Wednesday, June 03, 2009

All Hail the BBT, and TOC Odds Part Deux and Trois

Sorry 'bout no Tuesday post, but as we all know, sometimes duty calls. Work kicked me in the balls, ferociously and repeatedly, on Tuesday, to the point that I didn't really get to think about this space other than to wonder if I would ever get out of the office long enough to pursue any of my other non-work interests on the day. That means that I also missed a day of giving my thoughts on the odds of each player in the BBT4 Tournament of Champions nabbing one of the two $10k WSOP main event prize packages available in this Sunday, so today I'll just have to give you a double dip on that front.

But first, I was a bit saddened but I can't say all that surprised to read on Al's blog the other day that the BBT4 will be the final BBT-style series put together for us lowly blonkheads by the good people at full tilt. It's been an amazing run, really, if you think about it. And I say that with a certain sense of pride, as the BBT at its core is something I was deeply involved in from its very inception.

The WPBT had just finished its first "season" in 2006 of keeping a running leaderboard of bloggers' performances in a series of weekly blogger tournaments. The WPBT figured out early that it was more fun from a leaderboard perspective if you rotate the games, so we played a mix of limit, no-limit, pot-limit, holdem, omaha, razz, the "Gemini" as I recall which was still I think the first and only multi-table blogger tournament ever run, and various other games and structures to keep things fresh. There were no real prizes for performance in the WPBT, just pride, which as I look back on it made it cool in its own way I suppose. Although I tailed off a little bit there at the end, I ended in the top 10 on the 2006 WPBT leaderboard and was very proud to have won a few of the tournaments outright in various flavors of poker, and I had enjoyed it and really for the first time realized that, if done correctly, it could be truly fun to focus on actual performance every week in one of the blonkaments I was going to be playing anyways. The WPBT also brought out several new characters into our world of blogging, guys like Chad and Lucko and others who really wowed us with their prowess in a wide variety of games and poker skills over the better part of a year of playing together once a week.

Around that time I got to thinking. I had begun writing for Cardsquad with the lovely Joanne, and I was starting to formulate a plan to use that platform to somehow combine a leaderboard score for all of the blonkaments -- the WPBT on Sundays, the MATH, the WWdN and the Mookie at the time as I recall -- and post a running tally of everyone's leaderboard points every week to a wide poker audience on Cardsquad, hopefully using that to increase the popularity of our games among new players as well as helping to keep things fun like the WPBT had been so good at doing for me over the previous year. I worked up a couple of ideas but had never really taken them to fruition yet when I headed out to Caesar's in I think March of 2007 to play in the WSOP Circuit event down in Atlantic City.

And that's where I met Al for the first time in the flesh. After I busted about 7 hours in to the Circuit Event, I headed over for my first (and still only) trip to the Borgata to meet up with The Al Can't Hang at a bar in the Borg, and though we only hung out for maybe an hour, two at the most, it turns out that Al had been having similar thoughts to my own as far as putting together some kind of mega-, all-encompassing blogger tournament series that could be really fun and interesting for everyone. We talked almost the entire time over a few shots and beers about it, and then we went about our merry ways, me back home to New York and Al back to the poker room where some other bloggers were playing in tournaments. I, of course, continued to think much but actually do very little about organizing an actual structure to this mega-leaderboard idea, but we all know how Al is about getting shit done. Lo and behold, maybe a couple of weeks go by, and suddenly Al is hitting me up on the girly, all excited-like, and he's telling me that full tilt has apparently agreed to give us back every dollar of rake we pay for the tournaments in a 3-month-long Battle of the Blogger Tournaments series in the form of an end-of-series freeroll with cash prizes.

