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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Round Table - Tis the Season for the FTOPS.

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And this year, they are mine for the taking...or so I hope.

I began this FTOPS (Full Tilt Online Poker Series) series knowing I was budgeted to play several pot limit and no limit hold'em events. What I was really after, though, was a seat in the $300 Razz.

I have recently fallen in love with razz and can't get enough of it. Often called one of the most frustrating games by numerous pros, I beg to differ.

If you don't know anything about it, check out razz HERE for a brief explanation.

As I was playing in the first FTOPS event, the $200 No Limit Hold'em, 6-seater, I noticed a $50 buy in giving away 27 seats to the razz tournament the next day. Even though I didn't want to play two different games at once I couldn't help myself...it was calling my name.

One minute before the satellite began, I hurriedly clicked the register button. About 177 people, including Full Tilt Pros' Huckleberry Seed and Jon ‘PearlJammed' Turner, ended up registering so it wasn't too bad of odds.
I played well and dominated chips till it was down to the final 60. Remember, it gives away 27 seats and I'm about 15th in chips.

I get involved in a couple marginal hands and have to remind myself this is a satellite, not a tournament. I don't need all the chips to win.

I regain my lost chips, chill out and am greeted with a pop in by Jen Creason (original pokerwire tournament reporter and avid razz player.) Our hello was quickly followed by an unfortunate (for her) goodbye and soon after it was down to the final 30.

So I'm bubbling the seat and what do I do...start with A-2-3 up and go chasing against a guy who started with a Q up...and who ends up beating me on the board and put me to a decision to my final 1000 chips.

What the hell am I doing?? It's 3 off the money.

I folded my hand and was practically kicking myself that I may blow this just off the seat. I chilled out again and ended up picking up a hand good enough to double up with and cruised my way to a seat.

The tournament started at 9pm Eastern time on Thursday November 8th and I planned to fill my brain with razz as much as I could in the time I had before the tournament began.

I love to learn about poker. I love to talk poker and I am the luckiest girl alive to do the aforementioned. A glance through my phone book would make any autograph chaser from the WSOP pass out.

So who should I call to talk razz? Michael Craig does play a lot of razz. I remember him coming over to Clonie Gowen's house this summer and trying to teach Shannon Elizabeth how to play. I messaged him online and we arranged to speak just before the event.

As I was racking my brain with whom I wanted to ring, who should call but Chris Ferguson himself. Talk about perfect timing! A catch up phone call ended up turning into a brief razz lesson.

He told me to play tighter earlier and to be sure to steal when you can, along with many more tips.
After Chris told me he was playing the Razz too, I blurted out, "that won't be fair if you end up at my table! You will know exactly how I'm playing!"

"It won't be fair for me," Chris exclaimed with a laugh. "I just told you how I play."

I guess he's right, and hey, any advantage you can have over Jesus is a very good thing.

About 15 minutes before the razz started Michael Craig rang me and we discussed the game briefly before the tournament began.

Some highlights included:

"The best hand to start out with is not A-2-3; it's a hand where you have 3 low cards that are already out on the board."

"I'm under the opinion, especially later on, you are generally better off not putting extra pressure on people on 3rd street. Generally I don't think that extra aggression is always a good idea and Ted Forrest and Huck Seed have said they are not about reraising on 3rd street."

"Try to look for situations later on to steal and watch how your opponents play later on."

"Be patient if you get short - you can afford to be a lot shorter stacked in razz than you can in other events."


Just before we got off the phone we decided to make a fun $20 last longer bet.

The tournament began with 3000 starting chips and 697 players.

Craig had a rocky start, dropping down to 1000 right before the first break then back up to 2700 then down again to 1300.

I was pretty steady the first two hours, staying around the starting stack. I started so good several times (A-2-4-5) and then would brick out. Maybe now I'm starting to understand why everyone calls this game frustrating.

Right before the third break Johnnybax showed up at my table with 9000 in chips. Yes, the same Johnnybax known as Cliff Josephy and as one of the most respected online players. Bax played great as usual...even took down hands with 10 and 9 high.

I was moved tables and after about four hours of play, and not really any hands, I was out in 359th place. Right after I busted, I checked up on Michael. He was still in with 697 chips! He later told me he got disconnected and timed out for awhile which could have contributed to him outlasting me. Just bad luck.

Even though I missed out with Michael, I will proceed to tell you who I outlasted because that totally means I'm a better player than them:

Steve Zolotow
Toto Leonidas
Lee Watkinson
David Chiu
Allen Cunningham
Huck Seed
Erick Lindgren

No $43,000 pay day for me this time, but I'm still playing more events so there is still hope. If you are around online come sweat, I play under the name katelin. And if you are playing...good luck!

News Flash

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