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November 2007 Poker Summary

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Very short post this time around. I didn’t get to play too much this month, but a reasonable amount nonetheless. I already reported on the one live tourney here, with excellent results in that one. πŸ™‚

I’m posting this early because we have dinner plans tonight so I know I won’t be playing again this month.

Total profit of $268.28, all of it explained by my one in-the-money finish in the big weekly tourney this past Sunday. Clearly, the rest of the month was basically break even.

I also won four free entries into the nightly 7pm Omaha Hi-Lo tourney that I like so much. I deferred three of them (which I’ll use in December if I can), but I played in one on Wednesday night, and missed the money by two players. Oh well…

No big tourney entries earned, but I can’t play this Sunday anyway. I just missed winning a free entry by one player, but I made a profit of $21 attempting to win it, so it’s not too terrible.

Not a bad month, and back on track in the profit column. If you add the live cash too, then it was an excellent month!

See you next month. πŸ™‚

Decent Result in Sunday Poker Tourney

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Well, the title gives it all away. You don’t need to read any further. πŸ™‚

Seriously, a minor cash, but even the worst prize in the weekly tourney is a good one, when you don’t pay full freight to get in.

This is my third post of the day, and all three end with success, so this must be a good day! πŸ˜‰

Here are my detailed notes:

*******************************************

908 entrants, top 100 paid

Last “pre-won” entry that I had in my account. If I want to
play in another big tourney, I’ll have to play (and win) a
qualifier. I haven’t played much poker at all in the past
few weeks, and no qualifiers at all…

Nice start. After folding the first 10 hands, including my
blinds, I picked up AA. I was in middle position, everyone
folded to me. I raised (to 35 chips, blinds were 5-10). I
expected everyone to fold, since this was the first hand I
played. The big blind called. Flop was T63, two diamonds. I
didn’t have a diamond. He bet 75 (the pot). I didn’t want to
just call, because of the diamond draw.

I raised to 225. He called. The turn was 8d, big scare
card. He bet 250, I just called. River was Kh (safe card,
presumably, for me). He bet only 100. It could have been a
sucker bet, looking for me to raise, and the pot was already
a nice size, so I just called. He had QhTd, so he had a pair
of 10’s. Nice win.

On the next hand, I had 99. One person min-raised, and
another called, so did I, plus one other later on. Flop was
J94, with two spades. One person bet 95, and I just called,
hoping for another caller. None. The turn brought a 10 (so
there was 9TJ on the board). He bet 185, and I raised to 880
(pot), to make it expensive to draw to a straight.

He thought for a long time, then folded. I’m hardly “in the
chips”, but it’s a better start for me than in a while…

841 left, in 99th (I was 75th earlier)

I’m as big an idiot as they come, seriously. I just
mis-played a hand so badly, and I knew at every bet that I
was making the wrong play. Cut my chips in 1/2, which is
exactly what I deserved. Man, it’s bad enough to play badly,
but it’s way worse to be aware of it in advance, and still
do it…

779 left, in 679th (ouch!)

AA just held up against AQ. He was all-in, I wasn’t, but
close enough to be a near double. Back to a reasonable
place, though less than before I made my horrid mistake…

Made it to the first break! πŸ™‚

724 left, in 278th (somewhat better)
676 left, in 357th
653 left, in 253rd
629 left, in 361st (bouncing around a bit…)
484 left, in 396th (this hand could be it!)

Excellent! I had TT in the big blind. I had 200 in the
blind, and 1800 behind it. One guy raised to 500. I was
going to go all-in. The guy behind him went all in for
2635. I called. The first raiser folded. All-in guy had J9d,
so he was bluffing or panicing. The board ended up with four
hearts, with the Ah as well. I won, and am in reasonable
shape now (more chips than I ever had, but the average is
higher now too…).

The first raiser would have beaten me, so I was lucky he was
re-raised. He either had an A or a heart, either way, it
worked out well for me. πŸ™‚

450 left, in 210th

Made it to the second break! πŸ™‚

419 left, in 235th

Just got lucky. Guy to my right raised to 1000 (blinds are
150-300). I went all-in for 3350 with AKd. He called. He had
KK. I was in trouble. A came on the turn, and I doubled up.
Now in much better shape! He’s not happy…

327 left, in 131st
311 left, in 92nd
260 left, in 123rd

Hit with AA against AK against the same guy who I got lucky
on with my AK against his KK. He’s out, and I’m doing pretty
well now!

