Monday, February 06, 2006

Good Showings, but No Big Money to Show For It

On this past Friday night, I played in the $10 large tournament on ps, a tournament which I have been owning since final tabling it around the middle of last month. I have entered six of these tourneys in the last few weeks, with the one final table, four top-100 finishes, and one out of the money finish on a quadruple-runner bad beat. This past Friday started off looking like no exception, as I was able to double-up once within the first ten hands when my KK made trips on a dual-slow-played flop to best my opponent's pocket rockets (god I love doing that!). Later in the first round I received KK AGAIN (absolutely unheard of for me), and did not see an Ace on the flop or anywhere on the board, allowing me to pick up some more chips against some fish who thought his 2nd pair and Ace kicker was enough to justify calling my ever growing bets from my big stack. Then in the second round, I nearly tripled up from there when my AQs held up against a crazy guy who had been betting everything and showed 95s, and a somewhat more "conservative" but still quite fishy-smelling player who flipped A9o. So things started off well for me, and out of nearly 1700 entrants, I managed a new first for me, going into the first break as The Tournament Leader with around 11,000 in chips after starting with 1500 an hour earlier.

The second round started with me determined to step up the aggression just a bit, although with such a great chip position I knew it wasn't crucial for me to overplay anything at this point in the tournament. I got a few playable hands, but nothing like during the first round, and it turns out that I held the chip lead in the tournament from around 600 people remaining all the way down to around 240 remaining, as I continued to consistently grow my stack, albeit not at the pace I achieved in Round 1. By the time the second break came around, I had bluffed for about 85% of the pots I had won in Round 2, and had chipped up from 11,000 to around 15,000, still good for top ten of the remaining players, and only about 100 spots away from the cash. And that number would have been higher if I hadn't made an overly aggressive play with The Hammer (true to my name) that resulted in me raising preflop (of course), and then bluffing on the flop against one caller who happened to hit the nut flush on the flop. Ouch.

The third round began in similar fashion, with me suffering my worst bad beat of the tournament (I think I took 3 or 4 bad beats total, which is nothing out of the ordniary in my experience), as my trip Queens lost on the river to a broadway straight for a guy who fishcalled me not ONCE but TWICE over increasing bets on the flop and the turn with nothing but a rotten inside straight draw. This hand knocked me down from top-10 in the tournament to about 60th percentile, a potentially crushing blow, especially to a guy like me who, let's just say, er, MIGHT be PRONE to some SLIGHT tilt, once in a while. My very next hand was 66, which, in my tilted state, was an immediate pushin from early position. I'd love to tell you I was hoping to get some A-x guy to think I was on tilt and just call me, but in reality it's not that, I was just pizzed off. Anyways, that's what happened, AND I flopped a 6 on the river, so I doubled up to get back in the top half, but to be honest I was still stinging from that sick inside straight draw hitting in a HUGE pot on the river. Several hands later came my read of the tournament, as I was dealt A-10o and limped in along with 2 other callers. Flop came 10-6-2 rainbow. I bet the pot, the first guy folded, and the last opponent raised me twice my bet. I thought and called. The turn was a 5, suit unimportant. I thought, and bet a little more than half the current pot. When my opponent raised quickly a second time to twice my bet, that sent the bells ringing in my head that this guy probably has me beat, probably with an overpair of some kind to my TPTK 10s. As I reviewed the betting and what I knew about this particular opponent, I had not yet seen him do anything but raise with any pocket pairs he had shown all day, and yet he had limped preflop in this hand. Moreover, his raises in this hand had been much quicker than this guy's usual MO, and that the raises were both only to twice my bet (as opposed to allin), made me smell something fishy. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what, but that's usually the feeling I get when I'm being bluffed, or at least semibluffed. After much deliberation, I called, and he flipped over A6, for just second pair and top kicker, and just like that I was back into My Rightful Position in the top 10. I was thrilled, but my elation was short-lived, as four hands later I called an allin bet on another ten-high flop with my pocket jacks, and then had a third ten suck out on me at the river and take me back down to around 30th percentile. Shortly later I took out a short stack with QQ, and had A-J hold up when the flop came KJ4 rainbow, and no one had a king, which was the last hand I played before officially making the cash at the top 162 players, with me in around 30th place at that point. I stayed in around that same position until the third break, with about 100 players remaining in the tourney.

