Monday, April 02, 2007

Important MATH Update, and a Final Four Requiem



NOTE: Mondays at the Hoy is moving to full tilt!

That's right! Starting tonight, in connection with the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments, the weekly Monday night MATH tournament is moving to full tilt. It will be at the same time as always -- 10pm ET -- and with the same password you're used to and could probably guess even if you weren't -- "hammer" -- but now the tournament will be held on full tilt instead of its old home on pokerstars. The other change to go along with the move to full tilt is that the buyin for the MATH will now be a tier 1 token, or $26, instead of the old $22 buyin on pokerstars. So, while it is a slightly higher buyin, my plan is that the $4 will make very little difference in the overall scheme of things to those would have ponied up the $22 for the old Hoy buyin anyways.

There are a couple of reasons for this change, not the least of which is that, as you all know if you read here with any regularilty, full tilt is the best online poker site there is. By a mile. Their mtt options are the best. Their satellite tournaments are by far the best. The user interface is the best. The customer service is even the best. I've played almost exclusively at full tilt for over a year now -- I really only ever play over at pokerstars for the weekly MATH and WWdN tournaments -- and frankly this was a change that is long overdue. The only reason I didn't move the weekly MATH over to full tilt some time ago is that pokerstars makes it so damn easy for me to set up private tournaments, having sent me an updated version of their software that has the capability to create private tournaments built right in to the interface, such that all I ever have to do to create the MATH has been to click a few clicks, type in my password, and boom 30 seconds later the Hoy is live and available. On full tilt things will be a little different, in that I will need to email support to set up the tournament every week, so that is the only downside to the switch. But I think overall on balance the change will be significantly for the better in terms of availability of players on full tilt and the overall tournament experience for everyone involved. And I do hope that the tier I token buyin will actually make the Hoy more accessible for many players than the $22 on pokerstars has been. I can't count how many requests I've received for transfers swapping me money on full tilt for some money from me on pokerstars so that people could play in the Hoy in a given week. There's just no reason for that anymore, as I know most bloggers who are smart are already playing at full tilt, so hopefully as I've said this will increase the availability of my weekly private tournament and bring some new players into the fold.

The other big reason for the change to full tilt to happen now is in connection with the new Battle of the Blogger Tournaments.



As Al wrote about this weekend on his blog, this multi-tournament blogger poker challenge has really taken on a life of its own over the past few days since we first put the idea together and starting really putting things into motion. First, the challenge will now include not just the next 13 weeks' worth of Monday night MATH tournaments, Wednesday night Mookie tournaments, and Thursday night Riverchasers events, but also the three monthly Sunday night Big Game tourneys hosted by Miami Don. This will bring the number of total BBT (Battle of the Blogger Tournaments) events to 39 (3 weekly events x 12 weeks, plus 3 Big Games). And this number will grow to 40 with the fabulous new BBT Tournament of Champions event that we will be hosting at the end of the series in early June. So the total challenge will now encompass 40 events, and will really be a great barometer of which bloggers are performing the best over time against our peers in these regular weekly events.

There are tons more details up on Al's post this weekend as well as at the BBT homepage, but the gist of it is that we will be using the standard pokerstars TLB scoring to track points of all players who participate in these events, and there are a number of really cool prizes for the top finishers when the challenge ends early in June. In addition to some really hot Nintendo Wii and other gaming consoles, my favorite part of the whole thing is that full tilt has graciously agreed to give us back literally every dime of the juice each of us pay to every one of the Hoy, the Mookie, the Riverchasers tournaments and the Big Games during the entire duration of the BBT. That's the biggest reason why now is the best time for me to move the Hoy to full tilt, because not only is the plan that this will increase participation in the Hoy overall, but this way all the juice that each player pays to buy in each week will be paid right back to us, in the form of cash prizes for top finishers, and to fund the cash prizes for the Tournament of Champions freeroll at the end of the series. Again I encourage you to head over to the BBT homepage or to Al's blog to see all the details, but that's basically the story, and hopefully these changes will be viewed as for the better by you all as I certainly see them myself.

