I’ve never been a huge fan of the Turbo format (where blinds increase every five minutes) because I thought they tended to value luck over skill. Go card dead for a couple of rounds and you’re in sad shape, usually. However, such tourneys do reward those who can make correct decisions -- particularly those who can pick the right time to exert pressure on their opponents. I got to play a few Turbo tourneys in those WCOOP satellites a couple of months back, and I feel as though I’m starting to get comfortable (somewhat) with the rhythm of these suckers. Playing 6-max limit games probably helps, as there I also usually can’t afford to sit around and wait for monsters and expect to stay ahead of the blinds.
Even so, I had a bit of a scare early on in this one when I ended up all in with pocket queens vs. two others, one of whom held KK. I had both covered, though not by much (about 400). Luckily a queen fell on the turn, and by Level 2 I had tripled up to 4,715 chips.
There are only 54,000 chips in play in these tourneys, meaning that just six minutes in I was already getting close to what the average stack would be at the final table. With such awareness I knew I could take it easy for the next few levels. I took a few small pots here and there, but mostly stayed in line and out of trouble.
By level 7 (just over half an hour into play) we were down to 10 players and I had 3,855 chips. Each of the two remaining tables had five players, and one player at our table had started to make it a habit to go all in with his 5,000-6,000 chips whenever it folded to him. I was in the cutoff, having been dealt , when I saw him do it again -- the third time in the last five hands, and sixth time overall. I quickly called and he turned over . The flop brought two diamonds, but no more (and no deuce) so my hand held up.
That hand brought us to the final table, and I was up to 8,085 chips (3rd place overall). I folded the next eight hands in a row, watching three more players go out as I did. I picked up 44 and took a coin flip with a shorter stack and lost, knocking me back down to 5,160. I was still in decent shape, though -- 4th out of 6 remaining, and with blinds of 200/400 (plus a 25 ante) was in no particular hurry just yet. I won a small pot with big slick. Then a round later I was all in with KK against two smaller stacks. Both held ace-rag, and one of them rivered a straight to take the main pot. But I took the small side pot and was still doing okay with 8,446 chips.
A couple more were soon eliminated and we were down to three-handed. The chip leader had a monstrous stack of 31,991 chips, second place had 14,963, and I was the short-stack with 7,046. I would fall below 5,000 at one point, but managed to outlast the second-place player when his queens fell to the leader’s KJ.
Heads-up! Unfortunately, the chip leader now had 46,129 to my 7,871 -- nearly a 6-to-1 advantage. Damned if I’m not gonna be first of the losers again!
We took turns folding the first couple of hands. Then I bluffed him off a small pot. Then I picked up , went all in, and he folded. Picked up AK and he folded from the SB before I could bet.
I noticed my opponent was playing very passively. I was dealt and pushed all in again and again he folded. Then I was dealt and just called from the SB. He called behind me and the flop came . I put in a minimum bet of 2,000 and he folded again. We’d played 15 hands and I now had 15,121 -- not quite twice what I had when we’d started heads-up.
Then I was dealt in the BB. He just called from the SB, and I shoved all in. He debated for a moment, then finally called me with . I didn’t care for the flop very much -- -- but the turn and river brought no heart, eight, or ace, and so my fives held up. Suddenly I was ahead with 30,442 (to his 23,558).
Three hands later he made a minimum raise from the SB and I called with . The flop came and I checked. He bet 6,000, I raised it to 16,000, he pushed and I called. He had . For the first time all tourney, I thought I might actually win this son-of-a-gun.
The turn was the . So far so good. Then the river. . All 54,000 chips came sliding over to my seat. I’d won.
During heads-up (19 hands total), we had only gone to showdown twice -- and I’d won both times. My opponent clearly hadn’t had a lot of experience heads-up. He never really put any pressure on me, despite having such a huge chip advantage, and basically made it possible for me to win the tourney on a single coin flip hand.
Pretty satisfying, I have to say. Hell of a lot more than finishing second again would’ve been.
So now I get to make a decision. Have a little more time on this one, though. (Yorkshire Pudding asked me this question in response to the earlier post.)
Technically what I won was an entry into this afternoon’s Sunday Million, but I have already unregistered as today ain’t the best day for me to play. That means I now have $215 Tournament dollars in my Stars account, which gives me three options: (1) sell my T$ for approximately $190 cash (there are several sites that’ll buy ’em); (2) pick a Sunday and take a shot at the big one; (3) consider the T$ my new “tournament bankroll” and try a few tourneys with buy-ins higher than I’d normally attempt.
Other relevant factors: $190 would be nice to pocket, but wouldn’t really boost my overall winnings by a huge percentage; the Sunday Million is a “deep stack” tourney (players start with 10,000 chips) with regular (15 minute) levels -- a format I’ve never tried (never mind the quality of competition I’d encounter there); I am not currently a regular tourney player, nor do I have loads of time to play more than a couple of tourneys a week.
Not an easy decision. But a nice one to have to make. What would you do?
Labels: *on the street