Monday, April 10, 2006

All Psyched Up...And "Hot Hand" Number 1

So today I was really psyched. First and foremost, I log in late on Friday for my usual Iggy fix, hoping against hope for some kind of drunken rant (please pretend that phrase is strikethrough text, since I don't know how to actually do that on a blog) uberpost to kick start the weekend. I'm reading, and suddenly there he is mentioning me, this blog, this here humble blog, in said uberpost. Unbelievable. Thanks man. I'm not worthy.

I also won 3 out of 4 sng's this weekend, kicking up my bankroll on pokerstars to near its highest ever. I played some with fellow blogger Katitude and had a great time late on Saturday night when a lot of the crazies and drunks come out to play. Unfortunately one of those dickwads (there, I went and looked it up here on google) drunks did this to me when I raised his weak bet all-in preflop:



but what are you gonna do, it's poker (and it's pokerstars).

So I was all psyched up heading into Sunday night's Bracelet Race on Full Tilt, where I fully intend on winning myself a $1500 WSOP seat some time in the next couple of months, and as the 9pm start time arrives, I am on a confidence high. I'm feeling the powers of Iggy combining with a recent hot streak and a lift in my bankroll, and I'm thinking I really have a serious shot at one of the two seats out of the 206 entrants playing in this thing.

A key hand came up early in the Bracelet Race tonight, and it is going to be the subject of my new "Hot Hand" feature where I'm going to detail a significant hand that I witnessed online over the past few days, and will solicit comments from you as to how the hand played out. In this particular hand, we were within the first 10 hands into the tournament, and I look down on the button to find AKo. Now, I love playing a strong hand like AK from the button, because I'm an active blind stealer, and this gives me the perfect opportunity to appear like I'm stealing and hopefully enable me to pick up a Tourist (thank you Champ) playing his touristy A7 or something like that, and get some chips in the pot from the get-go to boot. In fact, that's exactly what happens here, as after three folds to start off, a guy limps in in fourth position, which I go on to raise from $30 to $150 in an attempt to build up a nice pot. Everyone else folds, the blinds included, and my one limper calls my preflop raise. Here is the flop:



Certainly not a dream flop for me, as it not only has three high cards, but there are playable straight possibilities as well. Still, when my opponent checks this flop to me, I considered checking back, but decided to bet another 300 into the 345 pot, to hopefully get him out right there. And if I do get called, I do have the two overcards, plus the gutshot straight draw going. So I'm not too concerned either way, other than not wanting to bust off too many chips early on with just AK and no hit on the board.

Question 1: What do you guys this of this move by me? I recognize that not all of you would make this move. What I'm asking though is if you think it was a bad decision for me to make. I'm an aggressive player, and normally I would bet at a pot like this in this situation, and it feels right. But I coulda checked it. What do you think?

Continuing on, the limper called my 300 bet fairly quickly. The pot now contained 945 chips heading to the turn card. Which was an Ace, another rainbow suit so there is no flush draw on the board. The limper waits a bit, and checks to me again.

Question 2: What should I do now? Again, I'm not really asking what would you do now, but rather what do you think I should do in this situation? I've just hit top pair and know I have the top kicker with my King to go with my Aces over 10s on the board. And it's been checked to me. At this point yeah sure he could be holding KJs and have just made his nut straight. But he limped preflop (instead of raising), which for KJ would be a bad play, and he called my 5x reraise preflop with KJ, which would also be a bad play with that holding. I just can't put him on that hand. Thoughts?

In reality, I checked back to him, figuring I'll get it in on the river if need be, and maybe I can confuse him into thinking that the Ace scares me. I mean, if he has A8 or A9 or something (both somewhat consistent with how he's played the hand so far), I want him to think he might be good here.

On comes the river:



With the Jack on the river, and the nut straight draw out there to anyone who has a King (including me, thankfully), my opponent quickly pushes in on me.

Question 3: What do you think he is holding here? I'm thinking Does he likely have the straight, or is he maybe trying to push me off this hand, either on a stone bluff, or maybe I guess even a slow-played set of 10s that he can't get away from?

