Monday, March 14, 2011

Donkey Island and Merging Multiple Entries

Since last we got together like this, the dynamics on Donkey Island have changed significantly. The last time I posted about Survivor Poker, the Donkeys and the Fish had merged, but we were still looking at a 5-4 advantage for the former Donkeys and thus the likelihood that if the remaining Team Donkey members just stuck together tight, they could pick off whomever they wanted from Team Fish one by one by one. Instead, however, the exact opposite has happened. After coming into the merge with the Donkeys leading the Fish 6 members to 4, since then we have seen Goat, then Katitude, and now Jamyhawk this past Sunday night get voted off the island by a fairly solid majority, taking three more Donkeys out of the picture, and leaving us at this point with just three Donkeys left (heffmike, muchtim and brainmc) as compared to the four remaining Fish (xkm, iaatg, smboatdrinks and veryjosie).

What the Fish have done here in the past week of play is nothing short of astonishing. As I mentioned above, and frankly as people have been saying on an almost weekly basis since Survivor Poker took off a few weeks back, if the Donkeys had just voted together as a group -- as recently as this very Sunday night -- they could have at least forced a tie, and more likely simply picked who from the Fish to remove, and just gone and done it week after week after week. But just like I wonder why my teammates would have stabbed me in the back when I know I offered them an objectively better alliance then what they were left with once I was gone -- and we've heard the same refrain from many of the other eliminatees in the game thus far -- for some reason the Donkeys could just not keep it together, and the result has been that, amazingly, the Fish have instead been the ones to just pick off a different Donkey after every single tournament over the past couple of weeks.

And the Fish aren't just taking out any old random Donkey members. Noooo, far from it. Just look at the last four people eliminated from Team Donkey here: Jordan, then Goat, then Kat and now Jamy. Although I cannot specifically speak for each of these players, I can say for sure that each of those has been perceived to be one of the "leaders" of that side of the alliance, and probably in most cases has been the single biggest leader of that alliance, and each tournament over the past couple of weeks has ended with the current Donkey heavy being summarily voted off of Donkey Island. Goat helped work to have Jordan eliminated, and then the next week it was Goat being blindsided and removed from play, led largely by Jamy. Now it is Jamy who has taken the step down from surviving player to the tribal council, a week after he, too, thought he had been in control of things, at least on his side of the house. But with five votes coming in for Jamyhawk on Sunday night, it is clear that not only did the four Fish vote for Jamy, but at least one member of the old Donkey alliance has joined in as well.

From a team alliance standpoint, it is fair to say at this point that the Donkeys are decimated. Of the three remaining players who began Survivor Poker as Team Donkeys -- heff, brain and muchtim -- none of them was in the "core alliance" from the beginning, and at this point we are looking more at improvised desperation among those participants than anything resembling team leadership among those three survivors. The Fish alliance, however, is the much more interesting story, as after four consecutive Donkey eliminations, it is clear that the Fish have figured out how to ally and to work together to accomplish their objectives far better than the Donkeys ever did. And now, with just three of the weaker members of Team Donkey remaining, the question becomes: who is next?

Will the Fish look to take out the final three Team Donkey members in succession here going forward as they have done with the last four eliminations? This writer says No. Although the Donkey alliance is obviously completely broken down here, there are new alliances budding between groups on both teams, both large and small, with multiple Fish teammates entering into individual alliances with random Donkeys, as well as the broader teaming among the Fish that has flexed its muscles so powerfully over the past four Survivor Poker tournaments. And I can personally attest to the fact that there is even some talk of potential mutiny within the Fish, as at least one team member has begun plotting the takeout of their own perceived leader, sending out some feelers and looking for support to muster enough votes to shake things up once again.

One thing is clear at this point though, really for the first time in the entire run thus far on Donkey Island -- the next real intrigue among the eliminations is going to come from the Fish, and not the Donkeys. Getting Jordan out was big, and Goat's elimination was just as huge, with Jamy's not far behind as by all rights he was playing both sides almost from the getgo which eventually caught up with him. But at this point, it is where things will go from here on the Fish side that is the most intriguing question right now in Survivor Poker. When will the Fish start turning on themselves instead of devouring the remaining scraps of Team Donkey? And when they do, who will be the first to go? It's a good bet that there has been a pretty solid alliance all the way from the beginning among the Fish, so at some point sooner rather than later here, one of them is going to find themselves in the all-too-familiar position of listening to Buddy count down the votes on BDR and finding that they themselves are suddenly the odd man out. Most recently, it was Josie picking up two votes on Sunday night, and before that SmBoat had gotten a couple of votes on a couple of occasions, so that may be some indication of where there is at least some interest to ruffle some feathers on the Fish side. Personally I think it's high time to turn the attention back on the Fish after two solid weeks of Donkey drubbings in Survivor Poker.

Oh, I should also mention that I had an interesting occurrence happen to me last night, in Goat's $5 multi-entry nlh tournament. We had 73 runners, and I did the maximum four entries even though I didn't have close to enough room on my laptop screen to really keep up. Long story short, I got one nice big stack early, then another, and then another, while one of them remained short and near the bottom of the pack all the way as the players began to drop out. Right around the two hour mark of the tournament, we crossed the threshold below 30 players remaining, and I hadn't been paying that much attention but I still had all four of my entries remaining, even with well more than half of the field gone. Well, fast forward to a few minutes after the second break, and a couple guys got knocked out, and suddenly we were down to 27. And then one of my tables shut down, showing a note that read "Waiting for players to merge...", and before I knew it, two of my entries had combined into one, as I suddenly realized I had four entries left out of 27 entries remaining, and only three tables on which to play them at. So I merged, for the first time I've ever seen, and I can officially tell you it's real. I had often wondered how common that kind of merger would really ever be considering how deep you would have to run with multiple entries just to get to that point where it could even be possible, but here's your answer. In a smallish tournament, you just need a couple of good chip-ups and you can get there.

So I merged, and not even three hands later, I ran AA into JJ allin preflop who sucked out a Jack on the river to knock one of my entires out. About 15 minutes later, I ran KK into 66 on another table allin pre, and fell to a 6 on the flop to take out my second entry. My third entry failed to win a race with KJs vs. 55, and then I was down to just one entry remaining. That last entry did carry me all the way to the final table and a small cash in the tournament, but eventually he, too, succumbed with KK vs a lower pair, allin preflop. What more can you do, right? I was an 80% favorite to win probably about 80% of the chips in play last night between my four deep entry runs, but when you keep picking up AA and KK, playing them to perfection, getting allin dominating before the flop, and continually losing, nobody's gonna be able to overcome that kind of luck. But at least I got to live through the phenomenon of merging two of my multi-entry stacks, something I bet I won't personally experience again for a long, long time in any context.

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8:53 AM  

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