Stop and go
Today's event at the Plaza was a $2600 buy-in drawing only 33 players. That was fine with me because it gave me a good chance to get on TV but with fewer than 40 it wouldn't count in my CardPlayer Player of the Year standings, in which I was trying to crack the top 1000. I drew table 12. seat one, and my buddy Avi "Two Cokes" Freedman was on my left in seat two. Gavin "Birdguts" Smith had seat six, Hoyt "All In" Corkins seat seven, and Kristy Gazes seat nine. It was a tough table but most of the aggressive players were on my right, which was good.
On the third hand I raised under the gun with Ace-King of Clubs and got three callers. The flop came Queen-Nine-Seven with the Queen and Nine of Clubs, giving me a huge draw. I bet 250 and Hoyt made it 1000. I moved in, figuring hoping he didn't flop a set, and he immediately called. He had the best hand he could have for me, Jack-Ten of Clubs, meaning I was already ahead and he had very few outs: just three Kings and four Eights and I had Flush redraws on all but the Eight of Clubs. He didn't improve and I got my revenge, busting Hoyt and doubling early to 15,000. I pressed my advantage but lost several small pots and was down to 12,625 at the break.
I raised under the gun with pocket Queens but when there were a second raise, a call, and a third raise before it got back to me I decided to muck my small investment! The other hands were the other two Queens, Kings, and Aces! I got out cheap and would have been drawing nearly dead but I was down to 10,475 at the next break. I chipped up a bit and had 11,825 when we redrew at 18 players left.
My new table was 16, seat eight. Allen Kessler had seat nine on my left; UPC producer Dan Pugliese seat one, Rick Fuller seat six, and Avi Two Cokes, seat seven. It was a great table with mostly solid, predictable players and I aggressed my way to 16,600 at the dinner break.
I raised early with pocket Queens and the chip leader made a huge reraise all in from the big blind. I put him on Ace-King and called. He turned over pocket Sevens and I doubled through to 34,000. Then I busted a short stack with pocket Jacks versus his Ace-Five offsuit, bringing me to 38,000. Then I reraised Avi all in with Ace-King offsuit and he called with Queen-Jack suited. He flopped a Jack and I was down to 29,000. I was glad he was still in because he was my friend but I should have busted him with that donkey call!
We both made the final table and I had 27,400 as we played to eliminate three more contestants. Unfortunately one of them was Avi. He raised my big blind and I called with pocket Sixes, planning to stop-and-go him if the flop looked safe. It did and I moved in but he called with Ace-King, giving it a decent probability that he was already ahead. He wasn't and didn't catch a pair so he was out and I was up to 44,000. I had made my third TV final table and the stinky Plaza was becoming my favorite place to play!
One of the players at the final table with me was "Gentleman" Bill Edler, whom I didn't recognize and definitely underestimated, letting him make some moves on me that I wouldn't have if I had known he was buddies with the likes of Gavin "Birdguts" Smith and Erik Lindgren. I'll leave the details of the final table to the TV broadcast but this was the best yet. It's scheduled to air Nov. 19 but they have been playing fast and loose with the schedule so it's safest just to record them all.