Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crazy MATH, and Starting Hands Post (Part II)

Wow. Somebody has got to stop Fuel55.

This year, the guy is amassing a huge pile of chips in basically every blogger tournament there is, and it is taking quite an effort from everybody involved to keep this guy out of the final table and out of the money in nearly every one of these things over the past several weeks. Last night in the Hoy was more of the same, as I watched players donk to the guy early and often, which combined with some very nice plays by Fuel to give him yet another dominant stack heading into the final table at the Hoy, where 18 players showed up in the battle for the $20 buyins, the 8th time we have gotten together this year to donk it up. As usual of late, Fuel wielded his big stack like a hammer, taking Lucko's ATC (any two cards) approach about ten steps further by literally calling just about any sized bet with literally just about Any. Two. Cards.

I'm serious. At the final table last night, I watched Fuel call an opponent's allin for a quarter to a fifth of his stack with J7o. K7s. 96s. Any Ace. It happened again and again and again. And again. Once he had about 3 times the 2nd place stack, Fuel didn't fold at the final table. At all. He won nearly every race situation I saw him in (not every one, but probably 13 out of 15 or so if I had to guess), regardless of which side of the race he was on, and with that luck Fuel managed to stay way, way ahead of the rest of the field even heading towards the bubble at the Hoy, with our usual top 3 spots paying out in the battle for the 2007 money leaderboard supremacy.

In general, the final table was among the wildest times I can ever remember at the Hoy, with suckouts happening all over the place for basically everyone involved. I myself sucked out an awful runner-runner straight to best Iak's dominating hand on the flop near the beginning of the table as well, but I also got brutally sucked out on twice myself near the end there, including my TT losing to Wes's ATs on the river (where else?) as one of Wes's four allin survivals as he made his push to hold on for at least the third place money. In the end, it was Astin bubbling out when he pushed his short stack into my big pocket pair, and the final three survivors of the suckout fest and ATC callfest from Fuel were myself in third place, recent Hoy casher Wigginx in a close 2nd place, and Fuel far, far in the lead. Once ITM, I was dealt a couple of big hands early and managed to claw my way back to a respectable chip position, sitting on around 5000 chips, to Wiggin's 6000 chips and Fuel's 16000 or so, when I picked up pocket 4s UTG. I got it allin, and Wiggin called for almost his entire stack with....

KQ. Offsuit. Yeech. Nonetheless, in fitting with the rest of the activity at the final table, he hit his King on the turn, and IGH in 3rd place. At this point, Wiggin and Fuel were very close to even, with Fuel only about 1000 or so chips ahead of Wiggin's stack as we started up what we railbirds figured would be a marathon heads-up sesssion replete with the kinds of ATC calling and suckouts that had peppered the final table up to that point. However, instead the HU session lasted exactly three hands. First hand, Fuel takes down the pot preflop. Second hand, Wiggin raises preflop, Fuel reraises, Wig re-reraises, and Fuel re-re-reraises allin, which Wig of course calls. What do the two donkeys players have to justify such crazy moves preflop here? I was guessing AK and a pocket pair, maybe AQ if someone was feeling especially donkorific. The actual hands?

KQo for Fuel. 66 for Wigginx. Despite my feeling that I should have been automatically awarded first place for the event after that play, Fuel promptly nailed the flop of AAK, and it was just about over for the night. Until, that is, the 6 on the turn completed the resuck and gave Wigginx about 95% of the chips in play. Very next hand saw Fuel blinded in for the rest of his chips with 87s against Wig's pocket 4s, and the 4 on the flop iced the victory for Wigginx, his first Hoy title as I recall. And more importantly, it kept Fuel out of the winner's circle for one more week, which is good not only because I can't stand seeing one guy win so many effing blogger tournaments in a row this year, but also because, with the way he is playing lately and the luck he is having in his ATC calls with a huge stack, we can't have Fuel taking a huge lead in the yearly money race this early in the season:

