It was no secret during the BBT that the Mookie was the bane of my existence. I had an absolutely awful showing each Wednesday, cashing once for a whopping $20, and finishing on average in about the 60th percentile of the field. It's also no secret that a large reason for these results was the starting stack size. 1500 chips is sometimes hard to work with when you're up against the aggro-pushmonkeys known as bloggers, especially for someone like me. I'm not a terribly aggressive person, I need time to get involved in a situation I want and make the moves I need to double up. It's tougher to do with 1500 chips. So when Mookie decided to change it up to double stacks, I was very excited. My BBT victory, and two of my three BBT second place finishes were in double stack tournaments. My 3rd place finish in the $24k last week was in a double stack tourney. I just do better in them, period.
Last night was no exception. I jumped up pretty early to a little over 4,000 chips, but managed to donk back down to 3,000 at the first break. I was very card dead for the first hour or two of the tournament. Stole some blinds, maybe took a pot here or there, but really nothing going for me at all. What turned things around for me was my one big suckout for the evening. EP raised it up (I want to say blinds were 120/240 and he raised to 720, I'd have to check though), and I have KQo in the CO. Now, I know that KQo is a shitty hand. Honestly though, this was the best hand I had seen in a while, and I was hoping I could push him off his hand. So I type into the chat 'donkeypush' so I feel more justified in my all-in raise for about 2,400, ha, and he goes into the tank and thinks about it before calling with his AKo. wtg Mike. However
, as I said, I called my donkey push ahead of time, which all but ensured a double up for me, and certainly I was not surprised when I turned my queen and jumped to 5,600.
This moved me up from the bottom of the leaderboard, although it was temporary, as I still wasn't getting cards. I folded for a while longer, and at some point in time ended up at a table with 5 of the top 7 on the leaderboard. It was great. I really didn't have much room to work with. Fortunately I caught some Jacks and double up on someone's 10s, and later I knocked out RecessRampage when he re-raised all-in with A10 against my AK. At this point I was somewhere around 5th or so in chips, and I was getting more hands to play. In the end, it all evened out, I had no cards for the first couple hours, but once we got down to the last 15 or so up until the last 5 I had some nice hands.
I don't remember many other specific hands, but I know I had another big double up, and hit the final table in a solid second place in chips, slightly behind Drizz for the chiplead. This was good, because being the chipleader all but assures you that you're not winning. I went on a bit of a tear at the start of the final table, raising a ton and pushing people out of pots, and also hitting some flops and knocking people out. I picked up a pretty nice chiplead at one point. However, as the blinds went up and others' stacks also started to grow, I didn't have the leverage that I had earlier, and it almost caused me to bust in fourth. I was late in switching out of 'big stack poker' mode, and as such I ended up as the short stack before I knew it with 20,000 in chips compared to 60k/40k/35k for the other three. But I adjusted well and chipped back up.
Oh yeah, before I continue, I did think of another hand. This was one of my few big PP during the tournament. I wake up with KK in MP. Guy to my right raises it up, I smooth call, and we go HU to the flop. Flop comes A-x-x which I am not happy about at all. However, my opponent checks the flop. Now, this sets off alarms in my head. I think any ace here, even AK, is probably betting here. Out of position, with only TP, I'd want to know where I stand. Unless he has aces and he's just trapping, I really felt like he had a PP, not an ace. So, feeling like I was ahead, I bet out for about 75% of the pot, which also happened to be for most of my chips. Opponent thinks about it, then raises me all-in. Really not happy about that, because I legitimately thought I was ahead there when I bet. I make a crying call, because I have such a short stack I'm basically committed to the pot, and my opponent flips over...Q-Q. Whooooo! Turn and river are blanks, and I pick up a huge pot. Turns out my read was exactly right, and he didn't believe I had an ace, which I didn't.
Anyways, I ended up knocking out Drizz in 4th with...AK, I think against his A7 or something along those lines. Actually, maybe he had a PP, I don't remember. Anyways, that was a big knockout for me, because Drizz is very good and I respect his play a lot, and with him out I liked my chances a lot more. I was lucky to have him to my right, I can only imagine how the table would have played out differently if he was seated elsewhere.
