Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Rant

Well it's Friday again, and that means it's basically time for another Hoy rant. This one isn't directed at any one in particular, but it is inpsired by other bloggers, and other poker players with websites, etc. But first, I'd like to be the first to congratulate Mr. Al Can't Hang, for not only final tabling his Riverchasers tournament last night on full tilt at 9pm ET, but also final tabling CC's Thursday Bash tournament on pokerstars at 9:30pm ET last night at the same time. Al was a two-tabling machine last night, all while sitting at The Bar and SoCo'ing it up I'm sure, as he sat perched near the very top of the leaderboard throughout the vast majority of both tournaments. Although I didn't watch his play closely in Riverchasers -- thanks mostly to my own middle-of-the-pack bustout after failing to win pots with KK, QQ, JJ and 99 in the first hour and a half of play -- I was there all the way with him in the CC and I can say without hesitation that our man played an aggressive, blogger-worthy style truly befitting of a man of his gravitas in the poker blogging community. It was a pleasure to watch Al doing his thing, just as it was to see StB sickly drop at least four hammers in the first hour of the CC (including one gross runner runner straight near the end of the first hour of play), and especially to watch eventual CC winner Shane outlast repeat champion Fuel55 after a marathon heads-up battle, sparing us all from a week of having to read about Fuel becoming the first blogger to three-peat any of the major blogger tournaments ever that I am aware of (thank god). In the end, both tournaments were a great time as always, and I look forward to next week for the next of these events (and congrats to Fuel for following up his back to back CC titles with a 2nd place finish last night).

Oh yeah, and thankfully Gary did not final table the Riverchasers last night either, so yet another blogger we won't need to read about the greatness of for one more week (Gary is not so much the type to toot his own horn, but you know Al woulda been all over that if Gary had cashed again, and with me being the jealous type that I am, that outcome is all good as far as I'm concerned). In the end I busted in the 40s out of 91 players at Riverchasers, as I mentioned hitting all the wrong flop cards whenever I had big pocket pairs, and I was bubble boy in the CC, busting in 4th out of 27 players when my A8 failed to hold up against Shane's AK. Lots of fun from both tournaments, and thanks again to CC and Al for hosting.

OK so where was I? Oh yeah, the Friday rant. This one probably won't be quite as ardently crafted as some of my previous, more personally-involved rants have been, but let me just say this. As you all know I read a lot of poker blogs. If you have a blog, I've probably read your blog from time to time, some of you every single day (wouldn't miss ya), some of you a couple times a week, some only at night (like the pokerworks crew since my work blocks all the pokerworks know, because viewing this site is responsible for all the problems in the world. What fools my company's information security peeps are.), and some of you just from time to time based on the regularity of updates, etc. My point is, I read poker blogs all the time, hundreds of them, and I think it's fair to say I've basically seen it all as far as the various kinds of poker content in these things.

In all my blog reading travels, I've run into quite a large number of posts where people in some form are cutting on other peoples' play of a particular hand, or a type of hand in general. This is something that I myself obviously have done on several occasions, and frankly I enjoy writing these sometimes because they can be my most animated posts if I get into a groove while I'm writing them. Anyways, in my experience, these sorts of posts come in two general flavors. First are the ones where the poster is making a valid point, and where the other player in his or her story in fact made a bad poker play that is worthy of questioning on the morning after in the victim's blog. I like to think that mine for the most part fall into this first category. Then there are the other category of these sorts of posts -- the ones where the person doing the complaining actually played a hand badly, or sometimes flat-out incorrectly poker-wise, or maybe both players played it pretty bad, and the poster is merely voicing his or her frustration over what happened, but doing so in a way that incorrectly portrays his or her opponent as having effed something up, when in reality this is not the case at all.

