Friday, October 22, 2004

Wow! Sitting at my desk right now, pretending to write that User Training Guide for the sales team [which is in another window, so I can click over quickly if I need to]. I had a restless sleep, with hands running through my head all night… What could I have done differently? What should I have done? What would Johnny Damon have done?

Ten hours later, I can honestly say that I played about as well as I could. Sure, I misplayed a couple of hands, but there’s no way I could expect to play PERFECT, so I’ll allow myself a few hiccups. Seriously, MtDew and I played over FIFTY hands of head-to-head. Major sphincter tightening there… I also played a couple of hands very, very well, and pretty much kept to my own style (tight-weak, with sporadic aggression). Some quick impressions before I get to specific hands:

- 133 people is HUGE! I think all of the bloggers (except maybe Iggy) will see a big spike in their readerships today. I went from a paltry 25-30 daily visits to over 50, and that was for yesterday. I can only assume that once we made it to the final table, all of the railbirds mimicked Paul Newman… “Who are those guys?”
- Wifey was pissed that I ate dinner (sushi) at the computer and basically ignored the family for four hours… until I told her that I won $500. Boy, the shit would’ve hit the fan if I busted out 19th.
- I forgot to turn the “Images” on, so I missed Scott’s infamous image. Bummer.
- Yes, that’s me in the picture. Like I said earlier, I didn’t want anyone to confuse me with a different Todd and stalk me, like Otis and CJ did.
- It’s frightening to have a dozen KNOWN bloggers as railbirds, knowing that my every move would be telestrated and analyzed. “Oooh, bad move there. He should have check-raised.” Or “Weak play there, he laid down the winning hand.”
- I was sucked out exactly ZERO times. Oh, and I define “sucking out” as hitting something longer than 4-1 odds. Of course, it’s hard to suck out when you only get to showdown 18 times in 330 hands (and that includes six showdowns during the marathon H2H). I won 45 hands without ever showing my cards.
- Just reading back over the rail chat made me laugh. I missed a lot of the incessant jabbering… From SirFWALGman’s spell-out (“Gimme a T”) to DrDrew’s Kresse-like chant of “Finish him!” to the RedSox references, I’m glad you all had a good time watching me sweat and struggle through the final table.
- I got a lot of compliments on my shortstack play. But, put it this way, the fact that I’m shortstacked means that I’m not a real strong player. I’d rather have the bully pulpit, thank you.

Now to the hands…

#327 - The one that would’ve caused a LOT of controversy had I won the tournament. During the H2H with blinds at 2K/4K and down 150K/50K, I picked up Q8o and made the standard preflop raise to 10K, and got a call (!). This started the chattering on the rail since we had very few hands make it past the initial raise. The flop was 765 rainbow, giving me an open-ended draw and overcards. Over MtDew’s check, I pushed out 16K, trying to win it right there. He immediately kicked me back all-in. Uh-oh. I called a time-out to gather myself. I figured him for overcards at a minimum and possibly a pocket pair. The railbirds were chattering loudly (think about seagulls around a fishing ship) since this was looking like the final hand, flapping around and squawking “All-in, All-in, Call him! Call him!”. I even told the railbirds that I put MtDew on overcards, and that I had a draw. Didn’t matter to them. “All-in! All-in! Call!”. Based on my read on MtDew, I figured my outs quickly as 14 (queen, nine, eight, four), putting my chances at better than 1/3 given that I had two cards to hit them. I had already committed half my stack, so I took the plunge and called. I flipped my Q8, he flipped J8. No Jack came up, and I doubled up to take a very brief lead. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have played to the crowd that much. Some might have thought that I actually took their advice, even though I hadn’t taken it all night. And I’m sorry for that impression.

#328 – The very next hand. I now had a narrow lead and picked up A3o. Woo hoo! Time to finish him off! He raised the blind to 3x. This was SOP for us, limping was strictly taboo for this H2H. I briefly considered a soft call, but was still feeling the rush from the previous hand and wanted to drive that final nail. I kicked him 20K, hoping for a call. After all, anything less than an Ace or a pocket pair would have me at 3-2 to win. He paused, and raised me back all-in. I called (too quickly) and hoped to see KQ or KJ or even better, 72o. Instead, I was horrified to see AKs! No miracle treys came and I was hopelessly crippled. He finished me off two hands later.

Flashback time…. Wayne’s World style. Wiggle your hands downward.

#98 – A New Hope – It is a period of poker war. Rebel bloggers, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil DanKHanK. Oh, the hell with it…

DanK had been completely running over this table from the very first hand, busting out player after player (including Iggy) with a mix of brutal aggression (raising just about every hand preflop qualifies as brutal) and friendly boards. I had gotten as low as 590, and had slowly built back up to 1100+ by avoiding confrontations with the big stack, but was tiring of playing a totally passive game. DanK raised to 3xBB two seats in front of me. I had A9s and said “Eff it, let’s see what he has.” And pushed all-in. This had worked once or twice before, but not this time. He called with pocket sixes, putting it to a race (54/46 his favor). The flop was QT8, keeping it at a race. The turn was a beautiful J, giving me the straight. To prove it was no fluke, another J came on the river, and I doubled up through the chip leader. This put me up to 2500 chips, over my 1500 buy-in for the first time, and gave me a workable stack.

