Thursday, January 11, 2007

FTOPS Is Gonna Be My Lil' Biatch

As many of you probably know by now (and if you don't, then you're not reading CardSquad enough, in particular Joanne's regular posts on the comings and goings in the online poker world), Full Tilt is once again bringing back its popular Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS), which now seems to have become a quarterly event (at least while the UIGEA regulations are still not in place). The FTOPS is awesome for a guy like me, because not only does it represent a nice group of guaranteed tournaments over a short period of time in all the games I love to play, but many of the events occur at nighttime, which is the only time I ever play online poker. The latest series is scheduled to run in mid-February, with at least 10 events on the slate between February 9 and February 18, 2007.

The first time full tilt ran the FTOPS once I was a regular player there was last August, and I was fortunate enough to miss the whole thing because I was away on vacation with my family. I recall logging on from the hotel room and watching the final table of one of the events late at night Pacific time, and thinking how much I would love to be able to play in one of these things and make a run at some serious dough. I'm talking Lucko-style amounts of money here, or more. Well, I got my chance last November, when full tilt brought back the FTOPS, and I managed to satellite into three of the events (pot-limit holdem, 6-max holdem and razz), and I bought my way in to the HORSE event as well since those satellites never ran in the evenings when I am available to play. As you may recall, out of those four events, I donked in HORSE, got repeatedly royally scrooged in razz, I got recockulously sucked out on in PLH very close to the money spots, and I made a nice cash in the 6-max holdem event which covered my 4 buyins to the 4 events with only a few bucks to spare.

Well, as I mentioned, the FTOPS is back again for February, and this time around I decided to start my satelliting early since I am on such a hot streak in these multiple-qualifier satellite tournaments of late. In fact, the other night I found the perfect satellite tournament for me -- the nightly 9pm ET Avatar Race with a $75 buyin, which awards a minimum of 2 $648 prize packages that include buyins to each of FTOPS Event #1, #5 and #8. What makes this satellite so great for me is that each of those three FTOPS events is a weeknight, 9pm ET start, meaning that I will be available to play and kick some ass in them all. Anyways, I first played this satellite earlier this week, donking out early when I made a horrible preflop reraise with a medium-small pocket pair against a guy who had shown strength and ended up calling with pocket Jacks. Last night was my second attempt in this event, trying to win a seat in 3 FTOPS nighttime events at once, and I really wanted to make it count. Especially since I donked hard out of the Mookie and the Dookie last night (congrats to Zeem btw, for taking down the Mook in the same week as his 2nd place finish in the Hoy).

So, 57 players started at 9pm ET last night in the latest Avatar Race 3-event FTOPS satellite, with the top 6 winning the $648 prize packages. These are odds that I like a lot, as I have been regularly winning seats in tournaments (Winner's Choice and 30k HORSE) with payout structures just like this over the past few weeks.

As is typical of my play of late, I aggressively went after pots early when I thought I was ahead, even when I could not be sure that was the case. I won a nice pot in the second orbit when I reverse hoyed a guy on the river with my K9 on a board of AKJ52 with three diamonds, when I was sure from the hand play that my lone opponent held neither an Ace nor two diamonds. I also followed a raiser and a caller preflop by reraising allin myself with pocket Queens (nemesis!), getting both to fold and netting me some nice chippage to play with. I even won this pot, with a familar favorite that hit the flop pretty hard all things considered:



Heh heh. There really isn't a lot better than hitting the flop hard with the Hammer, is there? Man does that piss people off! Anyways, with the hands above, I managed to chip up nicely during the first hour, avoiding disaster and eventually climbing to 9th place out of 23 players remaining as we headed into Hour 2. And Hour 2 quickly brought me this hand, where I totally misread my opponent's preflop pause as indicating weakness and ended up moving him allin on the flop with just 3rd pair top kicker:



Not an advisable move, if you can avoid it. Still, I was left with some chips to start rebuilding with. But just as I started to rebuild, this hand:



turned into this hand:



and I was short again, this time having been the favorite before the flop with two other players allin ahead of me. Gross. JJ is definitely not OK.

At this point, I was desperate. There were 18 players left, and I was in 16th place, so I needed to make something happen fast if I were to have any shot of finishing in the top 6 to win my 3 FTOPS seats here. In fact, two hands later, when the button (who was also short) allin raised as the first one to enter the pot (a highly questionable move from a stealing perspective), I went ahead and called him with just 98o:



Here, I'm figuring I had to be behind but I was hoping I could hit something on the flop, or maybe make use of my two connecting cards to make a straight or get lucky in some other way. Well, it turns out luck was not exactly necessary:



as this stealing pushmonkey flipped over 54o (!!??!!), and I was the one hoping not to get unlucky, instead of hoping to get lucky. Eventually I prevailed when my opponent failed to improve his starting card powerhouse that he had pushed allin with, and that double-up gave me the breathing room to last at least a few more hands and play my game.

Fast forward about 15 minutes, and I am again in 12th place out of 14 players remaining, and when I find T9s in middle position with nobody in the pot yet, I put in my standard raise as this is one of my favorite hands to raise un-entered pots with since it can make a lot of good hands and since it is highly unlikely to be dominated by any other callers or raisers. Unfortunately, the button reraised enough to put me allin:



Now, I know I'm behind here. Obviously. No way in this spot, just 8 places from winning a seat, that this guy is reraising me most of his stack with a hand that is even close to being a dog to T9s. But, like I said, one of the reasons I like this hand is that it is almost never susceptible to domination, in that both of my cards are almost always live against a big reraiser. So, I'm way short, and if I fold I will be way in last place and have little shot of fighting my way back to the winning spots:



so I think it over, and I end up making the call, having no illusions about being anything but behind. With the size of his raise, he's got to have a decently high pocket pair, or maybe, possibly, I have to hope for AK, so I am just a fairly small dog. No such luck though:



Running into Aces. The title of my fucking poker biography.

