If you play on ‘Stars, you’ve probably heard of the $2.5M Moneymaker Millionaire Free-Roll Tournament. Good thing it’s a Free-Roll, ’cause it ain’t easy to get rolling. All ‘Stars players are granted a Round One Ticket completely free, and it’s 10 Frequent Player Points for each subsequent entry.

Thursday night I randomly jumped into the tourn ’cause there ain’t much else I can do on ‘Stars right now ’till I throw some cash on there. I’ve easily tried this thing atleast five times already, and each time there has been anywhere from two to five thousand other players in there with me. Imagine several thousand people competing for chips with damned-near nothing to lose (other than 10FPP and some time).

Last night was no different when it came to the number of players.

In reference to WSOP Main Event, Johnny Chan said that you’ve got to get lucky six times to win a tournament. Well this tournament was different from the Main Event in innumerable ways, but it’s a tournament all the same. To get to Round Two you just have to be one of the final fifty remaining players. Piece of cake, just play real tight, right? Nah. There’s over five thousand people when it starts. And when the last hand was played, when we lost number fifty-one, the blinds had just gone up to 10K/20K with a 1K ante. Starting stack in these things is only 1500 chips.

So yeah, you’ve got to get a little lucky. I had a hand early on where I tried to raise a guy off of his hand on semi-bluff. I was openen-ended. The dumb bastard limped K5o UTG and tagged two pair on the turn. I got there on the river, and I suddenly had a hell of a stack very early in the tournament. I was sitting on right around 4500 with the blinds at 15/30.

Many rounds later and the blinds are 75/150. I raise from about UTG+1/UTG+2. I get one caller from across the table. He’s just about right before the cut-off. We go heads-up to a 9c4c6h board. I raised pre-flop, he just called, so I wanted to see what he’d do on the flop. Almost positive he’d bet any holding if I checked to him after my pf raise.

Sure enough, he bet. But it was roughly half the pot, so I figured I’d either improve on the turn, and try a stop-and-go, bet out when I got there, or if I didn’t improve, I’d go for a c/r if a non-club/non-paint fell. In the forefront of my tiny little brain, my c/r’ing intentions were not to steal the pot, but to liberate it from my would-be theiving opponent. I really thought I had the best hand. A non-club board-pairing six came on the turn. I checked it, he bet. Again it was a seemingly-small bet, only about 1/2 pot, surely only 2x what he bet on the flop. I popped him for about 2.5x his bet. I had him covered, but only by about three to six big blinds. If he folds, he’s got enough chips to keep playing. If he calls, I’m pushing the river out of desparation. If he pushes, I must call because of the size of the pot (and the tournament is free-entry… so let’s have fun!).

I was positive he didn’t have the six, and I was trying to represent it myself. So he pushes, and I pray he’s got big clubs or some other decent draw, and I call. He turns up his cards, and imagine my surprise to see a couple of bi-racial aces staring me in the face.

  1. bi-racial aces – special thanx to Dawn from ihadouts.blogspot.com for introducing this term into my vocabulary.

Imagine his surprise when I tag a two-outer on the river. Just in case I misrepresented the hand via my memory, the actual hand history is below.

PokerStars Game #6124226127: Tournament #30577014, 10FPP Hold’em No Limit – Level V (75/150) – 2006/08/31 – 21:39:28 (ET)
Table ‘30577014 445’ 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: valerie910 (8395 in chips)
Seat 2: mikem68164 (1985 in chips)
Seat 3: USAF_Trevor (12708 in chips)
Seat 4: thad73bell (505 in chips)
Seat 5: George TBone (3845 in chips)
Seat 6: ali7199 (915 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 7: Spongeface (4560 in chips)
Seat 8: nc6220 (920 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 9: hijacker66 (5420 in chips)
hijacker66: posts small blind 75
valerie910: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to USAF_Trevor [Ah 4h]
mikem68164: folds
USAF_Trevor: raises 225 to 375
thad73bell: folds
ali7199 is connected
George TBone: folds
ali7199: folds
ali7199 has returned
Spongeface: calls 375
nc6220: folds
hijacker66: folds
valerie910: folds
*** FLOP *** [8c 4c 6h]
USAF_Trevor: checks
Spongeface: bets 450
USAF_Trevor: calls 450
*** TURN *** [8c 4c 6h] [6s]
USAF_Trevor: checks
Spongeface: bets 900
USAF_Trevor: raises 1350 to 2250
Spongeface: raises 1485 to 3735 and is all-in
USAF_Trevor: calls 1485
*** RIVER *** [8c 4c 6h 6s] [4s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
USAF_Trevor: shows [Ah 4h] (a full house, Fours full of Sixes)
Spongeface: shows [Ad Ac] (two pair, Aces and Sixes)
USAF_Trevor collected 9345 from pot
Bits&Bits is connected
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 9345 | Rake 0
Board [8c 4c 6h 6s 4s]
Seat 1: valerie910 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: mikem68164 folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 3: USAF_Trevor showed [Ah 4h] and won (9345) with a full house, Fours full of Sixes
Seat 4: thad73bell folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 5: George TBone folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 6: ali7199 folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 7: Spongeface showed [Ad Ac] and lost with two pair, Aces and Sixes
Seat 8: nc6220 (button) folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 9: hijacker66 (small blind) folded before Flop

Ah well, I really thought I had the best hand when I shipped it. It wasn’t the last time I got lucky, I knew it wouldn’t be. But I’ll tell ya what, I sure was glad to get moved off that table after that bone-headed manuever.

