Moneying the Mookie
OK let me start off this post by saying that I moneyed in the Mookie last night, but it was only 5th place, the last spot getting a payout. I'm going to have some fun and try to show every big hand I played in the tournament last night on my way to my first Mookie final table and to the cash. Hopefully it will be a good read for those of you who regularly play and/or played last night in the Mookie tournament (if you're not, what the hell is wrong with you?), as well as for those who just like what I do here on the blog with the graphical hand histories and analysis. Just please don't think I'm recapping everything because I think it's some huge accomplishment like a final table in a huge MTT as I wish I was posting today. With that said....
I had a revelation yesterday while I sat at my office, thinking about how to improve my blogger game. I'm quite sure that I'm not playing materially differently in these blogger tournaments than I have been in the MTTs that I've done so well in, so that's not the problem....and then it occurred to me: that is the problem. I am (ahem) somewhat aggressive in my nlh game, and that aggression (combined with an appropriate level of tightness) has helped me to several final tables in large MTTs this year, and numerous other cashes in the big events. When people buy in for $25 or a token into a large MTT, the vast majority of them are not looking to call an allin bet early on unless they have the stone nuts or very close to it. This creates many very easy bluffing and semi-bluffing opportunities for a highly aggressive player, where for example a scare card comes on the river and you're sure your opponent did not benefit from that scare card, you can push in a big pile of chips more or less knowing they are going to fold.
Now, you can't just do this every time an Ace comes on the river, because some of those times your opponent will be in there with an Ace and it turns out that you should have been the one who was scared of that card. However, imagine this scenario: You hold JJ, and raise it up 3x from middle position preflop, and receive only one caller. The board comes Q♠9♦3♣. You bet half the pot, and your sole opponent calls after deliberating for a bit. The turn is the 6♣. You again bet half the pot, and your typical MTT opponent deliberates even longer this time, and eventually calls your bet again. Then the river comes the 7♣. Here's a card where you just hit your hand if you were playing two clubs or if you were playing any 5-4 connectors. But I'm not actually worried that my opponent stayed in with just two clubs because when he called my bet on the flop, there was only one club on the board. And how likely is it really that he has 54 given that he called my 3x preflop raise? Even though I'm not worried about the 7♣ on the end, however, here is a perfect situation where, in a large MTT, I can bet out basically allin, and I guarantee you a good 80 to 90% of the players in the large MTTs (not rebuys, of course) are going to fold to your allin bet there if you're early in the tourney. People are viewing this as their big chance to win 5 grand or 10 grand, and they for the most part are not willing to throw that chance and their $25 buyin away when there are so many hands out there that could potentially beat them. You try that move on me, and you'll be packing up your things right quick, but in general this is a very effective aggressive strategy for the large online guaranteed MTTs.
This is the same general strategy that I've been using in the regular blogger tournaments. The WWdN, the Mookie, DADI, wpbt, etc. While the strategy works very well in these tournaments if I get a nice amount of good cards, the strategy is fundamentally flawed for a smaller, lower buyin tournament as compared to a larger, longer, more expensive, and richer MTT. The reason is that, in the typical blogger tournament, the premise that players are not willing to gamble up their chances of winning on marginal hands early on is just flat wrong. It's the total opposite of the truth in fact. People in the WWdN and the DADI are willing to gamble it up early with a less than nut hand. No, nobody wants to be the first one out of one of these things. But people are more willing to take that chance when all that is at risk is a $10 buyin, a chance at winning maybe a hundred or two dollars even for first place, and that's it. There is simply much less willingness among the players in the first hour or so of the party 40k or the full tilt 17k MTTs every night. So, I've been playing the WWdN, the DADI, etc. events, and trying to push people off of marginal hands (2nd pair top kicker, or top pair middle kicker, etc.) with big bets on the turn and the river, and I'm getting called down. And losing, because I'm an idiot bluffing with nothing. I've controlled myself so that I'm not going broke early on huge allin bluffs, but instead I get myself short-chipped early on, and then am forced to play desperate and eventually move in with a less than premium holding and get called down. Or, more accurately of late, I am getting sucked out on, and instead of only taking a third of my chips, it costs me everything left in my short stack, and IGH early. Again.
