What a Difference a Day Makes
Let me begin by saying thank you to all the many comments I have received here over the past couple of posts. As I mentioned yesterday, my nlh tournament game in all forms has been going through a bit of a rough spot, and of course the blog is my one and only avenue to vent about my troubles. Well, the blog and the girly chat. But I try not to abuse the latter too much lest you all remove me from your IM lists once and for all.
I want to mention a few items specially about the last couple of posts. First off, if you haven't seen Wes's comment to yesterday's follow-up rant post, go check it out now. Wes very well explains exactly his thought process in making the call against me in the Hoy this past Monday night. It is more or less right along the lines of what I and a few others were thinking in what we've written here over the past couple of days. Basically, Wes knew he had a strong hand in a position where he would look like a stealer (he did), and he knew that I am known to be a restealer of someone I believe to be stealing (I am). So, he figured he is fairly close to most of my range, I do not have AA or KK, so he went ahead and took the race, hoping to be ahead but figuring he is not likely far behind. So there you have it. Wes writes it a lot better than I just did, so it's worth reading the post, but I think it's pretty easy to see what he was thinking and exactly why he made the call. I still think that, if your plan is to win multi-table nlh tournaments, you have to give preflop reraisers the respect that they likely hold a hand when they put a move on you, or it becomes very difficult to hold on to your chips into the late stages of these events. As I've written about in the comments on Tuesday as well as in Wednesday's post, I still don't think calling was the right move given where we were at in the tournament at the time, but it is comforting to read Wes's analysis and not find someone making a move without thinking much like some other people have done to me (ahem ahem, you know who you are, no links needed).
And speaking of my opinion of Wes's call in that situation, Fuel has a nice, concise writeup on his blog which I think pretty well sums up why I don't think blind reliance on the pot odds for Wes's decision to call or not call my allin reraise is the right move there. It basically comes down to tournament equity, whereas in a cash game if you wanted to call my allin I think the pure pot odds play is more often the correct one (though I like to think I would have laid it down in a cash game too, knowing I was almost surely behind). So go check out Fuel's post, if you are of such a mind, and maybe it will make more sense to you. Or maybe you'll still think I'm an uberdonk, which is fine too.
Now back to yesterday. So after that cathartic rant on Tuesday and the followup on Wednesday, I can't actually say my mindset was any better heading into Wednesday night's poker action, but I certainly was psyched for the Mookie, which has quietly become easily the biggest blogger tournament every week it runs since the move to full tilt. Last night saw 65 runners hit the felt in the quest to become the latest Mookie champion and to get your champion profile posted over on Mookie's blog. I think 65 is a new record, though don't quote me on that -- either way, suffice it to say this shizz is big, in a very good way. All the cool kids are out to play in a field like this, and as the action started, along with my two-tabled attempt at the nightly 25k (that biatch), one thing was apparent to me very early on, something I hardly ever think or say about myself:
I was a mothereffing card rack.
I must have seen AA, KK or AK maybe 15 times during the Mookie last night. Throw in another 15 or so of these same hands in the 25k, and it should only be a little surprising that I made a strong run in both, each for the first time in what seems like weeks. I literally don't remember the last time I actually got good cards in an mtt of any size, and to be able to say that about two tournaments simultaneously yesterday is just a great feeling. You know, it's so dam easy to forget, but winning in nlh tournaments is so fucking easy when you're getting great cards, and last night I made the best of my opportunities in both the Mookie and the 25k.
For example, here is me doubling up very early in the Mookie, when my first of many KK hands flopped the top boat against what turned out to be pocket Aces by my opponent:
It's hard to do better than that to start off a big blogger tournament, and it's hard to get any luckier than being dealt KK when an opponent gets AA at the same time (that's been happening to me plenty, make no mistake) but then flopping a King and a pair on the board at the same time. And that's just the kind of night it was for me, as the cards kept coming as long as I was patient and waited for them. Truly guys, a phucking donkey could have final tabled the Mookie with the cards I received all through the tournament last night. And no one's ever accused me of not being a donkey, not recently anyways.