I was floored. That was going to be what, like $3000 in free prizes, just for all of us playing the very same blonkaments we were going to be playing anyways? Whoa. And over time, it grew. In that first BBT back in the summer of 2007, dominated by resident draw-chaser Bayne, we got back a few thousand in cash prizes at the end in a giant freeroll. Just six months later, Al managed to convince full tilt that they needed to give away a seat to the upcoming Aussie Millions tournament they were sponsoring -- a fucking $12k AUD buyin tournament seat!! -- which my friend jeciimd managed to win by dominating the points system of the BBT2 almost wire to wire over two months, including winning the first series-ending Tournament of Champions for the grand prize and the trip to Oz, and the giving away of more than 20k worth of free shit to us humble bloggers. Then six months later it was time for the BBT3, and for full tilt to give away the first set of World Series of Poker seats. And boy did Al and full tilt knock this one out of the park -- for the BBT3's Tournament of Champions, we would be looking at not one but two WSOP Main Event seats -- 10k apiece! -- plus, two more 2k WSOP prize packages to be awarded in the series-ending Tournament of Champions, and three more 2k prize packages to be awarded to the winner of each individual month of the three-month challenge. In making essentially the same deal for us here with the BBT4, full tilt will have given away nearly a hundred grand of purely free shit to the bloggers, all as part of the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments, an idea first hatched by a couple of blonkeys over some shots at a bar near the poker room in the Borgata.

Sure, I have had my issues with the BBT from time to time. Most of those related (and still relate) to people being unable to keep themselves from getting angry and acting childish as a result of all that suddenly is at stake in our little private weekly games, be it in the chat box, in their blogs, and in comments on other people's blogs. Where our regular private tournaments had started off as fun opportunities to get together with blogger friends and light-heartedly sling some internet chips, often times they were turned into a source of tremendous stress, and eventually real frustration and jealousy for many people, and that of course was not a good development. A lot of bad shit has been said and thought about people and their play as a result of the advent of so much money riding on our private games. Some of this was directed at me -- mostly by people with micropenis of course -- but really it's the stuff I've seen happen as opposed to what has involved me that was the worst in my view. And, given the structure of the tournament series as it has evolved over the past couple of years, it has become a serious grind for just about anyone who wants to make a serious effort in the challenges, one that often exacerbates the stress and frustration that the BBT had already created by its very existence.

But make no mistake -- the BBT has been an effing incredible thing overall, and I don't see how anybody can reasonably say otherwise. Sure, things have changed with our private tournaments as a result of the BBT, but change is not necessarily a bad thing. And to think that, just for playing together like we used to every Tuesday and Thursday night on pokerstars with Wil Wheaton for free, now we would receive nearly a hundred large of free prizes from a major online poker site, for that Al deserves all the freaking credit in the world. I won't even put it into words how special it is that Al helped send two bloggers to the Main Event last year via the BBT3 Tournament of Champions, in addition to giving away another ten 2k WSOP prize packages and an additional 10k+ in cash prizes over the past couple of years. But for someone who was involved fairly early on in this community -- not A-lister early, mind you, but fairly early compared to most of you out there reading this -- to think that two bloggers got to play in the WSOP Main Event, and another 10 bloggers won 2k prize packages, that is fucking awesome. There's just no other way to describe it. So the BBT is dead, but not forgotten. Tonight I resolve to crack out my aging bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label and hoist one up to Al, for helping bring the WSOP to so many poker bloggers who would otherwise never have even sniffed Las Vegas during the summertime otherwise, and for adding an excitement to our lives over much of these past couple of years that we all should know would never have been present without him.

Al Cant Hang, thank you, for everything. Sincerely.

OK with that out of the way, time to turn back to my BBT4 ToC odds. Starting with none other than the Man of the Hour himself.

AlCantHang -- OK after saying all those nice things about Al above, now I can say what I really think about his chances of winning one of the two WSOP Main Event 10k prize packages in the upcoming BBT4 ToC: not great. Although Al is surely high on everyone's list of who we would like to see take this baby down, Al has not had a ton of success in the blonkaments overall, and he only managed to make the points in 1 out of 7 BBT events he played this time around. Average odds are 21 to 1, so I will put Al, one of the few poker players who would not even claim to be particularly good at no limit holdem, at 35 to 1 against.

chiefroger -- Sorry, I simply don't know anything about this person. If you told me there was one person registered for the ToC who did not actually play in any of the events, I would have picked this name. Chiefroger played exactly one BBT4 event, won his seat, and that was it for him. Assuming this is not yet another blogger with multiple accounts on full tilt, I will lay this person's odds at 35 to 1 as well, given a total lack of experience playing against this group nor any demonstrated success in nlh tournaments as a rule.

