Saturday, February 04, 2006

Wil and Turbo Tournaments

Big news....last night marks two consecutive blogger tourneys where I didn't embarrass myself! Hooray for me! I ended up bubbling out of the latest installment of the WWdN tournament for the second time in my history of playing with the bloggers, finishing in 12th place out of 75 entrants, with only the top 9 receiving payouts. Nonetheless, I played well just as I did earlier in the week, and got bad beat out of the tournament or I would have made the final table. In fact, why sugar coat it...I actually took ELEVEN separate bad beats during just the one tournament, and that is probably only over about 90 minutes of playing. Three times I had a pocket pair beaten by a lower pocket pair, and five other times I had at least one overcard over my opponent's cards and we were allin preflop. Rounding out the list were also three silly beats once the flop was already out, where I was a significant favorite after three cards on the board but fell victim to a suckout of some kind of another on the turn or, more commonly, on the river. My final hand consisted of me moving in with 10-10, far and away the best hand I received the entire night in the tournament over almost 200 hands, and getting called by KK. To add insult to injury, the flop brought a 10 and I immediately shot from a 20% dog to a 90% favorite with just 2 cards to come. But then cruel variance once again took a shot at me, dropping the King of clubs on the turn, and I was out of the WWdN on the bubble and in 12th place. But as I said, I am pleased to have played well in both of Wil's tournaments this week, and expect that my first final table is just around the corner.

My other poker action of last night consisted of me buying into the $5 buyin turbo tournament on pokerstars, an event which I have played one other timelast week, cashing and going out last week in 103rd place out of 1675 entrants. The thing I love about this tournament is that it is turbo, something my readers know I typically do NOT like to play, but for whatever reason, a turbo tournament can be nice once in a while if for a low buyin and just as a nice change of pace for a guy who otherwise normally plays a lot of regular-paced large tournaments. There is just something nice about starting a tournament at 10pm that you KNOW won't last past 11:45 or so, as opposed to KNOWING it will last until 3 or 4am if you do well. Anyways, after my top 10% showing last week, I entered the $5 turbo last night feeling ready to make another run, and unlike the WWdN, I was lucky and avoided most of the bad beats that had plagued me elsewhere in my play last night. After unsuccessfully lobbying V and R to join me in the $5 tourney, they both ended up railbirding me during the tournament, and provided some valuable insights on IM that helped to carry me back into cashing territory just 3 minutes into the second round (we started with over 1750 players, so the top 180 got paid). Unlike this tournament last week, though, this time I managed to execute several correct reads of others just trying to steal the blinds, and was able to grow my stack throughout the critical 30 minute period at the beginning of Round 2. I climbed from the first cashing level of 180-136 players, and to the second level of 135-100, eventually surprassing my 103rd place finish last week and making it into the elusive final 100 players. Although I remained utterly and completely card dead throughout this ENTIRE tournament and especially the final rounds, every time I got Kqo or A9o, I pushed, as you basically HAVE to do in these turbo tournaments if you expect to have any chance. Remember, after just an hour and 20 minutes of play with 5-minute rounds, you're playing at level 16, with blinds of 8000-16000 and antes of $400, so you need to take advantage every chance you get. The only problem with the turbo events is that the entire last 200 people or so just becomes one big push-fest. For the Harrington readers out there, the M's are just too low, and the blinds are just advancing too quickly, for anyone to bother playing anything with less than a pushin, unless you are one of the massive chip leaders and actually have room to spare -- but even those plays are likely to be met with at least one push-raise from an opponent, so you're basically playing move-in poker for the entire cashing period, which can be frustrating, and it not a skill which will be typically useful for the tournament poker player, other than in other 5-minute round turbo events online. Anyways, I was hitting everything with my reads last night, and managed to make the top 75, the top 50 and even the top 30, reaching a height of 4th place out of about 74 players remaining before my luck started to run out. By the time we were down to 30, I was in the bottom half of chips, and hadn't seen a playable (or even bluffable) hand in about 20 hands, and I was hamstrung and forced to call allin with A8s into a pot that had already been raised up significantly by an earlier position player. I had to hope for a low pocket pair, or perhaps KQ or something like that, but what I saw instead with AKo, and getting no help, I went out in 25th place for a cool $29 payuout on my $5 investment. It's not a lot of money overall, but it's the kind of finish that is nice to get $25 for, and one that can really build confidence in your game, after withstanding not only 1500-some players to REACH the money, but then another 150-plus players all pushing in with anything and everything. Late-stage turbo tournament play really is a game like no other in which I've been involved, and can be very rewarding when played to perfection.


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