Wednesday, February 14, 2007

FTOPS Event #5 Recap, and Looking Forward to #6

Fuckshit. Bitchcock. Lickballs. 400th place out of 2070 runners in FTOPS Event #5, 6-max no-limit holdem. Whorefuck.

I played very well in this tournament last night, so I at least managed to erase the nasty taste in my mouth after my donkout to Eric Froehlich in Event #1 last Friday. But my elimination last night was also a bad play. Not a stupid play. But a bad play nonetheless. But I get ahead of myself.

In the first hour last night, I had the worst run of cards you could have for the first hour of a poker tournament. So many phucking 83o, 74o, J5o's, I couldn't even keep count after a while. After a few steals, a few top pair wins, and a whole lot of folding, I entered the first break at almost exactly my starting stack of 3000 chips. I was frustrated at the lack of cardage, but at the same time this was already further than I'd gotten in Event #1 last Friday, and with no cards to speak of, I was ok with where I was at.

The card death ended abruptly at the beginning of the second hour of the tournament, as I was dealt pocket Kings on two consecutive hands within the first 15 minutes or so, the first one of which saw me put in a standard 3x preflop raise, to which everyone else folded. That was ok, it was still probably my 2nd biggest pot won in the tournament to that point given how slow the action was for me in round 1. On the second pocket Kings, I limped from UTG, and for the third time I had limped UTG in the tournament, the same player immediately to my left raised it up 3x. Now, after the first two times, I ended up folding my hands because they were A6o and A5o, and I was not about to get dominated for a lot of chips to a guy who raised an EP limper still from EP himself. But this third time, I was ready for him. When he raised me from UTG+1 for the third time I'd limped, this time I reraised him about 5 times his raise, a large bet that was designed to take the pot down right there, and if he had a good hand then he would hopefully call me. He did neither. Instead, he quickly re-reraised me allin. Bingo! Fearing Aces a little bit -- but not much given how this guy seemed to be targeting my EP limps with raises all through the tournament -- I quickly called, and he flipped over pocket 8s. The 8s did not improve, and I had doubled up and was back over the average for the first time in the tournament.

What followed was a bunch more card death, to the point that I didn't see any Ace-face in the balance of the second hour, and saw no pocket pairs above 4s, which as those of you who play 6-max regularly know, are very hard to do much with due to the presence of usually 3 overcards once the flop comes down. That said, I like to think of myself as a nearly expert blind stealer, and by the end of the second round the blinds are definitely getting up there enough to make stealing them (plus the small ante that kicked in around the middle of the second hour as well) actually worth one's while. So I stole like the effing thief that I am, and managed to chip up slightly in the process. I ended hour 2 with around 8100 chips, just slightly below average in around 250th place out of around 600 players left heading into hour 3.

Hour 3 was more of the same. I recall getting my first (and only) AK of the tournament, and I managed to bust a guy on a short stack with it who called my raise down with QJs (what is wrong with people?). Otherwise, only one or two pocket pairs, and a whole lot of stealing kept me going, and eventually helped me to raise my stack as high as around 12,500 at one point, which had me in around 120th place out of 500 or so players left. But to be honest, even at this point, I hadn't really had what I would call a good run. Probably about 90% of my chip wins had come from steals of one form or another, and maybe a few resteals where I had a strong hand and got another preflop raiser and raise-caller to fold their hands with a large bet from me. But I truly didn't hit a single flop all night long, and meanwhile I was forced to watch for three hours while the others at my table rivered straights, flopped sets, made two pairs on the turn, flopped nut flushes, etc. It was frustrating, even as I sat in the top half of the remaining field, through 3/4 of the starting players, around halfway through hour 3.

Then my table got moved, and I was not pleased about my new surroundings. There I was at around 11,000 chips, and at my table was the #3 stack in the tournament at nearly 40,000 chips, as well as two other players with over 25,000 in chips, both of whom were in the top 35 players left in the tournament at the time. What was worse was that I was totally surrounded by these bigstack fuckers, which really impeded my ability to steal the blinds and antes. I tried one or two steals with 3-4x open-raises from the button or the cutoff, but every time my paltry 2200-chip steal attempt was met with a reraise to 6500 from a guy with 35,000 chips in his stack, and I had to fold. Just to my left was the biggest stack, and to his immediate left was another player whose stack kept climbing and climbing until it too was over 30,000, while my own pile of chips dwindled under the weight of no good starting cards, no flops hit, and a complete inability to steal any blinds and antes. Not a good situation to be in.

