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Thursday, July 06, 2006 

1st Place Finish and Other Stuff...

1st Place Finish…
I’ve been toying around with the $16 WSOP Double Shootout Satellites on PokerStars.com for a few weeks now.  Haven’t invested too much money, but hit one or two a week to see where it takes me.  I’ve made it to the final table on a few occasions but haven’t “scored” so to speak.  Last night I took first place which gains me entry to Sunday’s $650 WSOP satellite.  I’ve been wanting to take part in this tournament for a while now being that it very closely matches up against my tournament play and style.  I’ve been doing extremely well in MTT’s and feel this is my be opportunity to date to walk away with that seat I’ve been hunting for.

Strategy wise, I played a solid game last night.  My first table was short handed and I used that to my advantage playing aggressively.  Optimized my position every chance I got.  Ended up winning that table without any hard hits.  The final table presented a full 10 handed game with only 4 spots providing any sort of award for your efforts.  In this situation I generally tighten up, and practice patience letting others knock each other around and out.  To my delight, I ended up taking a different path.  The first 45 minutes of this table I was receiving amazing starting hands.  AK 3 times, AA, 3 times, and QQ twice.  After a few good starting hands and proving the value on these hands by hitting a few flops, people tightened up against me.  This allowed me to steal blinds left and right.  When my AA’s came and QQ’s came, people figured I was just being the bully and offered me action.  Long story short, we got down to the last 4 fairly quickly.  I continued to dominate with my large stack.  Finally ended up heads up.  I was up 2-1 in chips.  His strategy was pretty much a standard raise every hand pre flop.  I didn’t adjust to his play as quickly as I would have liked.  He ended up winning a few key hands which changed the balance 3-1 in his favor.  Then a 5 minute break hit us.  Normally, being heads up for all the marbles, this break annoys the hell out of me.  Instead, I used this to my advantage and really formalized a strategy toward his play.  When we fired it back up, he continued his raising.  I smooth called every chance I got, wait for the flop, checked, he bets, I come back over the top.  I did this 5 hands running and he folded each time which put me back in a commanding lead.  Once I had the momentum, I continued to pound on him until he went bust leaving me with my first place finish.

It felt good.  A little bitter sweet in knowing that had I followed the same path with the $160 DS, that would have scored me the seat to the WSOP.  Only reason I even think like that is due to that being the way I won my entry last year.  Knowing that’s how I won it last year, I’ve been somewhat superstitious in following the same path this year.  Some little demon in my head keeps telling me lightning won’t strike twice with that format. 

And Another Thing…
Also cashed semi deep in a $3 rebuy tournament with $20,000 guaranteed last night.  Only reason I screw around with these are for the simple fact that first place pays out nearly 5k if not more.  It keeps me occupied and sharp as I play other more predominant tournaments.  People shy away from playing too many tables.  I think there’s a balance.  Having 2 or 3 going can be a good thing when one tournament is more important than the others.  This allows me not to concentrate and think too hard on any one tournament.  I find I get myself in trouble if I over think various situations.  Going with my gut works.

Thinking Ahead…
While I certainly don’t want to place undue pressure on myself, I AM putting a lot of effort in to making this weekend count.  I want to make a solid showing in that $650 satellite Sunday evening.  Part of me wanted to take the cash for that tournament and apply it toward DS’s and/or $33 rebuy satellites offering a seat directly.  However, upon further consideration, I like my chances going in to this tournament.  I really do feel this will be my best chance to date this season to take that seat.  I’m going to remain focused and do my thang.

Sunday Tournaments at Stars…
From what I understand, PokerStars.com will be doing another $200 1 rebuy/1 addon again this Sunday.  I would like to take a crack at this again as well.  However, I do not foresee spending as much on satellites as I did last week.  Just not worth it when other aspects of my game are doing well.  I caught the following on RGP directly from stars on their upcoming Big Tourney Schedule:

“Hello, RGP.

We have seen many requests for information regarding the Sunday Million
tournament held on 2 July 2006, the change to the format, whether or not
the change is permanent, etc.  I am pleased to be able to share the
following information.

The 16:30 (eastern U.S. time) Sunday tournament schedule for upcoming
weeks is as follows:

9 July 2006 : Sunday Million ($215 + 1 Re-buy / 1 Add-on)
    - $1,000,000 Guaranteed prize pool

16 July 2006 : WSOP 150 Seats Guaranteed ($350 + $20 Freezeout)
    - 150 seats to the WSOP Main Event guaranteed!

23 July 2006 : Sunday Million ($215 Freezeout)
    - $1,000,000 Guaranteed prize pool

30 July 2006 : Sunday Million ($530 Freezeout)
    - $1,000,000 Guaranteed prize pool ... normal end of month Million

6 August 2006 : Sunday Million ($215 Freezeout)
    - $1,000,000 Guaranteed prize pool

....and so on.

The tournament on 9 July 2006 will be the last re-buy/add-on Million, at
least for a while.  We may offer an R/A Million every once in a while,
but such a tournament will be the exception rather than the rule.

As always, our thanks to those who have provided feedback on this and
other issues relevant to play on PokerStars, whether said feedback was
in an email, a post here on RGP, other forums, etc.  We not only watch
for and respond to feedback from our players, we depend upon it. 

Thank you!
Bryan S.
PokerStars Tournaments”

And that’s it for me…
Good luck at the tables!

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