Let me know what you guys think. I'll have the results of the first Hot Hand posted here shortly, but I want to give everyone a chance to respond before I ruin any suspense.

Anyways, thanks again to Iggy for the gratuitous mention in The Blog. Right now I just finished the latest Sopranos episode (best of the season yet in my view btw) and it's time to turn my attention back to the virtual tables for my nightly entertainment and education session. I'm "sandlerm" on the Yahoo! IM if anyone is interested in chatting or playing any kind of a game on any of the major sites. Those who know me know I'm more of a MTT whore than anything, but I'll play almost any flavor of poker if the situation suits me.

************************************

UPDATE: OK first I'd like to thank all of the many commenters on the first installment of my new "Hot Hand" feature on the blog. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing everyone's point of view and debating the right way to play the hand, and whether or not I should have assumed I was leading or drawing dead at the river. So without further chitchat, I will get to the result of "Hot Hand" #1.

If you recall, my opponent called my 5x preflop raise with Big Slick, check-called my pot-sized continuation bet on a flop of Q-10-10, and then he checked to me on the turn card (an Ace), which I checked back at him to see the river for free. Then the river came a Jack, giving me the nut broadway straight, at which point my opponent moved-in on me for about the size of the pot, all as seen in the following screen shot:



It only took me a few seconds to call this bet with my nut straight. It sounds like many of you think I could have put him on a boat of some kind. In reality, I called and my opponent flipped:



There's the boat. Good call to those of you who hit it right. I did not expect to see this when I made the call (obviously), and I was out early in the Bracelet Race. But I remain steadfast in my efforts to win a non-main event seat at this year's WSOP, despite my bad run at FTP of late.

Speaking of which, last night I played in a $10 buyin MTT on full tilt, and I was off to an amazing start, which had me in 4th place out of 400-some entrants in the tournament after only probably 20 or 25 hands total. Then I suffered the following three beats, the first two one after the other, with the third coming just two hands after the second. Three out of four hands, this is what happened to my 4th-out-of-450 stack:



You always love it when Aces get beat on a runnerrunnerrunnerrunner straight. Then, the very next hand, this one went all-in on the flop when my Jacks were dominating favorites to my opponent's Fives:



And finally, the piece de resistance, two hands later, my preflop pair over pair domination once again falls short:



Ah, such is life, especially on the virtual tables. Looking forward to WWdN tonight, as well as donking off another $26 token on the nightly Bracelet Race on FTP.

22 Comments:

Blogger surflexus said...

Just a guess, but I put him on either J 10 or Q 10....leaning towards Q 10.

11:02 AM  
Blogger BrainMc said...

I'm with surflexus for Q,10 and I'll throw in suited just to understand it a little better. He also could have had 10,10 and messed his shorts on the flop. I still would have been screwed since I would have called the all-in with your straight.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks, guys. Should I even have been in the hand at the river to even see the straight in the first place though? Did I play it right getting to that point, or should I have thought the guy had me beat and folded before the river?

8:48 PM  
Blogger L'artiste said...

Trap Trap TRAP!!

Anybody who check calls that flop obviously has a 10 in his hand. Now it's just a matter of guessing what's his other hole card. I think he has A-10.

8:49 PM  
Blogger L'artiste said...

And btw, you played it fine. You threw a bet at the flop after your opponent checked. If he calls, that's all she wrote and you're done with it. He's obviously trapping.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks, Artiste. But I do need to call when I hit that nut straight on the end, right?

9:28 PM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Yeah I have to put him on QT or JT here as well. I don't know if I could get away from it though.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I have to admit, I'm surprised everyone is putting this guy on having trip 10s or even a boat. Maybe because I posted this, people are assuming this was a horrible bad beat or something, but I didn't mean to give that impression. I just want to know what is this guy's most likely holding, given his play thus far. Sounds like everyone thinks I should have put him on trip 10s after the check-call on the flop. Still, hitting that straight at the end with no specific indication that he holds another King means I have to call on the end, right?

11:28 PM  
Blogger drewspop said...

