Friday, November 30, 2018

From Free Entry to Final Table

Dover Diaries: Part 13 - August, 2013

After winning a free entry into a $95 buy-in tournament (see previous post), it was time to head to Dover and play.  The tournament ended up attracting 69 players and the starting stack was 11,000 chips.  Total prize pool for 8 players was $5,175.  After just two orbits, I was moved to a new table.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pocket Eights

Dover Diaries: Part 12 - July, 2013

Another trip to DD started slowly because I got stuck in traffic near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  A lot of folks were heading east to Maryland and Delaware's Atlantic Ocean beaches.  At least one car heading across the bridge was only interested in pitching some cards in an air-conditioned room.  Even with traffic, I made it well before the tournament start time.  I sat down in a $1/$2 cash game to pass the time.  There were no big hands to recap but I did lose $30 calling several times pre-flop.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Poker Maniac

Dover Diaries: Part 11 - July, 2013

I made the drive to Dover Downs on a Saturday morning in order to play in the $40,000 guarantee poker tournament.  The buy-in was $199 and the starting stack was 8,500 chips.  Because there were about 300 entries, the prize pool ended up being over $50,000.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Two for Two

Dover Diaries: Part 10 - June, 2013

After cashing the Friday night tournament, see last post, I was ready to head back to the hotel and get some rest.  The tournament ended after midnight and it would have gone past 1 am if we hadn't agreed on a chop.  Dover is a pretty quiet town unless there is a NASCAR race or an event going on.  Getting out of the parking lot took me a while and it was because the Firefly Music Festival was going on.  Rest of the night was uneventful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Back on Track

Dover Diaries: Part 9 - June, 2013

I looked up the tournament schedule online for Dover Down and saw that they had a $100 buy-in tournament at 7 pm on a Friday night with a $5,000 guarantee.  My options were to drive west to DC and hangout with my friends or drive east and play some poker.  I decided to head east.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Dover Diaries: Part 8 - June, 2013

After the win in the last post, I only played one more tournament in 2012.  From January thru May of 2013, I only went to Dover four times because I had grad school classes.  I played ten tournaments and didn't cash any!  Another dry spell.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Trying to Win a Poker Tournament

Dover Diaries: Part 7  - December, 2012

With the winter on the doorstep and the golf season over, I drove to Dover Downs on a Saturday for a 1 pm tournament.  The buy-in was $65 and 50 players were ready to battle it out for the title.

I didn't record many hands because I was on life support after my two pair got beat by a straight.  Short stacked, I didn't think I would survive for long.  Somehow, I hung on until we were down to 18 players.  I was dealt A-4 and moved all-in.  There were two callers and both showed Q-J!  They managed to pick-up a straight draw on the flop.  The turn sent me packing as the straight came in.

I had a decision to make.  There was a second tournament at 7 pm but that was a couple hours away.  I could drive home or stick around.  The tournament in question had an $80 entry fee and a $2,500 guarantee.  I decided to stay in Dover.

We ended up having only 41 players.  It was a bit surprising considering that the earlier tournament drew 50 players.  Things got off to a great start when I picked-up pocket kings.  I ended up putting two players all-in pre-flop.  One showed pocket queens and the other Q-J.  The guy holding pocket queens was not happy to see one of his outs dead.  The flop was jack high but it was not enough to keep them from being knocked out.

Then I had pocket threes.  The flop was 3-7-Q.  My opponent bet and I raised.  The turn was the 9.  He went all-in and I called.  He showed A♠-2.  I started looking at the dealer to see if he had something against me.  He turned over a black king on the river.  I looked closer and saw that it was the king of clubs.  The guy got up and went to the cage to re-enter.  Right around this time, I won a polo shirt through a raffle.

The guy re-entered and was sent back to our table.  A few hands later we were battling again.  I was dealt pocket kings.  The flop was 7-x-x.  I bet and he called.  The turn was a king.  The river was another 7 and he went all-in.  I called and showed the full house.  As he got up to leave, he said, "I just can't beat you tonight."  After this hand, I believe I became the chip leader.

