Saturday, January 21, 2006

Aggression Monkey

Here was the Friday night plan: as I was still fighting off the remnants of a cold, I wasn't about to go out drinking, which left me at home for an evening of poker goodness. I figured I would locate some good looking tournaments on Stars or FullTilt (eschewing the 180 SnGs for one night), play O8 cash games until they started, and hopefully still be in there when the blogger HORSE tourney started.

So, the 8pm FullTilt tourney looks good, and I keep my eye on a couple of low-limit rebuy tourneys at Stars. I jump onto a few O8 cash tables, and displaying my newfound prowess quickly give a buy-in to the fine gentleman on my left. Berating myself for my lemur-ish play, I fight my way back and end up down $3 or so for the session.

Psyched up after my recent rush, I jump into the FullTilt 10.5k, and get ready to rumble. It turns out that Bdr (can't find his blog) is at my first table. I didn't recognise his FullTilt handle, and he probably didn't recognise mine, though this could be due to me being eliminated almost immediately. Out in 419th of 476. Clearly I rock.

OK. Alright. So that didn't go as planned. I register for the $3 rebuy, and decide to join the $10 single rebuy as well. Despite breaking my new rule "when in a NLHE tourney, play that and that only", I figure since these are rebuy tournaments it's just crazy play initally anyway.

I decide to concentrate mainly on the $10 single rebuy. As it's a single rebuy people should be playing relatively normally (i.e. horrendously), and I have a restart button in case I make a mistake. While the $3 is a study in craziness (of course), I manage to chip up in the $10 rebuy. By the end of the first hour I have a healthy stack, putting me in the top 25%. I add-on, and am into the tourney for $21. In the $3 rebuy, at the end of the first hour, I have zilch. I rebuy and add-on, and am into the tournament for $18.

After some toing and froing, I go down in the $3 tournament. I am fighting for my life in the $10 rebuy. At one point my stack is seriously dwindling and I am in the big blind when most of the table limps in. I look down at Q-2 suited, and jam. One of the early position limpers calls, and everyone gets out of the way. He has a mid-pair, but I manage to spike a Q. The caller goes ballistic, calling what I did a horrendous play. The monster stack of the table starts ripping into the caller, defending my play. Which was nice.

As we start approaching the bubble the HORSE tournament kicks off. I have extremely low expectations, and am looking forward to it for a bit of fun and to chat with some people. Why the low expectations? Let's do a self-analysis of my abilities in the various disciplines.

H - Like everyone I can play this game. But I don't play Limit tournaments. Ever. I am one of those people who accidentally join a Limit tournament, thinking it is a No-Limit tournament, and may as well have a sign stapled to my forehead saying "FREE MONEY". My strategy is simple: play only premium hands, and try to get the hell out of everyone's way.

O - I actually like this game, and figure it to be my best of the disciplines. I first got into Omaha Hi/Lo, funnily enough, when I played a low-limit HORSE tourney on a whim. With that experience, and reading many of Sir Waffle's posts about it, I began playing it on cash tables. It actually helped resuscitate my bankroll and inject some confidence into my play. I've only played one tourney of O8, one of the DADI tourneys, and did OK.

RSE - I grouped these together because, well, I have played them all the same amount (i.e. in that previously mentioned HORSE tournament). I assume I will blow at them.

So, not that optimistic. The tournament kicks off, and I am seated with the lovely Veneno, Drizz, and Bobby Bracelet amongst others. As predicted I do exactly nothing during H. Though this is what I expected, I start experiencing this sinking feeling. During O I manage to win a hand out of pure desperation. I cheer wildly.

And then begins R. Ah Razz, almost universally loathed. Red-headed step-child of the poker world. I know the rules, but that is about it, and decide that this is a good time for me to concentrate on the tournament I am still in at Stars. As I'm not paying ultra-close attention and don't really have much of a clue about strategy, I decide to let my inner Aggression Monkey out of his cage. And the monkey goes berserk, slamming "Raise" whenever he senses weakness. As I am focussing on fighting for my life at Stars, that's all I can see my monkey doing in the HORSE tournament. Raise, raise, raise.

A curious thing happened. After Razz, I had chipped up to be amongst the leaders. That was strange. So I decide that at least for RSE I'll let the Aggression Monkey take the reins.

Eventually I go down in the $10 rebuy tournament, a respectable 32nd out of 793, netting me just over $80, or about $60 net removing buy-in. I am happy I did that well, but am tantalised about the big money that was coming within my reach. Maybe next time.

This would have been the time to concentrate on the HORSE tourney, but the whole "doing two things at once" seemed to have done well for me. Veneno convinced me to jump into an 18 person SnG. I started off like a rocket in the SnG, chipping up immediately. In the HORSE tournament my Aggression Monkey was going crazy - and I noticed that I was the chip leader. With over twice what 2nd place had. WTF?!

The escalating blinds starting doing damage in HORSE, and soon we were at the final table. The monkey used my stack as best he could, and eventually we were down to three-handed, with myself scurvydog and biscutblocker (does anyone know his blog?). 20 minutes later we were still three-handed. 20 minutes later? Still three-handed. I had completely lost track of time. We were going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.... railbirds were complaining... At one point I noticed it was after 1:30am. I wasn't really paying attention to the SnG at this point, but fortunately the early chipping up put me in good stead.

And then it happened. The thing I had been dreading.


I couldn't play tight now, could I? The blinds would eat me up in no time. So I did what I could, which was gird my loins, and go for it. And play extremely badly. And finish in 3rd. I returned to the SnG, and proceeded to make it to Heads-up with Veneno, who used her 7:1 chip advantage to bounce me in about 4 hands.

After it had all finished, I got up from the couch, stretched and took a deep breath. 3rd in HORSE?! Craziness. I definitely got lucky, but the Aggression Monkey was my secret weapon. I sometimes blame him for getting me in trouble in short-handed play, but I think my recent success in NLHE tournaments can also be attributable to me using him more.

It was also extremely cool to meet up with all the bloggers again, and a big congratulations out to biscutblocker for taking home the title. Thanks to April for setting it up, we all had a blast.

Now maybe I can convince someone to make an ORSE tourney?


  • It was definitely a goodtime. And that aggression monkey was your good friend. Congrats!!

    I don't know about ORSE, but I will play HU with you

    By Blogger Veneno, at 12:09 PM  

  • great job Garth! I think you busted me out in 4th place, no? I forget who KO'd me.

    By Blogger Derek McG, at 10:16 PM  

  • good job

    By Blogger SirFWALGMan, at 11:38 AM  

  • Derek - yeah, I think it was me who put you out in 4th. The three-handed-that-would-not-end destroyed my memory.

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 12:13 PM  

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