Riverchasers Victory # 2.5
There can only be one King of Donks (KOD), and that guy is clearly Chad. I wouldn't even try to stake a claim to that position, as Chad's four final tables in a month in the fonkfest that is the nightly 26k guaranteed on full tilt, including two outright wins and about $15,000 in aggregate wins from this tournament alone over 33 days, are far greater than anything I could possibly come up with. As someone who spent the better part of 2006 playing that tournament most nights of the week and never finished better than 5th place, I'm still in awe of those accomplishments, so if anyone around is more deserving of being called KOD than Chad, I'd like to see 'em. That said, I think maybe Don might be on to something -- maybe I am POD (Prince of Donks). Aside from the fact that that would make Chad my father, my Riverchasers tournament performances over the past couple of months definitely lay a good argument for me being POD, of KOF (King of Fonks), or something similar.
Those of you who play in this tournament regularly can attest to its normally large fields -- this Thursday night's 78 runners a good example of this -- and the, uh, how shall we say...less than stellar play among many of the players, especially in the earlygoing of this bi-weekly tournament. I envision a bar full of drunkasses sitting around and maybe taking a shot every time they see someone show any Ace or any paint card, and playing in between runs to the pissah while they get increasingly hammered as the night goes on. Sprinkle in a bunch of bloggers, and you've got the recipe for one damn blonkified tournament, twice a month on Thursday evenings. And yet, somehow, I have had quite a run in these things recently. First I won the Riverchasers in early May, actually chopping with Zeem once we got to heads-up with me at a slight chip advantage, and then the very next Riverchasers tournament was the infamous victory by the 12-year-old where I came in 2nd place thanks to a highly dubious slew of moves from the first hand through the final table by the eventual winner, who turned out to be a tween son of one of the Riverchasers guys playing his father's account for the night. Which brings me to last night, the latest RC event and the final RC tournament of the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments, which comes to a close this weekend with Sunday night's Blogger Big Game hosted by Miami Don at 9:30pm ET on full tilt (password is
Anyways, getting right to last night's tournament, I had a very good feeling when this happened on the very first hand of the night in a limped pot preflop:
This one won me 460 chips from lightning (who had QJ btw) and got me started off on the right foot early. And speaking of getting off on the right foot, I managed to win a few key races during the event, something which I cannot usually say but which obviously helped me tremendously to survive to the end, starting with this one here, where I reraised Byron allin (for him) and he called for all his chips before the flop:
This would be the first of many eliminations I would lay on people during the night in this tournament, followed shortly thereafter by this one:
As you can see above, here just as with the Byron bustout, I reraised sellthekids when I perceived him to be on a naked steal from a short stack -- actually reverse hoying him which he got allin before showing me his 87o -- and my AT held on to win the pot and knock out my second victim on the night, not really in a race but still a situation where it's not very hard to lose in my position.
My first big chipup in this tournament came on this play, around 40 minutes into the first hour, on this unimaginably poor play by my opponent after I bet out with a flopped set into a raggy board:
Wow. Elimination #3 for me in the first hour of Riverchasers. After using my growing chip stack to bully the table a bit in the last few minutes of the hour, I entered the first break with 5500 chips (starting stack 1500 chips), in 3rd place of 46 remaining players, out of 78 runners who had started.
Around 20 minutes into Hour 2, I made an interesting call where I eliminated an allin shortstacked stealer by calling heads-up from my big blind with T9o with what I felt was definitely the right pot odds
I got called an idiot by this player just after I made the call and won the hand (elimination #4 for me on the night), which doesn't happen every day for me so I always enjoy hearing that sort of thing. All I know is, I had a big stack, T9o, and I was up against a button stealer on a very short stack. And it only cost me 668 chips from my large stack to call into an 1168-chip pot. I basically needed around a one-third chance of winning the pot to justify this call, and given the button steal and the short stack, I felt I had a decent chance of being outright ahead, or in any event of having at least two middle cards (which I did) and therefore having much more than 33% equity in the pot. Idiot? You be the judge.