So come one, come all tonight for the inaugural Mondays at the Hoy tournament on full tilt, at 10pm ET tonight, and the password as always is "hammer", which is also the inaugural event of the Battle of the Blogger tournaments. It is already set up and I'm already in there, although I am likely to have my blinds feasted on for some time as I will have other commitments for at least the early part of the evening, but in the spirit of giving something back to the blogger community I've gone ahead and signed up anyways just to be part of the group and get things started nicely for the BBT. And the fact that I am 26-14 in those juicyass heads-up $13 token sngs on full tilt isn't hurting much either. I am absolutely killing those things, and thanks again to Smokkee for bringing them to my attention. I'm going to be posting at some point about playing these heads-up sngs, as I always used to view hu play as one of my weakest areas of the game, but lately I've been utterly crushing those games and using a bunch of techniques that I've never really used in the past when playing against just one other person. The great thing about playing heads-up is that you get to adjust your style to whatever style your opponent is playing, and taking that approach has worked wonders for me since I found these things, and to great results that have led me to always have a nice stash of tier I tokens sitting around for events just like tonight's Mondays at the Hoy tournament, and the start of the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments.

Also, I would love to have a new MATH banner to commemorate the switching of the MATH to full tilt, something that says "Now at full tilt" or somehow references full tilt in the banner to help people remember to head over there. If anyone is savvy enough with the graphics programs, and has the time to make me a gratuitous banner for the occasion, I would be eternally grateful. The only spec I need is that it have a width of no more than 450 pixels, to fit in with the rest of my blog without bumping all the text down 5 screens to after my left column ends on the page. If that is something anything can do for the Hoy, that would be great and you will certainly get a special callout here in the blog as well as a special place in my heart.

OK so now briefly on to the Final Four. I'm not going to write a ton about this because it all still stings a bit, but as you all know my boys from Georgetown took one squarely on the chin this weekend at the hands of Ohio State, in what I can only describe as a very disappointing loss given the way that my Hoyas played. I mean, we actually got OSU superstar big man Greg Oden on the bench for 17 minutes of the first half, and we still couldn't do shit against that team. I can't even describe how it happened, and I watched every shot, every pass, every single motion that occurred during the entire game. What I can say is a couple of things:

1. Ohio State freshman point guard Mike Conley is the shit. For the third or fourth time in this tournament, Conley basically took over the game and led his team to victory, in many cases where Oden was sitting on the bench due to foul troubles. Conley has been the glue that has held this team together all through the tournament, and on Saturday he showed why. He was able to basically drive the lane and lay it up with abandon all through the game, in particular in the first half when Oden was on the bench, and he led his team like a point guard should in a way that has got to garner him Tournament MVP honors if his team goes on to win tonight. What an offensive clinic he put on against a supposedly good defensive team in Georgetown.

2. Georgetown played some of the worst defense I have ever seen out of this team. To be sure, coach JTIII is not nearly the defensive mind that his daddy was before him at Georgetown, but the team has always had defense as a focus, and has consistently landed in the top portion of points-against among division I schools. On Saturday, however, much as was the case against UNC in the Elite 8, Georgetown really seemed to forget about defensive focus, surrendering a number of wide open layups, and really the problem was the wide open drives to the basket given up to Mike Conley and others on OSU's squad. The bottom line is, when you get this late in the tournament you are generally up against very solid teams, and when that happens you're going to have to stop them from scoring of you're in for a world of hurt. We had very few steals, only I think one blocked shot, not nearly enough rebounds and just generally played lackadaisically IMO on the defensive side of the ball. We needed to at least make OSU work hard for their shots, but instead what we gave up was a bunch of easy putbacks, wide open 3-pointers, and generally smooth unguarded drives to the hoop for simple layups. That right there is not winning Final Four basketball, and hopefully this team learned something from their last couple of games in this year's NCAA Tournament in this regard.

