Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fun With Bloggers

First off, only for those of you who watched the West Virginia / Texas game through to the bitter end on Thursday night, I have one word for you: Resuck. That's the first thing that popped into my head after Pittsnoggle hit the crazy 3-pointer with 5 seconds left, only to then see Texas hit an even crazier 3-pointer as time expired to run away with the victory. See, like is just a poker game, and when West Virginia hit the huge 3-pointer to tie the game for the first time in like 10 minutes, right near the very end of the game, my poker-infested brain immediately thought "What a suckout!". That's just like Mr. Donklefish hanging around with a dominated hand after the flop, but then pulling the miracle two-pair card to move ahead of your pocket Aces on the turn. It was crushing to Texas fans everywhere I'm sure. But then, just like in poker, over the span of less than five seconds, the suckout turned to a resuck when Texas hit the last-second shot to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat that had already been snatched from the jaws of victory. A suckout and a resuck in the NCAA tournament....What will they think of next?

Anyways, back to the poker content, Thursday night was a real blast for me. First, I started off playing in the Heads-Up Challenge III, a super fun event put together by fellow poker blogger Veneno, who did a fabulous job btw, including some last-minute shenanigans that almost threatened to postpone the event on Full Tilt. I quickly found myself up against wwonka, the guy whose poker playing handle looks and sounds just like Will Wonka, but who is not in fact named Will Wonka, or even Will for that matter. So I don't even know this guy's name -- all I know is that his name is not, in fact, Will Wonka. Anyways, Not-Will and I started our heads-up match on time at 9pm ET, and I quickly went on the offensive. It took me all of about 5 minutes or less to determine that Not-Will-Wonka is, in fact, not nearly as aggressive as me, and fairly easy to chip up against as a result. Not-Will probably raised me on only 5 of the first 30 hands we played, whereas I raised him at some point during maybe 25 of those 30 hands. Not that you have to be raising 25 out of 30 hands to play well heads-up, but 5 out of 30 raisings is, in my book, not sufficiently aggressive to do what you have to do in one-on-one holdem, in particular not against me. So I grabbed the early lead by forcing Not-Will to fold on most of the first ten hands. In fact, I held the chip lead in our match from the first hand through about hand 25 or 30. Then things went south in a hurry, and it wasn't even the poker or the cards that did me in. My youngest daughter -- she is barely 6 months old -- suddenly woke up screaming about 30 hands into my match with Not-Will. My wife was already asleep, and begged me to take care of the baby since my wife has, in all fairness, been up with the babies almost every night either one of them has awoken over the past month, and since my wife is sick this week. I was happy to oblige, but being heads-up, it's not really a fair option to just click "Sit out" and come back in 30 minutes when the baby is back asleep. So, I got delayed out of one hand while I went to get my daughter, put her in the stroller and bring her back to my room so I could rock with my right hand while I play with my left. The thing is, even though I am just about the world's most coordinated person with my right hand, I am also basically worthless with my left. So, it was not working out well using just my left hand to bet, raise or fold in my heads-up match, and unfortunately there is no way to rejigger things in my room so that I could reverse the hands I was using for the baby and for the computer. As a result, I got very frustrated and was simply unable after just a few hands to afford the proper amount of attention to my game with Not-Will, which was a double shame because not only was I beating down on him before the baby awoke, but I was beating him by being repeatedly aggressive against a guy who quite clearly did not know how to handle it. It was fun doing that to someone, though I do manage to do it to almost everyone I ever play heads-up. In any event, after maybe only 4 or 5 hands, it was obvious to me that I was not going to be able to do both things, and frankly the baby would scream at the top of her lungs every time I stopped rocking her in her stroller for even 1 second to make a play in the HUC game. And if the baby woke up either my wife or my 2-year-old daughter sleeping in the other room, then I would be Mr. Dickhead for the evening. Long story short, I decided I had to end the heads-up battle as quickly as possible, hoping I could win quick and then rock the baby to sleep in the time I spend waiting for the other match to end. That consisted of me pushing the next hand, which was K9o, despite a reraise from Not-Will of my original raise. And believe me, the way he was playing, the reraise could only mean one thing: strength. But I had to end the match, one way or the other, and end it I did. He flipped JJ, I did not pull a King, and I was out of the HUC3 with quite a whimper. Still, several bloggers railbirded during our fairly short-lived match, and in all it was a great time. Thanks again to Veneno for putting it all together.

Anotehr fun part of last night was the HUC Lounge nlh tournaments that Veneno also set up. While the first one at 9:30pm ET ended up being voided by Full Tilt (I don't know why, perhaps due to lack of signups), the second one that began at 10:30pm ET was a lot of fun. Many of our blogger friends were there, including Veneno herself, Sir Waffles, Ingoal, Garth, SurfLexus and Wes, and I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two key others as well, so I apologize in advance for that. The total field was a small "quaint" group of 15 or 16 or so bloggers, and we had a good ol' time laughing and joking with each other in the chat while we tried to kick each other's asses for a piece of the $75 prize pool, awarded only to the top 3 finishers. Well, I am happy to say, after busting Ingoal and then following it up by busting our gracious host Veneno, I ended up making the cash, and then going out in 3rd place when I called Wes's reraise despite my holding the Hammer, which somehow got sucked out on by Wes's double-paint. It was a great way for me to turn an $8 profit and have a great time doing that along the way:

Oh and how could I forget -- another Thursday night, another cash in the pokerstars large $5 buyin turbo tournament. This makes 9 cashes in my last 10 entries into this event. I wonder if there is some way I could make a living just playing online turbo low-buyin events. I guess not. Still, I had a really fun time playing in this tournament, watching the field whittle down from its original 1426 entrants to the 135 who got paid, and then some. I think the highlight of that turbo tournament was definitely me sucking out with the Hammer to win a nice sized pot from the prohibitively huge stack at the table, and taunting him the entire way during the hand:

In the end, it was a disgusting suckout that knocked me out of the turbo event, with my slow-played two pairs on the raggy flop losing to a 2-outer pocket kings in my opponent, in a hand that would have and should have given me a huge stack heading into the final 100 players:

So in the end, I was out in 113th place:

It was a lofty $7 profit, but again I play these events not so much for the money as for the practice and the experience, and this run I'm on of 9 cashes in the last 10 $5 turbo MTTs is really a testament I think to my willingness to play aggressively, and to the fact that I can really excel in a situation where selective, strategic aggression is not only rewarded, but required. I guess they only run this event on Tuesdays and Thursdays these days, but I'll have to keep my eyes open to see when else it is available so I can continue the streak I am on.

In all, it was a really fun night of poker, I got on the chat with a number of other poker bloggers, showed my skillz in the lounge game with some of these guys, and let my 6-month-old daughter take my attention away from a heads-up match that I could not afford to pay less than 100% attention to. Here's to more of the same this weekend (minus the baby wakeage, of course).


Blogger jjok said...

Have you played the WSOP $2+R turbo qualifier? If you are good at turbos, you should check it out.....

Usually around the top 20% get their $ you can cash it out and make a nice little profit in about an hour and a half.....

9:45 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I'll check it out, jjok. Thing is, the Rebuy feature really messes with my usual turbo strategy. I just can't stand the way SO many people will just move in with anything several hands in a row, rebuying every time they lose, until they can build up a nice stack. It's dumb. But at $2 I'm sure there are people who wouldn't mind one bit rebuying 10 or 15 times. Nonetheless, I'll check it out, thanks for the rec.

7:19 PM  

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