Monday, July 17, 2006

It's baaaaaaaaaacckkkkkkk

It's that time again!

Again I want to thank Tripjax, co-sponsor of the upcoming DADI 8 tournament, for unsolicitiedly making this kickass banner for the MATH tournament. Trip, hopefully you will make it out to play in one of these soon so I can make you the guest of honor, maybe even with a $5 bounty on your head to see who can be the first to knock you out. Heh heh. Seriously, thanks man.

OK so I played just a little bit of poker this weekend, winning another 2 out of 2 sessions of $1-$2 limit stud hilo. I swear the players there are significantly worse than the players at the other games, on a relative basis. The main thing these players are just flat missing is the whole idea of putting players "in the middle". Unfortunately for them, putting players in the middle appears to me to be the single most profitable strategy at these limits of stud hilo, and it is truly amazing how often people (1) fail to do this to me when they should be, allowing me to draw out for half of the pot on a later street, and (2) more directly profitably, insist on calling my own attempts at putting them in the middle, which is just pure suicide in a game like stud hilo. I will give you an example of each of these kind of plays so you know exactly what I mean.

Example #1 above is where there are, say, three opponents left to see 4th street. in stud hilo. I have K237, with just the 3 and the 7 showing. The high board who acts first has xxKK (the x's are cards I cannot see), and he bets out. To his left, acting second, is a player showing xxA4. Now, if this player merely raises, I will fold. I have to fold. He looks to be lower than me already, plus one of my hole cards is no good for a low, I have no straight or flush draws available. If I know how to play hilo, I have to fold to the bet and the raise here. The simple fact is, even if the second player also has one high card in the hole, and thus is only working on a draw for low just like I happen to be, it is correct for him to reraise here before the action gets to me. He is lower than I so far, and he acts first. Here I would have to fold to player 2's reraise, because not only is he lower than I, but if I call the raise, the first player is more or less sure to reraise again. Effectively, I would be put in the middle here, having to call 2 or 3 more bets with what appears right now to be the worst low hand and clearly the worst high hand. I can't call that. So player 2 needs to reraise here, putting me "in the middle" and causing me to quickly fold. Instead, what's been happening time and time again as I play $1-$2 hilo online, is player 2 here just calls. Obviously, now I know he has at least one crap card in the hole, and now I can just flat call the one bet as well, and then on 5th street when I catch good and he catches bad, player 2 ends up folding before the action even gets around to me, and now I have a clear shot at the low since player 1 is clearly not going low from his board. Other people constantly fail to put me in the middle when they clearly should, and I end up making a lot of money by recognizing these situations, and taking advantage by staying in a pot at good odds as a result.

Similarly, my opponents in $1-$2 hilo online also tend to allow themselves to get put in the middle all the time when I am playing. It's almost amazing to see some of the cripe people are calling with in these situations, where they end up getting capped on multiple streets and yet end up having been behind the entire way. For example, say after 5th street I have JKKKJ (with only the last three cards being visible to my opponents). Player 1 has xx378 and Player 2 is showing xxA47. Obviously, I am going high, and both of my opponents appear to be playing for low. So I open with my pair of Kings on the board and bet out, and Player 1 to my left flat calls with xx378. Player 2 then raises, working on an obvious low draw if not a made low. Of course, I reraise here, making it $6 to play, because I am quite sure I have the best high and therefore have half the pot locked up already. Now Player 1 limps for the $4 more with what is seemingly a worse low or a worse low draw. Then, adding insult to injury, if Player 2 knows his shizz, he will re-reraise again, capping it at $8 to go, which I of course call and so does Player 1. Player 1 just got sucked into dropping an additional $8 into this pot, knowing full well that half of that money will go directly to my pocket, and being able to see quite clearly that he is, at best, working on a very rough low hand, as opposed to what is likely a much smoother low hand from Player 2. And I just made $4 on what is basically a freeroll, just from Player 1 allowing himself to be put in the middle.

I know I've covered these types of examples before recently, but it's worth re-mentioning because, at least at the limits I have been playing -- mostly on pokerstars, but also on party and ftp -- the players simply do not understand this, one of the most key precepts of profitable hilo play. This has created many, many opportunities for me to profit of late. ShadowTwin railed for a bit just as I was finsihing depleting one or two guys of about half of their stacks at hilo on Saturday night, and he got to be treated to some serious smack-talk from me as I was letting some clown have it but good when he suggested that I didn't know what game we were playing after I lost $10 in the first few minutes on some bad draw-outs but in good opportunities, and then two hands later the guy got stuck in the middle of me and another player three times on three capped betting streets, with just a draw at a low that he ended up making but then losing to my high hand and our opponent's lower low hand. I bashed him so hard in the chat when he mouthed off to me that I think the game broke up within 5 minutes or so. People just didn't want to play with me I guess. I had managed to make about half a buy-in over maybe 30 minutes total, and after this guy's trap opened, I shut it up good but lost my game where I had been profiting. If nothing else a good lesson on not tapping on the aquarium glass I suppose.

