, Queens are no good. Scott has Richie to thank for that beating.
That brings us to our final table of 10. The bustouts thus far:
17th - Ed (table 1)
16th - Derek (table 2)
15th - John (table 1)
14th - Sebastian (table 2)
13th - Ray (table 1 - gracious host of the Forest Games)
12th - Rodney (table 1)
11th - Scott (table 1)
Our final table:
Seat 1: Randy (my love) (T1)
Seat 2: Andrew (T2)
Seat 3: Brian (T2)
Seat 4: Steve (T1)
Seat 5: Cathy (Andrew's lovely wife) (T1)
Seat 6: Mike (T2)
Seat 7: Shelly (T2)
Seat 8: Jim (T2)
Seat 9: Kyle (T2)
Seat 10: Rich (T1)
We had four survivors from table 1, and six from table 2 (as noted above). Yeah, we rocked, table 2 :)
We continued with 5 minutes left in Level 8. Early on, the action was hot and heavy.
We go to a 3-handed flop with Randy, Kyle, and Mike. The flop comes Ks - 8d - 2s. Two spades onboard. Kyle bets the flop and Randy and Mike come along for the ride. The turn is a 7c, and Kyle pushes all in for 2425. Randy calls his 2100, also all-in. Then, Mike calls all-in with his remaining 1675. Three way action! Kyle has everybody covered, but what on earth do these people have?? Randy turns over his A-8 of spades for the pair of 8's and the nut flush draw. Kyle's got KJ of clubs for the top pair - good kicker. Mike shows KhTs for the outkicked pair of Kings. The river brings a 9 of spades, and Randy drags a monster pot that eliminates Mike and cripples Kyle. Nice outdraw! Crazy pot. Randy no longer had to worry about anyone mistaking him for the shortstack at the table.
With his stack on life support and despair in his heart, Kyle pushes all in and finds all kinds of action. Andrew pushes his short stack all-in as well, and both Jim and Cathy call. It was all for naught, though, as the board came 5 clubs, and nobody could beat the onboard flush. The pot went chop-chop-chop-chop.
Level 9: 300/600, 50 ante
Kyle again makes his move on the shortstack. He pushes all in preflop for 1,050 chips. Cathy and Jim hop on the Knockout Train and see a flop with Kyle: 8h - 9h - Qc. Cathy takes the lead and bets into Jim, who calls. Kyle can only watch in disgust as the action goes fast and furious around him. The turn comes the Kh, and action goes check-check. The river brings the 9 of diamonds. Jim checks, and Cathy bets out 1200. Jim folds, and Cathy shows her Ace-Jack of hearts for the turned flush. Kyle can't beat that, and is eliminated in 9th place.
Brian scores a double up against Andrew when his AJ of hearts makes a flush against Andrew's A7 offsuit.
Andrew busts out in 8th place when his 98 offsuit is trumped by Jim's Q9 offsuit. A queen onboard seals the deal for Jim.
I proceeded to take out Steve in 7th place when my pocket Jacks held up against his K9.
Rich then took a big hit on his gigantic stack when Jim doubled through him with pocket 7's. Rich had A9 and was unhappy to hear that I had folded one of his outs with my nemesis hand, AJ. (Of course, a Jack hit onboard and I'd have won the hand, but I rarely feel lucky with my nemesis). Bold move by Jim with those walking sticks.
It's Brian's turn to push all in with his remaining 1600 chips. Cathy and Jim call him, and on a flop of 4d - 2h - 2s, Jim bets out T1800. Cathy calls, and we see a turn of 8d. Action goes check-check. (Am I having deja vu? Haven't we seen this pattern before between these two)? The river comes a 5 of spades, and Jim pushes all in. Cathy folds, and Jim drags the side pot between them. He then shows A3 of hearts for the wheel straight, and Brian spins his wheels right out of the game in 6th place.
