Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday Random Musings

I'm not sure where this post is heading at all yet, but I have a lot of poker swimming around up here. I'm working on several ideas for several new posts. I've been trying to get started on a new series of strategy posts, but every day something else comes up and I end up shelving completing that post in favor of whatever the new topic of the day is. Today I will begin with a few quick blogger things.

Is it possible that our boy Iakaris actually went and got really good at multi table nlh tournaments? I mean, over just the past couple of weeks, the man has final tabled probably a good 5 or 6 several-thousand-guaranteed events (mostly on full tilt as I understand it), and then last night I stopped by and watched the man go on a 3 1/2 hour heater in the full tilt 20k, ending his run just short of the final table in 11th place for a $240 or so payout. The man is absolutely on fire lately in the mtt's. I mean, I've had good mtt streaks. I won the party 40k and final tabled the full tilt 20k (then the 17k, actually) within the span of one week. But I didn't also make 7 other final tables in any two weeks period. Not even close. So congrats, again, to Iakaris and best wishes on continued success. You guys might as well search for him at night on full tilt, because lately he is almost always making a big run somewhere.

Also, not to state the obvious, but I wanted to make sure you are all doing your WSOP keeping-up at Pauly's Tao of Poker. I mean this guy is running around like crazy all day long at the Main Event, live blogging every ten minutes or so, and filling us in on all of our blogger friends as well as the professionals we are interested in. Honestly I cannot understand how he can do such a thorough and broad job covering the entire event that I can't really think of anything else I'd like to know most of the time. It's amazing, and if you're massively into the WSOP Main Event like I am, then Pauly's blog cannot be topped. Period.

I'm also reading each and every one of CC's WSOP posts on his new blog. Both Pauly and CC have plenty of pictures and great stories from the WSOP. Having been there myself this year, I finally understand what all the hubbub was about. You should have seen me there, calling out to Steve Dannenman to "smile!" so I could take his picture on my cell phone while he got a massage from some hot blonde just outside the main WSOP poker room. Or surreptitiously trying to follow Sean Sheikhan and Eli Elezra for a good five minutes without being noticed, as I snapped cell phone pictures and listened to Sheiky pleading desperately to Eli to stake him for that day's $2500 WSOP event that I eventually played in. Anyways, CC does a great job of capturing the pizzazz of those kind of moments on his blog.

One last blogger item -- I'm sure most all of you know this already, but in case you're living under a rock for this past week or so, blogger Ryan has made it to Day 3 of the Main Event starting tomorrow (Friday), with a chip stack of around 25k per Pauly's site. In case you've somehow forgotten, Ryan is the guy who took down the first prize in one of the events in what was I believe the LA Commerce Classic -- one way or the other, the first prize that Ryan pocketed was over a hundred grand, so I don't care what tournament it was, it kicks ass and obviously Ryan is a serious playa. Potentially even more exciting than Ryan's story is fellow blogger Tuscaloosa Johnny, who according to Pauly ended day 2A with around 132k in chips, more than 13 times the starting stack, and in great shape heading into Day 3, which begins on Friday with the chip leaders holding more than 500k at this point in the event. I had the pleasure of playing HORSE immediately to Johnny's left for several hours at the MGM during WPBT weekend last month, and I can honestly say that he is a nice, southern gentleman away the poker table, but can be a brash, pushy New Yorker-type on the tables when the timing is right. Best of luck to both Ryan and Johnny as Day 3 begins on Friday at noon Vegas time.

OK so in the style of Pauly's WSOP coverage, here comes a quick picture dump of my poker action from last night:

First, you may recall earlier this week when I managed to get another guy allin preflop against my pocket Aces with his pocket Kings. I was thrilled until a King came on the flop, and I lose in what I consider to be one of the cruelest kinds of bad beats. Well, last night I got a chance for some vindication, as I found myself in that very same situation again:

This was down to about 60 players left in a 20x180 sng on pokerstars (remember those? remember when Waffles was killing those things like they were Big Pussy and he was Tony Soprano on the boat? Ahhh good times.) Anyways, you can see from the size of the pot there and the chip stacks of the other opponents around the table that this pot was going to send me near the top of the chip stacks at that point in time and set me up in good position to make a run at the serious cash. Well, the flop ot T92 rainbow was fairly harmless, and here was the final board:

Delicious! For those of you keeping score, that makes ol' hoyazo 0 for 2 so far this week when running my pocket Aces allin preflop into pocket Kings. So that was how my 20x180 night ended yesterday.

