Sunday, March 12, 2006

Final Tables and Bonus Whoring

I made the final table in a 400+ person tournament yesterday. I haven't played too many NL tournaments this year, preferring cash games instead. The few I played in were charity events or WWdN ones which are both a total crapshoot. Tournaments were killing my bankroll and I cut down on buy-ins to help stop the bleeding during my three-month losing streak. Besides, I'm a much better cash game player.

If you count making the final table at the LA Poker Classic media tournament (where a seat to the WPT Invitational on the line), that was my second final table in three plus weeks. I would like to think that I'm playing better poker. I'm not. Short term success in tournaments is determined by luck, not skill. Sure, I made the correct decisions but I have to admit that I have been getting lucky. My big hands held up. I hit a few draws. I caught a few lucky rivers. I didn't go on tilt when I lost big hands via suckouts. And most importantly, everyone folded when I bluffed.

I took 7th out of 486 and aside from two big hands early on, I had to bluff and steal my way to the final table. I definitely got lucky and had to maximize marginal hands like A-9, Q-10s, or 3-3 since those were the best hands I was getting. If just one person called my semi-bluffs, I would have been busted out on the bubble. As soon as play got close to the money, I played even more aggressively. With a lot of medium stacks at my table, they played like pussies and stayed out of my way. They wanted to fold into the money which gave me the opportunity to take down pots preflop. I'm not satisfied with just making the money. The only money place I look at in a tournament is for first place. That's the only pay out amount that really matters.

I fell short of winning my first MTT of the year. Early on I had A-A and doubled up. Anyone with a half a brain can play pocket aces. I scooped a big pot with a junk hand. In late position I limped in and flopped a gutshot. Five people were in the pot with me and I turned the straight. I busted two players on that hand. They never saw it coming.

I had one very big laydown when I folded 10-10. I raised preflop in middle position and got two callers behind me. All rags fell on the flop and I bet out the size of the pot. One called and another moved all in. I suspected that one of them had a higher pair or possibly a set. I mucked. The guy with J-J won the pot.

I finished in 7th and wasn't all upset. With one of the shortstacks, I made a move with K-5s as the blinds were about to go up on the very next hand. I pushed all in preflop and ran into K-10. I flopped two pair but got sent to the rail on the turn when he paired his kicker.

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I've been bonus whoring since my return to NYC. Party Poker has a reload bonus! Use bonus code 25TO100MARCH when you reload between now and March 16 and you're eligible for a 25% bonus up to $100. It's convenient since I've been playing most of my poker over the last few weeks I've been grinding out multiple 3/6 full ring tables and hit and running at the 5/10 6 max tables. I like playing on Party Poker because my screen name is not DrPauly like it is on other sites. The anonymity is precious these days.

I got my ass kicked on Poker Stars the past two days multi-tabling 3/6 tables trying to clear their new reload bonus. If you don't know they are offering up a 20% up to $120 reload bonus until Monday, March 13th at 11:59 PM ET. Players must earn 5 FPP's for each $1 in bonus money. As always, bonuses at Poker Stars never expire. They are running this promotion because WSOP satellites started yesterday. I'm whoring there too after I reloaded.

Yeah, another way to break out of a losing funk is to do a little bonus whoring. If you sucessfully clear a bonus without taking a hit to the bankroll, it's free money.

Recent Poker Playing Music...
1. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
2. Jeff Tweedy
3. Cream
4. Galactic
5. Traffic

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Thanks to my Top 10 Referrals for the past week.
1. Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog
2. Iggy's Guinness and Poker
3. Tao of Pauly
4. CJ, G-Rob, and Otis at Up for Poker
5. Joe Speaker's Obituarium
6. Al's Al Cant Hang
7. Dan's Pokerati
8. Double As
9. Change100's Pot Committed
10. Chris Halverson's Chris Halverson
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By the way, just a reminder that Biggestron set up a WPBT Player of the Year Circuit tournament tonight on Poker Stars.
First event in the WPBT-POY Race!

What: Pot Limit Omaha
Where: PokerStars (Private Tourney 20742121)
When: Sunday, March 12th at 9:30 PM EST (or 6:30 PM PST)
Cost: $20+2
Password: wpbt72
Restrictions: Bloggers only!
See you there for some PLO action.

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