Thursday, August 07, 2008

888th place in FTOPS Event #1

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

It didn't look like I was going to be able to play. It as late on Wednesday afternoon and Change100 and I were caught up in traffic in Malibu. Pacific Coast Highway was backed up as we left Zuma Beach and headed back to the slums of Beverly Hills. A forty-five minute drive took two hours.

Playing in FTOPS was a last minute decision, sort of an impulse buy. I'm strictly a cash game player and I rarely play tournaments online these days (save for Saturdays with Dr. Pauly and the Tao of Poker birthday celebration). But in the past when I used to play a heavy diet of tournaments, it was always the ones that I signed up at the last minute where I fared much better than the tournaments when I was wrapped up in a wet blanket of anticipation eagerly waiting to play.

FTOPS Event #1 was a $200 + $15 NL tournament scheduled for 9pm ET. I had less than an hour to get all my shit together, shower, and eat before I played. I didn't have enough time to win a seat (with the exception of those 100 chip SNGs) so I bought in directly.

At the same time, I had a horse running in the $545 NL event at the Bike. He was sending me updates via Twitter. I was swimming in action.

There were about 5,000 players when I signed up. That number was over 5,600+ by the time cards were in the air. Prize pool was over $1M, with almost 200K to the winner. Top 738 players got paid.

Full Tilt now allows late registration, so 5,779 total players signed up for Event #1. Wow.

My tarting table included: 2007cobra, Sick Joke, njp145, Stas Gurtsak, torden, HitmanJim, and Full974.

Sweet Svetlana and Scott Fishman busted early and were the two notable eliminations in the first five minutes.

Within the first level of play, I was stuck $200 in my cash game. So much for trying to win back my buy-in.

I won my first pot when I called a standard raise from the button. I called with 8-8 in a 5-way pot. The flop was 10-9-x. Action was checked to me. I bet pot and everyone folded.

Thirty minutes in, I found A-9 in the small blind. UTG limped and action was folded to me. I limped and the big blind checked. The flop was 9h-9d-3h. I checked along with the big blind. UTG bet the pot. I called. Big blind folded. The turn was the Qc. We both checked. The river was the 7d. I bet the pot and got min-raised. Yikes. I called. My trips wee no good. UTG had Q-Q. He limped with Queens and then slowplayed his boat when he checked the turn. I'm lucky that I didn't go broke right thee on that hand. Down to 2.3K.

About fifteen minutes after that losing pot, I woke up to Aces in the big blind. UTG opened for 150. I raised to 500 and he called. The flop was Ac-10c-4h. Time to slowplay. I checked my top set. He underbet 450 in a 1K pot. I tanked then called at the last second. The turn was the Kh. I checked. He bet 900. I check-raised all in for 1.5K. He tanked and then folded. Aces held up. I was up to 3.7K and in 973rd place out of 5,000+.

By the first break, over 1K players busted out in the first hour. I had just above 4K and in 1488th place. Average stack was 3.6K and I outlasted Jim McManus and Linda Johnson. Subliminal_s was the chipleader with 17.4K.

Change100 and I ordered in thai food and scarfed it down. I self-medicated and settled in for the second hour of play with My Morning Jacket on in the background.

New table dynamic as new blood joined the mix. Five players had with bigger stacks than me. I slipped under the avg stack of 3.9K.

I missed a flop with A-Q. I fired out at the flop but got check-raised by BB and had to fold. Slipped to 2.5K.

Then I made the laydown of the night and folded Jacks preflop. I was in the small blind with Jc-Js. Oceanrunners raised to 350. Russian player shoved all in for 2,160. I tanked and then folded. I figured that I was racing with one of those guys, while the other had me beat. I made the wise fold. Oceanrunners called and flipped over Qs-Qc while the Russian showed Ks-Kh. The Russian won the pot and I stayed alive.

During Level 8, I whiffed with A-K and slipped to under 2.3K. If I doubled up, I would just be a shade under the average stack. I patiently waited to make a move. And then it happened... a timely double up with 10-10. I raised in middle position with tens. Player in late position called. The flop was 6c-4c-4d. I bet the pot (around 1K) and he moved all in for his last 1.4K. I called expecting to see a four. Nope. He had Ac-7s. Huh? My tens held up and I improved my stack to 4.3K, just below average. I was in the middle of the pack.