At this point my stack was getting really big for the place we were at in the tournament at the time, and this is when a little bell goes off in my head to remind me to reign things in a little bit. I mean, I never, ever play weak poker. I don't know how to and even if I did, I wouldn't ever do it because weak poker is losing poker. Period. But, at the same time, when you're near the middle of an mtt and you're starting to build a really big stack relative to the others in the tournament, you want to be conscious of not making any decisions that are going to cost you any significant portion of your big stack at poor odds. I see people all the time with big stacks make crazy redickulous calls with ATC earlyish in big mtts, and you look at them 30 minutes later and they're suddenly not such a big stack anymore. I didn't want that to be me. So, I started playing a lot tighter (again, not less aggressive, just tighter), leading to me making some potentially big laydowns such as this one, to Waffles, where I sensed that I was either a 20% dog to a higher pocket pair, or at best racing against two overcards. And why take a chance of losing half my stack on a 50-50 shot when I've worked so hard to build it up early on in this thing, right?
Little did I realize at the time that this was just the beginning of a night pull of Waffles pushmonkery. Had I known, I probably call there with my Tens. At the time I figured Waffles moving allin so strong there from MP like that had to mean either big pair or two big overs. Who knows. What I do know is that I entered the second break a few minutes later with 4534 chips, having lost a few on a steal and a flop c-bet that had to be abandoned in the face of raises or reraises, landing me in 12th place of the 17 remaining players after 2 hours of play.
As Hour 3 began, Waffles sitting two seats to my right really started stepping up the aggro, pushmonkeying almost every chance he got with massive overbets. It was fun to watch, and I have to admit I do wonder what he had in most of those hands, but the sheer number of pushmonkey moves means he was clearly not just doing it with big hands every single time. I tried to steer clear for the most part, waiting until I had a hand that should be a favorite in a showdown, rather than pushing with AJ or something which could be dominated, which also fit well with my contiuing desire to avoid calling big bets with hands that were likely to be either dominated by higher pairs or just slight favorites in races, such as this one to my old nemesis, one of the wonkas:
I wanted to call here, I really did, but I did not want to get beat out by the mystery wonka yet again in a spot where I could not be sure I was ahead and where I had enough chips to wait for a better spot. Thanks to my early success in the tournament last night, I was never really at any time in a spot where I had to take a chance like this, at least not up to this point anyways.
With 12 players left I raised 33 under the gun up to 2000 chips at a 6-handed table, when Irongirl, my nemesis from this week's Mookie tournament, pushed allin for 3990 total chips, leaving me to call just 1990 chips into a pot of over 7800 chips. I felt I had to call and take a likely race, until Iron flips up AA and I double her up. Again. Grrrrrr.
Now what would a blogger tournament be for me without a little bit of tilt, right? It's bad enough running into pocket Aces in a key spot, but frankly my utg raise and my call with shitty pocket 3s was not my best move, and I knew that. Now, I love Irongirl, but the fact that she was threatening me to remove me from blogger tournaments that I had been killing for two nights in a row set me off kilter a little bit, I have to say. So much so, that one or two hands later, when Waffles pushmonkeyed allin from the button for about the 24th time in the tournament, and I looked down from my big blind to find JTs, I made the crazy move and just called his bet, putting all my chips into the middle with a hand I figured would be around 50th percentile against the hands Waffles had to be pushmonkeying with all night long:
One the one hand, I'm thinking Dammit what did I just do? But on the other hand, I am racing here, basically right around 50-50 exactly, so I couldn't really complain all things considered. And this is a great example of the big downside to pushmonkeying your way through a whole tournament like Waffles did in the Riverchasers -- eventually if you continue to pushmonkey with hands that do not contain high cards, the likelihood slowly increases and increases that somebody with a stack size similar to yours is gonna call you with overcards, which is exactly what happened here -- in my case with soooooted connector overcards. And the race gods smiled on me once again:
I was now in 8th place of 12 remaining players, and I was smelling the beginnings of a potential Waffles tilt, which is always delicious. Lucky for him, Waffie soon pushmonkeyed again with A2, getting called by, of all players, pushmonkey72 himself who showed AK, and Waffles sucked out a 2 on the turn to double back up and grab his
biggest stack of the tournament to that point, so the tilt welling up within him I think subsided a little bit. For a while anyways.