What's more, I noticed another unusual and disturbing trend. With around 11,000 chips left, I raised UTG with A9s, and the player with the largeish stack two to my left reraised me to 6000-something. My view of proper 6-max strategy here led me to fold, assuming he had either a higher Ace or a medium to high pocket pair of some kind, and I did not want to risk the rest of my stack in that situation. So that was a big loss, and I was down belo 10,000 for the first time in maybe 15 or 20 minutes. A few orbits later, I was again UTG, and this time found A7o, and again put in a standard 3x raise. Once again, Largeish Guy two to my left reraised me 3x, and once again I laid it down, not wanting to risk my tournament after three hours of solid (albeit frustrating play) with a shitty Ace to a guy who I figured was likely ahead of me. But that one definitely planted the idea in my head that this clown might just be fucking with me, reraising whenever I got in from EP because he knew I was on a much shorter stack than he, and that I probably wanted somewhat to "hold on" for the money. Not entirely false, btw.

And this was where an old saying from Doyle Brunson's Super System came to mind. I forget the exact quote, but it basically goes something like "If someone keeps pounding on me and pounding on me, sooner or later me and him are fixing to play a pot." I know I butchered that quote, but that's what happened to me when for a third time, I reraised UTG a few orbits later, again with A8o, and again that same now big stack two to my left reraised me 3x, which at this point was for around half of my remaining chips. This time, I was effing tired of being fucked with. I figured, no effing way this guy just happens to be dealt a hand every single time that I just happen to be dealt a hand when I'm first to act preflop. No way. Right? So, tired of being slapped around by this guy, I reraised him allin, and as soon as he called I knew my easily-dominated A8o was beat. He showed AK, I did not improve, and IGH in 400th place.

Again, I'm going to call this a bad play on my part. Obviously the guy reraised me from middle position, and I had exactly the same kind of hand that I know one is supposed to fold in this situation. I had folded exactly the kind of hand two times in a row over the previous 15 minutes or so, losing probably around 40% of my stack in the process as the blinds grew larger along with the preflop raises I kept putting in each time. So it was a bad play. But I'm not killing myself over it, in that I do not think it was a stupid play. I know exactly why I did it, and as I always say I am a big believer in going with the odds if they dictate that a certain outcome is particularly unlikely. While I clearly wish I hadn't called his third reraise of my UTG raise there, just using simple math I figured it had to be highly unlikely that this guy really had a big hand every time he reraised me there. I was raising from UTG for crying out loud, so he had to put me on something good. I still doubt he had a hand every time he reraised me on those three occasions. But, after seeing me twice fold to his standard reraises there with his big stack, I figured maybe he was on KQ, maybe he had a lower Ace, and maybe he was just flat-out stealing. When I made the call, I thought I had a reasonable shot of being ahead, although I can't say I was surprised when I wasn't. Like I said, I had folded in this exact situation two times already in this round, and normally I would have done it again but I felt it was pretty likely that I was just being pushed around by the big stack. So I went with my gut, my gut was wrong, and IGH.

In all, like I said it was a good performance by me. I need to do better in these events if I expect to make back the $400 or so that I spent qualifying for them all, but at least yesterday I played well overall as compared to Friday night when I made a bad play in the first 30 or 40 minutes to eliminate myself. But I need to play better. As I said above, I don't kill myself for the play I made yesterday, but surely I should have just laid it down and hoped for a better chance in the next few orbits. I was getting low enough by that point that I was going to need to make a move at some point in the near future, but I had enough time to lay that one down and try to wait for a better spot. That said, how many of you out there are going to give up over half your stack at this point in a tournament to the same guy reraising you with his huge stack on three consecutive UTG preflop raises by you? I'm just not that guy. But dammit why couldn't he have been stealing there?

