Super TOC rundown

By Karaoke Phil

It was Super Tournament of Champions (TOC) day at Erick’s Bar for the Free Poker Network (FPN) today.  This was for the “Vegas or Bust” promotion and a seat in the WSOP.  Bars in the FPN that host 2 nights a week are afforded a Super TOC giving the weekly winners at the location a home-bar chance at winning a seat in nationals.  It is a fairly new promo add-on by the FPN.  This was the third TOC and I’ve qualified for each one.  You get a standard 2k chip stack and entry into the TOC with a win.  Additional wins get you an extra 1k for each win.  I had extra chips in previous two TOCs, finishing 4th and 6th if memory serves.  This time I had only the standard starting stack.

We had 32 different qualifying players with 24 of us showing up.  In what may be a record anywhere (and certainly at Erick’s) Bill Gray entered with a total of 7 wins over the last 6 months giving him 8K in chips.  In addition to the 7 wins he pulled down 3-2nds and a 3rd making him the odds on hot favorite going into the match. I was going to do my best to block him and everyone else.
With blinds starting at 25/25 I played several early hands, being able to limp in, with connectors.  None hit.  At the end of Level 2 I had played 7 of 20 hands and had 2775 chips after having been down to 1650.  With much of the play at 7 and 8 handed the 35% of hands I was playing didn’t seem too out of bounds. 
Through levels 3 and 4 I played 8 of 22 hands (36.4% for those two levels and 35.7% overall).  With only a few hands left in level 4 I went with a coin flip.  I had A/K UTG with blinds at 75/150 and about 2525 in chips.  I bumped it up to 375 – it folded around to David Wilts who pushed all-in for 2225 on the button.  The blinds folded and, as I wrote, I was ready to coin flip if needed. I called and Wilts tabled “Presto” – pocket 5s.  They held for him and I was crippled with only 300 chips left. 
The rest is largely anti-climatic.  I folded several hands.  Could have/should have tripled up but folded.  I did get to 400 chips a little later but ultimately was eliminated in 11th place.
Bill Gray final tabled, but busted in 4th place.  Jody Hamilton went out in 3rd leaving Lyle Gangi to go heads up against Tony Johnson for the big prize.   Tony took it all down and will be heading out to Vegas representing Erick’s Bar.