Not sure if you will even get to read this because of your newfound explosion in readership but ;)

I am putting him on Jacks or Queens. Seemed like he had a healthy stack, but not sure if you said how solid a player he had been to that point. With that said, he would have thrown away trash, but a high pp he would see the flop with you.

I might have made the continuation bet around 150-180, saving a little bit for another smallish bet on the turn if you got flat called like that. Your turn check opened you up to a weakish hand at that point. I don't think you make a pot sized bet after that flop and then check on the turn with a monster hand.

If he was a solid player, he was hoping you would catch up if he already had you, or could check down. Seems like either he already had the boat and hoped you had caught up, or he caught the boat when you got your straight.

This is all in my humble, money losing opinion of course.

I think you lay it down this early. Your stealing ass will chip back up.

11:33 PM  
Blogger jjok said...

Question 1: No issue with a standard continuation bet.....you have to figure there is a chance he lets it go right there with the board pairing. I might have bet a little more than 300 to price out the draws(Pot is 345 prior).....but that is maybe moving it up to 400 or 450. Calling 300 opens up the possibility he is drawing. Calling 450 and he is either not doing the math or is trapping you.

Question 2: No issue with the check either. However, there is a good possibility that he checked hoping you would continue bet again....and then he can check-raise you.....which leads to question 3

Question 3: This is scary as there are a ton of boat possibilities here that cream you. Would he raise allin though if he had a boat?

Regardless, I think this is a case of tourney life. You might have the best hand, you might not. But do you want to risk your tourney on this? It's a hard laydown but we're talking about tourney life here.....and he is the aggressor. He has the upper hand and I would strongly consider dumping my hand right there......Easier said than done though.

AT, QT, and JT cream you. AA, QQ, and TT REALLY cream you (and he should be shot if he open limped with one of these). These put you out of the tourney.

If he has a K, then you split the pot and you gain your ~450 chips back, putting you back to where your chip stack was before the hand......But you have to put in all your chips to get the 450.

If he is bluffing into you, then you win a big score.

Which do you think is most likely?

1:46 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

jjok, I definitely didn't think he was bluffing by the time he had called my preflop bet, called my flop bet and moved in on me on the river. I thought it was reasonable that he had a King of some kind, had just hit his straight, and thought he'd try to get some fold equity by scaring me out of the pot with the 4-straight with all high cards on the board. Either way, even though of course I could have been felted by any one of a few boats by the time the river hit, it didn't (and still doesn't) make sense to me how I could fold once I hit the river straight. I didn't think I was going to beat him at that point, but I was fairly sure we were tying with the high straight, and I thought that he might have had trip 10s and just pushed on the river partly out of anger that slow playing his trips had just potentially cost him the pot.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Miami Don said...

#1. I find a near pot size continuation bet to be suspicious as in attempt to not get any callers.

#2 A check in this situation is not so bad. A smaller C-bet after the flop might have allowed you to fire at him again in hopes of getting more info.

#3 I think Sassy is sitting on QJ of spades. My guess, based only on his being a tourist, is he never once thought about your hand and was only playing his hand all the way down. He flopped two pair and had the Royal draw and in his opinion although he didn't hit the Royal he did improve somewhat on the river. He never once considered you having the King.

2:53 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Don, interesting that you find a pot-sized continuation bet to look suspiciously like an attempt not to get any callers. What size in relation to the pot do you normally think of a continuation bet on the flop as being? To me, most of my "continuation bets" in the Dan Harrington sense of the word are right around pot-sized. In fact, I've gone entire tournaments where I've done very well, where every single flop bet I've made the entire tournament was exactly the size of the pot. In general, I agree with Harrington that a bet the size of the pot is appropriate for a continuation bet, because it gives improper odds for any draws to call in almost any case.

3:10 AM  
Blogger Miami Don said...

I bet either the pot or half the pot for my C-bets and I try to mix it up but here I find a pot sized bet suspicious based on the flop situation.

You raised pre-flop on the button so if I'm playing against you my first thoughts are is this a steal or are you legit?

The hardest thing for me to learn about playing poker is not always playing my cards but playing your cards and my cards. Now I have to consider what your objective is. Do you want to take the hand down now, are you building a nice pot and sucking me in, or did you even hit the flop?

