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Poker :: Deep in the $750k
  submitted on November 26, 2007, 9:15 AM

I ended up finishing 112th out of 4,000 in Full Tilt's $750,000 Guaranteed Tournament. My goal was to make it to the last hundred (The pay day jumps up to at least $1k once you get there), so I fell a bit short. I'm fairly disappointed in my play, as I made a lot of mistakes, and was fortunate enough to catch some hands in order to stay in as long as I did. I'm also really annoyed at myself for going out how I did, pushing AQ into KK preflop. I have a bad habit of trying to push into EP raisers late in tournaments with this belief that my fold equity will get my opponent out of the hand. That thought process makes a lot more sense when you're pushing back against an LP raiser from the blinds. If you have a short-ish stack raising in the UTG+1 seat, he's got a hand, and you better have a damn good hand to be pushing back. Stupid play by me that was probably partially fueled by the fact that I was going through a dry spell of cards at the time.

I'm not going to go through hand histories, there are just too many to bring up. I will touch on a couple of significant hands for me, however.

-First hand, I'm sitting at about 30,000 or so, which is somewhere in the Top 100 (Just outside the money bubble, a little over 600 left), guy to my direct left has me slightly covered, guy to his left is #5 overall in chips, I have everyone else covered. I'm in the BB, and UTG raises, only about 2.5 the BB. It's folded around to me, and I was getting something like 3:1 to call, and I'm holding KQ of hearts. I go ahead and make the call. Flop is K-x-x with two hearts. Part of my poor play in the tournament had been a lot of passive plays that I had been making. Following that mindset, I decided to go for the check-raise here, which I don't totally hate doing. He bets out about 2/3 of the pot, and I re-raise him a little over 3x. He tanks and ends up just calling, leaving about 55-60% of his stack behind him. Turn's a blank, and I put him on AK, a pocket pair below a king, or a draw. I go ahead and push for my last 18,000 into the pot, which at this point was at a little over 20,000. He tanks again and ultimately calls, flips over AK, and I hit my flush on the river. This propels me into the Top 10 in chips. I'm not thrilled with the way I played this, but I'm not 100% how else I should have played it either.

-I reached a high point of about 100,000 chips and 5th place on the leaderboard at one point in time, but I got involved on a couple of hands I probably shouldn't have and lost about 35% of my stack in the process. I wake up with KK UTG, and with a smaller stack, I'm looking to make a move (65,000 is good for about 120th with 200 or so left), so I just limp in. This was not the best time to do that, as I haven't been limping much from EP at this table, but many people probably don't notice that, so it's not a huge red flag. Well, it gets folded around to the BB, this aggro donk, who insta-pushes his stack in (About 120,000), which I insta-call. He flips over AK, then turns a flush draw, but I dodge the 13 aces and 57 spades in the deck and double up to 130,000. That moved me back up into the Top 40, but I lost a chunk of it on the next hand overplaying nines against the same donkey, and never really recovered.

I mentioned a couple hands that cost me a good portion of my stack in the last hand summary, along with the hand I busted on, these were probably the two biggest mistakes I made in the tournament. The first, I raised in LP with 44, was re-raised all-in by the button, and ended up calling. He showed JJ, and doubled up. My raise was only about 8% of my stack, calling his all-in was another 15% or so of it. Not a smart move to get that much money in holding 44 where you're basically praying for a coinflip. The second hand, I had rebuilt much of my stack, and I have 10-10 UTG. I raise it up, UTG+1 re-raises all-in, and the BB calls, also going all-in. It's now about 17,000 for me to call into a pot of about 40,000. I end up calling, with UTG+1 showing AK, and the BB showing JK. Flop comes J-K-x, and I can't catch a break either way and lose about 25,000. I was the favorite preflop, but still only had about a 44% chance of winning the hand. Maybe the smart play there is to fold with two all-ins and look for a better spot than pocket tens to gamble.

Speaking of pocket pairs, aside from the afore mentioned KK hand, I couldn't get a damn thing going for the rest of my big hands. People always complain that they never see AA or KK during tournaments, well I saw them, I just couldn't get any action. It was ridiculous. Very first hand of the tournament, I have KK, raise it up in EP, folded around. Still early on, I get AA on the button, folded around to me, blinds fold to my raise. I had a couple people at least call my preflop raises with AA later on, although they folded to my flop bets. Who cares if you get AA all the time if everyone folds to it?

I attribute my run due to my excellent showdown numbers, I think I was 9 of 12 before I busted, and I had been 9 of 10 before those two hands. Part of that was due to me making good reads and getting my money in ahead, and part of that was me catching some cards.

I'm glad I was able to cash, disappointed I couldn't go further, and wish I had played better overall. I really liked the structure, 3,000 chips, 12 minute levels, and you get to play the fun levels like 10/20, or 1,700/3,400. I don't think antes kicked in until the start of hour 3. There was definitely a lot of time to make moves, which was very helpful.

Thanks to those of you who were railbirding, sorry I couldn't get further than I did. Oh, and per request, I'll probably put a bounty on myself for the Mookie this week.

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