Running Hot, FTOPS #9 and the Main Event
First things first. It's Monday again, and that can mean only one thing....
As some of you know, and it feels very effing good to say this, I am on a major roll lately in my poker tournaments. I made the BBT points in the Mookie last week for the first time in the entire 7-week run of the BBT thus far. I also won last Thursday's Riverchasers event in a chop with Zeem. If you read here regularly then you also know that I finished 54th out of 2555 players in last week's 6-max nlh FTOPS Event #6 for a little over a grand in cash. So I've been running well overall in my tournament play, and I headed into the weekend ready to make some more FTOPS noise as well as to make some more BBT points in Sunday night's Blogger Big Game hosted by Miami Don.
(Do me a favor and indulge me in agreeing to forget the huge quick donkery I made of myself in FTOPS Event #8 in pot-limit holdem on Friday night. OK...officially forgotten. Thank you.)
So Saturday morning comes around, we had a fun day with the kids and my wife spent a good portion of the relaxing with our babysitter around for the day. Sometime around 1pm she mentions to me, entirely unexpected and completely out of the blue, "Hey why don't you play in your "TSOP event or whatever that is this afternoon?". Wow (you can tell how relaxing her day must have been to that point). Well as I've said before, far be it from me to reject such a nice, heartfelt and unsolicited offer as that, and I do love me some rebuys (Saturday was FTOPS Event #9, a $109 nlh rebuy tournament). Having run well in Event #6 earlier in the week, and having played tons of rebuy satellites and rebuy tournaments on full tilt and elsewhere, I figured I had to go for it, and at only $100 a pop, and unlike the February FTOPS rebuy event which was $200 per buyin, I might actually be able to plan to make maybe one mistake, and maybe even add on at the end of the first hour if things were going ok, so I could have a chance to do something in this thing.
And that's exactly what happened in the end. I played the first 30 minutes or so like you should in a big rebuy tournament -- playing soooted Aces for cheap, playing small pocket pairs in multiway pots, etc., and drawing wherever I could get in cheap to try to hit a surprise monster hand. Whatever I could do to give me a good chance of that early double-up that you so desperately need once the biggest stacks in these rebuys starting climbing their stacks into the stratosphere (the level of Earth's atmosphere, not the Las Vegas hotel). And, following this strategy had the predictable effect of eliminating about half my stack on missed draws early on, such that I rebought one time about 40 minutes in to the first hour, ending monkey hour in around 690th place out of just under 1000 players remaining, including my taking the basically mandatory add-on that brought my total investment in this event to $309 (1351 players had entered an hour earlier, with 1487 rebuys along the way, plus 593 add-ons as well).
So, one buyin, one rebuy, one add-on and about 7 hours later, and here you are:
So, out in 41st out of 1351, plus nearly 2000 rebuys, for another nice FTOPS cash of close to a grand. Nice. And even better than the cash itself is that my hot streak had continued for another tournament, and a big one at that. 41st is always frustrating because in a big buyin event like this, I was obviously only 30 spots or so from hitting the really big money. But you won't hear me complaining about $926 added to my hard-to-deposit-into full tilt account, no siree. And I was thrilled to record another successful deep run in another big-buyin mtt heading into Sunday's action, both the FTOPS Main Event as well as the Big Game, both of which I had already qualified for in previous satellites.
Long story short, I played well in the Big Game, making a hugely tough laydown with Jacks as we neared the BBT bubble that ended up costing me half my stack when I knew from the action that I was a 20% dog if I called the big raise. The end result was me essentially being blinded into a preflop open-push from the button with horrific cards (93o I think?), and I was out in 24th place out of 49 players (another huge prize pool for this game btw, way to go guys). But I'd made the BBT points again, and unlike some people I did not at all do this by playing like a poontang. I raised, I was aggressive, and I stole most of the pots that I won in this thing. And this was now my third straight blogger tournament where I've reached the BBT points, including the big Riverchasers win from last week, so that's all good. I won't be in the running for the big prizes, but I'd like to finish in the top 40 in BBT points at least to help justify my presence in the upcoming BBT Tournament of Champions freeroll, rather than having to rely on my having played in the requisite 20 BBT tournaments in order to get an automatic bid in the ToC.
OK, so on to the FTOPS Main Event. I logged in to the lobby as the tournament started, and saw 3798 entrants. Yikes. Lots o' donkage to survive to make it to the cash payout spots, which kicked in at 522 players remaining, or just over 7% of the starting field.
