The Heartland Poker Tour returned to my home base brick and mortar casino, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino over the past week or so. I was unable to make it out on any of the days when they were running the super cheap single table satellites, but I wanted to take a stab at winning my way into the main event for cheap. I came agonizingly close to qualifying the last time they were here.
A quick look back at my blog archives shows that I never updated anybody on my attempt to qualify that time around. It's been 6 months, so I don't remember any specific hands except the last one. I bought into an $80 single table satellite. The top two finishers earned their way into a $330+30 qualifier where 1 in 5 players earned a seat in the $1,500+150 main event.
I placed in the top two in my single table satellite and signed up for the $330+30 event that was starting just an hour or so later. I played patient and made my way through the majority of the way with about an average stack. I only got short as the bubble approached. Enough players signed up for the tournament that 14 players would get entry into the main and 15th place would pocket about $1,300. It's been too long for me to remember stack sizes, but I remember that I was short enough that I would barely survive another orbit with the current blinds and antes. I shoved from the cutoff with AJ of hearts and the big blind woke up with pocket aces. I think the turn gave me a flush draw to add some sweat for the BB, but it didn't materialize on the river and it was buh-bye JT in 17th place.
So I went out last Friday night and the only qualifiers remaining were single table $330+30 satellites where the top 2 earned seats in the main and a $165+15 tourney where 1 in 10 would earn seats in the main. I didn't really want to spend the $360 for the single table event, so I decided I would take a shot at the tourney. I arrived at the casino a little before 6:00 PM when I thought the tournament started and discovered it didn't really begin until 8:00.
I decided to jump into a cash game and see if I could reduce the cost of the tournament buy-in through the other poker players. I got seated at a new $1-2 no limit hold 'em table that was just opening. I bought in for $200 and buckled up for the ride. One of the players at my table was a regular in the $2-5 games there and was notorious for his wild style of play. True to form he was raising about 75% of the hands to like $17 preflop and then firing $40-50 continuation bets whether he hit or not. He was calling or raising if he got any part of a flop and was getting lucky, so he quickly doubled his $300 buy in.
About 20 minutes into the session I looked down at the old German Virgin, 99 (nein, nein...get it?), UTG. I still had about $195 of my original $200 buy-in. Normally I'd make at least a modest raise there to like $8 or $10, but I figured there was a high likelihood Mr. Maniac would enter the pot for a raise, so I limped. Oddly he folded preflop and it limped around with 8 players seeing the flop. The flop was 4-9-10 with two diamonds (neither of my nines were a diamond).
I bet $8 and only got one caller. The turn was another 10. This time I bet out $20 and the only other remaining player popped it to $75 leaving only about $50 behind. I'm not folding a boat there, so I announced all-in and he snap called. Since it was limped around he really could have had any two cards, so I was really hoping not to see something like 10-4. Neither of us revealed our hands right away.
I don't remember the river card except that it was definitely a third diamond which puckered the old pooper a little bit. We both flipped our hands pretty much simultaneously. He had A-10 and he seemed shocked to see that he was beat. If he hadn't lost about $100 to the maniac already I would have nearly doubled up. As it was I went from about $195 to somewhere around $340. I wound up cashing out about $360 an hour or so later making my tournament buy-in $20 whole dollars out of my own pocket.
Not much to tell about the tournament. There was lower turnout for it than I expected with only 27 runners. That meant that two seats were up for grabs with third place getting about $1,000. I was the most card dead I can ever remember being in a tournament. I think I saw like two pocket pairs the entire time and only 2-3 hands with two broadway cards. On the final hand with the blinds at 800-400 with a 100 ante I shoved my stack of about $7,500 from the button with 10-8 of spades. I figured I had pretty good fold equity there and could really use the 1,900 in tournament chips sitting on the felt.
Just my luck the big blind had pocket aces. He called and I never even sniffed anything close to a draw and that was all she wrote. I was out in about 20th out of 27.