So congratulations to Wigginx for the win and the $180 first prize, and to Fuel for another impressive run to second place and $108, and yours truly making my fourth Hoy cash in 8 attempts this year, ending a respectable third place in an impossibly suckout-filled and ATC-cally field to nab the $72 booby prize. In all, this leaves the new Hoy money leaderboard as the following, after Monday night's antics:

1. Hoyazo $472
2. Fuel55 $458
3. VinNay $310
4. Wigginx $288
5. Bayne_s $270
6. Manik79 $252
7. Smokkee $162
8. Chad $120
8. Zeem $120
10. Ganton516 $114
11. Omega_man_99 $108
12. NewinNov $90
13. Columbo $80
13. PhinCity $80
13. jeciimd $80
16. l.e.s.ter000 $72
17. Julius Goat $60

Notice that this is the first week of 2007 where all three MATH cashers were previous cashers in this year's MATH tournaments as well. So, no new names added to the list for this week, and more importantly, Wigginx's huge comeback win kept Fuel's money gain over me this week to a mere $36, which was just enough for you know who to retain my overall 2007 money lead in the Hoy tournaments, now two months into the year. So come out next week and try to dethrone me once again from the leaderboard, and more importantly, see if we can cooler Fuel55 from the incredible blogger tournament hot streak he has been enjoying so far in 2007.

OK what else. Back to yesterday's O8 and Omaha high hand I had solicited your opinions on. In the end, most of you shared the opinion I had about both of these hands. The first one if you recall was everybody's favorite game for me to write about, Omaha Hilo 8 or Better (O8), and here was the starting hand I had asked about:

So it was the medium straight possibility, the Queen-high flush possibility and the two Queens from UTG in O8, and most of you suggested you would probably fold this hand. While I agree with the few commenters that you could maybe take a cheap flop with this hand if it's a game where you've seen a lot of people playing bad hands to a flop, in general, I agree with most of the commenters who said you just have to fold this here:

I just don't like that it's under the gun, so you really have no idea if or how many raises you're going to get here before the flop. And, the hand has absolutely no possibility of making any low hand, so if three low cards flop I'm basically only playing for a maxiumum of half the pot anyways. And, the high possibilities for this hand are just not that great anyways. The pair of Queens is nice, but any Ace or King on the flop will basically kill that. The Queen-high flush possibility is nice, but it's hard to bet that or the Queen-high straight possibility with much confidence either in a game like omaha. Remember, Omaha is a game of the nuts, and this hand just doesn't have nutty potential on the high side, no potential at all for a low, and I'm UTG to boot. To me it is definitely a fold, which it seems most of you agreed with.

Similarly, yesterday I also offered up the following pot-limit omaha high hand from the WPBT even this past weekend:

This was the one with the suited Ace and the two other suited cards, the A2 and the 78 combinations, and it was also UTG. Again, most of you agreed with my view on this, which is that this hand is also a fold:

I see a lot of people in my PLO travels play almost any double-suited hand in PLO, and I identify this as one of the biggest and most common mistakes I see in general omaha strategy. Double-suited cards can be great to play from a late position for a cheap flop, in particular if both sets of suited cards contain one high card (King or Ace, basically) such that any flush that is made will be a nut flush or near-nut flush. But, playing a hand like A278 from UTG is, generally speaking, a mistake in omaha high IMO, as once again you have no idea if or how many raises there will be from all the other players at the table, and I would not normally call from this spot with a hand with only one card above an 8, very little straight possibility, and really only the suited Ace as the reasonable nut hand potential here.

Now, today I want to profile one more starting hand and get your thoughts on how you would play this. Hopefully this will garner some more varied comments than the first two hands yesterday, which most people seemed to agree with me were generally folding hands from UTG in omaha. Today's starting hand is in 7-Stud High, and is also part of a HORSE satellite I recently played:

At this point in the satellite there are 17 players remaining out of 30 who started, with only the top 3 finishers winning seats to the big HORSE event. I am currently around 5th place of 17 players remaining, and I am once again UTG. Here you can see the 2 of diamonds has brought it in for 50 chips, and then the player to my immediate right has raised it up to 150, with a King showing. I've got (QJ)T.

