Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Anticipating the Mookie (and the Spookie)

Man, despite never having a shot at winning the fucking thing, I love looking forward to the Mookie. I remember when that shit first started. The WWdN was still going, but way past its heyday, and in retrospect our community was literally starving for a new weekly tournament. But nobody knew it yet. And then this relatively unknown, definitely new, blogger from the illustrious group of Austin bloggers comes along, blogs for a few months, and then suddenly is starting up a new weekly tournament, right on hump day no less. Although Mookie I think once claimed that I was not at the first Mookie tournament, I believe I was. Certainly I was at the second. And like many others I was hooked right away. Other than during Lost season for season 3, I don't think I've missed more than one or two Mookie's in probably two years now. And tonight is not the night to miss. With the 6th of 27 seats up for grabs into the BBTwo's season-ending Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions, the field size is once again sure to be laaaaahhhge (congratulations you Red Sox fandonks) after topping out last week at a record 112 runners.

112 runners in the Mookie. Wow. A few people have mentioned over the past week that this was the largest "blogger tournament" ever, but that claim is absolutely false. I remember, probably going on two full years ago now, when the WWdN had 120 runners. I remember it vividly because I did pretty well, my best-ever WWdN performance up to that time, and at the time I simply I could not fathom that there were 120 guys coming out to play in Wil's weekly pokerstars funtimes. There might even have been a few others, but I know that the largest Wheatie did have 120 players at one point on a dark and cold winter night, I think it was in December 2005 or so. So I would love to see us break what I consider to be the all-time blogger tournament record of 120 players tonight in the Mookie.

And why wouldn't I want as many people as possible to make it out for the Mook, right? With just the winner getting the ultimate prize, the more players in this thing at $10 a pop tonight will once again mean that the power of skill over luck will be absolutely maximized in this thing, as far as whoever takes the whole thing down. Riiiiiiight. But the bigger crowds do make me smile a bit as I think about when the whole weekly private tournaments thing started a few years back, and how much I used to look forward to Tuesday nights, to playing with the big group. To hoping Wil was seated at my starting table. To hoping to be recognized and actually maybe even spoken to by one of the well-known bloggers whose words and outlooks I was just getting to know and understand. Nowadays, the WWdN is gone but in my and I think everyone else's heads, it has been replaced. By the Moooooookie. So tonight, bring on the 120+ players, and if you're out there reading this but have never sat down to play with the bloggers and never been in the Mook before, come on out tonight and change that. And win your way into the freeroll ToC to win the fabulous 18k prize package for you and a guest to the Aussie Millions in the land down under while you're at it.

One more thing about yesterday's little mini-ranty post. Surf is a great poker player. I've said that many times here and I will say it again now. Surf knows his way around a poker table -- live or virtual -- and anyone who reads his blog or plays regularly with him knows that to be true. But hot dam if he does not catch up and pass me from behind time and time again in the blonkaments. I think I've eliminated him from a tournament maybe one time in my entire life, and he has probably knocked me out of 9 or 10 at this point. And I'd be the first to admit if I was getting outplayed by him most of those times. Instead, probably almost every one is me getting in ahead, Surf sticking around to see a flop, and then the flop coming with K97 when I have AK and he has K7. Or I pick up the straight and flush draw, while he flops a set and rivers a boat. It happens all the time to me, with some people in particular, and even the fact that the other guy is a solid poker player doesn't leave me feeling any better about the constant beatdowns. No I'm not saying that I am somehow entitled to be ahead preflop and stay ahead through the full 5-card board every time, so don't start with that you wiseasses out there. But I'm not getting anywhere near my fair share as compared to a lot of the blonkament regulars, and especially with the fields swelling like now with the BBTwo in town, that is not a good thing.

So once again I am here to say -- mostly for my own edification, in the hopes that I will read this again and again tonight before sitting down to the Mookie at 10pm ET at full tilt (password as always is "vegas1") that tonight -- that tonight I have got to play tight early on. It's as simple as that. Aggressive? You bet. But tight aggressive. It's the only way to go in these things and basically the only way to have a chance to get to the promised land. So I gotta play tight. God I hate that. But the BBTwo and all those prizes available as a result of it make it so that you have to play that way.

And speaking of which, I'm back today with another Pick 5 group of 5 bloggers tonight, from whom I expect the eventual winner of tonight's Mookie to come. So far I did this one time -- for last week's Riverchasers tournament -- and I got it right, nailing Lucko to win on my first shot. So I'm back at it again today, in no particular order:

1. Astin. There is no denying this guy's skill in being dealt premium starting hands, and I think it is equally hard to deny his skill in getting paid off with them. It gets easier when you get these hands so much that no one can possibly put you on yet another premium hand I suppose. But Astin has quietly put up probably the single best run of anyone over the past few BBTwo tournaments, and this week at the Mook may be his time to shine. With Astin's combination of cards and skill, I would not bet against him right now since he appears to be running good in these things overall.

2. NewinNov. This one might seem like it comes out of nowhere, but Newin has won I think 15 or 16 Mookie tournaments just in the past few weeks, and he definitely has the right aggressive style that one is going to need (along with a lot of luck) to win a 100+ person $10 tournament like the Mook. I guess I'm not even 100% sure that Newin will be in the Mookie tonight, but I'll stick with the pick anyways and see what happens.

3. Emptyman. I can't put my finger on specifically why I am expecting big things this week from Emptyman, but I just am. He is a very good poker player who I think won the Hoy once this year, and even though his speciality seems to be low-buyin HORSE tournaments (I've been there, and it's a long, long and ugly road, Emptyman), I'm going to pick Empty this week despite some bad performances in the first week of BBTwo.

4. Surflexus. As I've written about previously, Surf is an excellent and experienced poker player with several big tournaments played in both the live and online contexts. And, like Newin up above, Surf has won I think 85 Mookie's over the past couple of years, including at least once where he took it down two or maybe even three (!!) times in a row, right? The guy knows how to get paid with big hands, and boy does he seems to get those big hands and big boards often in the blonkaments. Surf has not been able to string together an entire deep run yet in the BBTwo, but he is always a threat in these things and I would not be surprised at all to see him in the Tournament of Champions at the end of the series, so tonight could be the night for Mr. Surf.

5. And last but certainly not least, lord knows I can't pick myself in a Mookie, so I'm going to go with Mookie himself. I don't recall Mookie ever winning his own tournament (thought he might have once), but the bottom line is Mook is also on a hot streak and has been cashing / final tabling a good number of the BBTwo tournaments so far. I'm not sure Mook normally plays with the aggression level needed to make it to the end in a big minefield like this week's Mookie is sure to be, but I believe he can dig deep and with a little luck can channel his inner Fuel to a well-deserved Mookie victory. And since my streak of sucking out to eliminate Mookie from blonkaments is long since over, wouldn't it be great to see Mookie get in to the Tournament of Champions with a big victory tonight?

One more quick announcement about a very special blogger tournament being hosted tonight, in honor of Halloween here in the U.S. Rather than try to do is justice with a summary, I'm just going to post the text I saw from Instant Tragedy (just add Sean) in advance of his private tournament tonight at midnight on full tilt:

"Yes, it is just hours until the ULTIMATE in Donkfests... Yes, the Spook. Bastard redheaded stepchild to the Mook and the Dook. Only allowed out on Halloween because of a mistake. Yes Mookie, accidently let Instant Tragedy watch over the closet door labelled "DO NOT OPEN". What did Instant Tragedy do? Why open the door, of course. So we must find out who's the secret spy that lives in Mookie's Closet. It could be you if you win the Spook. Don't cry, my friend, for we will find little Spook and put him back into the closet for another year. It's short chipped, short handed NLHE, tomorrow night. Be there minutes after the Dook starts."

If I am awake, I'm there. Again it is technically at 11:59pm ET on full tilt, the buyin is a measly $2.50, and the password is "tragedy". And since I'll be chip leader in the Mookie and the Dookie come midnight tonight, of course I will be awake and I'm sure I'll be in. Short-chipped and short-handed is my kinda poker, no doubt.

So I can't wait to see all you guys tonight at the Mookie. Let's try to get this thing over 120 and make it the biggest single blogger tournament I can recall. Best of luck tonight in the skillfest known as the Mookie!!

*Edit: OK so the Hammer Day tournament had 158 players this year, big deal. 120 is still a lot of fucking people.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MATH Recap, and Consistent Luckboxery

Once again, work tilt is getting in the way of me getting a proper post up for you guys today. It's just hard coming back from a few days away from the office to find the time to generate the kind of output here that you guys know I am accustomed to doing, all while satisfying my boss and my many clients at the same time. I hate it when the blog loses that fight but sometimes I just don't have any ability to stop that from happening, and today is one of those days.

I did quickly want to update today for the latest Mondays at the Hoy tournament on full tilt, which had exactly 82 runners for the second straight week as the BBTwo is in the hizzy once again this week. I was way too tilted to keep up with the action myself on Monday night, but I can report here the final leaderboard for the top 9 finishers who cashed in this week's MATH tournament:

9th place: $49.20 Fuel55
8th place: $59.04 Astin
7th place: $78.72 leftylu
6th place: $118.08 UnTiltable15
5th place: $157.44 Snailtrax
4th place: $216.48 riggstad
3rd place: $275.52 twoblackaces
2nd place: $383.76 wormmsu
Winner: $629.76 XxMagiciaNxX

*I will update the 2007 MATH moneyboard on Wednesday to reflect this week's results.

As I mentioned, I could not bring myself to stick around to watch the end of the Hoy this week after my own untimely elimination from the event, so I don't have any details on who bubbled, who just squeaked into the money, who played well and who luckboxed at the final table. I also don't know anything about the player "XxMagiciaNxX" who won this week's tournament, including the $630 first prize and more importantly the 5th seat to the BBTwo Tournament of Champions to play for the Aussie Millions freeroll in late December, but I was given his blog link by Lucko in the comments. By my count around half of the cashers this week are not bloggers, which is interesting in its own right, and if anyone I listed above has a blog and I have not linked it, please leave me a comment and I will get that right up there. Otherwise, congratulations to XxMagiaiNxX for winning the 5th seat to the Aussie Millions ToC, and thanks to everyone who came out and played and I look forward to seeing you next week for the next MATH tournament.

