Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sunday Morning Tournament Report

I woke up on Sunday morning with no real plans for the day. The family had spent most of yesterday at the pool and most everyone was pretty tired, so we decided to have a laid back Sunday. I figured what better way to spend it than entering Party Poker's $5 Multi Table Tournament. I'd read of other bloggers competing in it, but had yet to give it a try. And at $5, the price was right.

There were a total of 1317 entrants, paying the winner $1317 and things started off just as crazy as a sit 'n go. On hand #2, I see someone go all in w/A,K and get called with someone holding 3,3. A K on the river eliminated our first player. This was going to be crazy.

Turned out there were a few other bloggers competing, so I sweated them a bit while I was playing.

Al Can't Hang, Derek from Poker in the Weeds (I bet he's tired of being referred to as Pauly's Brother), and LordGeznikor were all playing. They had an early lead on me as I was down to T975 due to blind folding. Meanwhile, Pauly is sweating all of us at the same time.

Then I saw Al leave the tournament on a crushing defeat. He's holding the Hiltons and is all in vs. someone w/JJ. The flop has a lovely Q, but the runner-runner J's gave his opponent quads. Absolutely horrific beat right there.

Back on my table, there's already a bully with T3500 stealing blinds.

I'm finally dealt a playable hand: A,A. I raise to T50 and get 3 callers. The flop is K,J,3 and I bet T125 and get 1 caller. I then go all in with a rag on the turn and am called. The other guy had A,J and I doubled up early.

Level 2 begins with 1163 players remaining. I play very few hands, folding 6,6 in middle position. I held Q,J spades and saw a Q,9,5 flop with two clubs. I raise a few minimum bets to T100 and get 1 caller. The turn is a 3rd club and I check, basically inviting someone to bet me out of this hand. Wisely, they bet T300 and I have to fold it.

Level 3 starts and 995 players remain, I'm holding T1725. No real playable hands to speak of for this level. I folded A,9 a couple of times - each time they would have won, but that's a hand that gets too dangerous early in these tourneys.

Off to level 4 and by this level, the bloggers are treading water with yours truly at T1665, Lord Geznikor at T540 and Derek at T1509. I'm folding hand after hand, all the while my bladder is filling from this morning's coffee. Thank god there's a break soon. One hand I played was A,K and I open the raising to T150. The button calls to see an A,9,2 flop. I bet T300 and am called. I decide to check here to see if I can get him to go all in, but instead the button bets T175 which I immediately raise to T350 figuring he'd fold. He calls and the river brings garbage. We both check and find out we're holding the same hands. After this hand I find LordGeznikor all out and he graciously decides to sweat me a bit before he heads to lunch. Before the break, I'm dealt A,J spades and raise to T350 and get 1 caller. The flop is 8,2,2 and I check. Surprisingly, the caller also checks. We both check the turn which was a 5. The river brings a J and I bet T275. I'm raised over the top all-in and I pause to think a bit. He really can't have JJ else he'd never have checked the post-flop and post-turn bets. So I call. He's holding K,J and I eliminate him.

Level 5 and I'm at T2328 with 708 players left. I only play 1 hand, 8,8. I see a A,Q,2 flop, all of them clubs. Holding the 8 of clubs, I bet out T200 hoping to steal the pot. Luckily I do. Then I see Derek go out with A,K vs. QQ. I believe I'm the only blogger left at this point.

Level 6 sees me at the same chip count T2328 which is barely above average with 609 players left. I manage to steal a big blind from a known tight player when I'm the small blind holding 4,8 diamonds. That's kick ass play right there my friends :) I see the Hiltons in middle position, raise 3x the BB to T450 and get no action. I get a big blind special holding Q,3 and see a Q,4,5 flop. I bet out, but am called by a pretty loose player. The turn is a J, I bet out again and am called. Now I'm a bit nervous. The river brings a 6 and I bet out T150 again, and the other player finally folds. Sheesh, what took him so long?

Level 7 and there are 454 left and I'm sitting at T2853, right about average. I see Q,J in the big blind and the small blind goes all in, very short stacked. I call, and the SB flips 2,2. The flop brings a Q and he's gone. Not too much later, I'm dealt A,A UTG. I raise 3x BB to T600 and two other people call all in. One is shortstacked while the other has a stack close to my size. Have to call here for sure and do. The short stack is holding A,10 hearts and the larger stack is holding A,J. The board shows 3 hearts and the shorter stack survives, but I still get a very decent sized side pot putting me over T5000.

