Played a good number of tournaments Saturday! As you can see here, I had a streak where I didn’t cash anything for quite some time. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but in the midst of all this I took a blow to my self esteem in my personal life and the mega-tilt switch flipped in my head. I proceeded to lose money at Rush Poker. I then lost more sit-n-gos and eventually just excluded myself for 12 hours, my bankroll wiped to a pathetic ~$22. I completely went away from my computer (hence no update about that last night) and just sat with a good friend and played Red Dead Redemption. I haven’t played the game much but it made me feel better because instead of trying to do crazy stuff, I played it like I was playing Oregon Trail. I also ground a lot of money from the in-game poker. The format is NLHE, 4-handed winner-take-all sit-n-goes. The reason it is easy is because the AI rarely bluffs, and never considers pot size or pot odds when you bet. So, just build a big pot preflop, and minbet if you miss, and bet huge if you have a big hand. Fold to aggression if you aren’t strong. Easy pickings. What’s weird is that if you try to play normally, the AI seems not that bad at first. I mean, still terrible, but for mini-game in a bigger video game poker AI not bad. Once you notice that you should win a very large percentage of the time.

In any case, I woke up Sunday and went to a picnic with my friends. It was quite pleasant and a good time. I came back in high spirits and checked my e-mail when I saw that I had received an e-mail I subscribed (for free of course!) to from a freeroll website. In one hour from the time I arrived home there would be a freeroll on Full Tilt Poker with a $25 prize pool! I checked the private tab and saw that there were already 1000 entrants, and thinking of my bankroll, I closed the software, deciding it wasn’t worth my time and I wasn’t up for poker. Then I decided to check Carbon just in case.

There were fewer than 100 entrants, so I decided I’d play the freeroll on Carbon. Here’s how I did:

Yup, so now I have a backup bankroll! I thought about trying to play a sng with it, but I decided I’d just let it sit, especially since I don’t think I’ll have much luck getting any O8 going on that site.

I went and ate a wonderful dinner and spent more time with my friends. I played a couple sngs on full tilt and made about a dollar for my troubles. I bubbled one sng in brutal fashion- I had a massive chiplead, made a shove on the 2nd stack in a fashion such that ICM wizards would basically scream “FOLD 98% here are you insane” and I get snapped off and manage to brick. This puts me to 2nd in chips. Neither of the shortstacks manage to bust despite the fact that they seemed like they were trying to. KK77 rainbow is a good hand right?

That was frustrating, and though I -was- up I decided that I would just relax and watch the FTOPS Main Event. It’s just fun to watch NLHE played at stakes I can only dream of playing. However, I decided that I would enter a $2 O8 MTT running at 3:15 AM so I’d have something to play while I watched. I started off playing a very careful game, alternating between tight-aggressive and tight-passive play, depending on the situation. I felt that was optimal in the early levels given that I have about as much fold equity at that point in the tournament as I have asparagus flavored ice-cream in my freezer.

I dropped about 1/3 of my stack early on. I didn’t play bad. I had a good hand, bet it, realized it probably was no good anymore and tossed it. Standard poker. Eventually I rolled back up to where I started, dropped again, stacked someone shorter than me, and then stacked another shortie, putting me up to 2.8k, or about 100 chips greater than the average for this point in the tournament (nearly an hour in, half the field of 92 players was already eliminated. Microstakes can be funny like that.) With 92 entrants and 9 places paid, I was sitting well since this wasn’t a turbo tournament, but I needed to pick up chips eventually.

Naturally, I spent the next several blind levels being as card dead as one can imagine, as if being karmically punished for having a long-term gameplan in the tournament. I dropped back to my starting stack after playing one hand rather poorly. I actually dodged getting stacked as a result of this, but that’s no excuse for the sloppy way I handled the hand. Desperate, I shoved my remaining stack in, and scooped a pot to double up. Then I got a huge hand in the same orbit and got paid off for more than a double up, putting me above the average stack. I folded for awhile and eventually won another huge pot with AA3x unimproved. Villain had a low draw and missed it. We didn’t get stacks in as both of us were playing rather carefully at that stage, but I chipped up to 11k. Then I got moved to another table. I rolled up to about 21k, and then near the bubble put in a player with about 5k on two pair, only for him to conveniently turn over top set, and I missed my low. I was still deep relative to the other players and the blinds.