So, long story short, I had this realization at some point on Tuesday before Wil's tournament, and I set out to employ some "moderated aggression" (the name for my new blogger tournament playing style) in the WWdN. Unfortunately I got luckboxed out of the tournament by unforeseeable and unplannable fishplays, twice by the same guy named farcal (who I openly proclaim to be a FISH right here on this blog for all to see). So as the Mook began, I was determined to rein it in a bit once again, and play a game more appropriate for the type of tournament in which I was entered.
My starting table at the Mook was a veritable all-star table, including Hoff, Drewspop, Jordan, Waffles, Carmen, Bone Daddy and Texicans who I've played with before but don't know the blogs of, and two people whom I did not recognize. Needless to say, there was a ton of firepower at the table, even with me missing the first few hands, and Jordan sitting out for the first half hour or so. Unfortunately, I bore the brunt of the firepower right off the bat, as I moved at a pot with top pair middle kicker on the flop, got called, and then had my turn bet raised by an amount that told me I was likely beat. Instead of reraising allin and just hoping the guy would fold, which I would deem to be a perfectly acceptable strategy early in a large MTT, I opted to check-fold, and the guy showed me Aces. Good move on my part, including the early betting where it appeared far more likely than not that I was ahead. Once it changed to more likely that I was behind, I didn't lose another dime in the hand. But, it did cost me about 400 of my 1500 starting chips to find out that I was behind, so I was in a hole right from the getgo.
The first screenshot I have for you today is a great resuck that happened about 30 minutes or so into the tournament. Hoff and his KK bet Jordan allin, and Jordan called on his short stack with 55, and the flop was:
A bad 2-outer suckout for Jordan. But never fear, the turn card made all things right in the world again with another equally vicious 2-outer for Hoff:
and Jordan was sent to the rail as he should have been with his 5s against Hoff's pocket Kings. In fact, Hoff had the hot hand for most of the early part of the Mookie last night. Here he is showing everyone how to play the Hammer and nail the board with it:
Not to be outdone, 2 or 3 hands later, I pushed the Hammer right back at Hoff, and got a call preflop with whatever it was he held in his hand, which was obviously inferior to the Hammer no matter what it was:
On the flop, which contained a 7 and only one overcard to that 7 (a Queen), I pulled a Hoyazo on Hoff to get him out of there once and for all:
Hoff relented, and I showed the mystical Hammer-Hoyazo combo for my first big pot of the tournament. Shortly after, I got moved to my second table of the tournament, which included among others new tablemates Miami Don, Iakaris, and Darval, where I promptly pulled another Hoyazo by pushing allin for all but one of my chips preflop with 22, against what I felt sure was a steal attempt by Darval from the cutoff position:
and to my surprise, Darval called me. He flipped over ATo (not a great allin calling hand at all, but given my known aggressive nature I could easily see myself making this call -- in particular in an MTT), and for once my pair of 2s managed to retain its lead through the board:
and suddenly, after receiving not one really strong hand yet in the first 50 minutes or so of the tournament, I had jumped up to nearly 2400 chips. My patience in adjusting my game to lessen some of my aggressive pushing in the earlier hands had paid off, as I was able to wait for a situation where I felt I was truly ahead and take advantage of it. At the first break, I was in 12th place out of 23 players remaining, with 41 having started the tournament an hour earlier.
Special kudos have to go out to Iakaris for the chat line of the night, when early in Round 2 of the Mookie, one of those boneheads starting begging everyone in the chat to borrow a dollar. I loved Iakaris's response in the chat for why he couldn't spare a buck:
A few hands later, I "hit" my first flop of the tournament (yes, almost 75 minutes in, such has been my luck of late with the cards) with A9o and a 9-high flop. I bet out 250 chips into an empty side pot with T Nails T, and he fairly quickly reraised me allin. In this case, I had no reason to believe that Nails, on a short stack himself, had anything better than any top pair, and since I had TPTK, I felt I had to make the call for about a third of my remaining stack:
So even though I lost the 540 chips in the main pot to Iakaris's luckass super-shorthanded pocket Kings, I ended up making over 1700 chips in the side pot when the short stack push-reraised me with top pair Queen kicker against my superior kicker.