My night at the virtual tables really pissed me off, moreso than I probably have been in some time. I was so annoyed about my performance on the night that I'm not even sure I will be playing tonight at all, which is not something you will usually hear me say. For starters, I played the token frenzy at 9:45pm ET, where I got sucked out on not once, not twice, but three times all in the first 40 minutes or so on 75% or better hands when the money went into the middle, with the third suckout finally eliminating me in 40-somethingth place out of 112 or so runners. That one was bad because I kept getting sucked out on despite repeatedly getting my money in ahead, and it kept happening again and again and again. Very frustrating.

At the same time, I also played the nightly mtt satellite into the FTOPS PLO8 event, where I was in second place with 7 players left, and sitting on a significantly larger stack than the third place player at the time, when I called a small raise from the chip leader when I held KKxx. We saw a heads-up flop of 8K8. Bingo!! I bet out the size of the pot because I'm a man, and the guy minraised me. I love minraising donks who use the minraise when they do not have a strong hand. I quickly put the guy allin, and he insta-called me, flipping up?

AAxx. Now here is a guy who doesn't know the first fucking thing about playing Omaha games. Preflop raise with AAxx (no low cards, no suits) isn't a great play, but it's defensible. But the flop minraise with the AA unimproved, and then of course the instacall of my allin reraise on that flop, are utterly indefensible and unbelievable in any way, and of course as the chip leader you can imagine how hugely I was about to be set up to win this satellite when I stacked this ahole.

Turn card? Ace. And IGH just short of the money. What a fucking joke.

Then of course there was my own MATH experience, which involved me failing to play tight early once again despite my promises to do so (sometimes I think I really have got to stop drinking for these tournaments. But then I figure, I've won a ton of blonkaments in my day and I've been pretty much buzzed or more for all of them, so why F with a good thing, right?). But then I got lucky and flopped a set against one of my fellow New York blogging crew, which I managed to double up with against someone who I'm pretty sure had the JackAce on an Ace-high flop. Man I get no respect. But I played very well, if not a little recklessly for a blonkament, and I was doing great about 90 minutes in, somewhere in the teens with 40-some players left, which I pick up pocket 7s in the small blind.

The action folds to me preflop, so I raise it up the size of the pot, and Surf calls from the big blind. Of course I'm ahead here, and of course I had to raise to help protect all the rest of my copious blind stealing tendencies. What's more, the flop comes an almost hard-to-believe 245 rainbow, making my 7s an overpair to the board and making it all but impossible that my pocket pair is not good here. I bet out on the flop, around two-thirds the size of the pot. Surf minraises me. Of course he's just trying to steal the pot from me, as my 7s have got to be good here in a blind vs blind confrontation, with Surf almost surely on a hand like A5 or K4 or something like that. So I min-reraise him back. You know, just to be an anus. Surf thinks for a whlie and just calls. Now I know he knows he's beat. The turn came an offsuit Queen, and I pushed allin for my remaining chips which at that point was less than the current size of the pot. Surf instacalls and flips up?

A3o. Yep, for the flopped fucking straight. In a blind vs blind hand. That is just regoddamdigulous. What is this, pokerstars here? Christ. The guy calls a raise preflop with A3o. Not a great play, but assuming he thinks I'm a stealer, again that play is easily defensible. But then why the fuggity fug fug does the flop have to come with three undercards to my pocket pair, giving me an overpair at the same time it gives him the flopped inside straight? WTF is that? It's downright pokerstarsian, even. And it raises a larger issue: Why do the same people seem to luck out in the blonkaments far, far more than everyone else?

Now I know that you luckdonks out there will try to argue that you appear to be getting luckier than others, but that you are actualy just playing better. Bullshit! I don't have to go and re-list and re-link all the blonkey luckboxes out there here for the umpteenth time, but the fact remains that a small number of players in our group just consistently flop to their hands, pull bullshit rivers out of their ass, and just generally get the good cards and the good boards all night long whenever they need or want it. Surflexus has probably luckboxed against me in a blonkament on at least 7 or 8 occasions over the past year. I know this because I remember them all. Every. Single. Time. That guy has luckboxed me so many times I truly have lost count, and it's not like we're playing in 5000 tournaments a year together such that it's just a large-numbers thing. No, instead what it really is is that Surf gets so fucking lucky when he plays hands against me that I am basically fighting a battle that is all but impossible for me to win. I need to outplay the guy like always, plus I need to overcome probably a 2-to-1 disadvantage in starting cards, plus probably a 10-to-1 disadvantage in the cards that hit the flop, turn and river. How the fuck can anybody be that good, huh?

And my last question of the day: How the phuck are you clear, consistent, redickulous luckboxes not winning more of these blonkaments? I do not understand it. It is my solemn guarantee that if I hit flops like Surf does against me, or got turns and river or starting cards like some of you other donkeys out there, then I would probably win one blonkament a week. At least. It is beyond annoying being the constant butt of suckouts in the tournaments I regularly play in, and invariably it is to the same small handful of people again and again and again, without regard to how badly I have tricked them or just generally outplayed them in the hand up to that point. I know a lot of the other blonkament regulars out there know exactly what and whom I am talking about. So what gives?

Don't Forget Your M.A.T.H.!!!

No time for a proper post today, as I'm just back from a weekend in "the country" at an indoor-waterpark resort chain with the Hammer family. It was pretty interesting, and I'll probably write some about it this week. But I wanted to make sure everyone remembers that the BBTwo starts up again this week with seats #5, 6 and 7 in the year-end BBTwo Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions, beginning with tonight's Mondays at the Hoy tournament on full tilt:

I will definitely be there with bells on. With 80+ in last week's MATH tournament, it is clear that the most skilled player will take this thing down tonight on full tilt. Come out at 10pm ET Monday and be that most skilled player tonight! Password as always is "hammer".

See you there!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Playing Drunk, Chasing Rivers and Great New Old Bloggers

Man did I phuck up in the Riverchasers last night. I think. In addition to already being under the weather and taking some antihistamine medication for it, I opted to join my brother for many beers before heading home for my usual late start to the latest BBTwo tournament, hosted by Al. I was hammered, and I honestly don't remember almost anything specific from my "performance", other than to say that I know I again called an allin with some soooted crap and sucked out a victory with a pair of 5s or something to get back near 3000 after donking away most of my stack bluffing against a minbettor who ended up reraising me allin or some shit like that. Who says you're allowed to do that in this game?! Anyways I know that just as soon as I got back to 3000 or so I immediately donked away half my stack again, surely on another bluff of some ghey kind.

Eventually, with about half my starting stack maybe 40 minutes in to the tournament, I had pocket 7s on the button and saw a standard raise from EP, followed by two or three callers of the raise, all ahead of my action. There was about 800 chips in the pot, I had maybe 1400 chips in my stack and I looked down to find pocket 7s. I was short and not in a good position to make a move where I was, so I went ahead and reraised the 200-chip bet allin to 1400 straight. I assumed I was likely ahead here and assumed I would likely take the pot down without a fight. Instead, I was insta-called by the second player to my left, who still had two players left to act behind him who had already called a preflop raise themselves with their hands. Those other two guys folded, and what does the insta-caller flip up? AQo. Ace Queen fucking o. Instcalling an allin reraise and still with two raise-callers to act behind him. The flop came down with nothing of consequence, at which point I am basically a 75% favorite in the hand. But do I have to tell you how the hand ended up? I've said it before and I'll say it again: the full tilt rng for whatever reason seems to be more likely to reward donkery, the more donkorific a particular play is. I think calling the allin reraise with AQo with two raise-callers still to act behind you has got to be among the worst moves I have ever seen made at the poker table. But hey, I called an allin reraise in the Mookie this week with the hammer preflop, and then in Riverchasers I called another allin with whatever shit hand that was -- 97s or some such garbage. Of course those are live cards that I'm calling with, as opposed to the AQo hand, but what does fear of a little something called domination really have to do with poker anyways, right?

And you know the worst part of all about this play that knocked me out of Riverchasers on Thursday night? It wasn't even made by a riverchaser. It was a regular blogger. That's the kind of shit that makes me say what I say about the level of play of the bloggers as a whole. Now the guy who made this play is not someone I know well, but he's always been a nice guy whenever I've interacted with him or seen him with others, so no rant needed. But calling an allin reraise with two raise-callers still to act behind you with AQo? Dayyyyyyummmmmm.

Ok in a related note, congratulations out to Lucko for taking down the Riverchasers this week and winning the 4th of 27 seats to the Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions at the end of the BBTwo. I probably don't have to remind most of you who read here regularly that Lucko was in my first "Pick 5" of potential winners when I made my predictions for the Riverchasers here yesterday. Yay for me. I told you the guy was playing well -- including again two final tables in the nightly 24k on full tilt over the past week, plus lots of big stacks late in blogger tournaments of late -- and I went with my gut on that pick and it paid off. I wish I'd taken Chad up on his offer in the comments to lay me 10-to-1 odds on my Pick 5 picks not winning the event, but what can I do. Now we'll see if I can come up with some more magic in next Monday's post ahead of the next MATH tournament, as I will try to make another winning set of five blonkeys from among whom the next blogger tournament champion will emerge.

