BBT ToC is Me (Redux)
"Like I said, I am playing some really solid tournament poker lately, across all my poker playing including the BBT5. I just haven't yet had the opportunity to hold up where I need to along the way in the series. A lot of the old standbys from the private blogger tournaments, guys who have made appearances in prior BBT Tournament of Champions, seem to be playing overly aggressively or otherwise somehow not on their game so far four tournaments into the 24-event series, which should help my cause all the more. Hopefully 24 total chances at the ToC is enough for the math to work in my favor one time, because I'm confident I will be right there and still alive when it's my turn for the luck to even out in this thing."
-- Me, yesterday afternoon
Funny how things work sometimes. Here I was about six hours prior to the Poker From the Rail tournament as the open events of the BBT5 resume this week, and I was feeling good about my game although severely wanting as far as my results thus far in the BBT5. I wrote a whole post describing my opinion of my play -- aggressive, solid, hardly any mistakes, folding when necessary -- and I ended with exactly what I was thinking and feeling when I wrote the post on Monday afternoon: just give me a little run-good and hold up where I need it, and I will be there with the stack and the mentality to take advantage.
And that's pretty much just the way it happened.
Unfortunately, the Under is going to win in a landslide today, because I just don't have time to do a full recap post, though I am hoping to find the time one night this week for that. But the last I heard, the line was set on BuddyDankRadio at 70,000 words for my post today. I just don't have any time today, so I'll try to keep it under 40k if at all possible.
The really abridged version of my Poker From the Rail win on Monday night is that I got an early double-up with slow-played pocket Aces, then basically sat around for about two full hours in the 4k-8k range, hovering around the middle of the pack but unable to break out and unwilling to let myself get too low without aggressing my way back to respectability. I played my usual aggressive game from the getgo, and I was able to withstand an early suckout with AQ vs AJ allin preflop for about a third of my stack thanks to the early double with Aces.
But despite the early pocket Aces (I would see them, as well as pocket Kings, one more time apiece in the latter half of the tournament), in the end my biggest pots of the night were generally won with crappy cards. One hand comes to mind when I got allin with 74s and rivered a straight against pocket Jacks, and another with 76s when I pushed allin on a resteal preflop against katiemother and won a key 40-60 shot against her overcards. I recall winning at least one key pot at the final table with one pair with 96o for that matter. I played a very wide range of hands on the night overall, and played them extremely aggressively from the very start to the very finish, and I ran just good enough along the way to make it happen.
And don't get me wrong, this was not one of those tournaments like I've definitely had from time to time where I luckflonked my way to the title. Far from it -- I would say without a doubt that I played the best tournament poker of anybody in the tournament last night. I just happened to run good a little bit along the way. But I got what I would describe as good starting cards -- far from deck-slappage, but as I mentioned I saw AA twice and KK once which is unusual for me, plus a bunch of AK's that I recall out of nearly 400 total hands on the night. And even though I mentioned the couple of key spots where I activated the run-good and survived in what I thought were good spots to make the moves I was making, I also survived two absolutely brutal bad beats when 3-handed and heads-up allin preflop and dominating -- in addition to winning the biggest pot of the entire tournament with my ATs vs Troublecat's TT allin preflop during heads-up play. So overall it was a smattering of some good luck and some bad luck, some good starting cards and plenty of bad, and overall some seriously great poker tournament play from me along the way, among the best I can recall playing in a blonkament.
Although I do hope to get more into this later in the week, I should mention the heads-up battle that saw me come in with more than a 3:1 chip deficit thanks to a major suckout one hand before heads-up. I was up against Troublecat, who many of you may know as the guy who won an event at the LAPC some years ago back when poker blogging was in its nascence, and he and I battled it out hard core to nab the seat. I think he said the heads-up match eventually lasted 72 hands, nearly half of the hands seen on the entire final table, and it was definitely one of those epic heads-up battles that happen once in a long while in the big blonkaments. It was fun but frustrating, as I played a significantly more aggressive game than Ryan did, as I must have won a good 65% of the hands we played heads-up. Much of this was due to the fact that Ryan played very passive with the big chip lead for almost the entire time while I played aggressive like a jackass and just hoped not to get called, or to suckout or win a 40-60 if I did, and once again that's exactly what happened when he reraised me and I called with ATs against Ryan's TT. The flop brought not one but two Aces, and suddenly it was I with the 3:1 chip lead. I played the chip lead far more aggressively than Ryan had, and after one more allin where I lost a 60-40 shot to end it, I finally vanquished Troublecat after about 50 minutes of heads-up play shortly after 2am ET when we both got in with top pair but my kicker was just a couple of pips ahead of his.
My overall impressions of the night: I played awesome tournament poker, especially heads-up where I refused to give up despite playing about 65 of the 72 hands from a significant chip deficit. Especially in a ToC-driven BBT series, I can't say I am any kind of a fan of the structure being such that really from the final two tables it was almost all preflop push-n-pray poker. I don't mind that and frankly most online mtt's end up playing out that way, but when you have to outright win an event in order to make it in to play for the big prizes in the ToC, it just feels wrong that Ryan doesn't get a seat in addition to some others who got sucked out on at the final table if that happens multiple times in a short BBT series like this.
And most of all, I ran well when I needed it, just like I was saying yesterday.
ToC here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!