Saturday, October 13, 2007

Online Tourney Marathon!

Yesterday I had my first online tournament marathon. I basically played from 8 in the morning to a little after midnight. First I started with a few tourneys around 8 AM. I few more tourneys around noon. Then the afternoon tourneys at 3. Then the nightly starting at 8. I played to close to 20 tournaments in one day. I've got to tell you, no wonder these young Internet sensations are taking the live tournament world by storm. In one day, I got close to the same amount of experience I get in six weeks at the World Series of Poker. Of course you can't compare a $20 buyin tournament to a $1500 WSOP tourney, but in many ways you get the same amount of play since the hands are dealt so much quicker. In one day, I got experience of two final tables, one headsup match, several in the money drives, and several unfortunate bubble experiences. If you do this 5 days a week month in month out you can't help to really refine your game.

This leads me into a slightly different topic. My game has been sort of stagnant the last couple of years. Between having babies, writing books, working on my website, traveling around the world, I play a little poker and then don't do much for a few months, then play a little poker and then don't do much for a few months. It's really hard to improve your game without some consistency. I've been playing a lot more Internet tourneys lately and I am definitely learning some new tricks and insights. It is motivating and I hope to find more time to keep this up as I am excited about learning once again.

As far as my tourney marathon, I think it went similar to when you actually run a marathon. I felt great at the start and did quite well, I tatered off in the afternoon and made some silly mistakes, I almost lost it in the evening, but then got a 2nd wind and recuperated quite well.

I went deep in the first few tournaments of the morning finish 2nd in an $11 180-man sitngo. I've played like 5 of these 180 sitngos and now have 3 final tables so pretty good results in them so far. They are fun because they are quick and don't drag on for hours. My headsup opponent spiked a T on the turn with KT on a Kxx flop while I was holding KJ and he ousted me.

I also bubbled in a $100 buyin tournament on a disastrous hand. There were 20 people left and they paid 18. I had about an average stack. A guy from early position raises and I accidently miniraise from the big blind. This happens on occasion with my laptop which I am using in Colombia. So I price my opponent in and am sitting on 73offsuit out of position! Of course I make things worse for myself. The flop is T32. I'm pretty happy with this flop. I make a smallish bet and my opponent mini-raises. I put him on a middlish pocket pair and think I can get him off his hand if I push all-in. If he calls, I also might have some outs. He thought a long time and called with J-T. I think if he has something like 88 he would have folded, but at the same time, I really didn't think through the possibility of him holding a T. In any case, that hand pretty much pissed me off. I was playing so good and then a technical malfunction leads to me losing the tournament -not withstanding my aggressive post-flop play :) At the same time, I cashed in another tournament finishing in the 20 somethings while losing TT to KK.

The next wave of tournaments included a six-max event where I finished in 7th place out of 150 entrants. Six-max is a lot of fun and my style is well-suited for it as I am comfortable raising a lot of hands and playing post-flop. I can't remember the specifics on my exit and plan on going back later to look at the hand history.

In the afternoon, my play started to deteriorate a lot. I bubbled in a $50 and $70 tourney - playing poorly in both. I made a really bad play with A6 in the SB vs BB, calling his allin raise. It was a shame as Tall Paul and Toronexti were also deep with me so it would have been fun if we could have gone deeper together. Toronexti cashed and TP and I both fell short of the money. Shortly thereafter I bubbled in another tournament. I was tired and I knew it so really shouldn't have been playing, but I was kind of in the tourney mode.

That night I couldn't resist to play the nightlies. I play in 3 $50 tourneys and one $150 tourney and got off to poor starts in all four of them. I fought my way back in a couple of them only to lose to bad beats to put me on the rail. Finally I had one more shot and a big pay day as I made the money in the $50K guarantee. At one point I was third in chips and determined not to put myself in vicarious positions. Then the following hand came up. 500-1000 blinds. UTG folds, next player limps, next player raises to $3k, button calls, and I'm in the SB with AK. I have about $47K in chips and none of them have more than $20K. There is almost $10K in the pot already and none of my opponents can hurt me too bad. I'm not a big fan of risking my chips with AK with stacks of 20 big blinds or more, but with the caller, raiser, and caller, the pot was quite big. I couldn't really just call here so I raised to $14K basically pot-committing any callers. The limper raised allin immediately and I knew I was in trouble. I called the extra $10K and now I'm down to $27K. Ugh, but I'm not sure I would do anything different on the hand. Sometimes opponents make good plays and trap you and this is one of those situations.

The last hand, I had worked my way back up to $47K. A little later there was another limper with 600-1200 blinds. I called on the button with 87 of hearts, the small blind calls. The flop is 962, with two hearts giving me an open-ended straight and flush draw. This is a great flop for me but risky. I am willing to commit to the pot while at the same time I'd like to win it on the flop. The early player bets $4800 and is close to pot-committed. I call. The small blind raises to $18K. He has me outchipped. I have about $25K remaining and I pushed. He called with T4 of hearts. So now I have the straight draw and outs to the 8 or 7. My opponent won a $72K pot with T high (the avg stacks was about 20K). Once again, I don't think I can get away from that hand as I want to see a river with it. So my day finished with a smallish cash which was disappointing going from 3rd in chips to out in a relatively short time period. But I was happy that I fought through my sluggishness from the all-day marathon to focus and play pretty good that night.

Today I'll be taking a break. Tonight, Josh and Zach's cousin Laura is having her 15th birthday. In Latin America, a girl's 15th birthday is quite an affair! We are having 35+ people to the house and everyone will be decked out in their best dresses and suit and tie. Josh and Zach will also be getting dressed up so it should be a great night for pictures. I have to ball dance with the lady of honor in front of all those people so I have a little practice to do this afternoon!

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