One last thing -- I went to read Joe Speaker's writeup of his run to I think 2nd place earlier this week in the Big Game, and it took me maybe 5 seconds of reading to remember just how awesome of a writer this guy really is. I totally missed reading blogs like Joe's, Change100's, Maudie's and the other great bloggers/writers who had moved over to Pokerworks as part of that site's experiment with centralizing a number of blogs onto their site. As I've mentioned here several times in the past, all of pokerworks is blocked by Websense at my dorkwork, and since I do basically all of my blog reading during down time at the office, I basically had stopped reading these guys entirely for the past year they've been writing for pokerworks. Well I didn't even really see this myself since I can't access those blogs, but about a month ago Joe, Maudie and Change moved back to their own, "old" blog addresses and will now get to experience what people like myself, Iggy and many others have gotten to enjoy -- the wonders of moving back home, of only having to keep one blog up at a time, and of the freedoms that we all have when we're writing in our own space, with no one to answer to and no one signing the checks (so to speak) but ourselves. Yes I can say from personal experience it is a flattering and in many ways exciting and rare experience to get paid to blog about poker, but in the end it really feels great to go home and to break free from whatever constraints existed on one's "other" blog. Anyways, I am here today to say that I have gone and re-updated my blogroll at left to include the proper current blog addresses for these wonderful writers, and I really can't wait to get back into reading their daily musings on the world of poker and otherwise. I am truly sorry that the pokerworks thing didn't work out for these guys, but I think in the end they will come to appreciate as I did just how great the freedom to write what you want, how you want and when you want really is. Everyone should go click on those links on the left if you want to read some wonderful pieces written by people who are in a lot of ways the opposite of me -- I'm just some poker playing clown who writes from time to time about the stuff buzzing around in my head. People like Joe and Change, however, now those are writers who just happen to write about poker from time to time. Go read their blogs and you'll appreciate the difference I'm sure.

Have a great weekend everyone, recharge and get ready for the second week of the BBTwo and three more Tournament of Champions seats to be won during the upcoming week on full tilt. And as usual, come stop by Kat's donkament on Friday at 9pm ET on full tilt if you're around, which is always a good time if you like getting your nuts squashed into oblivion by a slowly-moving vice. I am the defending champion nut-squasher this week for the donkament so I will try to show up as usual if I am back for the evening by 9pm.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Playin Tight in the Mookie, and on to Riverchasers

Well I followed through with my stated plan for the Mookie on Wednesday night, playing like a true tightydonk from the beginning, and man did it hurt. I remember every single time I folded into an unopened pot preflop from the button in the first hour of the tournament, wincing every time I recall it because it is just so diametrically opposed to the way I play the game. But I was committed to playing tightydonk, and I stuck with it. Mostly. I did raise with a few hammers in the first hour, more on that in a minute. But other than the hammer, as I mentioned I folded instead of open-raising from middle position with hands like KJo and A8o, I folded ATs from early position (all moves I would not normally make in tournament play) and I repeatedly declined to steal the blinds on places like the button and the cutoff where I would just plain never fail to do that in a regular tournament, especialy against a bunch o' blonkeys. And it was really phucking annoying playing this way, let me tell you. But you know what else?

It works. That's it, plain and simple. Tightydonk early works in the blonkaments. That's just the way it is. I did this exact same thing about a month in to the first BBT, after literally reaching the points -- not the money but just the points -- in just 1 of my first 13 BBT tournaments. Is that sick or what? Bottom half of the field in 12 out of 13 events. But that's how I was playing at the time, trying to force things and just generally overplaying early in these things, which as I was saying yesterday and several times in the past is simply not the way to make it deep in the blonkaments. So about a month in to BBT1 I remember posting about my problems and deciding to just play uber tight no matter what, and see what happens. Starting from that very moment, I ended up going on a two-month tear that saw me win two Riverchasers tournaments, take 2nd in a Hoy and win the Big Game on my way to an out-of-nowhere 4th place finish overall on the points list. And I'm telling you, it all started when I declared I was going to stop stealing blinds early, stop bluffing and taking aggressive stabs at orphan pots in the earlygoing of these things.

Last night, I did basically the same thing, and lo and behold I also made the points for the first time in 3 BBTwo blonkaments so far. It's funny how that works. I busted I think in 22nd place out of 112 entrants in the Mookie (yeah that's right, I said 112 entrants in the Mookie!), and frankly I had played pretty dam well up to the point where it all fell apart in the span of just a few hands. From I think 3rd place out of 23 players left, I went for a flop steal with a bet of around 5000 chips (about 25% of my stack at the time) and Astin pushed allin to which I had to fold. This knocked me down to the middle of the pack, and it was surely not my greatest move. The flop had had a King and a Ten in it, which generally is enough to persuade me not to take a bluffy stab at a pot, but in this case I was hoping Astin had raised preflop with an Ace and hopefully had not hit this particular flop. Either I was wrong, or Astin really made a great play at me, it really doesn't matter. Then a few hands later I raised preflop from middle position with KQo, and one of the Wonkas -- I think it was the evil one but I really have no clue the difference between them as you know -- pushed in for just a few chips more from the blinds. I made the obvious pot odds call, he flipped up A9s and his 60-40 or so hand held up. This put me about 2/3 of the way down the leaderboard. Within the next five minutes or so, I got it allin with some not-great hand, I don't remember what, and someone called me down preflop, it might even have been Questionably Evil Wonka I'm not sure, and they had some kind of solid Ace again which I did not. All I remember specifically was that I flopped the lead from again a 60-40 underdog hand before the flop, but then the gheyass Ace on the river did me in and IGH in 22nd place overall.

I had a great time playing in this event, the first time I can say that in the week's BBTwo events, which of course mainly was a result of me playing so well and lasting well into the night in the tournament. I was sick as a dawg too but managed to keep my cool and reign it in well enough to endure far into this thing and give myself a real chance to win the latest Aussie Millions ToC seat. One other thing that was really effing cool about this tournament was getting to suck out a ridiculous beatdown hand against Jordan early in the tournament, the truly one and only time in the event that I slipped back to my aggrodonk tendecies. I mentioned above that I played a few hammers early on as my only non-tightydonk hands, and in one case I reraised Jordan's late-position raise when I held the hammer. Jordan responded by pushing allin, and I had one of those truly awfuckit moments where I just typed into the chat "Enjoy" before calling -- yes, calling -- his allin reraise with 72. He flipped up AQ, and I turned a deuce to win the pot and put Jordan a hair away from out, to which he soon succumbed. Jordan took it like a man like I have so, so many times in the past, but I cannot tell you how exciting it is to get a suckout win year against another guy who's blog I love to read. Even though I play about 300 tournaments a year, I somehow only end up with maybe five, maybe six suckout wins for each year I play, so for one of those 5 or 6 to come at the hands of another blogger, it's just about all I can ask for. Other than it having been this guy, of course.

OK so that's my story for today. Don't forget tonight is the latest Riverchasers tournament, which is sure to be chock full of fuggadonks just like the Mookie last night at $10 a pop and as the fourth and final BBTwo tournament of the week. Even though these large donk-filled events are complete and utter crapshoots to win outright and get the latest ToC seat -- and btw congratulations to the blogfather for somehow taking down the Mook last night in the end -- I feel like I have to play the Riverchasers after winning 3.99 RC tournaments already this year. If I'm ever going to donkeysuck enough to actually take one of the large-field BBTwo-enabled tournaments down, the Riverchasers is probably it given my past performance in this thing. But it's gonna be big, and the play is gonna fuckin blow. Make no mistake about those two things. And with every one of these tournaments, I just thank my lucky stars that we don't have to sit and watch people folding to the points every single week. This top 25% thing for points is definitely working much better IMO.

I'm going to start a new Pick 5 feature where I'm going to try to pick a group of five players the day of every BBTwo tournament from amongst whom the eventual winner of that night's tournament will be. So for this week, here is my Pick 5 for tonight's Riverchasers tournament:

1. Me. I'm not playing so great just lately, but I seem to have turned it around in the Mookie this week, and will surely be playing even tighter tonight, so once again if I am betting or raising in a pot early on in the RC, you best get out of my way if you enjoy survival.

2. Waffles. Although Waffles' general poker profitability is certainly in question, you gotta admit he has been playing well in the last few blonkeyments. He has proven to be streaky in these things, and the last time he went on a nice roll like this, he ended up winning I think the Mookie out of the blue, so I think he has a shot tonight in the RC if the cards go his way a little bit.

3. Lucko. Although obviously these things are largely luckfests given the size and level of donkness among the fields with the BBTwo in effect, Lucko is without a doubt one of the two or three most formidable cash or tournament players among our group when he is on. And he appears to be on lately, with two 24k final tables in the last week, and he's been playing well in the last few blonkaments as well in his quest to win that Aussie Millions package. Odds are high that Lucko takes down at least one of these things and finds his way into the Tournament of Champions, so maybe tonight is the night for ol' Kevin.

4. Astin. Despite his clear luckbox tendencies, in my opinion Astin has been playing well so far in the BBTwo tournaments as a whole, maybe effing up the first one but otherwise he seems to be pretty on in his tournament game as well, culminating so far in a 2nd place finish to Iggy in this week's Mookie tournament. Given that he gets dealt pocket Aces like it's his job and that he loves to flop sets and river flushes in multiway pots and the like, you can never count Astin out and I need to include him in tonight's Pick 5 for the Riverchasers.

5. And lastly, Columbo. To be honest I never used to think much about Columbo's poker play, but in the past year it is obvious that he is really coming into his own at least in terms of the blonkaments. Not only is he right up at the top of the 2007 MATH moneyboard in terms of total money won from the tournament during this year, but lately Columbo always seems to be near the top of the leaderboard in the weekly blonkaments as well. This includes this week's Mookie where he was either in the lead or in second place for much of the middle portion of the tournament before busting somewhere around #20 as I recall, but my point is that once again Columbo made a serious run and alomst got himself into position to push deep into the final table.

I'm betting tonight's Riverchasers winner comes from someone in those five players. Anyone else agree / disagree?

So I definitely plan to play in the Riverchasers tonight, and so should you fo sho. 9pmET on full tilt, password is the very original "riverchasers". See you then!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

BBTwo Reset

Today's going to be short and sweet (for me) because frankly I am feeling like ass today. I woke up too early in the 5am hour somewhere, and when I took my first swallow it was like someone had shoved a thousand little spikes all down the length of my throat. My whole family has been sick except for me during the past week, so I basically knew this was coming, but damn was I hurting this morning. Luckily Hammer Wife was well enough to take care of the kids a little bit so I was able to go back to sleep, and when I did wake back up shortly after 7am I was feeling a little better. Get a shower and a little hot tea in me for the throat, and here I sit back in the office. suit and tie on, the whole shebang. If you had felt what I felt at 5am today though you would never in a million years have expected to see me at the office. Damn. Reminds me of the time I had strep throat in college -- 106.3 degree fever, literally hallucinating from it, and by far the worst throat pain I've ever felt in my life. I wouldn't wish strep on my worst enemy. This isn't strep I'm sure, but I am not myself today and really just need some rest. Fat chance I'll get that here though.