Most of Round 4 (aka "the Push Round" in these big tournaments) is a blur to me, as the hands were coming faster and faster, and there is just SO much bullshitting that goes on. I managed to climb and then stay in the top 10 for much of the round, with me 9th out 107 remaining, then 9th out of 95 after winning about 10k in chips with a big reraise preflop with my QQ that caused the raiser and two callers to fold before seeing any of the board. I was 10th out of 84 remaining after my A9 held up to knock out a short stack who had moved in with "any ace" (A6o). I got up to 6th out of 73 remaining after being dealt AsKs twice in a row, getting bad beat on the first one for a small pot when an opponent raised big on the flop when it turned out he made trips, and then getting sucked out on AGAIN on the flop with the second AK, only to resuck on the river and win with a broadway straight that was very deserved by me. Some hands later, KK and an overly aggressive big stack preflop landed me in 5th out of 63 players remaining, and I was beginning to really think about a repeat of my final tableness from last month. But it all basically came to a crashing halt for me when, with 58 players remaining, these bastards up and move me to the table that had not one, not two, but ALL THREE of the chip leaders playing at the same time. They were staying away from each other, but just pounding on everyone else, and it was very difficult to make much headway with these three 800 pound gorillas just waitng to checkraise you and put you to a decision for all your chips. After being forced to fold a few hands I would have otherwise played, I was in 9th place out of 46 players remaining, when I was dealt 10-10. One of the crazy raisers made it 3x the BB to go, and I thought for a minute before moving allin preflop. One of the other crazyguys called, and the original bettor folded it, leaving my 10-10 up against J9o preflop. And he flopped the Jack! No further help for me, and I was out in 41st place, making about $30 for my $10 investment and about 3 1/2 hours of my time when I probably could (should) have been sleeping. But I felt great and loved the way I played.

On Sunday night, I had a very similar experience in the full tilt satellite tournament to the $200 dealers choice tourney on Tuesday. [Author's aside: This incidentially I think is going to be my new obsession, winning my way into the $200 tourney through the regular satellites until I make it one time, much as happened to me with the 180 person sng on ps.] So last night there were 56 entrants, with the top 5 finishers winning a seat into the Tuesday tournament. Without getting into too much of the details, I saw about 27% of flops, hit almost nothing on those flops, and ended up only winning two big hands in the first 90 minutes en route to being in 5th place with just 18 players remaining in the middle of Round 2. At that point I was dealt J9o, it was folded to me so I raised it 4x. One guy called, and the flop came J92 rainbow. I checked to the raiser with my top two pair, going against Doyle's advice from SuperSystem, but I knew what I was doing, and knew that this guy was going to bet even though I had him beat. So much so, that when he did bet, I just smooth called after "deliberating" for several minutes just to throw him off. The turn was a Queen, and I checked again after thinking while, which led him to move in. I quickly called, feeling CONFIDENT in what I had learned about his play in the tournament that he had no better than one pair, and he flipped...not even AJ, but KJo. Effing fish! I quickly calculated that I was about to jump in 2nd place out of 17 remaining, with remember the top 5 spots getting a seat in the $200 dealers choice tourney, but then on the river came A Fucking King, and IGHN, just like that. What a sick, sick way to end a tournament where I otherwise had played very well. And then of course the guy has to trash talk me right afterwards, like I made some kind of questionable move with my 2nd and 3rd pair on the turn, given his betting on that flop.

So, in all, I played very well this weekend, but don't have a whole lot to show for it. What else is new. Otherwise I'm just biding my time until the million dollar guaranteed tournament on party, which is now less than two weeks away.

And my Hoyas beat Pitt this weekend, which is now their second victory over a top-ten opponent this season. This is easily their best year since the Iverson days. JT III might really be the real deal after all. Who would've thought it, for anyone related to JT II?


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