Friday, October 26, 2007

Beating the Bad Players and the Good Ones

On Thursday I woke up and played some 6 handed $5/$10 limit hold'em. There is a very lengthy, but interesting reason why I was doing that which I will save for another post. It started off going fine, but after about 2 hours I was stuck about $500. Crap!

Instead of pressing on I decided to switch to playing a few multitables. After 45 minutes or so I was in 6 tournaments, 3 of which ended much more quickly than I would have liked. The remaining 3 were: a $55 tournament that started with 1,200 entrants, an $11 tournament (one of the quicker ones with 10 minute limits) with 883 entrants and a $55 plus rebuys tournament with 206 entrants.

In the $55 I made the money and with 60 or so players left I was eliminated because of a misclick! Oops! I was playing the other two tournaments which were going well and somehow I accidentally clicked on a button which put me all in with a hand I never would have played. I had about 20,000 chips which was about a third of average and the first player to act raised to 12,000. The window of that game popped into the foreground just as I was moving my mouse across the action buttons and BOOM, I was all in with K2! ACK!

Given the situation I wasn't in terrible shape. My opponent had A5 giving me about a 35% chance to win the pot, but I didn't manage to pull it out. I still made a net profit of something like $200 on that tournament and I was a long ways away from the final table so it wasn't a disaster.

In the $11 tournament I was doing well early and then ran into some trouble which left me very short stacked with about 90 players left as we were getting close to the money. With blinds of 400/800 and a 50 chip ante I was down to 3,600 chips and first to act. Rather than go through the blinds and lose a third of my already tiny stack I decided to move all in with Q3 suited. I expected to get called and probably lose, but it was only an $11 tournament so who cares?

In fact I did get called, and by TWO players. But I flopped a Q which was enough to drag the pot and give me a fair sized stack of about 12,000 chips. From there it was a massive turbo to the top. I doubled up to 25,000 chips when I beat KQ with 99. Then I busted a player with about 10,000 chips who played KJ against my AQ. A few hands later I went from 35,000 to 70,000 with QQ vs AT.

I'd increased my stack by a factor of 20 in less than 20 hands! I sat on a stack around 70,000 chips for about the next 50 hands occasionally scooping in the blinds and eventually caught another break when someone went all in with 77 against my 88. When we got down to two tables I had my stack up to over 130,000 and was in first place. I went to work stealing blinds and was certain I was going to the final table. While the prizes at the top didn't have my mouth watering (after all the entire prize pool was only $8,830) anything higher than 5th would wipe out the $500 cash game loss from earlier in the day.

With 20 players left I busted someone else. I got a little too aggressive with KQ and was lucky to find myself against TT and not AK or AQ. I was even luckier to hit a Q and win the pot. Now I was up over 200,000 and in one of my favorite situations - I had twice as many chips as the player in 2nd place!

With about 15 players left the other players caught up a bit, but not for long. On consecutive hands I eliminated a player with TT vs A8 and another with JJ vs KQ. As we cruised into the final table I felt like I was in complete control with almost a third of the chips in play in my stack.

The final table went by in a blur. Myself and one other player were chopping down our opponents left and right. We went from 9 players to 4 in ELEVEN HANDS! That is unheard of. My main opponent and I each had over 500,000 chips while the other two players had less than 100,000 so it was only a matter of time until we squashed them. About 15 hands later one player finished in 4th earning a little over $600 and he was soon followed by the third place finisher who got paid $800.

Now there were just two of us. 1st place was $2,200 and 2nd was $1225 so we were playing for about $1,000. I knew I was much better than my opponent and never tempted to offer a deal. Heads up play lasted about 20 hands and I feel like I didn't win a single pot (I'm sure I won a little one in there somewhere). Whatever my opponent needed he got. He was playing literally every hand and kept hitting monsters. If he was any good at all he could have busted me 4 times before he actually did. On the final hand I had AQ against his A5 and he flopped two fives!

From the time there were 25 player left I felt like I was going to win this one, but I can't be upset about how I played and certainly not about making over 100 times my buy in!