This does have me thinking about tonight's Mookie tournament though, the third of 27 chances to qualify for the fabulous BBTwo Aussie Millions freeroll, where I will clearly be feeling semi-out of it unless there is a miraculous turnaround in my health during the day. And since something tells me that 10 cigarettes between now and the first cards being slung in the Mook is not going to do any wonders for my throat, I'm guessing that I'll be pretty under-the-weather come Mookie time. And maybe that will help me a bit to execute my "new" old plan for the Mook.

How many times have I advised one of you out there reading this today that the way to win the blonkaments is to take it slow early, wait for the cards to set you up with a monster hand, and then elicit chips from the donkeys? I've probably told a hundred of you out there that exact thing, in conversations, in the girly chat, even here on the blog I'm sure. When I'm running good in these things -- which is usually, but definitely not always -- it's always very clear to me that taking it easy up front is the secret to blonkament success. The guys who push real hard, the people making sweeping bluffs and stealing every blinds they can regardless of their cards, the guys out there representing the nuts in the first hour of these tournaments, they never win. Maybe once in a long, long while, but in the end that is simply not the way for me to maximize my results in these things.

Maybe for some of you out there doubling up early or going home early is a good option in the blonkaments, and that would not surprise me at all. This may be due to your general mentality, as I know a number of guys playing in tonight's Mook I'm sure who in general find it very difficult to produce and maintain the patience required to wait for the right cards in our private tournaments. Even me, after seeing 7 of the 9 people at my table turn up pocket Aces at one point during the first hour, while my best hand so far has been Ten-Four offsuit, sometimes I tend to just get all awfuckit inside and start deciding that, if full tilt isn't gonna give me any pocket Aces, then I'm just going to manufacture my own pocket Aces, and just play my next hand, no matter what it actually is, as if it's pocket Aces. Eff them, right? And that's where I get into trouble, when my mentality breaks down early and I find myself out there pushing into god-knows-what, often with total garbage or at least something eminently beatable.

For others of you, in particular those of you who do not tend to focus on mtt's as much as the rest of us, doubling or busting early may be attractive because it might actually represent your best chance of building the kind of big stack you're going to need to last into the deep levels of the tournament. For example, if I sent my 4-year-old daughter M out into the WSOP Main Event, and she found AK early on and a guy right ahead of her pushed allin, I would advise her to call for sure. Unless I had some specific reason to believe the other guy had Kings or Aces, then a quick 50-50 shot at a double-up is just about the best thing M could hope for, given her limited knowledge of no-limit holdem and her penchant for foul tantrums at the drop of a hat when things don't go her way. Now I don't mean to compare any of the bloggers' poker skill to that of a beautiful and precocious 4-year-old who -- literally -- can't even spell poker, but I think the point still holds true. If you are someone who doesn't play a lot of poker tournaments or someone who has never had a big tournament win or for any reason just don't feel that your tournament chances are great to last more than an hour or so in this thing, then maybe going for the quick double or bust is right for you and might truly maximize your chances of success in the tournament.

But that's not me. I have spent a lot of time, a lot of time, over the past couple of days thinking about how I have once again managed to get myself into a dumbass funk as we start up another big blogger tournament series. I don't know if I get over-excited or nervous or what, but somehow, something, makes me act way too big for my britches basically right from the getgo in these tournaments, which I have done so far in both the Big Game and the MATH this week to start the BBTwo with two no-cashes and two no-points in what amounted to two basically shitty performances. And if you recall it is the exact same thing I did through the entire first month of the 3-month BBT1 series, essentially costing myself a shot at the title. That is lame, and it's not me. I can dominate these blogger tournaments and have done so many times for a long time, and I think I've actually had that talk with myself just in the past 12 hours or so where I really realize my mistaken approach taken in these tournaments so far. I need to take it slower early on, not losing much (or any) chips in any pot where I do not have either a solid made hand or a solid draw at the right pot odds. This should be basic poker stuff to everybody out there, but believe me when I say it is simply not the way I've been playing the BBTwo tournaments so far this week. If you've been at my starting table, then you know exactly what I mean.

I bet that, through just the two Big Game and MATH tournaments this week, I have lost more than 5000 chips on pure bluffs with no good reason to even be bluffing in those spots. I recall losing half my stack about an hour in to the MATH this week to ck31 on a total bluff with a pair on the board when she reraised me allin and I of course had to lay down.
And these are tournaments where I've lasted less than two hours total between the two of them, so it's not like there's much poker to have squeezed all those stoopid failed bluffs into, and it's not like the blinds ever got high enough to justify sliding in thousands of chips on what essentially amount to complete kamikaze missions. Yes I have a lot of confidence in my poker play and my ability to win pots, even when I've got nothing, but that is a far cry from me feeling entitled to every pot out there when no one makes a move at it right away.

That's the way I've been playing the BBTwo tournaments so far this week. But tonight with the Mookie, it stops. Ima play tight as a drum tonight for the first 90 minutes or so, and the rest of the bloggas will have to deal with that and adjust accordingly. No more stupid move-making in the earlygoing just because I think I should win every orphan pot out there. Tonight, when I make a move, I will have the goods. And all you calldonks will pay dearly.

See you tonight at the Mookie, 10pm ET on full tilt, password as always is "vegas1"!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

MATH Recap and Playing Limit Holdem (Whaaaaa?)

If I was a betting man, then I would surely have lost the bet on Monday night's attendance at Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt. In the end 82 donkeys players came out and went for a seat in the upcoming BBTwo Tournament of Champions to award one lucky winner an 18k prize package for two to the Aussie Millions in January 2008. This far eclipsed the previous Hoy record during the first BBT of 56 players, and brought the total prize pool to just a couple players short of $2000, and creating for the second straight night in bloggerland on full tilt with a string of solid payouts to the top finishers, including a whopping $629 and change to the eventual winner. And how did I outlast 81 of the finest poker players in the Western Hemisphere to take down my fifth MATH title of the year, you may ask?

I didn't. Not even close. I did play better than I did in the Big Game at least, which is to say that I lasted more than 20 minutes before pushing into pocket Aces. In this case I lasted about 90 minutes before pushing into pocket Aces, where I was a bit short and pushed too hard with a pair of Jacks, the same hand I ran into Mookie's Aces in the Big Game this week. Although I played a lot smarter than my early fizzle in the Big Game, I still bounced around a lot and took way too many chances for early in an mtt where I feel I have a good skill edge, so that is something I absolutely have to fix if I expect to play my way in to the BBTwo Aussie Millions ToC. But in a way I chalk up both of this week's blonkament eliminations to some degree to bad luck really, running a strong-looking pair of Jacks preflop or on the flop into pocket Aces within 90 minutes in the first two BBTwo tournaments. I can't go too crazy about that.

In the end it was our longest MATH tournament to date, and even I fell asleep when down to just three players remaining so I failed to see how it all ended up. But congratulations to all of this week's cashers, listed in order here:

9th place -- $49.20 Fuel55
8th place -- 59.04 Zeem
7th place -- 78.72 Presidentdave
6th place -- 118.08 Astin
5th place -- 157.44 Easycure
4th place -- 216.48 Garthmeister
3rd place -- 275.52 actyper
2nd place -- 383.76 Joe Speaker
1st place -- 629.76 JJ

I do love it when these cash gamers come in and tromp all over our tournament fields. It happens from time to time, whether it's Don or Peaker or Wes busting out with a big blonkament victory. This week that man is none other than the new boy babydaddy himself, JJ. And what's more, I saw JJ win a ridiculous pot when he saw a flop with pocket Jacks -- his moniker, mind you -- but instead of saying "meh" he called a preflop raise with them and then proceeded to flop quads. That is always good against two other preflop raise-callers isn't it? Well JJ entered three-handed play with Speaker and actyper with a huge chip lead and was able to hold on for the victory, JJ's first Hoy cash of the year. Congratulations to all of this week's cashers, and especially to JJ for securing the second seat in the upcoming BBTwo Tournament of Champions. Way to go JJ!

And here are the newly-updated 2007 MATH moneyboard figures, including this week's Hoy tournament. Remember anything can happen to the leaderboard heading into the BBTwo with the large field and huge prize pools for the balance of 2007, so this week begins a key period for the moneyboard and the players looking to end the year at the top:

1. Bayne_s $1400
2. Columbo $1362
3. Hoyazo $1162
4. RaisingCayne $1110
5. Pirate Wes $792
6. VinNay $775
7. cmitch $774
8. Iggy $745
9. Astin $734
10. NewinNov $677
11. Lucko21 $665
12. Waffles $650
13. IslandBum1 $642
14. JJ $630
15. Fuel55 $617
16. Tripjax $561
17. Buddydank $553
18. swimmom95 $545
19. Gary Cox $518
20. Byron $510
21. Julius Goat $507
22. bartonf $492
22. mtnrider81 $492
24. PokerBrian322 $490
25. Chad $485
26. scots_chris $474
27. Emptyman $461
28. Mike_Maloney $456
29. RecessRampage $434
30. Otis $429
31. Surflexus $402
31. Miami Don $402
33. Zeem $389
34. Joe Speaker $384
35. jeciimd $382
35. Jordan $382
37. Blinders $379
38. lightning36 $371
39. ChapelncHill $353
40. LJ $326
41. OMGitsPokerFool $324
42. oossuuu754 $312
43. leftylu $295
44. Wigginx $288
45. ScottMc $282
46. Fishy McDonk $277
47. actyper $276
48. Irongirl $252
48. Manik79 $252
50. Wippy1313 $248
51. Easycure $244
52. Garthmeister $216
52. wwonka69 $216
54. Omega_man_99 $210
55. katiemother $209
56. Pushmonkey72 $208
57. Thepokergrind $198
58. StatikKling $180
59. 23Skidoo $176
60. Santa Clauss $170
61. jimdniacc $166
62. Iakaris $162
62. Smokkee $162
64. cemfredmd $156
64. NumbBono $156
66. lester000 $147
67. Heffmike $145
68. Kajagugu $143
69. brdweb $143
70. Mookie $137
70. DDionysus $137
72. Patchmaster $135
73. InstantTragedy $129
74. NinaW $120
75. Ganton516 $114
76. Fluxer $110
77. hoops15mt $95
78. Gracie $94
78. Scurvydog $94
80. wormmsu $91
81. Shag0103 $84
82. crazdgamer $82
83. PhinCity $80
84. Presidentdave $79
85. maf212 $78
86. Alceste $71
86. dbirider $71
88. Rake Feeder $53

So that is now 88 different players who have cashed in Mondays at the Hoy at least once during this year, although none of the top 8 spots on the board changed this week, with only Astin finding his way into the top 10 thanks to the generous payouts resulting from the onset of the BBTwo. I look forward to next week when another big crowd is likely to take another stab at the leaderboard and at playing in to the Aussie Millions ToC freeroll at year's end.

