Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Just a Fun Night of Poker

Last night was a fun, albeit ultimately a losing, night of poker for me. Since making three final tables in the span of 11 days, my overall confidence level has skyrocketed, and that more than anything else has enabled me to be more zen about my poker play, and some of those absurd beats you run into fairly regularly on line. I think the six months of nothingness that preceded the three final tables in 11 days had really started to grate on me, far more than I had consciously realized. But for whatever reason, lately I've taken some really bad beats in tournament play online, and I've managed to remain fairly normal. To me this is doubly important because when I listed out my three poker goals for 2006, one of them was to win an MTT, which I have now done (and it's only still January!) with the partypoker satellite tournament win this past weekend, and another was to Control My Tilt. I'm not naive enough to think that my tilty frustration is gone forever, but I'm just enjoying it while is lasts, and more importantly, trying to make a habit of non-tilting (it's actually much easier than going apeshit with every bad play or bad luck) that hopefully can last through the inevitable rough streaks in my performance.

Anyways, last night started off with the latest WWdN blogger tournament on pokerstars. Although I don't even know if it's accurate to call it a blogger tournament anymore, since I don't know how many of the 125 participants actually have blogs. For the first time, I really didn't recognize most of the people in the tournament, although I have to congratulate Wil on the move from 7pm to 8:30pm -- us working stiffs can't get home AND be ready to sit down to 4 hours of poker playing by 7pm in most cases. 8:30 is a great time for everyone, and judging from the size of the tournament last night, it appears that the general public likes the new time as well.

So early on in the blogger tourney, I was simply determined not to embarrass myself, with still ZERO cashes in the maybe 5 blogger tourneys I have played in, including 2 finishes among the first five out. My first decent hand was when I was working on a flush draw and managed to get a free card after the flop. The turn did not help my hand, but when my opponent bet, he only bet 100 into a pot that was 420. Normally I am not a chaser in tournaments, as I don't think that works as a rule, but I mulled this one over for a bit. Yes I know 100 to win 420 still isn't quite the 5.3 to 1 I would need to correctly justify a call with just a flush draw after the turn(realistically I had no other outs), but I was moved by two additional items: 1. the implied odds on this play were high, in that I knew from the play that my opponent was not also on a flush draw, so I knew that IF my flush draw were to hit, I would win some solid chippage. And 2. this is pokerstars, and since I complain so much about the draws hitting more often than indicated by the actual mathematics, when given the opportunity with a close calling situation odds-wise, I tend to try to err in favor of making the call if it is a sensible play for me chipwise. Well, I called the 100 bet into the 420 pot, and o-n the river came the Queen of Hearts, completing my flush. I paused, then bet out 500, and the guy quick-called me. I never even saw what he had, but I would guess top pair or maybe 2 pairs. Either way I punished him and started off hot after making what I still think was a well-reasoned call on the turn.

Also during the first two rounds of the blogger tourney, I flopped AA twice, pulling an Ace on the flop on Both occasions. Is there any better feeling than looking down to see two Aces, and THEN seeing people raising the pot preflop in front of you? Suckers. Anyways, thanks to all this, I was in the top 10 of players remaining in this tournament from 30 minutes in to the 2 hour mark straight. I was playing great, hit some big pots where I needed to, and was between 4 and 10 for most of the first two rounds. Then, with around 15 minutes left in round 2 and 33 players remaining out of the 125 who started, I flopped a nut flush draw. The big stack at the table led at the pot, and I raised fairly large as I had the nut flush draw, second pair AND an ace in my hand. Well, this guy reraised me back HUGE, I got a bad vibe about the made hand he seemed to be holding, and I folded, which I'm sure was the correct decision. But it ended up relieving me of about 60% of my chips, which knocked me down to 25th out of 33 remaining from my previous perch in the top 10, a position I would not be seeing again in this tournament. A few hands later, I held K4s in the SB, it was folded around to me, so I raised it up, only to see the BB call with what would eventually prove to be KK. I have to say, I cannot STAND how often it happens when it's just the blinds in a hand, the SB plays it assuming the BB is not likely to hold a strong hand, and yet it turns out the BB is in dominating position. I would say it is rigged, but it's happened to often to me in live poker as well to just ignore. Anyways needless to say that K4 vs. KK hand dropped me all the way to 32nd out of 32 remaining (I hate being in the cellar!), leaving me in massive desperation-only mode. I did manage to steal the blinds on three straight hands though, and then doubled up when I predicted in the chat that I would move allin on the next hand regardless of what it was, and then picked up AKS (!!) which won against a short stack's A3. That lifted me back up to 16th out of 27 remaining, and with the top 18 spots paying, I was beginning to get optimistic again that I could cash and officially show the bloggers that I, Hammerplayer Hoyazo, know my way around a holdem table. Unfortunately, two hands later my A8s ran into the big stack's 66, and I was out of the tournament in 25th place overall. I am pleased with my performance overall, had a LOT of fun playing the tourney, but it is certainly frustrating to be in the top 10 for 2 hours and then have it all fall apart real quick like it did for me yesterday.

