As noted in our last post – Erik’s Bar in St. Paul was the site of a “Super” Tournament of Champions for Free Poker Network’s “Sin City Showdown” promotion. Erik’s was one of only a few sites chosen for this honor. The weekly winners from both their Tuesday and Saturday games would come together for a direct shot at going to Las Vegas.
Our own Karaoke Phil scored three wins between October and March to move into this TOC with a 4000 chip stack (the standard 2000 for winning a week, plus two 1000 chip bonuses for the additional wins). Keith Olson – who posting wins in the last two Saturdays of March – led all players with 5000 chips due to his 4 wins overall. As mentioned – Karaoke’s 4000 chips joined Ed Oswald, Jody Hamilton and Mike Roberts for the next biggest stacks. In all 29 players qualified to play with only 24 showing up.
The tournament kicked off with 3 full tables (FPN tends to run 8 per table) and the slightly modified structure of blinds at 25/50 (rather than 25/25). Blind levels were to run 20 minutes each. Karaoke drew a table that held two of the three players who could immediately knock him out of the TOC: chip leader Keith Olson was two seats to Phil’s right and Mike Roberts was across the table.
While the hands started out well, the day’s action didn’t match it. First hand out of the deck gives Phil pocket 10s – they lose. Hands 2 through 6 see him being dealt: A/Q off, K/J suited, 8/7suited, K/Q off and A/T off. Karaoke played them all only winning with 8/7 on a river bluff. His chip stack dropped quickly to 3400.
A slower run of cards and slowing down allowed Phil to rebuild to 3800 in short order. By second level he had built up to about 4500 and players began to drop – taking the stigma of “first out” off of everyone’s shoulders. With 21 players left Phil was moved to the immediate right of Ed Oswald – one of the other larger starting chip stacks.
A key hand occurred with 18 players left – Karaoke was dealt 4/5 clubs in the SB and blinds at 75/150. Karaoke limped in with Oswald checking his option. The flop was 6/8/9 and two clubs and a diamond. Karaoke led out for 225 into the pot of 300. Ed smooth called. The turn was the K of diamonds. Karaoke led out again – this time for 525 into the 750 chip pot. Oswald raised to 4000 (about 3/4 of his chips stack). Karaoke had 3100 left behind and this would put him all in. Phil went into the tank, figured he had only 10 or 11 outs at best and 20 BB behind and folded. He asked for the rabbit hunt – the Q that came out would have given Ed’s J/T the K-high straight, but the fact that is was a club would’ve given Phil the winning flush.
People continued to drop – down to two tables, 15 players left, to 14 and on. Karaoke did a slow build of his chip stack. We reached final table – this time collapsing at 9 players. Phil was 6th or 7th in stack size. Roberts was two to his right with Oswald again on his immediate left.
Action drops players off in 9th, 8th and 7th – including pocket Ks and pocket As getting cracked and knocked out. With 6 remaining Karaoke is 3rd in chip stack after his short stacked As hold up and he doubles up through Oswald.
We are now down to 5. Blinds are at 1K/2K with Phil on the BB with 11K left after posting. It is folded to the button – Pete who moves all in for his last 9K in chips. The SB folds and it is 7K to Phil to call. Karaoke looks at his cards and sees A/6 of spades. Phil goes into the tank. Now, the math says that 5 handed it’s about 57% that if you hold an A – no one else has one – that’s good for Phil. Karaoke also doesn’t think that Pete looked at his cards – he certainly isn’t/hasn’t rechecked them. Is he pushing blind on a steal?? That would be good for Phil too. A cycle or so ago – Pete called off his stack (about 5 or 6 K at the time) with K/J. Does that open his range? The last two are very good/important questions as Pete is Mount Everest – as much ROCK as you’ll ever (and we mean EVER) will find. If it’s not Ts or higher or A/Q or higher – he ain’t playing it. And, Ts and A/Q won’t see action if he’s not feeling it. He’d been heard saying he’ll loosen up his play some when it’s 2 or 3 handed, but no one is sure if they’ve really ever seen that. Instead, he folds more times than an origami swan – pushing all in 4 or 5 times a night. It works fairly well for him – he often finishes 5th or 6th since the donkey regulars go ahead and call him anyway.
So, what is Pete doing? This is a far more important match than the regular weeklies. We down to 5 players. Action is picking up as are the blinds. He’s short stacked. Did he nail a bigger/pushable hand? Or, is he finally playing poker. He knows Karaoke is one player who will fold to his aggression.
Karaoke tanks some more – finally making the call for 7K (leaving 4K should he lose) and tables his suited A. Pete, apparently, either did look at his cards are got very lucky. He shows pocket 7s. It’s 71% / 29% preflop with our hero behind. A six hits the flop but nothing else the rest of the way and Karaoke is down to 4K and on the SB.
The next hand is folded around to Phil who has picked up J/7 of hearts. That’s about 50/50 – and it’s suited after all. Karaoke smooth calls – looking to see the flop but willing to put it all in if needed. Oswald raises to 6 – Phil quickly calls for less and is all in. Ed show K/6 off. The board bricks for Phil and he is out in 5th – earning a T-shirt and card protector coin for his efforts.
Roberts ends up going out in third, Pete folds his way to second and Oswald takes it down. Congrats to Ed.