Full Tilt Poker 17k and the Mookie

I played in three tournaments yesterday. First, there was an FTP 18 player sit and go for a $26 token, I managed to score a token in that one only because Smokkee was in the same game -completely unbeknownst to me until it was down to 9 and I saw him directly to my left. Myself and two other guys had been fighting for the bubble for a good ten minutes when Smokkee apparently got tired of the pusstastic play and made a move. He ended up getting the $14 prize, which was damn decent of him, since I probably had no shot of getting through the other two short stacks without that (actually, the blinds would have forced both of them all in on the next orbit, but they would have forced me all in too. The blinds would have gotten to me last, but if either of the other guys won his hand, or if I lost…). Meh. In the end, it was a cheap sit and go for a token, and I ended up with a token about 5 minutes before the ftp 17k started.

I then signed up for both the FTP 17k and The Mookie. The Mookie was not being kind to me early on, well it was my fault really but if I can’t play the blame game, I would have to admit that I was making mistakes, that is just not me. I layed down a couple of hands that I really could have been winning, one of them was on flopped trips when I had pocket sixes, problem was I either couldn’t or didn’t bet the other guy out of it, and there ended up being 4 hearts on the board. I couldn’t get myself to call his push on the river, knowing that even a fucking 2 of hearts there sends me home. Another call that I just couldn’t make was when I flopped second pair with a queen, paired my kicker on the turn, but still couldn’t call for my stack when I had second and last pair. I was playing scared, but then I really only have two play modes: scared and suicidal.

While I was absolutely sucking it up in the Mookie, I was slowly making some moves in the FTP 17k. This was my third such event, and this one started out with me getting pocket Aces. While I was not able to bust anyone out on the first hand, I was able to keep three other guys in the hand after I flopped trips, and had tripled my stack by the time the first orbit was complete. Far and away my best start in the 17k. Smart, tight play had left me in pretty good position as we were down to less than half the field and went on the first break.

I am the type of person that lives in the now, and while I did begin to entertain thoughts that I could possibly make it to the money in the 17k, I didn’t really start thinking about the possibility of making the final table or any such nonsense. I continued to play some smart, tight poker, and chipped myself up when the opportunities presented themselves. It became pretty clear that I needed to get myself out of the Mookie though, I am not sure how familiar you all are with the different interfaces of Pokerstars and FTP, but the pokerstars one requires that you click the window once to bring it to the front and once to use any of the buttons on it, I found out, rather the hard way, that FTP takes your mouse click extremely seriously. It simultaneously became my turn on the Mookie and the 17k and the pokerstars window was in front, I folded my hand there, then tried to click the window of the 17k tournament (which was partially behind the pokerstars one) and managed to hit the raise button instead of just bringing it to the front. Someone reraised, and with a 3-5 offsuit I wasn’t really in position to call it. Thankfully, I only threw away a couple hundred chips; it could have been much worse.

I really don’t know anyone that plays in any of the tournaments very well, so I didn’t really tell anyone why I was going to donk right the fuck out of the Mookie. I called on the next hand and lost with something god awful. Then went in on the next hand with whatever I was dealt to finish myself off. A couple of the people said “good game”, and I replied “not really, but thanks anyway”, which I now realize could have come across as horribly rude, but at the time my mind was far away from there. I was trying to concentrate on the 17k now.

I made absolutely my best read of the night just before the second break. I was in third in chips with fourth sitting two seats to my left. I had K-Q spades and raised 3x. He doubled the bet, and I called. Flop came up Ace high with two spades and also paired my queen, I bet the pot and he pushed. I had actually been at the table with this guy for over an hour, almost for the entire tournament, he bet the same way every damn hand: double the bet preflop, 2x the pot on the flop, 3k on the turn, all in on the river. Every. Damn. Time. Something about him pushing there told me that he was weak on this one and just thought I didn’t have the grapes to call a 15k bet, and he was damn near right. But I couldn’t lay this one down. The only way he could be ahead of me is if he has an ace, and even then he isn’t all that far ahead. Plus, needing only one card for the nut flush, with two left to come, well, I had way too many outs. Still, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared as hell when I called it. What did he flip over? Jacks. I did have him beat. Not that it really mattered, since the turn was the 4 spades to give me the nut flush.