What do you like to do here? Obviously QJT has a lot of possibilities with three high cards to pair, and the straight possibilities as well. Plus, the raiser here could just be raising on the strength of his King being the highest upcard out there. So, do I reraise here, or just call the raise? Or, do I fold this hand, since his King is higher than any of my cards and since he has represented a pair of Kings here on third street? What's the right move?

I'd love to get everyone's thoughs on this hand, and then I'll be back later with discussion of some of the comments, along with my own thoughts. Meanwhile, tomorrow I've got a nice razz starting hand and a stud hilo starting hand that I also think have some definite possibilities for differing opinions. Thanks to all the comments yesterday and I hope to hear from you all again today.

OK, the Wheatie is tonight, $10 buyin on pokerstars. 8:30pm ET, password as always is "monkey". I plan to be there. Also, on an exciting note for me, last night full tilt appears to have started a new group of nightly satellites for the nightly 30k guaranteed tournament at 11pm ET. In addition to the usual 8:15pm ET ($6) and 8:45pm ET ($14) sats to this event, now full tilt has introduced an 8pm $3 rebuy satellite, as well as an 8:30 $8 rebuy satellite for this 30k tournament as well. The best part about these two events, from what I could glean yesterday, is that they appear to have only a half-hour rebuy period, plus one addon, so Monkey Hour becomes only Monkey Half-Hour, and any shortening you can do to that time is all good from my perspective. I did manage to sneak into the 8:30 $8 rebuy sat last night, and I can say another good thing with it is that, due to the rebuys and the addons, in the end 5 of the 30 entrants won themselves seats. 1 in 6 is about as good as you can ever expect for one of these things, so I think if you play your game and play careful, smart poker, these things should not be difficult to win at all. And with the low buyins, it's possible to rebuy once or twice and not take too big of a hit. So kudos to full tilt for adding two new fun satellites into this 30k tournament every night, and you can definitely expect to find me in some of those sats as well tonight and I'm sure in the future as well. See you then!

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Blogger Schaubs said...

Thanks for the sat. info, and good job at the MATH once again.

Happy Hammer Day #2 everyone...

12:21 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

On stud hand although you have QJT with 2 spades, don't see any spades up but Temperace may have had one. Since player to right is representing 2 Kings this hinders my ability to hit straight, pot is currently small, I go ahead and fold.

MATH was insane last night. For some reason Fuel did not call my 1st few all-ins at Final Table but after he saw me push with 55 twice he called every single push.

Calling with J5 (sooted) when I had JT (sooted) might have been last ATC call he lost.

1:13 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

I am not quite calling ATC but there is a rationale for calling short stacks with marginal hands:

1) they wont steal in future

2) Hands like J8s, Q9s are 40/60 against A7, K7 and 35:65 against AT, KT etc. (i.e. two middles or a middle and an under scenarios) I may be 35 or 40% to lose 1 battle but I am only 12 and 16% to lose two in a row and 4 and 6% to lose three in a row. With a solid chip stack I know I can survive 3 attacks and win 1 of the 3 (eliminating the opponent) 95% of the time. With 5 players to go I had 60% of the chips in play and was willing to gamble that I could take you all out.

As long as I don't run into an overpair I think this is reasonable strategy with a monster chip stack.

FYI I had KsQs on the critical hand and that was certainly good enough against wiggin's range.

A secondary effect of this play is getting people to pay off your sets and two pairs with middle pairs and such in future situations. I got almost all of my chips last night from people overplaying trash into my big hands.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I'd go ahead and call the 150. If I don't hit any of my straight cards on fourth street, I fold.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Just to clarify, when I recommended on the last post that you should raise the QQ hand, I was simply playing Devil's advocate. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I agree with folding on this hand. If you were completely suited, I would call, but you'd have to go to 6th st with this hand for any flush possibilities.