236 left, in 44th
180 left, in 89th (all from losing multiple blinds)

Made it to the third break! πŸ™‚

155 left, in 108th (looks like another tight one!)
143 left, in 112th
137 left, in 116th
131 left, in 114th
126 left, in 113th
120 left, in 114th

Now all-in with JJ which held up against KJ. Whew!

118 left, in 80th
113 left, in 82nd
111 left, in 90th
107 left, in 91st
105 left, in 90th
103 left, in 92nd
102 left, in 87th (about to be the big blind) πŸ™
101 left, in 86th (AT in the BB, but I can’t call) πŸ™

Ha! Someone else bombed out while I stalled, and I
re-raised all-in and got called. He had A6, and I won!

Ridiculous ending… The very next hand, I’m in the small
blind with AKo. UTG raises, everyone else folds. I raise
all-in. He has me covered, but barely! He thinks for a long
while, then calls with AQd. I was a 70.9% favorite pre-flop.
The flop came 7dJdJc. Oh oh… Turn was 9d, and I was toast.

Out in 99th. Won $300 for my “free” entry. Can’t complain,
but man, doubling there would have put me in the top 20!

No complaints, but one of these days, getting lucky just a
second time (instead of only once!), and I might have a shot
at a real prize!

Theme Updated Again

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OK, this is the last announcement of something as silly as a theme change. Since I specifically mentioned which theme I was using in the last post, I didn’t want anyone who visited now to think that they were viewing that theme. I think they did a very nice job, very attractive, but it didn’t work correctly with emoticons, and I prefer the sidebars on the right, etc.

I might not stick with this one long term, but for now, this is the one. πŸ˜‰

Sprucing up my WordPress Theme and Plugins a Bit

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I’ve been accused in the past (by Jamie) of being a little boring with this site. That’s code for being a luddite, I’m sure. It’s also true. I have been using the default WP theme since I started blogging, and only recently added a few plugins.

Well, tada, that’s all changed now. As of a few minutes ago, I decided to install a new theme. I guess I’d prefer it if this one had the same exact look, but had the two sidebars on the right side. I don’t care enough to peek at the code (yet), and I’m not sure I’ll stick with this theme, or play with some others, etc. At least, for now, I’m not on the default theme any longer.

So, while the full credits for this new theme appear at the footer of each page, let me also credit them in this post. I found the theme on Kate’s Theme Viewer site. The specific theme I downloaded is The Gladiator. The author of the theme is feeldesign/plannetworld.com.

On to plugins. I’m now running a few of them, and even using them. πŸ˜‰

I run Akismet, which is included, and is fantastic. That said, two days ago, I installed WP-SpamFree by Scott Allen, aka WebGeek. The aim of this plugin is to stop automated comment spam from bots, not to flag human spam (which Akismet still does extremely well). To underscore the point, WP-SpamFree is meant to stop the spam, not mark it. So, I installed v1.0 and it seemed to work. Then I upgraded to 1.01, and it too seemed to work. However, I don’t get many legitimate comments, so I couldn’t be sure. Now I see he’s upgraded to 1.02 (which I’ve just installed while writing this paragraph), so we’ll see if 1.01 was blocking all comments.

I use simple-tags by Amaury Balmer for tag management.

I use google-sitemap-generator by Arne Brachhold to automatically generate Google Sitemap files.

I use Ultimate Google Analytics by Wilfred van der Deijl. This makes me laugh, because so few people read my blog (or visit the site in general), that tracking their behavior with Google Analytics is really a joke. Still, Google makes it brain-dead easy, and this plugin makes that statement even truer, so, why not? πŸ˜‰

I use FeedSmith by FeedBurner (purchased by Google) to track what types of feed readers subscribe to this site. This is as funny as the above, for the same reasons…

Finally, just today, I added a single download which installs two related plugins, called Advanced Search and Advanced Search Lite by Alex Günsche.

