Thursday, February 05, 2009

FTOPS XI Event #1 ($216 NLH) Recap

We started event #1 with 6,275 players, each with 5,000 chips. First place was $216,512 and the edge of the money was 738th which paid $326.

Not much happened for me during the first two hours of play. The blinds started at 10/20 and crept up slowly from there so there wasn't much of a reason to mix it up.

Close to the end of the second hour of play, I decided I wanted to move from my desktop to my laptop. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to miss a few hands while I booted up my laptop, so I logged off, zipped downstairs and started what would be a 20 minute process of fighting my technology. To start, it took forever for my laptop to boot up. Then the fulltilt software wouldn't launch because it needed to update to a newer version and the automatic update wasn't working. I won't bore you with the rest, but as I said it took 20 minutes.

When I finally got back on I found myself already in a hand in the big blind. I had 95 suited and the under the gun player had made just over the minimum raise to some wacky amount. I decided to call to see if I could hit something big or maybe take my opponent off the hand with a bluff.

The flop came down 5 3 2 giving me top pair and leaving me with some tough decisions. Betting, check calling, check raising and check folding all had some merit in this spot, but I figured my best course of action was to check, see how much my opponent bet and think about what that bet size meant.

My opponent fired out a little less than 1/3 of the pot. This looked really weak to me and my first instinct was to blow him off the hand with a raise. But the pot was relatively small compared to our stack sizes and I though I might be able to check call all the way and still have 2,500 chips or so left at the end of the hand if my read was wrong.

I just called the flop bet and the turn came down a jack - not a great card, but not a terrible one either. I checked and again my opponent bet about 1/3 of the pot and again I just called. The river was a total bingo card - a nine! Now I was hoping I was up against a big pair that was just trying to milk me for more money the whole way.

I checked again, my opponent bet about 1/2 the pot, I moved all in, and he instantly called me with QJ. After two hours of nothing and some technical difficulties I was all of a sudden in good shape after one great hand.

Two or three hands later I made a set against top pair and found myself up to 15,000 chips. And then stuff really started getting good!

Over the course of the next few hours I had no fewer than three people go kamikaze on me when I had a big hand. Twice I had AA and the other time I had top pair. In each case the player I was up against made a massive overbet all in on the flop with a pocket pair 66 or lower. It was great!

With that happening I easily made the money (yay!) and managed to keep my stack above average for a long, long time.

Now I have to cut to the end because I have to get to work! With about 100 people left I went from 225,000 up to about 470,000 after beating AK with JJ. Average was a little over 300,000 at this point and after that hand I was starting to think about the final table.

Then with blinds of 6K/12K I got dealt AQ in the big blind. A player in early position who had me barely covered made it 40K to go and it got folded around to me. I thought about reraising to 120K, but decided to just call. I was in such good shape that I didn't want to risk too much against someone who had me covered with a dicey hand like AQ. The flop looked like a miracle - A Q 5 giving me top two. It was an easy decision to check and when my opponent bet 65K I made it 140K to go.

I got called and the turn was a jack. The pot was already so big that I moved all in for my remaining 290K. My opponent snap called with KT (a straight), the river was a blank and that was it.

There were a ton of ways this hand could have gone differently. First of all, KT isn't exactly a playable hand in early position at this point. Secondly I could have reraised preflop and either won right then or with a flop bet. Thirdly my opponent could have (should have) folded when I check raised him on the flop. Lastly the turn could have not been an F-ing jack! I'd be curious to hear any comments from those of you who are poker savvy about how I played this hand or how you might have played it.

I finished in 90th of 6,275 which is still great. I made a net profit of $1,164 on the tournament which puts me off to a solid start in the FTOPS.

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