In other news, the suckouts killed me at the cash tables on Monday, but I have been having a great time playing in -- of all things -- the limit holdem FTOPS satellites over the past few days since full tilt started running a regular nightly mtt sat into FTOPS #12. FTOPS #12 is an event that I am actually shockingly really into, as it is limit holdem, but with a nice twist: the event is also 6-max. With shorthanded tables, limit holdem is not nearly as robotic and redonkulous to play, and there is still plenty of room to make some moves and be aggressive and trappy and all those things that make playing poker fun for a guy like me, and that are generally not present in limit poker.

You know, I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but limit poker is actually more fun to me the more I play it these days. There are always lots of options for how to play strong hands. The biggest hands I often play slowish on the cheaper flop street just to get the raises and extra bets in on the more expensive turn. Sometimes I even play slow on the turn if I hit my hand there, or if I have a monster and want an extra bet on the river and think that is the best way to profit from the hand. Say for example that I flop top pair decent kicker in a heads-up pot in a limit holdem tournament. Do I bet out on the flop and try to take it down, or do I check, hope my opponent bets and then I can call and then lead out on the flop? Assuming I do bet out with my top pair on the flop and my opponent calls, then what to do on the river? Assuming it was not a scare card, sometimes I can check, make like I was going for the flop steal, and try to get in a check-raise right there on the turn if my opponent takes the bait. Sometimes I'm betting on every street with a good hand, and other times I might check through the river with even a decently strong hand if that seems like the most profitable way of playing a given hand. Again, with 6-max that helps to readjust for what is otherwise often a mechanical, boring game, as you can never be sure exactly if the preflop raiser actually holds a good hand or has just been on some kind of a steal play all along.

The whole free card thing and the misdirection one can create in that area is really fun too, and it is something that is just not as applicable in no-limit poker because people basically always have the ability to price their opponents out of almost any pot they are ever involved in. Sometimes a well-timed raise on the flop can win you one if not two free cards later in the hand if you do have a strong draw but nothing made yet, which is always fun for me because one would almost never put in any substantial raise in nlh without a strong hand or at least a very strong draw. I also feel that in limit is where the real mathy guys who know all the odds and are good at doing calculations at the table can get an edge in a limit game as compared to no-limit where the pressure is typically exertable far above and beyond any pot odds considerations because of the lack of any cap on the betting in a given round. Limit can be fun because, unlike in nlh where you would for example almost never ever draw to an inside straight, in a limit game once the blinds have moved up a bit, you might find yourself even calling a 60-chip bet into a 360-chip pot with just an inside straight draw on the flop if you have more than one opponent and feel fairly sure that you will win at least one or two extra bets from some combination of those players because the implied odds will be there to get paid even to draw at such a long shot hand. If played correctly and played well, there are in fact ample opportunities in limit holdem for the skilled player to bet and/or raise without a made hand, something which in general I think is where you separate the men from the boys in poker, because without the allin there is actually a lot more strategery going on between the players and between the hands played at the table.

One thing I have been trying to focus on more and more in my limit game as I've played one sng and now two mtt satellites for FTOPS #12 in 6-max limit holdem is simply not losing any big big hands in the earlygoing in a limit tournament. Not that losing big early is a good thing in a nlh tournament either, but there's always that chance that you are dealt pocket Aces against someone else's pocket Kings on the very next hand and you can double right back up to where you were a few hands previous. But not in limit -- if there's one thing I would tell someone looking to take some stabs at limit holdem tournaments of any kind, it would be that advice of not losing any big pots early. As long as I don't put in a string of large bets on the turn and/or river with a hand that is easily beaten, I have found that to be a major advantage to my tournament game in a limit context. It may seem like trite, obvious advice, but if you bleed off chips calling preflop raises, flop bets and turn bets in just two or three hands early on, suddenly you find yourself with 2/3 or half the stack of the tournament leaders and that can be pretty hard to recover from easily in a limit event. In the end, much like my personal philosophy in nlh tournaments, my individual strength lies in the position plays and ATC push kinda stuff that you see more once the blinds and antes kick in enough to make the tournament play mostly like a no-limit tournament in the later rounds anyways, so I find that anything that enables me to survive to the later rounds of these limit events is a net positive for me for a number of reasons.

Anyways all that is a roundabout way of getting to this from my Monday night action:

FTOPS #12 here I come baybeeee! I always love winning a winner-take-all satellite tournament and pissing off that #2 guy like I have been pissed off bubbling in several FTPOS satellites already this season. This one took two $26 satellites and one smaller buyin event ($7 or $8 I think) for me to qualify, so once again I am in to a $216 buyin FTOPS event for far less than the actual buyin cost. Right now I'd love to focus on getting in to FTOPS #7 ($322 buyin nlh on Sunday November 7), FTOPS #8 (the $1000 buyin nlh tournament on Monday November 8), as well as the PLO8 and HORSE events slated for later that week on full tilt, and if I can sneak in a couple more pot-limit holdem mtt satellites into FTOPS #3 as well, that would be all good with me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

BBT Returns and Another Solid Weekend of Poker

Wow. The BBTwo is here starting in this past Sunday night's Big Game hosted by MiamiDon, and 57 runners came out for the biggest turnout in Big Game history, making for the biggest prize pool of any blogger event ever that I can recall of $3933 and cash prizes that are all basically pretty kickass to win for finishers numbered 1-7. Getting the group together to come and play for a chance in what will soon be the new largest-ever blogger prize pool in the BBTwo Tournament of Champions is what it's all about, and everybody was out and ponying up $75 of hard-earned cash (or easily won token) to get in the game.

Me? I donked. Hard. I made a terrible play by breaking one of my cardinal rules of poker and something that I think everyone needs to constantly fight against -- instead of putting a guy on the hand I thought he had, I opted instead quasi-subconsciously to put him on the hand I wanted him to have. I know, real smart. Things started off good when I picked up pocket Aces and eventually won a nice-sized pot against Mookie whom I felt had a lower pocket pair, also an overpair to the board. Mookie played his hand like a real man, reraising me on the flop to find out once and for all with minimal loss if his hand (he would later tell me in the chat he had QQ, on a raggy flop) was best, and then correctly laying it down when I re-reraised him allin. I told Mookie then and there in the chat that he played the hand well and that he made a laydown with the overpair Queens on the raggy flop that I did not think 90% of bloggers could make. I was impressed with his aggressive reraise on the flop, and with his discipline to lay down the overpair Queens when his reraise for information got answered by an allin rereraise from me.

This very same discipline that Mookie showed eluded me totally about 20 minutes later when I picked up and open-raised with pocket Jacks in middle position and then Mookie kicked it up again a large amount from one of the blinds. His actions seemed like another big pocket pair to me, but since he had just shown Aces and I think Kings as well I simply was not putting him on another monster despite what my instincts said. Mookie was somewhat short stacked -- down below 2000 chips I think -- so when he pushed allin on another totally raggy flop, I had already "decided" that he held AK this time. Even though my gut told me he had a real hand, when he insta-pushed the raggy flop, I was already expecting it and had just decided that he had AK and not another monster. Well, I was wrong, so when I instacalled with my overpair Jacks, he showed me pocket Aces again and I was basically done. And that's the story of my tournament right there at the Big Game -- I won a big pot from Mookie who had the discipline to lay down pocket Queens to heavy action on a raggy flop, and then I lost almost my entire stack when I could not find that same discipline to lay down overpair pocket Jacks and instead chose to decide someone had the exact cards I needed him to have in order to win. Well played by me.

In the end, after staying up to the final table and then falling asleep I guess when down to 7 players remaining, I was absolutely thrilled to wake up in the a.m. and see that good friend jeciimd had taken the whole thing down. Well done my man! Other than the donkorific limit Dookie tournaments where I often think the donk-chasiest player wins, this may be jec's first big blonkament victory, and that and the $1600 first prize or whatever it was now belong to jeciimd, the biggest dollar loser in the entirety of BBT1. That right there is some delicious irony. So just like that, jec is entered into the Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions to be held at the end of the year, one of just 27 (or fewer) spots into the freeroll to top all freerolls and award that 18k Aussie Millions prize package to one lucky winner and a guest of their choice. Jeciimd. Fucking unbelievable man.

So speaking of the BBTwo, your next chance to participate in a large prize pool and to qualify for the next ToC slot comes tonight at 10pm ET in the first BBTwo-enabled Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt:

$26 or a Tier I token to buy in, 10pm ET on full tilt, password as always is "hammer". Come on out and donk it up again, Hoy style. And remember, we still have that tight race at the very top of the 2007 Hoy moneyboard as well, so multiple things will be going on in what is likely to be another large field as jec will try to stake his claim to Player of the Week in Week 1 of the BBTwo with another strong performance tonight to claim the buyin to this Sunday's big-buyin guaranteed tournament on full tilt.

