Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Tournament Report: WBT II

All day long I was hyping the Blogger tourney (WBT II). I was shouting from the rooftops, giving bums on the street $22 to join in, doing PR work all over the Internet.

Okay, so I'm lying. But I was excited about the 2nd WBT, because so many others were excited, and that is catching!

Our tourney was held at True Poker. Not my favorite online cardroom, but not the worst I've ever played in. I was appalled to see the blind structure. I know True has less hands per hour than most online cardrooms due to the "real life" graphics. So with 13 minute levels, and blinds escalating into the stratosphere within four levels, I figured that the tourney would be very short, given that we only start with 1000 in chips.

I whined to Iggy about the problem, and he wrote True Poker. They never wrote back, but when I checked the structure again, I found we were given 1500 in chips to start. Well, something is better than nothing!

I wish I could remember who was at my table, but I don't have the frigging hand history. True makes you request it BEFORE the tourney starts! Hello! I have written them an e-mail request for the complete history, but so far, nada, and it has been three days, so I think my request is going the way of the Choice Poker request. Nowhere.

I do know that Iggy, Grubby, Grubette and Pauly were at my first table. I think.

Anyway, I didn't get much to begin with. I figured that I'd been running so badly in HE, that this might just prolong the agony. I was dealt 97s in the BB. Flopped top pair, bet about 3x the BB, I believe. Callers abound. What were they calling with??? Beats me, but I didn't think any of them had a thing. Turn was a rag, but a second heart and a gutshot to boot, I bet again. I got a billion more callers. I think I yelled out, "You bunch of calling stations!" Gotta love trash talking :)

Grubby was the only one who had something. 98o, I believe. He was just as worried about kicker and/or a slowplayed overpair. My excuse is, I was stuck in the BB. What was his excuse for playing that junk??? LOL!

Already down about 300, I was checked into a straight a little while later, in the BB with 54 or something like that. Passive players!

For the next hour, I received no playable hands. I might have stolen a pot here and there, but mostly, I just think I folded.

Finally, as I was getting desperate (down to about 700 in chips, as the blinds almost always doubled), I went all-in with TT. No call. Just minutes afterwards, I started getting hands like AKo, AQo, AJo, JJ, QQ. I just shoved all-in. I didn't have time to screw around, with no chips and the blinds eating me alive. Somehow I never got called. Not once.

On the button I went for the steal with ATo. I think I raised about 3x the BB, but who knows, since they didn't have a box to type in our bets. I just slid the slider about halfway to the right, and bet, lol.

To my surprise, Daily Grinder raised! I thought maybe he was going for the re-steal, since I'd been going all-in every few hands. So I called him, since I had about double in chips vs. his stack. Oops! He had KK, but I sucked out on him. I think I got both an ace and a ten. The way True does all-in's is lightening fast. Flop, turn, river "you win," and everything shuts down. What was that???? Jeez. Think you guys could make it any faster? The only thing worse I've seen is the way Party used to do all-in's during tourneys. That was maybe a nanosecond faster than True.

Two more times during the tourney I could have put bad beats on players. I didn't call the all-in's though. I played correctly. I could have knocked out Grubby and another player at the same time. I had AJs. A short stack went all-in in his blind, I believe. Grubby went over the top with JJ. I would have gotten the ace.

Grubby and Pauly were leading at our table. Like most maniacs, they both got an early, big score. Both suckouts, I believe, and then they were off and running, able to raise most pots and steal before the flop. They kept accumulating chips, and no one was really in a position to stop them, so they knocked out player after player. I just sat and watched, while going all-in several times, with good hot & cold hands. I still never got called.

We went from two tables to one table like lightening. True wanted this tourney over FAST. As is typical, cardrooms want us to play cash games, not tourneys, so they get the tourneys over with as quickly as possible, hoping we will migrate to cash games. Blah.

