September 22, 2009

Shortstack survival in the EPO...

Apologies for the delay on updating, things have been pretty busy with the baby, as you might imagine. The only poker I've played since he was born was at the inaugral EPO last week.

I met up for a meal with Tom Rutter, Stu Rutter and Mike Miller before kick-off which psyched me up for the tournament nicely. I took to my seat just a couple of minutes late. I was pretty happy with the draw as the only person I recognised on the table was Scott O'Reilly, an old mate who knew all my Uni mates that played poker. It turns out I accidentally sat at table 36 seat 7, instead of table 37 seat 6, and in doing so ducked a table with Annette Obrestad and Praz Bansi on it! I didn't even find this out until the break, and by then they'd worked around it.

I was a little unlucky early doors, the only time I picked up Aces in the whole of the tournament was in the first level. I c-bet a J78 flop after being called on the button. He raised and I called. I then check-folded face up on the Jack turn, and he showed me AJ. In the third or fourth level I then had the unthinkable happen. Surinder Sunar, potentially the slowest acting person in the game, called the clock on me! This didn't exactly help me make what I think was the wrong decision to fold to a third barrel on a T8xKx board that was effectively for my tournament life (He bet 4k, I had 6k back and it was a 6k pot) having called an UTG raise with JJ whilst 1+UTG. I really, really wanted to call, as it looked like either nuts or air...with a very real possibility of air...but I just couldn't quite do it.

This was the last point in the tournament I ever had the chance to be above average chips. From this point I went on a somewhat remarkable run of being the short-stack, but doing just enough to survive. Once the 200/400 level hit. I rarely had more than 12 big blinds to my name. The MTT SNGs I play rely heavily on push-fold strategy, and I was very confident I could make my short-stack count, or at least make the correct plays at each point in time.

I picked my spots carefully, trying to avoid having to face an all-in showdown. Upon moving tables to eventual runner-up Michael Tureniec's table, literally every hand was open raised (mostly by him) and I just couldn't find a spot to shove. I'd look down at 44 or KTs and be rubbing my hands in glee at being able to shove the button, but that opportunity never arose and I'd have to fold to the open raise. I remember picking up 77 and thinking, finally I can re-shove on this guy...only for it to be opened and 3-bet infront of me!

Upon noticing my grind through the levels, always at the bottom of the pack but somehow avoiding elimination, people said to me I must have been really lucky, as I must have been all-in so many times. Whilst it's true I shoved in rather a lot, I was actually only at risk of elimination 6 times throughout the 2 days I survived in the tournament (which was 18+ hours of play):

Day 1
AJ > T4 at 300/600 (I shoved 3.8k from early position, big blind called)
AQ > A5 at 400/800 (I shoved the big blind after the small blind raised, he called)

Day 2
Q6ss > KJ on Ks 8s 6c at 1200/2400 (I check-raised shoved the flop from the small blind after UTG and the button limped preflop)
QQ > AK at 2000/4000 (I just about 4-bet shoved, he called the little bit extra)
AT tied AT at 4000/8000 (I shoved the button for 9 big blinds, big blind called)
24s lost to A6 at 5000/10000 (I shoved for 45k 5 handed UTG, fairly standard...)

My peak in chips was comically about 90,000 after I won with the Queens (there was 2 million in play, and at this point we were down to 2 short-handed tables, and this represented the first time I was slightly better than half average chips at any point in the tourney other than the early going. Consequently I couldn't be too disappointed that I bust in 10th place (out of 213 runners), although naturally it did kinda suck to miss out on the final table. I bagged £9k for the win, although having sold a fair proportion of myself I only took £3k of that. Still, this came at a very opportune time with the birth of the baby, and not having the time to play at the moment. I'm happy with the result, especially clinging on the way I did for so long.

How sick it would have been to win though. Not just for the £70k of the £210k first prize I'd have shipped, but also to see Mick McCool's face upon me putting a cheque for £50k in his hand, all because he asked me to help him out with his blog a couple of weeks back!

Me with Andy Greekfish

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3 Comments to "Shortstack survival in the EPO..."

Yorkshire Pud said...

I was glued to Blonde waiting for updates. Well played sir

badcallthat said...

your SNG knowledge obvs helped massively there! wp you shortstack ninja! hope the baby and the missus are good

James Atkin said...

Thanks guys hehe.

Mother and baby doing v.well tar :)