Thursday, June 01, 2006

Full Tilt 17k Challenge

First of all, be sure to check my latest Hot Hand post -- Hot Hand #4 from yesterday, and let me know your thoughts in the comments there. Results will be posted later on Thursday. Now, on to some original poker content....

I came to a big decision this week. One that will affect my near-term (and maybe long-term) poker future. It will also affect some of what you will be reading here over that same time. See, after winning the 40k, I've found that I've been less interested than I thought I would be in trying to win it again. I've played in that tournament only once in the six nights since I won the $9737.34 (that never seems to get old no matter how many times I say it...), and, having conquered the 40k once, it has just lost a little bit of its luster as a goal for me. My buddy R and I set a goal to run the 40k down, we played it a lot for a month or so, and then I slayed the beast. Now I'm looking for some new prey. And by George I believe I've got it.

The Full Tilt 17k nightly guaranteed tournament.

That's right, the party 40k's loss is going to be the full tilt 17k's gain. This past Tuesday night would begin my stated quest to final table the ftp 17k event, a goal which I am hoping can be reached within the not too distant future. Yes, the 17k is a lower-dollar tournament, usually netting around 5k to the winner as compared to the 40k's typical $10,000 prize for first place. But on the positive side, it is also a much smaller tournament, with typically 800-1000 entrants as compared to the 40k's 2300-2600 entrants. While 800 players is obviously still long odds for any one individual player, an event that size is clearly more manageable than one 2.5x to 3x larger. The overall 17k event on full tilt generally takes around an hour less than the 40k does (my 40k victory cost me 6 hours and 16 minutes of precious sleep time, on a work night no less), and I figure the odds of surviving through to the final table for someone like me are probably 3 or 4 times greater, given how many fewer opponents there will be overall to get through.

Anyways, long story short, I'm officially on the record here. Other people have a Heads-Up Challenge, or a 45 SNG Challenge, whatever. Well, I'm launching my own personal FTP 17K Challenge this week, an all-out assault on the ftp 17k like I did a month ago with the party 40k, playing it every night that the 10pm ET start time fits into my schedule, and seeing how far I can go. I welcome any or all of you to join me in the quest, but otherwise I'll be plugging away, every night you see me. I may also be in the Mookie tournament like last night, I may also be in that juicy pokerstars $5 turbo event at 10:39pm ET or the WWdN Not tournament like I will be tonight, but I'll also be in that full tilt 17k, starting 10pm ET sharp every night, rain or shine baby, rain or shine.

So, with that introduction, the 17k Challenge began when I made this decision late on Tuesday afternoon this week. I entered the 17k for the full $26 buyin on Tuesday night because I was feeling cocky and because I hadn't had the time to acquire new lindsay lohan sex tokens (said purely for the google value, of course) in ftp's overly generous token sng structure. I just bought right in about 30 seconds before go time, and set out to make some noise.

And I promptly set a new personal record for a finish in the event.

Actually, the first thing I did on Tuesday was play in the weekly WWdN tournament, or in my case, what I call My Weekly Donkfest™. Although I did manage to outlast 18 of my closest friends:

I donked out early once again on this situation:

Is there a glitch in the Matrix somewhere? Cuz that looks very familiar to something that has befallen me before.

In any event, yet another early exit from WWdN let me focus on the ftp 17k tournament for the first time since the 40k win. I managed to remain confident even after starting off card dead in the 17k, and taking a few bad beats and making a few poorly-timed steal attempts, resulting about 45 minutes into the tourney with me down to less than half of my starting stack of 1500 chips, where every little blind steal suddenly really mattered:

And then here is me doubling back up to bare respectability, sucking out in fact to do it, as things continued not to gel as well as I would have hoped for my first battle in the 17k Challenge:

And at the first break, I was still alive, but not running so hot:

until another huge suckout early in Round 2 gave me my first significant stack of the night, and I finally had some chips to play with:

followed by another suckout a few hands later, if you can call my Hammer winning the hand a suckout:

And then, after sitting around on a very short stack for over an hour in this tournament, seven hands later everything changed in this very unique-looking hand, which saw two allins in front of me, me reraise allin with my KK, and then two more players call the allin behind me, for a total of five hands flipped over before the flop:

And here was the final board for the hand:

Which is weirder here? 1. That no one held Aces despite the five preflop allins, or 2. that my Kings actually held up in this situation? I can't believe either, but I guess #2 seems the craziest to me. This hand suddenly rocketed me up over 23,000 chips, and into 6th place of 169 remaining players, with the top 90 being paid as is almost always the case with the ftp 17k tournament. I entered the second break in 5th out of 139, still not quite into the money spots, but well positioned to make only my second lifetime cash in this tournament, out of maybe 15 total attempts thus far. I knew that with just a little bit of luck and some serious smart play, I would be able to fire the first shots in my newly declared 17k Challenge.