ck31 -- ck knows how to play poker, and in fact makes a nice little side income from doing just that at the live tables ever since making the move from New York to Las Vegas last year. ck has written a number of solid strategy posts on Skillz game poker variations over the past year or so on her blog and has has often had intelligent contributions to analysis of those games. That said, like Al before her, ck is not a no-limit specialist, a fact with which she would not argue. What's more, ck has had very little success in winning the private blogger tournaments over time, despite managing to nab her seat to the BBT4 ToC. It's hard to give strong odds on someone winning out -- especially against this field of mostly nlh tournament winners -- to someone who is not a nlh fan and who doesn't win many blonkaments to begin with. I'm saying 32 to 1 here as well for ck.

dueyv9 -- This is another person that I just don't have any real information on. I recognize the name from some of our private blogger tournaments, but duey is not someone I really know anything about. That said, duey did play 28 of the BBT4 events, and ended in a respectable 45th place on the final BBT4 leaderboard, so that's not entirely indicative of someone without nlh skill. Purely based on those two facts that I know about this person, I will lay the odds of a 10k prize win for dueyv at 28 to 1 against.

ElSnarfGrande -- Here is someone that I personally know very little about, although I understand that Snarf is associated with the corporation poker blog in some way (I think). Although a relative newcomer compared to some of the old-school WWdN'ers among us, Snarf has been playing with this crew for some time and has surely amassed a nice pile of notes and thoughts on the other players' games at this point, which is always something I look to when trying to create odds like this. But what's even more impressive is that Snarf ripped it up in the BBT4, amassing over 32 BBT points per game, a thousand dollars of cashes and 12 final tables over 41 events, good for 6th place overall on the final leaderboard of the final BBT tournament series. I think this bodes well for Snarf's chances in this weekend's ToC, so I will lay Snarf's odds of winning the 10k at 10 to 1.

heffmike -- Speaking of people who performed well during the BBT4, heffmike definitely fits the bill. First off, heff came out for 53 of the 56 events, giving him plenty of experience in this BBT to go along with the time he spent playing with this crew prior to this summer. Moreover, heff managed to outright win three of those tournaments in the BBT4, in addition to making 14 final tables and winning nearly $1500 on his way to a 4th place finish overall in the series. And, as I can personally attest to, heff has also caught a lot of breaks over the past couple of months, which is crucial for anyone who thinks they can outlast this field and make it down to the final two participants in the BBT4 Tournament of Champions. With how he has been running and the skill he has shown all throughout the BBT this time around, it's an inescapable conclusion that heff is one of the favorites to win one of the two 10k price packages this weekend. Let's say 9 to 1.

highonpoker -- Now if you're looking for someone who ran really well during the BBT4, look no further than Jordan. Although Jordan finished the BBT4 in 5th place on the overall leaderboard, that stat is misleading because he only played in 31 of the 56 total events, way less than anybody in his league on the leaderboard. This leaves Jordan's 45+ BBT points per event looking downright stratospheric compared to anyone else with 30 or more events -- 34 PPE is the next highest that I am seeing of anyone else who qualifies. And Jordan won four BBT4 tournaments, also the most of anybody in the entire blogiverse over the past three months. So, although Jordan did not play nearly as many of the events as the other high scores in the challenge, and thus doesn't have nearly the sample size of tournaments that they have, he without a doubt made more out of his BBT appearances than anybody, much much more. And, again as I can attest to from personal observation, Jordan ran as well as anybody I've ever seen run in a BBT series. Jordan in the BBT4 made Bayne in the original BBT look like me trying to get two overcards to hold up. I've seen Jordan allin and behind at least 6 or 7 times just over the four tournaments I saw him win, and I've watched him pull a rabbit out of a hat on the turn or river another several times on top where his tournament life was not officially on the line. Now, many people might say that his incredible luck to get to this point decreases Jordan's chances of cashing big in the ToC, but I do not agree. Jordan is on an incredible heater in the blonkaments -- a streak which continued right into the last day of the BBT when he pulled several lucky cards on his way to a third place in the final Brit Bloggerment -- and I see no reason to believe that will suddenly stop now. I don't want Jordan at my table, I don't want him with a big stack of chips, and frankly I just have to hope that somebody can take the wind out of his sails early, or "God help us all", to use a very line from Lost. I'm thinking 6 to 1 for Jordan to win the big one.

