Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Token of Persistence

Lining up at the token dispenser . . . Whereas a lot of online players primarily play tournaments, I’m more of a cash game player. Mostly has to do with the time I have available to play -- my schedule normally doesn’t allow me to sit down here at the CPU to play without knowing when exactly I’ll be able to leave. Also, I’m more consistently successful (and thus confident) in the ring games -- not so much in tourneys. So for me a tournament is a bit more of a momentous occasion than it probably is for most of my opponents.

I haven’t done much at all this year in the Ante Up! Intercontinental Poker Series II: Electric Boogaloo. Had some modest success last year (a couple of final tables), but have mostly just piddled my way toward the middle of the pack in all of the ones I’ve entered thus far this time around. The “Main Event” is coming up next week -- a double-stacked NLHE tourney with a $24+$4 buy-in (as opposed to the usual $5.00+$0.50).

Have been reading OhCaptain’s posts about trying to satellite into the AIPS II ME. As I say, I’m not that big of a tourney guy, and thus I, too, ain’t all that keen on plunking down 26 clams for a tourney. Have got enough cabbage in the account to spare, but the truth is I would feel a bit too much like donating just to pay the entry fee for a tourney where my chances of success are limited.

So I have also been scheming how to weasel my way into the sucker.

I started out trying one of those 600 FTP sit-n-go’s -- nine seats, winner takes the token. The usual craziness early on -- indeed, by the turn card on the very first hand, three players were already all-in. I sat back (these aren’t turbos, so there shouldn’t be that much urgency so early), and mostly just waited out eliminations. Took about 35 minutes to get to heads-up, with my opponent having a little over a 2-to-1 chip advantage over me.

The two of us proceeded to play another hour -- 125 hands -- if you can believe that (see graph). I think we both were a bit too tentative, although I had the excuse of having the shorter stack for most of the battle. Once I took the chip lead there around Hand No. 94, I became more aggressive and pushed out to a brief lead. Ended up making a serious blunder, though, at Hand No. 111 when I flopped bottom pair and somehow got it all-in versus Villain’s top pair. Fairly disappointing, that.

I then attempted one of those Token Frenzy turbo tourneys ($6.00+$0.50), where I suffered similar heartbreak by bouncing out in 55th or so when 45 got tokens.

I weighed my options, deciding that the Token Frenzy seemed an easier route for me (even if it did involve a bit more gambling/chance). I tried a second one. I managed to build up a decent stack this time, then suffered a couple of unfortunate situations that knocked me back down to an average stack. Can’t remember all of the details, but I know once I flopped Broadway and ended up all-in versus a guy with QQ who’d flopped the set, and he filled up on the river.

The crucial hand came with about 100 players left (again, something like 40-50 got tokens). I had 2,250 in chips, the blinds were 80/160, and I was in the SB with AdTd. A late position player with 2,060 made a largish raise to 560 that I ended up calling. He’d been raising more often than he should, and I put him on either a small pair or a couple of face cards (at best). The flop came AcKs3h. I knew I was going all the way here, but I just bet 950 to give my opponent a chance to let it go. He didn’t, pushing his remaining 1,500 in the middle, which I called (of course). Might have been wincing as I did, but then I saw his cards: 9sAh. Didn’t have long to celebrate, though, as a nine came on the turn. And the river. I was down to 190 chips, and was gone within another hand or two.

So now I’d spent $13 in my quest for the $26 token. Time to try the 600 FTP sit-n-go again, I thought. And again I end up finishing second, although this time heads-up was over much more quickly. About 124 hands more quickly, to be precise. At about a 5-to-1 chip disadvantage, I pushed on the first hand with KT, was called by AQ, and that was that.

Yesterday I tried one more time -- another 600 FTP sit-n-go. Once again I fought my way down to heads-up. The battle raged for quite a while, and I was down under 3,000 chips a couple of times (to my opponent’s 10K-plus). Was starting to develop some serious heads-up anxiety as thoughts of a third straight second-place finish -- and fifth straight failed token attempt -- pulsed through my weary head.

After a lot of tentative play, I finally managed to work my way back to even, then grabbed an advantage. As I had done before, I got aggressive once I had the lead, and had my opponent down under 2,000 in chips when we finally put it all in the middle. He had the edge with AK vs. my J7-suited, but a seven flopped and the hand held up. Hello, token!

So I’ll be there next week (December 15) for the AIPS II ME. Probably will be poking around in the first two volumes of Harrington on Hold ’em between now and then. Might also try a few more lower buy-ins -- if I can find the time -- just to get back in the tourney groove. And maybe help me make more than just a token appearance on Saturday.



Blogger JL514 said...

Congrats on getting your token!

12/09/2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger Gadzooks64 said...

I'm a huge fan of the Token Frenzy Tournaments on Full Tilt.

You can check my OPR stats and see that I won a ton of them.

Just today I won 2 24$ tokens that I need to play the AIPS and CHIMPS Main Events.

You just need a lot of patience. Once you build up a big enough stack you can pretty much sit out and get your token.

12/09/2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I love these token frenzy's. I think there is one where half the field gets a token. Not bad, considering many of the players in these are really inexperienced.

Shamus, I was reading here and it says you play cash games, I just wanted to see if you might review something for your readers.

I am running a Rake Race for Cake Poker at if you or your readers might be interested.

We are giving away a $10,000 seat to a major event of the winner's choice.

Let me know what you think. Thanks

12/11/2007 8:54 PM  

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