Tuesday, August 21, 2007

FTOPS Main Event

I was pumped and ready to go for the FTOPS Main Event on Sunday. I played super tight and finished in 402nd place for a $915 prize.

I had qualified for the event through a satellite the night before on my fourth or fifth try, at a total expense of about $250. So I got into the $535 event for less than half price, and I'm now convinced that satellites are the best way to go. I don't know why I was so skeptical of satellites in the past, but they really are filled with some of the biggest gamblers and worst overall players.

After playing this tournament, I find that I really agree with Blinders thinking that tight play gets paid off in MTTs. Sure, it's nice to open up your game a bit when you have a big stack or the blinds are low. But in general, most of the time I couldn't afford to be messing around with many middle-of-the-road type hands unless I was pulling off a steal or squeeze play.

And let me tell you, it's those steals and squeeze plays that kept me alive and made me the money. I only won one hand at showdown for the first four hours of the tournament, and yet I was still able to survive with a playable stack. It's all thanks to steals and resteals. I was very conservative and didn't try them unless I thought I had a high probability of success. I wish I had the balls to make more steals, but the ones I did worked often enough that I only had to pull them off every once in a while. Really, one steal every few rounds worked wonders.

Overall, I saw about 14 percent of flops this tournament, and my table average was usually around 18 percent. Almost everyone was playing tight, and the biggest donks went out fast.

For the first few hours, my biggest hand was KJs when I hit top pair on the flop, bet it out, got called, and then check-raised all in when I picked up a flush draw on the turn.

Then I waited and waited and waited, with some steals thrown in. Thankfully, the bubble passed very quickly. People were busting out all over the place.

At one point I got very short stacked and had to push with A3o from MP. Everyone folded. Then I picked up AK and pushed again from UTG+1. Everyone folded. Then I was dealt AK again!, and even though I was healthy this time, I thought there was a much higher probability of getting an all-in called, so I pushed all-in a third time. Everyone folded. That was fine with me because those blinds alone tripled my stack in three hands.

The biggest hand of the tourney came when an early position player who seemed a little weak and would minraise a lot of hands came in for another minraise. I had him well covered with an M around 7 or 8 or 9, so I pushed all in when I saw AQ. He thought for a while and showed AJ. I was in great shape until he pulled out a backdoor flush on the river. Yarg!

In another big hand (I'm a little fuzzy on whether it happened before or after the previous one), I called two all ins ahead of me when I was shortstacked with AK. The flop hit me, and I tripled up.

But I never recovered from that AQ vs. AJ hand. It wasn't long before I pushed J8o and got called by the big blind. I couldn't suck out a gutshot on the river and I was done.

I was happy with my play though, and it was a great event. I loved the 5,000 chip starting stacks in what was the largest tournament in Full Tilt history, paying out nearly $400,000 to first place with a prize pool of around $2.3 million. I would have liked to have played looser, but I felt like I really had to pick my spots well. Next time, I'm going to donk it up a bit more in the early game. If anything, I got too much respect, if that's possible.

Congrats to cmitch and lucko, who played great tourneys and also made the money.


cmitch said...

Congrats on cashing. Sucks about the AQ vs AJ.

jamyhawk said...

Congrats on hitting the money. Even though you played tight, 1 hand could have really changed your fate. Don't donk it up too much.

SirFWALGMan said...

Congrats and I am not putting down your accomplishment.. BUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTT..

I am thinking that tight does NOT pay. I mean you can not be crazy but what the hell did you win? Double your buyin for 3-4 hours of play? I guess that is ok.

I know I have a dubious grasp on poker but I am sure there are many ways to win an MTT but I am starting to believe that winning large field MTTs as a tight player means getting a huge run of AA/KK/AK/xx late in the MTT. If that does not happen your dooomed. How often does that really happen?

Playing a little crazier (not stupid) .. enables you to build up a stack faster than playing tight. Obviously sometimes it does not work and you get screwed.. but I think you really need to have so many more chips than everyone else because you are going to get sucked out on..

I dunno.. like all things poker I am still working this out but tight just does not seem to cut it with escalating blinds and crazy suckouts everywhere..

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

First, sorry for missing that you had also cashed in the FTOPS ME. Nice run and very impressive feat to outlast 4100 other donkeys like that.

Second, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Waffles' comment up there. The thing is, I don't think you really played "supertight" since you talk about all your steals and resteals, but only where you thought you had a high chance of success. That is surely not "supertight" play, and arguably it is loose-aggressive play as opposed to tight-aggressive play depending on just when and how often you pulled that move off. But in general, I think tight-aggressive play combined with steals and resteals, in particular in the latter stages of the tournament, is how I've cashed in basically every big tournament I've ever cashed in.

Nice job Mark.

Craig Cunningham said...

Tight is different than patience, IMO.

Craig Cunningham said...


Pseudo_Doctor said...

congrats on the cash Mark...awesome job

Schaubs said...

Nice cash, good job sir.