Another MTT Triumph at Party
You know, sometimes I don't think I give PartyPoker enough credit. I don't tend to play there as much as PokerStars or Full Tilt, because either more people I know play at the other sites (stars) or because I like a particular game they offer regularly (ftp, both the $26 Bracelet Races as well as the $8 sng structure to get those $26 tokens). And lately, as in the past few weeks or so, party's software has been...well...suckin. There are massive delays, and it's even cut me out of a few tournaments entirely, for which don't worry I've been more than adequately refunded by party. Nonetheless, those of you who know me know that I am basically an MTT guy at heart, and as I look back on things, the MTTs on party might be where I've had the best overall success. I won a 191-person satellite to get into the party million dollar guaranteed tournament in February, in which I cashed for a $741 payout. I also final tabled a $10 buyin tournament on party earlier in March that was detailed on this blog but I'm too tired to go and link you to right now. And it was with this all in mind that I decided to fire up the $11 MTT on party last night as the WWdN was drawing to a close. 610 hopeful entrants joined in the fray with me at 10:30pm ET, and almost immediately after things started off, I knew something magical was afoot. I doubled up on hand #4 of the tournament, as a guy in late position raised 5x to me in the SB, where I on a whim decided to push with my AK, having notes on my opponent already indicating that he was not only a blind stealer but an aggressive raise defender. He called with AJo (what a horrendous move btw), and HWH, and I was doubled up. Over the next 20 or 30 hands I noticed a continuation of a theme I had picked up on early: I was hitting some flops. That doesn't happen regularly very often for me, but when it does, someone of my level of aggression can really make some noise. And that is exactly what I did with this rush.
Early in Round 2 I called a small preflop raise with one other caller already in the pot, holding 77 in my hand. The flop was solid:
Not just a flopped set, but flopped top set. I love it. And, with an early position bettor, a 3x raiser, and even another raiser all ahead of me, and me holding the stone nuts right now, I figured the time was right for me to move it in, which I did above. And I got two callers -- one with a nut flush draw, and one with two Kings. My big favorite hand held up, and I rocketed from what was already a large stack to a very large stack, and at the first break, I was the chip leader out of the 291 entrants remaining:
Things stayed roughly the same for me as Round 2 began in the party MTT. I slowly chipped up, using my bigass stack to bully anyone and everyone out of any pot where I had anything good, and once again I managed to avoid the sick suckouts that tend to plague the very aggressive, raise-happy players like I was with that stack last night. About 45 minutes in to Round 2, I managed another near-double when I made a King-high flush on the turn on the same card that made my opponent the nut straight, and I was once again soaring in the standings:
If you look closely there, you can see in fact that my stack is actually higher than the listed "High" on the tournament board because the summary had not even updated yet from me winning that huge pot on my flush. This situation persisted through the second break, when I was the #2 chip stack out of around 72 remaining players, with the top 70 places receiving payouts from the prize pool.
About 20 minutes in to Round 3, I had donked off some chips on a few tough laydowns I had to make from players who had not been pushing with weak cards, when I had what I think I would have to describe as my Hand of the Tournament. I look down to find QQ in middle position, with me in around 13th place out of around 54 players remaining. It's folded around to me, so I put in a standard raise of 5x the BB, not really wanting to see the flop anyways since the Hiltons are one of my all-time losingest hands in nlh tournaments. Two to my left up and reraises all-in, not a move he had done much to that point, although he did have a fairly short stack at the time (maybe about 1/8 of my chip count), so I couldn't be too concerned about Aces or Kings there. But then, the guy immediately to his left reraises allin as well, for about 55,000 chips, enough to put me allin if I were to call him. Now as I said, the first guy was not a pushmonkey of any kind, but he was down to around 9000 in chips at a time when you really needed more like 40k or 50k in your pile to really be able to play optimally with blinds of 1000/2000 and quickly rising. So him, I figured this was maybe a middle pair, maybe AK or even possibly AQ, but probably not AQ even since this guy had not pushed the whole time he'd been at my table in the tournament. But the second raiser, even though it was a huge raise, something about it didn't seem quite right to me. I guess it just felt like he had two high cards (AK, AQ maybe) and just wanted to make sure to isolate with the first allin guy, and ensure that I moved out of the pot and left my 5x reraise in there for the two of them to battle it out. He had reraised almost immediately when the action came to him, and I just got the impression that if he had had Aces or Kings himself, he might not have reraised me in that situation (if he was smart), or at least would have hesitated a little bit to give the impression of some thought going into the decision. Instead, he pushed right away, I couldn't help but also put him on something lower than QQ. After much agonizing, I called, and here is what everyone flipped over, as well as the board that fell afterwards:
Not only were my Queens the best before the flop, but my reads were more or less right on, and the two Aces counterfeited each other, making my odds all the better of prevailing. Plus, another trips on the flop didn't hurt either! And just like that, I was once again way above the stated tournament "High" chip count with over 140,000 in chips, and already well into the money:
Without boring you with all the details, about an hour later I was down to 3rd place out of 17 players remaining:
and when we finally made it down to the final table after much tightness in spots 12 and 11, I was solid in third place:
I busted the first player and the short stack at the table when my pair of 5s outlasted his AQo, lifting me over 320,000 chips and alone into second place out of the 8 remaining players:
I busted the 8th place guy off the table as well, when my K-10 hit a pair of Kings on the flop, he bet it like he didn't have a King, so I trapped him into thinking that I didn't either, and when he finally felt comfortable with his second pair decent kicker, I reraised him allin and he took the bait. The chip stacks looked like this at that point, with me still in second out of 7 remaining, but clawing my way up towards the chip leader:
and I finally busted the 7th place guy out too when my pocket 9s held up against his pocket 4s, giving me first chip lead of the final table with just 6 remaining:
and when we were down to 5, I was still chip leader, a lead that I lost to "pokerstudAA", the resident
I managed to bust the next guy out in 4th place with my top pair, but not before pokerstudAA had managed to accumulate some more chips to retain his chip lead with just three players remaining:
but then unfortunately, it was pokerstud and not me who took care of #3, amassing all of those chips and entering heads-up with a significant chip lead over me:
Though you wouldn't know it from my 0-3 heads-up record in straight-up HU matches against Veneno, heads-up at the end of tournaments is actually one of my strengths. I waited for my shot, slow-played a bit, bluffed a lot, and when my opponent pushmonkeyed me with second pair on the flop, I quick-called him with top pair and took the chip lead away in a big way:
Warning: Bad Beat Ahead!! Bad Beat Ahead!! If you can't stand the sight of a really, really bad beat in an absolutely huge situation, just stop reading now, and feel comfortable knowing that I did very well in this tournament without needing to know if I bad beat him or he bad beat me in the end.
As soon as I took most of this guy's chips with my slow-played Ace in the above hand, he was immediately tilted and moved in on me preflop in 4 or 5 of the next 5 or 6 hands. I felt no need to push, didn't get dealt crap, so I did a lot of folding. One time I called preflop but then had to fold to his push on the flop when the board did not at all hit my drawing hand. After about 5 or 6 hands of this, he pushes in again preflop, and I wake up with A5o. Against a tiltmaster who is pushmonkeying almost every single hand, this was a trivially easy call for me, and my opponent flips...
The Hammer. That's right. My Hammer. My hand. This guy just unknowingly used the Hammer play on the Hammer Player! I had just a moment to reflect that I was about to outright win my first major cash tournament online in a couple of months, and all the great play and great cards I had received throughout the 4 hours of drudgery that was this MTT. Then the flop comes out, and I'll let you all enjoy it for yourselves in living color:
Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. Neither could I. But I guess if the best cards preflop always won, and if the Hammer never hit muggafugging quads on the flop, then Poker wouldn't hold nearly the attraction that it does in all our minds. Oh well, a hand or two later I was out with my 25-to-1 chip domination, but overall I got a great payday:
my biggest single-tournament payday to date in fact, so I am abviously thrilled about all that. And especially about how I played overall in the tournament. It had been some time since I scored big in an MTT, and this one felt great. I definitely got the cards and hit some boards early on, but if you play a lot of MTTs like I do, you're going to get your tournaments where that happens (just like you're going to sit and watch your pocket Kings lose to pocket Aces a certain number of times), and it's your job to make it happen with the cards that you're dealt.
I have a lot more to blog about from yesterday, including the WWdN tournament, another MTT success from Sir Waffles, and some various other poker tidbits and screenshots like my readers have become used to. But for now, it's time to do some work, and I'll be back on again soon.