Saturday, November 18, 2006

Blogger Final Table FTOPS Event #6

OK it's much later than I am usually up as I write this post, so it won't be able to be nearly as long as I would like to have it be to truly do justice to what a fun night of poker Thursday night was. As I've written about all week, the FTOPS is in full swing, and Thursday night was the pot-limit holdem tournament with a 200k guarantee, the first of the FTOPS events which I managed to satellite in to over the past couple of weeks.

This post was supposed to be all about how I dominated, doubled up with flopped trips early, won big pots with pocket Aces and pocket Kings, and stole, stole and restole me some blinds as the action progressed towards the money payouts. It was supposed to be about how I managed to survive not one not two but three suckouts against me, thanks mostly to my big stack early on, during the first two hours of the tournament, and then laid a tremendous beat on a guy who was holding AT with my lowly dominated A8 when the flop came 8-high on the very next hand after the worst of my three suckouts against me in the event. In the end, I was supposed to be posting here all about how I ended up making it to 91st place out of 1005 entrants in FTOPS Event #5 for my first ever FTOPS cash:

netting me over $360 and restoring mucho confidence that had been lost in the weeks leading up to FTOPS week after a string of recockulous, horrifying bad beats that has befallen me and caused me to lose much of my preexisting fervor for the large multi-table tournaments I typically so love to play. I am absolutely thrilled about my performance in this tournament, and I can't wait for FTOPS Razz tonight at 9pm ET where I expect to be a major force in what is probably my best overall game right now, at least relative to the competition I tend to find in the razz mtt's and cash tables. I was supposed to be writing all about this stuff today, all about me and how great I did in my first FTOPS cash.

But then a strange thing happened. Some other people we all know and love totally stole the spotlight right out from under me, and I have to write about it.

First, under the "minor" category in relative terms, my boy jeciimd managed to bust out with an FTOPS razz satellite win late in the wee hours on Thursday night / Friday morning:

so jecii will join me and cracknaces, in addition to any other bloggers I do not know of who are brave enough to venture into the FTOPS razz event, in the most frustrating of poker games this evening starting at 9pm ET. Congrats to jecii and I look forward to taking this shizz down 1-2 at the final table somewhere around 3am tonight / tomorrow morning.

But the big story of the night was not jecii's qualifying for FTOPS razz. And it sure as hike wasn't me coming in 91st in the pot-limit holdem FTOPS event. No, it was none other than Iakaris, who entered this event along with myself, Smokkee and a few other ftp'ers I recognize, in what ended up being Iak's biggest single poker cash ever, in his biggest single poker performance ever, at least as far as I am concerned.

Just minutes before I exited the FTOPS plh event when I pushed with Q3 from the big blind against a guy who had open-raised 3.5x from the button in a situation where I had personally observed him to be stealing the blinds on three or four occasions previously at our table (he ended up showing me pocket Jacks this time, I get no help and IGH), I had been sitting on around 25,000 chips -- slightly below the average stack at the time -- while Iak had I believe 3800 chips and change. He was about 4 spots away from being the shortest stack remaining in the entire tournament, and his continued existence in the event was highly dubious at best.

And that's when the poker gods stepped in. Or at least, I like to think that's what happened. I want to believe that the same supreme beings who basically ruined my poker life over the past month can also have a softer side, an even generous side for those of us who clearly deserve some deific respect. I don't even remember the hand that Iak was basically obligated to push with at that point in the event, but I do remember that he managed to double up instead of being more or less blinded out with about 100 players remaining in the tourney. Fast forward maybe 10 minutes, and this time it was pocket Kings that Iak got some clown to call his allin with with a far inferior holding. 10 minutes later, and Iak's stack was up in the low 10,000's, still quite short but at least giving him some chips to play with. 10 minutes later, and Iak was moving allin on the button with this hand, getting a call from an opponent where he least wanted to see any callers at all:

But then this board, including a glorious flush-filling river card, gave Iak new life once again:

and just like that Iak was over 20,000, right up where I had been before I had unceremoniously busted a short while earlier, and from that point on, the game was on.

What would follow was some of the best late-stage tournament play you're ever going to see, from a blogger, a seasoned pro or otherwise, as well as a random smattering of luck that I found it hard to believe even in real-time did not constitute divine intervention from the poker gods themselves. At times Iak was completely unstoppable, playing his strong hands solidly and making all the right moves at all the right times, while at other times it seemed like the poker gods were specifically protecting Iak, willing him to the final table if you will. Some of the most impressive moves Iak made included a number of solid laydowns he made as the final table grew ever closer. Having him on the girlie chat and knowing from him what many of his hands were as he was playing them, Iak did a fabulous job of doing the little things you need to do to make a run to the end of a large mtt -- folding small pocket pairs to significant preflop raises from non-short stacks, avoiding any serious confrontations with the large stacks, and folding even decently strong hands like AK or AQ in the face of multiple preflop raises which all but ensure that at least one player is holding a pocket pair that is ahead of anyone's two overcards.