#150 – Ahhh, my first big suckout. We’re now at level eight, and now we’re ante-ing as well as 200/400 blinds. I had been hovering right around 1500 for a few dozen hands, when I picked up pocket sevens. I doubled the BB and brought two callers (the two table leaders… sigh). The flop was 832, which I figured couldn’t help either one of them, so I pushed all-in. TuckerKatt followed by pushing in his whole stack, roughly 10x my puny bet. VAroadster folded and I flipped my pair getting the bad news. Tucker had tripped his pocket treys and I was in deep deep doo-doo. The turn was an Ace and my tournament hinged on a 2/44 shot (4.5%)… which hit. The miracle 7 on the river tripled me up to over 5K, and put me onto the leaderboard. Woo hoo!

#167 – Had to write about this one. Three all-ins (none of them me) preflop! DanK had raised the pot like the bully he was, but quickly folded to the action behind him.
Tucker was big stack and had pocket sevens and raised to 3K. Then it got interesting.
Ankhorahil was small stack with pocket fours, probably figured WTF, and called all-in.
RicoM had pocket Aces, and was probably laughing to himself. He of course called all-in. Preflop, the percentages were 66/19/14 in favor of RicoM.

The flop was 854, tripping Ankhorahil. The turn and river were both nines, giving Ankhor his boat (Get it? Ankhor? Boat?) But an entertaining hand nonetheless, especially for someone who folded and got to watch the fireworks.

#182 – One my favorites. I had been whittled back down below 4K, pretty much in a six-way tie for last at the table. Blinds were 300/600, so I’m not to desperation stage yet, though I could hear the orchestra warming up. One of the table captains, Penner (sbMets) raises the blind in front of me. I pick up Route 66 and figure it’s time to try and double up through a chip leader. Ankhor calls all-in from SB (uh-oh) and Penner quickly calls with about 20% of his stack. They both flip AKo! Ahh, blessed duplication. The board misses their matching Slicks and I triple up! Four hands later, VAroadster bubbles out and I’m in the money!

#187 – Final two tables now. I busted in 18th last time, so I have strong motivation for making the last table. So, I immediately play MY BEST PLAYED HAND OF THE TOURNAMENT. I’m in BB with pocket sevens. a10419 (a reader?) raises to 3x and I call. I flop trips with J97 on the board. I smooth-check, hoping for a push, but he checks too. The turn is a very welcome Ace. I bet enough to push him all-in, hoping he hit his Ace. Sure enough, he has AKo and calls all-in while drawing DEAD. I’m feeling pretty solid about my play and my stack now, and in good position to make the last table.

#210 – Feel bad about this one. This may have sealed my H2H fate as I busted out malice51 with KQ vs. the HAMMER. I raised the BB and he kicked me back all-in with about half my stack. I called and after the QJT53 board, malice51 exited to massive applause from the railbirds, and boos for me. Of course, it put me in a virtual 3-way tie for second place, but it was still heart-wrenching to bury a HAMMER, especially that late in a tournament. This led us to the final table:

*********** # 211 **************
PokerStars Game #789696625: Tournament #2868250, Hold'em No Limit -
Level XI (600/1200) - 2004/10/21 - 23:43:04 (ET)
Table '2868250 16' Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: TuckerKatt (43053 in chips)
Seat 2: MtDewVirus (26791 in chips)
Seat 3: Johni D. (21625 in chips)
Seat 4: The_Venetian (20957 in chips)
Seat 5: jerge88 (19639 in chips)
Seat 6: ricoM (748 in chips)
Seat 7: humbird (27506 in chips)
Seat 8: ToddCommish (27263 in chips)
Seat 9: AustinKearns (11918 in chips)

With only one table left, the railbirds congregated like pigeons at lunch hour in Central Park. When the Venetian (PokerNerd) busted on hand #212, the bloggers threw their collective weight behind me, increasing the pressure on me exponentially. RicoM was blinded out on #213, and Eddie (AustinKearns) followed quickly at #214 (JJ vs. KK and the king boated). Shit, I just made it over the $100 level by folding four times!

Tried to slowplay a flopped nut flush on #217, but didn’t get any action.

#223 – I didn’t play this one, but it was amazing. Two players flopped trips and a third player was drawing to the nut flush. The flush didn’t come, so jerge was down to the felt (he busted three hands later), and Humbird busted out with flopped set of fives that lost to MtDew’s flopped set of sevens. Brutal, but entertaining hand.

Right around here, the infamous “assraping” discussion erupted. Not that it has anything to do with poker, but I wanted to mention it.

