So that's it. The BBT5 is over. Probably the last ever BBT tournament series, right? Right? Seriously, with Al
's frustration bubbling over several times in this series -- at least a few times my fault -- and him once again having to go through all the bullshit that comes with running something like this, I can't see him doing it again. But then, I suppose a good deal of that decision will depend ultimately on how much full tilt feels they got their money's worth this time around, which at this point remains to be seen as we head into the BBT5 Tournament of Champions this evening. In the past, full tilt has given away thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars to various bloggers, and for whatever reason it feels like a good half of them have declined to use those funds to play poker, and thus did not blog about any poker experiences they had thanks to full tilt's generosity. And of the other half who have gone on to use full tilt's funds to play, mostly all of them have really not blogged about the whole thing all that much in any event. There have definitely been a few notable exceptions, but for the most part I imagine that full tilt is still waiting to really get the bang for their buck that they ultimately envision out of these BBT series. Will this be the year? I suppose that depends on who wins tonight's Tournament of Champions.
Before I get into my thoughts on tonight's TOC, with this week's Buddy marking the final event of BBT5, we are now down to the 21 participants who will run for the money in tonight's big event at 10pm ET on full tilt. So we can start off by looking at the people of note who are not
going to be in tonight's TOC, many of whom are people I was counting out of the ToC as they were eliminated last night as that was when they were officially eliminated from contention. Among those out of the ToC we have guys who have won against the bloggers and who have had much success in former BBT series such as twoblackaces (out 99th of 101 in the Mookie this week, that musta been interesting), lucko, Bayne, Astin (remember AstinBaynage from back in the first BBT?), heffmike, ck , Don, Chad, columbo , buddydank (eliminated from ToC contention in his own self-named tournament, dayummm that has gotta hurt), Waffles (did not play, pay day must not be for another week), smokkee, Tuscaloosa John, Jordan, 1Queensup1 and many, many others who could have posed problems for anyone in tonight's Tournament of Champions for sure. In fact, the honest truth is that most of the people I have a little bit of respect for in these tournaments are not in the ToC this time around, which is a good thing overall I suppose, but which is also going to make for some very tough going in tonight's field.
And with that, let's move on to the field for tonight's BBT5 Tournament of Champions. I look briefly in the morning just to note that the winner of this week's Buddy was someone I do not recognize and not somebody who has already nabbed a seat, which means as I mentioned that we are looking at a total field of 21 runners for the big prizes. With Shabazz Jenkins recently nabbing his second ToC seat in addition to oossuuu and his 3 ToC seats, that is just three tables of 7 to play it down to three grand prize winners and two more "mini" prize winners. With three 10k WSOP prize packages and two 2k WSOP prize packages being awarded, that means a total of $34,000 being given away for free to tonight's winners, and with 21 runners, that brings the total Blinders-approved(TM) Expected Value of a seat in tonight's ToC is 34,000 / 21 or over $1,619 per seat. If you just play average, do average, and have an average run on the night compared to everyone else, you can expect to win over $1600 on average just for having the right to play in the big game tonight. That is some incredible free swag for a bunch of donkeys who barely even know how to play this game, isn't it? And moreover than the $1600 expected value, a full 5 out of 21 runners will win a nice big fat prize of at least 2k. 5/21 = a 23.8% chance that each one of us will win at least 2k tonight, and a 3/21 or 14.3% chance that each of us will win one of the big momma 10k prize packages.
So here is the field in tonight's BBT5 Tournament of Champions, along with some quick thoughts from me on each, keeping in mind that the average player should be 23.8% (just over 3 to 1) to win a prize and 14.3% (6 to 1) to win a grand prize:
Jim McManus. Author of one of the greatest poker books ever written in Positively Fifth Street
and for sure one of the drivers of my obsession with poker over the last several years, McManus has also been to a World Series of Poker Main Event final table, and from watching him I would say the guy can play. I have found him to be a bit on the aggressive side in the BBT events he has played, but that aggression generally works well against this crowd if you know how to wield the power, and McManus has played enough with the big boys to know just that. Add to this the fact that full tilt would cream in its pants if Jim wins this seat and goes on to get the site some solid publicity, and you have to figure that Jim's odds of cashing are somewhat better than your average bear, even against this field of champions and highly-skilled players. I would say Jim is at least 2.5 to 1 to cash and probably around 5 to 1 to win a ME seat tonight.
Adam 27x. Like a number of the entrants in tonight's Tournament of Champions, I don't know anything about Adam 27x. All I do know is that it looks like he played exactly one BBT5 event, and he crushed it. 'Nuff said. I'm still just putting his chances at average tonight though, 3 to 1 to cash and 6 to 1 to win the ME seat, because if nothing else this person will be at a significant disadvantage in terms of knowing the other players around him (like that really hurt him last time).
adamsapple19. This week's Buddy winner is another total mystery to me. He played in five BBT5 tournaments, cashed in two, and final tabled just the one he nabbed his seat in. I don't know him, but he hasn't played against this group much, so I once again see him right about average to cash in the big game. 3:1 to cash and 6:1 to win the 10k seat.