Then the following hand happened:

I raise to put pressure on the short stacks. We’re almost on the bubble. Unfortunately for me, he calls and I miss the flop. I check back because I feel there’s no harm in it. I’ve been known to slowplay huge hands in some spots, and this flop is fairly dry. If he hasn’t already hit it, he’s unlikely to improve enough to be happy unless he makes a low draw, and I want the same.

The turn doesn’t help me. He checks, and I bet out 2400 because I want to give him the impression that I’m looking for slim value. In retrospect I may have accomplished the same goal with a slightly smaller bet. I also believe at this point that I have high fold equity- full unless he has a full house or quads, I can’t see him behaving any other way, and hands of those strength will probably checkraise me on the turn. There is a straight possible, but this player has not been too loose so I doubt he has many hands containing 89. No low is possible, so now all his low draw hands have to fold. I was honestly surprised that he flatted. I was confused and ready to give up.

Instead, I shove the river for 3 reasons:

1. He checked again. I get the sincere impression that he wants to get to showdown, which tells me he probably doesn’t have a monster.
2. There were both heart and straight draws on the turn. As he has no reason to assume I have a full house on the turn, he may have called hoping to catch. Additionally, this is the blankest river I can imagine. A king, queen, or even an 8 or 9 would have probably lead me to give up, but this two hasn’t helped him unless he had 22 and boated up.
3. Right as action passed to me a notification popped onto the table that we had entered hand-for-hand play. He seemed weak and unsure of his hand, and by putting him to a decision between possibly busting and maybe holding out and cashing with his last few blinds, I felt I could get even some of his bluff catchers to fold.

I can’t be sure if I thought this hand through perfectly, but I think I played it decently.

I stacked the same player shortly thereafter, and reached the final table second in chips. The chipleader going in managed to crash and burn in amazing fashion, and got 9th place for his efforts. The blinds were high, but the chip distribution after that was weird. The big stack had nearly double my chips, and everyone under me had nearly half my chips. Everyone was either playing scared or jamming hands they thought were strong enough. As a result, I decided to play a conservative game. My stack fell a little bit at first, but I started chipping up until I reached about 35k. I then slowly fell to about 29k just due to lack of good hand strength or good spots to steal (the shortest stacks started an all-in party for awhile, and spite-calling K995 isn’t my idea of a good time.)

Eventually we reached 4-handed, and I was still second in chips. I looked away at an interesting hand in the FTOPS and suddenly we were 3-handed, and the chipleader had lost most of his stack to our new chipleader. The old chipleader then proceeded to get eliminated in 3rd, all as my stack remained more or less static!

My stack dropped to about 22k (11bb at 1k/2k blinds) but I got a doubleup early in the HU match. I then continued playing a careful HU game, trying to feel out careful spots to be aggressive, and playing a wider hand range, but not every hand, as well as mixing up limps and minraises preflop. I chipped up over the next few minutes and was beginning to feel that barring bad luck I could pull this off. Before that could happen, I noticed that my opponent had clicked discuss deal. Now why would he do that? He didn’t do it at the start of the match, so why now? The blinds had not raised, so clearly he isn’t chopping to reduce variance (which is reasonable in O8 at high blinds!). I concluded that he probably was feeling like I had a decent chance of outclassing him heads up, so I clicked discuss deal.

He offered me the ICM deal. I immediately rejected it and told him “I want $47. Give me that and I’ll end this.” After some time, control of the deal passes to me, and I offer myself $47, and him $47.76. Considering he still had some real ground on me, it was a pretty crappy deal for him in terms of pure CEV, but I felt confident he didn’t want the game to continue within reason. He accepted the deal, and so I got my $47. Which is good. I felt I could outplay the guy but I did not want to run poorly.

My bankroll is now recovered! Hahahahaha okay if I tilt again I swear I’m putting as much physical distance between me and my computer ASAP. It would be shameful to lose after all this!

And since we haven’t seen the cashier in awhile:

Current bankroll:
Full Tilt: $67.97
Carbon: $1.50
Total: $69.27

Also that is 3 times in this contest I have cashed in freerolls (not that I -needed- the third one, but every bit helps!) Just goes to show that if you’re looking to start with freerolls, you can find smaller fields by joining the private freerolls on sites less popular than FTP. I guess for some reason people are just too lazy to install multiple softwares?

Return to the Ultimate Poker Face-off.

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