Friday, June 09, 2006

Party Millions Satellites

One thing I mentioned earlier in the week that I will definitely be focusing on is playing in the weekly million dollar guaranteed tournaments once in a while. I say "once in a while", because these tournaments begin at 4 or 4:30pm ET on Sundays on party and on stars, and having an infant and a toddler in the midst of her terrible twos, it simply doesn't work for me to start playing at that time on that day. Sundays are family time until everyone is asleep, and everyone really needs me to be around and involved on the weekend afternoons like that. So, Hammer Wife and I have reached a very tentative compromise, which loosely stipulates that I can play in one of these Sunday 4pm tournaments "once in a while". I have deliberately resisted us agreeing specifically what "once in a while" means, too. I don't want to know that I can only play once a year, or once every six months, or whatever. I'm just going to try to play the weekend afternoon tournaments once in a while, and just leave it at that.

With that in mind, I'm not the type to just buy in to one of these tournaments for the required $215. For sure I have the money in my online poker roll at this point, but it's just not my thing to buy in for $215 to any regular tournament like this. Not when they have 10 million satellites running at all times for me to choose from to play my way in. That's how I got into the party million tourney in February (winning a 191-person satellite that offered the $640 buyin to the top two finishers), and I figured I need to win a seat first, and then I'll approach Hammer Wife about when is a convenient time for me to play. So, after surveying the landscape, most of the satellites on pokerstars appear to be either rebuy tournaments (I recall $11 and $39 buyin tournaments all over the place), which I'm not looking to do for this purpose since I could just buy in to the damn million tourney itself for $215, or they have the double shootouts, many of which are $11 as well. I like those buyin levels, but I don't want to rebuy, and frankly the double shootout formula is not my bread and butter. I'm quite sure I have the ability to win my way in with these structures, but in general as you all know my game is Multi Table Tournaments, the larger the better, and I really excel in full or nearly full table play over a longer period of time, more than playing all the way down to just 1 left on a table, and then starting over for the shootout table and playing all the way down from full to heads-up all over again. That whole concept sounds to me to be more tailored to an sng guy, someone who is used to going from 10 people around a table down to 1. That's just not my thing. So, I really don't love the pokerstars million satellites, and since I'm not going to be playing in these things more than "once in a while", I haven't tried to get into any of these yet.

What I do like, however, are the partypoker million satellites. Up until recently, party ran a $30 buyin, a $20 buyin, and a $10 buyin satellite to their weekend million tourney, roughly once every hour in the evenings. In fact, when I qualified for the party million in February of this year, it was the $10 flavor satellite that I won to get my $640 seat. Now, as the number of entrants has swelled and the buyin for these weekend events has correspondingly dropped, party has recently changed their party millions satellite structures. The first thing party offers regularly are its $3 rebuy tournaments. Again, I don't like a rebuy for a satellite, and the big issue with this one is that the low buyin attracts hundreds of players in most cases, and yet only the top couple of finishers will win a seat since that buyin is so low (and it pays one party millions buyin seat for every $215 in the prize pool). So I'm not so into the $3 rebuy satellite on party either. But party also offers an $11 straight freezeout (no rebuys) tournament, again with one seat awarded for every $215 in the prize pool of the satellite. This structure most closely resembles the satellite that I won in January to play in the February party millions tournament. It's basically an $11 buyin tournament, and it awards one seat for every 22 entrants. So if 70 people sign up, the top 3 finishers will get into the party millions tourney. Those are not bad odds. But I can do better.