All in At 420. Allin is a professional poker player and is someone who played 6 events in the BBT5. He can obviously play the game and I would say probably has slightly better than the average chances to win a prize in tonight's Tournament of Champions. 2.5 to 1 to cash and 5 to 1 for the ME package.
BamBamCan. BamBam nabbed his ToC seat near the end of the BBT5 in I think the final invitational tournament. Although he always seems to be hanging around late in these blonkaments, I can't say I have many memories of BamBam winning these things outright or playing for the big money. So I would lay BamBam's odds of cashing in the ToC somewhere less than average, maybe around 4 to 1 to cash and 9 or 10 to 1 to win one of the 10k grand prizes.
dignitasODEE. I looked up dignitas on the internet and although this person seems to have some online presence, I do not recall them being an actual online pro of any note. Dignitas played in six BBT5 events and managed to win the one, so like the others who won an event while not playing much against this crowd in general, I think the odds are right around average for dignitas to cash in the ToC, 3:1 to cash and 6:1 for the ME seat.hoyazo
. Although I have not managed to get a good run going in the BBT over the past few weeks since winning my seat early on in the series this time around, I still feel like I am playing a good game of poker overall. I know well the games of over half of the ToC participants, and I have had a lot of success against the bloggers over time. Ever since bubbling out of the BBT4 ToC last year, it feels kinda like I owe myself something here, and as I mentioned, the lack of most of the big, scary guys who could
have ended up finding their way into the ToC leaves me feeling like this thing will definitely be mine to lose. Of course anything can happen (and has been happening, lately) in any poker tournament, especially one against this field, so there's just no way to get anyone's odds much above average in any event, but I tend to think of myself in my own pompass way as about 2 to 1 to cash tonight, and maybe 5 to 1 to win one of the big seats.
jjok. What can you even say about this guy? He's played like four BBT tournaments in his life, and he's won them all. Even after I slapped some bad odds on him in last year's Tournament of Champions, he showed us all by claiming one of the WSOP ME seats in the BBT4 ToC. Never one to learn a lesson though, I am going to once again say that jj is not quite active enough, and does not quite have the experience against this field, to have great odds to beat the bloggers in tonight's ToC. Yes, the same bloggers who he was roundly embarrassed almost every time he has sat down with us over the past year. I'm a genius, what can I say. 4 to 1 to cash, 8 to 1 to win a ME seat (you're welcome, jj).
Julius_Goat. Although it looks like we might be waiting until after Hurley passes on the mantle of Island Protector to the next guardian before we get Goat's final Lost
post, Goat has always been one of my favorite bloggers, and a guy that I am quite sure full tilt would love
to have playing and writing for them in the WSOP ME. And moreover, Goat has had I think among the best overall BBT5 performances of all the people who participated this time around, as basically start to finish the guy amassed big stacks, made fairly deep runs, and of course took care of business the one time he needed to. As someone who always seems to be hanging around the top of the leaderboard in these things, and as the guy who I think it is fair to say played the best tournament poker of anyone in the event where he won his ToC seat, I say Goat definitely has above average chances of cashing tonight in a big way. Let's say 2.5 to 1 to cash and 6 to 1 to grab the granddaddy prize of the poker world.
KeepFloppin. Pokermeister is a solid player and he seems to have played more and more of the blonkaments as he got more involved with our group over the past year or so. However, what he does not have is much tournament experience, much big game experience with tons of money on the line, or much big game tournament experience with tons of money on the line. While in a cash game the Meister might be more formidable, I can't escape the fact that he will probably be fighting an uphill battle in tonight's BBT5 Tournament of Champions. Let's say 5 to 1 to cash, and 10 to 1 to win a ME seat.
lightning36. Lightning is another guy who I feel like I have seen playing a lot against the bloggers over the past couple of years, but who is also not someone I think of as a tournament specialist in any particular way. Lightning has had enough blonkament success not to just write off, but I'm still seeing him as having on the under side of average chances in tonight's ToC. Maybe 4.5 to 1 to cash, and 9 to 1 to win a grand prize.
maigrey. Maigrey is an old-schooler who has won more than her fair share of blogger tournaments in her day. Although she played in 8 BBT5 events, those numbers are semi-inflated because she managed to win her way in to the ToC in the very first one, meaning that all of those other BBT5 appearances for Heather were just not played with the same sense of urgency as most of the rest of the field played with every time out. Maigrey is good, can be tricky and is definitely not someone to be trifled with, but I will keep her odds right at the average of 3:1 to cash and 6:1 to win a seat due to lack of regular experience playing with the field in tonight's big event.