iaatg6296 -- I don't know anything about this guy, except what I learned from Joanne on the radio the other night, that his initials stand for "It's All About The Game", which I find to be exceedingly ghey. I also have noticed iaatg complaining early and often in the chat box throughout his 40 BBT4 events about how incredibly unlucky he runs, which I don't believe per se, but which I do view as a sign of some poker immaturity. Thus, again assuming we're not dealing with another in the growing list of bloggers with multiple accounts to make extra money at the expense of those who follow the rules, a perceived lack of experience playing the game and playing with this particular group is a slight strike against iaatg's chances. But iaatg also finished the series in 13th place overall on the BBT4 leaderboard, so the guy obviously has some skills. That 13th place showing over 40 tournaments is surely enough to get him above average, but I am still thinking something like 14 to 1 for iaatg here.

inguri -- Here is another person I simply know nothing about. Not a thing. I don't know what event he ever played in the BBT, and I don't remember ever seeing him. I see from the leaderboard that he played just the one event, winning $82 in the process, which means it must have been one of the ghey Brit things. So here's a guy with no real experience playing against this group of players, who won a small, $5 event in his only attempt in the BBT4, which again does not bode well in my book. 35 to 1.

jamyhawk -- I don't remember seeing Jamyhawk much during the BBT4 slate of tournaments to be honest, though I am seeing that he participated in 26 of the 56 total events. In general I think jamy suffers a bit here from not having played nearly as much with this group as he once did, although I seem to recall him winning his way in to the BBT3 ToC as well, so the guy obviously has some ability to win against the bloggers. Jamy's 34th place finish on the BBT4 leaderboard is not bad given that it occurred in less than half of the events of the challenge, so I have to give him some credit there as well. Overall, I see jamy as a guy who could win the grand prize on Sunday, but not someone who I would be inclined to pick to be that winner. I will say a very average rating of 22 to 1 to win it all.

Jimdniacc -- Jim is another guy who fared pretty well overall in the BBT despite playing in only half of the events. His 25 BBT points per event played put him somewhere in the top 10-15 players throughout the BBT4, which is quite good, and jim seems to have amassed some solid experience playing against the bloggers in general over the past year. I don't know much more about him other than this, so basing it just on what I'm seeing on the BBT leaderboard, I would lay jim's odds of winning one of the 10k seats at somewhat better than average -- let's say 17 to 1.

jjok -- JJ, who has been and always will be one of the funniest mf'ers in this group, is another of those guys who played in exactly one BBT event, won it, and then disappeared. So his leaderboard numbers look bad in cumulative terms, but the sample size renders it all pretty meaningless in the end. This leads me to have to look to the past, at JJ's general performance in the blonkaments, where I would say he has been a mixed bag over time. I seem to recall JJ winning a blonkament here and there, although my impression without looking anything up is that those wins have been very few and far between. Combine that with a lack of recent play against most of the competitors who will be in Sunday's BBT4 Tournament of Champions, and I think the odds are against JJ taking down one of the big prizes this weekend. 27 to 1.

Joanne1111 -- Joanne is an interesting case for the BBT4 ToC. The guys on the radio didn't seem to think much of her ToC chances, but I don't necessarily agree, at least not to the extent that they seemed to believe it. Joanne played in just 37 of the 56 events in the BBT4, but in doing so she managed to finish in 12 place overall on a cumulative basis, and compile more than 26 BBT points per tournament in so doing. This is indicative of an top-ten quality performance in the BBT4 overall, which is something that is not easy to do. Unlike some of the other names on this list, Joanne has won several blonkaments in her day, ranging from way back to the WWdN to the more elite and elusive titles of today like the Mookie and the Skillz series. While I do believe that Joanne's lack of aggression tends to make it harder for her to make real deep final table runs, I think the odds of her being alive when the final table hits on Sunday are about as good as anyone in the field's. 15 to 1.

Julkeus -- I just don't know this person at all, though I recognize the name from many of the blonkaments over the past year or 18 months, so I know that Julkeus has the experience part covered pretty good. Julkeus also finished 22nd overall on the BBT4 leaderboard over 44 events played, so he obviously has some skills to speak of as well and is not one of these "get lucky once and done" kind of guys. My biggest issue with Julkeus seems to be the way he finishes his tournaments, as from 9 final tables in the BBT4, he managed to win just $339 and change. With full tilt only awarding the 10k prize packages to the top two finishers in Sunday's Tournament of Champions, I have some doubts about Julkeus's ability to play with the aggression and sense of timing required to last all the way down to the end in what for many players will be the biggest poker tournament of their lives. I will say 20 to 1 for Julkeus to win the big one.

