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Token Frenzy

Lately, every day feels like a struggle. It's nothing in particular. Perhaps its a bit of burnout. Now that wifey Kim is thinking (and talking) seriously about buying a home, I have no choice but to think long term. I've even started reading up on home shopping, getting a Dummy's Guide type book covering the topic broadly. Living in a rented apartment has been a joy for the last 10 years. If something breaks, it's the landlord's problem, my rent has always been manageable because I have found good deals, my commute is cake, and the amount of space, while limiiting, also means my household 'chores' are limited. I use 'chores' in quotes, since really, all I have to do is keep the place tidy. No need to worry about landscaping or household repairs.

My best guess is that we'll end up buying an apartment that will serve as our home for the next 5 or so years. After that, I wouldn't be surprised if we choose to move again to a proper home. By then (and I literally shudder at the thought) we'll probably have a rugrat running around and maybe another one, too. It's not so much that I don't want to have kids; I do. It's just, well, now? I like money and freedom way too much, and if you read enough blogs like PokerPeaker's, you start to comprehend that having kids means a lot of sacrifice.

Of course, all concerns aside, I know that we are making the right move for each other and our future family. I just wish there was a way to remain living the high-falutin' NYC lifestyle.

But this is a poker blog, so this all naturally leads to my token binge last night. I am, for whatever reason, way too excited for the beginning of the BBT4 (details available on AlCantHang's site). Since the first event is this Sunday, a $75 buy-in, I figured I'd spend the week trying to satellite in (for you non-poker players, ahem J-Dub, a satellite is a tourney that you must win in order to get into a bigger tourney). I came home and grabbed the laptop while wifey Kim prattled away on the phone with one of her many friends. As I undressed from my work gear, I signed up for the nightly 9:45pm EST $14+1 Token Frenzy, probably the easiest way to win a $75 token. Once changed, I popped open a few more windows to win some $26 tokens for the weekly Monday $24+2 RiverChasers tournaments, which are a part of the BBT4.

If you simply play very tight, the two table tournaments to earn a $26 token often come down to coin tosses. In the first match, I literally folded away until the first 4 players (out of 18) were busted. This all happened as I took care of other things around the house, looking back to the game mindlessly to fold my random crap cards whenever I heard the telltale FullTilt 'ding'.

My first tournament was relatively easy. I won the token after doubling up maybe once (with KK) and then folded into a money spot. When 6 spots pay out of 18 (only 5 get tokens, 6th gets $14 for a meager $5.30 profit), doubling up once along with some choice stealing can often be enough. Of course, after letting the first 4 players bust, I started paying more and more attention, and by the final table, I had a good read on a bunch of the players...not that it matters. Survival poker at its best. I wasn't looking to make any fancy moves.

While that was going well, I opened game number 2. Once again, I pretty muched ignored the game for the first 4 or so bustouts, and then began to pay steadily more attention. Of course, in the end, it all came down to a cointoss, this time when my AK faced 77. The bubble had already burst, but we were fighting for the difference between a token and the $14 bobby prize. My opponent and I were the two shortstacks, so it was really a cointoss for the seat. And it was a no-brainer for both of us because the blinds were so large, we were both in desperation mode when we got our top-10 hands. I took the booby, though, failing to hit an Ace or King. I guess the cash is better than nothing though.

I wish I could say it was all peaches and cream. Variance caught up to me when the I busted from my third tourney fairly early. I don't remember the specific circumstances, but I remember that somewhere around here, the night shifted for me. Suddenly, I was seeing suckouts galore.

For the rest of the night, I played a couple of more token tourneys, winning another token and losing another tourney. In the end, I had won 2 $26 tokens plus $5.70 profit from the one token bubble, for roughly $58 worth of winnings after investing $43.50. Yeah. $14.50 profit or so. Just lovely.

Of course, at 9:45pm, the $14+1 Token Frenzy started with over a hundred players with about 25 getting tokens. I had already felt my attention sagging, but the tourney was important enough to focus. To keep on my game, I decided to invest one of my recently-acquired $26 tokens by entering a single table tournament paying out 2 $75 tokens and a booby prize of $66 for the third place player.

