Monday, October 23, 2006


My MTT play does not get a lot of respect in the blogosphere. That's fine with me. When I started playing online poker, I ran mainly MTTs. I found them to be a lot of fun, and also a way to limit your downside when your learning the game. As my game progressed, I discovered you can earn a lot more per hour in S&Gs and cash games, so that is where I play. My measuring stick for how I am doing is measured in dollars earned, not in MTT results. Smokkee, always gives me shit for trying to fold into the money, and love elf even said that she would prefer to have me at a final table than Kat because my play is so predictable. Because the bubble play in the big game was so interesting, I thought I would go into a little more detail on what my impressions were at the FT.

First of all, I don't get a chance to brag much. I have a screenshoot of me leading the big game tournament over 1 1/2 hours in. If blogger did not hate me, it would be up right now. I play an ubertight tourney style, and it can actually work. You do not have to be a maniac to win a tourney. 3 of the last 5 WSOP main events were won by players using my strategy. The exceptions being Raymer and Gold. I have enough confidence in my tourney game, that even though it is not my specialty, I bought into a WSOP event last year with a portion of my cash game winnings. I thought that I competed well in the WSOP. My ubertight strategy had me in first against the best of the best bloggers 90 minutes in to the big game. I stated playing some big stack poker at that time, but lost my coinflips and dropped out of the chip lead. This brings us to the final table.

Quickly after forming, we got to the 6-handed bubble in the big game. I was the short stack, but had an M of about 6-7. I am not unfamiliar with being the shortstack on the bubble. In fact, the situation was about as ideal as it could be for me as the shortstack on the bubble. We had a huge chip leader who was relentlessly pressuring the table. He was also on my right. Normally, the bubble does not last long, as it is in the best interest of just about everyone to take a stand against the big stacks range in a MTT type payout structure. The medium stacks normally will be looking to lock up at least the 2nd place money. This ultimately did not happen, as no one would take a stand, even with premium type hands.

My hands were slightly tied because I had all three big stacks to my immediate right. There was no pot that I could open. I was facing a raise for all or most of my stack before acting on every hand. Since I was short, and it was apparent Kat would be waiting me out, I knew I would have to take a stand. One thing you do not want to do is take a stand (by calling) with a hand that is not at least a coinflip against the raiser's range. If you bubble out as 40% dog, that is not a good thing. My range was widening with every orbit, but I was not getting hands in this wide range. I was looking for an Ace, pair, two biggies at first. Then added any King.... I did not get these types of hands. When I got my first Ace (A6), I pushed and tripled up which got me through the bubble, but left me way short. I would have preferred to push earlier against lucko. Turns out he would not have called me to preserve the bubble, so pushing with air could have worked.

I love having a big stack at the table on the bubble, because they are so easy to double through. I like to let the big stack do all the heavy lifting throughout the tournament, and then take them for a significant portion of there stack in a few key hands late. It is a pretty easy thing to do, and is key to my tournament strategy. It does take getting a decent hand once and a while, which did not happen for me at the final table.

So, am I happy with 5th in the Big Game? Yes! I played as well as I could, and made the money against about as tough a field as you can get. I had a great shot at getting heads up with lucko for the title, if I could have picked up a decent starting hand late. One or two double ups would have done it. So I played well and put myself in a good position to get heads up. That's all I want.

Now for the love elf's comment. I did not see Kat play a single hand at the final table until she pushed short late. That's pretty predictable. She may have (and probably did) have horrible cards like me, but I am sure her range for taking a stand was much tighter than mine. I have been in Kat's position before many times, and it is not a goods idea to count the shorty out. What happens is the shorty takes their stand and doubles through leaving you short on the bubble. My play may have appeared very predictable, but it was not. If I did get a starting hand in my range, and doubled through, you would have seen me start heading up the payout scale. Didn't happen but easially could have. Please everyone, beleive all I do is fold to the money. It helps my game if you beleive this.


At 2:22 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nice post, Blinders. I like all that you have to say there. I'm sure your play was not / would not have been as predictable as everyone thinks, but like you said you can really take advantage of people who will treat you as if you are playing a predictable brand of poker. Nice job in cashing in the big game. Hopefully you'll play again in a couple of weeks.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

i saw you play two hands at the final table. the A-6 hand and the last hand you went out on.

from our vantage point, you and Kat were waiting for someone else to bust on the bubble. this is not a bad strategy as a shorty. but, you have to take a stand before your stack is negligible and get multi-called when you move in.

you went from an M of 6-7 to getting blinded out. personally, i'm not gonna let my M get down to 3 without without picking a fight.

you might consider including Q-9, Q-T, Q-J and connectors like 6-7 and above in your range when you get to M3 or 4.

-balls and luck

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Love_elf said...

Blinders - I have to admit I was impressed by your ability to make your way to the final table. The bloggers are an exceptional group of poker players.

Upon reflection, your conservative, tight play is eerily similar to someone I know (me). THAT is why, to ME, your play is predictable.

Now get your panties unwaded and I'll see you at the next one!!

At 6:20 PM, Blogger katitude said...

Well, you keep thinking that my play at the final table was predictable. That suits me fine.

Looking forward to the next one...

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Blinders said...


Hope you know that I'm not calling you out. Everyone else is already gunning for me.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

How did I miss this post? When I last stopped by I just saw the screenshot.

Terrific stuff. This is what I love about reading other bloggers posts - getting inside their game. That final table remains likely the most educational experience I've had at a blogger MTT.

Actually I ended up in the exact same situation with you during my FT25k run at the final table. Half my mind was telling me to push with air while I still had a stack, the other was advocating patience while other players made their moves. So I completely understand what was going through your head now.

Like I said, terrific stuff.


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