Friday, September 03, 2004

Two Days, Two Tournaments, Two Cashes Part II

Be Warned this is long.

Day two of tournament splendor came on Monday evening, well early Tuesday Morning. Since I can no longer contain my joy lets just say that come December I will be enjoying a 7-Day Card Player Cruise to Mexico. Oh Yeah Baby! Oh, and my wife will be there too. :)

Going into the freeroll I was anticipating making a good showing but the Cruise would just have been icing on the cake. I made the mistake of telling my wife that the first prize was a cruise so she pretty much made it clear that all the hours I spend playing needed to start paying off. Starting with winning this tournament. Really she has been beyond supportive of the hours I spend playing and has been very patient in dealing with me. I am glad that I can finally make the hours payoff in a way that we both can get enjoyment out of it.

Enough of that, lets talk tournament. This was the first tournament I've ever played at Party Poker. I spend a lot of time on the ring games there but I've never even played a single table tourney at that site. I had no idea what the starting chip stack would be or the blind structure so there was no plan of attack going in. I was a little disappointed when I was only given 1000 chips and the blinds started at 10/20. I would have liked to have seen 5/10 blinds to start with but my cards were good in the first few rounds and I managed to start building a stack early. At the end of the first level I managed to be up over my original starting stack and I never dipped below that amount again.

I eliminated my first player when the blinds stood at 25/50. I had built my stack up to 2,605 at the time and my opponent only had 190 in the small blind. Really it was a matter of having to push in for him and it was an easy call for me holding K10o. The board brought me two pair and the win on the river. The first break came and the 2,745 chips I had gave me the lead at the table. I felt very comfortable in this position and had learned enough from the other players that I could start pushing pots a bit more than I had been.

Shortly after the break I was able to eliminate my second player. Preflop my opponent held a 73% to 33% advantage over me. The mistake he made though was limping in preflop with his AJh when his stack only stood at 690. The blinds were 50/100 at this point and he was on life support already. I limped in as well from the CO with A8c and the big blind checked for 3 of us to see the flop. The board brought Q88 and I was now a 93% favorite to win the pot. We all checked the flop and when a J hit the turn he still did not make a move so I bet enough to just about put him all in. The BB folded and my opponent finally pushed all in. It was to late though as he only had 3 outs and the 2s on the river wasn't one of them.

My first All-In came during the 100/200 round. I held AKd in MP and it was folded to me. I made a standard raise of 600 hoping for a few callers and it was folded to the button. The button pushed all-in in for 4,490 which had my 3,800 covered. With the blinds folded I figured my opponent didn't have K's or A's since I held one of each. I also knew since I was suited that at worst it was a coin flip. With the need to double up for the the long haul necessary I made the call and hoped for the best. What I didn't expect to see was the J10c flipped over by the button. He must have thought he could force me to fold and just picked the wrong time to move all in. Preflop I had him 61% to 39%. I don't know if I'd say he was dominated but he sure didn't want to see my cards. The board didn't improve either of us and I doubled up nicely to take the table chip lead again.

I managed to build my stack to over 11,000 but gave some away when I held KK. I called an all-in raise preflop and my opponent showed me his AQs. Having him over a barrel the A came on the turn and I lost the pot. The second break came right after this hand but I still had the chip lead at the table. Immediately after the break the chip leader was moved over. She held 16,209 chips and my 8,970 seemed very small. I had become accustomed to having the lead at my table and seeing this big stack unnerved me a little. I knew that if I wanted to play with the big dogs in the end I would need to amass a lot more chips.

This knowledge did little to help me though and I quickly became card dead. I finally had a hand I felt I could play when I found A7d in the small blind. The pot had been raised the minimum before it got to me so it was an easy call. The flop came JQJ but with two of my suit. I checked and j3koo who had raised initially bet out 1,000. I called this which looking back was a mistake. My initial thinking was that I had the flush draw and an overcard so I should have pushed the flop a little to see if j3koo would be willing to let it go. He may have been on AK or A10 and a sign of strength from me may have been enough. As it was though we saw a 5s hit the turn which couldn't have possibly helped him. Again I made the mistake of checking and calling a 1,500 bet. The 7s hit the river giving me a baby pair but I was resigned to missing the flush and giving it up. We both checked and j3koo showed me his Q4h. I suppose I could have lost a lot more on this hand but I still feel I played it wrong.

With the blinds now at 400/800 I was crippled with only 3,370 chips left. In less than three rounds I would be blinded out and I hoped a decent hand would find its way to me in time. Fortune was on my side and AJo was dealt to me the very next hand. I managed to steal the blinds and bought myself another round. I had to fold for two rounds and with the blinds now 500/1,000 I sat UTG with only 1,770 chips. I knew it was now or never and if a face card came I was going all in. This was probably going to be my last hand. We were down to 30 players and I was in the money so I had that going for me.

