Monday, March 27, 2006

Phat Stacks on Full Tilt

Byron, you are definitely the HammerPlayer's Man of the Hour. Last night's Fat Stacks tournament on Full Tilt, featuring a tasty 3000 starting chips, was one of the most fun blogger events I've played in in several months. There is just something magical about the tournaments where you don't have to start with 1000 or 1500 chips and basically endure a lot of pushing early as stacks can get thin pretty quick. There is just so much more room to Play Your Game and wait until you get the cards to do it. I had been looking forward to this tournament all week, especially since it would be my first of the three WPBT events thus far, due to other engagements (read: The Sopranos). We had company over Sunday for dinner, though, and as a result I didn't get started in the tournament until about 10 minutes in. I'm sure I mucked three pocket Aces during that time :) But when I got in there, I started stealing pots early and often. I took advantage of some would-be blind stealers early on (you know who you are), and played the hammer once early for a quick steal in first round or two. I played very aggressively -- I remember at least twice during the first half of the tournament or so where I was all-in on more or less a complete bluff, where I was fairly sure the other guy had some kind of hand, just not the best hand.

The crowning achievement of my tournament actually came somewhere in the middle, with blinds at 75-150 where preflop saw three folds, then a raise to 600 from middle position, two callers @600 apiece, and then to me, where I look down and see....The Hammer. Only my third hammer of the night to that point, one of which I couldn't play due to two allin moves ahead of me preflop (god that sucked!). So, I thought for a while. The raiser was BadBlood, a guy who plays aggressive and who really knows the value of position in no limit holdem, and the eventual winner of the tournament. After three folds to him, I couldn't put Blood on a particularly strong hand preflop with that raise. The two callers I read as weak-ish, given that Blood would likely fold if he wasn't strong and they reraised (but they chose not to, even knowing that fact). So, I thought it over for a bit, and then I bumped it to 3 grand. A bunch of quick folds, then Blood folds, and finally the last two callers folded. I clicked "Show Cards" within a millisecond of that thing popping up on my screen. I got a couple of "wow's" and one "vnh", but no screen shot as my application was down at the time. But take my word for it, it happened. That's not a move I'll make often (reraising a big preflop raise from middle position with the Hammer), but I'll do it just enough to keep people guessing.

Anyways, long story short, I played a very aggressive, very solid, very blindstealy game as is necessary to really advance in an MTT, especially one against known solid competition like the blogger events. I eventually made my way to the final table:

This is my fourth final table at a blogger event, but frustratingly I still have to make the cash in any of them. I entered this one in third place out of the nine players at the table, having just eliminated #11 from the tournament and coasting in from there. Unfortunately, I
went out in ninth
overall when I got a little too aggresive on a blind steal attempt about 10 or 15 hands in to the final table. Because the M's get so low by the final table in the shorter-round tournaments (I think mine was about 8 at the point I went out), when I saw KQs in 5th position and a few folds ahead of me, I bumped it up 4x or 5x as I had done about a billion other times that night with marginal cards. One player near the end reraised me what would have put me allin. I thought it over, figured I am almost certainly behind, but in the end I figured I had, at that point, I already sunk about 45% of my total stack into that hand, so I went for it and made the call, basically hoping for a middle pair. I thought the move-in there was a little bit of a weak play, in that I think the smarter move with, say, AA or KK would have been to just call and the move in on the flop regardless of what it was. So I called it, knowing I was probably not much better than a 48 or 49% chance to win. My opponent flipped AJ, a much weaker hand that I figured him for with that move, which I would classify as pretty much reckless. Reraising a middle position raise with AJ at the beginning of a 9-person final table -- that is reckless to say the least. Ballzy yes, but reckless at least as much. So I was just a little bit behind, and I managed to river 2nd and 3rd pair to hit a nice hand:

Unfortunately, my opponent and his reckless AJ (but it was SOOTED after all...) managed to make 1st and 4th pairs on the turn, and IGH in 9th place overall. Not where I wanted to finish, but I played great overall and had a blast.

One more word on BadBlood's play last night. He was a machine. He was aggressive, he stole a ton of blinds which really fueled his rise after being close to done at multiple points in the tournament. I was fortunate (unfortunate) enough to be sitting right next to him almost the entire way through the tournament, and it was very interesting to watch another guy playing like he does. I say interesting because Blood seems to play more or less the same way that I do, with the same level of conviction in his moves, and that same sneakiness that draws you in to playing with him because of all his stealage, but then flips the full house on you on the river when you least expect it. Congratulations to BadBlood for winning it all, which he surely earned with the quality, consistency and outright aggression of his play.

Thanks again to Byron for setting this all up. I look forward to continuing the advance in my WPBT POY standings, with this being my first event and all.


Blogger BadBlood said...

It was really fun playing with you too. You were one of a few people to consistently come over the top of me with pre-flop re-raises - well done. I came away from that tourney with a lot of respect for your play. I'm sure I'll see you at another final table soon.

Great job.

12:23 AM  

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