Monday, May 10, 2010

Exciting BBT5 Weekend

I am seriously thrilled at the outcome to this past weekend's BBT5 Invitational tournament, with Julius Goat and Jim McManus both winnings seats into the series-ending Tournament of Champions to play for the big bucks. I didn't watch a whole lot of McManus's play -- other than to see him push allin for 30 to 50 big blinds repeatedly seemingly earlier than he needed to, which is more or less par for the course in these blonkaments I suppose -- but I loved Positively Fifth Street and I think it's fair to credit that book with some portion of my own personal explosion in interest in the game of poker, so for my money having JM in the TOC is a positive development.

And then there is Goat. Goat hasn't had a ton of success in winning the private blogger tournaments in the past, but he's always managed to bust out with a win here and there to keep his name on the map, and so far in the BBT5 we have seen why. Although this weekend was Goat's first foray deep into the final table in the BBT5 that I can recall, those of you who have played most of the events will note that every time you look up at the leaderboard over the past few weeks, Julius_Goat always seems to be sitting there with a big stack. In addition to starting to find a groove as a mid-sized sng player in his own right, Goat has shown of late that he is really starting to figure out how to play against the bloggers, something you can really only say about so many people in the group overall. But Goat has figured it out, how to get the early double-up and how to accumulate chips in these familiar events, and such was the case again last night as Goat was sitting in good but not great shape as the tournament rolled down to the final few tables.

But the huge thing about Goat's play on the night from my perspective wasn't the way he started, but the way he finished. I watched him closely as I have with many of the other BBT5 final tables as I've been up late working on my "other" job almost every night of the past few weeks, and Goat played about as good of an overall game on the day as any winner of a ToC seat so far in BBT5. I didn't see the guy make a dumb call and suck out once in the final few tables, and in fact I don't think he made a single bad decision in all the time I watched him. This is in stark contrast to most of the other ToC winners so far -- myself included -- who have recorded many suckouts along the way to nabbing their seats, and in many cases involved the making of several unthinkable and inexplicable plays that were probably not worthy of winning at all. But Goat was totally on the entire night, and it was really awesome to watch. His reads were on fire -- he even called down at least twice on the final two tables on the river with less than one pair and either tied or won them both vs. an aggressive bettor on the other side. His timing was awesome, and when he bet with nothing at the river, they folded. Every time.

The closest thing to a big mistake that Goat made on the night that I saw was about midway through the final table when he called down a highly aggressive player with top pair Jack kicker and lost to TPTK for a little less than half his stack, but the good thing even about that play was that it still left Goat with plenty of chips to fight back, which is exactly what he did. Twice during the final table, Goat got a little short after failing to secure a big pot like this one, but both times, Goat immediately got right back to work instead of focusing on the downside and letting it get to him. And both times he was quickly able to get himself right back to the chip lead, and after having lost it already at the final table once, he did not make the same mistake again.

So for my money Goat is definitely a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming Tournament of Champions. He's been playing overall about as well as anyone in the BBT5, and his win was pretty much the most impressive one I have seen so far, easily over most of the recent winners.

Now who else should we be looking out for as the series moves to its final few weeks?

For starters, it's got to be TwoBlackAces. Not only has he twice bubbled in BBT5 events already, but like Goat he seems to have a big, huge stack almost any time you check him out in one of these things. He's won tons of dough in major online tournaments and has proven to be a consistent accumulator and finisher in all kinds of tournaments. And he has as much experience as anyone playing with most of these fields after his regular involvement in the blonkaments over the past year or two. I know it has been heartbreaking for him not to have nabbed the seat yet after coming so close, but if you have to pick one person to win their way in in the upcoming events, TBA is probably the guy.

I'm also looking at perennial BBT killer Tuscaloosa John, who has crushed everyone through the two BBT series in which he has been an active participant. So far he hasn't made much noise in the BBT5 tournaments, but when I saw him with that big stack as we got down to the final few tables on Sunday night, I had a deja vu and it seemed like something I am expecting to see again in the coming days and week as the BBT5 rolls on. All TJ needs to do is run a little better than he has so far in things like early 60-40s and races, and we may be looking at a ToC seat for a guy who has probably won more overall BBT events than anyone else who has participated.

Lastly, I will mention Astin. Not sure why I have this idea in my head, but Astin has found his way in to I think all but one of the previous BBT Tournament of Champions, and I'm guessing he can pocket Aces his way in there one more time through the remaining what, eight tournaments? Of course it is impossible to predict something like this with any kind of assuredness -- especially with just 8 events left unlike previous BBTs where we would not even be to the midpoint yet of a 55-tournament schedule -- but Astin is a guy who knows how to play the big cards and who also has a lot of experience playing against this crowd. You watch, he will find his way in again before all is said and done with the BBT5.

Next event is tonight, the Monday night Poker From the Rail tournament at 10pmET on full tilt. The password is I think "2010WSOP", and the buyin is a measly $26 for a shot to play for the -- count 'em -- three WSOP Main Event packages and a couple more 2k WSOP packages as well as I recall. Be there or be square

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Blogger Shrike said...

I agree. I played a lot with TBA and Goat in the invitational and both played extremely well. The latter made two big check-raises against me that I just couldn't call; the former busted me (with a rivered set, no less) even when I was trying to avoid him at all costs.


10:04 PM  

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