About 25 minutes later, I got to eliminate the Love Elf, who happens to be the girlfriend of another of our favorite blogger donkeys on the first hand where I was dealt pocket Aces. Normally I have to wait through 4 or 5 blogger tournaments to see Aces once, but not last night. I got good hands so often yesterday that I even slow-played several of them preflop, including the Aces in this hand which I just limped with from UTG. Long story short, eventually I was facing this bet from the Elf, who I swear
and I went ahead and made the ballsy allin reraise, putting her actually on AK. Turns out, I was wrong:
Now tell me that flop bet and call doesn't have Smokkee written all over it! I swear he was right there in the room telling her to take a chance to double up early, who cares if you might be behind, etc. Him and his blond hair. Hah! Anyways, sorry Tina, you can get me back next time. If you dare. But the pot-sized bets with nothing on the flop, you may not want to take Smokkee's advice next time is all I'm saying.
While I floundered between 1300 and 1700 chips in the 25k throughout the entire first hour (ending the first hour at precisely 1500 chips where I had started, in fact), I had another really fun hand in the Mookie as the first hour drew to a close. I did a favorite move of mine and open-raised with middle suited connectors here:
something I like to do to mix up my play, and because you never know how much action you can get if you hit the board hard and other players put you on a pair or two overs because of the preflop raise. So here, after making top pair on a raggy flop and checking, I then bet out around 2/3 the pot on the turn when I made unexpected trips:
which got a surprising call from Lucko, who is without a doubt one of the very best poker-playing bloggers there is. Hoping again that Lucko's move was more based on my preflop raise and flop check, both indicating I could have an AK/AQ type of hand and trying to steal the pot here, I did the unthinkable and checked my trips to Lucko on the river, hoping against hope that he might take one more stab at the pot and I could relieve him of his chips. After thinking for quite a while, Lucko did go ahead and move it all in:
which of course I called, and it turns out my move worked out great, as you can see what Lucko was betting with there at the end, and what that means he must have thought I had in my hand:
So this was a nice play by me, don't get me wrong, but again everything is so fucking easy when you're flopping top pair and then tripping up on the turn after open-raising with suited connectors before the flop. Any fucking donkey might have done the same exact thing there, but it was really working for me last night. And how.
Meanwhile, the 20k is well into the first half of the second hour, and I make my first big pot -- making pocket Kings for the second time in that event -- against of all people Wes himself, who ironically was moved to my table a few minutes into Round 2 (How funny is that btw?):
After 11:30pm ET, I used another monster starting hand to jump up into a large chip lead in the Mookie after slow-raising my way to getting KrazyBangs allin preflop:
While literally simultaneous to this hand in the Mookie, I also was getting my first real double-up of the 25k when all of hands my greatest nemesis ended up holding up through the end:
Now let me just take a moment here. Is this level of luck and lack of suckouts against me starting to freak anyone else out here? I haven't seen this many total cards over the past month cumulatively, and now here I am tonight cake-walking
my way through the first few hours of two of the toughest-to-navigate fields around among nlh mtts. It's unreal. But I said it before and I'll say it again: This game is fucking balls easy when you've got AA, KK or AK dealt to you once every orbit or two over a three hour period. Take my word for it.
Oh by the way, the very next hand in the 25k? Bullets again, and another nearly 1000 chips to my stack (courtesy of Wes, sorry bud but good laydown there on the flop -- with your AQ or AK I presume):
Just before the second break in the 25k, I took down another grand or so with yet another monster starting hand:
Fucking Aces, Kings or Ace-King, coming in bunches, at least once every orbit or two in both tournaments. It feels so good.
And the best part about all those cards I kept seeing and showing: here's me being an asshole bully a short bit into Round 3, down to less than two full tables remaining in the Mookie:
He folded. He had to. I'd been showing down AK and KK all night long, with a few pocket Aces for good measure. He had to lay it down there. Again, the shizz is just so easy when you're a card rack. Eventually my card luck ran out as we made the final table in the Mook:
but I did manage to outlast Chilly (Good43) at the final table:
to get off the bubble and into the cash at the Mookie, where I promptly became the short stack due to an absolute lack of playable cards, and went out fighting but going down in 8th place out of 65. Believe me, the way I've been playing these things lately, I will so take it. And far be it from me to complain about the no cards at the final table, because obviously it was the mile of cards along the way that carried me there and did all the work. Last night I was just along for the ride.