I then hit three consecutive hands were I was able to steal the blinds and antes, which at this point were over 2000 chips per steal attempt, and before I knew it I was up to around 13k in chips, good for 3rd place of 11 players remaining. I was in good position, but the top two players were still well over 20k so I wasn't anywhere near the leaders. Yet.
I made a little bit of a strange decision two hands later, when I found 55 in an unopened pot in the small blind, and I opted to smooth call, which I felt sure would cause Irongirl in the big blind to push her stack allin with most holdings based purely on her stack size and my showing of weakness from the blind:
My plan worked (still not 100% sure how smart this was or not given that I held two low cards in my hand, but seeing her holding and her stack size, there was no way we didn't get it allin here in any event so it doesn't much matter):
And once again, the chase gods were on my side as my luck in 50-50 confrontations continued on the night:
I agreed with IG that this could be revenge and make the two of us even after her beating of my pocket Kings in the Mookie this week, so I will stick with that agreement, even though I was the favorite in both situations. I do hate knocking IG out of a tournament, especially with a move that I questioned even while I was making it last night and still this morning as I review the screenshots and the hand histories, but I think I have to be ok with the overall balance of power with IG this week in the blonkaments, so it's all good there. The funny part of all this is that right after this hand, a girly chat pops up on my screen, from Waffles who is still sitting at my table and in the tournament, saying "Hoy had trips, he turned a set." I responded with "I am Hoy you donkey!!" Waffles: "Whooops! Wrong IM, sorry." Fonkey.
Here was the Riverchasers final table, with me entering in 3rd place:
Waffles started things off well at the final table with yet another pushmonkey suckout to knock out JTS102, this time with Waffles' J8 besting JTS102's A2 thanks to a rivered Jack. A fonkey and a luckbox. Great.
With a reasonably big stack and with me wanting not just to cash but to win this tournament, I did my usual early final table thing, actually similar to Chad's KOD advice from the other day, and laid very low, playing very tight at the final table, in particular where other players had already shown some strength in the hand, such as here:
or where I was in early position, even at a short-ish table:
Finally, when Waffles did this from the button:
I guess I had finally had enough, I figured I was almost surely slightly ahead but not more than a race, and I guessed that he would not likely lay down with anything but his worst possible hands, if even that. Nonetheless, I decided I was willing to race to get Waffles outta there, so I pushed with what I figured was the best hand, albeit only slightly, since my races had been holding up so well overall on the night:
Turns out Waffles had AKs, so of course he instacalled, and here was your final board, with my 5s ahead on every street:
Let's just say that Waffles wasn't happy about my play. Whatever. I was ahead on every street, and frankly as I said earlier, when you play highly aggro poker, you have to be prepared to have to go to the mat in races more often than you might otherwise have to do. I believe Waffles commented in the chat that I never usually make plays like this, I don't remember I was too busy enjoying the moment. Of course, me making comments in the chat like this one here:
did not seem to help Waffles' mood much. Guess maybe I shouldn't have told him that. I don't know. It was fun though, anytime you can bust Waffles when he thinks he has a real chance to win a tournament, it's a good day.
Here was the situation shortly after the Waffles beating:
So you can see I was in first out of 6 players left, but the top three all had large stacks and frankly even the bottom 3 had enough to be afraid to call their allins without a strong hand. I knew it would be a tough battle from here still, but I did have the slight chip lead and I planned to hold on to it. Luckily, shortly after this play, I found KK and of course got it allin preflop against Alceste's QQ, vaulting me way up to 43,500 chips, well out in front of the 5 players left, with wwonka in 2nd place with 22k in chips. Always nice to find a monster hand at the final table of an mtt, no doubt about that, especially when another guy at the table has another monster, but one that is dominated by yours.