We've all seen this last type of post. They're everywhere out there in bloggerland. You know, the ones where someone complains in his or her blog how "I open-pushed allin for 20 big blinds with K6s, and the big blind called me down with just A9o!! Can you believe this guy? What a donkey call!!" Or how about "The guy pushed with 55 -- Five effing Five, can you believe that guy?!! So I called allin with my AJs, and of course I didn't connect and IGH!". Or one of my personal favorites -- "I was dealt A2xx eight times in one hour of an O8 tournament, and didn't make a qualifying low in any of them!" Oh no wait, that last one was me 9 days ago after the FTOPS O8 tournament. And the odds of not making a qualifying low in eight straight A2xx hands are right around 2%, give or take a couple tenths of a percent there. Is it ok to complain about a 2% shot working against you? That's the equivalent of a guy hitting a 1-outer against you. Actually slightly less than a 1-outer. A one-outer guys. Variance can be a serious wench, and that night, she was an mf'ing bizznotch to me at the worst possible time, plain and simple. But the first two examples above are just the kind of silly blogger post I'm talking about, and we've all seen them, many times, if you read blogs anywhere near as regularly as I do.

The reason I bring this up is that it is important to be able to differentiate between the two types of complaining-about-someone-else's-play posts, if you're the kind of guy like me who likes to read these things and tries to absorb all the good ideas you read about any form of poker and incorporate them into your own game where they make sense. Now, if you have a good foundation of poker knowledge, skills and experience, it normally shouldn't be too hard to figure out whether a whining blogger is making any actual poker sense with what he's saying. Hopefully those two examples I provided above struck you guys right away as being pretty effing silly in the substance of what they were bitching about (though they are based on real posts made by real bloggers in the not-too-distant past). But like I said it's very important, if you're going to rely on someone else's poker advice (let alone if you're going to, say, cite someone else's statements on your blog as good poker advice), that you be able to ascertain which kind of post you're dealing with before you rely on it in any way.

So, earlier this week as I was perusing the many "interesting" responses in the blogiverse to my FTOPS O8 post from last Wednesday, I found one post suggesting among other things that maybe I ought to sit out the O8 round when I'm playing HORSE. Now, I admire the spunk that this person has to make a statement like that to a guy who earlier this year won almost $5000 in the weekly HORSE 30k guarantee, and who has won qualifiers to play in that tournament on at least 10 occasions over the past 3 or 4 months, in addition to numerous other HORSE sng and profitable cash sessions as well. That takes real chutzpah, and frankly I like that in my bloggers, so, so far so good.

This post goes on, however, to cite another blogger who, according to the blog I was reading, "gives great advice" on O8, a game in which he "constantly wins". Here's part of the passage cited, in which the player ended up losing an O8 hand to another player who had played A266 from the big blind, when the cited blogger had open-raised it from the small blind immediately before:

"Again the ignorance of opponents is put into effect here. A266 is not a hand you should be calling with preflop, even if the ace is suited. There are very few flops you want to see hit, hitting an ace is bad as you will always be outkickered and hitting a 6 means you may lose a very large pot to a bigger set. There is no flop in poker where you will make top set and have the nuts on an unpaired board. This means you can never bet your hand hard and confidently."

Now let's review. A266 with the Ace suited "is not a hand you should be calling with preflop"? Huh? So it's folded around to the small blind, who you know therefore is going to raise or call with a bit looser standards than normal since it's just down to him and the big blind left, and he raises it one bet in a limit HORSE tournament. Now in the big blind, sitting on A2, a pair and a suited Ace, you're not supposed to call in this spot. Anybody else out there play O8? CJ? Drizz? You guys folding this hand here for one bet? Come on. That thar is some highlarious advice. As a joke, I like it. As true O8 strategy from a guy purporting to be trying to help other players play better, it's shit. And as something I'm thinking of putting up on my own blog for its quality of poker substance, it's straight-out diarrhea. And I mean the really liquidy kind.

