Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Early MATH Exit (What Else is New)

Well last night I decided to do something interesting. Or, should I say, my subconscious decided to do some interesting, because I would never conciously make such an idiotic and -EV decision of my own will. I played the Mondays at the Hoy tournament last night like I always do when I'm around, but instead of trying to win the event, I watched, almost like from outside of my own body, while my fingers went and played 63% of flops through the first 10 minutes of the tournament. No that's not a misprint, 63% of flops seen. The best part of course is that I never once got dealt a hand that would be considered playable, and yet I still saw 63% of flops, most of which I had raised up preflop. Playing this strategy left me to apply my Mike Caro reading skills as best as I could as I was constantly taking flops with the worst of it, and trying to play my way out of bad situations as a result.

I got out to my very-usual-for-blogger-tournaments early chip lead after I laid a huge move on PhinCity, a friend of a friend from my homegame who cashed in this event a week or two ago. Playing with Q6o, I put in a 4x steal-raise from middle position preflop, and Phin was the only caller from the button. Then the flop came K96 with two spades, giving me just lowly third pair and a Queen kicker, but I went ahead and made the continuation bet since I was the one who had raised it up preflop. Phin thought for a few seconds and made the smooth call. The turn card then came an offsuit 2, an obvious rag for any hand strong enough to raise or call preflop and on the flop. Here I bet out around 2/3 the pot, and Phin almost immediately minraised me 2x my bet on the turn. I mean, the reraise went in instantaneously. This is where I love to use my hand reading skills to try to get some chips to be aggressive with. I figured that since my fingers were playing the tournament with a mind of their own, I might as well take the opportunity to lay some reads on some people, and that's exactly what I did here. Something about the quick-minraise on the turn just rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, if Phin had a monster hand like Aces, trips, etc., then why only the minraise on the turn? A more standard raise of, say, 3 or 4x my bet would have been more indicative of a huge hand, and I would almost certainly have folded. Similarly, if Phin was really strong here, then why do the immediate raise, as opposed to the normal wait-a-few-seconds raise? In the end, I could not get away from the fact that the quickness of the raise was an intentional act, intended to convey strength from a player who did not know who he was dealing with. As Mike Caro preaches, "strong means weak and weak means strong". This guy was trying to muscle me with a quick-raise that looked strong, and on top of it, he wasn't even willing to commit more than the minimum to the raise, because deep down he knows he ain't got shit. So I re-reraised him 4x his reraised bet. And you know what he did? He sat there with his thumb up his ass for a good 45 seconds, trying hard to give the impression that he was mulling over a tough decision with a good hand, and then finally mucked his hand. My fourth pair 6s took it down.

Two hands later I made another very similar move on another player at my starting table (I can't remember who it was). A player min-raised me on the flop, giving off once again a clear signal that he was weak but was just putting me on a steal. I re-reraised 4x his raise on the flop, and he quick-folded. Why people minraise is really beyond me. As I recently said in a comment to the blog here, personally I don't believe the minraise is ever the right move, and the only time that I personally would ever crack out the move that makes Baby Jeebus cry is when I was specifically trying to put a specific move on someone by using the minraise to create an impression in my opponent's mind. In general you could play with me for a year and never see me minraise, other than maybe in heads-up play at the final table of an mtt.

In the end, two hands did me in in the Hoy last night, but both of which I actually enjoyed playing. The first culprit was TrophyHubby. In this case, I raised it up preflop again with A5o, as my fingers continued to play unabated like lunatics, and Trophy just called. Then I think the flop came AJ6, and I continuation bet as I had already done several times in the tournament so far. Trophy then types in "arrrgh" as soon as the Ace hits the flop. Then he follows it up with a long pause, followed by an all-in raise. Now this hit me as very strange. Why type in the "arrrgh" as if the flop bothered you, and then make the allin reraise? It was so weird and almost silly that I even typed back in the chat to Trophy" "Hmmmmm. An "arrrgh", followed by an allin reraise....What are you trying to tell me here?" Anyways, after basically publicly stating in the chat that I thought Trophy must be putting a move on me, I still went ahead and called his allin with my TP5K. And he flips over....









Pocket 6s, for trips.

A few quick notes about this hand. First and foremost, I have the screenshots but I am not looking at them as I make this post. Which means that I probably have a lot of the details wrong about this hand. But the general concept of what happened is right on. I had a bad flavor of top pair on the flop, and Trophy went out of his way to act weak (which according to Mike Caro typically means he is actually strong), even taking the time to type in "arrrgh" to me in the chat when the Ace flopped and I c-bet at him. Trophy even followed up by confirming that he was in fact strong by raising me allin on the flop right after the 'arrrgh" comment. Nonetheless, even knowing I was beat and indicating so in the chat, I still went ahead and made the call, and promptly paid Trophy off on his flopped trips.

Secondly, isn't it funny how much I tend to depart from my "moderated aggression" strategy that has done so well for me in the blogger tournaments? I mean, here I am fresh off my best week ever in the blogger tournaments, playing very solid and making three final tables and two titles in my last 3 blogger events, and then here I go here completely dropping the whole "moderated" part from my "moderated aggression" strategy. And as I've discussed here many times, a plain old "aggression" strategy is simply not one that works for very long against the aggressive and yet trappy group known as poker bloggers. Yet that's exactly what I did last night, right from the get-go in fact. Betting with anything, not giving people credit for good hands, and especially not trusting my own reads and instincts like in this hand here. I typed it into the chat even for crying out loud. But when the money was on the line, I couldn't lay down my top pair against someone whose act was almost amateurish in how obvious it was, even to me. So much for moderated aggression. And I paid the price.

