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.