#236 – Ahhh, major suckout number Two. Tucker (75K), MtDew (63K), and John (44K) had been stealing my lunch money and pulling my underwear up my crack (22K) for a couple of circuits and I was getting weary of the bullying. I pick up pocket deuces in BB and see it promptly raised by John. Asshole. I call, I’m not really sure why. Flop is the unremarkable Q75, which I figure can’t help him. John bets 6K anyway, about half my stack. EFF THIS, says the scrawny kid in the Charles Atlas ads, and I push all-in, hoping to see Ax or Kx. Unfortunately, he turns 44, and the nine on the turn doesn’t help either of us. I start repeatedly typing “deuce” in the chat box and the river is …. DEUCE! Holy crap, I’m back in it!

Ooops, no I’m not… John made a nice comeback by assraping (!) Tucker and MtDew and went into the third break with the lead. I offered the other guys a four-way 25% chop during the break, but don’t get any takers. Hah! I’ll show them!

Level XIII (1500/3000) - 2004/10/22 - 00:17:04 (ET)
Table '2868250 16' Seat #8 is the button, Hand #258
Seat 1: TuckerKatt (37697 in chips)
Seat 2: MtDewVirus (63789 in chips)
Seat 3: Johni D. (80438 in chips)
Seat 8: ToddCommish (17576 in chips)

#263 – Suckout number three. K9o, I raise UTG, hoping to take it right there. MtDew in SB kicks it enough to put me all-in. Sometimes you just gotta say “WTF”. I call. Bad move. He flips AJo and I’m floundering… again. 842 flop doesn’t help. 8 on the turn is even worse. Six outs to stay alive… 6/44… 13.6%. River is a… KING!!!! Waaa hoooo! Back into a virtual three-way tie for 2nd. Of course, all of us are swimming in John’s wake with around 20% of the chips each to his 40%.

The first big move (#267) was made by MtDew when his all-in AJ sucked out John’s AQ with a Jack on the turn, propelling him to a commanding lead.
#271 – Now it’s my turn. I pick up KK for the first time. I raise UTG to 3x (after all, I want callers with this). After a rag flop (832), I pushed out what I hoped would look like a tentative 3x bet. John pounced and immediately raised. I raised back all-in and got a call. He flipped Q9 and I got a minor scare when a Ten turns, but his gutshot didn’t hit, and I’m in 2nd place and John is crippled.

John ended up getting rivered in hand 276 by Tucker’s pocket deuces by another miracle river duck, and got fourth. Chip leader to busted in fourth in ten hands. Oy.

MtDew then busted Tucker on the VERY NEXT HAND, flopping a straight to Tucker’s overpair, and reeling him in with a minimum raise after the flop. So with my skillful folding, I was now H2H with the Dew. And by now, you know how that turned out.

Thanks again, Iggy. And to all you railbirds, keep on chirping!


At 2:03 PM, Blogger John-Paul said...

Congrats on your awesome tourney finish.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Paste This said...

Well done, bro. I see now part of my trouble with SNG's... I'm too ready to push. Maybe I need to weak-tight up a bit.

Seriously, though, well played, and a good representation of PBN (Poker Blogger Nation).

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

Way to go... :) Good job, thought you were going to pull out a win.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Ignatious said...

lol, excellent write-up, commish, and well-done. enjoyed playing with you and watching your comeback.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Joanne1111 said...

Excellent game, and congrats on your finish! Very well played.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Joanne1111 said...

Excellent game, and congrats on your finish! Very well played.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some comments on hand #182...

I started the hand with 18045. I raised to 1200 before you, so I had 16845 remaining. You pushed in, and got called. I figured I was against at least one pair, and hoped I was against two, not a pair and AK. Anyway, it was 2580 for me to call your all-in, 15% of my remaining stack, not 20%. More importantly, the pot at that point was already 9166, so I was getting over 3.5:1 on my call. I pretty much had to do it. If I was absolutely sure one of you had a pair, and the other AK, I probably wouldn't have.

None of these numbers are from memory, they're from looking over the hand in PokerTracker. One thing I do remember, though, is that I didn't "quickly call". In fact, I think it was the first or second time all tournament that I went into the Stars timebank and thought about it for a while.

About hand #167: I was UTG with a good stack and Q9s. I actually thought about making a steal raise with it. I undoubtedly would have folded to the preflop action afterwards, but had I been able to see the river cheaply, I probably would have lost a lot of chips with my trip 9s. I think the only reason I folded instead of raised preflop was because there was a bigger stack than me at the table who acted after I did. I'm glad.

Anyway, it was good playing with you. Hopefully, I'll see you at the next blogger tourney. :)

alan / penner42 / sbmetsfan /

At 11:07 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Excellent Play Todd. I think I was at 1900 around when you were near that amount. I blew my stack and you went all the way to then end.. One omission: WTF Happened to The_Venetian.. He took me out!!!!

At 6:44 AM, Blogger ScurvyDog said...

Congrats on the awesome finish. Well done.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger fhb said...

Had forgotten about getting those pocket AAs busted. Probably selective memory. Anyway, had fun playing, and hope to do it again.



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