Another Big MTT Score
Since my last post, the poker play has been a bit infrequent compared to what I've gotten used to, but at least equally positive, on a couple of different fronts.
On PokerStars, I am 2 for 3 in 1-table sng's ($9 or $12 buyins) since the weekend.
On Full Tilt, I have really turned things around in my 18-person, $6 buyin sng's. If you recall, the top 4 finishers in this setup all get the $26 token first prize, and that's the token that can be used to enter most of ftp's smaller guaranteed tournaments. My original plan was to at *least* get the 4/18 chance of cashing in those tournaments, so I could as a rule win my way into the guaranteed tourneys without having to pay the $26 buyin fee in most cases. On my last update, I was 3 out of 14 in terms of cashes in these events, putting me just below that 4/18 (22.2%) average rate, so I was a bit discouraged at the time. Now, however, I am happy to report that I have gone on an absolute tear, cashing in my last 3 of these sngs, and bringing my total score now to 6 out of 17 tournaments entered. This equates to a more than 35% conversion rate, which I am very pleased about, especially given where I started off after 8 or 9 of these things. And I've had two or three $26 tokens just sitting around now since 3 or 4 days ago, including playing in one or two of the token tournaments, which I quickly replenished from another sng.
But the bigger news for my game lately came on Sunday night. On a whim I entered the $11 buyin nlh tourney on Party at 10:30pm ET, only because I had literally just logged on at 10:29 and saw this tournament about to start. There were 535 entrants in all, making for a solid payout structure and more than a grand to the top couple of finishers. I slogged through the first couple of rounds, tacking on a few chips, but really just managing to tread water and avoid the early go-out that's been plaguing me more than usual just recently. Shortly after the first break came my first double-up, which I got with an AQ against an A9 (fish alert!) when a single ace came on the flop, I slow-checked, he moved in thinking he was in the lead, and quickly he was gone. I then treaded through most of the second round as well, managing another near-double near the end of the round when someone moved in on my top two pairs with nothing but the Fish Lover's Special (open end straight draw), and I actually managed to hold on to my lead since this wasn't pokerstars. I entered the third hour of the tournament solidly up on the leaderboard, and managed to use my big stack and a couple of well-timed pocket rockets to chip up even further, getting into the top 10 or so near the end of the round after crossing into the money positions (60 remaining) a few minutes into round #3. When I saw myself right near the top with only around 35 players left, that was the first time that I really thought I might be able to make some serious noise in this thing.
As I have been able to survive very deep into the cash in more and more multi table tournaments, and make 4 or 5 final tables now over the past couple of months, I have learned that at some point it makes sense to actually scale the aggression back a bit, in particular if you have a sizeable stack and can withstand some folds in marginal situations where you might otherwise be inclined to make a risky call or a superaggressive raise. Using this strategy, and yet still pushing hard with my strongest hole cards, I managed to make it to my first MTT final table in March:
As you can see, I entered the final table with around an average chip stack. Despite beginning squarely in the middle of the pack, I managed to push some people out of some pots, and at that point the blinds were already so large that this helped push me back up near the chip leaders. In fact, as people started to drop from the final table, I took my first chip lead of the table with just six players remaining:
Unfortunately, that chip lead was very short-lived, as two hands later saw me pick up JJ in the SB. I raised it up 4x, one person with a medium-sized stack reraised me allin, and I felt I had to call given where I was at, and the relative crap I'd seen this guy play for about the last 20 hands he had to show anything. In this case, he flipped up AJo, and immediately on the flop came the Ace, dooming me once and for all and basically crippling me out of the tournament. I went out on the next hand when my KJo was bested by the new big stack's 57o, what else is new as far as a way to go out of one of these tournaments. Nonetheless, my 6th place finish out of 535 entrants into the $11 buyin event on Sunday netted me a nice $220 payday:
and here is the scoreboard as of just seconds after my elimination:
Additionally, in the DADI IV event this evening, I stole and stole and stole and stole and stole and stole and stole without picking up more than one premium hand in the entire night, and eventually went out in 13th place out of 57 entrants, another respectable showing for me. I would have liked to do better, but I got my opponent allin preflop with my AQo against his 22, and Of Course the 2's held up, so it's hard for me to feel too bad about it. And I must have busted about half of the bloggers I know and read regularly, so that part was especially fun. And, I played and won (and showed) the Hammer on four separate occasions in the DADI tourney, which we all know is what it's all about in the end.
In all, a big time performances from me in the big MTT, the pokerstars sngs and the ftp satellite sngs definitely has me feeling pretty good about my game. Let's just hope that can continue as long as possible from here.