3. In general, Georgetown played the worst game I've seen us play -- by a mile -- since early in the season when we lost to Old Dominion University and I was ready to puke in my shoes. On offense, it's still hard for me to accept how poorly our entire team played, most notably of course Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green. The man who'd been averaging around 20 points a game in the tournament suddenly not only disappeared from the actual scoreboard, but he only took five shots in the entire game. Five effing shots! And it's not like OSU was playing smothering defense on him or something. Green just really dropped the ball in the biggest game of his career thus far for Georgetown, and the rest of the team, as has been the case for most of this year, followed suit. Roy Hibbert in the middle played a great game, easiy outplaying Greg Oden overall with nearly twice as many points and twice as many rebounds as the OSU big man, but other than Hibbert nobody on the Hoyas made much noise on offense. Jonathan Wallace came through with his usual few big 3-pointers to keep us in the game, but the bottom line is that when you're playing almost no defense and at the same time the players you have counted on offensively aren't doing shit, it's not hard to see why you're constantly playing from behind and eventually just not able to catch up. Freshman DaJuan Summers who had also been averaging close to 20 ppg over the last few tournament games had just 3 points I think, and for some reason JTIII insisted on once again increasing the playing time of almost-white Jeremiah Rivers (son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers btw), whose prowess on the basketball court unfortunately is right around the same level as his daddy's prowess on the sidelines.

In all, Georgetown played like shizznit on both sides of the ball in the Final Four, and when you're playing against a powerhouse team like Ohio State, and in fact when you've made it to this point in the NCAA tournament no matter who you're playing, you're not going to have a chance if you come up with your team's worst game in several months. When you play a team like OSU and play little to no defense either inside or out, combined with very little offensive production and even very few shots from your star, highest-scoring players, it's not hard to guess the outcome, and that's what happened on Saturday. In a way I'm amazed that the Hoyas even stayed in the game with how shitty they played, but when you're not stopping anyone, not grabbing rebounds, your stars aren't even shooting the rock, and you have basically not a single backdoor-style layup that is the Hoyas' bread and butter and that worked so incredibly well against a much less disclipined UNC team, it's just shocking to see after the season we had.

Overall of course this was a dominating year for Georgetown, the year that we finally got back on the college basketball map after literally decades of insignificance on a national scale, so I can't complain and I was not too depressed or anything when the final whistle blew on Saturday. It's a big, huge disappointment for sure, don't get me wrong, but it is a little hard for me to feel anything but incredibly pleased about the season overall, and more importantly, about prospects for the Hoyas going forward. As I know I've mentioned here before recently, this team has no seniors to speak of on its roster. There are technically two seniors on the team, but you would't even recognize their names, they never play at all, and they averaged between them 0.4 points total per game. Those are the only seniors we got. So right now the Hoyas look like one of the teams to beat heading into the 2007-2008 season. Jeff Green is a junior and technically he could leave after being named Big East Player of the Year, but do you really think he's going anywhere? The guy is 6 foot 9, and he averaged just 13 points and 6 boards per game in the Big East. And he disappeared during most of the Carolina game in the Elite 8, and was utterly insvisible in the biggest game of all against Ohio State in the Final 4. Anybody think this guy would be any kind of a big draft pick if he jumped to the NBA this year? I don't. I don't think he has any chance of leaving this year, so I fully expect him to be back for his senior season next year which will be a big boon to us.

And as far as 7 foot 2 center Roy Hibbert goes, he would certainly be drafted into the NBA this year based on his size alone, but all I can say is, when you're 7 foot 2 and averaging just 6 rebounds a game against college players, you are clearly someone who needs to stay another year and develop some more before making the jump. Hibbert has improved every year he's been in college, and in my view he is in desperate need of another year of growth before making the jump to the NBA. He needs to learn more about how to play the center position, about boxing out to get position on the boards, about setting good picks, and most of all how to fucking control himself so he doesn't find himself in foul trouble every single game like he has all through his career. With all the dumbass fouls the guy commits, his value is significantly diminshed since, like Greg Oden for much of this year, he spends a good half of every game sitting on the bench in foul trouble. Another year of college ball will only improve Hibbert's overall NBA performance and I believe his draft position when it comes time to move on, and unlike Greg Oden who I think belongs in the NBA yesterday, Hibbert will really benefit IMO from staying in school for one more year. I know he would be drafted -- probably even a middle to late lotterly pick just based on his size -- but I am hopeful that he recognizes the truth of what I'm saying here and makes the right decision. And if he and Green stick around for their senior seasons, this Georgetown team will have to be top 2 or 3 teams in the preseason heading into next year, and hopefully with a year of total domination of the Big East and this deep run into the Big Dance, they will start off strong and have an even better season next year, with another trip to the Final Four to cap things off.

