I'd been absent from the blogger tournament poker scene for far too long. It feels good to be back and, for that, I must thank the fine folks over at PokerListings. When they first reached out to me for the Run Good Challenge, I wasn't sure because I was rather out of practice.
My first time out, I worked my way into 5th place. In round two, I secured a second place finish, $300 and a guaranteed spot in the finals. In round three, I was pretty happy with my play, quickly moving to the top of the leaderboard before Level III. However, I was out shortly thereafter when my made hand fell to a massive draw.
Then came the finals... and I was ready to play.
The table set up like this:
s1: Kid Dynamite
s2: Amy C
s5: Jason Spaceman
s7: Poker Shrink
s8: PokerListings Matt
In the very first hand, Kid Dynamite got a jump on the field when his AK flopped top pair and the Poker Shrink called him down with AJ. It was really a sign of things to come.
In my first notable hand, I stole a pot from Matt. I called his pre-flop raise with pocket 3s and saw a flop of KJ8. He lead out for 80 and I raised to 200. I didn't want him to call, obviously, but he did. The turn was an Ace. Not what I wanted to see, but when Matt checked, I bet 450 and he, thankfully, folded.
It was another pocket pair that won me my next pot, this time pocket 8s. With the blinds at 25/50, I raised in early position to 150 and got two callers, Benjo and Change100. The flop was AA3 and it was checked around. The turn was a 4 and this time I figured I'd take a shot, betting 375. Benjo called me. The river was a 7 and I figured I'd fire another bullet and fold to any raise. Benjo folded to my 600 chip bet.
Benjo was first to go when Kid Dynamite rivered the wheel. It was sick, but not nearly as sick as when Benjo pulled a two outer to make Kid Dynamite Gigli in Round 2. A few hands later, I would get many of Benjo's chips from Kid Dynamite.
In the big blind, I'm dealt 9Td. KD raised from UTG to 150 and I called. The flop looks good to me, 968. I decide I'm going to check raise KD and try to take the pot down right there. I'm putting him on overcards. He complies with a 275 bet and I raised to 750. Unfortunately, KD called.
The turn, however, hit me right in the gut and I'm sure my straight is good. I check, figuring I'll either get to check-raise again, or perhaps get more on the river. I didn't think betting here would maximize my value. KD checked behind me.
The river was another 6 so I lead out for 1200 and KD called, showing pocket Q's. I wonder what I would have done had he re-popped me on the flop.
By the time the next level rolled around, I was chip leader. I took a nice little pot with my pocket Ts. Matt raised preflop and then lead out on a flop of 254. I raised him and he wisely folded.
A few hands later, I was able to push Michelle off a hand when my KJ flopped an open-ended straight draw. Michelle told us she had pocket Js.
Shortly before the break, the Poker Shrink whent down when he again faced off with Kid Dynamite. This time, their hands were reversed, but the Shrink's Big Slick fell to KD's AJ.
At the first break, we looked like this:
T6280: Kid Dynamite
T2880: Amy C
T1980: Jason Spaceman
T1750: PokerListings Matt
Up until that point, I had seen just 10 of the 82 flops (12%), with only one from either blind. I was 2 for 2 in showdowns and had won 11 pots without a showdown. I was really happy with my play.
The first chink in my armor came in Level V. I'm dealt AK in the cutoff and I raise from 150 to 500. KD re-raises to 1600 behind me. There are three choices: Fold, call or re-raise. I choose what, in retrospect, seems to be the worst choice and just call. When the flop missed me completely, I was forced to check-fold. I either should have folded or pushed him. KD would say he held QQ.
The Spaceman would be the next to go when his 77 lost in a race to Change100's KQ. I would next try to eliminate Matt with pocket 8s, but he woke up with Rockets.
My next shot at a big pot would be pocket Ks. It was folded around to me in the SB so I just min-raised KD, who called. the flop was Q9J, all hearts. I held the King of hearts so I think I was in pretty good shape. I checked, hoping he'd bet, but he didn't. The turn was a blank and when I lead out, KD quickly folded. No soup for me.
My luckboxing abilities would come into play in my next showdown with Michelle. Holding pocket 5s in the cut off, I just limp. It's one of the few times I limped all tournament. Michelle checked out of the BB.
The flop was 393, a flop that I thought suited me well. Michelle checked, I bet 300 and she called. I was a little worried until the turn brought a 5. This time Michelle lead out for 400 and I just called. The river was a Q, she bet 400, I raised to 1000 and she called, showing 37. It was a lucky turn for me! Michelle was crippled and would be knocked out a few hands later.
The next time I was dealt AK, I played it a little more aggressively. Matt raised to 650 in front of me and I raised to 2500. Kid Dynamite thought a long time before folding, saying, "Monster laydown, CJ." Matt would also fold.
My run of great starting hands continued when I would soon be dealt Rockets in the small blind. Change100 raised in front of me to 750 and I min re-raised to 1250. It was just a hand earlier that Change100 broke out the min re-raise on me and I folded. She, however, called.
The flop was Q92 and I checked, hoping Change would bet. She didn't. The turn was another 9 and this time I lead out for 1000. She called. The river was a 4 and I pushed all in. Change thought for a bit before folding. She blogged later that she was holding Tens. It was a very good lay down for her.
Amy C would be the next to go when her 66 failed to improve against Kid Dynamite's Cowboys. And we were down to just 4. Matt would be crippled a few hands later when Change100's QJ would outrace Matt's pocket Ts. I then knocked him out when my A4 held up against Matt's K2. And then there were three.
The break almost immediately hit and the three of us talked deal. Since we were relatively close in chips (I was the slight chip leader), I suggested we each take $700 and play for the remainder (which ended up being about $200). We all agreed and the race for the title was on.
I tried to be the most aggressive, opening up my starting hands and aggressively betting. I tried to take a big pot off of KD with my pocket 3s, but he wouldn't back down and I was forced to fold to his all-in after a Q-high flop.
A few hands later, I pushed into Kid Dynamite with my KJs, but he woke up with Big Slick. I wasn't able to improve and I was out in third place. It only took a few more hands before KD was able to knock out Change100 and take the title.
When the dust settled, the second edition of the Run Good Challenge netted me a $1000 profit. It also helped to rebuild some of my confidence. I used that confidence in my first WBCOOP qualifier last night. It was PLO8 and I finished 16th out of 390. I was really happy with my play even if some railbird.com douche bag thought I was clueless. He obviously doesn't know much about the Luckbox!