OK so that's a wrap for me on FTOPS Event #5. Two FTOPS events so far, and no cashes to speak of. Tonight I look to change that, with FTOPS #6 in Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, hosted by everyone's favorite drug dealing donk, Mike Matusow. This one also goes off at 9pm ET, and it was the last event I qualified for so I'm hoping maybe that fact will give me some good mojo tonight. In the HORSE mtt I played last night while the FTOPS was going on, in my first five hands of O8, I was dealt an A2 in every single one of them (literally), so maybe that too will be a nice harbinger of good things to come in tonight's event. Last night I believe I was the last blogger left standing in FTOPS Event #5 (although early on I did notice that brdweb was in first place, maybe 30 or 45 minutes in to the tournament), and tonight I hope to repeat that feat against a larger field of bloggers in participation. As of when I left for work this morning, there are already five bloggers signed up to play in tonight's big O8 tournament -- myself, jeciimd who qualified in a $26 buyin O8 sitngo in which I myself participated a few weeks back but was knocked out early, as well as Badblood whom I know qualified via one of those 7:30pm ET, $75 buyin satellites that full tilt had been running where the winner got a seat to Event #2 (HORSE) and Event #6 tonight. Chad also already qualified for this event a week or two back and is signed up to donk around tonight, with Chad in the midst of a bad streak but we all know the kind of tournament prowess this guy has if he can get his mojo running again, and lastly I noticed this morning that full til blogger Michael Craig is also in there, ready to go tonight and hoping for a crack at tilting Mike Matusow like our friend Lucko might have already done by running down Matusow's slow-played Aces with his K8o in a $1000 sng last week.

So come by and check us all out tonight in FTOPS Event #6, where I am still looking for my first cash in the series after a big donk in Event #1, and a tougher loss last night in 6-max holdem Event #5. I did notice that our good friend Iakaris is back in da house with not one but two new posts last night, so go check those out as well, as I'm sure your thesauruses are getting dusty just like mine, and Iak's posts are always a surefire cure for that. And keep trying to qualify for the FTOPS Main Event on Sunday at 6pm ET! With that $1.5 million prize pool, this could be us Americans' last chance to play in a huge prize pool tournament like this before playing online poker becomes really difficult for us all over the next several months. No Mookie tonight :( according to his blog, so you'll have to find me in FTOPS Event #6 if you want to see if I can make my first FTOPS score of the year, or maybe make another donkey play again early. You'll never know live if you don't watch.

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Blogger KajaPoker said...

It sucks to be so card dead for so long 6 handed. I watched for the first hour or so and you barely played any hands. So playing like that for more than 2 hours must have been painful.

Reading through your post I'm starting to think you should have made a stand earlier with your shortish stack. I guess your M couldn't have been much more than 10 at that point and so making those 3 or 4xBB raises was not going to cut it against the big stacks. Especially with the Ax hands which are going to be dominated more often than others. You said: "I was raising from UTG for crying out loud, so he had to put me on something good." But you were a shorty at the table so maybe he was putting you on a steal. He has the chips to re-raise you and put you to the test every time. And if he re-raises you to 6K he's probably not folding to a push at that point when all you have left is about 4K.

I saw Howard Lederer on TV once explain to Victor Ramdin that he should not sit around as the short stack at the table and then play an Ax hand because more likely than not he will get called by an AK or AQ. SInce I saw that show I've noticed this happen hundreds of times.

Good luck tonight.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Goat said...

I don't call that a bad play at all, Hoy. It's a good play with bad timing. If you'd nailed an eight, it would have been a good play with bad-oh-no-wait-good timing.

Like you said, the blinds are worth stealing. The blinds + a raise? Even more so.

You said yourself that you'd been stealing, as any good tournament player would at this point in the tournament. Near the bubble, big blinds, antes straddling? You've got to play for those chips, or you're going out like Willy Lump-Lump. You know this.

So. Every time you raise EP he pops you back? He's money-whupping you, son. And you knew it. And you acted on it. Unfortunately, when you acted on it, he had you dominated. You're not going to convince me he had you dominated those other times.