OK that's about all I got about the Final Four games this weekend. I got both of my spread picks wrong -- this is why I play poker with my spare time instead of betting on sports which I just about never do -- but I'll go ahead with my pick for tonight as well. Florida is favored by 4.5 points after they utterly destroyed a very potent UCLA team in the late game on Saturday, and with good reason. They were the #1 team in the country heading into the tournament, and they've taken on and beaten all comers. They've also got the experience, having won the national championship last year, and despite winning the game against my Hoyas this weekend, I still just don't think OSU has looked that impressive in any of its games in this tournament thus far. This probably explains why everybody and their mother is picking Florida tonight, in a game that they really should win. I feel fairly confident that Florida is the better team, and I do expect them to win the game, but I'm going to go out on a limb and go with Ohio State plus 4.5 points for my pick. I think the game ought to be fairly close, and although I am quite sure Billy Donovan's strategy for Florida will be to go at Greg Oden again and again in the earlygoing to get the guy in foul trouble and get him off the court as early as possible, OSU has shown beyond a doubt in this tournament that they can really play without Oden in there, in some cases even better than they seem to be playing when he's on the court. So I think Florida will win the game, but I'll take Ohio State and the points in a close game in the end.

See you tonight for Mondays at the Hoy! On Full Tilt!!

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22 Comments:

Blogger BuddyDank said...

MATH at Full Tilt???!!! Woo to the Hooo!
I'm one of those people trying to trade money over to stars to play.

Sorry to see your G-Town boys lose. I needed them to win out in my office pool.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

You n me both, Buddy. Maybe next year for my Hoyas.

And good, so hopefully we see you tonight then at the new MATH location. As I said, I believe this will actually increase participation despite changing the location and adding slightly to the buyin, so hopefully you are representative of a number of other blogger types.

See you tonight. Though I'm gonna be late.

9:44 PM  
Blogger wigginx said...

On Full Tilt, huh?

And just yesterday, I deposited into my pokerstars account...

Speaking of which, I found that the ING Electric Orange debit accounts allow transfers into both FT and PS. They're pretty painless to set up, too. Hopefully that info will be useful to anyone looking for a way to reload.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wiggin, you should definitely blog about that deposit option. Anything where you can set up online and deposit into ps and ftp is a great thing to know about. Hopefully that option will continue to exist for a while and people can really make use of it while the opportunity lasts.

One question though -- what option do you choose when selecting the option for the deposit into ftp or ps? Do you choose "Credit Card" or "Mastercard", or is it something else entirely?

10:04 PM  
Blogger Schaubs said...

My condolences amigo. MATH @ FT is HUGE. I will be sure to join in the fun... might not make it tonight, but after that I am in. Tokens are my focus now! 1 and 2 Tier.

10:28 PM  
Blogger wigginx said...

Blog posted.

Payments are processed as Mastercard.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Cool, Wiggin, you're the MVP of today as far as I'm concerned.

10:48 PM  
Blogger slb159 said...

I didn't do anything special, but I did change the info on your banner on my post today, Hoy.

Hope that helps.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Patch said...

I'm glad you only made a "brief" comment on the final four. My connection would have run out of electrons if you'd made a normal comment.

Okay, I gotta ask about the Full Tilt interface. I've heard other people say it's great. I must be missing something, because I absolutely hate the in-game interface.

That slider is among the worst I've ever seen. You have to pull the thing halfway across to get it to change the bet amount at all, and then you go two pixels beyond that and it shoots up about 10BB. I was playing a game the other day and it went from 3BB to 9BB with absolutely no way to get anything in between.

So I just don't get the whole thing about the interface being so great. Frankly, I think it sucks. I'd far prefer playing at PokerStars if that's the main consideration.

