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Hold'em with Holloway, Vol. 123: Jason Somerville Collects My $500 Bounty at RIU Reno IX

Jason Somerville

I recently spent a week working and playing at Run It Up Reno IX at the Peppermill Reno. Jason Somerville and his team always put on a great show, and I was happy to attend for the fourth time. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't a profitable trip as I managed just a single min-cash in the All In or Fold tournament.

Here's a look at three hands I played during my visit, each either interesting or memorable.

Busted by Jason Somerville

The biggest buy-in on the RIU Reno schedule is always the $1,100 Thursday Thrilla, which places a $500 bounty on every player's head. A couple years back I collected three bounties on the very first hand I played on my way to making the final table, so I always look forward to this particular tournament.

"At least I was eliminated by the man himself and got a story to tell here."

This year didn't get off to such a dream start. Instead, I found myself grinding a short stack most of the day, though I did collect one bounty after a player was left short and I swooped in the next hand to bust him (not without three-bet jamming myself to isolate).

Playing at a fun table that included Andy Milonakis and Somerville, I actually made it fairly deep with the money in sight. I didn't have the chips to make it there, however, so I was looking to hit a rush of cards.

With the blinds at 1,000/2,000/2,000, a player opened for 4,500 and Somerville, who had been playing pretty loose and amassing chips, made the call. I looked down at {a-Spades}{j-Hearts} in the cutoff and three-bet shoved for approximately 30,000. I was hoping to take down the pot, but given the big bounty I figured a call was coming.

Sure enough, the original raiser folded and Somerville dropped in a call while turning over the {k-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}. I was ahead until a queen appeared on the flop. Bricks on the turn and river saw Somerville absorb my stack and collect a $500 chip. At least I was eliminated by the man himself and got a story to tell here.

Bad Beat in the Main Event

In the $600 RIU Reno IX Main Event, I hit a dry spell of cards. After a couple of hours I thought perhaps I was playing too tight and it was all in my head, so I literally started writing down every starting hand. In about three dozen hands, I wound up playing just two — both because I got to see a free flop in the big blind.

Then, finally, I looked down at the beautiful {a-Spades}{a-Hearts}. An older gentleman to my right, who'd shown himself to overplay hands, opened to 3,000 at the 300/600/600 level. I was sitting with around 40,000 and put in a raise to 8,500 hoping it looked like I was trying to steal his big open.

Action folded back to the initial raiser and he did exactly as I hoped — he moved all in! I snap-called off and tabled my pocket rockets.

"Oh, nice hand," the old man said before showing his {9-Clubs}{9-Hearts}. I was primed to double but as you can tell from the title of this section a bad beat was coming. I held through both the flop and turn, which meant all I needed to do was dodge the two remaining nines in the deck to double. That proved easier said than done, though, as the {9-Diamonds} peeled off on the river to send me to the rail.

It was one of those frustrating moments where no matter how tight you play, no matter how good you get it in, you wind up punished instead of rewarded.

Chad Holloway
Chad Holloway competing at RIU Reno IX

Second Bullet Misses the Mark

I refused to go out that way, so promptly headed to the registration desk to re-enter. My next bullet went much better as I built my stack and made it fairly late into the night. I finally caught fire after doubling big with {a-}{k-} against {k-}{j-} on a king-high flop and was feeling good.

I'd been playing mostly tight and all my showdown hands had been fairly strong (i.e., either big aces or pocket pairs). I was ready to keep the ball rolling when a big hand played out in the 2,000/4,000/4,000 level.

"I thought there was a good chance I'd push him off ace-king in that spot. Boy, was I wrong."

A different older gentleman opened for 11,000 from the hijack and I was in the cutoff with {7-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}. Not a strong hand by any means, but given my hot streak and tight image I thought it was a good spot to steal. The players on the button and in the blinds had been playing snug with their mediocre stacks, and my read was the hijack, who had around 80,000, wasn't super strong. I was sitting with around 130,000 opted to go with it by moving all in.

As long as the button and blinds didn't wake up with a monster (even if they did I had a good hand to crack a big pocket pair), I was 100 percent confident the original raiser would fold and I'd pick up 21,000 in chips. As I'd hoped, the button and blinds all folded, but then the old man shrugged and called off his stack.

My stomach dropped as it appeared I'd read my opponent wrong. That wasn't exactly the case, though. I knew he wasn't super strong — he tabled the {a-Spades}{j-Hearts} — but I never expected him to call off his decent stack with a hand like that. Heck, I thought there was a good chance I'd push him off ace-king in that spot. Boy, was I wrong.

Even so, seven-six suited still had a 41.34 percent chance of winning the hand. That percentage dropped considerably when he paired his jack on the flop, but I was drawing very much live after turning a six that also gave me a gutshot straight draw. I bricked the river, though, and sent two-thirds of my stack across the table.

Did I need to go crazy with seven-six suited there? Of course not. But honestly, I was so confident in my read that I'd do it again. More often than not, an ace-jack opener will release and I'd pick up the pot.

Amassing chips can be tough, so it's important to find spots where they're just waiting for you to collect them. I thought this was one of those spots, but the old man proved me wrong.

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  • In Hold'em with Holloway, Chad explains why he sent $500 chip @JasonSomerville's way at @runitupreno.

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