"There are very few flops you want to see hit, hitting an ace is bad as you will always be outkickered and hitting a 6 means you may lose a very large pot to a bigger set." Sheesh. Talk about a tinfoil hat wearer. So, when it's folded around to the small blind who is the only guy who sees the pot with you, if you hit your Ace on the flop you will always be outkickered. Nice. Because I guess that guy in the small blind would only ever raise if he holds an Ace in his hand, right? Ah ha. Nobody steals the blinds these days? He wouldn't ever raise there with KK23, no? What a joke. And if you hit a 6, "you may lose a very large pot to a bigger set"? That's a true statement, don't get me wrong, and for that reason playing pairs in O8 (or Omaha high, for that matter) below Queens or Jacks is I think not a great idea overall. But that said, hitting a 6 on the flop with A266 in your hand is clearly a good thing (very good, even), and not a bad one like this guy suggests.

"This means you can never bet your hand hard and confidently [on the flop]." Whaaa? So you've got A266 with the Ace suited (let's say in clubs). The flop comes 345 (pick you suits). Drizz, CJ, jec, you guys betting that flop confidently? What about the flop coming with three clubs, and maybe two low cards to boot? How about there? Hey for that matter what about the flop just coming with any three low cards that are not an Ace or a 2 -- you know you aren't in great shape for high then, but you can still play your nut low with some confidence, no? Remember it's just the small blind open-raising preflop in there with you, so the odds of another A2 aren't exactly high. What about a flop of 634? Not the best flop ever for that hand, but again you're looking at the nut low draw, plus top set on the board right now for high. That's an awful lot of flops I just came up with over the span of...maybe...8 seconds that I would be at least fairly confident playing out in that situation. Does that sound like "never" to you guys? What a pucking futz this clown writing this stuff is. And yet people are actually citing this passage on their blogs as some smart O8 strategy from a consistent winner who gives great advice. Scarrrrrrrry.

Now before everyone goes and misunderstands me like happened with my FTOPS O8 post from last week, please re-read the above carefully. You will notice missing from my comments above any statement that says I can't lose with the A266. You will notice that I don't say anywhere that this hand is incredible, unbeatable, etc. You will notice I don't say you should cap with this hand on any street. I don't in fact even say I would raise at all with this hand. Fact is I might raise with it as the first one in the pot from late position, but I might not, and I'm not saying one should reraise with it preflop at all. All I'm doing is responding to the fucktard (first time I've ever used that word in this otherwise clean and classy blog, but I do think it's warranted) who says A266 is not a calling hand from the big blind in an O8 tournament when facing a steal-raise from the small blind.

Of course it is. In fact this is a fairly easy call in most situations. The clown who wrote those statements is just mad because he ended up getting scooped in that pot by the A266 (mostly because he himself played a hand with almost no low potential, and no pairs either, from the small blind for a raise preflop) and so he's one of those zobos who goes on his blog and just spews venom about what a terrible call the guy made against him. But what he's actually saying actually makes no actual sense.

Like I said, it's one thing to continue to read this guy's posts, if you like to be entertained, or maybe you like to laugh at someone who continually persists in authoritatively posting about strategy about which he clearly is not knowledgeable. But I would think that, before you post this guy's "strategy" stuff on your own blog, along with an explanation of how "successful" he is at all levels of O8 and how "great" his "advice" is, that you might want to actually read the substance of the post, and at least do a modicum of thinking about it before you put his stuff up on your own blog as something to follow, or even pay any serious attention to at all, other than for pure entertainment purposes of course. And please please please, if you're going to cite someone else's statements in an effort to discredit me in some way, you have got to be able to find something that makes more sense than that, from somebody who isn't just some tiltmonkey who made a bad play in O8, couldn't get away from just one measly pair on the flop and ended up getting scooped by a guy who made a better play than him preflop, and on every street thereafter.

Check your sources people, and use your heads is all I have to say.