Otherwise I had another big weekend in online poker, as I am finding more and more that the 2-4 6max tables are basically chock full of fonkeys throughout most of the weekend hours, especially in the late evenings but even in the mornings which surprised me a bit. During the weekday nights there is plenty of donkery, don't get me wrong, but for whatever reason over the past couple of months I am just seeing more fidiots than normals at the tables, which has been great for my roll as well as for my confidence at the cash games. I won several buyins net on the weekend, recording 12 out of 17 winning sessions overall and playing great, and only coming up with one big suckout late on Sunday night in what was otherwise a series of me getting in ahead and mostly holding up.

My tournament game was also hopping over the weekend in addition to some good cash results, as I also won another token frenzy over the weekend, now the second time I have won four of these token frenzies in the same week:

In addition to cashing (but not winning a seat in) two more FTOPS satellites -- these both in limit holdem for FTOPS #12 -- I also managed to win my first ever donkament on Friday night! As this was the last unofficial blonkament before heading into BBTwo Land, I was happy to at least know I could go into the new Aussie Millions challenge playing well. Of course the first hour of the donkament is an abject joke, making a mockery of even that refuckulous Monkey Hour in the nightly $3 Rebuy Madness tournament on the old pokerstars (is that site even in operation anymore?), and after skipping the first 15 minutes like usual I endured much of the same shit I always do in the donkament every single time I've played it so far (maybe 10 times overall). Everyone calls me with ATC, and I consistently lose even though I'm ahead when the money goes in. This past Friday I lost four out of four hands allin to start the tournament when I was the favorite every time with all the chips in the middle. I kept a "good" attitude about it and even typed in smileys to everyone every time I would get donked by someone's horrible cards. But eventually the seal broke and a favorite hand of mine held up against I think two other allin hands to triple me up. A short while later the prohibitively huge stack pushed allin on a reraise against my pocket Aces, which amazingly held up again for a huge pot, and I ended the first hour with a significant chip lead already for a good 15 minutes or so.

And quite simply, I just never released my stranglehold on the tournament from there as Monkey Hour mercifully ended and the real tournament began. I might have lost my chip lead for two or three hands at one point during the second hour, but in the end I busted a good 5 or 6 people before the final table to just continue building my stack throughout. As the final table began I had about a 2-to-1 chip lead over second place. When down to 7 players remaining, I had more chips than everyone else at the table put together, a situation which never ended as I held a prohibitive chip lead right on down to starting heads-up play as about a 5-to-1 favorite. I played super cautious at that point when heads-up, and in the end I don't even remember what hand won it for me, but it was something against something, and my something held up to win. Good times, that donkament, and for once I managed not to lose every single hand I played in the first hour, and even though I recorded precisely zero suckouts in my favor in the event, I did manage to get dealt AA three times and KK and QQ twice each during the balance of the tournament. And like I always say, just give me some phucking cards and I'll make it happen. Well AA, AA, AA, KK, KK, QQ and QQ will do it, huh? Like I said I'm just glad to be able to know I'm going in to the BBTwo on the right foot and hopefully giving myself the best chance to win.

OK that's all for today. Tomorrow we can talk about my MATH victory and new spot atop the 2007 MATH moneyboard, as well as some random NFL thoughts I have after Week 7 of play. See you tonight at 10pm ET for Mondays at the Hoy!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Decent Poker, Another Missed Hand History and MTT Winning Percentage

I played some good poker on Thursday night, sadly probably my best night of poker in a few weeks despite only ending up around a hundy overall on the night. In Riverchasers, I got lucky early and flopped a set of 7s against lightning36's TPTK on a board of A76, and you just know when you flop a set against a guy with an Ace you are in good shape. I easily doubled up and from there it was off to the races. I played some great poker throughout the tournament, but in the end I was a bit short stacked, thanks in no small part to my losing 3 out of 3 60% favorites when allin preflop against short stacks when down to two tables, and eventually I found myself with A8o utg at a 5-handed table, and with the 10th place stack out of 13 players left in the field. I pushed, got called by (of course) the JackAce, and then a beautiful 876 flop fell. 5 on the turn, and you just know the straight card is going to hit the river and give me a chop. Shit. But nope, no straight card. Just a Jack. And IGH in 13th place. Like I said though, it was a good run, much better than I have done in any recent blonkaments so I cannot complain.

Before I forget it was pointed out to me as well that I got part of the hand history wrong in the Mookie hand I wrote about yesterday. That's my bad. It's not the first time nor that last that will happen, but as usual it doesn't really change the point I was trying to make in the post at all. I knew with virtual certainty that Kat was on a high pocket pair, and I made a move that I knew Kat would respond to by pushing in the rest of her stack, and yet I did it anyways even though I knew I was 50% or maybe slightly less to win the hand. It's a gross play and when I do that like I said yesterday I obviously have no one to blame but myself. Pushing in with a bunch of outs and maybe around 50% pot odds is fine, if you have a solid amount of fold equity to go along with the push. But if you know your opponent's chips are all going to go into the middle when you raise, and you've only got a roughly 50% chance of winning the pot, and it's early in a tournament where you feel like you have a skill advantage of some kind, then it's simply a donk move to raise and willingly commit your entire stack early on a race situation. I need to focus more on that as time goes on, especially with BBTwo slated to start up this weekend.

OK with that out of the way, I want to mention briefly something that was mentioned to me in that chat by a guy I did not recognize last night in the Riverchasers tournament. I guess the guy was looking up the people at his table on one of these poker tournament history sites, and out of the blue he says to me in the chat that I have an incredible, "unheard of" (as he put it) win percentage in my lifetime tournaments. I asked him what he meant, and he said that according to the site he was looking at, I had won nearly 5% of 1100-some tournaments I had entered, and that that figure is significantly above anything else he could recall seeing from any other player.

I will admit, I was intrigued. Not too intrigued to leave a profitable cash table I was playing at at the time, but at some point on Friday morning before leaving for work I did fire up pokerdb and check it out. And you know what? I think he's right! It shows me as having won 4.76% of 1119 tournaments entered on full tilt over the past 22 months or so. Something like 55 victories in those 1119 tournaments. Although I have high confidence in my poker abilities, and in particular in my poker tournament abilities, this is not necessarily a statistic I figured I would be that much higher than anyone else on. But based on the players' comments in the chat box on Thursday night, I went ahead and did a quick n dirty search of a bunch of other players on pokerdb, focusing in particular on players I know to be better / more successful tournament players than myself. I checked out some bloggers, I checked out well known internet tournament guys like PokerPro and Thay3r, and I ran searches on a bunch of real life poker pros like Lederer, Gus Hansen, etc. And guess what? My 4.76% winning percentage really is higher than all of them. I didn't find a single guy (or gal) with a higher figure than myself in fact. Now to be honest I only spent maybe 5-10 minutes looking this stuff up as I was on my way out the door and since, frankly, none of this actually matters at all anyways. But I have to admit, I find the whole thing pretty interesting.

Why would I have such a higher winning percentage in full tilt poker tournaments than all these guys who are clearly better and more successful at poker tournaments than me? At 4.76%, I don't even recall seeing anyone whose win % was even 3% other than myself. What the F is up with that? How could that be? My first thought was something like, maybe I'm playing too conservative or something, and that's why these other guys have won 300k from poker but haven't had as high a winning percentage as me. But then when you think about it, that can't be right -- I'm not playing too conservative because I'm winning too many tournaments. That's just dumb. Too conservative because I'm cashing but failing to win too many times, maybe. But winning too many tournaments meaning that I'm playing too conservatively? That makes no sense at all.

So I'm thinking, maybe this is because I play a ton of satellites, which is without a doubt what I have focused on primarily during all of 2007, after focusing much more in 2006 on cash tournaments as opposed to satellites to larger events. But, even playing in satellites, why would I have twice the winning percentage of all these other dominatingly superior poker players to myself?

So who can tell me, why is this the case? And if I am winning 4.76% of my tournaments, so much higher a proportion than all these wildly rich and successful players, then what does that mean about my play? Should I be stepping up in buyin limits? Should I be playing more tournaments? What's the story with this?

OK don't forget Kat's donkament tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt (password as always is "donkarama"). That is the $1 rebuy extravaganza that has probably caused me more tilt than all other poker tournaments put together. But it's always a good time. And whatever you do, make sure to come out and play the latest Big Game this Sunday night at 9:30pm ET on full tilt (password is a very fitting "donkey"), which will mark the first tournament of the new BBTwo and will become part of our first Player of the Week points race as well to play into the weekly Sunday afternoon big-guarantee full tilt tournaments. Best of luck in the BBTwo to everyone, and I hope to see you on tv in Australia!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mookie, Dookie and Another Frenzy

For starters, congratulations out to BuddyDonk for taking down this week's Mookie tournament, and to LJ for winning the Dookie in Stud Hi. Both were large fields compared to the usual set of runners, and both wins are very impressive for each player, though I did not stick around to watch how either played out after I continued to fulfill my destiny this week by donking early out of every blogger tournament of the week. I really need to get this stuff out of my system before the BBTwo starts this weekend with the Big Game on Sunday night at 9:30pm ET on full tilt, but my performance in the Mookie on Wednesday was almost identical to what happened early in the MATH for me this past Monday. Basically, I flopped a large draw, knew more or less exactly what my opponent had, and moved allin on the opponent in a situation where I know I would have folded in their shoes, in that situation, very early in the tournament and holding the cards they were holding.

