Panama Day 1 – A Mixed Bag

8:30am I woke up on Friday knowing it would be one of the longest days of my life.  It was my 8th day in work in a row, but it signalled the start of my holiday and a trip to Panama.

Taxi collected me at 2am to drive me to Malaga to be sure I’d make my 6am flight to Madrid, and from there I’d make my way to Panama City.

22 hours after I’d left my flat I was at my hotel. I was jet lagged but popped to the casino to register the $1100 Day 1B of the Pokerstars Championship.

10 hours of sleep did the trick as I woke up feeling refreshed and in a good mindset to play the tournament.

I started slowly but steady, gradually increasing my stack until the first break.  Table dynamic was perculiar.  A woman to my right was very loose passive which was quite difficult to play against as occasionally she would pop up with the nuts or nothing at all, and play them all in the same passive manner.  She also was proving quite distracting as she would hum to her music very loudly and was taking photos of the table during hands in some instances.  I might revisit this in a later blog, but for now it’s not what I want to talk about.

I made the second break with no real notable hands as I found myself quite card dead.

Two hands after the break that all changed.

I was dealt QQ and raised it up. Got 3 callers.

Flop came down Qh 9h 9c for the nut full house.

I bet and was called in 1 spot.

Turn was 5c.  I bet again.  Called again.

River was 2d.

I decide to check to let missed flush/straight draws have a go for the pot.

The player moved all in and I called.  He declared he had the nuts and turned over 99 for flopped quads.  Coolers don’t come much crueler than that.  Death by quads never was so accurate as I was sent to the rail and dreams of making a decent cash in the biggest buy in I was due to play were crushed.

I had (needed) a couple of beers to get over it, but knew there was nothing I could have done. Even though I was gutted I didn’t feel dejected. The poker I had played was decent and sometimes that’s just the way it goes.  I have been playing poker long enough to know this.

I got a FaceTime from some mates back in the UK who were eager for me to register for a later tournament I hadn’t planned on playing – the Pokerstars Open day 1B.

Entry was $220 and I knew it wouldn’t clash with the other tournaments I was due to play, so with a little backing I registered.

Things started much better in this tournament as I doubled up in the first level with 87hh on 5639hh board through 10 10.

Few levels later I had increased my 10k starting stack to around 24k and felt good about the position I was in.

Then I was involved in the biggest hand of the tournament so far.

Blinds at 200/400/50 UTG raises to 1800.  I look down at my cards to see QQ and raise to 4300.

Girl behind me cold calls the 3 bet and UTG joins the ride.

Flop brings 5c 6s 7s.

UTG checks. I bet 7k.  Girl behind puts in her 20k stack.  Then UTG reshoves his 24k stack.

Not loving life here, but reluctant to fold looking at my stack and how much was in the middle, I call.

Girl tabled JJ. UTG tables K5ss.  The turn and river bricks for me to scoop the pot and the chip lead.

Although it was the biggest hand of the day, it was not my best hand – this was actually a fold.

We have J10hh in BB and defend. Flop is J84 rainbow. I check. He checks behind. Turn is a 2 bringing in a spade flush draw. I bet out 4K and he moves all in for 14K more.

There was a time I’d call this and just be irritated when I saw I was up against an overpair, but this time I sussed it out and folded showing my Jack.

Opponent was beside himself.  He couldn’t  believe I folded top pair showing his QQ.  He didn’t stop talking about it for the proceeding 2 hours of the tournament.  What perhaps he didn’t know is that I had to treat my hand as 10 10 in that situation as my kicker was likely useless. Thinking about it that way and the fact he’s unlikely to be bluffing in this situation, makes the fold that much easier. But it’s a fold I’m rarely good enough to do.

Winning a flip 77 v AQ increased my stack another 30K and before I knew it, I had cashed.

23 made it through in Day 1B.  Day 1C plays tomorrow but with the $50k guarentee almost broken already it looks like there could be a decent amount up top for the winner.

I won’t know payout till Day 2 starts, but with 133K at 1500/3000/500 I have a decent stack to push on.


A picture of a mixed bag to fulfill the puntastic title.


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