November 2021
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My Pot O’ Gold?

Playing beyond your bankroll completely rocks when you get lucky. ūüôā

I knew the PokerDome satellite was too expensive for me to justify buying into direct.¬† Even with its awesome added value – a $215 seat was worth $343 tonight – I’m just not¬†serious enough or good¬†enough to play three-figure buy in tournaments on a regular basis.¬† I was well aware that I couldn’t continue playing this tournament every week, as I desparately wanted to, without running a little bit hot at first.

Last Saturday, I used some of the money remaining from the very nice Mansion NFL bet bonus I took advantage of earlier in the year to buy into the $100+$9 rebuy and the $200+$15 freezeout.¬† It was pretty uneventful – I didn’t survive the first hour in either of them and couldn’t remember anything vaguely interesting to write about, so I didn’t even mention it.

Today I went only for the freezeout, figuring my balance could support two more cracks at it and I wasn’t really likely to¬†play anything else at Mansion.¬† They have a few money-added tournaments during the day, but they’re now making a big deal about a Christmas tournament series with $250,000 added.¬† Very attractive (and a $50+$5 buy in is much more realistic for me) but they all start at 3am.¬† So despite the Mansion server clock being GMT, they pretty much don’t give a hoot about their European players and have put this quarter of a million up for grabs only to attract the Americans that are still looking for a place to play.¬† You can see why they’d do that, but just a couple that start during the day for US players – a token effort¬†– would be nice.

Oh, did I forget to say the result before I went off on one?

First place baby!  $7000 PokerDome package and $3430 cash.

What follows now will probably be waffle.¬† I’m completely wired but also in need of sleep (I have to catch a train at 07:24).¬† In this case especially, the size of the prize is much more interesting than how I actually won it, so I definitely won’t be offended if you don’t read any further.

Everything started great and I was chip leader within 15 minutes after eliminating two players with big pairs that held up.¬† Had to make a terrifying all-in call with QQ on TT2 flop.¬† The other player had called my third raise pre-flop and moved all-in immediately after the flop.¬† There’s a chance he’s playing AA or KK in a donkish way there, but I found it hard to believe he wouldn’t try to check-raise me¬†on that board if he had anything that beats my queens.¬† In fact, a check-raise there may well have got me to fold the QQ (I’d be putting him on JJ-AA), but instead he donated his stack when AK did not improve.

Players fell fast down to three tables remaining.¬† Two tables were getting paid, with $350 for places 10-18.¬† On the bubble there were three mega short stacks, with about 1000 chips each and blinds at 300/600.¬† I had a heart attack when I saw KK on the big blind with players who mostly had me covered, and was never more pleased to get a walk with a big hand.¬† It wasn’t just me who wanted to lock in $350 then – that’s almost two more goes at this in my weak mind!

There were some crippled stacks on the final table so it dropped to 6 remining pretty quickly.¬† That had guaranteed me a four-figure payday.¬† I was keeping up with the pack pretty well, but I know I could have played stronger to take advantage of the bubble effect – when two players had very short stacks but the next jump in money was $600, I fancied the $600.¬† I was helped by someone playing AK much too passively.¬† He smooth-called¬†a minimum raise from a habitual min-raiser, forcing me to pay one bet to see¬†a flop with K8s from the big blind.¬† I didn’t hesitate when the flop came KQ8 and got the payoff.¬†

The jump between 4th and 3rd was $1500 and I was extremely glad that it happened on a pretty easy decision.  I had AJs on the big blind and the small stack button pushed.  He flipped over J8o and stood up.