For the whole tournament, I was never all-in with my tournament at stake. True, I had a few hands where I’d be severely crippled, but none where I’d be completely out if I did not survive said all-in.

Later in the tournament I cracked a different dude’s Aces when I flopped a four-flush and possibly a live ace. Blinds were like 400/800 and he made I made it 2K UTG. He was button and made it 2K more for 4K total. 2K more with all those blinds and antes… and my 2K already out there? That’s like an open invitation to see the flop. So I the seven-high, two hearts flop and I pussy-bet 2500 into 9500. He shipped it. I failed to do the math and just clicked call. It’s a free-roll, right? Well, I had him covered, but it was by about 1.5bb, and I seem to remember coming out of the hand with over 60K. So I think his raise was something like 22K to 25K more into a 14.5K pot. Really bad call on my part, unless I put him on a complete bluff or I want to gamble a little against 88 or 99… alot against TT-KK.

He’s got that dog-shit one-pair, and I tag my frush on the turn. But it pairs the sevens, and he’s left with three outs. He can trip-up the sevens, or find the case-ace on the river. No dice, and now I’m huge.

Long after that, we’re well into the tourney, and I’m in the sb. UTG has a pretty big stack, and from what I’ve seen, he doesn’t respond well to a re-raise pf, or post-flop pressure. I frink he min-raised UTG, but he got atleast two callers before it was on me. Look at all those chips out there in the pot, just waiting to be stolen. Let’s pop it, thin the field, and go for the gold on the flop. After all, I am in the sb, I get first bluff!

Fuck, bb went all-in after I popped it. Re-steal? Monster? Race? Fuck it, it’s a free-roll, right? Let’s see what happens when I click call. It will be heads-up anywho…

There’s those damned Aces again. But that’s OK, I’ll just suck-out. I’m good at it!

PokerStars Game #6125494088: Tournament #30577014, 10FPP Hold’em No Limit – Level X (400/800) – 2006/08/31 – 23:09:57 (ET)
Table ‘30577014 13’ 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: Keyserneo (17482 in chips)
Seat 2: sherriD5 (90501 in chips)
Seat 3: jayaverill (40750 in chips)
Seat 4: David C D (16606 in chips)
Seat 5: moe63 (30050 in chips)
Seat 6: RamaRiverman (75923 in chips)
Seat 7: ark-t (13065 in chips)
Seat 8: quinland (4986 in chips) out of hand (moved from another table into small blind)
Seat 9: USAF_Trevor (77339 in chips)
Keyserneo: posts the ante 50
sherriD5: posts the ante 50
jayaverill: posts the ante 50
David C D: posts the ante 50
moe63: posts the ante 50
RamaRiverman: posts the ante 50
ark-t: posts the ante 50
USAF_Trevor: posts the ante 50
USAF_Trevor: posts small blind 400
Keyserneo: posts big blind 800
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to USAF_Trevor [5d 5c]
ark-t said, “n buy”
sherriD5: raises 800 to 1600
jayaverill: folds
David C D: calls 1600
moe63: folds
RamaRiverman: folds
ark-t: folds
USAF_Trevor: raises 3000 to 4600
Keyserneo: raises 12832 to 17432 and is all-in
sherriD5: folds
David C D: folds
USAF_Trevor: calls 12832
*** FLOP *** [3c 7h Jh]
*** TURN *** [3c 7h Jh] [Qc]
*** RIVER *** [3c 7h Jh Qc] [5s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
USAF_Trevor: shows [5d 5c] (three of a kind, Fives)
Keyserneo: shows [Ad Ac] (a pair of Aces)
USAF_Trevor collected 38464 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 38464 | Rake 0
Board [3c 7h Jh Qc 5s]
Seat 1: Keyserneo (big blind) showed [Ad Ac] and lost with a pair of Aces
Seat 2: sherriD5 folded before Flop
Seat 3: jayaverill folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 4: David C D folded before Flop
Seat 5: moe63 folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 6: RamaRiverman folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 7: ark-t (button) folded before Flop (didn’t bet)
Seat 9: USAF_Trevor (small blind) showed [5d 5c] and won (38464) with three of a kind, Fives

Pretty much smooth sailing after that hand. I got kinda short later on when we got down to just under 100 players. Only fifty move on to round two, but the blinds and antes were huge. So, unless your stack is super-sized, you’ve still got to keep going after the blinds and antes, or you won’t be able to pay them yourself.

The big stack at my table limped in and every one else folded to my bb. I potted it, not really wanting a call. I remember the pot being over 17K before I put a raise out there. Big stack calls. I think to myself, “Self, we should talk those online people into putting a ship it dark button on the interface.”

I ship the QJ7r flop, for about 50K into 50K, and the big stack folds. Neat, now I’ve got some more leverage.

Once we got down to 59 or 60 remaining players, it went to hand-for-hand. It got really brutal when we were at 55. No one wants to not make it to the final fifty. What a pain in the ass that’d be.

Finally, when the blinds got up to 10K/20K, we were at fifty two remaining, and the alst two pretty much got eaten alive by the blinds, swallowed whole. Poor bastards, better them than me.

Good luck to you if you decide play, it’s damned-near-free, treat it as such.