After this, I noticed that the $5 turbo large event on ps was about to begin its 10:39pm ET start, and that is right up my alley. I definitely intend to keep playing in large tournament between now and the party million dollar tourney im in on February 18, if nothing else just to remain sharp in big tournament play, so this one was all me. I was even happier when, on the Very First Hand, I not just doubled by TRIPLED up when my flop-the-nut-flush-plus-slowplay-the-flop-and-turn move (patent pending) enticed not just ONE allin but ANOTHER allin call as well before the betting got to me on the turn and I could call as QUICKLY as possible. Nothing like a triple up on hand #1 in a big tourney, is there? Although to my chagrin, I was in 3rd place (out of 1659 players) and not 1st after that one hand. Can there really have been TWO other people who also MORE than tripled up on the first hand? That was definitely surprising to me. About 10 minutes later, I moved back into the top ten in 4th place when I limped in with 44, got a call from the SB, flopped a 4, checked it, and enticed the SB to push in. God I am so duplicitous it is frightening to me.

Near the end of the first round (this is turbo with 5 minute levels, remember, so this was probably already into the anteing portion of the tournament), I limp with 3s in the SB, and get a weak read from the BB who checks. The flop came K42 rainbow. I check, he checks, indicating further weakness to me and that my 3s were probably good at that time. Turn is a 6, at which point I make a nice sized bet, and he raises it about 3x, putting himself allin. I felt like I had to call as I REALLY wanted to stick to my guns with my inuition about this guy's weakness, so I called it, and he flips nothing but an open end straight draw. I am thrilled until he fills the straight on the river, and I lose a large pot, putting me into almost deperation territory. I actually managed to double through QQ when I push with 94o, pulling a 7 on the river to hit an inside straight draw (take THAT!), and then double again with 33 against an A4o shortly before the first break, lifting be back as high as 50th out of 342 remaining, and at the break I was in 84th place out of 198, with 180 spots paying out. Long story short, I ended up going down about 20 minutes into Round 2, in 120th place, for an 80% profit (all of $4, but it's the PERCENT that counts, I keep telling myself), but in all I played very well and was encouraged by my performance and my reads.

This $5 tourney ended for me just in time to focus more on the final table in the blogger tourney, which I'm sure will be talked about in many circles among the blogger community. Wes AKA Boobie Lover and BrainMc went at it heads up for what HAD to be at LEAST 40 or 45 minutes, and it was one of the best heads up battles I've witnessed live or on tv. Each player was down to probably a 6 to 1 dog at least twice during the heads up portion, and Wes was at that level probably more like six times, each time coming back and fighting his way back to the lead, and there were some CRAZY cards and crazy hands created by those cards. In the end, Brain won a hard-fought and well-deserved title after getting in with Axo against Wes's K9o. A good time was had by all, and thanks again to Wil Wheaton for continuing to set these bad boys up, and to the poker gods for not once AGAIN embarrassing me with my poor play in this thing.


Blogger Wes said...

Thanks for the praise. The last hand was me having J8 of diamonds and him having 77 with the flop coming 753 with two diamonds.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

That's right, I remember now Wes. All I know is, I had counted you out at LEAST six separate times, and each time you managed to fight your way back to a lead. I was very impressed. I just don't have the patience for heads up, unless its at the end of a tourney, with large blinds, antes, etc., at which point I can be a very difficult bust. But you basically gave a clinic in heads up play last night man, it was awesome.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Buckhoya said...

Who is this clown? Why does he make so many stupid plays at the table? I heard a rumor that he's a head trauma victim, and I'm starting to believe it.

4:25 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Nice stuff Hoyazo. If you want to know about NYC home games, I don't really have a set thing. I've stopped throwing them because of the wifey, but sometimes I go to my buddy's place in Queens. You wouldn't want to go to Queens. I used to look for home games, but then I found out about the low buy-in tourneys at a couple of NYC card rooms. They aren't at all intimidating nor scary/dangerous. If you are interested in going, shoot me an email (brodybanky AT aolDOT communista). I'll be happy to join you. Just about every weeknight there is a $50+10 on Houston. I've won it 4 out of 7 times, so the competition is pretty soft (or I'm pretty damn good...nope, its the competition).

4:27 AM  

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