Of course, I haven't cashed in 2007 in any significant way. Maybe (certainly?) I'm wrong.

10:49 PM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hey Hoy. In reference to the guy who kept re-raising you 3x your raise when you raised from EP, in Zen and the Art of Poker the author makes a very good point that would counter what Doyle Brunson says. The author states that sometimes your opponent is actually getting cards, and while it is common to assume that he is just being overaggressive, you should not force your action. Instead, you should consider the fact that the positive cards are just moving in his direction and wait for the flow to change to you. I'm butchering this too, but it made a good point, one which I don't think I've seen before. Basically, sometimes, your opponent just gets lucky cards against you and you should beware of assuming that their aggression could not mean good cards.

10:59 PM  
Blogger brdweb said...

Yea Hoy I was dominating early, and well into the 2nd hour was in the top 40 still. Then I let myself be tilted after I lost 3 hands in about 2 orbits where I was about 90% in two of them. That put me still just about average and I ran a poorly timed bluff that looking back I think *should* have worked if they guy had a clue. Either that, or he called me guessing I was on tilt. Which would have been correct.

I definitely was on the wrong side of variance there and the way I was playing up to that point felt like I *deserved* to go very very deep in this thing. However, I didn't manage my emotions well and so went out like 800th or so I think. I didn't even bother to look.

On the bright side I did take down the Daily Double B for just south of $1800 so that kind of made up for it. Only a little bit though. I know you can relate to winning in a big field, small buyin mtt when you feel like you should have done the same thing in the big one. Big difference between 1800 and 80k+.

Keep up the good work man. I'm still about even after playing in 3 of the FTOPs so far and won a 30FPP sat last night into the 1500FPP sat on saturday into the HA event. I'm also still trying to get a seat in the main event after I bubbled last week.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

All good points, guys. Kaja, a few points to your comment:

I wasn't really a short stack at the time when this guy started his reraising campaign against me. I mean, there were 3 bigass stacks at my table, but I was above average for the tournament, and bigger than the other 2 stacks at my table. So I wasn't really a short stack there, though I wasn't exactly not a short stack either.

Along those same lines, I can't see how a guy is going to put me on a steal when I'm raising it up UTG. That's not to say that I never steal-raise from first position, because sometimes that fact alone can make a steal work, but in general, it's just not reasonable to me to assume the guy was putting me on a steal three times in 15 minutes when I raised it up UTG. Not likely in my book.

Lastly, I guarantee you that Howard Lederer was not talking about 6-max nlh when he made his comments about not raising with Ax. At a full ring table in a tournament, I wouldn't dream of open-raising UTG with A6 or A7 or even A8 in a big spot. But at 6-max, if you don't raise with A8 from EP at all, you're a gone goose. A8 at a 6max table is significantly stronger than A8 in EP at a 10-person table, and Howard L. obviously knows this. In general though I agree fully with this idea, raising (especially in early position) with any Ax -- either as a short stack or a big stack, frankly -- is bad nlh poker tournament strategy, no doubt.

And Jordan, obviously in retrospect I would have done well to heed your advice and not give in to the temptation to assume this guy was just targeting my increasingly short stack with his preflop reraises. But that doesn't really address the undeniable fact that people do target people like this all the time. I did it myself in the FTOPS last night, and I do it in every tournament I'm in when I identify a shitty player or someone with a blatant leak in his game. So a strategy that just always follows the "Zen and the Art of Poker" approach is going to get eaten alive by an aggressive player such as myself. I will chew that punk up and spit him out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bottom line is, I have done very well over time going with my gut, and even though I still say the guy set me up and did not have strong hands on every one of his reraises there (odds dictate that is highly unlikely), here I again stuck with my instincts, and this time I was wrong. It happens.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Goat said...

I missed that it was six max. That only makes me more convinced that you had good instincts and bad timing. Snakebit.

I might have even pushed back the second time he did it.

A lot of good players make a lot of chips by bullying medium stacks, and then 1) scooping a nice little pot, 2) dumping when they're re-raised and caught or 3) doubling up when they're re-raised and they actually have something.