One last rantpoint for today -- ESPN Poker has a Bluff Magazine article up today about Justin Bonomo, more commonly known as the lying, cheating online multi-accounter ZeeJustin, and the success he is having in live mtts since turning 21 and legally being permitted to compete in these events in U.S. casinos. Now, the article is fine enough, but there is one paragraph near the end that is rant-worthy for sure all on its own, as the author of the article, Chris Vaughn, for some reason tries to justify or mitigate the badness of ZeeJustin's multi-accounting sins:

"To put his misdemeanor in some kind of context, Justin was caught multi-accounting at a time when a lot of other high-volume players were also engaging in this activity. Many players did this so that they would remain "incognito" against the players they faced on a regular basis, and this was especially true for high volume sit-n-go players who would see many of the same players every day. Almost all of the activity on his non "ZeeJustin" accounts was involving sit-n-go play, where he never played at the same table with another one of his names. Justin only used multiple accounts when entering multitable tournaments with at least 1,000 players, knowing that the odds of being at the same table with another one of his accounts were very slim."

First of all, wtf is this clown talking about saying that "a lot of other high-volume players were also engaging in this activity"? While it may be true that other people had different accounts in an attempt to preserve some sense of anonymity when they played and did not want to be immediately recognized, to suggest that "a lot of" those players were multi-accounting in tournaments at the same time is redonkulously irresponsible journalism, making an unsubstantiated and ubsubstantiable generalization in a blatant attempt to make ZJ appear less like the cheating asshole loser that he is. He cites no sources for the statement, offers no proof or evidence of any kind. The statement is just put there at the top of the paragraph, stated as if it is in fact true, and that's it. Whatadick.

And secondly, my favorite part of this quote is the last sentence, that "Justin only used multiple accounts when entering multitable tournaments with at least 1,000 players, knowing that the odds of being at the same table with another one of his accounts were very slim." I love this fucking guy. As if the only problem at all with playing multiple accounts in the same mtt is that you could end up at the same table with yourself, and therefore donk chips to yourself on purpose and really affect the outcome of the event in a major way. Well, Mr. Irresponsible Asshole Author, maybe you should consider just the general unfairness of one player having 5 or 6 entries in the same mtt in general. Like, even if two of his aliases never play at the same table throughout, what if one of them gets recockusucked out on early on. Never fear because ZeeJustin still has 5 other entries in that event to choose from. In fact, why not take a ton of chances early on to either double up or be elminated, thereby affecting the odds of winning of everyone else at each one of his aliases' tables, and then just focus your efforts on the few aliases that do manage to get a nice stack early (a strategy which I am quite sure ZJ regularly used while he cheated, btw). All possible solely because you're playing with 6 fucking entries to the same tournament at the same time. For Chris Vaughn to suggest that these factors somehow in any way mitigate what ZeeJustin did is recockulous, redonkulous and irresponsible, and it's enough to get me never to buy a copy of Bluff Magazine as long as I shall live. When they fucking fire Chris Vaughn for this kind of not only biased but just plain idiotic journalism, maybe I'll buy one copy just to show some solidarity for them doing the clearly right thing. But to be justifying what ZeeJustin did with these specious arguments -- this guy is even dumber than the diarrhea-spewing jackoff writing about the A266 O8 hand that I referred to above.

OK, not much of a rant for today, but it's something that's been on my mind for a few days and I wanted to get it up here for everyone to chew on heading into the weekend. I'm a blogger through and through so as I always say I defend to the hilt everybody's clear right to blog about whatever you want, anything and everything, but I will respectfully suggest again that one check one's sources and try to use at least a small amount of your brainpower before you post something on your blog that you claim to be great advice, when in reality it's basically just a ranting, raving lunatic who got beat down by someone who played better than him at a game which he himself claims to be some kind of expert in.

That is all. Enjoy your weekend everyone. I should be in my usual 8-9pm ET satellites for the 30k, as well as taking maybe a stab tonight at qualifying for Saturday's Winner's Choice tournament in tonight's 10:30pm ET satellite on full tilt. Maybe I'll see you there. If you dare.

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Blogger lightning36 said...

Excellent rant about the ZeeJustin bullshit and rationalizing cheating.

Great playing last night at CC's. Sorry, butI can't admit to being terribly sad that you bubbled instead of me!