Then I got Aces. Again. That time in the SB. UTG raised to 400. Player B called. I jammed to 1.7K. UTG folded and Player B re-raised all in. I had him covered and quickly called. He had Kings. My Aces held up and I was up to 7.1K. Mr Decker, TuscaloosaJohnny, and Change100 were all on the rail saying encouraging things in the chat. I was 703rd out of 3,500.

10-10 was the hand of the tournament. I must have got it almost ten times and they held up every time but once. Just before the break, tens held up and I won a small pot to increase my stack to 8K. I outlasted Michael Craig, as I noticed that he was eliminated by an announcement in the chat box.

At the second break, my stack was 7.2K. I was 886th out of 2835. The average stack was 6.1K. Tilteymcfish was the chipleader with almost 30K.

Shortly after the break, I slipped to 6K and way below average. I saw two flops with 3-3. Missed both.

Moved to a new table with three big stacks and several equal to my 6K stack. I stole a few pots to keep my head above water at 6K as I quickly tried to size up my opponents.

I noticed that Bond18 busted in 2000th place.

If you expect to go deep in any tournament, your big hands have to hold up. You have to hit a couple of draws. You have to win coin flips and at some point, you have to get lucky and suck out.

I called a raise with Ac-Kc from a player that had been raising a lot pre-flop with a range of hands that included baby pairs, suited connectors, and face cards like K-Q and A-J. I had him covered about 2 to 1.

The flop was 10c-8h-3h. He insta-shoved. I took all of my time to make a decision. I went with my original read... that he was shoving with air. That's the only reason I call with just Ace high. If I had more time to think, I probably would have talked myself out of calling. Since it was the internet and I had a few seconds to make the decision, I went with my gut.

And boy, my gut was wrong. He flipped over Kings.

The turn was the Qd. I picked up more outs with a gutshot. I screamed for a ten or an Ace.

The Ad spiked on the river. I screamed out, "Snaaaaaaaaaaap!"

"Pauly, you luck fish," said Tuscaloosa Johnny in the chat.

Usually, I'm the guy who gets his Kings cracked. It felt good to be on the other side of the bad beat.

Bad call. Good result. That's poker.

My opponent instantly went off on me in the chat. I remained silent and luckily Tuscaloosa Johnny was on the rail giving the guy some guff about being a sore loser and a whiner. He wouldn't let it rest and wouldn't leave the chat for several minutes.

That suckout pushed me up to 11.2K, when the average stack was around 9.5K. I jumped up to 558th place out of 1,810 remaining.

10-10 held up again as I passed the 12K mark. I outlasted the Eggman.

9-9 was no good and I slipped to 10K, and back under average. I raised pre-flop with 5-4 to 2K. The small blind shoved for 9K and I folded. I slipped to to 8.7K.

Changed tables. Three players had at least 2x my 8.1K stack and two players had 3x my stack.

At the third break, I was just under 9K. Average was 14K. I was 818th out of 1210. Stammi chipleader with 60K. I oulasted the host Allen Cunningham.

After the break, I slipped to under 8K. No action for 10-10.

Then I went out in a hand, I could have gotten away from.

I had 9,355. The blinds were 400/800 with a 100 ante. I raised 1/3 my stack with A-K. Player with a monster stack raised to 9,600 and would have put me all in. The small blind shoved with a small stack of about 5K. Action back to me.

I figured that I had the big stack beat and that at worst, I'd be racing against a small stack. I called.

Big stack: As-Qs
Short stack: Ks-Kc
Your hero: Ac-Kd

I was doomed. And yes, the player with A-Q won the pot with running Queens on the turn and river.

If I was trying to fold my way into the money, then I would have quickly folded there. I was playing to win, not to squeeze into the money. Even if I do fold there and I'm left with 6K, I'm still short and would need at least one more double up if I wanted to make the money.

I was eliminated in 888th place. Just a few seconds earlier, Annette_15 went out in 891st place.

That was the only FTOPS event that I'll play. Back to the cash game grind for me.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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