In each case, my opponent called (in one case an insta-call), and in both cases my big draw failed to hold up and IGH early. On Monday it was Lucko calling my allin preflop reraise with his 99, in a situation where he could not possibly have believed he was anything better than a 52% favorite. But hey, 52% favorite or 20% underdog? Sure, call it. At least he thought about it though. Now in the Mookie this week, I once again flopped what I figured were two overcards plus a flush draw for a total of 15 outs. I knew from Kat's preflop middle position raise and then her betting out for the full pot on the raggy flop that she had an overpair. I actually figured it was Kings, but instead it turned out to be Jacks. I know because she beat me into the pot calling off her entire stack when I raised her allin on a big overbet on that flop. We're less than half an hour in to the Mookie I think, and I got instacalled on a large overraise by just one pair of Jacks. My 15 outs turned out to only be 12 outs, and I could not hit and I was done, quickly and early yet again.

Sometimes when this happens I like to go nutso in the girly chat, in the blog the next morning, whatever about what a terrible play it was to call my allin very early in a tournament with just a single pair of Jacks, or with just a pair of 9s before the flop like in the MATH the other day. Personally I don't think there's any doubt that these are not the "right" plays to make this early in a tournament and that they are losing plays over time. Both of them -- the calling a large preflop allin reraise with pocket 9s, and calling a large allin raise on the flop with just a pair of Jacks -- are going to be -EV moves over time in poker tournaments, and I will go to my grave saying that because I know it's a true statement as a rule. But you know who really fucked up last night in the Mookie? Me. Again. As I wrote about the other day, I know how Lucko plays in these blogger tournaments, and I've seen him not be able to get out of his own way with his uber-aggressive stance, so I knew he was going to call me when I moved allin so early in the MATH this week. Now, if I knew he was going to call, then suddenly my 48% hand is only worth just that -- 48% -- because there is no fold equity going on if my opponent simply isn't going to fold.

Simiarly, I mentioned that I had put Kat on pocket Kings at this point when the flop came down all raggy. Now I know some people among our group who might easily let go of pocket Jacks on a 942 flop with two to a suit, if they were facing a large allin raise for their entire stack, and we were just a few minutes in to an mtt. Cmitch or KOD might fold that -- especially holding only JJ -- as would I on many occasions. I love when people say in their blogs that "Hoy wouldn't fold this" and "Hoy wouldn't fold that" in the blonkaments. I make big laydowns all the time. You don't win 10 blonkaments this year by being a calling station (yes I was going to link you when I wrote "calling station" there, but I decided against it because I like you) -- and it should be obvious from my track record that I don't insta-call every time someone pushes in on me for a large raise and I have a pair of Jacks. Even if it's an overpair to the board. Yes sure I might make that call sometime based on the board, my read, the player I am up against, etc. But as a rule, calling a large allin raise on the flop very early in an mtt with just a single pair of Jacks, that's not a call I'm making generally. How can you? Late in a tournament, quite possibly with an overpair on the flop like that. But the first few minutes? But see, that's the thing -- that's just me. I knew Kat was going to call. I knew it as surely as I knew some fonkadonk was going to suckle on me early on in the Dookie in a limit tournament full of clowns with no clue how to play stud hi (as an aside, I'm still convinced that at least two of the players at my starting Dookie table thought we were playing stud hilo instead of just stud hi...but I digress). And yet I made the play against Kat anyways, knowing I was only basically a 45-55% hand with two more cards to come. I made a play that a professional in a big-buyin tournament like the WSOP ME or something would almost surely lay down to. But I didn't make the play against a field of professionals, and it certainly wasn't in a tournament that would be taken even a billionth as seriously as the WSOP ME. But I did it anyways.

And that's why I am the King Fonkey of the night, for the second straight blonkament. Pushing allin on the flop with 50% pot equity plus a good amount of fold equity on top is a great play, and early in a tournament is often the best time to do it because it creates the most fold equity in your opponents since they should not be calling allins on races very early in an mtt. But, when you know your opponents are not going to fold to your bet, then your fold equity is zero. So if you push in on the guy who you know isn't going to fold, now you're the guy putting in all your chips very early in a tournament on just a 50% shot. And that makes you just as guilty of making a bad early tournament play as the person who instacalls with a racing hand. So I lay the blame squarely on my shoulders for my performance in this week's MATH and Mookie tournaments, and I'm okay with it. Thursday night is the latest Riverchasers tournament at 9pm ET on full tilt (password is "riverchasers"), and I plan to be there with bells on. Donkey bells. Because I can feel it already, I'm going to use this opportunity to take the last regular-buyin blonkament before BBTwo starts and make the same kind of aggressive moves I've been making this week.

I bet I'm out before 9:30pm today. Anybody want to take that action?

One thing I was very pleased about on Wednesday was seeing that 19 out of the 117 entrants into Wednesday's 9:45pm ET token frenzy were bloggers. That is awesome. I love seeing you guys out there hitting up the frenzy to win your tokens into this Sunday night's Big Game to start BBTwo. We singlehandedly made that token frenzy a good 20% bigger than it normally is, which itself adds a good 6 or 7 Tier II tokens that are awarded to the top finishers in the frenzy, which is goodness for everyone as well. I won my way into the Big Game on Tuesday night, so playing this thing again on Wednesday is more just to accumulate these $75 tokens like I enjoy doing as well as just being part of the larger group of bloggers assailing this tournament, and I am happy to report another success on that front on Wednesday night:

And I am even more happy to report that a whole slew of my blogger brethren (and sistren) were there to win their tokens as well. Wednesday night's list of Tier II token winners from the token frenzy included Jordan, pokerenthusiast, corron10 and LJ in addition to myself, a fact which brings a tear to my eye. I love seeing bloggers succeeding in the world of online poker, and I can never wait to hear the next big score from one of our group. Maybe this FTOPS VI will be the time that one of us finally gets the coveted yellow jacket icon on full tilt? God I hope so. As long as it's not this guy.

So anyways, as of 11:20pm ET on Wednesday, shortly after the token frenzy tokens were awarded, there were already 13 people registered for this weekend's Big Game:

Keep 'em coming guys! Token frenzy is every night this week at 9:45pm ET, and you can find me there probably every night up until the Big Game goes off on Sunday at 9:30pm ET. And don't forget, Riverchasers is tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt as well, so register early and be sure to donk it up in the very last regular $10+ buyin blonkament before the BBTwo rolls into town this weekend. Lord knows I will be tonight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Starting Strong in the BBTwo, and Thank You FTP RNG

So my plans for this week have changed somewhat since I came into the week planning to focus on FTOPS satellites in preparation for the upcoming FTOPS VI on full tilt. With the BBTwo now official, my plan is instead to do whatever I have to do this week to get into the right frame of mind for the beginning of the challenge. Over time I have proven to be a streaky tournament player, and when game is a little off I tend to go weeks without any meaningful wins. That sucks, especially when I'm just five days away from the beginning of the BBTwo: The Aussie Millions Challenge.

As an aside, I will be clear up front that there is no way, no way I could ever ever never ever ever go to Australia in January. Period. End of story. It wouldn't be remotely possible. If I won the trip I would have to figure something out with somebody or with full tilt. Obviously the odds of that are crazingly low but I'm just sayin....But anyways, I am playing more for the fun of it, for the challenge, and for the bragging rights. That's all I'm ever playing for really, for the challenge of the game and trying to beat that challenge. And hey, if I can play my way into some big weekend guaranteed tournament or the FTOPS or an iPod Touch (whatever that is, which is the same exact thing I said about the Nintendo Wii when Al announced it as a sponsored prize for the first BBT, and look how that turned out) while I'm hanging out with fake internet friends and playing a game I love, then more power to me.

But the important thing this time around for me is to start well. If you recall in the first BBT, I literally made the points in just like one of my first 11 events or something. It was hideous, I was playing like ass and not focusing on the points structure and its ramifications on the play of others. Even the people not expressly folding to the points were playing a little different, at least during that first 90 minutes or so as the points bubble came and then just after it burst as well. There was a lot of value, a lot of value, in those times in basically every BBT tournament that was played, and as a result it was fairly easy once I started focusing on this to get myself back moving up the leaderboard, and I ended strong to close the series in 4th place overall. And I've been loving my Wii ever since, that thing is just awesome. But dam if I couldn't have won that whole BBT thing if I hadn't shat the bed so hard in the first month or so of the 3-month challenge. I went from about 120th to 4th over the last maybe 6 weeks of that thing, and I feel like I could have given ole' luckyflop a real run for his money. So this time around, I need to focus on starting strong.

All this is a long way of saying that I took on the 9:45pm ET token frenzy on Tuesday night in preparation for this coming Sunday night's Big Game, along with probably 6 or 7 of my blogger friends whom I also assume are playing their way in on Sunday at 9:30pm ET for the first event of the BBTwo. And after missing the first 15 minutes or so, which is basically my new move in all the blonkaments and the frenzies I play, I sat in late, quickly tripled up and ran my way all the way to near the bubble at 16 seats awarded. Then, with Columbo a couple of seats to my left, I withstood a longer than expected bubble period for this:

And with that, I did the right thing right away with that $75 token won:

Come on guys, get in there to the Big Game and start up the BBTwo right!

Now today I leave you with this question: is this the single worst play youve ever seen rewarded by the "r"ng on the full tilt server? (Presented in movie format for your viewing pleasure, since I have no ability to even speak about this hand anymore):

Wait for it....

Wait for it....


Just wow.

Have a good Wednesday everybody, and don't forget to hit up the Mookie Wednesday night at 10pm ET on full tilt. Password as always is "vegas1". I'm trying to get all of my donkey out of my system with this week's blonkaments so I can start up right for the BBTwo in a few days, so come one and come all and take a chunk of my starting stack early in the Mookie tonight!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

MATH Recap, and BBTwo Is Here

27 runners came out for the latest Mondays at the Hoy tournament on full tilt, which turns out to be the last MATH tournament before BBTwo rolls into town. More on that later, but for now suffice it to say that the MATH this week came down to a clash of the titans, as current #1 and #2 on the 2007 Hoy moneyboard, Bayne and Columbo both made the money, lasting to the final three spots to each try to cement the moneyboard lead with just 2 1/2 months left in the year. Personally, I busted very early on a bad play when I pushed allin on a preflop reraise against known blogger tournament donkey Lucko when I held just AT, putting him on a resteal. He called the huge allin with pocket 9s, certainly not a move I would make 10 minutes into an mtt, but it is a move that I more or less knew Lucko would make and yet I went ahead and pushed allin anyways. Bad move by me, I did not win the race and IGH early on the night, I think 3rd out overall. I thought I was coming to play on Monday, but with a move like I made there, I obviously did not.