The second and final blow was from Morgaina, a newcomer to the Hoy tournament and a friend of Jules whom she brought to introduce to Morgaina's first blogger tournament. Long story short, Morgaina just limped in from the small blind when it had been folded around to her, and I checked my option from the big blind while holding 85o. The flop came A73. She checked, and I checked behind her. Then the turn brought a Queen. Morgaina checked again to me, and I decided to bet out, representing that I had an Ace. I "knew" since Morgaina had only limped in from the SB, even as the first player to enter the pot, that she did not have an Ace or she almost surely would have raised. So, I figured after checking it down on the flop, here on the turn I would be and represent that Ace, knowing full well that Morgaina didn't have one. So I bet about 2/3 the pot, and Morgaina considered for a few seconds before calling. So, what did that tell me? I still didn't see how Morgaina could realistically have failed to bet an Ace from the SB with no one in the pot yet and just me and my BB left to steal. So I figured her maybe for 2nd pair with a Queen and a lower kicker, or maybe even third pair or some longshot draw or something. So when the river came another rag, I decided to show some ballz and represent the Ace again, dropping a hoy on Morgaina as I moved allin except for one chip left in my stack. Again, knowing she did not have an Ace, I figured I would put her to the test right here, and that certainly this move was my best -- if not only -- shot at winning the hand since she obviously had to have something to have called my bet on the turn to begin with. I was surprised to see Morgaina call quickly. I flipped my garbage, and Morgaina flipped....







A9o. So she had just limped as the first one in from the small blind with a strong hand like A9o. A very surprising and tricky move for her, but never having played with her before I could not put her on such a hand, even when she called my 2/3 pot bet on the turn. Second or third pair, or a weird draw I could see, but no way she had limped from the SB with an Ace in her hand. But in the end, my read was wrong, I had been behind all along, and I wasn't going to push Morgaina off of anything once that Ace came on the flop and I had just limped from the BB. Anyways, it sucked being eliminated in less than 15 minutes from my own tournament, but to be honest, as I've always maintained on the blog, I really enjoy playing against good, tricky players who are willing to put a well-timed move on me. It happens not very frequently to me, so when it does I tend to respect it, and almost enjoy it in a way. I'm kinda proud to have gone out on this kind of a hand, and in a way it is refreshing to just get downright outplayed instead of a bad beat, losing a race or any of the other myraid ways I have found to lose these blogger events over the past few months. So congrats to Morgaina on putting a move on me and knocking me out of my own tournament. What Morgaina doesn't know, never having played this event before, is that I haven't cashed in even one of these tournaments since I started running them in late Spring of this year. So if it hadn't been Morgaina, it would have been somebody else.

And congratulations to Lifesagrind, who won the overall MATH tournament out of its 22 entrants and took home the $220 first prize. Second prize ($132) went to a newcomer named BCOLOHIC whom I did not recognize but appeared to be maybe another friend of Surflexus's maybe? And our third and final casher last night was WillWonka, who nabbed $88 for third prize, after a long fought battle with just the three players left before wonka's luck finally ran out. In all, PhinCity just missed his second Hoy cash despite having sucked out to eliminate literally five different players from the tournament, and Jules and drraz each made another nice run in the Hoy but both came up just short of the money at the final table. And most importantly, a good time was had by all, as always.

Remember, next Monday night is Labor Day, which I view as the official beginning of the "busier" season in the online poker community generally, and among the bloggers specifically, as people will return from vacations and time away from poker to settle in for the long, hard fall and winter. Summertime has always been lighter in terms of blogger game participation, and I expect this year to be no different. So, I will still be setting up and playing in the Hoy tournament next Monday, but it may be on the small side given that it is the last day of a long weekend. But after that, I would not be surprised to see the MATH and some of the other regular weekly tournaments start to rise in popularity once again, with more players and new blogger meat always ready to take their stab at immortality and get hoy-raised and Hammered on the same hand by yours truly.

I've got a few fun posts planned for later this week, ones that I've already started writing while I was on vacay two weeks ago now, so tune back in. August is on pace to be the blog's biggest month ever in terms of overall viewership, which will make four straight months of that since I started keeping track of my stats, and frankly that is especially cool given that I was away for more than a full week during the month and was not posting at all. So I take all this as a sign that people are enjoying reading what I have to say, and I will try to keep the interesting posts coming in the days and weeks ahead. In fact, you know what, in honor of you my loyal readers who keep coming back here for my bad beat stories and lengthy tournament recaps that take forever to load, I'm going to do a new Hot Hand post later today. So check back in this afternoon and let me know your thoughts on my questions.

6 Comments:

Blogger iamhoff said...

Hoy, we always enjoy reading what you have to say. You are one of the best in breaking down a hand or series of hands, and really giving insight into the mind of one of the more aggressive playas out there. Keep it up buddy.

3:39 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

"Moderated aggression?" I don't see any of that from you. Even though I hate your guts, I always enjoy your posts.
Best of luck.

4:18 AM  
Blogger cc said...

Sorry I missed it, but have a good rest of the week.

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