A few hands later I took another nice pot off of Hoff, whose early hot streak had begun to cool somewhat, when my top pair held up and did not receive much significant resistance from Hoff along the way, who I figure was probably playing second pair good kicker:
Down to two full tables remaining the tournament, I then ran into this manly move from Miami Don, where I went into the flop with my lowly AK up against Don's allin raise with the Hammer for about a third of my stack:
I flew into a fit of rage when this flop hit the board:
and of course Don ended up flushing on me and putting a big dent in my stack. Again just another example of how my opponents have been hitting every fucking thing in sight against me on the flops, the turn and the river cards of late. Killer.
Down to 15 players left, I pushed with a slightly more than 4x raise preflop with 99 in first position:
and only Gilain, to my immediate left, called the raise. When the flop came Q52 rainbow, I Hoyazo'd:
and Gilain wisely folded what I'm sure was AJ or AT or something similar:
which got me back up near the 4000 or so chips I had held before Don's sick Hammer suckout on me a short while before. And 4000 or so chips is right where I stayed for the next 25 or 30 minutes, until finally reaching my first Mookie final table, maybe since the first Mookie tournament back when it was just a wee little thing for a few bloggers and Austin wannabe poker players:
As you can see, I started the final table in 7th place out of 9, and was pretty short stacked with the blinds on their way around to me. When I was in the SB just a few hands into the final table, I raised it up 4x with A5o when it was folded around to me in an attempt to pick up my 200 and Darval's 400 chip big blind, a move which I think can hardly be attacked given my situation at the table:
When he pushed back and reraised me allin with a much larger stack than mine, I figured I might be behind (hopefully to a low pocket pair rather than a dominating Ax hand), but decided to call due to Darval's large stack and my notes that Darval will often play less than monster hands in the right situation or where he thinks his blind is being stolen. He flipped his cards:
So much for my fucking notes. But then this glorious thing happened:
And I have to say, with all the suckouts that have happened to me over the past week or so, including several in the Mookie tournament itself on Wednesday, I was loving every minute of this suck, as well as the 7600+ chip stack that finally a lucky pull in my favor had delivered to me. I was determined not to let my new life go to waste and be eliminated before the cash positions, which started at 5th place in this tournament.
A few hands later, I tried another steal from the button when it was folded around to me and I held A3o. I went for a 4x raise, hoping actually to get one of the two large stacks remaining to think I was just stealing, reraise me, so that I could push in on them and they would fold and leave me a big stack:
Well, I got my wish, from Drewspop, who doubled my raise to 3200. Now, I know Chris well, we have played together many many times (especially lately, where it seems we're always at the same table), and with his big stack, I figured the odds of him holding an Ace were very, very low, especially given that he only reraised me 2x as opposed to allin. So, given what my plan had been all along if I had hopefully gotten reraised on this move, and given my knowledge of how Chris plays the game, I did what I had to do:
I Hoyazo'd him. Chris quick-called me (which instantly was distressing to me, don't get me wrong), and the flop came:
I had to like this flop, all things considered, as I figured the odds were that my Aces were ahead of whatever he was holding, hopefully a pocket pair of some kind. Other than Aces. Turns out here was the hand at the river:
So I ended up rivering a straight, but it was a meaningless straight because my Ace was in fact ahead right from the flop. Chris was not happy that I had hit my 3-outer, and let that fact be known, but actually I don't see this hand as nearly the longshot that he and some others did. I played an Ace hard preflop where I figured I was the only player with one, and then I got lucky on the flop and hit the Ace. But Chris could have folded those 10s if he had wanted to when I reraised him allin. Again my known aggression was working for me, because when Chris called with the 10s, you know he was thinking I didn't have squat. In any event, I did hit one of a few outs with 5 cards to come, and I was a small underdog heading into the flop, so there you go. Another huge hand for me, and one that vaulted me instantly into first place of the nine remaining players in the tournament:
Here is me winning with a final table, early position Hammer just 2 hands following the second break, with 8 players remaining:
leading to this:
Here was another suck-resuck hand that got Drewspop back into a large stack, and knocked 8th place off the leaderboard, providing some payback to Drewspop after my not-so-longshot win with my A3o from earlier:
And then came the unthinkable. I raised 4x from the SB, again trying to mimic a steal since I actually held a very strong AQo. Drewspop, again knowing well my aggressive stance taken towards blind stealing, probably pretty smartly pushed allin with his hand, and I quick-called him:
I was about to take a monster chip lead to just one spot away from the money. But, pokerstars, you mother fucking fucker:
After punching several holes into my computer monitor, breaking every window in my apartment and screaming as loud as I could into my pillow for about 5 minutes, I tried to compose myself. It has just been a very difficult stretch these past several days, as I have mentioned several times in the blog and provided many examples of, my opponents have been Kicking My Ass in hitting every board lately, which has made for a very difficult and very frustrating situation for me. Again, Drewspop referred to this suckout as "payback" for my earlier beat of his TT with my A3, but this beat was in reality a lot worse than that beat in my view for a few different reasons, most of which were that his hand did not involve domination in any way, and since he had the chance to get away from his hand if he so chose after I showed strength in raising and then even more strength in reraising. Here, this was just a pure asskicking plain and simple, and then pokerstars made sure that in the end mine was the ass getting kicked.
Anyways, I had to focus on trying to make my shortest-remaining stack last until the money spots starting in 5th place, although I admit that the will to perservere had basically left me after yet another gross suggout to keep me from where I want to be in an online tournament. So, with the blinds one spot away from dribbling away the rest of my stack, I turned one last time to the Hoyazo, this time with K9o, easily likely to be better than whatever I was about to be dealt in the BB on the very next hand:
MiamiDon called in the BB, probably using Harrington's 10-to-1 rule as I'm sure he figured he was behind with 78o, and here is how it played out:
with me ahead the whole way, and doubling up courtesy of the big stack to reignite my chances of sticking it out to 5th place. After a typically long bubble period in these Mookie tournaments, our esteemed host found himself pushing allin with my favorite hand, and ran into top pair:
And just like that, I had made my first cash in a Mookie tournament. Thanks to Mookie for making that ballsy yet ill-advised move. One of these days I am planning a post all about how to play the Hammer effectively. Until then people will continue to see their Hammers get sucked out on by people holding A6 and the like such as Xanthius was holding when he eliminated Mookie last night.
Here is the leaderboard as of the hand after we got down to the last five players:
Take a special look at last place, Gilain, sitting down there even lower than I. Well, a few hands later I ended up making an ill-advised push with the blinds advancing ever close to my mini stack, and Gilain slammed me with pocket 8s, the kind of hand I would have loved to have seen all throughout this tournament, where I was basically as card dead as I've ever been consistently through three hours and yet still done fairly well. Check out that flop -- yet another pokerstars special as my opponents relentlessly continue to slam into every single key flop in hands with me:
Two hands later my tournament came to an end on my super short stack when I Hoyazo'd the rest of it in with A4s, again I think easily a better hand than what I could expect within the next 2 hands before the blinds ate up the rest of my chips. Of course, there was Gilain again to have me outkicked with A6o, although it was a situation where we could easily both be playing the board and tie for the hand:
Thing is, I'm in that slump right now, and that means that Gilain made a flush on the river, and IGH in 5th place after nearly 3 hours of play:
And congratulations to Gilain for mounting a furious comeback (for which I am only partially responsible) to take this thing down in the end:
So a good showing overall by me. As I mentioned, I got donked out early from the party 40k last night when my AK got dicked on the flop by my opponent who had called my 3x preflop raise with -- you guessed it -- 93o. What the flying fuck?
so I'll be back tonight, trying again to surpass my recent 62nd place finish in the large nightly guaranteed tournament on party. Anybody looking for some sng action should hit me on the girlie chat thing as well, I'm always game as long as I'm not in more than 2 or 3 other MTTs at the same time.