karmarules -- Don't know this person at all. Terrible name, I can tell you that, and one that seems likely to be used by a multi-accounting blogger as much as anyone else. But karma played in exactly two BBT events, and stopped as soon as he/she won one of them, so the experience factor has to cut against this person come ToC time. Absent any other information, I will have to put this person in the pile of ToC participants who don't know most of us, haven't played with us, and as far as I know could be in way over their heads when the final table rolls in on Sunday. 28 to 1.

kickyourace -- I don't know anything about this person either, although some of the guys on the radio the other night seemed to know something about him. I think maybe someone said he was a Riverchasers guy. So that's seventeen one strike against his chances right off the bat. He played 8 of the BBT4 tournaments, cashing in 2 and winning his ToC seat in one of them, so he knows how to play and at least has some experience playing against the group of people he is likely to have sitting at his table come Sunday evening. Based on the limited information I have, I will lay the odds here of winning one of the two 10k prize packages on Sunday at 24 to 1.

lucko21 -- Lucko has been a great tournament player at various times over the past couple of years, although as I have mentioned here in a similar post last year, one of the more streaky players out there in terms of his results. Clearly lucko has the skill to win one of the 10k prizes in the ToC, and he also has run extremely well, almost sickly well, in the blogger tournaments over the past year or so, so he's got that working for him as well. The biggest factors cutting against Lucko winning the seat is that he did not play well or make particularly good decisions in the BBT3 ToC -- he sat at my table for much of that event as I recall -- and more importantly, he just doesn't play a whole lot of poker tournaments anymore from what I understand. Despite these potential shortcomings, however, we've all seen what Lucko can do when given some nice cards and/or 7 or 8 suckouts in the earlygoing of one of our private tournaments, so he is clearly way above average regardless of not having played much recently. 11 to 1.

mclarich -- I don't know a whole lot about mclarich, other than that I recall him winning a few blogger tournaments over the past couple of years of playing together with our group, so there is at least some history of winning there. That said, I am showing him as having played 14 BBT4 events, and only making the top 25% in three of them, and final tabling (and winning) just one. That isn't terrible -- winning a ToC seat in 14 tries is pretty great, actually -- but overall it is not indicative of someone playing great poker or someone on whom I would want to bet a lot to be alive at the very end of the ToC against all of the best players who participated in the BBT4 over the past few months. Despite knowing he has won a few other blonkaments in the past, I'm thinking around 24 to 1 here to be one of the last two players standing on Sunday.

OK that's all I got for today. Thank you again to Al for making all of this possible, not once but several times over the past two-plus years. I will be back tomorrow with a new crop of 8 or 9 ToC runners and my feelings on their chances to win their way into the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event!

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Blogger Bayne_S said...

Didn't you stack off last night on a whiffed oesd?

Whose the frckng chaser?

1:48 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

All this talk about how lucky I am is complete hogwash. I saw 100% of my hands, and while I had bouts of luck including the run at the end of the last Brit Bloggerment (after I already had enough points for 1st place for May), but it wasn't like I had a god switch. Hell, most of the time, I don't show my hand because I get people to fold before showdown. As for all those suckouts, I don't remember them, but even if they did occur, how many chips did I have at the beginning of the hand compared to the other guy? If I accumulated enough chips to take chances on coinflips, then I made my own luck. It's classic. If I hit a set over set, I'm super lucky. If I hit a set and the other guy gets lucky and hits his flush, it's crickets. It's selective memory, Hoy. Then again, I used that silly lucky image for the best, so I can't really complain.

2:12 AM  
Blogger BWoP said...

You also forgot to mention that I won my seat in a Skillz event (stud hi/lo). I'm a little snowball and we're all in hell.

3:24 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Good luck to everybody. I give the field even odds to win.

Jordan makes his own luck. I make my own gravy.


6:38 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Daily enlightenment;

Jordan makes his own luck.

I am skinny.

Waffles is break even.

Bayne is top 10 PLO player.

$10 decisions are the same as decisions made for thousands.

Everyone who has a blog is great at poker.

Blinders is an excellent MTT player.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Heffmike said...

cmon, at least make a haiku or something...

Heffmike ponders some,
blogger poker means one truth:
blind squirrel can find nut.

12:40 AM  

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