Level 8 didn't see me play many hands, in fact, I think I only played one blind steal attempt with J,T offsuit. Luckily it worked and I moved onto Level 9 with T5713. I'm dealt 7,7 in the big blind and I simply limp in. The flop is T,6,2 and I check. Only 1 caller, and he bets out the minimum. I see it as a weak play and raise him, but he calls. The turn brings another 2 and I check. He goes all in. I put him on overcards and was relieved to see I was correct when I called. He showed K,Q and received no help. I move up to T8093 and am ready for the next break.

At this point Maudie_B makes herself heard among the railbirds, cheering me on. Also, Pauly tells me he's off to his brother's apartment to watch those damn Yankees play and tells me not to get knocked out before he logs back on. I need to eat something, so I refill my coffee and down a Krispy Kream donut. Mmmmm....donuts.....

During level 10, there are only 195 left and I'm at T7493. I'm dealt A,10 of spades and the wife implores me to "Just play it." Well, before it gets to me, someone goes all in and is called, so I muck. I would have had the best starting hand, but would have been severely outdrawn, nice Hellmuth-ian laydown right there. I'm dealt the Hiltons in middle position, but get no action on a 3x BB raise. A big blind special gives me Q,8 and I see a T,8,2 flop with the small blind who is very loose and has the biggest stack. He bets and I throw in a raise and he calls. The turn is an A and we both check. The river is a 7 and he bets out the minimum again. The pot odds tell me to call and I win, outkicking his 8,4 with my Q,8. During another playable hand, I'm dealt A,Q on the button. A middle position player makes it T1500 and the big stack of the table calls. I choose to lay it down. Perhaps it was a weak play, but I just didn't like my hand there. The flop came 8,5,3 and the big stack put the MP raiser all-in, wherein he folded. Not sure I'd be able to call that bet either with only overcards.

Level 11 and we're closer to the money with 148 players left and the payouts beginning at 130th. I have T9893 which is just above average. I fold Q,J diamonds to a preflop raise, and the board finishes off with T,9,8. Still, a good laydown to what turned out to be 8,8 vs Q,Q. More than likely, I can fold my way into the money from here, but I don't really want to go that route. LordGeznikor reminds me of Tom McEvoy's fox/farmer analogy. I tell him I'm the fox here and bluff my way to two decent pots with 10,8 offsuit and A,7. I probably felt that this strategy was working too well when I raised with Q,T offsuit and doubled up someone holding 9,9. Oh well, can't win all those bluff steal attempts, just have to make sure you are set up to survive when you don't.

Level 12 and we're in the money, again with me holding a just above average stack with T11465. I limp in the small blind with J,10 of spades and see a T,5,3 of spades flop. I bet the minimum and gladly get no action. LordGeznikor recommends I play A,10 hard the next hand and it's me vs. the big stack. He's just throwing minimum bets out there on a garbage flop that has completely missed me. After the river, he bets T2000 and I call based both on pot odds and the garbage this guy had been playing. He had Kx and I take a very big pot and get to T20965.

Off to level 13 with only 87 players left and I'm 33% above the average stack. Pauly informs be that Bernie Williams has just hit a grandslam for the Yankees. Gee thanks. I blind steal twice more with J,9 and A,9 with the help of LordGeznikor. These steals are all based on position and stack sizes of the blinds, a strategy that I need to consider more often.

Level 14, 67 players, my stack is T21715 and 10% above average. I'm in the big blind with A,7 and everyone watching including me think that a late position player is attempting a blind steal. Well, he wasn't. I double up someone holding A,K and my stack suffers from some unforseen downsizing. I get T3000 back from the blinds when A,K gets no action. Then the Hiltons show up one more time and I raise to T5000 and get 1 caller. A 3rd Q shows up on the flop and I'm ready for some serious slowplaying. Unfortunately, a minimum bet gets out the lone caller, but my stack grows back to right around average.

Level 15, 53 players and I'm at T21191, 10% below average. I'm on the button and see K,J offsuit. There is one early position player who raises the minimum, but I pounce. Perhaps I was over eager here, but I reraised all-in. A bit to my surprise, everyone folds and I take away over T10,000 on this steal. Very risky, but it paid off. I get A,K in middle position and reraise all-in again. One player complains he had a big pair and had to fold it. Hey fella, it's not my job to make it easier on you to play your hands. Everyone folds and I get to T37691. I get no action with a 3x BB raise holding 7,7.