OK, that’s it for now. Credit where credit is due. Now that the adventure bug has hit me, I might play a bit more, but I’m at least somewhat pleased with the current iteration. πŸ™‚

So, I just previewed this post, and noticed some problems. The new theme has what I consider to be a layout bug. When I end a paragraph with a smiley or wink (an emoticon), because the graphic takes up more space than the new smaller font, it wraps, and the next paragraph starts indented. I don’t like it, and I’ll likely be doing something about it (like choosing a different theme) pretty soon…

I updated three plugins while writing this, as WP 2.3.1 informs you when a newer plugin is available (cool!) and I had to check the plugins page to report on which ones I was using. Unfortunately, the new simple-tags 1.2.2 release appears to have a bug. I want my tag cloud sorted by popularity always, and it’s now displaying randomly on each reload. Bummer…

New iPods = New Joy + New Headaches

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I have a good friend (let’s call him Ed, because that’s his real first name) who is perhaps the worlds best gift giver. I am embarrassed to admit how many amazing gifts he has given me over the years. I have reciprocated on rare occasion, and I’m sure that while my gifts pleased him somewhat, they more likely amused him as feeble attempts to give true pleasure.

Ed got me my first Blackberry, my first Sony Voice Recorder, Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Canceling Headphones, my first GPS system (a high-end Garmin) and a few other really cool toys, all over the past eight years.

When he got me the GPS, he bought Lois a 30GB iPod (Video). I had a Creative Zen MP3 player at the time, and I was happy that Lois now had her own device. Lois isn’t much of a techie, so she didn’t really want to manage the iPod (meaning, run iTunes on her laptop, select music, sync, charge, etc.). Since loading iTunes on my laptop didn’t interfere with the Creative software that I was running, I was happy to manage Lois’ iPod for her.

So, I loaded all of our collective MP3’s on to the iPod, and we used it primarily in the car (on our extremely long drives) for both of us, but really, 90% of the time for Lois’ music. Away from the car, I’m the only one that used the iPod, primarily when I was taking my long exercise walks, because it was just a tad sleeker than my Zen.

This has worked out great, for years now, as between us, we only had 18GB filled out of the 30 on the machine, so there was no need to upgrade. Further, the battery is still holding a charge reasonably well.

Then, as I’ve reported twice already, on occasion, the iPod started freezing (nothing too terrible, but annoying nonetheless). When the new iPods became available at Sam’s Club, I started thinking hard about getting a new one. Then a good friend of mine asked me for advice as he was interested in getting his first iPod. Voila! I realized I could kill two birds with one stone. Get us a new iPod, and keep Ed’s karma alive by finding a very happy home for the old iPod.

On our next outing to Sam’s Club, I bought a new iPod Classic, 160GB. I still only have 18GB of music on it, but now I can also back up my hard drive (if necessary or desired), etc. Just more wiggle room. I couldn’t resist, and I bought an 8GB Nano as well. Man, it’s a crazy feat of engineering. Sweet little thing. It could never be my sole iPod, because 8GB just won’t cut it. But, for exercising and just running around, it’s more than enough, and I already love it to pieces.

So far, I’ve covered the New iPods = New Joy part of the title. On to the + New Headaches part now…

When Lois and I were driving to Peekskill on Saturday to see the David Bromberg concert, I took the Nano so that we could gear up in the car. I created a little playlist of Angel Band and Bromberg tunes. We were listening to them in the car, and when Angel Band songs switched to Bromberg, Lois asked me why I haven’t put on One Voice (Angel Band’s best song, where they cover The Wailin’ Jennys song). I knew that I did.

So, I skipped backwards, and sure enough, it was there, but didn’t play. The minute I selected the song, the next song in the playlist started playing. I tried to play the song straight from the album, but it skipped after showing the metadata there as well. OK, no big deal (I figured), it must have copied over weirdly.

The next day we made our usual long trek, and had the Classic in the car for entertainment. We tried to play One Voice on the Classic, and it wouldn’t play either! Seemed too coincidental that the same song didn’t sync correctly to two separate devices. Along the way, Lois tried to play Bring It On Home by Little Big Town, and it too wouldn’t play. So far, those are the only two songs that we’re sure don’t play, out of the 7080 songs on the Classic (no, we haven’t tried them all yet). πŸ˜‰

So, yesterday, I fired up iTunes on the PC, and sure enough, those two songs play perfectly. Further, if I select those songs on the iPods themselves, but through iTunes on the PC, and play them, they both play. They are definitely playing from the iPod, and not from the PC hard drive (I’ve proven that much to myself). That means that the songs transferred correctly, but something in the library file that contains the metadata on the iPod simply can’t play those songs!