But that's not the end of the story! I was still in the $55 with rebuys. Everyday pokerstars has a $109 with rebuys and a $55 with rebuys that start at 11:15 and 12:15 respectively. The thing about rebuy tournaments is they are much bigger than the initial buy in would suggest. Anytime you get below a certain chip count you can "rebuy" more chips so if you want to be competitive you're looking at at least a $309 commitment (some players spend well over $1,000 in an effort to accumulate chips) to play the first tournament and at least $155 for the second.

What happens is there are 50+ online tournament pros or very serious players who play both of these tournaments every day. While there are tons of big buy in SNGs and cash games, it's hard to find big buy in multitables during the week with enough players to make the prize pool really interesting. These two fit the bill and draw some excellent players. If you're on the west coast and a multitable pro you set your alarm for 11 am (one of the perks of the job is sleeping in late every day) and play both every day. The point is while I was no doubt one of the top 2 or 3 players of the 883 in the $11 tournament, I was probably only in the top 25 of 206 in this one, and there weren't too many players who sucked.

I struggled through the whole tournament. When we got to the top 27 I was thrilled to just make the money (which was about $260 gross - I was in for $155). I was playing the final table of the $11 tournament not really paying attention and I saw we were down to 18 which added another $100+ to my prize. Great!

I was in 11th place with 13 players left when I caught a huge break. The blinds were 2500/5000 with a 250 ante and I got dealt A7. I moved all in for about 60,000 and instantly regretted it. This was just a little too aggressive. I got called by JJ and found myself only about 30% to win. Amazingly I hit an A on the turn and found myself with an average sized stack.

I was still around average with 140,000 chips when we made it to the final table. On the very first hand of the final table with blinds still at 2500/5000 I was in the big blind with 55. The first player to act raised to 13,000 (a weird amount) and I decided to call. The flop came down 8 6 2 and while I'd considered checking and folding I decided instead to bet out 20,000. I figured if my opponent (who started the hand with about 95,000 chips) had big cards he'd fold and if he had an over pair he'd raise.

But he just called. The turn brought a miracle - one of the two remaining 5's in the deck giving me almost certainly the best hand. I checked feeling 95% sure my opponent would move all in and that's just what he did. I confidently called expecting to see something like TT, 99 or even AK. Instead I saw 96 of clubs? What? Then I saw that the 5 on the turn was a club and the 8 on the flop was a club! Yikes! I was expecting to be a total lock to win and instead I had to dodge a 7 or a club to win the pot. Guess what the river was...the 7 of clubs making my opponent a straight flush! Crap!

I was down to 45,000 and in last place. 9th paid $650, but moving up just one more spot was worth another $500 and the spot above that was worth another $500. I was determined to survive long enough for at least one person to go broke. I stole the blinds a few times and then the player in the small blind moved all in with K9 when I had A9 in the big blind. I managed to win that one and was out of immediate danger.

It took almost 50 hands for the first player to go broke at the final table! What an amazing contrast to the $11 tournament where 5 players went broke in 11 hands and the whole final table only took a little more than 50 hands!

This table plodded along for what felt like forever. I never really managed to pick up much in the way of chips, but I didn't go south either. The other players were playing plenty of hands, but many of the confrontations were going the wrong way.

We have to go to dinner soon, so I'm going to sum up. By the time we made it down to 5 players I only had 80,000 chips while everyone else had 200,000 plus. I went broke in 5th, but didn't feel the least bit bad about it. 5th place paid a sweet $2,750!!!!

Another amazing day to go on top of a crazy fantastic month. I am playing some great poker lately and I'm hoping I can keep up anything even close to what I've been doing for the past 7 weeks. It's like every time I get 5 times as many chips as I started with I take it to the final table. I should not be this easy to keep chewing thorough these big fields and I know I'm just running super hot right now. Either that or I'm one of the best players in the world and I just somehow put it all together last month. Let's hope that's it. :)

Anyway, I kick ass. I'm taking 3 days off in row before getting back to work on Monday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for people to know.

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