I also played in the weekly Mookie tournament at 10pm ET last night, but my night ended about a third of the way through the field, when this hand:

got allin preflop and turned into this:

And IGH in 26th place out of 35 entrants. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I was eliminated by the eventual champion NewinNov, for the second time this week in a blogger tournament (thanks CC for my first opportunity to experience this), although I must admit losing in races in both cases where I was slightly ahead with a pocket pair preflop is not an enjoyable way to report that I haven't lasted much past the midway point in any blogger events this week.

So given these two losses, the highlight of my poker night continued to be cash games, where I had one of my most profitable nights ever overall. First, I played my usual stud hilo game, having moved up from the $1-$2 limits I had been playing on for the past few weeks now to $2-$4 this week. I fired up a 2-4 table, and fairly quickly I won my largest-ever pot yet. It's only $46 so don't get all excited, but it's the biggest pot I've won yet in stud games online, and here it is:

In this pot I think I already had the high end of the pot basically locked up with Aces over Queens, but then I really stepped up the betting on 6th street when I picked up a flush draw as well. I knew from his board that my opponent was also going high, and from his board two pairs seemed most likely. So I figured, since I already had his two pairs beaten as it was, I might as well raise him here just in case I end up hitting the high hand on the end. He called the raise, I hit my semi-freerolling flush on the river, and I ended up scooping it all with my Ace-high flush. $46. It's nothing big, but this hand sent me off to my 13th winning session in 17 attempts at online stud hilo, and that is nothing to complain about.

Which reminds me, Miami Don commented to me in the Mookie chat yesterday that I'll be playing 10-20 limit hilo before I know it online. I started to object, but then I stopped and thought. Could I really be turning into one of those people who finds a game he likes and is good at, starts at the lower limits, and keeps working his way up in limits as he learns he is good enough to excel at the current level? To me, that's always been the other guy, the guy who's blog I just look forward to reading every day, to find out how his progress at the latest limits is going, and when the next move is going to be. Wes is a great example of this, as I remember watching him climbing the nl 6-max "limits" step by step over most of the past year, and I've cheered him on from afar on that climb for quite some time. Could I now be becoming that guy, with respect to my hilo play? And while I was contemplating objecting to Don's suggestion, it occurred to me that I guess that might be just what I am in hilo. In other words, after now 3 out of 4 winning sessions at 2-4 limit hilo, I am already thinking about when will be the first time I start at 3-6. Why not? I am killing the 2-4 tables this week every bit as hard as I killed the 1-2 tables, and the jump from 2-4 to 3-6 isn't even as great as the jump from 1-2 to 2-4 in terms of total money bet. So who knows, Don, maybe I will be playing 10-20 stud before I know it. Who knows. What I do know is that for now, I'm going to take my cue from Wes and all the others whom I have watched climbing the ladder, and take it slow. No need for me to decide in 4 days that I am too good for 2-4 hilo online. I plan for now to give it another week or so, and if my winning trend continues, I will make the next move up accordingly.

And another thing about my stud hilo play online that makes me think I can profitably keep moving up -- I continue to be able to profit consistently while playing a strategy that I know to be a bit on the loose side for optimal high-stakes play. For example, if my two starting holecards are an A2, and my up card is, say, a Queen, I have been making money by playing here, and making a run at a backdoor low draw or one of my two high cards to pair, etc. Now, I am well aware that optimal hilo strategy would have me folding that hand with a few limpers ahead of me already in on 3rd street, but I have consistently been able to see 4th street and maybe 5th street with these hands, and then simply outplay my opponents on the later streets. I know that won't continue at some limit probably not far above my current place, but for now, I am clearly outperforming my opponents after 3rd street, and have been able to loosen up my starting requirements as a result in a way that has been very consistently profitable for me. That's a good sign that I bet I will be able to move up limits from the 2-4 I am currently playing. And it helped me to another $60 profit last night at the hilo tables, bringing my three-week total to probably upwards of $400 or $450 in terms of my cash profits at the tables. Which is good since it feels like I've lost about that much just in race situations in blogger tournaments over that same time.