So, the next logical thing to do is to search the net. I was shocked to find so many people claiming to have exactly the same problem. The trouble is that nearly every post was from 2005, and involved iTunes 4.5+. There were many solutions proposed, some temporary, some permanent, each receiving mixed success with those who originally complained.

One semi-common denominator was that the skipped songs were often purchased songs, so they had some form of DRM associated with them. That’s not our case. 100% of our songs are ripped from our own CD collection. They are all ripped at 96kbps (I’m far from an audiophile, and the smaller disk space requirement is a good balance for me).

Anyway, lots more searching and trying unsuccessfully a few of the suggestions, and I decided to try a suggestion that someone claimed worked 100% of the time. Select the song in iTunes, click on the Advanced Menu, and click on Convert to MP3. Yes, it’s already in MP3 format, but hey, I tried it anyway. It made a new copy in the iTunes Music directory (remember, mine were ripped by Creative and stored elsewhere on the disk).

The resultant file was slightly larger than original, but not by much. The only horrible side-effect was that all ID3 tag information was lost. In my case, it was only two songs (so far), but if I end up discovering lots more problems (as many people in 2005 complained about), that fact alone might cause me to search for a better solution. Once converted, I moved the new file over the old file (so that all of my other players would still find it where it was), and resync’ed the iPods. Both songs now play perfectly.

Whew!

I’m holding my breath that it won’t happen to too many more songs. While easy to fix, it’s still a more painful process than it needs to be, given that I have to re-enter all of the ID3 tags by hand, and I don’t look forward to doing that too many times… It also can’t be fixed while on the go, as you have to be at the computer to convert and resync.

Perhaps some poor soul who searches for the same problem will stumble on this post, and save a little time and sanity in the process. My two reasons for writing this post are that (helping someone by chance) and memorializing the fact that Ed is indeed the world’s greatest gift giver!

Another Sunday Poker Loss

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Here are my notes, nothing to add…

949 entrants, top 100 paid

Finally got to use one of my two previously won entries into
the weekly big one. As you (may) know, we’ve been busy the
past few weekends (all good stuff), and I haven’t been able
to play much online poker in general, and not at all in the
weekly big one…

We’ll see if the rust helps or hurts. πŸ˜‰

Won one hand early, and was in 56th for a second. After a
few more hands, and a fold of both of my blinds, was down
to near 200th, so the above was meaningless…

Won a reasonable hand, and moved “up” to 158th, now slowly
drifting downwards again. After my win, one guy lost an
all-in with AK to A9, when the A9 hit the 9. He was pissed,
and called the other guy a “donk”. The very next hand, I had
77 in the small blind. The guy who was steaming went all-in
for his last 835 chips. I had 3100, and considered calling.
I decided to fold, since it is still very early. One guy
called him. Steamer had AQ, caller had KQ, neither hit, and
steamer doubled. I would have won, but think my fold was
correct (at least for my style of play…)

882 left, in 179th

Just had 88 in the BB. One guy min-raised, so I was looking
forward to making that call. The guy behind him raised to
nearly 8 times the BB, so I folded. So did the original
raiser, so he wasn’t min-raising AA. πŸ™‚

Haven’t played a single hand in a while, so I’m drifting
downward in position, but not that much in chips…

788 left, in 268th

Made it to the first break! πŸ™‚

699 left, in 356th (due to losing my blinds for 2 rounds)
594 left, in 370th (picked up the blinds twice)
474 left, in 340th

Made it to the second break! πŸ™‚

Blinds are about to be a meaningful percentage of my stack,
so (unfortunately), I’m likely going to need to get out of
my normal comfort zone in terms of hand selection. Oh well,
luck be with me tonight! πŸ™‚

After the break, picked up the blinds twice, and lost both
of my blinds twice, so I’m even on chips, but some other
people dropped out…

384 left, in 317th
289 left, in 275th (obviously, not too good)

