Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Last Binion's Tournament (Part 2)

This is the second of three parts, (see here for part 1) and we pick up right we left off....

Level 8 (100/600/1200) $40,300.  I opened to $3K with pocket 9's and took it.  Later, it folded to me on the button with 9-5 of spades.  I made it $3K and both blinds folded.  Yes, 9-5 of spades.  Hey, who says I'm a nit?

It folded to me on the button with King-Jack off.  I made it $3K and the small blind called.  The flop was very low, I c-bet $4,500.  He tanked for a long time but finally folded.

The very next hand I had King-Jack again, this time they were both diamonds.  I opened to $3K and one of the blinds called. The flop was Queen-Jack-x, two clubs.  He donk-shoved $14,500.  I tanked but eventually folded.  He showed one card, a Queen.

Level 9 (200/800/1600) $42K.  It folded to the small blind who completed. I was the big blind with Jack-3 off.  I checked.  The flop was low and missed me completely.  But when he checked it, I bet $3K and stole it.

Then I made what I referred to in my notes as a "dumb ass" move.  I limped in with 8-7 of hearts, then called a raise to $3,500.  I had to fold on a flop that totally missed me.

I opened to $4K with 10-9 of diamonds and didn't get a call.

Level 10 (300/1000/2000) $32,700.  That put me pretty close to shove-or-fold mode.  So, after one limper, I shoved with King-Jack of spades.  I took it, but the limper showed his hand—Ace-10 off! 

There was a guy at this table who was from out of town and had mentioned repeatedly that he was fairly new to tournament poker and maybe even poker in general.  I didn't see any obvious mistakes, although perhaps he was shoving a bit much and too early.  Anyway, sometimes when he didn't need to, he would show his cards (usually after he took the pot without a call).  So on one of the breaks, he asked me if I thought it was a good idea for him to show his hand like that.  Boy, I didn't really want to answer that one! I mean the honest answer is, "Yes, it's a very good idea...for me.  For you, not so much."  I kind of hemmed and hawed and luckily the waitress came around with his drink just then and distracted him.  By the time she moved on, the tournament had resumed and he never got his answer.

Soon after that last hand, they broke our table and we were down to 18 players (because of the light turnout, we had been playing 9-handed tables pretty much the whole way).

Soon thereafter, desperate, I had Ace-4 of spades and open shoved.  One guy called.  It was the kid who had been sitting on my immediate right most of the time I was at the previous table.  I'm going to call him Mike since he told us that was his name (and I later found out it wasn't his name).  Mike came to that table with a huge stack and was likely the chip leader of the tournament when I first encountered him.  He tried to explain that he had just gotten lucky to have gotten all those chips when someone went on tilt against him.  Now, he hadn't been the most aggressive player I'd ever seen but he was pretty tough to play against and I was glad that he was on my right.

At this new table he was still on my right, but a few spots away from me.  He still had a ton of chips although he was no longer the chip leader (either at our table or for the tournament). Anyway, he flipped over King-Queen.  The flop had an Ace, but the turn had a Queen. The river was a sweet looking Ace and I had my first double up of the tournament.  As I started stacking my chips, Mike said to me, "Sir, you're supposed to have like 10's or Jack's there."  I laughed and said, "You know the river card could have just as easily been a Queen—or a King—as an Ace."  I'm sure that had already occurred to him.  That got me to $59K and I was breathing a little easier.

The next hand I was in the big blind with King-Queen.  Mike made a big raise.  I wondered if that was a "tilt-raise."  I could have called or even come over the top, but I decided to fold.  Good thing, Mike had a couple of Aces (sorry, my notes don't indicate if he won it preflop and decided to show his hand, or if he had to show to win the pot).

On the button, with Ace-3 off, I opened to $5,500 and took it.

Level 11 (400/1200/2400) $61K.

I won uncontested pots by raising to $6,500 with Ace-Jack of diamonds and 8-7 of spades. 

With Ace-King I raised and a guy with a fairly big stack shoved. I had more chips than him but not that much.  I figured this was a good time to roll the dice.  I called.  He had Ace-King too, but his was sooooted (hearts).  The flop was all black and we chopped it.

I opened to $6,500 with pocket deuces and didn't get a call.

That took us to the 30-minute dinner break.  Right before the break a funny thing happened—not with me, but with the guy on my right.  He was all-in and lost and he had just a few chips left, basically the ante and not the entire big blind—he was the big blind on this hand.  So he was all in and just heads up against somebody and he had 10-5 and the flop came 10-10-5.  He shoved about two more hands and won them both and thus had a working stack going to the dinner break.  He won a couple more like that before busting out.

Level 12 (500/1500/3000) $62.5K.    First hand I opened to $7,200 with King-10 of hearts, no call.

Then I messed up.  I was in the big blind with Ace-rag and just checked.  No one bet on the flop or the turn.  Someone bet the river for $5K.  Yeah, I saw a possible straight but I thought it was more likely he was trying to steal it and I reasoned my Ace-high might be good.  So I called.  Unfortunately, he did indeed have the straight.

Then I opened to $7,500 with Jack-10 off and a guy shoved behind me—probably slightly smaller stack than mine.  I let it go and he showed Ace-Queen.