A ride which just continued and continued in the 25k. First there was this monster starting hand which netted me over 4000 chips about 2 1/2 hours into the event, down to 175 players remaining, already well into the money:
Followed about 15 minutes later by this one:
where my opponent put me allin on a re-reraise on the flop with just the 9-high flush draw, and suddenly I was way over 20k in chips and well into the 100s of players remaining in the 25k out of its 1535 entrants.
Here's me winning a few large with another pocket Queens midway through the 3rd hour of the 25k, as the big starting hands just kept coming and coming, almost as if in repayment to me for all the wrongs bestowed upon me over the past few months in no-limit holdem tournament land:
And by the time I turned this preflop disaster:
into this glorious board for a huge Hoyasuck:
I was over 50k in chips and in the top 20 out of the 50 players remaining in the 25k, easily my best showing in this event since my last final table here in July of this year, back in the days of the pussy 17k guarantee before the partypoker rejects infested in the waters of mighty full tilt.
I held my own for the next 30 minutes or so, watching players drop out with fair regularity and watching my guaranteed payout slowly but surely climb -- $40 to $50 to $60, to $80, finally over $100 in the 20s, and then over $200 once we were below 18 players remaining (I was in 10th place at this time). Then I had my second huge suckout, where I got allin preflop with the highly questionable Q9o on a naked steal attempt, and got called by someone who eventually raised a third opponent out of the hand on the flop and we flipped this:
But then in yet another redickulous twist of poker gods' fate, the turn brought me another miralce:
and I lived on once again. This was all so foreign to me, and yet so familiar. I really do remember getting good cards sometimes, not having to push at every turn, and therefore finding the requisite patience to wait out the good hands. It's just a heckuva lot easier to wait out the good hands when you know they're coming, and when you don't know that your Aces, Kings and Queens are going to get cracked like lobster shells on a Saturday night in Boston.
Waffles, here's a final-two-tables screenshot from the 25k last night, just for you:
Yes folks, that is me taking down a pot with a stone bluff on the flop while I'm holding The Waffles -- 42o. Yes, the very hand that Waffles loves to say he loves to play, but which has cost him probably hundreds of clams because it is idiotic to play it in almost any situation. Except here.
Eventually, in 10th place out of 16 players remaining, I'm in the BB with a low to medium Ace, and the sb in front of me puts in what looks to be a blatant steal attempt, of which there are tons anywhere near this late in a large mtt:
As you can see, I go ahead and pop it allin here, and to my dismay he calls. Shit. But then he flips this:
Whew! Now I'll either tie, or hopefully win another dominated hand race.
The four on the turn does me in, and IGH in 16th place overall in the 25k:
for once again easily my best finish in the 25k in months. Just one day after writing all about how I have lost my appetite for this tourney, the poker gods reverse everything, and here I am. Unbelievable. But such is poker, and I always view my job as, at a minimum, being around and still being in the tournament whenever my lucky streak hits.
Is it possible that the recockulous ranting this week and cathartic explosion of comments from bloggers could have given the poker gods the sacrifice they've been demanding from me all this time? Could their seemingly insatiable thirst for my anger and my chips have finally been quenched by me letting loose like I basically never do on the blog earlier this week? Who knows. Let's hope so.
One last thing. I seem to say this on many if not most of my big nights on the virtual felt, but the Hammer Wife once again showed last night how incredibly supportive she is, even in her total distate for poker in general. Not only did my oldest daughter wake up for 2 full hours at midnight last night, but she woke up having thrown up all over herself, her clothes, the bed she is sleeping on, and various other parts of the room within a five-foot radius of her bed. While I helped with the initial cleaning and calming down of our daughter, the Hammer Wife did all the heavy lifting over the next couple hours, allowing me to do my thing in what is without a doubt the best performance I've had in a nlh tournament in many, many, many weeks and many attempts. While I know she was not enjoying herself out there, at least I can say here how much I appreciate her efforts as always, and how lucky I am to have someone who will let me do my thing and end up having a night that will without a doubt be a turning point for my holdem tournament game. You'll see. A, thank you as always, you are a perfect match for me and I'll never forget it.