Sunday, June 18, 2006

Slightly deep thoughts

I signed up for the 2nd Annual World Blogger Championship on Stars with the hope I might actually get to play. Scheduled on Father’s Day, my availability would depend on familywide plans and the forebearance of Mrs. Jones, who has long tolerated my slide toward poker degeneracy. The Stars aligned and I had clearancce to join 2,246 of my closest blogging friends this afternoon for the Mother of All Freerolls. First got a WSOP main seat. The rest of the final table got $1,500 WSOP buy-ins.

Expectations at zero, I logged on to Stars around 4:20, anticipating the tournament's 4:30 p.m. start. Wrong. It started at 4. Finally seated, I found myself playing five-handed with a couple of doubled- and tripled-up stacks while the other four players at the table were sitting out, having signed up for the tournament but failing to play.

My 6-max experience served me well. I got some cards, gathered some chips and began lurching forward. Five-and-one-half hours later, I busted out in 15th place when my shortstacked pocket 8s lost to A-Q. I won a very nice prize -- a $370 entry into a July 26 Stars tournament where 150 main-event seats will awarded. Thank you very much, Poker Stars.

I took screen shots at key points in the tournament with a genuine belief that something was afoot and that those exploits would be deserving of the full Hoyazo treatment. I've since dumped that plan, recognizing that my performance failed to meet Hoyazomous standards. He does it when he wins. I finished 15th.

It is disappointing to have gotten so tantalizingly close to a big prize. I think I had the game to go deeper but ran out of cards. I played tight (12 percent of flops) but selectively aggressive, creating a table image that allowed me to steal a bunch. A flopped set of aces rocketed me briefly into the top 10 with less than 100 players to go. A suckout with pocket 10s vs. pocket jacks kept me near the top for awhile.

After hitting a high-water mark of 177K, I folded nearly every hand afterward while sandwiched between the two biggest stacks. I stole enough to tread water for a bit, but the undertow began pulling me out to sea. Kept waiting and waiting and waiting for a hand to push with until I finally got my last 81K chips (M of 3) in the middle with the pocket 8s. Sigh.

There is one hand I’m still pondering. Sitting on about 100K, stacks of 30K and 20K go all-in in front of me. I have A-J and fold, not wanting to risk almost a third of my stack with that hand. The short stacks, of course, had crap and the board delivered A-J-x-J-x. And there were a couple of other instances where I wonder if I should have gambled (pocket 9s and A-Q, for example) against all-ins from medium-small stacks. Needing chips to stay in the fight at the end, I think I missed some opportunities.

I got the chance to play with some well-known and highly skilled bloggers during the tournament, including Miami Don, Ryan of Absinthetics and last, but hardly least, StudioGlyphic, who snatched up one of those $1,500 seats. Tremendous job, sir.

It was amusing and a little flattering to have gotten sweated slightly for the first time. Bloggers non pareil such as Hoyazo, Drewspop, Iakaris, Ingoal and Surflexus popped in to provide encouragement along with Jase and Twitch from The Group. (Twitch went deep as well, finishing a respectable 76th.) Thank you all.

Yeah, I didn’t win one of those $1,500 seats I wanted so badly. But I still have an opportunity to win a ME event seat and convert it into a couple of $1,500 buy-ins and some expense money to boot. That would be a pretty nice save.


Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Hey man I railed you as well last night for quite a while. You made an amazing run man. Very, very impressive.

See you tonight again at Mondays at the Hoy I hope.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Man. A few spots away from a dream come true. Harsh. But you do get another chance. I bet you'll get it there.

1:03 PM  
Blogger drewspop said...

Again, great job. I was pulling for you hard.

4:36 PM  

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