Monday, October 16, 2006

WPBT -- R is for Razz and V is for Victory

First off, don't forget tonight is that night again....

Come one and come all to the poker tournament that is created just for you, the readers of this blog. As always there are no special requirements to be able to play -- you just need $20, access to pokerstars and the willingness (if not desire) to flaunt the U.S. government and its politically-motivated bullshit agenda-promoting politicians. Since I have all three in spades, I will be sure to be there, and so should you!

OK now on to better things. I didn't play a whole lot of poker this weekend, but I did get in enough for a few fun things. For starters, I played a few of the Tier 2 token sngs on full tilt, egged on by Miami Don, and had a very profitable time in them as I bubbled for the cash in two, and I won my token in the third:

Armed with this token, the first Tier 2 token I have ever held, I immediately went and registered for the blogger big game, Don's brainchild which will make its first appearance this coming Sunday evening at 9:30pm ET. Sure I could have (and would have) just bought into this event for cash on Sunday if I didn't win a token, but frankly it was fun to have a small goal to shoot for like this over the weekend, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing in them. And, I'm happy to report, I agree 100% with Iak's take on this -- the level of play in the Tier 2 token sngs is definitely not any better than that in the Tier 1's. And I like both structures as well -- the $22 buyin 1-table sng with the top 2 seats winning tokens and 3rd place taking home $48 cash, or the equivalent of winning another Tier 1 token, and the standard 18-person sng's with a $26 token buyin, paying Tier 2 tokens to the top 5 finishers and a small cash profit to 6th place as well. So, get out there and win your tokens early so you can play in the big game this coming Sunday night!

And then the big event of the weekend for me was the latest WPBT tournament, this one a Razz event as I attempt to keep clawing my way up Byron's WPBT Player of the Year leaderboard. For those of you who don't play it regularly, Razz is typically referred to by most professional poker players as the most frustrating form of poker to play. This is because of the constant ability for a good hand to turn god awful almost instantaneously with the drop of one or two ill-timed cards. And I have got to say, last night did not disappoint in this regard. The WPBT Razz tournament was basically an endless repetition of purely position-based raising (i.e., third street is folded around to late position who has a 6 showing (and probably KK underneath), who then raises because the last two players left have an 8 and a 9 showing, respectively, and takes down the pot, etc.), and of players folding on later streets due to counterfeiting and pairing up, making open trips (which I saw five times during the not even 2 1/2 hour long event), pairing Aces, etc., with just a little smattering of good play to go along with the mix. Well there was plenty of that bad stuff last night to go around. But such is Razz.

You want to know why I hate Razz? It's because of 7th street cards like this, from early in the event:

See, we both get Aces on the river, normally a great occurrence in Razz. But not when I've been counterfeited twice with two low pairs in my hand. This kind of thing happened all through the night, and counterfeiting pairs like this was probably the reason behind a good 80% of the eliminations from last night's tournament, at least the ones that I saw. But such is Razz.

At the first break, I was in 5th place out of 16 remaining players (21 runners began the event), with only the top 10 players receiving WPBT points for their efforts. Happily for me, I saw that StatiKling and SoxLover both were among the first few players eliminated, both of whom were ahead of me or at least breathing down my neck in the WPBT standings before this tournament, so that was some good news to keep me going and trying to last to the WPBT points again in this one.

Getting back to a familiar question, you wanna know why we hate playing Razz? Check out Otis's hand through 5th street on this one:

That's why. You're busy trying to represent a solid low given your Ace up on third street, and suddenly you're boating up with open trips on 5th. Gotta hate love it. But such is Razz.

And that brings me to another reason I can't stand playing Razz -- the second hour saw a startling trend develop for me, where I was being dealt the highest upcard, and therefore had to bring it in for a minimum bet to start the hands off, an inordinately huge number of times. I had three separate streaks during the tournament last night where I had to bring it in (and give money away, literally, since no one should be calling a raise under most circumstances with a King up on third street in Razz) on 50% or more of the hands over a 15-hand period. That is sick. Someone run me the odds of that happening even once at a close to full table, let alone three times in one night. Sick sick sick. But such is Razz.

After about an hour and a half of the WPBT tournament, we finally reached the final table, all of whom would receive WPBT points for the event:

In addition to myself, where I started in 3rd place out of 8 players remaining, the final table saw a veritable whos who of poker blogging. You've got Pauly, you've got CJ, there is Derek (Kameelah -- is that named after the old WWF wrester guy from Africa btw?), and Pirate Wes, Donkeypuncher (still one of the funniest poker blogs out there), Mattazuma, and, the prohibitive chip leader, Smokkee.

And that brings me to an important point from last night. None of us, not even the biggest dickhead bloggers, should ever again be subjected to having to play with Smokkee when he's on a big stack. I mean, we all know from his recent posts how Smokkee likes to try to double up early in tournaments, even if it means taking some ill-advised chances with hands that you or I might rather prefer to fold with. But last night this was taken to a redonkulous extreme. I mean, I had to sit and watch Smokkee make call after call with his big stack, hitting every card in sight and also having his opponent pair up, trip up, whatever had to happen for Smokkee to pull through in these hands. I've honestly never seen anything like it. Smokkee called a bet from me on 7th street when I had four cards to a 9 showing, and he had trip 5s for crying out loud. Trip 5s!!! Of course he beat me because I boated up on 7th street myself, but what do you even say to that? There was no way he could possibly know that or think he was ahead there. The guy just went with what got him to the final table with the massive chip lead, and he was not about to move away from that once final table play began. But man I have to say, I have not seen donkery like that in a long time. Smokkee's holdem tournament exploits speak for themselves -- he obviously is a very skilled player with excellent instincts and a good understanding of the game. But dammit Smoke please don't let your 2nd place finish last night cause you to play a lot more Razz tournaments in the future. You will donk out immediately, and you will give heart attacks and high blood pressure to all your opponents along the way. Let's just let last night stand on its own as far as your Razz performance and leave it at that, mmmmmkay? Sheesh.

