We Aren't the Champions
After going all Guest Postal over on Pauly's site yesterday, I have been asked for several autographs and fielded at least one request for a pair of my soiled boxer-briefs (too which I directed the young lady(?) in question to the toilet paper dispenser in the third stall from the left in the main MGM bathroom). Fame comes quickly to those who do the Tao and I'd like to thank the Good Doctor for the opportunity.
Of course, some folks were shocked--Shocked! I say--that I would share all my hard-won knowledge with the unwashed masses. I assured those who feared their Donkey tables would now be over-run with Rampaging Speaker Clones that I had left out a goodly portion of nuance. That was the ball-peen hammer version. You can also crush plenty of online bugs with various sprays, traps and European cheeses.
I moved to display my awesomeness last evening in the $8K Guaranteeed on Full Tilt and, as luck would have it, I went deep, despite enduring ceaseless mockery from the IRC crew who kept quoting me to me. So, I'm going to quote myself today too, which on the Obnoxious Self-Importance Scale comes in just above Referring to Oneself in the Third Person.
Shove in your chips, force your opponents to make mistakes.
I doubled up in Level Two with AKs. The flop came down A87 rainbow and I got one caller to my pot bet. Said caller check-raised me all in when a ten hit the turn. His KT was not good.
I further chipped up to T4350 on the last hand of the first hour with one of those subtle plays I alluded to earlier and the exact details will cost you $5.
Now that, theoretically, a bulk of the worst players have been eliminated, your table will become more cautious, giving you prime opportunities to pick up the blinds and antes with a ramped up aggression.
Yes. And no. I had the distinct pleasure to sit with the worst player of all time pretty much the entire second hour. When she (had the Robin Quivers-esque avatar, so I'm going with she) sat down to my immediate left, she had 25K and proceeded to limp into every pot. That is not an exaggeration. Furthermore, she would call any raise after she limped. I won a couple pots off her when she called my open-raises and folded on the flop. I also lost a fair-sized pot to her when she pushed over the top on a scary turn card. At that point, I was short at T2500.
I'm pretty close to push mode now at Level 9 and see The Hiltons in the BB. Big Stack limps (surprise!), Button raises and I push. Both call, the button with Axo and Quivers with...uh...J6s. The Hiltons hold and I triple up.
Don't Be a Pussy
My new-found stack enables me to grab some pots late in the second hour as the bubble approaches. I get moved and find two top 10 stacks to my left, as well as a return of the Quivers lady. At Level 12, I raise with AKs and she pushes from the BB. I insta-call (as her range is ANY TWO) and she flips a suited SMTL. That's right, she pushed with 83. We both pair the flop, I two-pair the turn and double thru. At which point, I can't stand it any longer and get snarky in chat:
"Couple more of those," I type, leaving the "idiot" inferred. The response is something along the lines of "I'm drunk and I'm the chip leader," which is no doubt true, but it set off a Bash Fest at the table, as previously sucked-out-by-her-madness players chime in with such gems as, "I was hoping there was a reason for your pathetic play."
In the interest of ending the suspense, let me just say, that at the second break, with 62 players left, she was indeed the chip leader. She finished 47th, two off the money. It was a spectacular flameout, occurring within 20 hands, the last when her KK--one of only two premium hands I'd seen her hold all night--ran into AA.
All the while, I continued stealing when I could and got into the money with a top 20 stack.
I did what I could. One thing about stealing is you have to beat people into the pot. My table made that rather difficult for me, but I got in a few where I could. And the guy who had the BB when I was in the CO finally got tired of it and snapped. I opened with A5o and he was the only caller. He shoved in his last on an A65 board. He showed 82s. Thank you, Mr. Nutball.
Get lucky. Or, better still, don't be unlucky.
Here's where our tale goes awry. I made two great fucking calls when down to two tables, each of which, had I won, would have given me a stack of nearly 100K.
The first, I open raise 3x (blinds at 1000/2000) with AJo. The button pushes in his last 16K, so it's 10K for me to call into a 25K pot. I'm sitting with T50000 at this point, so I have tons of fold equity, but I also am not nearly crippled by a call and a loss. With my pot odds and stack, I almost have to call and very likely am getting a great price to do so. I do, but his 55 holds up. What? I lost a race? Late in a tourney? You don't say?
Regardless, I was happy with the decision and kept going forward.
I grabbed the blinds and antes a few times and soon we were down to 10, the Final Table bubble. I had 42K left, 7th overall, but an M down to 6+. With the blinds at 1500/3000, I open raise to 10K with 88. The SB calls and we both see a flop of 652, two spades. Me likee. But the SB throws the whole thing into confusion with a push.
My initial fear is a bigger pocket pair, but I am almost certain any pair over 8s gets re-raised pre-flop, especially 5-handed. A smaller pocket pair that hit its set is possible, but them's Monsters. The most likely holding, I decide, is two big cards. If it's two big cards in spades, I'm behind.
Going deep is your first priority. You are not going to get a solid return on investment from multi-table tournaments if you settle for minor awards. The big money is at the Final Table and a couple trips there can pay for months of bubble finishes. Yes, it can be frustrating to bubble, especially if you have a stack that was comfortably positioned near par.
I have 32K left. One off the Final Table. Money jump from 10th to 9th is $90.
I don't play to finish 9th. Money jump from 10th to 1st is over $2K.
I trust my read of two big cards. If they're spades, prepare to dodge. I call. He flips AQo, including the ace of spades.
Great call. Nearly a 3-1 favorite at this point, two cards to come. 96K Pot. Final Table (soon enough) and third overall in chips, not that far behind first.
A queen spikes on the turn.
That's about as frustrating as it gets right there, folks. Four hours of solid poker, an excellent chance to finish on top and Poof! Despite the final hand keeping me awake well after I laid down my head, despite tortured dreams of Queens--including cameos by Elton John and Freddie Mercury--despite visions of online poker immortality, I'm comfortable with the way it all went down. I'll take that spot any day of the week.
Though I'm thinking CJ might be onto a little something with this whole, getting-in-while-behind thing.