And the poker gods continued to keep Iakaris under their collective wing as well, as Iak must have survived at least 5 or 6 allins during the final couple hours of the tournament. In most of those cases he was ahead when the chips went in, but in just enough of them he was in serious jeopardy and yet he continued to pull through and persevere, never letting himself tilt even when running into a hideous river flush in a situation where Iak might have been able to end the hand earlier on in the process.

Down to the final 20 players or so, the poker gods once again looked after Iak, as he got allin preflop with Iak's 99 against his opponent's AQ, only to see an Ace hit the flop and leaving Iak basically dead to two outs in the deck:

But never fear, the poker gods are here:

You gotta love the resuck, you really do. So there was one where Iak was the small favorite heading into the flop, then became a huge dog on the flop of around 8%, and then nailed his card on the turn to take back what was rightfully his all along.

Just three hands later, Iak was allin again with another strong hand with an open-raise from the button, but unfortunately this time he ran into an even bigger hand and it was once again all on the line:

But once again the poker gods showed mercy to our boy:

and before you knew it, the guy was over 100,000 in chips. Now I don't know about you, but I've played enough blogger tournaments to know that one thing nobody wants to deal with is an Iak with chips. Well now he had them, and he was not going to be denied.

9 hands later, Iak found AJs in the small blind, and when the cutoff open-pushed with a medium-sized stack, Iak and I both read this as a blind steal, and he called the raise with his very much playable late-stage mtt hand:

Miraculously, Iak survived yet another allin confrontation where he was way behind before the flop, as this board:

gave him the unlikely split and one more chance to make a run at the final table. And here was where Iak made excellent use of the image he had cultivated over the last several hands at this table -- that of a guy who is willing to push preflop with lots of different hands, and especially someone who was willing to make moves from the blinds or at the blinds, with or without the cards to back it up. Iak so managed to confuse the player on the button in this hand with his own antics and bets/raises from the big blind, that the button ended up calling Iak's allin here and just look what he ended up calling with:

This board fell, and suddenly Iak was over 180k in chips:

At this point it was obvious to me and several of the other bloggers on the rail that Iak was bound for the final table in this event. Too many things has conspired to get him this far, and Iak was playing too on his game, to miss out what was at this point only about 8 or 9 eliminations away from being a reality -- a blogger at an FTOPS final table.

45 minutes later, the dream did in fact become a reality, as Iak smartly stole, stole and stole his way some more all the way to the final table:

The great thing about this portion of the tournament is that, in an event this large, every single player that Iak was able to wait out and watch get eliminated, translated into literally thousands of dollars directly into Iak's pocket. 9th place, the first one out of the final table, was to be paid $3100 and change. 8th place was $4100. 7th place was $5100. And it only got bigger and better from there. 6th place was $7000, and 5th was $9600, and so on. So as Iak waited other players out, and worked on his own stack, at the final table, the payouts just kept climbing and climbing to astronomical levels, with the winner slated to receive a whopping $38,000 and change. Finally, down to just 5 players remaining and therefore a minimum payout of a cool $9600+, Iak found JJ, a veritable monster in final table shorthanded play. When an opponent raised allin in front of him preflop, Iak made the clearly correct reraise allin to get the other players out, but then found this shocker:

No suckout would ensue, and the result was Iak's first big drop in chip stack at the final table, and really the first big drop he had suffered in over an hour since the tournament got down to around 20 players remaining. With hopes high for the poker gods to return to Iak's side and help bring about a recovery, Iak again correctly moved allin from the button on the very next hand with a very strong A9o holding, but once again ran into a surprise monster:

and with no help once again, Iak was down to just over 100,000 chips, which sounds like a lot but at this point really was not. It just sucked to see the poker gods lift Iakaris so close to the sky early on and help him to get to this point in the tournament, but then see them more or less desert our man when he needed them most at the final table. But, in one last gesture of poker godliness, mike jo there at the bottom of the screen managed to bust out to bonaparte (the eventual winner of the tournament) before Iak's small stack made him push with an eventual loser, and even this additional elimination while Iak was on such a small stack brought another $3000 in cold hard cashish into Iak's full tilt account.

Two hands later, the small blind open-pushed, and Iak and I chatted on the IM for a bit before we both agreed that he should call what appeared to be another blatant blind steal with Iak's short stack and KTo sitting in his own hand. Unfortunately, his opponent this time proved to have a better hand:

and this board:

ended Iak's magical run at the first blogger FTOPS title that I know of. But before you feel too bad for Iak for not taking the whole thing down, read this shizz and weep for his 4th place finish:

So big big congratulations to Iakaris, making the biggest single score of any blogger I know of since Ryan took down an event at the LA Commerce Classic near the beginning of this year, and really representing the blogging community better than any of us could have ever hoped.

Now check out FTOPS Event #7 tonight, the 150k guaranteed Razz event, and look for myself, jeciimd and cracknaces. And have a great weekend.


Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Almost speechless.

As usual you minimized the considerable assistance you provided.

And considering what a frankly brutal run of beats you have been suffering, it takes a true friend to root for and help someone who is so obviously being assisted by forces beyond their control.


5:57 AM  
Blogger jeciimd said...

Decidedly minor.

But as Eeyore once said, "thanks for noticing me."

8:18 AM  

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