With a pot sized bet and the flop the way it is I take you off of having either a Q, a 10, or 10-10 because I would think you would be hoping for more action if you had any of the above so now I'm thinking it's either a low pocket pair or AK, AJ.

It's all guess work and the double edged sword for me is you said you always make pot sized C-bets so you could have anything but now I do have a few options. If I think you missed the flop do I re-raise, if I think I'm ahead do I smooth call in hopes of improving, or do I re-raise in hopes of taking you off the draw, or do I just fold and fight for another hand at another time?

Hopefully my thought procecss answers your question but still I find the bet on this flop suspicious. Kind of like the the way that alot of people overbet small pocket pairs or say JJ pre-flop because they don't want the action.

3:46 AM  
Blogger L'artiste said...

If you call with the intention of tying this pot, that's definitely a -EV play. You're basically calling off our 940$ stack to win a 450$ pot.

With what's on the board and the way the hand has been played, I just wouldn't feel at ease making this call.

You're obviously good enough to chip up during a tourney. You'll find better spots to move your chips in.

3:56 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

early in MTT's, I see a lot of bad plays. remember, a most of the players got in cheap through the sng's. i would guess he'd limp with KJ or KT. leaning more toward KT. i'm thinking it's a chop pot. he slow played his monster flop to chop. a little late with the all in move IMHO. i would've played your AK the same way. i'm not folding there.

4:58 AM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

My first thought was he had a set of tens. I didn't put him on the QT, because his betting pattern just doesn't feel like he flopped a boat. Maybe JT, maybe AT. I see plenty of people limp with AT, but I don't see many people call a 5x raise preflop with JT, unless maybe it's s00ted.

My other thought was that he could have had something like JJ or AQ/KQ and hit 2 pair. The preflop limp and then 5x call aren't completely unheard of with those hands, depending on what kind of tourist he was playing like.

End result, if he was playing solid, put him on a set of tens, and he likely hit a boat by the end. If he was playing like an alpaca, put him on 2 pair on the flop, and then he made a higher 2 pair on the turn/river. Either way, I would have a hard time laying down Broadway. I would've called the river. Can't wait for the final explanation.

11:37 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

I'm wondering if you play on Pacific Poker at all...I keep seeing someone with the "hoyazo" screen name. Just wondering if that is you. I play there as HCRadio.

12:34 AM  
Blogger WeirdRash said...

Really enjoy your insights on these hands and your tournament wins.

I have posted this hand write-up on Roundersbuzz.com

9:34 PM  
Blogger kaka said...

Just a guess, but I put him on either J 10 or Q 10....leaning towards Q 10.
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10:12 AM  
Blogger thebird45 said...

Q1: I liked that you bet here but I feel that it is to high of a bet. I think a half-sized bet(175) here would have been better. Checking here would be a bad decision because you were the aggressor and checking gives you no information on your opponent.

Q2: After he quick called you almost pot sized bet on flop. I think you almost have to put him on A-10s, K-Js(I fell less likely because of quick call), Q-Q, J-J(not as likely because of the quick call but you never know), and the rare possibility of 10-10. I feel the possibility of a bluff is now less likely because I feel he would have bet no matter what the turn was. I exclude K-10 and Q-10 because I do not think they could have held up to your 5X big blind raise. So yes I think checking here is a good move.

Q3: At this point I think it would be most likely that the opponent is holding A-10, Q-Q with less likely hood of J-J and 10-10. I exclude K-J because there is no reason to have checked the turn with K-J with a pair on the table and with you already having represented a strong hand.

I know I posted this with you already showing what the opponent had but I really feel like this is a good analysis.

Back to when I said I feel like you should have made a half-pot sized bet on the flop. I feel that your opponent would have played the same way or raised(which would have given you the easy fold). But when he checked to you again I think you could have made another half-pot sized bet(350) which your opponent would have either called or raised which would have made a lay-down easier in this situation. Leaving you with around 900 chips left.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Jim Philips said...

It is quite normal. I have some drunken rant. Specially at the last party with some people of per head service

1:44 PM  

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