Then my hand of the tournament. I limp in pre-flop to someone who's all in for less than 2x BB since there were four callers. When it's checked around to me after the flop, I try to steal by betting T5000. I'm reraised all in and now calling the raise is a must due to pot odds.

I mis-played this hand so badly it hurt.

Well, not too much, since I caught runner runner for the J-high straight, knocking out two people in the process and more than doubling my stack to over T75000. Now I'm in great position to finish further up in the standings.

I called a short stack's all-in holding A,K to his 9,9. The flop gave me an A but after all was said and done, the board showed A,2,3,4,5 and we split the pot. I get A,K one more time this level, but a 3x BB raise gets no action. AlCan'tHang joins the railbirds, urging me on.

I don't think I played a hand on level 16, but I was sweated by g8rengr. If you see this g8rengr, leave a comment, I'm drawing a blank on who you are. Sorry.

Level 17 and there are only 34 players left, my stack is nearly 2x the average at T73878. At this point, I'm just stoked to finish ahead of the great one's finish on Saturday. The tournament slows to a crawl as all tables have to finish their hand to continue. Yawn. I split a pot by raising a small stack all in. We both have A,6. I'm dealt 10,10 and do my standard 3x BB raise and someone raises all-in. I call. They're holding 5,5 and I'm now sitting on T109,318. AlCan'tHang proclaims me his hero and I lobby for a spot on next year's dream team. I'm then dealt K,K in the small blind and put two callers all-in. One has A,K and the other J,J. The flop kicks me in the jimmy with A,A,x. But I win the side pot against the larger stacked J,J and only drop about T12,000 on the hand. It could have easily been much worse.

Level 18, down to 25 players and I'm at T97786, again nearly 2x the average stack. I piss away some chips by calling a minimum raise with Q,10 clubs. The flop is A,10,x and I bet out T18,000. I'm raised to T36k and fold to a probable A. Now were down to 20 players but my stack has dwindled to slightly below average. Can't afford to toss away T30K in chips like that.

Before the level ends, I'm greeted with the Hiltons again. I have just over T60,000 and go all-in against one preflop raiser. He calls and shows A,K. I have him covered by about T11K and see garbage on the flop and on the turn. But the river is a killer. The A on the river cripples me down to T11K and my aspirations of winning this thing fly out the window.

But, alas, all is not lost. Level 19 rolls around and I realize I'm in the fold or push stage since the blinds are 5K/10K. Luckily for me, I get dealt K,K before the blinds reach me and I push. I more than double up to T27K, but am still hurting. The cards kept coming though and 2 hands later I'm dealt J,J. I push again, but get no action. Still, stealing T15K in blinds is no small thing for me at this point and I am at T42K. Still at the push or fold spot, I'm dealt A,7 suited UTG. I decide to go for it, but my dreams are shattered by someone holding A,Q.

Well, remember how the A on the river 2 levels before crushed me? Well, the 7 on the river here crushed my opponent. Just like Fenway's Green Monster, the River giveth, and the river taketh away. Pauly mentions something about the Hiltons giveth'ing him headeth or something like that....

So I manage to crawl back into contention with T89K and there are only 15 left. I don't play any hands and before I know it, we're down to the final table with 10 remaining players. Yowza, 1307 people eliminated so far. This is just crazy that I'm still alive, but I won't complain. Unfortunately for me, I'm the 2nd shortest stack at the final table and with the blinds still at 5K/10K, I'm still thinking in the fold or push mentality.

I'm dealt A,7 and see four callers in front of me. I'm really smelling weakness and after 5 hours of play decide to push. The more I think about it, the more I believe this was a questionable decision. Only 3 out of 4 players folded and the remaining caller had me outchipped easily. He was holding 8,8 and I didn't catch any miracle A and I'm bounced in 10th place.

I truly had a blast. This was the biggest tourney I've played in and I got further than I ever thought I would. Getting cheered on by the fellow bloggers is an awesome feeling, so thanks to everyone who saw the action: Pauly, Derek, Al, Maudie, LordG, and the mysterious g8rengr....

With this tourney under my belt, watch out for me in the blogger tourney in a couple of weeks. I'm primed!

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