I wasn't involved in any other big hands until we got down to the final table.  I knocked out a lady after she went all-in and I called with A-K.  She showed K-J but didn't get any help.  Being the big stack, I wanted to keep putting pressure on the rest of the table.  A guy bet, I moved all-in with A-Q, and he made the called with Q-Q.  He had a much smaller stack.  The flop was ace high and I knocked him out.  After that, I had an overwhelming chip lead.

We were down to four players when I picked up pocket deuces.  The flop was jack high but a two was also present.  He had a jack and long story short, I knocked him out.  Then I had Q-9♠ and the flop had two spades.  I bet large and my opponent called for his tournament life with 5-4♠.  The board didn't help either of us and my queen high delivered the knockout.

After all these tournaments, I was finally heads-up for the title.  I started the heads-up with about 270,000 chips while he had 80,000.  He doubled up when my A-7 lost to his K-10 all-in pre-flop.  He caught a 10 on the flop.  He moved all-in a few more times pre-flop and I had to fold my weak starting hands.  Winning those blinds, gave him the chip lead.

With a 150,000 stack, I moved all-in holding A-4 and and he called having 200,000 chips.  He didn't have an ace but the flop did.  The river was a four.  As I was raking in the chips, I noticed that the board also had another four!  I had no idea that I had made a full house.  He commented how it seemed that I always had an ace.

The blinds were 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante.  I had a 300,000 chip stack versus his 50,000 stack.  I looked down at suited J-9 and called his all-in.  He flipped over K-8.  I caught a nine and eliminated my last opponent!

I outlasted 40 players, ran hot like lava, and I won $1,000.  There was no trophy but I did get a free entry into a $300 buy-in tournament with a $25,000 guarantee for my efforts.  It was a great feeling to finally win a live poker tournament.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Drawing Slim

Dover Diaries: Part 6  - November, 2012

I took a couple of weeks off from tournament poker and wasn't planning on playing again until December but the $10,000 guarantee tournament with a $150 buy-in caught my eye.  I made the trip and so did 80 other players.  The starting stack was 15,000 and top 10 were getting paid.

Early on, I hovered around starting stack thanks to many unplayable hands.  I lost a few pots and won one with two pair.  It was a marginal starting hand in the BB that only had two callers.  On the flop, I hit one of my cards for a pair.  I was behind until the river paired my other card.  After that, I played another marginal starting hand, 9-5.  I saw the flop with two more players.  The flop was 9-8-3 and one guy bet.  I called and the second guy folded.  The turn was a 9.  He bet enough to put me all-in and I made the call.  He flipped over 9-K and I was drawing slim.  The river was a miraculous 8!  I felt like I had won the hand outright even tough we chopped.

Things got a little bit better over the next three hours.  We kept losing players and were down to 25 players when my stack got over 25,000 for the first time.  I guess you can say that I was just surviving.  Then, I picked up A-A.  After two callers, I moved all-in pre-flop.  There was only one caller.  He showed A-QThe only interesting thing about the flop was that it had two clubs!  The turn was a brick.  The river was a brick also.

By the time we were down to 15 players, I had built my stack to over 60,000.  I picked up pocket kings and bet.  The BB was 3,000 and I made it 9,000.  I was a bit surprised when a player moved all-in for 72,000.  I needed some time to think about my decision.  I thought, he surely is representing A-A, A-K, or Q-Q; but would he really do that with pocket aces and risk pushing me out of the hand.  

Top ten were getting paid and maybe I could fold my way into the money; but we did not come here to fold pocket kings!  There comes a time in a poker tournament where you only have one option no matter how you slice it.  I made the call and hoped he would not turn over pocket aces.

I stood up to see his hand on the other side of the table.  Pocket tens!  He was drawing slim.  The dealer placed our cards near the center of the table and proceeded to deal the flop.  The only card that I saw was a ten.  Rest of the cards were a blur.  All of my chips made their way across the table as I was knocked out again.