As per usual in these largest of the large online events, things started off very slowly for me. I didn't get many cards, I got no action with QQ early, and I raised some preflop with strong suited Aces and medium pocket pairs but then had to lay these hands down on the flop. I was down to just over 4000 from the starting stacks of 5000 chips around the end of the first hour. Then I looked down to find pocket Aces, my first premium hand of the tournament, and I got one caller of my preflop raise to see a flop of K53 with two clubs. He checks to me from his big blind, and I bet out the size of the pot with my Aces, which my opponent calls. Dam. Then the Ace♣ drops on the turn, giving me the hidden set but also making a flush now possible on the board, and with a guy who called a nice bet on the flop. Not good. This time he bets out curiously small, which I call, assuming he probably just made his flush and wants me to raise, so I was really just hoping to pair the board on the river and give me a boat that I might really be able to make some money with. Miraculously, the river pairs the King on the flop, and I'm looking at the nut boat, beat only by quad Kings which I am not going to put him on here. My opponent bets out pretty big, and I think for a few seconds before moving allin over the top, overbetting but putting him on the nut flush. He ponders for a bit, and then calls, showing pocket 3s for a flopped set of 3s:
Yep, I was that close to having Aces cracked early and losing about 40 minutes in to the Main Event, until that Ace on the turn gave me the higher set, and then on top of that the flush board followed by the rivered boat is the only thing that made my opponent willing to call my big river raise down. So I was up over 8000 suddenly, and this was the only major pot I played in during the first hour of play of the FTOPS ME.
Otherwise, there's not really a whole lot to say about my first couple of hours of play. I hit a few hands and tricked some people into giving me their chips. nothing crazy special really, and nothing huge other than that one big pot described above. My biggest pot other than the Aces over 3s boat hand was this one, a raise-the-limpers move where I acted purely on position, obviously without any regard to what I was actually holding in my hand:
Man do you look like a genius when this move works, and a complete and utter donk when it fails. This time, I got lucky and played it off well. I entered the first break in 839th place out of 2043 players remaining.
In the second hour of play, it was more of the same. Got a few good hands, but mostly it was lots of bluffs and steals that helped me to maintain and eventually to pad my stack early on in the tournament. I made one great play with KK where I open-raised from the button, representing a steal, and then I just smooth called a guy's resteal from his small blind, further solidifying in his mind the idea that I am weak when I actually held a monster. Then let him lead out into what was already a big pot on the raggy flop after all that preflop raising, before I sprung the trap and put him allin, to which he folded docilely.
I chipped up nicely in this hand, where I got raised very quickly after c-betting out on this flop:
Given that the flop raiser was only required to put in a smallish amount of chips from his big blind to call my raise and see a heads-up flop with me, I wasn't putting him on some kind of monster hand or overpair. I didn't really think he would call my preflop raise with 98, although possibly if he's a
and suddenly I had 32k in chips and was into the top 20 players on the leaderboard. Woohoooo!
Then, I went card dead. For four hours. Four. Fucking. Hours. It was and is one of the worst streaks of cards I have ever had to endure in a large mtt, no doubt. I think I saw AA once (no action to my preflop raise), AQo once and JJ once over the next four hours, literally. My flops seen % dropped from 19% at the beginning of the third hour to just over 10% by the end. And you can only imagine what seeing 5 out of 200 flops can do to you in a big mtt. Just terrible.
Yet despite the card death, I still managed to build my stack, as I knew I would have to in order to remain competitive in this thing and not to waste the big stack I had been staked to early. Here's how I did it, with no cards at all to speak of:
With over 52k in chips in the pot, I managed to back my way into a ridiculous backdoor flush somehow, and bet out the rest of my chips in this spot:
Somehow, despite those ludicrous pot odds and all the betting and calling he had done along the way, he folded:
jumping me up over 52k in chips, and into 8th place out of 1408 remaining players. This was when the railbirds started showing up, forming a significant rooting section for me that literally ended up staying up with me for the next four hours or so. It was really fun having so many people there watching me roll, and it provided for some fun opportunities to eff with the other guys at the table too, so that was all good and really appreciated as I made my way into the top 10 on the leaderboard.
After this hand, I stole a bunch of pots where I either detected preflop weakness, and/or missed the flop entirely, with hands of mine including 66, JTs, 98s, 76o and KTo.
I bet out on flops where I had no idea if my shitty cards (85o!!!) were ahead or not:
I stole preflop with shit hands and then had to bet out on the flop as well in some cases to keep adding to my stack despite horrid starting cards (93o!!!):
I bet out on the river with absolute garbage (Q2o!!!) when I had a strong read of weakness from my opponent:
And on the best hands I saw over the next few hours, I had to make plays even though these hands were easily beatable if not dominatable:
This last hand above brought me into 98th place out of 298 players remaining, so we were already well into the money spots and I was already guaranteed a nice payout of at least several hundred dollars, so that aspect was good at least. But these were literally the biggest pots I won over a span of about 3 1/2 to 4 hours of play in the FTOPS Main Event, where I luckily got off to a very large stack fairly early, and then was able to ride well into the ITM positions by playing hands like 85 and 93 and Q2, etc. It was gross to endure, but it got the job done and that's all that matters in a big mtt like this. Eventually, it got so bad that I had to resort to bluff-restealing with horrible restealing cards where I just had a read of weakness or had observed the players involved making steal-raises with nothing earlier in the event along with showing a willingness to lay down to resteal raises from players on big stacks:
Here was another one about 10 minutes later:
At the fourth break, I was in 80th place of 165 remaining players. Then, in the first hand of hour 5, I once again resort to calling a preflop limp with 76o, needing to play something after another long spell of absolutely no good cards to speak of at all, and I end up restealing again on the flop with just an oesd against what I assumed was some kind of a medium-weak Ace:
Are you getting the picture yet? This last few hours of the ME was pure torture for me, no matter how it may have looked from the rail. Without a doubt one of the worst runs of cards I have ever experenced in a large mtt. Without a doubt. And I was forced to constantly make plays with air, or very close to air, because I had no other choice other than just to get blinded out, as the price to see one round of hands was already nearing 13,000 chips, around a 6th of my stack as is common late in the biggest online mtts.