About 10 hands into Round 3, I find AJs in the cutoff. This is actually a great situation for me, because I can make this look just like any one of the other 500 steals I have successfully pulled off in this tournament generally, and at this table specifically, and with any luck I can get someone to get aggressive with my perceived blind steal. When it's checked to me in the CO, I raise it up 4x (my usual steal raise amount), and the SB calls, with who knows what. But then, look at what happens almost immediately after the flop comes out:

He moves allin on me, despite my flopped top two pair. Now although of course there are trips to worry about, realistically you can't worry about that in this situation, and as a result I quick-called. He flipped:

got no help, and I took down another huge pot, bumping me up over 37,000 chips, good enough for 4th place out of 97 remaining players at the time. I was conscious that things appeared to be turning in my favor as far as the flow of the tournament, but it hadn't quite yet sunk in that I could possibly do some serious damage in this thing, just 3 days after my big triumph on partypoker.

Here is me hitting the cash payout spots beginning in 90th place, doing very well myself at the time:

Nearing the end of Round 3, I got allin with TT against my too-loose opponent's KQo. The odds held up and once again I was capturing a whole new pile of someone else' chips, which I found especially fitting for this opponent after he insisted on calling an early position allin push with what Doyle terms a "Trouble Hand" only about a thousand times. Doyle won't even play Ace-Queen, let alone KQ, against a preflop raise!

Similarly, there was this hand just before the third break, which saw me felt another fidiot who was playing donkass cards, and who called me allin with the powerhouse hand of J2s:

and just like that, I was in second place with just 48 players remaining out of the 963 who started this event:

The next big hand I had was just a couple of hands later, where when I made a boat on the turn:

And hoyed my way

to another big chipup, on what turns out to have been a pretty serious fishcall on the flop by this guy:

This huge pot, in fact, bumped me up to a little thing I like to call first place:

To keep with the Matrix references, let's just say that right here is where I was Beginning to Believe. First out of 43 remaining players is nothing to sneeze at -- I'm already way ITM and much further than my only previous cash in the 17k before this week, and I am playing solid poker and making good reads. With increasing confidence I coasted to the third break with just over 84,000 chips, still going strong:

About 10 minutes into Round 4, I hit the perfect storm of being dealt bullets and having a stealer move allin ahead of me preflop to boot:

and when my favorite held up, I was in 2nd place of 26 remaining players. Down to the last four tables, on just Day One of my 17k Challenge! I was thrilled, but again determined not to let this rare opportunity go to waste without making the final table. A few hands later, I was down to 2nd out of just 24 players left, but then, disaster struck. I lost about a third of my stack here:

This happened because I failed to lay down pocket Tens, another top 5 or 6 holdem hand, to an allin raise from a guy in late position whom I had personally observed steal-raising an early limper with donkdung on three or four occasions. So I like my play but hated the result.

In one of my favorite moves of the entire tournament, I got back about half of those chips on a blind bluff-reraise against a guy I was sure was stealing due to his position and the size of his bet:

which thankfully got me two quick folds, and nearly 21k in chips back in my pile:

Feeling renewed confidence after that big bluff reraise, I didn't even cringe when I was dealt the Hilton bitchwhores a few hands later. I raised it up 5x from late position, trying to look stealy and elicit at least some calls:

I get just one caller, the current chip leader out of the 21 remaining players, sitting across the table from me. He and I had tangled in several pots throughout the tournament, but had largely stayed away from each other as we both were on fairly large stacks through the past hour or so of the event. Anyways, just he called, and we saw a flop with 35,800 chips already in the pot:

I decided I had to play this just like I would play if I was holding, say, AQ or AJ, and that kind of raggy flop hit the board. I bet the pot:

My opponent, the brilliant chip leader who was good enough to rip up the tournament so far and double even (my) second-place stack at the time, thought for a while, and then called again, leaving a total of 107,800 chips in this pot, where I had every reason to believe I was clearly ahead, and with him having no notion of my being ahead since my play so far had been more or less identical to how I would play this hand on a steal.

The flop comes:

another harmless rag, the 7♣, and I of course move in for my last 14k chips into this monstrous 135k+ pot, basically knowing that I am going to win this pot and take a dominating chip lead with 21 remaining, unless this guy just happens to be holding and fishcalling with 98s. He calls, and he flips:

Slam! 98s.

Oh well, what are you gonna do about that? I finish on a bad, bad beat on the turn card, losing again with those mugga fugging Hilton bitches (seriously, how many of my stories end with those whores?):

21st place out of 963 entrants. By far my best performance yet in this event, worth another $100 to me in the payout, and a very optimistic sign for my 17k Challenge that I just started that afternoon. I'll be updating my progress in my quest to final table the ftp 17k as I go along in future posts. Look forward to lots more late-tournament action, and hopefully sooner rather than later, a final table story to show for it.


Blogger mookie99 said...

You are a machine. Good luck with the new challenge.

12:37 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i'll see ya there. GL

1:08 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Fine work Hoy. GL with the takedown, which we all anticipate shortly.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Wow, another deep run in an MTT. Kick ass, man. Keep up the good work!

2:03 AM  

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