12:28 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...


As someone that had 6 cashes in FullTilt's 23:15 DS Omaha Tournaments in October alone I can assure you I am seeing a flop to one raise from BB with A-2-6-6 when the Ace is suited.

I believe it was in Andt Bloch's FullTilt tips from the Pro's that said that if you are heads up and other guy needs 4 perfect to beat you, raising is called for.

3 4 5 rainbow flop I'm thinking I've got someone quartered. If I just hit the low with A2 I will check call. Set of sixes with A2 heads up falls under other guy needs 4 perfect so I'm raising heads up.

Hopefully my siting blogger Fonkey play in my blog is acceptable as I try to include my own Fonkey plays as well.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

A266 in omaha is GOLD. I am not folding that preflop.

I will also defend ZJ for just a second. I don't beleive he was ever accused of dumping chips to himself in a MTT. That would be blatent cheating. Entering the same MTT 6 times, might give you 6 times the chances of winning, but your buy-in is also 6x (so no advantage). ZJ is a great player who can win without cheating which he is proving now live. I am willing to forgive him.

1:25 AM  
Blogger StB said...

I will see the flop each day of the week and 3 times on Sunday. To fold A226 when you already have a bet in is a crime.

ZJ cheated. I don't care if his buyin was 6xs- it is still cheating. Dishonest from the start and should not be condoned in any manner.

1:30 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

You know, Hoy, I can understand why you didn't include the blogger's name who criticized you, but being the self-proclaimed Devil's Advocate, I really think you should post the guy's name. First, you are basically calling him out and I'll have to now search the blogosphere to find out who it was (oh, and I will do it, because I'm nosey that way). Second, his opinion holds more or less weight depending on who he (or she) is. Third, you are addressing his content, so it'd be nice to see exactly what he said.

Of course, I understand why you wouldn't post his name, but consider this a vote that you should post it.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks guys. And yeah, like I said in my post, the problem with what ZJ did is not just about dumping to himself. I don't care if he never actually did that or not. I guarantee you he was trying hard for a double up early, screwing everyone at every single one of his tables by his erratic and monkeypushy play, and then when he gets all 6 into early allin races, 3 of the accounts on average will lose and the other three will now be big stacks in the tournament.

This is similar to a well known scam in the investment community where some guy with a new stock market newsletter will send out 1000 letters as spam to potential clients. In half the letters he predicts the market will go up, and in the other half he predicts the market will go down. Then he is right one way or the other (usually), and he's basically "manufactured" 500 clients who believe he's a genius. There's a reason stuff like this is outlawed. It's abusive to everyone else involved, and it's a horrible decision to ever get involved in something like this in the first place.

Either way, the slant of that article is an atrocious joke as far as I'm concerned. I seriously cannot believe this fuckclown is allowed to continue writing for them. Is it too trite to suggest that "Chris Vaughn" is just another alias of ZJ?

2:39 AM  
Blogger TraumaPoker said...

The man was traumapoker who posted about his O8 hand and the A266 quote was from Hoy didn't do it much justice and reading this post is pretty funny.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Jordan, I take your point. However, I'm going to opt not to name the person anyways. As I've been reading around the many blogs I frequent, I have seen way more references to people being afraid of being the subject of one my rants, being "excoriated throughout the blogosphere", and similar things like that than I would have ever thought possible. That is so not my intent with anything I'm doing in the blog these days, and believe it or not I actually feel totally awful every time I read something like that. As such, I have my own policy of trying not to name any names because I have absolutely zero interest in "outing" anyone or in any way identifying anybody specifically who says something I'm not into.

Anyways, I think you make valid points and I fully respect your desire to want to know who specifically I'm talking about. I don't personally agree that his or her opinion carries more or less weight depending on who they are -- ay least not with respect to the relative value of the commentary about my play which I believe is what it is regardless of who said it -- but hey man if you have ways to find out who it is, I'm not at all about trying to stop anybody. I know that is obviously possible when I post something like this, and I can live with that. I just don't want to be the guy pointing out someone specific anymore when I'm strongly questioning something they've said or done.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Well there you go, after that whole response to Jordan and everything. Note as well that my commentary is mainly aimed at the comments that are cited in the blog in question, not the blog in question itself, other than the general idea of using such a dubious source to explain why I don't know how to play O8.