Finally, I found a monster starting hand around midway through the fifth hour of the tournament: pocket Aces again, my third of the event. I'll just let you check out what happened from screenshot to screenshot.
Gross, huh?! Suffice it to say I was sure I had this guy, whom I had been duping and restealing from and bluffing all day long because he was terrible and transparently so, and this pot was going to set me up for the rest of the entire tournament. Instead I was left with nothing to show for my only big hand of the last several hours. Blech.
By this point and after failing to make up any ground with those Aces, I was for the first time in several hours below the average and below the middle of the pack of the remaining runners. As such I had to raise when I found the dubious ATo utg:
That looks good so far, no? Presto is gold my ass, right?
Presto is most definitely not at all gold, not for me anyways. Presto sucks. Presto is a taint-hound. I hope Presto dies of AIDS, there I said it. Eff Presto.
With my chip stack bleeding away under the weight of no strong strating cards, I did get the chance to put on this show for about 25 bloggers on the rail deep ITM in the FTOPS Main Event:
This hand really killed me, when I put in what I believe was a mandatory steal-raise with JTs and on a shortish stack here:
But then I felt I had to lay it down to this reraise from one of the tournament big stacks who easily had me covered:
As I review those screenshots I think I could have made the call with the JTs there given the chips already in the pot, but I was just too afraid that I was already dominated, which I do not think would have left me with the right pot odds to make the call if I was some kind of a 20% dog or something. Either way, that hand sucked and basically left me in push-or-pray-quickly mode as my M dropped to just 2.5 with just a shade over 100 players remaining out of the 3798 who started some 6 1/2 hours earlier.
Here's how my FTOPS ME run ended, and it was oh so fitting for someone like me to lose to a play like this:
I find pocket 8s in an unraised pot and I have to push:
Then that same fucking huge donkeyass mofo donkey makes this brilliant call for a full one-third of his stack, against my allin preflop raise from early position, with Queen fucking Jack:
Yes, I know I know, it was sooooooted. What a fonking fonkey. Anyways here was the flop:
but then he's the final board:
Score another one for the mofo who calls off a third of his stack in a heads-up pot against an EP allin raiser preflop with QJs. Talk about a soooted donk. Here's a guy who obviously doesn't even understand the basics of no-limit tournament play, and here he is surviving into the top 100 of the FTOPS Main Event, while I go home with a very sour taste in my mouth.
So in the end I was out in 101st place out of 3798 entrants.
For another nice payout to boot:
Overall of course it is always great making a big run like this, and thanks again to all the railbirders and the kind words of encouragement along the way, which was a real blast. That said, IMO this was a terrible, terrible way to lose, and you guys know how much I cannot stand donkeys getting rewarded for their bad play. On the good front though, after two thousand-dollar cashes and now this nearly 2k score from the Main Event, my full tilt bankroll is once again flush with cash which is always an awesome thing, and this run in the FTOPS has brought me from slightly negative to a few grand into positive territory as far as my lifetime FTOPS stats, where I've probably spent about $1500 qualifying for all the FTOPS tournaments I've played through the last three FTOPS series, and I've now cashed out over those three FTOPS tournament series for around $4700 or $4800 total, so that is all good. And certainly it's great that I've continued to run good heading not only into two more BBT events this week in tonight's MATH and Wednesday night's Mookie tournament, but also heading into Vegas and the WSOP in just a couple short weeks from now. But dam, as always after a run like this I can't help but wondering what could have been....
OK so I'll see you all tonight for Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt!!
And as a special prize to commemorate my FTOPS ME run, I am offering up tonight a $26 bounty for one MATH buyin next week if someone can eliminate me from tonight's MATH tournament by calling a preflop allin of mine when you are holding two unpaired cards that do not contain an Ace and are not KQ. So, you call me allin preflop with your KJ-K2, QJ-Q2, JT-J2 or any two lower unpaired cards and eliminate me from tonight's MATH, and $26 will be yours within minutes via full tilt transfer. Come n get it!!