That leaves you with str8 and, at worst, runner-runner two pair possibilities. Unless you catch one of your 6 outs on 4th st (any 9 and 2 Kings, assuming the raiser has KKx), you have to fold on 4th st. If you happen to catch two pair, there's a good chance you're still down to a higher 2 pair or worse.

Fold this and wait for a better hand.

4:24 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

This is not a critique. Fuel's results in blogger tournaments leave no doubt his style works.

Was Fuel's "rationale" any different than Smokkee's "mindset" previous week?

Have to admit after he called me with Jd5d I did not push at Fuel's BB again. Js8s was the "best" hand I saw after that moment

4:33 AM  
Blogger FishyMcDonk said...

Folding is okay. I'd probably call since none of the remaining others will likely call or raise with what they are showing. So you'll be heads up vs a guy who could easily be stealing. On 4th if you wiff yer likely gone but if you hit any of 9, T, J, Q, K or A you might want to take a shot at this pot.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

No Bayne, I have no doubt that Fuel and Smokkee had exactly the same "rationale" for their moves in the recent Hoy tournaments. And I put that word in quotes up there, because it contains the word "rational" and I don't know that that term necessarily applies.

IMO a lot of people try to apply the "Any Two Cards" approach when they get a big stack, but very, very few people can do it right. I don't think calling 3 raises preflop with KQ (soooted or otherwise) for all your chips heads-up is correct, as Fuel should have known he was pushing his entire chip lead into a hand in which he was 100% undoubtedly behind.

But that's the thing I keep writing about on the blog -- it's all about the mindset in a nlh tournament. Once you've been calling all night long with every 96o and J7o and K7o, it becomes next to impossible to lay down a "monster" hand like KQ. That was a really, really poor play he made and I'm sure if you could catch Fuel at a sane, logical time he would admit it. If he didn't know Wigginx at least had an Ace there, then my nephew is a monkey.

4:45 AM  
Blogger wigginx said...


I wanted you to know that I made good use of your post about having the proper mindset to win in playing against Fuel last night. There was one particular hand fairly early on the final table where I recall thinking "He cannot win this. He doesn't have the right big-stack mindset... at least according to Hoy."

That's not to say his style can't be successful, since it obviously works well for him and he plays the bully well with table talk. However, once I got heads-up with him, I knew that I could press an edge really hard with any strong hand and get paid.

My plan for heads-up was all about hand selection... it just so happened that I got back-to-back pocket pairs to end it quickly.

As for calling your all-in with KQ, I felt there was a strong possibility that you were stealing, and that I couldn't be too far behind to any pocket pair up to JJ. Given that we were fairly even in chips, I knew that I had to be the one to bust you if I wanted to have a shot against Fuel's aggression, so I decided that I was unlikely to find a better spot to take a shot at you. Lucky for me, it worked out.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Once I repopped Wigg with the KQs I was committed. Even in a 60/40 situation (Ax, x less than Q for Wigg) I created a pot-odds situation where I committed myself. I'd rather hold KQs than 66 in this situation. Suited and connected lowers the coin flip gap to 50.5:49.5. Of course I dont like flipping a coin for a tournament Wigg was not going to play small pots since he knows I would pummel him. I took my chance and lost. Such is life.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

"Wigg was not going to play small pots since he knows I would pummel him". Classic.

6:06 AM  
Blogger jeciimd said...

I favor a call here; while its true that he may be raising with a bare king, a reraise is not likely to tell u a whole lot. U have a drawing hand, so volume would be welcome and a raise won't get that done.
Take a card off with your live "big" cards, flush and str8 draws; just keep in mind that all your spades are live, but u have a dead king and a secondary out "8" gone as well.

11:02 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i was planning to play the Hoy on Monday. so, i could move up the leaderboard. but, somehow missed it. it'll probably only take me a coupla tries to put me on top anyway. so, next week it is.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Cool, Smoke. But I do think the competition in this might be a wee bit better than in your 10-cent sng experiment. Just something to keep in mind ;)

8:20 PM  

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