Thursday, February 24, 2011

End of the Road

Well, that was fun. Really. Survivor Poker was a blast for me, for all three tournaments I stayed alive. Which, frankly, is three tournaments longer than I thought I would. While I won't take the time to review exactly what happened to me, suffice it to say that the others on my team certainly took the game more seriously than I did, and in the end they played the game a heck of a lot better than me. I thought I was safe for another couple of votes, but it turns out that somebody else on the team obviously had got into my teammates' heads and once that happened, the die was cast. And that is the reason why I now write to you as a less than proud member of the tribal council and not a current player on Donkey Island.

So let's see, with still two more tournaments left during Team Play, Team Fish grows more handicapped by the day. Now it will be iiatg, Dawn Summers, Josie, xkm and SmBoatDrinks going up against the stacked Team Donkey lineup twice more to try to last the longest and thus avoid having to shorten that team even further.

I've had about five people since last night ask me how the team could vote me off when that so clearly seems to hurt their chances to avoid elimination votes during the balance of Team Play. I think there are a lot of good answers to that question. For starters, the Team Play time of the competition is short. At first I thought it would last for half of the game, but the more recent rules announced that the teams would only persist for the first six tournaments, of which four are already done after last night. So we're talking about a total of two more tournaments that my five ex-teammates need to survive in order to make it to the merge. And I think a lot if not all of the people left on my team take some amount of comfort in that -- think about it, even if the worst possible outcome goes down and Team Fish loses and loses hard on Sunday night and then again at next week's Dank tournament, that's still a total of only two more players who need to get eliminated, and I think there is fairly good reason for pretty much all five of the remaining Fish to think they cannot possibly be "it" over the next two weeks. Even though two of them may soon find out that they were wrong, much like I did this week.

Moreover, what have I really done in these four tournaments to show my worth as some kind of a "stopper" to my teammates? Yes, I won the first tournament, and yes I strategically outlasted NumbBono to make sure I took care of my team before just pushing allin every hand after that. But what about in the other three tournaments since then? In the first Dank, I lost a big pot early to somebody and was never able to recover, busting among the first handful of players out and hitting the sack early. In last week's Goat tournament on Sunday night, I played great, of course getting donked on 15 or 20 times during Monkey Hour but then righting the ship near the end and building up a nice stack after I went set over set vs. Goat early in Hour 2. At some point, twoblackaces raised preflop from middle position, and I just called to trap with AK, and the flop came K33 to boot which is pretty much the literal best flop imaginable for someone with my holding. TBA bet out like I knew he would, I raised, and he immediately pushed, but I knew with this board and the fact that he had raised preflop that I was ahead. That is, until TBA flipped up 53s to turn that best-possible flop for me into the "unmitigated disaster" flop instead, and two hands later IGH. And then in this week's Dank, I once again was off to a nice start, building up a workable stack and trying to outlast as many of the Team Donkeys as I could, and then a poo flinger got allin against me with just an inside straight draw on the flop. They did not hit their straight, but the river rewarded the play with a miracle trips and IGH early again despite having taking advantage of my opponently badly in the tournament. So what value have I really shown to these guys anyways, beyond my historical success in blogger tournaments in general? I mean, yeah I won the only tournament our team has won so far in this series, but otherwise I haven't done any better than anybody else on my team -- with not even a top-20 finish to show for those other three efforts -- and we have been suffering as a result. I imagine that if I had won 3 of the 4 tournaments already, I would still be writing to you today from inside Donkey Island instead of out here on the Council, but then there would still be 7 members left of our team instead of the 5 we are down to now.

The last thing to think of in terms of making this decision -- and this surely played in to Al receiving so many of Team Fish's votes the other day as well, though I don't think he gets this yet -- is that the popular bloggers are always going to be good targets to take out whenever you think you can get the popular vote up enough to get them out. Why wouldn't somebody want to take AlCantHang out of Donkey Island at the very first chance you get, as early as possible in the competition? The longer a guy like that stays alive, the more of a risk he is to continue staying alive, and eventually to vote you out in a later week? People out there have to realize that there are very valid strategic reasons, in addition to the personal reasons mentioned above, for anyone on my team to want me out of the competition as soon as humanly possible. Even if I can help the team a little bit over the next week during the remainder of Team Play, geetting rid of me specifically when the ability was there to do so would be a wise move for anyone with designs of running deep, and this is certainly not lost on me.

One of the interesting aspects to all of this is what is likely to happen when the teams do merge in just one short week from now. Because the way I see it, judging by what happened in the very first tournament -- the only tournament that Team Fish managed to win so far -- Team Donkey obviously has a nice, tight voting alliance going on, and one can only assume that the Team Fish participants will be fighting an uphill battle to get inside that alliance once the merge happens. With much of the successful blonkament experience now gone from Team Fish, I would not want to be them and head into the merge with just 3 Fish combining with those 7 Donkeys and their strong voting alliance -- that does not sound to me like it bodes well for the surviving Fish. If the Fish can manage to win the next two tournaments during Team Play this coming week, then they can cut that margin to 5-5 and give themselves a much better chance at post-merger survival. Again, if I had been playing better in these tournaments so far, I would feel much more justified in giving my teammates crap for eliminating me when I can help so much, but as I said above, I've been getting covered in flung monkey-poo so far in these events and haven't been able to do much of anything to help the team any more than anybody else among the Fish.