After playing in one of these $11 buyin satellites early this week, I came to the conclusion that, after my big winning streak of late that has left my online roll swelling despite withdrawing 8 grand a few weeks ago, I am actually willing to pay more of a buyin up-front, if it will increase my chances of winning my way in to the party millions. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how I arrived at the decision to play the $33 buyin satellites to the party millions tournaments. Like the $11, there's no rebuy, no add-on, and it plays just like a regular tournament. But there are two key differences between this and the $11 buyin satellites, however. First, fewer people tend to join the $33 buyins, for obvious reasons, and this makes it easier to make it to the end. Secondly, the $33 buyin means that basically one out of every six entrants wins a seat. Or, to state it more practically, you only need to finish in the top 16% of the tournament, and you win your seat. So yes, it costs me $33 a pop to play in these things, instead of just $11 or even $3 if I just play and don't rebuy at all. But in those smaller buyin tournaments, I have to be top 2 out of 200, or top 2 out of 70, to play my way in. In these $33 buyins, if you get, say, 60 people, the top 9 out of 60 will win a seat. Those are odds that work great for me right now, and I have the roll to take a couple of shots thanks to my last month or so of online play.

So, with all that in mind, I played two $33 buyin satellites earlier this week, but with no success. In the first, I took a hideous beat against the chip leader with less than 50 players left and the top 24 getting a seat, at a time when I was in probably 6th place myself, as my pocket Kings lost to his pocket 8s thanks to a runnerrunnerrunnerrunner straight, at the river (of course). In the second $33 satellite, I just donked, plain and simple. And then last night I took my third try, entering the $33 satellite at 10:50pm ET, an event which eventually attracted 40 players, and would award a seat to the top 5. Top 5 out of 40 players -- now that is something I have high confidence I can do with some regularity. And I only need to win a seat at any time within my first six tries in order to have saved money as compared to just buying in directly to the event for the $215 cash money. And I mean, 40 people? That's no bigger than playing a Mookie. Smaller even, using the most recent attendance numbers for the most fun blogger tournament around. And of course I can top-5 a Mookie-sized event. I just did at the Mookie this week. And two weeks ago. So I'm confident playing within in this structure and in my ability to excel in it.

My first big hand in the $33 satellite last night came after about half an hour of foldage to start off. I was dealt AdQd in the cutoff, raised it up 4x and got one caller in early-middle position. The flop came Queen-high, all spades, and he moved in on me, kinda out of the blue, which I found was very curious. He had limped in preflop and then smooth called my raise, which smelled to me like a medium pocket pair or a weakish Ace like AT or AJ more than anything else, so I wasn't putting him on an overpair here. So I called, and he showed me more or less exactly what I was expecting, including a medium flush draw to boot:

Fortunately he did not improve, and I doubled up early, always a huge part of succedding in any multi-table event. Another key element of succeeding in MTTs is some luck, and I got a small dose early last night when I found myself allin with AQ against JJ. I was a slight dog by about 52/48, but I nailed the river card here to double up again and get off to a great early start in my attempt to win a party millions seat:

By the first break a short while later, I had stolen a few more pots as well, leaving me in great shape after the first hour of play:

With this big stack and with the blinds starting to be worth stealing, Round 2 is where I really started to make my move with some aggressive, strategic play. Here is me stealing a nice-sized pot with nada on the turn when the other players had made it more than obvious that they had not hit the board and were not willing to make a play for the pot:

I made similar moves to this all throughout Round 2 of the party millions satellite. And, as I have continually discussed here on the blog, and frankly as Doyle explains early on in SuperSystem, all those stolen pots really add up, and are what enable me to freeroll with everyone else's chips when I suffer a stoopid beat like this one which happened around the middle of the second hour of the tournament, on a three-way allin preflop:

I was furious, and I lost about 40% of my stack, but 40% of my 10,000 stack which still left me above average for that time in the tournament. More than anything else, that's why you simply have got to steal a lot of pots if you want to maximize your chances of winning in MTTs generally. It enables you to freeroll on hands like this with your opponents' money, and to therefore withstand the inevitable cripe that pokerstars or partypoker has to throw at you. And, it leaves me with chips after getting sucked out on, for when someone puts me allin preflop when I am holding suited slick, so that I am in a position to amass a nice stack once again with a little bit of luck:

A bit later, I also actually flopped trips in this tournament, again for the first time out of what seems like my last 20 or 25 pocket pairs. I believe the odds are you will flop trips with your pocket pair approximately 1 in 8 times that you see a flop while holding a pocket pair. No way that's been holding up for me these past few months. I bet I haven't hit trips more than two or three times in the entire last 3 months, and you all know how many hands I play per day, per week, per month. Anyways, I post the picture just so I can see what it looks like, and show you how I got my opponent to move in on me (why do i love doing that so much?):

And with this hand, my stack was large enough to propel me to the final table a few hands later, where the top 8 would receive payouts of some kind, and the top 5 would receive party millions seats:

With me in 3rd place out of 10 at the final table, and just needing a top-5 finish, survival was the name of the game here from the get-go. Which is why it hurt me so badly when, with 6 players left at the final table (ie, right on the true prize bubble for this tournament), my AQ ran into AK, and naturally my opponent flopped both of his hole cards (and then just to piss me off, my Queen came on the river as well). Although I still had chips left, my stack was only about twice that of the guy in 6th place. So I knew I needed to be very cautious to ensure that I didn't waste this golden opportunity to win my party millions seat. I decided I wouldn't make any moves with anything other than the obvious nuts unless and until the short stack made a move first, or got blinded out in the process. But then one hand later, when this pot got folded around to me on the button, I had to go for the steal with what should be a playable hand in this situation:

Unfortunately, the short stack to my left called my bet that put him allin. Suddenly my QJs was looking mighty vulnerable. But then the last guy to act made by far the smartest play of the entire satellite. He too moved in, having a huge stack and not really needing to worry even if he lost this pot. It was a brilliant move, because we were down to the true bubble, the last spot that would not receive a party millions seat, and he should be very much interested in doing something that doesn't hurt him much, and yet can increase the chances of either me or the short stack being eliminated right here, right now. So he called with 74s. Long story short, here was the final board:

I had made my flush. More importantly, this eliminated the short stack, so I had done it! Top 5 was guaranteed, a party millions seat was guaranteed, so we all just made like overaggressive girlfriends and moved in. I ended up out in 5th after the random pushfest:

and that's all she wrote. Now I just need to figure out when I'll be able to play in this thing. I quickly unregistered from this Sunday's event, and I'll just have to wait and see when my first "once in a while" Sunday afternoon actually materializes. Hopefully not too long from now.

And tonight, I'm hoping to play in the $3 rebuy madness tournament if I'm able to get on the computer that early. I'll be putting the girls to bed tonight while Hammer Wife is out to dinner and go shopping with her mother, so your guess is as good as mine as to when I'll actually be able to log on and start the hoying.


Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Awesome, keep these posts coming man, they are like How To guides.

As for the kids issue, that's exactly why I SnG instead of develop an MTT game - got three monsters btw 4y and 4m, so just can't get away with the hours MTTs require. Maybe I'll try this 11- 4am thing you've got going...

11:57 PM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Hey If your on Girlie chat tonight sometime let me know.. I have a couple of questions..

1:03 AM  
Blogger SugarlandStump said...

Great job man. I also like reading these posts, they help me tweak my MTT game.

Keep it up!

1:51 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

The Machine. So when does the book "Hoying your way to Victory: A Lesson in MTT Mastery" come out ?

2:46 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wow you really put some time into thinking of that title, didn't you Mookie? That's really funny.

And anyone who would publish a book written by someone with my writing skillz is even more F'd up than I am.

So jealous you're off to Vegas man. I haven't been in probably four years now, and have no plans to get back there anytime soon.

3:24 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

steppin' it up to the million $ guaranteed MTT's huh?

dude, if you final table one of those bad boys, that'll be sum serious coin. GL

5:39 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

I can't wait to read about your run in the Mil. It better be good, dammit!

11:25 AM  
Blogger Poker Jones said...

Just keep telling those donks in the Million one thing: Ship it!

Great job.

11:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home