With Ace-Jack, I decided it was time to shove.  No call.  A bit later I got pocket Aces.  I probably should have just raised but I decided to shove.  No call.

It folded to me in the small blind with Ace-10 and I shoved.  The big blind folded.

Well with that we were suddenly down to 10 so they assembled the final table.  But we were still three from the money since they were only paying seven.

I had about $53K when we got to the final table.

Made it to level 13 (500/2K/4K) with $51K.  That's shove-or-fold territory.

Mike was still around, still had a lot of chips, and now was on my left.  Not my immediate left, a few spots away from me.  But the chip leader was the oldest player at the table (I knew because he told us his age—he looked at least 10 years younger than he was).  He wasn't at my previous table and I'm not sure if he was at the one before that.  But I had definitely played with him that day so I guess he was at the second table I was at (or maybe the third too).  Also, I was sure I'd played with him around town before. He was definitely a tough player.  Although he limped in a lot, he also raised a lot and wasn't afraid to call a raise or three-bet. Several times during the day I had heard him tell the story of how, playing at one of the Binion's Classic events some time back, he and two others finally agreed to a three-way chop for $4K each at 4AM  Let's call this fellow Cliff.

I open shoved with Ace-10 of hearts and didn't get a call.  Then this Swedish fellow (who I had played with earlier) raised to $10K and I shoved with pocket Jacks.  He let it go.

I felt I had enough chips to play a little poker so I opened to $10K with King-10 of spades.  Only Cliff called.  The flop was King-high, two spades.  I shoved and he folded.

Once I got to the final table I found it harder to keep up with my notes.  My notes say here, "might have left out a hand."  In fact, I definitely missed recording a hand or two at this point.  I think those last two hands were close together and then there must have been another hand where I picked up some chips....and before I had a chance to record that one, this big hand I'm about to describe came along, and shoved the memory of that other good hand right out of my brain.  I just couldn't recall a thing about that other hand after I recorded the next hand.  But I'm sure it wasn't an all-in where I was at risk of busting, and I'm sure I didn't bust anyone out.  But somehow, my stack for the next hand I'm about to discuss was in the vicinity of $120K-$125K.  But whatever the hand that got me there was it is lost for all-time.  But I'm sure that it was brilliant play on my part that got me those chips, of course.

So yeah, I must have had around $120K when the big hand of the tournament—for me—came along.

I had Ace-King of spades and Mike had raised. I dunno if he was the chip-leader (that might have been Cliff) but he still had a lot of chips and was no worse than second place. I three-bet (sorry, I didn't record the amounts).  He called.  The flop was King-4-2. I made a bet and Mike called.  The turn was the 6 of clubs (no flush possible).  I shoved.  Mike went into the tank.  But after a long time, he finally said, "Ah, f**k it, I've gone too far to fold now."  He called and said, "I need a 5, a 4 or a 3," and flipped over 5-4 of spades.  The river could have knocked me out.  But instead, the river was an Ace and I was now swimming in chips.

When I finished counting, it was around $250K sitting in front of me.  And I think I was now probably the chip-leader, with Cliff in second place. Mike was short stacked but still alive.  I started eyeing the payout schedule and was having fantasies of taking home the first place money.  Or at least making a very favorable deal when we got down to the final three or so.

And that's where I'll leave it.  The final chapter is now posted and can be found here.


  1. Sure just leave us with a "Cliff" hanger. Well played Rob.

    1. Good one, Neo, wish I had thought of it.

      Here's a slight spoiler...."Cliff" plays a major, major role in part 3.

  2. The AA shove with no callers versus a standard raise and having the BB call with ATC is always a headscratcher. If you had that AA in any early position opening with a standard raise might have had an argo following you come over the top which afterwards is an easy shove. If you are in late position with AA you can feign a blind steal move and maybe get a caller from the blinds if either has any semblance of a hand. As always with poker and AA it is great to get them but getting action is another thing and getting them cracked always blows....

    1. Indeed. I think in that case, I might have gone for a limp/re-raise (shove) but the was the action was going, I figured I might just get a ton of calls and then be in no man's land on the flop.

    2. I don't remember exactly when this happened but I had AA dealt to me twice in a row and first instance I open raised preflop and the second instance I limped it in and in BOTH cases I lost the hands with AA. Call me Mr. Dreaded AA...

    3. Damn. I heard a guy tell me that he once got AA four times in a row in a tournament and won all four times with them.

    4. That guy must have been L36? First instinct is that the guy that said he got them four times in a row and won with all of them is a liar but I won't pass judgement. Good for him or her. Once at the HoChunk poker room I had AA and AJ hands in one hour that turned quads and I got action on both of them (cash game $1-2 NL). Several players from Chicago at the table that just couldn't believe it especially the second time. Sucks to loose with full houses and not have hands/board that qualifies for the bad beat jackpot.

    5. Great story. No, it wasn't Lightning. It was a guy I run into at tournaments all the time.

  3. Rob. Any win with AA is good. I played an Aria $125 the beginning of October and saw AA cracked by 7 2. He played them slow and by the turn shoved but by then the 7 2 had two pair and was going no where. The 7 2 was in the big blind. His reasoning was he folded the 7 2 two hands before where he would have won.