This is just because others are passing me by. I still have
nearly all of my starting chips, but the average is more
than 3 times that, and the leaders have 10 times the chips
that I have. OUCH…

A desperate move is about to come, shortly, one way or
another. Still hoping to catch lucky at just the right
time. How’s that for skill in poker??? πŸ˜‰

Just about out…

236 left, I’m in last place… πŸ™

Finished in 228th. Never got it going tonight, even though I
“lasted” deep into the tourney…

October 2007 Poker Update

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October was not a good month economically. That said, I had an excellent month of winning qualifiers, including three in one week to the weekly big tourney, so it wasn’t all bad. I only got to use one in October, as we’ve been much busier on weekends than usual (if you read my non-poker posts, then you already know!). I won’t be playing this Sunday either, as it’s Girlyman night! πŸ™‚

I thought I played reasonably well this month, with a few extremely notable exceptions (meaning, I got frustrated, and took some shots that were ill-advised). The majority of my losses came in the qualifier entries, meaning, even if I won the qualifier, the entire entry fee ends up counting as a loss.

My bottom line this month was down $239.89. Since the three seats that I won in the one week were worth $645, and I won other qualifiers (for roughly another $88), I far outstripped my entry fees, but my account is still down on the cash front.

Don’t cry for me (yet), as my account is still extremely healthy, and in the beginning of the month, actually hit an all-time high.

Not much else to report, other than that I haven’t played at all this week, which is marginally shocking. I’ve had a number of other things that I wanted to take care of, and while I could have snuck in a game or two, I didn’t want to keep being distracted by having to pay attention to the poker table, so I didn’t launch the software at all this week!

Dumb Play in Weekly Poker Tourney

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Well, the notes say it all…

*********************************

896 entrants, top 90 paid

I had some time to play in qualifiers this week. I won three
seats, so in addition to playing in this one, I have two
additional entries that I can use on any future Sunday. In
addition, I also came in the money in two other qualifiers,
and made a profit on my attempt to win more seats. All in
all, a very good qualifier week!

4 more entrants, and we would have paid top 100. We’ll have
to see whether that ends up being a factor for me or not…

Started off reasonably well. Was 43rd early on, but without
playing any hands, quickly drifted down to 141st. No biggie,
still happy with my position at this point…

800 left, in 276th
787 left, in 144th
712 left, in 191st

Made it to the first break! πŸ™‚

On two hands, I chose not to chase. I know with 100%
certainty that it was the “correct decision”. In both cases,
I would have caught the correct river card, and landed a
mountain of chips. Still, I know I was correct.

What bugs me isn’t that I don’t chase ridiculous hands. My
problem is that when complete idiots chase against me, they
hit more often than the odds would predict. Of course, as
you see from the above paragraph, I too would have hit both
“miracles”…

Oh well, gotta play the way I play, and take the results as
they fall…

586 left, in 237th

I stink. I raised UTG with 99 to 700. One guy reraised me to
1900. I knew he had AA (though, of course, he could have had
AK, etc.) Anyway, if I folded, I would have had 2400 chips
left, and been the big blind next hand, which would have
meant being in the high 300’s with 460 left. Of course, that
would have been the smart thing to do anyway.

So, instead, I decide to gamble. I reraised all-in, and of
course, he had the AA, and I lost (as I deserved to).

I finished 461, and I have no one to blame tonight but me,
which is also preferable to blaming horrid luck, etc…

NBC Got It Right

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I’m a complete sucker for sitcoms. Even stupid ones make me laugh. Yes, I can distinguish between a good one and a horrible one, but like I said, even most horrible ones make me laugh.

Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for Lois. She really loves to laugh, and there are some sitcoms that can really set her off (in the positive sense), but she can’t tolerate stupidity, even if the aim of that is just to get you to laugh.

That puts us at odds. There are a number of shows that I enjoy, that she can’t stand, that I totally understand why. Enter the DVR. I can record those shows, and watch them at some point when Lois isn’t interested in watching TV.

I try fewer new shows than I might otherwise, just because I know I’ll be watching them alone. This year, I decided to try Chuck (on NBC) and Bing Bang Theory (on CBS). I set the DVR to tape both, and we left for our normal trip to Zope.