OK well before I go, I just want to call out Wes, who won over 6 grand in the bodog 25k guaranteed tournament over the weekend. Over six grand!! And this from the guy who refuses to play tournaments for the most part, opting instead to unleash his hyper-aggressive style of play on the 6-max nlh cash tables for the most part. Go stop by the Boobie Lover's blog and congratulate him on a job very well done. Also hitting it big this weekend was Byron who played for over 8 hours in taking down $1500 in a $30 buyin deep stacks tournament on pokerstars, so please go congratulate our esteemed WPBT host as well. And lastly, Bone Daddy's blog has a nice writeup of his very impressive 7th place finish in a live tournament in the Borgata Summer Classic down in AC last week. Winning some serious coinage in an online tournament is always great. But final-tabling in a live event adds an extra level (or three) of fun, excitement and, frankly, difficulty in my view, so BD really busted out here with some serious poker play and congratulations are due to him as well.

Before I go, I wanted to weigh in myself with a few of my favorite writeups from the WPBT Summer Classic in Las Vegas last weekend. It's been a week now and people have basically had the chance to post what they're going to post by now, and I've read I think every single writeup and have some opinions as to whose I enjoyed the most. Donkeypuncher has what has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever read in a poker blog, and his storytelling skillz are legendary as far as I'm concerned, at least when it comes to drunken donkeyrrambling weekends. Bobby Bracelet came through with a recap post that is similarly likely to cause you to double over with cramps from laughing so hard. These guys make my pussy little tournament recaps and strategy posts look like my keyboard just threw up or something, so go read their writeups and enjoy what true writers can do with a blog.

Lastly, the WSOP $50,000 HORSE event went down last week, and I have watched this one closely as I've been curious to see who will win the title that probably more than anything else this year will provide bragging rights for the "best overall poker player" argument. From Pauly's site and his fabulous running WSOP coverage, I understand that the event took more than 12 hours overall (140-something entrants signed up, as I recall), including more than 7 hours of heads-up play between Chip Reese and Andy Bloch, with Reese taking it down in the end, including the $1.7 million first prize.

Here are the $50K HORSE final table results:
1 Chip Reese $1,716,000
2 Andy Bloch $1,029,600
3 Phil Ivey $617,760
4 Jim Bechtel $549,120
5 TJ Cloutier $480,480
6 David Singer $411,840
7 Dewey Tomko $343,200
8 Doyle Brunson $274,560
9 Patrik Antonius $205,920

Now if that ain't a whose-who of all-around poker players in the world today, I don't know what is. Chip Reese, Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, TJ Cloutier, Dewey Tomko and Doyle Brunson all at the final table. Can you imagine what playing at that final table must have been like? Sheeeeeeit.

OK see you tonight at Mondays at the Hoy! Right?


Blogger slb159 said...

I'll be there to donate, as usual.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:30 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Dang, can't make it tonight, but next Monday may be looking good. I'll definitely be down with a bounty on my head. I always seem to play better under pressure.


3:03 AM  
Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

I had been watching you at that particular table for a few hands, mostly because I have never played hi/lo and I wanted to see what kind of hands a good player (meaning you, not the other guys) bets with. After you lost a few bucks, and one guy chimed in with "are you playing the same game as us Hoyazo?", I instantly didn't like him. It was just classic that you took down a huge pot the very next hand, and got the chance to say "Hmm. I guess I am."

I just couldn't resist saying hello when monkey boy got into his "river suckout" shtick.

It really is unfortunate that the game broke up when the two of you started exchanging pleasantries, 'cause he seemed like the type of guy that would be willing to stack himself four or five times on the way to teaching you how to play the game. Those are my favorite type of players: the guys who are so damn good that they aren't afraid to donate their stack to you five or six times, all the while waiting for that elusive perfect hand so they can say "I told you so".

It was quite educational watching you play. In additon to learning the basics of hi-lo, I also learned some new and inventive ways to fuck with people -you can't learn that from a book.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Donkeypuncher said...

It's an honor being mentioned in the same paragraph as Mr Bracelet.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Huge Junk said...

It's an honor being mentioned in the same paragraph as Donkey Puncher.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Damn...think I'm still discombobulated from Vegas, only realized it was MATH class 2 hours after she was underway! Next week.

These Stud H/L are intriguing. You are either a bad or very good influence on us donkeys. Lemme see if there's a chapter in SS/2 on it...

8:29 PM  
Blogger cc said...

Thanks for hosting Hoy, and sorry I played like a double donkey.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Iak, Super System 2 has a very good chapter on stud hilo, written by Todd Brunson, son of The Man himself. I have told a lot of friends lately, if you just read that chapter, and really absorb it and work it into your play, then you should be able to beat the $1-$2 limit stud hilo games on the major poker sites. At least in my experience.

10:55 PM  

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