When the cards were dealt I looked to find K4c. This was it and I raised all-in. The pots were all usually more than my raise so I expected callers. As luck would have it I got two. j3koo who I gave money away to earlier and MSUcougar. Usually when dealing with all-ins the computer turns the cards up and deals the board at light speed. The chips are then sent to the winner and the next hand begins. If your lucky you get a glimpse of what you won or lost with but since I was covered by both players my wait was extended. The flop came 728 with two clubs and my hopes rose ever so slightly. A check by MSUcougar, a bet by j3koo, and the subsequent fold brought J3koo and myself heads up. A beautiful K on the turn and club on the river gave me two wins over j3koo's A7o. I tripled up but still was lost deep in the woods.

I stole the BB and a bet when I raised from the SB with K3o two hands later. I knew I had to accumulate chips fast if I wanted to make a run for the final table and now was the time to do it. The payout scale stayed the same for the first 10 positions paid so tight play to survive to the next level was expected. Two rounds later I held 55 in the SB. All folded to the button who made a minimum raise. With the BB already all-in due to his small chip stack I went over the top and raised all-in. I expected to take it down right there figuring the button for a steal raise. He decided to call even though he was also a small stack and we saw all three hands. wchlhockey in the BB held 53o. This all but killed my chances of making a set and with MSUcougar showing A9o for his hand we were in a coinflip situation. No one improved and now having slightly more than doubled up I was about average stacked at 15,950. I added another 7,650 chips to my stack at the expense of j3koo again when I later flopped a full house.

When the final table was assembled johnnypuma had the chip lead with 62,357. I held fourth largest with 44,700. I sucked out on MiniBen and he was the first to exit the final table. On the flop he was a 92% favorite to win the hand but instead of pushing in he tried to slow play it and I took the lead in the betting. He called me down to the turn when I put him all in with a flush draw. He held two pair and was still and 81% favorite but my club came on the river and I moved into second in chip stacks. Two hands later I sent number 9 to the rails. LadySiren went all-in preflop from the BB with 20,958. This represented a little more than 1/3 of my stack but even if I lost the hand I would have more chips than half the table. If I won I would have a solid chip lead and so with my pocket 9's I called. LadySiren held A3s and I was a 66% favorite going into the flop. Her A or spades never came and I took the lead with 88,738 in chips. Second was JohnnyPuma with 63,857 so I had a nice cushion.

When we were down to six I was the first player to go over a 100,000 and somehow just knew I'd be there at the end. When we got down to four things started to get a little weird. From what I can gather of the remaining four players I was the only one who actually wanted the cruise. Why these other players would even bother to play if they didn't want first prize was beyond me but that's the info I was getting. Shaky_Sonia was eliminated next when her AK fell to johnnypuma's J9. It seemed as though she just gave up at this point because if she was playing for the win she should have pushed with that hand as we were only 4 handed. Instead she called to the river and then pushed in resigning her chips. This is an inexcusable act as far as I'm concerned. If you don't want to win don't play. Someone who wanted the win would have been better served in that position. They also would have provided better competition making us all better players in the end.

With three of us left paeron was the short stack and he decided to make a stand with Q4c in the BB. He went down to johnnypuma and then we were two. The chat got really hectic at this point. There was a lot of noise from the railbirds and I turned my attention to the official chat room PSO was holding during the tournament. Mike J, our tournament host, seemed adverse to deal talk earlier and was quite upset that some players would get this far and not want the trip. I don't know johnnypuma but as I understand it both he and paeron are from Sweden. Even the same town which seems rather odd since they were both in the final three. I'll chalk it up to coincidence but I could understand how it would be cost prohibitive for them to fly to the US to take a cruise. Again they really shouldn't have been playing but I've covered that earlier. At any rate Mike was now willing to talk deals and johnnypuma did not want to dump the tournament, but he also didn't want the first place prize. I didn't care about first or second but wanted the prize.

After certain conditions were agreed upon we decided that no matter what happened I would take the cruise and johnnypuma would get the $250 second place money. Since there was no point for me to continue and I wanted to celebrate I called an all-in bet and johnnypuma took my chips with two pair.

Needless to say I have never won anything this big before. PSO has the cash value listed as $.01 but in reality with plane tickets it's over $2,000, probably more. The wife and I have never been on a cruise so we are going to use this opportunity to celebrate the honeymoon we never had. It will be odd being away from the kids for 8 days but I'm sure well manage. I owe a big thanks to for hosting this great tournament and providing a great experience.

hmmm....Two Days, Two Tournaments, Two Cashes, maybe it's time to turn pro. :)