Pennsylvania pokerpalooza 2019: Part 6

May 29, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 29, 2019

The national championship dealers were told to stop dealing cards about 10 minutes after noon on Tuesday, May 21, only a little while after I’d relocated to my second table of the day. Moments later, we were told that we’d made it into the Pit. After relocating, we filled out a short questionnaire, took a group photograph and made pit stops.

Play began in the Pit around 12:35; I occupied seat four or five at table 141.

On the first hand, I folded queen-nine, both hearts. From the small blind, with no callers, Adam T— shoved queen-five off. Fellow New York player Jim M— was in the big blind with ace-king or ace-queen unsuited, I believe, and it held, eliminating Adam.

Later, I shoved with ace-queen and got no callers.

After that, I pushed all-in with nines and was called for less by pocket sixes. My pair held. I shook hands with the vanquished player and told him that he’d got it in good.

Around this time, Jim M— asked a casino manager, “Do you know how much they pay out?”

“For what?” the manager replied. The dealer and players began ribbing him; we were nearing the conclusion of a national championship tournament, after all.

Shortly afterward, I got a walk — no one called my big blind. ”Easy game,” I joked as I collected the chips.

“I could have done that,” our dealer, Alex, said genially.

“In a way, you did,” I told him.

Moments later, from the small blind at 25,000, I made a call (25,000) and paid another 50,000 on the river to Reggie S—, who beat me with a trio of fours.

The button rotated around the table. Mary J—, another New York player, raised to 100,000 — a minimum raise. I defended my big blind with jack-nine off.

The flop came 7-7-8. She shoved for 70,000, and I called. The turn was another seven, but I never hit my straight, losing a big pot to her ace and ten of hearts. That took a big chunk out of my stack, eliminating all of my orange chips, which were worth 25,000 a pop.

Reggie, who’s from the Charlotte area, noted that Mary and I had each had a hole card that the other required to make a straight. “She needed your nine and you needed her ten,” he murmured to himself.

We took a 15-minute break around 1:15.

I was moved to table 142, seat seven or eight. We were down to the last two tables. The dealer, H—, gently and appropriately asked me to stow my phone, which I was using to take notes for this and preceding posts. He said that it wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong, but people were looking at him. No problem, I told him, and put my phone away.

I waited out the blinds, which cost me 60,000 for the big and 30,000 for the small, plus 5,000 a hand in antes.

Playing the big blind was awkward for multiple reasons. The man in the small blind shoved with a medium stack. My blind was sitting out there in the form of three orange chips — that is, 75,000 total. I struggled to calculate what I’d have left if I folded, and my brain was a bit fried from the pressure. I asked the dealer if I could get change, but he said it wasn’t appropriate to do so when I was involved in a hand.

He quickly ran through the math verbally for me, although I still struggled to process the numbers properly. I had 60,000 committed, I had maybe 170,000 total and would have 110,000 if I folded. My hand was queen-four off-suit, and I didn’t want to put my tournament life on the line with this hand. After a bit of stalling, I folded.

I folded the small blind, too, immediately forgetting what I had. On the next hand, Jeff H— shoved for roughly the amount I had left. I folded again — and again immediately forgot what I have. Jeff hit his hand to increase his treasury to roughly the table average stack. Meanwhile, my reserves were dwindling fast.

The next hand, sitting in the cutoff, I found myself with ace-eight off-suit. I had only four chips — all orange, fortunately. I shoved.

The button folded. Small blind, with 30,000 committed, decided to put in the additional 70,000 needed to call my push. The big blind, who owed just 40,000 more, also called.

I think my rivals both checked the flop. After the turn, the man in the small blind made a big bet — 90,000, I think. The big blind then shoved all in for a bit more and was called.

I forget what the small blind had — king-ten? — but the big blind’s hand is extremely hard to forget: ten-four. Since there were a pair of fours on the board, he was looking extremely good. I immediately stood and lifted the medallion I use as a card marker from the table.

Ten-four took down the hand with three of a kind, thereby knocking me out of the national championship in 13th place. I shook hands with him and a couple of other people and took about five steps over to the spot were Scooty was disbursing prizes. My reward: A $500 entry fee to a poker tournament.

It was a fun ride, no doubt, but I wish I’d been able to take it a bit further…

To be continued

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: