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Red's Ramblings, Event #10 — $50 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold 'Em

by Mark "The Red" Harlan

13 people looking for luck signed up for RGP Open Event #10, $50 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold 'Em. The wrinkle this time was that all matches were heads-up. By RGP request, these matches had 3,000 starting chips and 20 minute levels.

The first tranche gave the following random pairings:

I. Petoria vs. MissT74
II. dougman vs. rhinodash
III. thepenguin vs. Omaholic
IV. AZJohnnyD vs. Ace1177
V. elg26 vs. RAD
VI. FellKnight vs. TuscaloosaJK
GambleAB received a bye.

In Pairing I, MissT74 and Petoria played a swaying match where the first hands all went the Miss's way, only to then fall over to Petoria. Ten minutes in, and roughly evenly stacked, MissT flat-called from the button with 4d 10d, with Petoria merely checking his pocket 9's. An all-even, all-rainbow flop of 2 4 6 brought about a let's-raise-four-times-'til-we're-all-in war and devastation to the ole Miss.

In Pairing II, a little more than nine minutes into the match rhinodash was in the unenviable position of being dealt pocket kings against dougman's pocket rockets. A quick pre-flop all-in war ensued and the rhino was left poached on the savannah in the quickest match of the tourney.

In Pairing III, a half-hour's worth of play found thepenguin slightly under-stacked and holding a rainbowed big slick, but little did he know that the Omaholic was holding a royal Arlo. A flop of 2 3 10, prompted a medium-sized bet from thepenguin and call from the Omaholic. A fateful 5 on the turn made Omaholic's straight, but didn't stop thepenguin from pushing his dead-drawing hand all-in — only to be left weeping on the ice floe.

Pairing IV saw AZJohnnyD grind Ace1177 into the ground with a long string of hot cards. Most hands seemed to be a question of winning a little or winning a lot.

Pairing V became a game of hide-and-go-seek after a misleading first pot of 1800. Over the course of the next 75 minutes, and 142 hands, only seven pots would be larger than 250 chips. Elg26 won two big hands back-to-back to win, first by hitting his flush on a series of building bets, and then only to watch in glee as RAD missed his straight on the very next gnarly hand.

Pairing VI saw FellKnight bite it when his paired-ace's big slick fell against Tuscaloosa's turned trip 6's.

Advancers from the second tranche would be in the cash:

VII. elg26 vs. Petoria
VIII. Omaholic vs. GambleAB
IX. AZJohnnyD vs. TuscaloosaJK
Dougman received a bye and gloated about it.

Pairing VII was the battle of the titans, and at one hour and 12 minutes, was the longest single match of the tournament. 180 hands in, Petoria made the first of what would become five all-in plays in a scramble to climb out of elg's trap, but in the end, none of them mattered, and Pet advanced.

Pairing VIII was see-saw warfare as GambleAB and Omaholic went back-and-forth, exchanging the lead no less than four times. Short(er) stacked, Omaholic (6c 9c) with a gut-shot straight draw and club flush draw, called an all-in semi-bluff by Gamble (3s 5h) on a flop of 5c 7h As. The gut-shot hit on the river and Om rode the resulting chakra wave to victory.

Pairing IX also ran over an hour. A cat-and-mouse match found the two players nearly even when hearts were dealt all around, TuscaloosaJK with an A 3 and AZJohnnyD's 8 9. Johnny hit the high pair on the flop and managed to coerce most of Tuscaloosa's stack from him ... just in time for the river ace. Tuscaloosa moved ahead.

The third tranche found:

X. dougman vs. Omaholic
XI. elg26 vs. TuscaloosaJK

Pairing X found a tourney-record 16 all-in's from one player or another. Yet another push-and-pull match for Omaholic, with more gear shifting from both players than an overly-curved Gran Prix track. The key hand in this match was Omaholic's 7 8, hitting the top pair on the flop, only to lose to dougman's pair of bullets on the river. The resulting 5k pot proved to be a lead too big to overcome and sent him home with $81 for his 3rd/4th finish, along with a paper sack for more omahol.

Pairing XI jumped on the expressway, going to completion in 40 minutes. Tuscaloosa won a couple of large hands early on, only to have elg26 yank the chips right back on an uncalled all-in play with a board of 9d 5c Qc, Kd, 8s. TuscaloosaJK gathered all his wits and chips, waiting for his seemingly-perfect 8h 9h playing on a board of 6d 7d 10d. Perfect, that is, until elg26 called and whipped over his baby 3d 9d flush - leaving Tuscaloosa with $81 for grits.

The final pitted elg26 against dougman, promising a great match against two two-time money winners in the RGP Open. Dougman was white-hot in the last two (and I believe his only two) RGP Open events. The two US East-coasters found themselves playing past 01:00, each determined to make the other flinch first.

Comments were at a minimum, with RGP railbirds conspicuously absent, as play progressed. If a pot of anything larger than the blinds was won, nearly always it was elg26 taking it down. This continued until elg had a lead of over 600, only to see it snapped away by dougman progressively betting a pair of pocket kings.

This was all that was needed to start the massive dougman boulder rolling. Gaining momentum, he took hand after hand before being dealt 8s Qd in a 60 chip big blind. elg26 raised to 120, and doug quickly called. The flop of 4 7 Q looked good for dougman, and elg's tiny bet of 180 was raised to all-in. Elg26 set the hook and called with his K Q; only to watch a river 8 tsunami over the top of him, and the game.

Elg26 made his third money in the RGP Open, and was given $162 to vacuum the water out of his ears.

Dougman, now the shining star of the RGP Open, was given $325 and a raised eyebrow from those still awake.