NYrambler. Rambler not only won one event in the BBT5 but got off to massive stacks in at least three or four others. If this were a regular BBT tournament I would definitely have rambler in there above average, but I think rambler's aggression might get the best of him against this field with this kind of money on the line, so I'm going to stick with 3:1 to cash and 6:1 to win the seat tonight for another of New York's finest.
oossuuu754. Oossuuu is basically a shoe-in for making the final table tonight, and with a big stack at that. He has destroyed all comers in the BBT5 as I have mentioned here previously, and I feel sorry for anyone who does not realize that one of the top 3 spots and its 10k prize package has his name written all over it. Osu is a good 1.5 to 1 to cash tonight, and not more than 3 to 1 to win the 10k grand prize.
pushmonkey72. Pushmonkey found his way in to the BBT5 ToC late in the game, much as I recall him doing in a previous BBT series as well, so he is not exactly a stranger to the blogger games or even to playing for the big money at the end. I seem to recall making a similar prediction about Rich in a previous post for a previous BBT-ending tournament, but in the end I haven't seen pushmonkey make deep runs in bnig spots in blonkaments too too often, and thus I think push's chances are just below average to cash tonight, maybe 3.5 to 1 to cash, and 7 to 1 to win the seat. Can't ever say anything too bad about the guy most directly responsible for my first Mookie win during the BBT4 (back when it was still called the Mookie).
pvanharibo. pvan is one of those people in the ToC who everybody has to look out for. Without a doubt I don't know anyone in this group who can bounce back from the early short stack like pvan, so even if she drops early she may be down but definitely not out. I saw pvan playing extremely aggressively during most of the BBT5, including the Buddy in which she won her ToC seat, so I expect more of the same tonight which I think is probably likely to get her off to a nice stack and increase her chances above average of cashing. I would say 2.5 to 1 to cash and probably about 5 to 1 to win a 10k WSOP ME package.
Shabazz Jenkins. Shabazz is a good little player who has had success previously in former BBT series, including winning two seats into this year's BBT5. There's just no way you can count this guy out, as he too has shown a penchant for building big stacks early but also for being able to rebound from early weakness in these tournaments. Shabazz is someone who I also think is slightly better than average to finish at the top in this evening's BBT5 ToC. Let's say 2.5 to 1 to cash and 5.5 to 1 to win the grand prize.
TexansBaby. April, along with Maigrey, is the only other confirmed pure "old school" blogger in the mix tonight in my view, and that along with the blogger tournament success she has had over time makes her a formidable opponent for sure in tonight's ToC. That said, with very little to really go on, I continue to look at a lack of recent experience against most of the other bloggers in tonight's field (I see her only having played 6 events in the BBT5, for instance) as a potential drag on any player's expected performance tonight. Thus, I would expect about a 3.5:1 chance for April to cash, and maybe a 6.5:1 chance to win one of the 10k seats.
TripJax. Trip is another one of those really good guys in the ToC this time around, and I was thrilled when I got up that morning a few weeks back and saw that he had nabbed his seat in the ToC after near-missing and finishing the runner-up in an earlier event in the series. Trip has a good game as well, and unlike many of the older-school bloggers I have covered in this post, Trip actually came out and played in 13 of the 18 BBT5 tournaments overall, cashing in 3 of them and making two final tables. With Trip's success against this field and his experience playing against them, his odds to cash on the night have got to be somewhat better than average. Let's say 2.5:1 for the cash in the top 5 spots, and 5 to 1 to win the 10k.
VinNay. VinNay is another guy who has played a very good BBT5, winning one event and final-tabling two of the 14 tournaments he showed up to play, but amassing a large stack in several others without managing to nab multiple seats as a result. I have my eyes on VinNay as someone whose game is well-suited to a ToC like this, and who is definitely above average overall in his chances. To me VinNay is probably 2.5 to 1 to cash as well, and let's say 4.8 to 1 to win one of the big ones.
xkm1245. xkm is someone who I have known since the days of the WWdN when he used to trash talk like a mahfah every time I sucked out on him (which was often, you know me). Although we seem to be friends again lately (until tonight...heh heh), xkm is another guy who I haven't seen playing against the blogger too much over the past year or so. But, at the same time, the guy showed up for 9 BBT5 tournaments and managed to cash in a whopping five
of them, so he is clearly on a good streak. With that kind of momentum I will predict him right at average of 3:1 to cash and 6:1 to win the seat.
So there you have it. I am including myself as well as oossuu, Jim McManus, TripJax, the Goat, All in at 420, VinNay, pvanharibo and Shabazz Jenkins as the top 9 of the 21 runners and the group from which I would expect to see 2 of the 3 Main Event package winners as well as at least 3 of the 5 overall prize winners in the tournament. No matter what happens, I will look to play my best and take the game tonight very seriously, which I understand to be a very favorable structure including super stacks with 5000 starting chips and the same extended blinds as are found in the nightly 50-50 tournament on full tilt. It's still hard to believe that, thanks to the generosity of full tilt and the ass-hard work of Al Can't Hang, we are basically playing in one of those two-table token sitngos on full tilt where the top 5 out of 18 runners win the prize.
See you tonight at 10pm ET for the BBT5 Tournament of Champions on full tilt!
Labels: BBT, BBT5, BBT5 Odds, ToC