3:15 AM  
Blogger wigginx said...

Not to split hairs, but the A662 hand, based on the history linked from, was PLO, not O8.

That said, I would also call the preflop raise under those circumstances in PLO.

3:18 AM  
Blogger TraumaPoker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:44 AM  
Blogger TraumaPoker said...

Let me try this again without fucking up spelling and commone word usage!! It looks like the hand in question was a fucking O hi hand only, but that is besides the point. The principles stated work toward O8 and also you shouldn’t go around raising all your A2xx hands just for shits and giggles. I stand by my statement that while your results in winning the HORSE event can’t be denied some of your thoughts on A2xx play is nuts.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wow Wiggin, you mean to tell me that this was incorrectly posted as Omaha advice instead of O8 advice? Now that makes some sense to me. A266 is surely not a hand I would call raises with in O8 as a rule, I agree with that 100%. And unlike O8, PLO is a game which I play quite well and have had plenty of success in.

Which leads me to my other point I want to make here. I went to go leave this as a comment on the other guy's blog, but instead I'll just post it here, for clarity's sake:

To my knowledge I have never given any advice on how to play O8 in my blog, nor do I want to. Not sure why this seems to be lost in translation with some people. Simply posting about how I played some hands late in a tournament with large blinds, and maybe even barching about the way those hands shook out, can't really be construed as me giving "advice", can it?

In my blog I do say that O8 is clearly the worst of my HORSE games (it is) and that I play it the least of all the HORSE games (I do, neither of which should surprise people since some of you don't seem to think I play it very well).

So I say in my blog that O8 is my worst of the HORSE games. I say I play it very little and don't enjoy it much when I do. And I post some hands that I played that didn't work out well for me, in a way that is mathematically very, very unlikely to have happened. And I don't purport to give any advice to anybody on how to play O8. Why this all gets people so worked up really remains a mystery to me.

Btw the ribbo commentary really is bad, bad stuff. But Wiggin you may have solved that mystery because as PLO advice, it's actually pretty right-on. As O8 advice, which is the way it was used against my O8 play on the other blog, it is god awful. Thanks for the clarification.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Trauma, thanks for your comments. Lord knows there are tons of people out there who think my play in several poker games is terrible, and I am all about different viewpoints on these things. If you're up for it I would be interested in hearing, either here or in your own blog, how you like to handle A2xx hands in O8 tournaments, in particular in the late stages when the blinds are high and the Ms are progressively lower (like, 5 or less). I am always up for learning a little bit more about all the poker games I play.

3:53 AM  
Blogger Max said...

What ZJ did was clearly cheating, and I can't believe that ESPN would let one of their writers defend it no matter how inconsequential he deemed it. Just because some other players are doing it too, doesn't make it acceptable.

That being said, everyone makes mistakes. I hope he continues to play well live and that the online cheating isn't the only thing he is remembered for.

Poker already has enough cheats, we don't need a high-profile one making the game look bad.

Thanks for pointing out the article Hoy.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

First, I truly love your self analysis as a player and have learned a lot from reading your blog.

Second.. keep the uber posts coming. It gives me something to look forward to.

9:15 AM  
Blogger cracknaces said...

I am still waiting for the moment I can confront ZeeJustin! I hate him with a passion and wish he was banned from all poker rooms. If I ever see him in a poker room here in Vegas I am going to walk up to his table and announce to everyone that he is a known cheat! Then I will inform everyone on the staff. Even though they cannot really do anything about it I just want to shame him some more!!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks, Iron. I enjoy your blog as well, finally added you to my blogroll last week when I realized it wasn't up there.

8:04 PM  

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