So, going into the second break, I have to feel pretty good about my position. Not only am I in first, but second place is almost 10,000 behind me at this point. Barring some ridiculous mental meltdown, I was going to be finishing this one in the money. Now I just needed to come up with a plan for how to play my way as far into the money as I could. The best I could figure, it was going to take about 150,000 in chips to make the final table, so I couldn’t just sit back and wait, but at the same time I didn’t want to bust on a coinflip.

I managed to hang on pretty well until we reached the money. I was still in first when the bubble broke, but sure had a long way to go. I had been card dead since the last break, and was hoping for anything to play. The blinds were going up, and between them and the antes, I was in and out of the lead a bunch of times. Just after the bubble broke, I had a short stack to my right who was in the big blind. I got an A-2 suited and raised whatever his chip count was to try to get just him in it, of course I hoped I would bust him, but if I didn’t it wasn’t much of a loss anyway. Unfortunately, all but one of the people at the table called the bet. I ended up folding on the flop when it came up Q-J-10 hearts, and two other guys pushed for over 10,000 chips. The short stack wound up winning the main pot with a flush, while one of the other guys won the side pot with a broken straight (K-8). Why were they pushing with that crap? What the fuck was going on?

The next few hands were more of the same. Everyone was just insanely push happy, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the first round of a freeroll on Pokerstars. 5-7 offsuit? Push! 2-3 suited? Definitely push. A face card? You better believe it, baby! I didn’t have a hand to play, which is probably good, because it would really have sucked to get my Aces cracked to a 3-6o on a runner-runner-runner straight. For unknown reasons, my heart started pounding like it hasn’t done since the time I got caught shoplifting when I was a kid. I needed advice. I tried to ask a couple of people who were online, that I know have been in this situation if they could give me some advice, but I got no takers. I would have to learn myself.

The next time I looked at my position, I was in 31st of 70 remaining. It wasn’t because I had lost a single chip, it was because of the pushfest that started once we reached the money. It’s like two separate tournaments: One tournament is to get to the money, after that the tournament rerolls and everyone is willing to risk everything to double up. That is so not one of my strengths. The next time I looked at my position, I was in 40somethingth of a 60 remaining. They were dropping like flies, and I was fast becoming a they.

We were nearing the third break, when I got A-K suited UTG. Push time! Two callers, but they both had me outchipped so I didn’t get to see their cards yet. Flop came up garbage, there was a 5 in it, I only remember that because the other two guys pushed the rest of their stacks in, and one of them had pocket fives. I paired my King on the turn, but would need another one on the river to take the hand. This wasn’t my day, the river? Case 5, sending me home, far more defeated than the numbers would show, in 54th:

I went into it hoping only that I could make it to the money. That was the only goal I made for myself, and I accomplished that. So, I am happy. The additional goals that I began to set for myself, particularly being in first when we reached the money, were a bunch of unrealistic dreams. It has taken me as long as I have been playing so far to learn how to play with stacks in the 15,000 range, my first foray into stacks much larger than that could only have ended in disaster. I can’t (hell anyone can’t) play my best game when my heart is beating a million miles a minute. But why was I so scared? I was already in the money, anything else was just gravy, instead of fear I should have been feeling elation. With a bit of luck, the next time (assuming there is one) that I am in that situation I will be a lot more calm and rational. Although I am not sure if I will ever be in first when the bubble breaks again. I think I managed to scare myself out of a golden opportunity, but I honestly could not play it any better -anyone else could have been in my seat at that point and played it a hell of a lot better, I, however, just couldn’t do it.

Well, I am off to win a Free streaming porn download (blatant Hoy ripoff) token to see if I can take another crack at the 17k tonight. If I manage to make it to the money again, I hope I will be able to play a bit less scared.

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