Here now a quarter of the way through the competition, I thought I would take a quick look at handicapping some of the potential winners here. In the end, one thing I have definitely taken from this so far is that the people surviving so far seem to be centered on those without much history, and without much public involvement in the group. Basically, people who haven't had several years to build up a bunch of haters that inevitably amass when someone has a public blog that people in our group read, in particular someone like myself who tells it like it is, and someone who has had poker success as well to boot. All of these things tend to lead to haterism, and haterism is deadly as anything you can imagine in a competition like Survivor Poker. I knew as soon as Goat pitched me on this idea that I could not last more than a few weeks, because there are just too many people out there with a reason (or fifty) to want to vote against me the first chance they get. I mean, look at the people who have survived now three elimination votes from Team Fish. Josie, who is new, and hasn't had any time to get people to hate her. I mean, who hates Josie? Nobody. SmBoatDrinks? Boat has won a coupl e of Mookie's or something in his day, but I ask again: Who hates him? iaatgwhateverhisnameis? I've seen him in some BBTs in the past and also he has won a Mookie or two as I recall, but who hates him? xkm? There's another guy without a prominent blog to have pissed people off in over the past several years. Who even knows these people really? But I can't help but notice that those are the guys who are surviving these elimination votes so far.

Taking that into account, I think Boat and Josie have as good a chance as anyone to survive from Team Fish. They are generally well-liked, and are not out there enough with strong opinions to be hated by anyone that I can imagine. On the Donkeys side, we haven't really seen enough of their voting strategy yet to have a good feel as to who can survive from their team, but I have some general thoughts. Not only is Team Donkey stacked with experienced blogger tournament players, but my sense is that they are also the more experienced Survivor viewers and those more facile with the nuances of playing the elimination type of game. I predict some serious alliances, and some serious dicking over of alliance-mates, coming out of the Donkey side of the house in the second half of this competition, which should make for some compelling viewing as the series wears on. I think Goat will be hard to get knocked out of his own brainchild, although to be honest I am not sure he has the raw lack of scruples that I'm sure will be necessary to finish as the victor in a backstabby competition like this. Something tells me that Jordan and Jamyhawk are likely to run deep in this thing, although I expect to post some more detailed odds a little bit later in the competition as we continue wearing down the list of eligible players still alive and well on Donkey Island.

The last question for me right now -- and frankly, one I do not know the answer to just yet -- is what I will do from here. Do I keep making an effort to play in these Donkey Island tournaments, or just let them happen around me and get in there only when I can? And more importantly, assuming I do play some or most of them, what is my objective? Do I try to keep the Fish in the game and do my best to knock out the Donkeys? But why, what's in it for me to do that? Do I just try to play my best and win? Or, do I do what I can to work against my former teammates, the ones who were convinced at the last minute to vote me out this week by a 4-1-1 margin? I could see any of those options making sense. Every time I see Numb run deep in one of these things like last night, I find myself wondering why he does it for that team that so screwed one of their best players right after he ran the deepest of anyone right off the bat in week 1. I'm not sure I would be interested in being that guy.

One thing is for sure -- with 42 runners in the Dank last night as proof, Goat and Buddy have definitely found a nice way to make our regular blogger tournaments fun again. If you haven't been getting in on the action so far, there's still plenty of time to participate and even affect the outcome of Survivor Poker: Donkey Island.

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Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I really love this concept.

3:10 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

Um lots of people don't like me. I'll make you a list.

And fwiw, I too have won a few Mookies!

One more fwiw, I heard less than stellar things about you, but I find you to be be nice, intelligent and gracious - nothing like your reputation.

Fun playing with you.


3:27 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

First off, I can vouch for VJ. Everyone hates her.

Second, VJ's Mookie wins don't count. They were during Mookie's slimmer years.

Third, I take your faith in my deep run as a compliment. Thanks!

3:28 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Jordan, it was absolutely meant as a compliment. Since the day I first heard of this idea, I thought of you as someone who could run deep in it. But then, your teammates will know as well how dangerous you can be in something like this, so that will make your road a little tougher than it otherwise could be. But I have faith you can navigate through that minefield well.

And Josie, fwiw I am well aware that others have won some Mookie's. You weren't part of this group a few years ago, but it's been years since winning a Mookie really meant much. Besting 15 flonkeys in a quick 2-table sitngo is not the kind of blonkament success I am referring to. That said, I know you have poker skills which is why you were permitted to stay in the tournament through our first two elimination votes. :)

It really is a great concept, far better than I ever thought it would be.

3:41 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Well, sorry for putting the nail in your coffin by knocking you out. Happy that I got a bounty for it, though. I'm actually surprised that you got voted off on your poker skills alone...

5:20 AM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Also, the "poo flinger got allin against me with just an inside straight draw on the flop" also had an overcard and backdoor straight draw.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Thanks for playing, man. Sorry you had to go so soon.

6:16 AM  

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