Down to four players left, with me still well out in front with over 40k in chips, I experienced my one and only suckout of the night, but boy was it a doozy. Buddydank open-raises 3x to 6000 chips from the small blind, and with A6 I figure I am most likely best here, so I raise enough to get him allin:
Big mistake (not that I would do that differently in the same situation again, but this was just a setup hand pure and simple):
My fucking nemesis. The JackAce. But then look what happened at the river here:
Now obviously I feel awful about that beat. Buddy got me fair and square there, with a little help from the full tilt "random" number generator no doubt, and I was all set to be in last place of the 4 remaining players, until that sick, sick rivered 6 lifted me to the highs of the tournament, basically ensuring my victory with a huge stack, and getting rid of the only top-ten BBT guy left in the race. And I have got to say, unlike so many people (myself included) in these events, Buddy took this horrendous, hideous beat like a man and a half. I would have considered eating my buddydank radio microphone and shitting it out right on the air in his shoes, but instead on his broadcast he congratulated me and humbly, and amazingly calmly, explained that he had no business making it this far as it was, etc. Good man, that Buddydank, much more magnanimous than I would have been in that spot that's for sure, a great DJ and one hell of a BBT scoring machine too boot.
So here I am up 61k to 24k to 22k over wwonka and shamanlix, the latter whom I'm pretty sure I played with briefly at the Orleans in Vegas earlier this month in that poor excuse for a "tournament" with the bloggers. Two hands into 3-handed play, wwonka and I basically checked a T9347 board down to the river, when I finally bet out the size of the pot, making it look like a steal when in reality I had actually rivered a miracle inside straight, and wwonka pretty quickly moved allin on me.
That couldn't have gone any better, could it? Of course I called, fearing the flush a little bit but not much, and this is what I saw:
Wow. So wwonka slow-played himself right out of the tournament, in a hand where I obviously would not have called any bets on the flop or turn, when he had flopped bottom two pairs, 9s and 3s. FWIW in my opinion bottom two pairs is just not a good slowplaying hand, just about never. Even top and bottom pair I like to bet aggressively with, because it's just too easy to get counterfeited with your bottom pair thanks to a running middle pair on the board or something like that. I think top two pairs is a great slow playing hand in many cases, but bottom two, especially in this case, I think wwonka misplayed that hand terribly and in this case he happened to pay the price dearly. Some may call me a luckbox here, and I certainly hit a miracle river card, but that one I'm putting 100% on wonka and I think he agrees with me based on his post-hand chat.
So now I'm up basically 93k to 20k over shamanalix, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome having Buddy on the radio broadcast, hearing the resignation in his voice as he proclaimed that I was basically definitely going to win this thing. He was right. I won the first heads-up hand with a steal, and shamanalix and I split the next two or three hands. Finally I call my opponent's preflop raise with my K5s, a decidedly better than average hand for hu play. The flop comes KJ3, giving me top pair, I check it, hoping to get shamanalix to bet strongly, but he checks as well. The turn is an offsuit 7. I check again, thinking showing this kind of weakness will have to elicit a bet, and it works like a charm as he moves allin for his last 16k chips:
I quickly call with my hidden top pair, shamanalix has just third pair 7s with a Ten kicker, and my big favorite holds up to win me my 2 1/2th Riverchasers tournament!
As far as lessons learned from this victory, as with many of my mtt wins, I am reminded once again of the importance of not going crazy with a nice stack early, including making those big laydowns when you have some chips and are probably either a small favorite or a big dog. A big stack is not a license to make stupid calls, and I find that is a huge problem with many players' mtt games in what I see regularly online. You have to steal some pots to stay afloat in these things as the blinds and antes increase, but otherwise the key is to not waste your chips, and to win those races in key situations. As is often the case with me, I don't tend to get very good starting cards in most tournaments I enter, unlike some people (I will skip the links there, you all know who I am referring to, A and B!!). For me, getting lucky often means the standard one or two suckouts, but otherwise winning a majority of my 50-50 hands in key spots to get where I want to be in tournaments.
Thanks again as always to Al for hosting this, my favorite of the weekly blogger tournaments, or at least my bankroll's favorite that's for sure, and to the Riverchasers guys for sponsoring this whole thing and helping to put it together. Hopefully I can make it back from dinner with my brother tonight to play in Kat's $1 rebuy donkament tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt, but if not I will try to get into the 50-50 as well as that 9:45pm ET token frenzy on full tilt to try to win my $75 token for Sunday night's Big Game, the final event of the BBT and hopefully the biggest blogger tournament prize pool in history. Come be part of history on Sunday night at 9:30pm ET and join in the Big Game to take your run at the huge cash payouts for the top spots! See you then!