Anyways, eventually I ended up getting HU with this guy PokerBrian. I don't recally playing with him before, but I picked up a lot of good information about him at the FT. Once he picked up a stack, he was very aggressive in position, constantly raising or re-raising pre and postflop and pushing people out of hands. He stopped doing it to me a bit when I check-raised him, which tends to be a good way to calm down the aggros. HU he seemed to be similar, raising on a seemingly wide range of hands in position, frequently betting into weakness regardless of his cards, so I really felt like I had a good read on him and how to play. He started with a 100,000-to-60,000 chip advantage, more or less. The HU match was basically determined by 2 hands.
The first hand, I had pocket sixes and raised it up preflop, villain calls. Flop came A-6-x. I decided to bet out here, in hopes that he had an ace, and I made it a weakish bet to look like I didn't have an ace. It worked out quite well, and he re-raised me. I go into the tank, let my timer run a bit, then I just call. Turn is a blank, and I check pretty quickly. I actually like this move a lot, either in or out of position. When I'm fairly positive I have the best hand, out of position, I like to bet, but bet weak, in hopes of getting raised. If I get raised, I make a crying call. Then on the turn I check, implying I have an okay hand, maybe a drawing hand, and the turn card didn't hit me. This encourages my opponent to bet into me, thinking I'm weak. In position, this move usually goes to the river. I will bet on the flop, call the raise, then usually it is checked to me on the turn, and I check it right back. This gives my opponent a false sense of security that I was just bluffing with my flop bet. So, anyways, back to the hand, I checked the turn, and he immediately pushes his last 60,000 into the pot and goes all-in, which I assumed he would do. As I said, he gets aggressive when he senses weakness, and I had been portraying a lot of weakness. I immediately call, and he flips over K-x, didn't even have an ace, didn't matter because of how weak he thought I was. I pick up a big double up, and now the chips are 130,000-30,000 in my favor. Still, this is not over yet, and I knew I needed to be patient and choose my spots.
I was in very good shape, but one double up by him and he's right back in the thick of things, and I was not going to let that happen. So I kept playing my game, only raising when I had a hand, folding a lot to pressure by him, either pushing in the SB or pushing when I call his BB. His stack fluctuated as high as 55,000 or so. I almost had him one hand, but he pushed for his last 17,000 and I had a flush draw and an over, and I just didn't feel like I was strong enough to call, even though I had good odds. It was a tough laydown, but the right play to make.
So, the last hand of the tournament, I am holding J-x. I can't remember if I was raised or not, but either way we see a flop. It comes down J-high, all spades. I bet out, my opponent raises up to 12,000 or so, and I ponder before calling. At this point I'm worried that he either made a flush or had a piece of the board and is drawing to a flush. I have no spade. Turn is a blank and I check, he insta-pushes for his last 17,000. I'm really not happy with how the hand has gone, but I just can't believe that he really flopped a flush. I believe my top pair is good, but he could have a number of drawing hands. I make the call, he flips over middle pair, no spades. River is a blank, and I take the hand and the tournament for a nice $200 payday.
I really felt my HU play was strong, and I think some of that has to do with the fact that I've been playing in a number of HU matches lately, both Tier 1 token HU and just some regular $20 HU matches. It's let me work a lot on my HU game, and pick up on how other people play HU. I think my three second-place BBT finishes are a good indication of where my HU game was, and I think it's much improved now. Still needs work, of course, but it's better.
Not much else to report, I still can't seem to get anything going in the 50-50. I missed out on satelliting in, so I sat down to play a quick $20 Turbo S&G and won, so I just bought-in and still had a bit of profit left over from the S&G. Didn't last too long, I don't think I played particularly well in it, though. I don't know what it is. I think I'm close to turning the corner, though. I was a bit tilty last night going into the Mookie. In the $24k, I lost a pot when I limped UTG with aces, had a short stack push with QJo, then flop trip queens. Shortly thereafter I ended up all-in with some PP against a lower PP and of course busted out when the villain caught trips. In the 50-50 satellite, my aces lost to 56 sooooted. I didn't play the hand great, but it wasn't horrible either, and the guy flopped an OESD and hit it on the turn. Nothing like losing with aces twice in about 20 minutes.
Finally, I'll leave you with this little gem that sparked controversy at the Final Table last night thanks to BuddyDank Radio:
Unfortunately for me, I folded preflop. I raised UTG, UTG+1 re-raised, and UTG+2 pushed over the top. My odds to call weren't awful, but not great, so I folded, knowing I was against a higher pocket pair. Then I would have flopped a set and rivered quads and knocked both of them out and picked up a real nice pot. Ah, what could have been. Oh well, it ended up fine in the end. And no, I didn't have time to Photoshop that hand, I would have had quads. Jerks.