Saturday, May 19, 2007

AIPS II Event No. 5 -- Short-handed NL Hold 'em

'Going AIPS' image modified from the cover of a booklet 'Astronomical Image Processing System' containing documentation, located at the Ante Up! Intercontinental Poker Series II: Electric Boogaloo Event No. 5 on Thursday night -- short-handed NL hold ’em. $5.00+$0.50 buy-in. 112 players signed up. Not much to say about my performance, really. For the almost one hour I lasted, my cards were mostly lousy and my play about the same. Was much too tight (and weak) to be successful. Have to say I’m more than a little out-of-sync when it comes to tourney play at the moment. Ended up deciding to push my short-stack with JdTd and unfortunately got cracked by pocket queens.

Had Columbo (of those smart & funny “One-Minute Mysteries” regularly appearing on Ante Up!) on my right at my first table, with whom I had one semi-interesting encounter early on. We were in Level 2 (blinds 25/50). I had 1,490 in chips -- almost the starting stack. Columbo was down to 765 and from UTG raised it to 175. I had been dealt AcQd. Thought for a moment, and decided just to call. (Not gonna say I “smooth-called,” given how rough my play was Thursday night.) Everyone else got out and the two of us saw a flop of Ks4hKd. We both checked. The turn was the 3d, to which Columbo responded by pushing his remaining 590. I thought a moment. Didn’t put him on king, necessarily, but felt reasonably sure he had a pocket pair, so I let it go.

Right play? I suppose I could have pushed preflop and either taken his 175 chips or raced with him for over half my stack. Seemed too early for that, though. To be honest, the play had more to do with the generally-weak style I couldn’t seem to overcome Thursday night than anything else.

I haven’t been playing very much on Full Tilt Poker lately. Main reason is the smallish roll I currently sport over there, although I have to say there are a few other factors discouraging me from hanging out in the land of the geckos, cowboys, and clowns much more.

There was that nefarious SEO Black Hat applesauce back in late March wherein Full Tilt allowed a notorious spammer/scraper outfit to run a private freeroll tourney on its site. SEO even claimed Full Tilt had “sponsored” the freeroll, adding $5,000 to the prize pool -- a dubious assertion, though never specifically denied by Full Tilt. (See here if curious to learn more.)

Then there was that milquetoast response from FTP to the recent bots-on-the-loose terror. While I’m not personally too uptight at the moment about the bots coming to get me, Full Tilt’s “what-can-we-do?”-styled shrug at such an unmistakable example of edge-creating collusion doesn’t exactly inspire consumer confidence.

Finally, there was a royal screw-up with the AIPS event the other night wherein Full Tilt somehow mismanaged the payout structure for the tournament. As the number of registrants grew, it became apparent that the prizes being awarded weren’t being adjusted accordingly. By midday on Thursday, over 60 players had registered, yet only the top four finishers were scheduled to win any cash. Folks started to notice, and while emails were sent to Full Tilt over six hours before the tournament was scheduled to begin, FTP failed to respond prior to the tournament’s start.

So instead of paying out the top 12 spots (as the normal schedule would have done for a 6-handed tourney with 112 entrants), we ended up with an extremely-top heavy structure in which only the top four cashed. The prize for first place ended up being around 200 clams. Didn’t necessarily affect how I played the tournament, though I have to say it was a bit discouraging to lay down my moneys like that for a tourney in which less than 1 in 25 players cashed. And I do think the structure had to have influenced how a lot of folks played, particularly once they got down to 30-40 left.

Full Tilt eventually agreed to refund $5.50 into the accounts of those players who finished 5th through 12th. The right thing thing to do, all things considered. Nevertheless, I’m starting to see a trend here regarding the level and speed of Full Tilt’s response to their customers.

Ante Up! recently celebrated its 100th episode. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out -- definitely one of the better poker podcasts going. I do like participating in the AIPS events and very much like taking part in the great Ante Up! community. Wouldn’t mind seeing the tourneys move over to PokerStars, though, where quick, effective customer support is much more obviously a concern than at FTP.


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