They also need to make if far easier for people to schedule their own private tournaments. I don't know how many times I've seen tournaments there go off at the wrong time or with the wrong game or for the wrong amount because customer service didn't get it right and nobody responded to requests to fix it.

I actually don't dislike FTP, but the reasons being touted for it being so great just don't make sense to me. In many ways they are far behind the curve in providing usable software upgrades. They need to spend less time creating new avatars and more time working on changes of real substance.

1:05 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:17 AM  
Blogger wigginx said...

Glad I could help. If anyone actually wants to take advantage of this route, I can use the "refer a friend" thing to dump them $25 extra when they deposit $250 or more. A deposit bonus that you don't have to work off? Excellent. My blog has the details

1:17 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Patch...just type in your bet amounts. I never use the bar, except on Stars when I shove.

Hoy...oh, feel free to use my little alterated pic of your tourney in the interim until Jax, Dug, Jordan, M00k or someone else makes you a more s00table one.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Patch said...

Steve, I realize you can do that, but everybody keeps going on about what a great interface it is and, to me, the primary aspect of the player in-game interface is seriously broken. Typing in your bet amount is just working around the broken part.

I hate having to move back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard. I want to use one or the other, but not have to constantly move between the two.

FTP is far from alone in having serious deficiencies in this aspect of the interface. PokerStars is the only place I've played that I think has the in-game interface exactly right. I wouldn't even mention it if it weren't for people talking about how great the interface is. There's a box to type in your bet amount and buttons for fold, call, and raise. Wow, how did they ever come up with that? That IS a great interface. ;-)

1:43 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

hey hoy,
I'm just a loyal reader of your blog along with the rest of the circle (smokkee, fuel, waffles, etc.), and I love the insight, wisdom, and humor. I was wondering if you or anyone would be able to hook me up with some FT cash. I currently play on Stars and desperately want to play on FT. I was looking for a $50 transfer on Stars from myself in exchange for $50 on FT. I will gladly ship the money on Stars first for trust issues. If you think this is at all possible, please drop me a line at NYBUZZD23@gmail.com.
Thanks Hoy

1:51 AM  
Blogger manik79 said...

Ohh, MATH to full tilt, I'll be there tonyte, hopefully SLB will be too, we have some unfinished business to take care of.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Chipper said...

Sigh. Just as I was set to play more Hoy's on Stars too. I only have funds on Stars and do not wish to fund another site at this time. So - GL all. Wish you the best on Monday nights on Full Tilt. I have a cheap $5 Monday night gig I can play at with the ChipTalk.net group on Stars still.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

HAH!

I knew your love for me would eventually bring MATH to FT.

I am officially restarting my blog.

Game on.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Francase said...

I think I'm in tonight.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Francase said...

BTW, I go by APOSEC72. Forgot that.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Steve, I will try to get in touch tonight about a possible ftp for stars transfer. $50 would not be a problem for me. Do you have yahoo msgr or aol IM?

Patch, I have to respectfully disagree with your comments about the interfaces. Of all sites you would list pokerstars as the one who has it all correct? That is shocking to me. There you have to type in every bet amount. At least ftp offers a slider option, even if it isn't perfect. That just makes no sense, since to me ftp is by definition better in that respect since it offers exactly what pokerstars offers plus a slider. And let's not even mention the lack of "bet pot" button on pokerstars.

Full tilt is da shizzy.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Patch said...

Hoy, are you sure you're talking about PokerStars? The only time I type in bet amounts there is if I'm doing a Hoy. The slider reigns supreme at PokerStars. It works in a linear fashion based on the blinds. You grab the knob with your cursor and the bet amount changes exactly as expected as you slide right or left. You can even click to the right of the slider knob and it will increment by 1BB. Click to the left and it will decrease by 1BB.

The only thing FTP has over PokerStars in this regard is the All-In button. If they had a "All-In minus 1" button I'd cut them more slack, but, nope, their interface is the pits.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

"Bet Pot" button, Patch. Bet pot.

Pokerstars should seriously be embarrassed.

The only thing the pokerstars slider does right is move in 1bb increments. Otherwise, it be worthless my friend.

Seriously, do you work for pokerstars or something?

5:51 PM  

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