In the end, it was Bayne finishing the night in 3rd place for $129.60 to add to his current moneyboard lead, and Columbo ending in 2nd place despite holding a large chip lead through most of the final table, but still winning $194.40 for his efforts. And coming out of nowhere to take down this week's MATH tournament was none other than resident blogger tighty Gary Cox, who played with much skill along with some nice cards to take down the $324 first prize in addition to the all-important bragging rights for the next week. If I had seen more of the action I would love to write about it, but alas I was too busy at the cash tables so I can't comment other than to congratulate the cashers for their performances this week.

And here is your updated 2007 MATH moneyboard, including this week's results and the clash of the titans at the top:

1. Bayne_s $1400
2. Columbo $1362
3. Hoyazo $1162
4. RaisingCayne $1110
5. Pirate Wes $792
6. VinNay $775
7. cmitch $774
8. Iggy $745
9. NewinNov $677
10. Lucko21 $665
11. Waffles $650
12. IslandBum1 $642
13. Astin $616
14. Fuel55 $568
15. Tripjax $561
16. Buddydank $553
17. swimmom95 $545
18. Gary Cox $518
19. Byron $510
20. Julius Goat $507
21. bartonf $492
21. mtnrider81 $492
23. PokerBrian322 $490
24. Chad $485
25. scots_chris $474
26. Emptyman $461
27. Mike_Maloney $456
28. RecessRampage $434
29. Otis $429
30. Surflexus $402
30. Miami Don $402
32. jeciimd $382
32. Jordan $382
34. Blinders $379
35. lightning36 $371
36. ChapelncHill $353
37. Zeem $330
38. LJ $326
39. OMGitsPokerFool $324
40. oossuuu754 $312
41. leftylu $295
42. Wigginx $288
43. ScottMc $282
44. Fishy McDonk $277
45. Irongirl $252
45. Manik79 $252
47. Wippy1313 $248
48. wwonka69 $216
49. Omega_man_99 $210
50. katiemother $209
51. Pushmonkey72 $208
52. Thepokergrind $198
53. StatikKling $180
54. 23Skidoo $176
55. Santa Clauss $170
56. jimdniacc $166
57. Iakaris $162
57. Smokkee $162
59. cemfredmd $156
59. NumbBono $156
61. lester000 $147
62. Heffmike $145
63. Kajagugu $143
63. brdweb $143
65. Mookie $137
65. DDionysus $137
67. Patchmaster $135
68. InstantTragedy $129
69. NinaW $120
70. Ganton516 $114
71. Fluxer $110
72. hoops15mt $95
73. Gracie $94
73. Scurvydog $94
75. wormmsu $91
76. Shag0103 $84
77. crazdgamer $82
78. PhinCity $80
79. maf212 $78
80. Alceste $71
80. dbirider $71
82. Easycure $67
83. Rake Feeder $53

So kudos out to Gary Cox for his win and his second appearance on the 2007 Hoy moneyboard, as well as to our top two moneywinners who each managed to increase their lead over everyone else on the list, with Bayne now just 38 measly dollars out in front. And this may prove to have been a very important week for the moneyboard, as things are expected to change quite a bit when the MATH returns next Monday night on full tilt, and all that is thanks to the BBTwo.

So by now I assume most of you have read on Al's blog, but we are bringing the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments back for the BBTwo starting this coming weekend with Miami Don's Big Game on Sunday night at 9:30pm ET, and lasting for 8 weeks as we will once again attempt to determine who is the best poker playing blogger over a series of the most popular private tournaments held weekly on full tilt. Now, for starters, as I have written here several times since the BBT started this past spring, let me say for the record that I am not happy with the timing of BBTwo. This is something that, left to my own devices, I would not have wanted to see again until sometime next year, probably late winter / early spring, both to keep the whole thing fresh as well as to prevent us all from having to really "watch how we play" in what were I know originally created as chances for our group to get together regularly, have a good time and generally just donk it up if that's how we want to roll. It has been some time since the original BBT ended, so that is good, but starting things up again before October is even out was not my idea of when I ideally wanted to see things starting up again.

But then a strange thing happened. Full tilt threw over $20,000 in free prizes at us. With the incredible Al at the helm, I suppose one can never truly be surprised at the lengths he will go to get us bloggers valuable free stuff just in exchange for us playing some poker, but somehow he got full tilt to agree to literally more than 20 grand in free prizes, all on the condition that we run an Aussie Millions BBTwo challenge now, ending in time for the Aussie Millions tournament which runs in early January. So even though the timing is certainly not ideal from my perspective, I think Al, Mookie and I would have to be insane to turn down all this free swag, and here we are. In the end there is simply no way that the three of us are going to decline an opportunity to get lots of money and prizes for the bloggers, including sending one lucky donkey blogger and a guest down undah for a 10k buyin poker tournament and lots of other fun extras as part of the Aussie Millions packages that full tilt is doling out on a weekly basis through the Aussie Millions challenge on their site. Hopefully you guys out there agree that what we have to offer in the way of prizes for BBTwo is easily worth whatever inconvenience, annoyance, hassle or otherwise that you personally may feel as a result of the BBTwo starting up this coming weekend, if any at all.

Al has the best recap of the prizes to be available to participants in the BBTwo over at his blog, but as a quick summary, full tilt will be offering up an 18k-value Aussie Millions package for one winner and a friend, which we plan to award to the overall winner of the BBTwo Tournament of Champions, which will be scheduled after the end of BBTwo and will include only those players who have won at least one BBTwo event during the schedule. As if that's not enough, full tilt is also giving us a seat to the $535 buyin Main Event to the FTOPS VI that will run in mid-November, which we will award around the midpoint of the BBTwo to some deserving blonkey. What's more, full tilt is also giving us a weekly entry each weekend into that Sunday's large guaranteed tournament (750k or $1m guaranteed), also gratis, which we will be giving away to the Player of the Week in each week's BBTwo blogger tournaments. Al also managed to secure in iPod Touch as an additional booby prize for one luck winner from the group.

Just like the first time around, the weekly Mondays at the Hoy and Mookie tournaments will all qualify as BBTwo events, in addition to the return of the Big Game monthly on Sundays which will bookend the beginning and end of the BBTwo tournament schedule. Plus, Al will be hosting weekly Thursday night Riverchasers events as well for the duration of the BBTwo, bringing the total number of tournaments on the BBTwo calendar to 27 over two months (8 MATH, 8 Mookies, 8 Riverchasers and we will do a total of three Big Games), so that means 27 opportunities to get into the BBTwo Tournament of Champions and win your way to the 18k Aussie Millions prize package of your (and your guest's) dreams.

Other than the Aussie Millions grand prize, the other prizes mentioned above are going to be awarded using BBT points as we did for the first BBT, but I am really pleased to say that this time around we will be using the top 25% instead of the top 50% as the cutoff threshold where the points will start being awarded. As I've written about extensively here, our decision to originally award points to 50% of the field actually caused a noticeable change in the way that many people played the BBT tournaments, right from the time the cards first hit the air and all the way until the halfway point was reached. Now yes, obviously that kind of play was very easy to exploit, and it's something that I took advantage of just about every single tournament I played in, once I had fairly early on identified who the "fold to the points" tightydonks were (and there were a great many of you). Obviously from my performance in the first BBT I did not have an issue figuring out a plan and then executing that plan to take advantage of this tendency, so this has absolutely nothing to do with sour grapes, but to me it has everything to do with a scoring system not influencing the way people play right from the getgo. Clearly, a scoring system that tracks overall tournament performance should have zero effect on how people play. I contend that if the scoring system itself affects in any measurable way how people approach the game, then that scoring system is flawed and it should be changed, even if the flawed system creates opportunities for the solid poker players among our group to take advantage. Well, I am happy to say, with only the top 25% of the field receiving BBTwo points for these tournaments, there is no way anybody could reasonably believe that folding to the points will get them anywhere. Plus, with the grand prize being awarded to the winner of the BBTwo TOC this time around, thus you will have to win one of the BBTwo events in order to be eligible to win the Aussie Millions prize package, so this should be all the more reason why folding to the points should be entirely eliminated as a strategy for the BBTwo. And that my friends is all goodness for everyone as far as I'm concerned.

Before I sign off for the day I just wanted to point out once again how cool full tilt is being in providing all this free swag for the bloggers to distribute. Nobody is making full tilt give anybody anything, least of all our bunch of degenerate gamblers. And yet here they are, offering us up more than 20 large in prizes all just for playing in the same poker tournaments that we were probably going to be playing in anyways. It's pretty incredible if you think about it. But more than that, I think it is also indicative of just how much value full tilt puts in us bloggers, in what we do and in what we all have to say collectively about full tilt. To think that the premiere online poker site in the United States views 20 grand as essentially a marketing expense that is worth making just to make a bunch of bloggers happy and to get us writing about full tilt and all the nice things they do for us, to me that is just really empowering. I remember a few days after the first BBT ended that I wrote in response to some things I had read around the blogiverse that, based on some private emails and conversations I had been privy to with full tilt, I knew that in reality full tilt had been totally jazzed about how the BBT worked out for them and how eager they were to get on board with the blogging community once again. But even I had no idea whatsoever of just how eager that was, and I think I am on the mark in saying that full tilt would not be giving us 20k+ worth of free prizes if they didn't think they were getting at least 20k in value out of the deal. And if that doesn't show how much weight we as a community really are worth, then I don't know what does.

Don't forget StatikKling's MFC tournament on full tilt tonight at midnight ET. Password is "gotdonk", if you happen to be up that late (being a New Yorker, I do not plan to be). Otherwise, you can look for me tonight in the 9:45pm ET token frenzy, and hopefully I'll see a lot of you in there as well in preparation for Sunday night's Big Game to kick off the BBTwo.