D and I were talking after the last tournament about playing on Full Tilt and he mentioned that he’s been working on some of their Academy challenges, and that doing so sort of puts you out of your comfort zone, which could be good or bad, depending on how it goes. He wanted the little hat that apparently goes on your badge at the table, too. I went to the Full Tilt Academy and looked for a Challenge for myself, finding “Tournament Checklist” by Andy Bloch.
Basically, the Challenge is to:
- With a stack of 50 or more big blinds, call a raise and see a flop with no-gap or one-gap suited connectors smaller than 10 or a suited ace with a kicker of 8 or less. Do it twice.
- With a stack of 25 to 50 big blinds, fold the same set of cards to a raise twice.
- With a stack of 15 to 25 times the big blind, re-raise all-in (and win) with suited [ax 8x] or less, pocket pair [8x 8x] or less, or [kx jx], [kx qx] (suited or unsuited).
- With a stack of 15 big blinds or less, open raise all-in and win with the same set of cards.
- Cash in a normal tournament and a turbo tournament within 48 hours.
All of the tasks have to be completed in real money games of 45 or more players; they can’t be Rush, On-Demand, or Multi-Entry tournaments (which makes it a bit hard as Full Tilt keeps adding those options to every tournament).
Anyway, I made my first stab at the Challenge in a 90-player game last night.
My first chance came eight hands in. I had 2,910 chips—73BB—on the button with [5d ad]. But nobody raised! Just three limpers ahead of me. I suppose I could have raised to see if I could provoke a re-raise that I could call before the flop. [6s 8d as] and action folded all the way around to me. I bet 80 and got one call. [qd] on the turn game me a flush draw so I bet 200 after it was checked to me and took the pot.
Picked up [9h 9c] three hands later and raised to 190 (leaving an even 3,000 behind) after one player limped in for 50. Got calls from hijack, cutoff, and the limper in UTG+2. Flop of [4d 7c kc]. Limper checked and I bet 200. HJ called and the others folded. 1,235 in the pot and a [qh] on the river. Limper was down to about 2,100; I had 2,800. I checked and he followed to see the [kh] on the river. I bet another 200 and he must have been hoping his pair was good with [7h 9s]. I can only with the case nine had shown up because I think he would have been all-in.
[as qs] cost me a couple hundred a few hands later but the very next hand I picked up the Mutant Jack: [as js] on the button. UTG limped for 80 and I called. Small blind raised to 320, BB and UTG called, then I re-raised to 640. Everyone called and there was 2,560 (32BB) in the pot preflop. [4s 9s 9h] gave me a nut flush draw. Everyone checked to me and I went all-in for 3,075. I had SB covered; BB had 3,455; UTG was big stack at the table with 8,350.
I had 5,415 on the BB at 60/120 (45BB) a little later with the “computer hand” of [7s qh]. Not exactly something I’d play nine-handed but there was only one caller with a little larger stack than me. The flop was [kh 7h 6d] and I bet 180 on my middle pair, getting a call. [3s] on the turn, I checked and the other guy bet 120, which I called. My seven tripped up with [7c] on the river and I bet 600, getting paid off by the [jd ks].
My premium [9h ah] and [kh qh] hands both cost me more than 1K each shortly thereafter, however, the first after I laid it down in the face of nothing connecting and a large post-flop bet, and the second on the turn after a third club appeared on the turn and my opponent went all-in. Those cut me down from over 6,600 to just under 4,300.
And that’s where I was when my second chance for completing an Academy task came, with [ad 3d] on the BB of 160. I had just over 25 big blinds. UTG raised to 560 and action folded all the way to me. I was supposed to fold to a raise here, per task 2 but I’d miscalculated the division and though I was below 25 blinds and was supposed to try to re-raise and win. I got the first part of it right, anyway. He had only 55 chips behind but [8s 8h] in his hand. No diamonds on the board, just one [tx] short of Broadway.
37 minutes, 31 hands. No tasks completed. No KOs. 46th place.