Guarantee, my ass!

I started playing a token game on FTP yesterday at about 4:30. I had already won a token for the 20k that night, and I generally only play one token game a day, get the token and that’s it. Yesterday, I just jumped in another one ’cause I was bored, and I can now say that I totally agree that the game is rigged -in my favor this time-.

I didn’t get any screenshots, but I did save the history of this one. First hand I got Queens, which ended up busting someone. Second had was 9’s that I layed down to an ugly flop. Third hand was garbage. Fourth hand was 8s. Fifth hand was 10s that turned into a boat to send someone else home. And it just kept going. By the time about 30 hands had been played, I only had about half a dozen hands that weren’t playable, and had had Aces twice, Kings once, Jacks twice, Queens once, A-Ks twice -on back to back hands, in the same suit- , tens twice, 8’s once, 9’s once -it was just insane. I was actually laying down hands that were probably ahead just because I didn’t need to play them, only to find the next hand even better than the last. Hell, the two Aces were only a few hands apart (I don’t like posting hand histories since it just looks like a bunch of technical gibberish to those who don’t play, but I will certainly email it to you if you want to see just how rigged the game was this time). During this amazing string of luck, I decided to sign up for a 10k tourney that started at 5, just to see if the luck would carry over. And, not so much.

The 10k tournament was the polar opposite of the other game. I was not getting anything remotely playable, and was banking on the other guys not wanting to bust out early with my stealing. My first ten hands were all absolute garbage, but I managed to come out of it a bit above starting position, so that was good. The luck was still in my favor on a couple of hands though, as I sucked out huge exactly twice in this tournament. The first one wasn’t for all the marbles, but it was a suckout nonetheless. I had A-Jo on the button, and it was folded around to me, big blind was on the short stack, and I thought about calling him in, but decided to just raise 3x to see if he would take it, which he did. Flop is A-K-7, putting me in pretty good position with the top pair. He bets the pot and I call it. Turn is a 3 and he pushes. It’s only 200 more to call, and the pot is about 1000. I am in pretty good shape with top pair and a decent kicker, so I call. He flips over A-3o for top and bottom pair. Damn. I am praying for a jack, but the river wants to be a little more brutal to the guy and pairs the king instead. Sending him home, quite understandably, pissed off. Like I say, that one wasn’t really huge, since it would only have been about a third of my stack, of course I bet the other guy thought it was pretty huge.

A short while later, my tournament life would be on the line. The guy two seats to my right is the big stack, and being a bully like the big stacks often do. I have about 2k in chips to his 9k. As the blinds near his side of the table, he starts getting push happy. He pushes when he is UTG but gets no callers. Pushes from the BB but gets no callers. Pushes from the SB but gets no callers. Then, when he is on the button and I am in the big blind, he pushes again. I have Q-Js, which I normally woudln’t think about calling with, but man, this dude has pushed four hands in a row. I call. Aces. I say in chat “I have to call on the one hand that you aren’t bluffing”. He says, “heh. Probably.” (who knows, maybe he was on a string of luck like I was having in the token game). Flop hits with a 9-10-x, two in my suit. He says “Nice flop”. I start to type “Wait till you see the river”, but can’t get it in before the cards come down. Turn is garbage. River is an 8 to give me the straight. I decided against hitting enter to show the line in chat. To his credit, he took it in stride; all he said was “nice catch”. Then the FTP gods decided to give me a break and moved me away from that table, ’cause you know that guy has a bulls-eye painted on me at that point.

I got a crucial double-up shortly before the second break, when I got in on the turn with a paired King -Ace kicker-, and it miraculously held up against his open-ended straight draw (I shouldn’t say miraculous, since I was like an 85% favorite when the chips went in, but man I lose a lot of similar hands). It was during the break that I realized that all of the screenshots I had been taking weren’t being saved. See, after I restart the PC I have to load the program, and I had completely forgotten that I had to restart it due to graphics issues just before I started playing cards. Which sucks, ’cause I thought I had caps of both of my huge suckouts. I always post the ones where people suck out on me, I thought it would be nice to do so the other way around. Unfortunately, you have to settle for text, since the monkey at the keyboard forgot to run the damn program first.

The 20k was starting at about this time, so I had that running as well. I went and found Guin at his table, and was chatting with him for the duration of my 10k tourney. He came over and railed for me for a bit, which was nice, no one has ever railed for me before. Also, it gave me a bit of confidence to know at least one other person out there thought I was doing just fine. I was very near the bubble, when I found a pair of 10’s in the BB. At Guin’s table, I typed, “uh-oh. I could bust on this hand”. MP raised it 4x, which was about a third of my stack, and I called it (but should I have?). The flop gave me a set, and he pushed into me. The call was a no-brainer. I doubled up to 12th place out of about 60 left. Barring some horrible fuck up, I was going to make the money at least.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have a hand worth even calling with for the next eternity. I did push at one point when it folded around to me (I think I actually had K-J at that time) but didn’t have to play it. The play was ultra tight, and whoever pushed their chips in first took down nearly every pot. I was blinding and ante-ing my way out of it, without ever seeing any paint. I was in 38th when it went to hand for hand, and managed to not fuck up all the way to the money. Much like my last experience in the money, everyone got all push happy once the bubble broke. There was no sense in trying to limp into any hand unless you were willing to call an all-in with those cards, ’cause someone was going to push. For the remainder of my time in the tourney, I don’t think there was a flop that didn’t involve two guys being all in before it.

The guy to my right was a calling station, and Guin noted that in the other chat. He told me to push every time the guy before me didn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to do that with the 3-7 and 2-8 offsuit crap I was getting though. At one point, Guin said, “You have to do it. Push this hand” That was when it was folded to me on the button. I thought about it for a bit before folding. What then happened was the small blind pushed and got called by the big blind. One of them flipped over jacks, the other queens. I noted to Guin “Good advice”, to which he said “Maybe not that hand”.

They were dropping like flies, and again I found myself in the position of being a “they”. We made it down to 27 players and I was the short stack with about 6,500 in chips and the blinds at like a million or something. I got a Q-Jo in late position (maybe a blind, not sure) and someone had made a 2.5x raise before it got to me. I pushed, hoping that my cards were live, yes, I was actually hoping to see him flip an A-Ko or A-10s when I made that push (preferably the latter). I knew I was going to be an underdog, but if he had either of those hands he would only be a 60 something percent favorite, and that is barely better than a coinflip. Unfortunately, he had a Queen, thus eliminating a lot of outs for me, and making him a 75% (or so) favorite. His hand held up, and I go home in 27th:

The good news is that I am getting a lot more comfortable playing as the stacks get deeper and deeper. I think my biggest problem (well, aside from the lack of any skill whatsoever -and don’t get me wrong, I know that is a problem too-) is my inability to take advantage of how tight I play to win some pots late in the game. By the time it gets to the money, everyone is doing pretty much exactly the same thing. Everyone knows that when someone pushes it is probably based a lot more on their table position than the cards that they are holding, but no one wants to risk their tournament life on it. Last night, I wasn’t really able to do that because of the stack monster on my right (at least that is my current excuse), but I need to be able to. If I would have pushed with any of the other hands I had, I would probably have had a better chance of winning with them, simply because if someone calls my push, the 3-7 I have is almost guaranteed to be live. While my percentage to win certainly doesn’t go up in that situation, I would have had a lot more outs. A huge gamble to be sure, but when you are on the short stack with blinds that high you either need a lucky flop or a monster hand, and with an M of 3, you can’t really be waiting for the monster.

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