Then I dithered a bit too much.¬† The problem (if you can call four grand in the bank a problem) was that 3rd paid a nice chunk of cash ($4116) whereas 2nd was "only" $235 in addition to the PokerDome package.¬† $4116, or indeed the $3430 extra for first place, would nicely take care our house rental next summer.¬† Claire did just this with the extra cash she won alongside her WSOP seat last year, so I wanted to do the same.¬† So my strategy at that point should have been to go for broke: get myself a massive chip lead or bomb out and guarantee the biggest cash prize on offer.¬† Finishing 2nd, chances are I’m going to Vegas by myself, unless by some freak of timing the event I’ve qualified for is either the weekend we’re already going to be there or lands in a school holiday.¬† Plus, I’d heard other players talking about previous satellites, saying that the 3rd place finisher is also taken to Vegas as a reserve.

By the time I’d realised that I needed to make this adjustment, it was too late.¬† The other two were going at it, and we were heads up.¬† The other guy had about a 2:1 chip lead on me.¬† Playing, basically, a freeroll for $3000 in a satellite is a very strange experience.¬† It’s the biggest leap in prize money on offer, even though both the players remaining have pretty much already achieved what they came for.¬† We were both on our way to Vegas.¬† But the tournament just kept on playing, there was no time to take that in, no time to start leaping around and not even time to go and wake Claire and get a sleepy hi-5.¬† I’d been running excitedly back and forth with updates all the way down to 5 players left, as she’s much more conscientious at the whole having-to-get-up-at-6.30 thing than me.¬† That’s like 5 hours away… and still no way I can sleep!

The heads up slaughter lasted about 45 minutes.¬† I suck at heads up.¬† I’m way too weak, and this guy was a big bully.¬† He bashed me down to about 15k vs his 120k and I got lucky to survive.¬† From then on I somehow slogged my way back even, eventually picked up a big hand and got paid off and once I’d fought my way to a 3:1 chip lead his TT held up against my AQ and we were back to level footing.¬† Same old story – he bashes away at me and I have to get lucky again.¬† Although by now I’m wondering if the Kill Phil heads up strategy of "go all in every hand" wasn’t such a bad idea.¬† I was definitely outclassed, but on the bright side I now have some great experience of playing heads up for a big prize.

We already know that it’s bad karma to turn down a deal.¬† Here we were, almost at the stage where it was time to race random cards for $3000 and I offer a deal.¬† Don’t even know if it’s possible to do that on Mansion, but he wasn’t interested anyway.¬† Can’t blame him really.¬† He knew he was better, and I’d have been overjoyed to take any kind of¬†deal to have it over with.

But when it’s with you it’s with you.¬† I got ahead again, calling a small bet with middle pair and making 2 pair on the river.¬† I never saw what he had, but I must have been behind most of the way.¬† So with nearly a 4:1 chip lead I decided to have a crack with K9 to try and end it.¬† It was good enough:


Now, you never know, going on TV might be enough to push me just that little bit harder to lose some weight…

I know this is asking for trouble…

… but if anyone would care to come and sweat me, we’re down to 11 players in the PokerDome satellite and I just about have an average stack.¬† I’m already in the money, thanks to Mansion’s fantastic overlay, but it starts to get really interesting at the final table.¬† Top two go¬†to Vegas…

Full report to follow, probably.

22:54. Quickest edit ever.¬† I’d just pressed "save" on this, and it dealt me QQ with a raise in front of me.¬† I took it down with a reraise though.¬† Whew, as they say.

22:57. Second quickest edit ever.¬† Same situation, this time JJ.¬† Apparently I’m second in chips after that resteal!

23:30.¬† Brief update at end of 3rd hour.¬† 5 left and I have 2 grand in the bank.¬† I’m second bottom in chips though and¬†the blinds are mental.¬† I think it’ll be over pretty quick either way.

Value bet

I can’t believe i haven’t realised until today just how much added value there is in the PokerDome satellites.¬† I’ve only made it to the main satellite once, mostly because I regularly manage to forget that the $20 freezeout qualifier starts at 8.15pm.¬† They’re not bad themselves, often a small overlay to make up the two guaranteed seats into the next round.

