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FTP Academy Challenge #1: Guide to Sit and Go Tournaments

I played poker last night for the first time in a few months. Things felt a little shaky at first but I got into the groove towards the end of my session. The experience as a whole was alright but it got pretty rocky for a while.

I didn't sit down to play poker until just after 10 o'clock last night. I've been exhausted the past few months and I really felt it last night. It can be so much easier to kick back with video games but I really wanted to give poker a shot. I turned on my laptop, waited a few minutes for my Internet connection to kick in (stupid Linksys USB wireless antenna), and fired up PokerTracker 3. Both PT3 and the Full Tilt Poker client needed to be updated: downloads, installation, and some database maintance killed another 10 minutes.

While everything updated, I jumped over to the Full Tilt Poker Academy. Looking over the available Challenges, I opted to try a nice easy challenge: Phil Gordon's Guide to Sit and Go Tournaments. This challenge comprises three basic tasks:

  1. Play a non-turbo 9-player real-money SNG.
  2. Play a turbo 9-player real-money SNG.
  3. Play a satellite SNG where at least one prize is an entry to a higher buy-in tournament.

This challenge is worth 30 credits (5000 credits = 5000 FTPs, I think). I love the idea of challenges. It's a great idea that's worked very well for both Microsoft (Xbox 360 achievements) and Sony (Playstation 3 trophies).

I first jumped into a turbo $2 + $0.25 sit 'n go. I've been re-reading Moshman's excellent Sit 'n Go Strategy so I felt midly prepared jumping back into real money poker. I didn't play any hands in the first few levels of play. Everything was going according to plan until my Internet connection crapped out. I was forced to reboot my laptop, all the while hoping that I'd still be alive by the time I got back onto Full Tilt.

After sitting out for ten minutes of mid-blind play, I returned to the table with the blinds at 50/100. There were still 6 players left and I was sitting on a reasonably sized stack of t1200. My first break of the evening!

I won't bore you with the details but I managed to take down my very first sit 'n go in a long, long time. I was able to really pick up steam leading up to the money bubble bursting. I maintained that momentum through 3-handed play. Once heads-up, I used good old SAGE and managed to grab first place with KK > K7. It was nice to get incredibly lucky in heads-up play and very, very nice to finally win a sit 'n go.

My victory was short lived however. I jumped into a $0.70 + $0.10 Step 1 Turbo (satellite SNG) and managed to bust out in 4th (on the bubble) with AA < 86. It's been a while since I've had Aces cracked: it was just as fun as I remembered.

I cleared two of three tasks for my active FTP Academy challenge earning 15 (of 30) credits. I'll play a regular (non-turbo) SNG tonight to finish up my first Academy challenge. I'm not sure which challenge I'll do next - there are a many challenges to choose from. I'm not even sure if I'll stick with just the SNG challenges. Maybe an MTT challenge or a cash game challenge?

I will likely continue playing the micro-stakes games for a while. My roll on FTP is pretty small right now and I don't really feel the need to "gamble" for real. It's much easier to convince myself that I'm playing poker for fun when there is no possibility for big wins or soul-crushing losses.


Memphis MOJO said...

5000 credits = 5000 FTPs, I think

These point things and iron man this and that are confusing to me. It seems like more people would participate if they understood them better.

Klopzi said...

Memphis -

The Academy credits can be used in the Academy store to purchase clothing and other FTP Store type stuff. However, I think that they can only be converted to FTPs by cashing them in batches of 5000.

I think the credits are just another way for micro stakes players to learn poker at very little cost or risk while also being rewarded heavily for staying with Full Tilt.

I think the Poker Academy (developed by a fellow poker blogger, if memory serves me correct) is a great idea. It'll be interesting to see how things play out in the coming months. I'm definitely a sucker for earning points based on task completion.