Thursday, August 03, 2006

Selfloathing and Stud

Stud Tournaments are not for sane people, but it's what I was in the mood for when I woke up last friday, and made for the start to a great weekend.

As FeliciaLee recently wrote, "Stud is a bad tourney game... The five betting rounds are killer... If the structure is fair, long, with a lot of chips, it turns into a race for endurance. If the structure is short with no chips, it turns into a card catching contest. There is no good way to run a Stud tournament. It sucks no matter which way you look at it."

I pretty much agree, yet I'll probably play in another one soon.

I've been playing Hold'em for almost two years now, and only for the last year with any seriousness, but I have been playing stud since I was 6 years old, and recently (as any poker player I've talked to in the last 2 months knows) have been gravitating back towards it. I think this may be because I burned myself out when I played in at least one Hold'em tournament every night during the month of April. Since then, I haven't played any Hold'em cash games whatsoever, preferring to spend that time playing stud, and saving Hold'em for when I can invest enough time to play in tournaments.

But Friday morning, I just felt different. I had a lot of time to waste, wanted to play in a tournament (I much prefer chasing the big payday to grinding), but wasn't in the mood for Hold'em. Since I suck at Omaha (something I will eventually get around to fixing), the choice was clear.

I was playing very well, and was actually holding the chip lead through the entire tournament, right up until the bubble, where things suddenly went very bad. Somehow I ended up on the 4 player table (vs. the 5 player table... 8 spots would be paid) with the three short stacks, and even though I was the overall chiplead, combined the four of us had only 1/3 of the chips in play. And then I went card dead.

I was chipped all the way down to the short stack when I began to throw a fit. I was ranting to my poor roomate about how fucked up Party (and most other sites) are about their "table breaking algorithms" (something I could, and one day will, write an entire post on), and how I was getting fucked by poor structure rather than bad play. I was fairly certain I was about to bubble out, and looking back, I am ashamed at how bad I let myself tilt.

And that's when it happened. I got lucky. Crazy lucky.

Although I had not been rolled the entire tournament, with T3200 left, at 3000/6000 stakes with 500 antes, I hit my first rolled hand, filled it with all four players still in the hand, and managed to slightly more than triple up.

Only two hands later it happened again, and I simultaneously busted out the new short stack while slightly more than doubling up. I was now third shortest stack, at the final table, and was determined to calm myself down, play smart, and win this thing.

I am still amazed at how bad half the players at the final table were, but there were at least 2 players that I knew were good (Major and Gtx), that I recognized as regulars from cash games. Arrogant as it may sound, I also knew that I could outplay them. I waited for cards, and watched player after player bust out.

When there were only 3 left, I knew I had won. One player was short, and all but guaranteed to go out on the next hand with a little implicit collusion, and the other player was positively horrible. Despite his 3 to 1 chip lead on me, I had not a doubt in my mind that I could take him headsup.

And obviously, I did.

It was not the biggest win I had all weekend (I had a great run of cards last weekend, taking down two live Hold'em tournaments, and cashing in two other live Hold'em tournaments, making for a fantastic weekend), but it was by far the most satisfying.

-Tommy

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