On Wednesday evenings I play in a weekly poker tournament hosted by a co-worker named Craig. It’s a lively group of strong and not-so-strong players. Between 7 and 14 show up each week. The buy-in is $25 for 1000 chips with $20 rebuys the first hour and a $20 add-on after the break. Twice each year we have a free roll. Starting chips are based on the number of points players accumulate throughout the season. I had a pretty good turnout this season and began second in chips. The payouts for the freeroll (taken from the intial buyin from each tournament ($5)) were $600 for 1st and about $240 for 2nd.
The levels were
Round 1 5/10
Round 2 10/20
Round 3 25/50
Round 4 50/100
Round 5 100/200
Round 6 150/300
We had 14 players playing, two tables of 7. The players at my table were:
My First hand of the tournament was 89 suited (diamonds). I was under the gun and limped, but Chris raised to 50 and 3 folks called, including me. Flop was A, 7, 6, two diamonds. I bet out 150 and Craig called. All others folded. Turn was 6. I checked and Craig checked. River was 10 for my straight. I bet 250 and Craig showed an ace before folding. I won about 400 or so.
I didn’t win another pot until round 3 when I stole the blinds once. I went from 2200 to 1600 or so. Then in the early stages of round 4, a key hand came up. I was in the big blind with QT suited (spades) and there were four limpers. I checked and the flop came 234, all spades. The small blind checked and I bet out 250 into a 500 chip pot. Kevin folded and Craig raised me 600 more. All others folded and I went all in for 700 more. Craig called and flipped over pocket 7s. The Ace of spades came on the turn and Craig only had one out to tie (the 5 of spades). A king hit and I won a huge pot, sending me over 3000 for the first time all evening.
Craig said he didn’t put me on a flush when I bet out like that. Maybe that’s why I did that! He was haunted by that hand the rest of the week.
With 3300 chips at 50/100 blinds, I had a little breathing room. I was able to see more flops, and about 30 minutes later another key hand came up for me, this time against Johnny. I was on the button with A2 suited (spades). I limped and four of us saw a flop of 22Q. Johnny bet 350 and I called. It was now just the two of us. The turn was a 9 and Johnny bet out 700. I raised another 1000 putting Johnny all in. He thought for a few minutes, not wanting to call, but he eventually did call with QJ. The river was a King and I now had almost 5000 in chips.
With four players left (Kevin, Chris, me, Diana), we all made a deal to pocket $100 each, leaving $400 for first and $150 for second. Kevin lost a hand to Chris and finished 4th. About ten minutes later, Diana limped to my big blind of 56 suited (diamonds), which I checked. The flop was K62 rainbow. Diana checked and I bet 500 into a 600 chip pot. Diana called. The turn was a Q. I had nothing, but Diana checked and I checked, too. The river was a 3, giving me a miracle straight. Diana checked and I thought a moment. There was 1600 in the pot. Just in case Diana had a King, I bet out 1500 and Diana said, “I’m all in.” I immediately called. “I have a straight,” I said and Diana looked aghast. She had two pair, Kings and 6s, and was trapping me for all my chips. She didn’t see the straight possibility. The hand left her severely shortstacked, and three hands later she was knocked out in 3rd.
Chris and I were now heads up. I had a sizeable lead on him. I was aggressive and went all in with KQ. Chris called with KT and made a flush, leaving us almost even in chips. That’s when Chris suggested we each take $200 and play for the final $105. I said sure. The last hand was sweet. I had 89, which coincidentally was the first hand of the tournament. The flop was J75, giving me a double belly buster. Chris bet 500 and I called. The turn was a 10. Chris bet 1000 and I raised 1000. Chris went all in and I called with my Jack-high nut straight. Chris had AJ. The river was a dud and I won the free roll, my first at Craig’s . My total winnings for the evening came to $405. Not bad at all. For the year, I’m ahead $1370 at Craig’s.