When we got back, I saw three episodes of Bing Bang Theory, but only two of Chuck. I realized that since I was now taping (how quaint, I meant recording) most shows in HD, even though I have a 320GB disk, I filled it up. The first episode of Chuck got erased automatically.

Some shows (Pushing Daisies for example) go down much smoother if you see the pilot episode, where they set the entire premise. Chuck seemed like that would be the case.

A quick search on Google found the above link to the show instantly. Sure enough, they offered full episodes online, for free. There are certain things that I don’t do, even though I can afford them. For example, there’s simply no way that I would have paid $1.99 to download the episode from iTunes (if that were the only place it was available).

Watching the episode on NBC was quite pleasant, their player is pretty good. I also had to spend 30 seconds a few times during the show to have an opportunity to view Sprint ads. While I didn’t select any of the ads, I was certainly well aware that my viewing pleasure was being sponsored by Sprint, and I had no problem with that at all. Of course, I happen to be a very happy Sprint customer, but that’s besides the point. πŸ˜‰

I enjoyed the episode. Actually, I enjoyed the premise more than the actual episode. There were a number of weak moments in the episode, but I’m interested enough to watch the two I’ve recorded already, and if those are good too, I’ll watch the rest of the season. So, NBC got a viewer for the show by making past episodes available online, for free. Even if you assume that I will fast forward through every commercial that sits on my DVR, I sat through the Sprint sponsorship online (better than nothing for them!), and while Nielsen doesn’t count me, if they collect anonymous stats from FiOS, they’ll know that I record Chuck, which will count toward their viewership.

I still haven’t watched any of the Bing Bang Theory episodes, so I don’t know if I’ll like them.

For an example of a show that I’ll watch, that Lois won’t, you can check out Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton’s new show, Back to You (on Fox). We were both interested in watching this new show, as we loved Frasier (Lois, especially). I liked Everybody Loves Raymond. Lois didn’t, but she appreciates Patricia Heaton (we also saw her live on Broadway with Tony Shaloub).

Anyway, Back to You qualifies as an incredibly stupid show, that is filled with cheap laughs. The key word (for me) is laughs, cheap or otherwise. I definitely laugh out loud at a number of the lines and situations, but everything about the show is just downright stupid.

So, kudos to NBC (perhaps others, but that’s the only one I’ve needed and tried so far).

Disappointing Result in Sunday Poker Tourney

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Nothing more to say other than my notes taken during tonight’s big tourney…

***********************************************

929 entrants, top 100 paid

Won my entry on Friday.

Poor start. I had J2o in the big blind on the first hand.
Flop came 5JK rainbow. Small blind and I were the only two
in the hand. He bet, I called. He checked when a 9 came on
the turn, bringing two diamonds. I over-bet the pot, he
thought, and called. Then another K hit, but also brought
the third diamond. He made a pot-sized bet, and my J with
lousy kicker faded quickly. I folded. Not down too much, but
not an ideal start either…

Won three small hands, and at least I’m above my starting
chips now, but not by much. Better than it was though. πŸ™‚

And now I lost one (I had 99 vs KJo and a K hit the flop),
so I’m down a drop again…

And now won one, so I’m up a drop again.

And now down a drop. Too much see-saw…

850 left, in 362nd

Just got killed by an idiot chasing a horrible hand, when I
had KK. He caught a baby straight on the river, when he was
drawing next to dead all the way through. ARGH!

Now I’m in deep trouble. This will be a short night…

803 left, in 789th

Whew. Won an all-in with AKo vs ATc. Still low, but much
better than before…

753 left, in 655th

Made it to the first break, unexpectedly! πŸ™‚

736 left, in 645th
692 left, in 570th
590 left, in 415th (scratching and clawing)
499 left, in 415th (still bouncing up and down)

UNREAL.

I’m down to 1100 chips. One guy raises to 400 (blinds are
100-200). I go all-in with 99. He calls. He has A5o. Flop
comes 9TK, so I flop a set! Turn is a Q. Of course, the
river brings a J and, of course, the miracle “runner runner”
straight. That’s the second incredibly lucky river that
someone caught on me tonight, and it cost me the tournament
the second time.

I finished 445th. Simply unreal…