PLO Warmup

For my last tournament before heading to Las Vegas I entered a $50 PLO reentry tournament at the Lodge in Round Rock. This place is growing on me simply because they run the most interesting mix of tournaments for a mixed game maven like myself. Many are priced to attract newcomers to the games and that is fine by me as we need to cultivate more mixed game players.

Early on I played very tight mainly because my cards were horrible. I finally raised pot preflop with suited kings and when a ragged ace flop appeared I bet anyway and my C-bet was good enough to take it down. Other than that I didn’t really get any action for many levels. I was down to about 1/4 starting stack (5K) with 10 minutes left before the reentry period. I was very close to simply shoving any hand so I could bust out and buy back in. The big blind came around and this time I thought I would have to go with it but my hand was Q972 with no suits. It checked to me and so I got to see a free flop of T72. There was a bet in front of me and even though hitting bottom 2 pair is almost never correct, on this board I thought I had a chance and so I shoved all in. The turn 2 gave me a boat and it held up. Now I had 18K and could play a bit.

After that the heater was on. I won huge pots on 3 of the last 4 hands in the level and found myself at the break with over 120K which was almost twice average stack. After the break I started getting more playable hands and winning my share. I never seriously threatened for the chip lead but I had a real good third place stack as the final table gradually whittled down to the final 4 putting as in the money.

At this point I found a bit of magic. The chip leader dumped a lot of chips to me when he turned a straight but I turned a better straight. Then the exact same thing happened again a few hands later and he was out and I was the chip leader. Shortly thereafter I eliminated the short stack and got to heads up. We were playing it out when I limped the button with J963 double suited. We saw a flop of J63. My opponent bet pot, I repotted and then he potted again and I called. This was now a huge pot but we each still had a bit more than a pot size bet left.

The turn was a deuce and my opponent potted again. Did he really have a 45 for a straight? If it was Big O I would have believed him but not in PLO after all of that furious action after the flop. I repotted to put him all in and he called and showed J964. We had almost identical hands. The great news for me was I couldn’t lose this hand. In fact I had a very thin freeroll … and it paid off when the river 3 gave me a full house to win the tournament for $800.

Here is hoping that I didn’t use up all my run good as I head west for my annual pilgrimage to the World Series of Poker.

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