Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"No points for second place." - Slider, Top Gun
Good Lord. I opened up a post with a quote from Top Gun. I have slipped into the deepest depths of depravity. All that is missing is a desperate rag soaked in ether and a random Coldplay song playing continuously on my iPod for seventeen straight hours.

That's what finishing in second place after blowing the chiplead at the final table will do to a man. I have a tinge of Sylvia Plath's internal misery running rampant in my stomach like butterflies jacked up on trucker's speed. All I wanted to do was kill some time and now I wanna drown a sack of puppies.

Curiosity killed the cat. And when Curious George glimpsed at the dark side, he ended up addicted to pain killers and turning tricks in West Hollywood for $40 a tug.

I had an hour to kill and decided to play a Satellite on Full Tilt to the $200 PLO FTOPS event while two tabling 5/10 Limit tables. Therein lay my downfall.

I had not played a PLO tournament since I busted out of the $1500 PLO event at the World Series of Poker this summer at the Rio. During the last days of the Party Poker disco, I cleaned up at the $1K PLO tables. Although I hadn't played in several weeks, I had plenty of confidence in my PLO game.

My strategy was simple... play tight and jam pots when I have the nuts and big redraws. I mucked several hands the first hour before I found Ad-As-5s-5c in LP. I raised the pot and got three callers. I flopped top set on a board of Ac-9d-8d and knew someone was going broke. There was a bet, a call, then I raised the pot. First guy pushed all in. The second guy did the same. I pushed too and although I correctly put them on a nut flush draw (Kd-Kx-7d-Jx) and two pair (8-9-K-2), I probably should have folded my top set with no redraws. Mucking big hands is never easy to do.

The turn was the 3d which filled in the flush. I had outs for a boat and I pumped my fists ala Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series when the 9h spiked on the river. My boat was bigger and I took down the monster pot and busted two players. That hand propelled me into second place and I'd stay at the front of the pack for the remainder of the tournament.

I busted two more players when I flopped top set with K-K-9-9 double suited. I was up against two pair and a nut flush draw. Deju vu all over again. Yogi Berra would have been proud. Luckily neither draw hit and I took over the chiplead.

I slipped to second in chips by the time we redrew for seats at the final table. I regained the lead for a moment with seven players to go before I donked off most of my chips and doubled up the short stack. Twice.

I should have known better. Like the infamous words uttered by Chef in Apocalypse Now... "Never get out of the boat," I knew better.

"Never double up a short stack at the final table of a tournament."

And I did it twice. On consecutive hands.

Fuckin' rookie. I acted like an overzealous newbie and quickly found myself one of the shortstacks and having to play shorthanded. Earlier in the year, I went on a binge of PLO SNGs on Poker Stars in order to improve my PLO short-handed MTT game. I'm glad all that training paid off. Aggression in late position and post-flop allowed me to accumulate chips quicker than Tara Reid picks up STDs. I stole my way back into contention and waited until I could catch a big hand or hit a monster flop.

With three players left, the game slowed down. Substantially. We played three handed for almost an hour as the lead got passed back and forth every few minutes. I was in last place until I caught a fortunate card with a river flush to level the stacks. A mere 2K separated the remaining players. I snatched chiplead after I flopped The Wheel and my opponent missed his flush redraw.

Those chips fled from my stack faster than the French troops surrendering after unsuccessfully holding the Maginot Line against the Nazi invasion in 1940. I was shortstacked. Again.

I had A-A double suited on the button and raised, like I had always been doing in LP. I got action from the blinds and flopped a flush draw. I got their on the river and cracked a flopped set. I lost the chip lead two hands later when my opponents became entangled in raising war when they both turned a boat.

When heads up play began, I trailed 3 to 1. And one hand later I was out in second place. I flopped two pair and picked up a flush redraw on the turn, only to lose to a set.

Prize for second place?

Nothing. Emptiness. Which aptly describes my hallow soul after that nut crushing defeat. Ah, let's be honest. I never should have been at the final table. I made mistakes but all those lucky river cards made up for the poor decisions and that's how I made it that far. My mere existence is a sham.

Full Tilt is running a ton of satellites for their FTOPS which started the other day. This is their version of PokerStars WCOOP. The FTOPS $500 buy-in Main Event is a $1 million guarantee. Not too shabby.
FTOPS Schedule
Tue Nov 14 9:00pm NL 6 max $216 buy-in ($250K guarantee)
Wed Nov 15 9:00pm HORSE $216 buy-in ($150K guarantee)
Thu Nov 16 9:00pm PL Hold'em $216 buy-in ($200K guarantee)
Fri Nov 17 9:00pm Razz $216 buy-in ($75K guarantee)
Sat Nov 18 4:30pm PLO Hi $216 buy-in ($100K guarantee)
Sun Nov 19 6:00pm NL $535 buy-in ($1M guarantee)
I almost won a seat to the PLO event but missed by one spot when I came in second place. A few moments ago, I decided to buy-in directly to Saturday's $216 PLO event. I funded my buy-in by fleecing the influx of Party fish donating their bankrolls at the 5/10 Limit tables. I thought about playing more satellites this week, but satellites are the crack cocaine of the online poker world. Like Keith Harring's 1986 epic mural in Harlem said...

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