Monday, April 26, 2010

Bittersweet BBT

Four events so far in the BBT5. I don't really count The Buddy last week because I was gone for a little more than the first hour and ended up pushing allin real quick to try for an insta-double after raising about 75% of the first several hands I saw in the middle of Hour 2 with a short stack. But otherwise I've played in three of them, and I am playing really good poker. In stark contrast to how I usually seem to feel at the beginning of these long tournament series, I'm basically playing some of the best poker I ever play. I just haven't been able to withstand the barrage yet and my number seems to keep coming up over and over.

In the first Invitational tournament a little more than a week ago, with two runners out of just 79 entrants (more like 70 when you strike those who did not show) slated to nab BBT5 ToC seats, I was active from the getgo as always, but I had to make two big folds early on, one to Tripjax and one to Fuel. With Fuel I laid down top pair third kicker and was pretty sure I was behind when he raised me on the turn (seeing what he has gotten allin with in the BBT tournament so far has left me thinking likely otherwise). Against Trip, who is a little tighter, I laid down top pair 2nd kicker and an open-ended straight draw to his turn raise which also made a flush possible, and that one left me with under 1000 chips from the 3k starting stack not more than 20 or 30 minutes in. From there though I fought back, playing a smart, aggressive game and using my entire short stack as needed to keep people at bay, which also helped me to double up a couple of times in pretty easy spots where I knew I was ahead and figured I would be able to get my opponent's full stack. Down to around 20 remaining, with me solidly in the middle of the field, and two ToC seats on the line, I found QQ preflop in the small blind and reraised a big stack allin. He instacalled with AKo and IGH when the Ace flops. First card out of the deck.

One week ago today was the first Poker From the Rail tournament of the BBT5. In that one I once again slipped a bit in the earlygoing, but again there I quickly turned things around, won a ton of pots, mostly without showdowns, and really started to climb. I was in the top ten in chips for a while around the midpoint, but once again more than halfway through the field and with a nice stack going, I ran 99 into a big stack's 77 preflop, and lost when the 7 flopped to send me home before the deep part of the tournament.

I did not really play in last Wednesday's Buddy as I mentioned, but this weekend was the second of the Invitational tournaments, this time with 108 runners, much more than the field of the first week's which will prove to have been easily the best chance anyone will get to play for the big prizes in the ToC. Once again I slipped early, when I made a monster flop of T65 with two clubs while I was holding AT of clubs in my hand, against a guy who had called my preflop raise from the blinds. I led out on this flop, and he called. The turn brought an offsuit 7, which I wanted to make sure to bet at again given the three to a straight now on the board, and my opponent smooth called once again after some pause. The river brought the scary-looking 9 (offsuit) for a final board of T5679, but I figured there's no way I'm putting this guy on an 8 given the way this board played out (what was he calling on the flop with?), so I moved in on the reverse hoy for his last 600 chips into what was probably a 4500-chip pot already at this point. And he showed me 76 for the turned two pairs I definitely did not see coming and once again a sub-1000 stack very early on in this thing.

From there though, I fought back and once again used my short stack to my extreme advantage. I won about 25% of the total pots at my table preflop for the remainder of the first hour, and when someone finally doubled me up with their top pair fifth kicker early in Hour 2, I was back above the starting stack and looking to move even higher. I chased people off of hands like it was my job, and I busted at least four guys along the way to amassing over 10k in chips and another appearance in the top 10 of the leaderboard for a good long while. Eventually I open-raised for the umpteenth time from the button, this time with a deceptively strong JJ given how ridiculously I had stolen for the past couple of hours, and the small blind, a known tight player, reraised allin for a little over twice my raise. I knew this guy was tight but I also figured he could be in there with a slightly lower pair than mine, and he certainly could be in there with AK or maybe even AQs (and he figures I play like a maniac, so his range could be even a bit wider than normal), and the pot odds I was getting were simply far too good to fold given that I figured I was somewhere north of 50% to win the hand against his range. I called, he showed AK, and the Ace on the river erased half of my stack just like that in a hand that I could not have played any other way.

I picked up a couple of pots with now a short stack once again in the bottom ten of the 30-some players remaining out of the field of 108, and then never fear, I pick up QQ on the button, and the action folds to me. I did the standard raise of 3x to 900 chips (about a fifth of my stack at this point), and the big stack in the big blind waits maybe two seconds before moving allin. Of course I am calling here, he flips up KTo, and the King on the river sends me home. Gulp. I went to run some errands and when I come back maybe 25 minutes later to check on the leaderboard, that guy is already completely out despite using the suckout to jump to 3rd or 4th in chips of around 36 or 37 remaining at the time.

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.

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Blogger Chad C said...

Well you know, if you already have a decent stack, its very wise to ship it with K high to add a small percentage of chips to your nice stack. I mean you are only risking a significant portion of your stack to win a little bit, that's what tournament poker is all about right? Plus what if that guy put you directly on K9? Perhaps they are clairvoyant, didn't think of that a-hole did ya?

2:08 AM  
Blogger AlCantHang said...

One small correction, there were actually 79 runners in the first Invitational.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Corrected, my bad.

4:39 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Can't believe I have been dubbed tighter than Fuel. That's a first for me.

4:57 AM  

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