You wanna see why we hate Razz? Check out what happened on the last several cards to Donkeypuncher here to eliminate him from the final table:

What do you even say to that? But such is Razz.

At the second break, I was in 3rd place of 5 remaining players in the WPBT Razz event:

Shortly into Round 3, Derek lost a bunch of chips to Smokkee, and then his brother Pauly was there on the next hand to finish him off. Having an older and a younger brother myself, I'm always interested in the sibling rivalry, Venus-or-Serena stuff, so that was fun to see. Down to four players, with just the top 3 getting the money, I managed to eliminate Mattazuma about ten hands later when he got himself allin with a Ten-Nine high on fourth street that I managed to beat when he got counterfeited twice on the later streets:

But such is Razz. So, Pauly, Smokkee and I made the cash positions in the WPBT Razz tournament, and we prepared to battle it out 3-handed for the title, with me going for my second WPBT title after taking down the Gemini event earlier this year.

I took my first chip lead of the entire tournament when we were 3-handed, and Smokkee insisted on max-raising me on third street with this hand:

then donkeycalling another bet on 4th street when he paired his up card, finally laying it down to me here on 5th street:

Three hands later, Smokkee managed to eliminate Pauly when Pauly ran into these two beautiful low cards on 6th and 7th streets:

Pauly I'm sure was thrilled about the way that hand ended for him, and of course The Razz Donk hit perfect card after perfect card to give him new life in the tournament. But such is Razz.

Heads up against Mr. Donkey was funny. If you've ever run deep into a Razz tournament before, you know how almost silly heads-up Razz can be. It's just a question of whose upcards are lower than the other player's, and that person usually wins on the earliest street possible. To me, heads-up Razz is almost a mechanical thing, just going through the motions as your actions are more or less dictated to you by the cards the two players are dealt. Playing against a guy who chooses to ignore many of the rules of when to fold in Razz can make the whole experience even more frustrating, but at the same time potentially more profitable as well, and I was determined to make it happen for me and take down my second WPBT event.

Two hands into heads-up play, here is Smokkee betting out at me on fourth street even though my two upcards were lower than his:

As you can see, I raised here since I knew for a fact that Smokkee could not know I was behind (if I even was behind), and Smokkee just couldn't lay down to my raise, so we saw another card:

Again I bet out, this time for 1600 chips, given that I caught good again while Smokkee caught an open pair. Not shockingly, Smokkee called again. At this point I was hoping Smokkee was perfect underneath so that I could maybe win one more round of bets from him on 6th street. But even Smokkee has a point where he simply can't keep paying to see more cards, so he finally folded here:

after giving me a good 4000 or so chips more than he probably should have if he was following more standard Razz strategy.

Two hands later, I made a very solid Razz hand on 5th street (especially given that this is heads-up play), but then when my board paired on 6th street, I checked for the first time in the hand, to give Smokkee the idea that I was weak. I knew his inner donkey could not resist betting into me on 7th street once I checked my open pair on 6th, and he did not disappoint, giving me another great chance to check-raise for a big bet on the river, which Smokkee once again called despite I imagine having to know deep down he was beat there when I raised it up with what I could see was a lock for the nuts at that point in the hand:

This hand left me with a 7.3-to-1 chip advantage, and I was not about to let up at this point, this close to winning my second WPBT tournament. I got my chance on the very next hand, when Smokkee moved in with a Ten-Eight high, and I make a Smokkee-style call with A3 and two bricks:

Even though I hit another Jack on 7th street, and made trips in the end on this hand, I still took it down when Smokkee ended up with the lovable Razz hand of 3 pairs:

And here was the final leaderboard (this is the screenshot to save as the new wallpaper on your desktops out there):

In the end, a fun but typically Razz frustrating time was had by all, and kudos again out to Byron for setting this all up as always. And the best news of all is that I see this morning that my win in Razz last night has vaulted me up to my highest position of the year in Byron's WPBT Player of the Year leaderboard. I am now in 4th place in overall WPBT points, and in the real stat that matters, I'm up to 3rd place in average WPBT points per event. Third place. I could really win this thing now! And me being in position to win would be a great thing, because then how is the Hammer Wife going to turn me down to go out to Vegas to play in the live event to end the season, when I am just within a stone's throw of dominating the WPBT once and for all? No way.

See you tonight at Mondays at the Hoy!!!


Blogger Pokerwolf said...

When the same people play a bunch of Razz hands at one table, usually at least one person ends up paying a lot of the bring-in. That's one reason why Razz cash games can be profitable if you find a juicy table.

Kamala was the WWF wrestler from the 80s, by the way.

11:23 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i might take up RAZZ full time now.


11:41 PM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Nice work. I am looking forward the rant when Byron forgets to include last nights results and you drop 2 spots in the rankings.

Don't disappoint me.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

Nice victory.

12:27 AM  
Blogger jjok said...

how about iak......even cracking me up on a comment instead of one of his posts......

And congrats Hoy! Well done sir!

3:47 AM  
Blogger biggestron said...

What I don't understand is that I wrote some secret routines into my scoring algorithm that would compensate for my lack of poker-skillz. And yet I am still not winning - I think I've been outrigged.

Congrats on your 2nd victory and you are correct - the title is still wide open for the taking.

4:23 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

btw, i might have to pickup a copy of "stud for dummies" so i can take a top three finish in the next WPBT event just to piss you off more.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Donkeypuncher said...

I was trying to forget that awful hand...

Thanks to you, now I have to go see my shrink!

1:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home