An hour and a half later, I had reached the bubble in both games. For the single table game, I had my share of suckouts. In one particular hand, I had called a min-raise from the big blind with Q3h, from a player who had played more than 40% of his hands for the entire tourney. For those non-players, that's a very high amount and indicates that he was playing any two cards that remotely were coordinated. I was playing fairly close attention to his play, and it confirmed what the statistics told me. In the hand, the SB had also called the min-raise, so I was getting 6:1 on my money. The flop was Q-high, so I checked. The 40 Percenter bet out and I raised all-in for about 3x his bet amount. The other player folded and 40 Percenter called, this time showing KK. Go figure. The river was a 3 though, so I doubled through him to put me back in the running.

The blinds got insanely high, though, and eventually, I ended up in another coinflip situation, after pushing with QJs into TT. I missed again and left the room as the bubble boy, earning jack squat for my efforts. However, the Token Frenzy was still going, so I shifted my focus.

When playing satellites that pay out multiple players with the same prize, it's all about survival. With that in mind, I was at about 11th place with 40 players left and 25 spots paying, and chose to go into super tight mode. I didn't want to play speculative hands because I simply didn't need to. I was card dead, too, so there was little temptation. Unfortunately, as players dropped, so did my ranking, since I was giving up the juicy blinds and antes while others knocked out players and built up their stack. From 11th/40, I dropped to 19th/33, and then found myself super short as we neared the bubble. By the time we were on the money bubble (25 got tokens, and the 26th player got a silly low amount of cash), I was in 24th/27. I had all three windows open, watching my competitors and ran some simple math. With the 125 ante and escalating blinds, I knew that if I could fold for three more hands, there'd be at least two players all-in with such small amounts that (a) they'd get a lot of other players in the hand willing to risk less a Big Blind merely to take out the shorties, and (b) the chance of the two players both winning and making it past another hand was miniscule. I folded my 500 small blind, leaving me with all of 412 when the final hand played out. I had essentially put all of my eggs in one basket. If by some miracle the two shorties (on two different tables) both won their hands (against 3 players each, at minimum, all of whom were happy to check down the hand), I had my token. I crossed my fingers and waited for the results...and sure enough, it all worked out. I won my token by the skin of my teeth, happy to have my $75 token for the Big Game.

Then I realized that I have a wedding that night. Lemon! At least my profit was a bit better. I had spent $58.50 in buy-ins (the $43.50 on single table $26 Token tourneys plus the $15 for the $75 Token Frenzy) and had a tiny bit of cash ($5.70), one remaining $26 token, and a $75 token to show for my hard work, $106.70 total, for just under $50 profit. And yet, that's still not worth my entire evening.

Thank god I love this game.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:56 AM,


At 2:23 PM, Blogger CEMfromMD said...

I saw that you were playing in that $75 Token Frenzy also. I got a few early double ups and just coasted into the my token, was glad to see you held on for your too!

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It is a sacrifice. It's tough. But it's a investment, too, namely on your future. When you're 40, or 50, what do you have in your life. Honestly lately poker's been tough, but I have always thought I'll always have my kids. Poker's just poker.
I won't lie. it's tough every day. You've read me enough to know that. But don't let it scare you. You've got a great relationship with your wife and you're a good guy. That's all you need.
And you're probably a couple years away yet. Just appreciate your life now. And one more thing: Life doesn't end. I WAS in Vegas, remember? :)

At 12:20 PM, Blogger jamyhawk said...

you HAVE to love this game. we HAVE to!

To sit and work dilligently, studying players, taking notes, surviving coin flips; all over 5 hours and then show a whopping $40 profit.

It is for the love of the game, but many times, it is madening.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Wolfshead said...

Kids are a sacrifice, especially when it comes to poker but wouldn't trade mine for anything. I've had to pass on some good things, such as Al's going away party, due to conflicts in schedules due to my daughter but it's all worth it come the night and they climb up onto the chair with you and say "I love you Dad"
Of course you also have to get used to when they look at you like you've grown a second head when you say something they don't exactly agree with.


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