And yet this time, something crazy happened:



BOOOOoooooooooommm! The straight on the river gives me the miracle double-up against the pocket Aces. And don't forget some nice trash talk from me to go with it, when my opponent bitched in the chat:



Ha ha. Dickhead.

From here things moved quickly for me. Down to 12 players in the middle of the next orbit, I smooth-called a preflop raise with pocket Queens, and before I knew it the perfect flop had my opponent making the perfect move against me:



Of course I had to call here, hoping against hope to avoid pocket Kings or pocket Aces, and I got my wish:



and suddenly I was in 3rd place out of 11 remaining, and for the first time in prime position to win my three FTOPS seats. Two hands later, someone knocked out two people at once, and we were at the final table, with me in 3rd place of the 9 remaining players, and with 6 of us winning the 3-seat prize packages:



Smart satellite tournament strategy here dictates that I do not need to play many pots, and that I really ought to try my best to just sit back and let 2 of the shorties find their way out of the tournament, so that's what I usually try to do when I get near the satellite bubble in a strong chip position. I raised once preflop with pocket Aces, and I raised only one other time at the final table, this one when I flopped top two pairs with AJo. Otherwise, it was folfoldfoldfoldfold, something which does not come naturally for me but which has been working very, very well for me of late as I've been winning big tournament seats in satellites at an unsustainably high rate over the past month or two online.

Eventually, we lost our first player from the final table about 25 minutes later on more Acecrackage:



I was happy to see that because I had played with this guy Manube earlier this week, and he was a dick in the chat when he lost a pot that he totally misplayed. In any event, just three hands later last night, the two shortest stacks at the table both moved in with under 1000 chips, and we got the kind of collaboration from myself and 3 other players at the table that is just the way it should be: we all called the two small allins, and we all silently checked it all the way down, including me checking when I made 2 pairs on a very raggy board:



and in the end the hand serves as a great example of why this kind of collaboration works:



The guy up on top of the screen ended up flopping an unlikely straight that he would probably never have played against two allins preflop if this were not a collaboration-type of situation. And the end result of it all was that both short stacks were eliminated in the same hand, leaving just the 6 of us left, all of whom won our seats to FTOPS Events #1, 5 and 8 in February!





So now all that is left is to outperform what I did last November in the FTOPS, which will mean I need to make the best of these big-prize-pool shots, in what is already 3 FTOPS events for which I spent exactly $150 qualifying. February cannot come soon enough now for me, and I just need to do what I can to keep my hot streak going until that time.

Now who's going to join me in qualifying for or buying in to these three FTOPS tournaments?

12 Comments:

Blogger jjok said...

very nice man!

11:26 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

very nice Hoy. i'm gonna have to play sum of those.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

Very very very nice.

Man, I'm hoping to join you in one or two, if I can manage to qualify. My bankroll doesn't support $75 buy-ins yet, so I'm gonna have to try to find some cheaper satellites, or maybe try a couple $11 token SNGs.

Congrats. Now why is that $4k HORSE picture in there, and how did that one finish up?

1:15 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Rock on, Hoy! Well done!

1:21 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

My bad, Mondo. Wrong screenshot, wrong tournament.

In the HORSE mtt last night, I was down to almost nothing through much of the first hour or two. I ended up clawing my way back to respectability, before busting out in 27th place out of 181 entrants(cash started at 24th) on a reCOCKulous suckout where a guy made both a high and a low on me on 7th street. It really takes some getting used to how many suckouts occur in the non-holdem games. There's a reason they don't play these other games in no-limit structures in most cases.

1:47 AM  
Blogger 23skidoo said...

Great Job HOY!

Good luck next month.

2:14 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

Very nice job!!! Good luck in the Events. I will probably be playing a lot of them.

One comment about the T9s hand. If you are going to call a push there, you might as well push them all in instead of the 3X raise IMO. You get some hands to fold that you don't want action from. With him having Aces here it wouldn't have mattered, but to me it is the better play there.

2:38 AM  
Blogger Raveen said...

nice job man gl in the tourney's next month...always expect big things

3:53 AM  
Blogger cracknaces said...

Very nice HOY, I was in that one as well but donked out early. Played satellites to 6-Max and hte $300 NL and won though so its all good :) If you look on their page for FTOPS there are still two events not yet named. I think they will be more mixed events, how bout you?

4:13 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah crackn, I'm hoping for some more HORSE, or HA events, personally. I'd also love to play a pot-limit Omaha (high) tourney, but that's just something I am into lately.

And yeah, I saw your name registered for a few of the FTOPS events already. Looking forward to donking it up with you for the big bucks, bigger than I usually get to play for when I can only log on at night.

4:45 AM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

Hoy you are the man (except your avatar...why not get the one with bigger boobs?). Seriously, I'm going to be disappointed if you don't win the FTOPS outright...you are just too damn hot right now not to.

5:45 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

Congrats ! Good luck with the FTOPS and thanks for playing last night.

6:06 AM  

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