Today I was thinking about buying in direct, simply because the package on offer was for the tournament taking place whilst we are in Vegas at Christmas. Then, true to form, I managed to miss the start and I kicked myself harder than usual after I noticed just how juicy this satellite was.¬† They guarantee two seats¬†for Vegas – kind of essential to make sure the TV show goes ahead.¬† What I didn’t realise, and perhaps I just wasn’t paying close enough attention or maybe they just don’t a big enough deal about it, is that one seat is added to the prize pool and as far as I can tell it’s added regardless of the actual entries.¬† This week there were 69 players, paying $200 each.¬† That’s $13800 in the prize pool, which would be just shy of funding the two $7000 seat prizes.¬† But rather than just add¬†$200¬†to make it up,¬†there was in fact $6800 up for grabs in consolation cash.

Not only that, but they paid the whole final table –¬†9 prizes from 69 runners is a little flatter than usual, and makes it just that little bit more appealing for a tournament that’s not exactly within my bankroll.¬† A $200 online tournament is definitely out of my comfort zone to buy in direct.¬† I even get cold feet when it comes to using PokerStars T$ or W$ for the actual events I’ve qualified for! But when you’re actually getting, effectively, $300 worth of seat for $200¬†I’m going to find this hard to resist!

Of course, if I can actually remember the satellites this week it won’t be an issue.. ūüôā

Carnt Fold

Here’s a hand from a PokerDome satellite I played today.

Blinds are 75/150 and I have 2250.¬† I am dealt Ah Ad on the button.¬† Lovely.¬† A middle position player who has about twice as many chips as me raises to 300.¬† A fantastic minimum raise.¬†¬†I¬†strongly suspect he doesn’t have aces here, and if he does well that’s just the way cards are falling for me lately.

I reraise, making it 900 to go.¬† If he’d made a proper raise I could think about smooth calling here in position, but I can’t let the blinds see a cheap flop.¬† So far so good I think.

He makes the call and I see a horrible flop: Jh Qd Kc.

The only good thing I can say about this flop is that it’s unsuited.¬† It’s still about the worst flop ever for pocket aces in a pot that saw two raises pre-flop.¬† All those big pairs that you had crushed have suddenly caught up.¬† I figure two Kings would want to apply more pressure pre-flop, but can’t count on it.¬† Two Jacks could get away from this but, in the hands of a big stack, could very likely wait for a low board before hanging themselves.

There are also legitimate two-pair threats, and I haven’t been paying enough attention to know whether this guy would call a reraise with KQ, KJ¬†or QJ¬†out of position.¬†¬†You’d hope not.¬† Of course, what I’m really hoping for is to run into AK here, but there’s only two aces and three kings left.¬† It’s unlikely.

There’s even the possibility of a maniac with KT who is not going to go anywhere, and would be just about correct to call for pot odds if I move all in.¬† I’d¬†still be a 2-1 favourite, but I wouldn’t like it.¬† TT would have a hard time folding here too, figuring he may have 10 outs, when in fact a ten is no help and two of his straight cards are in my hand.¬†¬†Of all the likely hands that just got much stronger, TT is probably the least dangerous.¬† But you’re still going home against it one time in four.

The stacks are nowhere near¬†deep enough to have any chance of finding out where I stand.¬† And not only is the other guy wearing shades, he’s also playing on the Internet – no tells here.¬† I have one pot-sized bet left in me, which I think is probably going in the middle whatever happens.¬† So I’ve decided I’m not folding.¬† I mean, really, how can I?

Villian checks the scary flop.¬† Doesn’t matter.¬†¬†He checks if he’s strong.¬† He checks if he’s as scared as I am.¬† There’s no more information to be had.

Now here’s the reason I’m posting this hand.¬† I’ve don’t ever remember being in this situation before,¬†and if I have been I certainly didn’t think about it this way.¬† I’m in position, with a hand that could very well not be best any more but unable to find a way to fold.¬† I¬†check, and check with a reason.¬† I’m ever so¬†briefly a little bit smug.¬† If I’m beat I’m beat.¬† I’m losing my stack.¬† If I’m winning and I move all in here, he’s going to be able to fold anything I beat, except maybe AK.¬† He’s not folding anything that beats me, but will also be hating that board with any strong hand.¬† By checking I bring on a free card that probably won’t matter, and encourage him to bet the turn.¬† Which he will now probably do with any hand that pisses on mine, but me may also take the opportunity to push with that AK, which suddenly looks more attractive, or bluff with an underpair¬†or a straight draw, or perhaps AQ or AJ.