This level saw my worst play of the night. That's not quite the right way to say it, because my play was decent based on my read, but my read was wrong. I don't have notes on the hand, so my card recollection may be slightly off. I saw a cheap flop from the small blind with Q8o. Cathy came to the flop with me and had position. I flopped a Queen on a board that looked something like Q-7-2, and checked it. (Here's where I need my mantra - no slowplaying allowed). Cathy checked behind me. My read was that the board missed her. The turn came a 9, and I bet out. She raised me, and I figured she had hit her pair of 9's. I was confident that my Queens were still good. I don't recall how the river played out - my guess is that I bet it, she raised me, and I called, because I know I lost a hunk of chips on this hand. At any rate, she held 9-7 for a turned two pair, which completely blindsided me. I was right about the turn - she'd hit her nine, but my read that the flop missed her was completely off. Nice play, Cathy! Your betting patterns are nowhere near as predictable as I'd pegged them to be.
As a side note, I must say that Cathy wins the "most improved player" award for the day. I only got to play with her at the final table, but Randy played with her at the first table as well, and confirmed my opinion that her play in that game was very solid. She was aggressive as necessary and mixed it up well. You go, girl!
Level 10: 500/1000 (100 ante)
After that crippling hand against Cathy, I found myself on life support. I folded through a couple orbits and was blinded down to 2 big blinds. When a suited A3 fell into my hands on the button, I pushed for the remainder of my stack. Unfortunately, Jim to my left held KK. His cowboys sent me packing when my Ace didn't improve. I despondently accepted my prizeless 5th place exit, two spots out of the money.
Not long after, Cathy found herself all in with A3 offsuit against Randy's A-10. Though he didn't need it, Randy paired his ten's, and Cathy bubbled out of the tournament in 4th place. Damn good game though. Is it any wonder that the only two girls in the game managed to make top 5 finishes? Hmmm. Let's ponder. (Yeah, we rock). LOL!
Rich, who had started our final table with a tower of chips in front of him, found himself making the money but the least of it when his AQ ran into Jim's snowmen. Jim's luck in the pockets continued and the 88 won the hand, knocking out Rich in 3rd place.
Level 11: 600/1200, 100 ante
It's the very first hand of heads-up play between Randy (yay!) and Jim. The chip stacks are just about even. Mike, who has been watching the tail end of the game, has shuffled the cards, and I was dealing them. We see both players limp into a flop of 6c - 7s - 8c. Wowzers. Betting back and forth. The turn brings the 9c. More betting. River: 10h. We've got a straight onboard, and 3 clubs for the potential flush. Jim pushes all in. Randy thinks briefly and calls.
Randy shows KdJc for the Jack-high straight.
Jim shows Qc3c for the club flush.
The chips are counted out, and Jim barely has Randy covered for the win. Randy takes 2nd place.
Much discussion about that hand ensued, but my conclusion is that there was no way Randy could have avoided losing all of his chips there. He said that maybe if he raised preflop he'd have taken the hand right then. I can't say what Jim would do, but I don't think a raise preflop would scare me out of a hand when I've got a suited face card in the pocket heads-up. That's just me, but I'd take a flop with that in that situation. Even with all of the betting, the turn gave Randy a club draw, so he wasn't likely dumping the hand there either. The river completed his straight, which was a higher straight than what was onboard, so there's not much chance of folding there either. It was just one of those hands.
The final results:
1st: Jim (500)
2nd: Randy (200)
3rd: Rich (100)
Overall, a good showing for Hella Hold'em. I was disappointed with my one critical hand against Cathy but was pleased with my play overall, so I can't consider it a complete loss. Randy also came back from an early trip down to the felt to play some great poker and put himself in a seat of contention - very impressive. It was, as usual, a night of good cards and good times. Thanks to Scott for hosting! Also, thanks to Jim, Andrew, and Ed, who took turns dealing at table 2, and to Randy for dealing the final table. It is much appreciated!