Wildhorse Fall Round Up 2015 Results

November 24, 2015

First off, I have to say that I’m quite pleased with my performance at the Fall Round Up last week. It was my first undeniably successful trip to Pendleton. Even taking expenses and time off work into consideration, I still managed to turn a hefty profit. I have previously cashed in the Main Event twice, cashed some other tournaments, and done okay in the cash games, but whatever meager profits I’ve managed to accumulate would always be wiped out by expenses. I’ve never experienced that 5-6 hour drive home with anything but bitter disappointment in my head. I think my first trip to Pendleton I lost my entire bankroll… To Cherish Andrews… who’s now a well known enough pro to get invited to Poker Night In America. On a separate trip, I had the worst 4/8 session of my career by a large margin. So booking a solid win was a nice change of pace and Wildhorse went from possibly being my worst all-time casino to becoming my second most profitable location in 2015.

In a nutshell, I did extremely well in the tournaments even though my end results weren’t exactly amazing. I showed up 45 minutes late to the Omaha 8 event after driving for 5 hours straight and I didn’t bust out of that tournament until there were three people left and I had a $5764 score in the books before I had even unpacked my car. So I was able to immediately cross two things off my goal list by setting a new career high for a tournament score and by making a Round Up final table. Clearly, a great start to my trip.

Still, this Omaha tournament was a testament to how influential variance can be in tournament poker. There was a moment with two tables left, when we were already in the money, where I got scooped by an unlucky river card and I felt like my final table chances were all but finished. And then I went on a Joe McKeehan-like heater and entered the final table with the undeniable chip lead. It was a testament to the concept of never getting discouraged because good things can always happen. I stayed hot at the final table, knocking out multiple players and by the time we were down to three, myself and the other big stack had 80% of the chips in play. It looked like a guaranteed payday of $7000+ and a chance to play Steve Stencil, #2 on the Round Up’s all-time winner’s list, heads up for my first bracelet and a shot at a $10K score. And then variance struck again: I opened on the button with AK62 and the small stack raised me and we got four bets in preflop before getting the rest of it in on the K76 rainbow flop. I had two pair with the nut low draw; he had AQJT for… nothing. No pair, no flush draw, no low draw, NOTHING! Obviously he was committing himself preflop, so he had to go with it, but it’s hard to imagine a hand I could have more crushed than his… and then a 9 hit the turn for a sweat… and then the Jack on the river gave him the nut straight with no low on board for the scoop and the full double up. I never recovered from that hand and busted third while that kid went on to win the tournament. As they say, that’s poker.

I finished 19th in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament the next day, but only 16 players cashed. While bubbling may sound brutal, I never really had any momentum in this tournament – it was a grind the whole way as I was somehow able to take a stack that was never above average and almost crack the money. My starting table in this tournament was amazing and full of terrible play, but I was never able to take advantage of it.

After taking a day off tournaments for a successful session in the $10/$20 Omaha 8 game, my first NLHE tournament of the series looked to be a thing of destiny. I was running absurdly hot. Every break I had more than twice as many chips as the last break. At dinner, with about 55 people left, I likely had the tournament chip lead. My buddy Vince was telling me how he had one big pair the whole tournament. I had already had Aces four times and I had KK-TT maybe 8 times total and they were all holding up. My big pot to that point, I had flatted the second big stack at the table with AA on the button and we got to see a K97 with two spades flop heads up. He made a strong bet into me and I decided this wasn’t the kind of board I wanted to let him barrel into, so I raised him on the flop and he jammed it on me. It gave me pause because he had a ton of chips, but since my hand was so disguised and the player was aggressive, I didn’t think about it too long before sticking my stack in there. Fortunately, he had AK and my hand held and I turned my above average stack into a monster stack.

And then I did something stupid. A new player had arrived at the table, two to my left, and he was already giving me problems. I had already lost three small pots to him and we had built up a history of him playing aggressively and me giving up routinely. So when he made a small raise from early position and it folded around to me in the big blind, I decided to take the attractive pot odds and see a flop with the K6o. The flop came all clubs and I had the K of clubs and I decided to continue taking a passive line against this overly aggressive opponent and planned to throw him some rope if I turned a king high flush… which I did. I check-called a decent sized bet on the turn and I made it look like I was strongly considering folding because a) I wanted him to keep betting and b) if he did happen to have the Ac I didn’t want him to think he could get maximum value from me. Unfortunately, when I checked the river, he jammed on me for more than a pot-sized bet of 36K. It’s a great move. It polarizes his range into either a) I have the nuts or b) I am bluffing – and given our brief history so far, my image of him was that he was totally capable of shoving the river with air to try to get me to fold a flush. Even though the river shove was for more than half of my remaining stack, I didn’t give it a ton of thought on the river because when you try to manipulate an opponent into doing something and then they do it, you probably shouldn’t second guess yourself. Unfortunately, in this case, he did have the ace of clubs. Although I think my postflop line is fine and that, against this villain, I will win a monster pot on the river picking off his bluff a good portion of the time, I’m having a hard time forgiving myself for defending the hand in the first place. I have K6 offsuit, out of position, against a good LAG with a big stack. Is this really a spot where I want to put my big stack at risk? Playing the guessing game against a good player? It’s one seemingly small error that lead to a huge loss.

A few hands later, I called an 11 big blind shove with AQ and lost a race to 66 and suddenly I had a below average stack. Just like that. My momentum never picked up again and eventually I jammed a small pair into Aces and somehow didn’t even make the money of a tournament I had the chip lead in at dinner. Gross. However, any time you can learn from your mistakes is a chance to improve and get better and next time I have a huge stack in the late stages of a tournament, I’ll remember to be a bit wiser about the spots I pick to get involved in.

I made the dinner break of both the $330 NLHE event and the Main Event, but never really got the ball rolling in either tournament. I just kept grinding in both events waiting for something good to happen and the rush never arrived.

I wrapped up my series by dominating the Last Chance Turbo event until I lost a huge chunk of chips 10 off the money with AQ to KK against an opponent that was showing a very wide jamming range. I did manage to quadruple up when I was down to less than two blinds and found a way to get another cash for the series, ultimately finishing in 16th place.

All in all, I cashed 2 of 6 events, made a final table, secured my biggest cash ever, made the dinner break in every tournament I played, and felt really good about my play overall. Having made deep cashes in the last two Muckleshoot Classic series and now making a Round Up final table, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I really arrive with a huge win.

Now if I could just figure out how to beat that 8/16 game again!


  1. Love reading these. Keep up the good work.

  2. […] the Fall Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon for a career high $5800 score (for the full write up, click here). It was a performance that saved my month from the abyss. It’s the other 29 days of November […]

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