Argh! I just lost a rather lengthy post about the Poker Blogger Tournament tonight. I’m using Firefox and was trying to do the mouse gesture to open a new tab with the same page. Instead I reloaded the posting page, losing all my writing in the process. Bad geek! I will try to restore what I can, though I fear sleep may get the best of me.
After my dismal performance in the last blogger tournament, I had really been looking forward to the event tonight. And the 133 entrants and a prize pool of $2660 ($798 of which went to first place) made it all the more promising. I have a feeling the large turnout was at least in part due to the presence of a certain celebrity blogger. But it was also thanks to the work done by the poker blogfather, Iggy in getting this thing put together and hosted at Poker Stars, where we could have a reasonable blinds structure.
I started the night at a table with hdouble, who does great work over at The Cards Speak. Months ago in an earlier tournament, I was fortunate enough to bust hdouble out and ever since then, I’ve taken it as a good sign when we are seated at the same table. I quickly changed my mind when he starting playing hyper-aggressive and running over the table. I was not terribly upset that the table was broken just as he was declaring himself king of the castle in chat.
I found myself to the left of Coach, of Blue Parrot fame over at Tao of Poker. He was good fun at the table and I felt badly when I caught him with QQ vs. my KK and bounced him from the tournament. Of course, I didn’t feel nearly as badly as I was about to.
Shortly before the first break it came to light that one of the players at our table (Thehammer72) was none other than Wil Wheaton, patron saint of poker bloggers, geeks and a third thing. (things are always better in threes, even if there are only two of them). The rail slowly filled up with folks out to watch Wil have his way at our table. He was playing a strong aggressive game and I was looking to avoid getting in pots with him because he could put me to a tough decision. Of course, I did end up getting involved when I made my standard 4xBB raise (T75/150 blinds) from one off the button with TT. Wil re-raised nearly all-in and I too quickly make him throw in his last T20 to showdown again his…JJ. Ah crap. I still had T600 left, but I was in bad shape. The flop was 9h7h5, all hearts. Neither of us had hearts, so while the flop wasn’t terribly helpful for me, at least he wasn’t drawing to a flush. The turn was an offsuit 8 and I began to have a little hope. I had an open-ended straight and even through Wil had two of the jacks I needed, I still had more outs that I could have expected. The river came with a miracle 6 and the table and rail both exploded in cries of anguish. Even my own initial elation quickly faded as I realized just how badly I’d sucked out on him. But Wil was gracious in defeat and generously offered to send me a signed copy of his book as a bounty. Of course, just as cool as the book is the story that I’m sure I’ll be telling for years about how I sucked out on Wil Wheaton and bounced him out of a poker tournament. It’s not as cool online as live, but I’ve never made any claims to being cool.
While I wasn’t too happy with having made the call in the first place, and got very lucky to take Wil‘s chips, I didn’t want to let them go to waste. And I actually made a pretty decent run. A QdQh vs. AdQc showdown plus a handful of steals and re-steals (I was particularly proud of one re-steal from the small blind with Ts6d) and I was actually chip leader. Unfortunately, this is the kiss of death for me. Improbably enough, I’ve climbed to the top of a rather impressive field of poker bloggers in the middle stages of a tournament two times in the past. Each time my fortunes quickly changed, or rather, my game started to deteriorate and I began to make some bad decisions. This time my first mistake was with AdKc. I raised before the flop and got one caller. The flop came all rags. I bet T1000 into the T2000 pot. I was raised to T2000. I quickly re-raised my opponent all-in for his last T2500. After a bit of a think, he calls and his pocket tens stand up to strip me of half of my nearly T10000 stack.
I hate to offer excuses, but during this time I became involved on my other machine helping some friends. I was distracted from the tournament and missed too many good opportunities to earn a few more chips or get a better read on some of my opponents. I feel that I really blew a good opportunity here and I regret dividing my attention. Still, I did manage a small recovery before my next error.
And actually, when reviewing the hand, I’m not sure it was an obvious error, but it did cost me some chips. Blinds were T200/400 with a T25 ante, and my big blind was min-raised from button+1. The button pushed all-in with T1900 and after the small blind folded I had to decide what to do with my pocket tens. I decided that the chances were better than even that neither of them had a higher pocket pair and since button+1 had already committed half his stack, he would likely call and I would be getting about 2.5-1 on my call. Seemed like a reasonable decision, but unfortunately button+1 had QQ and it held up for the majority of the pot. He would make good use of my chips later on.
In fact, he used those chips five hands later to call my 3xBB middle position raise from the big blind. I had only QdTd, but as we were down to 29 players with 20 spots paying, it was time to make some moves. The table was folding a lot of hands and I desperately needed more chips if I wanted to make the final table. Still, when the flop came 8sQc9s I immediately thought I had the best hand. My opponent bet out T1200, which was most of the rest of my stack. I figured it for a bully move and pushed in the rest of my chips. He quickly calls and flips over KhQh for a better kicker. No jack comes and I am out in 29th of 133 players. A respectable finish, but disappointing considering my mid-game chip position. I made a serious miscalculation in not considering this hand a little more carefully. I knew that the table wasn’t calling many raises, so I should have put him on two high cards. And I should seriously have considered the chance that he had a stronger queen.
Still, I outlasted 104 players, including all the people linked at right who were participating. I busted a handful of players, including Wil Wheaton. And I earned a great bounty
But the tournament was not over just because I was eliminated. It culminated in an epic heads up battle between ToddCommish and MtDewVirus (who, incidentally, busted me out of the tournament). The railbirds did get a bit out of hand, however, as the majority of spectators were pulling for Todd and were perhaps getting a little too involved with discussing the play of hands and voicing opinions. Dew couldn’t have been feeling too great with the overwhelming show of support for his opponent. Still, the chip lead switched a few times and both players played extremely well. But in the end, Dew pulled it out and took home the big prize. I feel slightly better for being eliminated by the eventual champion, but, still, bad play. Congratulations Dew! It is good to know that the championship rests in the hands of a blogger.
Well, I guess sleep didn’t get the best of me after all, though it’s trying to kick my ass right now. Thanks again to Iggy for putting this all together. I can’t wait until the Grublog Poker Classic next month. I hope to see everyone back at the tables then.