Which leads me to my last poker action last night -- after another good session of 2-4 hilo, I decided to go and find whatever bloggers might be playing their little low-limit nlh cash games, and quickly found Miami Don, Waffles, Weak Player and Mookie at a $.10 / $.25 table on pokerstars. I still never really got dealt a monster starting hand, but in maybe an hour or so of playing, I managed to more than double my initial $25 buyin:

That was my stack right before I left the game. So there was another $31 profit plus the nearly $60 I made in hilo earlier, which still combined with my 20x180 loss and the Mookie donation to leave me up more than $60 for the evening. At this point, the older Hammer Girl started making some noise in her bedroom, so I was kinda rocked awake and ended up staying up for several minutes until I had successfully waited her out without having to go into her room, risk waking up the Hammer Baby, etc. At that point, I was kinda awake after all, so I figured for my last few minutes I would try to continue my recent cash streak by checking out a $.50 / $1 nlh table on my own, a blinds level that I think is conducive to somewhat less fishy play (although I use the term "less" loosely here). Long story short, at that table I added another $50+ profit to my night, aided my an early allin from me with top two pairs that garnered a fold on the flop from my opponent, as well as this hand:

where I picked off a bluffer but let him bet at me on the flop and then bigger on the turn before I lowered the hammer with a large reraise, one which my opponent two seats to my right just could not call since I had had a strong feeling all along that he was not holding a King (and it turns out I was right).

So in the end, I lost $33 in two nlh mtt's, but I ended up making over $100 at the cash tables, a more and more common story for me as I review each night's overall poker performance. Who knows, maybe Wes and I are totally switching places, and pretty soon I will be the 6-max cash nlh player, and he will be the mtt specialist. I've had a couple of good runs recently in large nlh mtts as well, but just lately the cash tables is definitely where my bread and butter has been.

Not sure about the WWdN Not tonight. Thursday nights have proven to be a bit problematic for me of late, but we'll see. Either way I'll be back tomorrow, when as of now I plan to post the first of my new strategy posts.


Blogger DWC said...

Hi, I have been reading your blog for about 2 days now and am really enjoying it. Keep up the good work with all the information and thoughts about the game. Hopefully I will be able to join in with you guys in some tourneys soon.
I have a quick question for you or anyone of your fellow bloggers: How do you get screenshots of the poker tables? I play Party Poker and I can't see how to do it. I would love to add them to my blog. Thanks.

3:11 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

dwc, I use a program called Screenhunter, but I basically just picked one of the many free screenshot programs available from a site like or something like that. To my knowledge the screenshot feature is not a function of any of the major poker sites themselves.

Best of luck.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

I am such a Hoy-follower! Wes was good enough to lend me a book on Stud, so now I am tagging along after you on that too.

Thanks for the shoutout: I meant it when I told you in Vegas that finding your blog was a HUGE of my game getting better. As for taking one those bad boys, down...I won't fail for lack of taking my shots!

4:37 AM  
Blogger NewinNov said...

Couldn't believe it last night while playign the WWdn NOT, I read "Hoy is out, 2d from last". Say it isn't so. I left early based on my donkey play, you probably had a bad beat.

10:27 PM  
Blogger meanhappyguy said...

Nice to see you doing well in stud hi/lo. Have you tried any of the tournies yet, or do you just stick to the cash games?

The post that you commented on was my first go at a stud hi/lo tourney and it was pretty fun. I consider myself a better tourney player than a cash game player, and probably a better stud hi/lo player than the average joe, so it made sense to take advantage of both strengths.

Slowing climbing up the stud hi/lo limits with you will be fun!

12:04 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Newin, I actually went out very first in the Not last night as I recall, not even the second one out. Basically, I made bottom two pairs on the flop, slb stayed in for my large flop bet with TPTK, and then he hit his kicker on the turn card for top two pair. At some point on the turn when all the chips went in, I knew I was beat, but I went ahead and donked anyways. Fun fun fun.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

Thanks for the pimpage Hoy... it's greatly appreciated.

1:09 AM  
Blogger cc said...

Thanks for the shoutout, man, really appreciate it. Hope I can play Monday.

5:21 AM  

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