To Poker Gnome,
You may have been luckier on this day, but it likely won't last. To help you be as lucky as me, I offer the essential guide.
--Note written on inside page of "Luck: The Essential Guide," which Luckbox awarded me as his bounty from WPBT tourney
Everything had to go right to make a run at the World Poker Blogger Tour Winter '09 tournament. Most everything did fall into place, allowing Team Roach to win the Luckbox Last Longer Challenge and me to finish in fifth place overall.
Image from RecessRampage. Thanks!
And that's just the tournament. The remainder of the annual blogger weekend was a blast as well.
But let's start with the tourney:
Eighty-six bloggers registered for the $100 buy-in tourney at Caesar's, with most of them participating in the last longer challenge. The challenge cost $10 per person, and included $2,000 added by PokerStars, thanks to UpForPoker. Thanks guys!
My last longer team consisted of Bayne, RecessRampage and myself. We called ourselves "Team Roach" due to Bayne's incredible survival skills that we hoped would serve us all well.
My starting table looked pretty brutal, and it lived up to that image by eventually putting four players at the final table. The table included F-Train, TheRooster, Smokkee, CracknAces, AlCantHang, Chilly and others.
I could have gone out near the beginning when Rooster limped, F-Train limped and I limped with 87s. The flop came 872, and Rooster open shoved. F-Train called. I thought for just a moment for dishing my top two. I didn't think it was good against two all-ins in a limped pot, and I was right. Rooster turned over KK, and F-Train tabled 22 for the flopped set.
I was shortstacked for a long time before finally doubling up with the hammer. Again, this is just one of those things that goes right in a blogger tournament: You're looking for a hand to go with, and you find 72. Push! I don't remember who called me or what he had, but I was glad to see the 2 fall.
Everyone got so shortstacked for so long, but they were still playing pretty tight. Because a shove could pick up so much dead money in the middle, survival was a matter of picking your spots and trying to steal the blinds and antes. I later broke Lightning36 with Q7 when he shoved and pot odds dictated a call. He brought me my first bounty, a University of Illinois hat.
The goods piled up when I knocked out ButchHoward, whose bounty was a very cool shot glass with the words "WPBT 09" imprinted on it. Then came my knockout of the Luckbox himself and gained the book of luck. Later, I was fortunate to pair my 32, which I had shoved into Change100's KQ.
At the final table, the blinds were reset so that the average stack was 20BBs -- a nice accommodation by Caesars to get more play when it counted. This adjustment essentially added two levels to the tourney, knocking us down from the 4,000/8,000/2,000 level to the 1,500/3,000/400 level. I was at my high chip count for the tournament thus far, at about 120,000.
Early on, I raised to 9k with AT and got a call from eventual champion Astin, who I had covered. The flop came down 986, and I continuation bet 20,000 into the ~30,000 pot with my overpair and gutshot draw. Astin shoved for 11k more with 76s, and his pair held up. That was a big hit to my stack.
A little later, Astin nailed me again. This time, I had enough chips to raise without shoving with K2o from the button. Astin called from the blind. We checked it down until the river, when the board read J87QT with a flush possible on the turn. On the river, I bet 40k as a bluff with my airball hand, and Astin raised me 50k more. Of course I folded, and I was essentially crippled. He said he had T8s.
Astin did a great job of recounting the hand in his recap: "It was easily my favourite hand of the tournament," he writes.
But the fun wasn't over yet. I still got to tilt Alcanthang, who had a ton of chips before I shoved J3 into his AJ. I hit a 3, diminished his stack and pissed him off. Sorry man!
That's OK though -- he got some of my chips back on my bust-out hand when I shoved J4 into Al's 55 and someone else's AK (I think). Al hit a 5 on the flop, and presto was gold!
Along the way, I got tremendously lucky to hit the cards I needed. I was fortunate to have two shoves in front of me at my opening table, to win flips, to hit my rags when all-in, and to have two strong teammates on Team Roach so that we could take down the last longer trophy and cash.
That's the nature of tourneys and Vegas gambling. I'm glad it was my turn to hit for $512 in 5th place money, $120 for my share of the last longer prop, and $500 on top from PokerStars!