The likelihood of 3 is fed by the freqency of 1 and 2.

I doubt he put Hoy on a steal. He just was playing with the liklihood that Hoy had a playable hand that he was unwilling to get himself pot-committed to out of position.

This just underscores how hard it is to navigate the MTT landscape when the blinds become worth fighting over.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah Goat, I definitely considered pushing back the second time, but on that hand I had just A7o and that really is not the kind of hand you want to push back with in 6-max against a big stack. The A9s the first time was the best hand of the three I had, but that was the first time and I didn't yet realize this guy would be attacking my raises again and again like this. But the second time I was just starting to think he might be messing with me, but with A7o I didn't want to lose with that.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Raveen said...

hey hoy, sux that you played well but didnt cash. Anytime u go that deep without cards it shows just how much cards don't matter in poker.

IMO (being a max 6 regular cash guy)raising UNG with AX (anything less then J) IMO is a -EV play. The problem with max 6 play is you dont get enough respect from UNG raises leading to more people raising and RR in LP. This is common among the cash games and a thing I see all the time is someone raising with weak aces in that exact spot and going broke to a better ace.

Now i'm not saying it happens all the time (just I seem to notice it more) and the way your hand was played it was done with the right theory POSTFLOP. However if you had gotten raised twice already from UNG in both situations by the same dude why would you raise a 3rd time UNG with Ax's.One of the biggest things about nl (max 6 more so then full table) is that big pots occur alot. If your not ready to play a big pot ANYTIME you raise you probably shouldn't be raising in the first place. There is so much aggression on these tables that you have to ask yourself when raising do I want to go to war with this hand. More often then not the answer will be NO causing you to fold.

I dont fault your play after you raised, I would have done the same thing in an instant cash or tourney (personally i would have played back the 2nd time wouldnt let him do that to me 3 times)but I do say that raising UNG was the biggest mistake. Im sure you do it at fulltables ( i remember you going out on a similar hand in one of the tourneys raising a A9UNG could be wrong) and i understand ur reasoning for raising. Just the same "fear factor" of the UNG raise doesnt apply as it does in full ring games.

Gl tonight in event 6..maybe you'll strike gold in non holdem since you've been tearing it up in non holdem games the last couple of months..

12:30 AM  
Blogger StB said...

I agree with goat. Bad timing.

On your limping with K K hand...isn't it amazing how many people think they can either limp in and then re-raise from UTG or UTG+1, or do as this guy did and shove when re-raised with just a middle pair, thinking they can fool into believing they have A A?

So glad I do not understand what these retards are thinking. I picture themselves yelling at their pc, wondering how you can call that bet when their play should be screaming A A.

But bless their stupid little hearts for being so dumb.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Rav, I will repeat what I said in an earlier comment. Anyone who won't play A8 or A9 from EP in 6max has IMO zero shot in an mtt as it gets to the late stages. In cash games it's a 100% different animal, because you can always keep waiting and there's no blinds or antes to force you to act, but with the escalating blinds and antes forcing the action late in an mtt, I don't understand how one can survive in 6max without being willing to move with a medium Ace like that, from any position, if you're the first one in the pot.

And no, at a full table I think raising UTG with a weak Ace is generally speaking a bad play. Doesn't mean I wouldn't do it on occasion, but at the full table you're definitely in jeopardy of already being behind when you raise with A7 or A8 with several players still to act. The difference is in 6max you are most likely ahead with your A7 in EP, whereas at a full ring you are quite likely behind.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

And yes stb, that guy calling my reraise with the 88 hand was a horrible play by him. But he was one of those guys like I mentioned in an earlier comment above that I was specifically targeting and setting up during the first couple hours of this tournament, because he was so awful. Reraising allin in that spot with pocket 8s is horrific, when he knows I'm going to call him there, because at best he's a 51% favorite in that spot.

In the end I just didn't get the cards to make a big run last night.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Raveen said...

hey hoy yea i just realized that you had already talking about opening with Ax UNG sorry must have skimmed over that point. And thinking about it I think your right in tournies you have to be willing to gamble more with Ax in those situations...

1:34 AM  

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