I was just treading water. I was never able to build up a good stack, because no one ever called me. I must have gone all-in 25 +/- times, and was never called even once. By the time we got to the final table, I was yelling into the monitor, "Call me! CALL!"

I thought I might bubble again, because I was the only one going all-in on the bubble. I think Chris Halverson had to go all-in once on the bubble, out of desperation, because he was very short stacked and the blinds were so high, but besides that, I was the only one constantly taking risks. The rest of the time, Pauly was stealing blinds. He had a tremendous lead.

Grubby had lost his ability to steal, and started getting shorter and shorter, having lost his earlier lead. It was like he forgot that he was a maniac, and went into a shell. He just folded everything. I have no idea what he had, but every once in a while, I just don't even look at my cards and shove in. When I am desperate, when I think I can steal, when I think I have a good image, when my position is right. Lots of reasons. I come from the TJ Cloutier school of playing with a short stack.

No one knows that we DON'T have AA. No one has to know that we have 72o. This is not an open card game like Stud. No one knows. We can raise with 72o just like AA. If it makes it easier, just don't look. Just pretend we have AA, and play it that way (all-in), when we need a pot, no one has voluntarily entered the hand, we are in late position (or a good steal position, depending on the people and their stacks who have to act after you), etc. Just do it. Don't let yourself get ground away to dust.

Look through my old posts about tourneys played at the Tropicana. Likewise all of my old tourneys played in Vegas, before I started keeping a log of stories. I tried that route, letting myself get blinded away. It doesn't work. I'm not just speaking out of my butt, it really doesn't work. Ask anyone. Any WCP will tell you the same. Even tight Dan Harrington has to make some crazy moves at some point in every tourney. Good cards alone won't win a tourney. Tight play alone won't get you into the money. Sometimes, just close your eyes, grit your teeth, and shove all-in with nothing. Don't do it as a lark, do it when you HAVE to.

End of sermon. LOL :)

Trying desperately NOT to be the bubble boy, Grubby, of course, ended up on the bubble. That is a big misconception among short stacks on the bubble. They think that if they just fold everything, they won't get the bubble. Unless they are less bubblicious than several other players, they usually end up on the bubble anyway. And if they finally do get a monster hand before that time, they have no chips left to make a recovery to the big money. So it is a double-negative. It is wrong to play like that for many reasons, not just one.

Once Grubby was out and we were all in the money, Pauly overextended himself. He started calling all-in's. It is one thing to raise and steal every hand, when it is shorthanded and no one has much of anything, but it is another thing to call an over-the-top raise or all-in, by timid players who don't have enough chips to pull any re-steals or bluffs.

Pauly ran up against several superior hands, and lost every one. He went from having us all outchipped several times over, to being one of the shortstacks himself.

I was out at fifth. I tried to hang on, but since no one would call my all-in's, I couldn't build more than about 6000 in chips. Then I went on a huge run of horrible cards, nothing above a seven for about 20-25 hands. Nothing. I couldn't defend my blinds, and they come around very quickly only five-handed. I couldn't do a thing. I kept waiting for a face card, any face card. Something suited, something connected. No, nothing. I had about 1700 left in my BB, which was 1000/500 by now. I had trash in my BB, 74o, I believe, and Pauly raised again. I had to dump it, thinking I would go all-in in my SB no matter what I was dealt.

Well, as fate would have it, between my BB and SB, the blinds were increased to 1000/2000. I knew I had no chance to make a comeback and win this thing. I got J5o in my SB, was all-in, and eliminated by Pauly with AQ.

Pauly still didn't have many chips, because knocking me out got him almost nothing. He was eliminated in 3rd, but a valuable lesson was learned. We have talked about his play since then, and I think he will profit from that mistake many times over, in the future.

Otis from Up for Poker won the tourney. In an amazing turnaround, Chris Halverson won 2nd. Great going, guys. Thanks for letting me steal so many of your blinds, Chris. You got it all back and more :)