I’m not saying this thinking is perfect.¬† It probably isn’t.¬† I need to find a way to get away from my aces if they’re no good, and maybe I could have controlled the pot size pre-flop better in order to be able to do that now.¬† I’m also not saying that I put him on a hand I beat and checked to induce a bluff.¬† That’s not possible here.¬† All I can do is make sure that I get as many chips in the middle the times I’m actually ahead as I do the times when I’m toast.

It’s the wrong decision.¬† He moves all in on the turn (couldn’t be more of a brick: 2s) and I call.¬† He flips KQo, I hit a second deuce on the river and survive.¬† I eventually bubbled.

I’m going to be thinking about this one for a while.¬† It’s a peculiar decision with a reason that’s based on a negative attitude.¬† The decision is not that unusual really.¬† It’s easy to check there out of fear, just as it’s easy to shove your chips in out of panic.

I don’t ever recall being in such a horrible situation and having a clear plan.¬† Now I just have to figure out whether the plan was any good.¬† Feel free to chime in anytime.


Hooray for me winning through to the Sunday Poker Dome final on Mansion.¬† If I get 1st or 2nd in that bad boy then I’m on my way home to Vegas, to play on TV and in front of a live audience in a converted movie theatre.¬† I’m on a semi-mission with this one.¬† I’ve wanted to play the final for a few weeks but haven’t had many opportunities to get in it.¬† Had considered buying direct to the $215 final but decided not to,¬†but there’s only one freezeout satellite each day at 8:15pm, which¬†I seem to¬†forget about and¬†miss the start much more often than not.

The final four played very cagey for a long time, with not many hands going to a flop.¬† I was stealing plenty, even before that.¬† Much more often than I usually do, but I’d recognised the need to build a big stack when only two players were going to get anything.¬† The players eventually started to notice my relentless stabbing at blinds and began to fight back.¬† "Quit raising the blinds" said one.¬† Well, I’m sorry, it’s been working well for me so far.¬† But hey, now I know you’ve finally caught up so it’s time to change gears.

Well, first it’s time to get lucky, picking up KK against JJ and leaving us three handed.¬† And I have a decent chip lead now too.

With blinds at 150/300 Mr Please-don’t-raise-me pumps it up to 900 from the button.¬† I have AQ on the big blind and about three times his stack.¬† Here’s where I still haven’t decided whether I played the hand like a muppet or a genius.¬† Instead of putting the pressure back on him, I decided I was far enough ahead to get a bit tricky and try and end the thing.¬† I just call his raise, and the big blind folds.¬† The board brings J88 with two clubs.¬† I check and immediately call his 900 bet on the flop.¬† I’m not sure why, but I guess I could be ahead, or I could try and outplay him anyway.¬† I consider whether I actually have the balls to put him all on in the turn regardless of the next card but there’s hardly time before the turn brings another J and I move all-in.

Again, this is either stupidity or genius, and I’m still torn between the two.¬† I may well have the best hand, using the two pair on board and my ace high.¬† But there’s also a high chance I’m splitting, and so the bet is only good if he will throw away the same hand or one that beats mine.¬† He may fold an ace here, but it’s unlikely, and I’m almost certainly getting called by any hand that beats me, unless he is extremely tight and puts me on a J, then he might throw away a small full house or a bigger two pair.¬† But can I check-fold this hand now?¬† I don’t think I can, so I may as well bet it just in case I can get him to fold a winner.

The screenshot below tells the bizarre story.  I was ahead the whole way.  Therefore it was genius.  Clearly.