Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MATH Recap, and Back to Poker Tracker

Another fun time was had by most at Monday night's Mondays at the Hoy tournament on full tilt, with 47 bloggers and non-bloggers alike coming out for their shot at a spot on the 2007 MATH moneyboard, some additional BBT points, and maybe a chance as well to take down the $26 bounty I laid on myself for anyone who sucks out on me with a dominatable bullshit hand that people love to eliminate me from poker tournaments with, especially these blonkaments. And as far as taking me out of this thing, although I did not pay the bounty, the redickulous bad beat sprite once again did not have to worry about going home disappointed about my exit.

How exactly did I go out, you ask? Well, I am dealt QQ (how many of my phucking elimination stories seem to begin that same way?) in middle position, where I open-raise the standard 3x to 180 chips. GCox calls my preflop raise from two seats to my left. The flop comes AQ4. Bingo! With 450 chips in the pot, I'm not a donkey so I'm going to lead out with a bet, into the player who likely has a strong Ace, and who will surely indicate to me from his actions on that bet whether he really likes his hand or not. This is Gary Cox after all, so I don't really have to worry much about him putting a move on me and reraising me with nothing in this spot. So I bet 360 into the 450-chip pot, and Gary minraises:

Now, if you know Gary, this can basically only mean one thing: AK. Literally of all the people I know, even Blinders isn't going to minraise here without a very strong hand, and I don't even think Gary would minraise with a flopped set, which I would think he would be a bit too weary of telegraphing his hand with a minraise. To me, the minraise just screamed out "AK! AK!" and that's what I figured I was up against at this point. So, figuring Gary is trying to figure out where he's at, I didn't want to move in here because I thought Gary might fold just the one pair on the flop (I could have AQ even and have him reverse dominated at this point). Instead I figured I'll just use his own move against him, and I min-reraised him right back:

When Gary smooth called instead of re-re-reraising me, that iced it. He had AK, and he still figured he was best here. When the turn came an offsuit Jack, I moved in the rest of my chips, only equalling half the pot at this point, knowing therefore Gary was likely to call given his large stack:

Gary insta-called:

Booooooom! Then, just as quickly, buuuuuuuust:

Just sick. And the worst part is, I didn't even get to pay out my donkey bounty for the night, as Gary knocked me out with AK and not some donkey-dominated hand like somebody else surely would have taken a run at me with sooner or later in this thing. And for those of you expecting a profanity-laden rant for Gary's play, sorry to disappoint you. He got abused, don't get me wrong, but he played his TPTK like many people would have played it, and I'm not going to kill him just because he fell victim to the kind of trickery that I busted out with early on in the MATH on Monday night. My play would have worked on just about anyone in that spot in this tournament. Once again my ire is directed at the frucking full tilt server that just continually seems to have it in for me in these blonkaments. I know that may sound lame coming from the guy who just won the Riverchasers tournament last Thursday, but the bottom line fact is that last Thursday was the exception and not the rule. I have about two or three too many now of these reconchulous river cards spiking to take my 85 or 90%+ favorite down and knock me out of a good spot in these events. The play is dubious enough in these tournaments already, but for me to be continually losing to 2- and 3- and 4-outers, in particular when I'm purposefully showing the restraint to wait until after the flop is already out before getting it all in, that is just too much to face. Dam you blonkament gods, why have you forsaken me?

Speaking of the blonkaments, I have noticed a very interesting phenomenon over the past few BBT tournaments: the players generally speaking are clearly playing tighter these days. I think over half of the BBT has gone by and has given people a chance to develop their own strategies for success, and frankly the points structure we're using to score the BBT tournaments has incentivized many players to play tighter than they normally would. Thus, lately it has definitely become harder for the fold-till-the-points-guys to just keep sticking around and survive. The full weight of the bbt is beginning to be borne.

I've also been thinking lately, maybe a year or two ago some of us gave DuggleBogey a little bit too much shite when he voiced his concerns over the WPBT tournament scoring system being formulated. Back then, Duggles made the point that scoring these tournaments on a week-to-week basis kinda ruins what many of us are generally trying to do in these blonkaments, which is to have fun, not "make the points". In particular when using a scoring system that does not even award points only to the final table or only to the cashers, but rather to every finisher in just the top half of the total number of entrants, there is a clear incentive to not be aggressive, not push some draws or some hands you might be able to win with, to not make that call preflop with the pocket 7s, to not push that suited AK on the flop with 2 to your suit and 3 raggy undercards, etc. It clearly has changed the play in these events, and while I definitely enjoy a little competition from tournament to tournament among our group, there is something fun about thinking about the WWdN tonight (8:30pm ET on pokerstars, password as always is "monkey"), and being able to "just play" without having to think about making the points, and is my opponent just trying to make the points, etc. On some level I think Duggles might really have been on to something when he voiced this feeling early in 2006 I believe, and maybe some of us were a bit too quick to judge his comments harshly. I certainly don't think the point of the blogger tournaments should be to see who can play supertight until half the field is out and they then feel free to open up their games.

Anyways, back to the MATH, here are this week's cashers, out of 47 entrants with 24 runners winning BBT points and the top 6 cashing as has been usual for the MATH since the BBT rolled into town:

6. Our 6th place casher this week, winning $67.68 for his efforts and a very nice run, is lightning36, who is scoring his second MATH payout of 2007 after a strong performance to make the cash payouts for the week.

5. In 5th place this week, winning $90.24, is Blogger Big Game host MiamiDon, who pads his top-10 BBT tally with yet another BBT final table and cash.

4. RecessRampage also added to his top-10 BBT point standings this week with another 4th place finish in this week's MATH tournament, plus $124.08 cash awarded for yet aonother MATH cash.

3. 3rd place this week and $169.20 goes to Tripjax, folowing in his brother's footsteps and now making it at least three straight weeks that someone in the Trip family line makes a big cash in the MATH.

2. In second place this week is another big score for current BBT moneyleader Mike Maloney, winning another 248.16 to add to his already over $1000 won over 7 weeks of BBT events.

1. And this week's winner, making not only his first MATH win but his first cash in the MATH in all of 2007 in a tournament that he rarely plays, is Pokerstars blogger and all-around fabulous writer Otis, winning 428.64 for his efforts in winning his first ever MATH weekly title.

And now here are the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard standings as of this week's tournament:

1. Iggy $641
2. Astin $616
3. Columbo $606
4. Hoyazo $580
5. Bayne_s $579
6. Julius Goat $507
7. mtnrider81 $492
8. scots_chris $474
9. Fuel55 $458
10. Otis $429
11. Miami Don $402
12. Chad $379
13. Pirate Wes $372
14. IslandBum1 $357
15. ChapelncHill $353
16. Tripjax $345 (how cute the brothers are right next to each other!)
17. Zeem $330
18. Mike_Maloney $326
19. cmitch $312
19 oossuuu754 $312
21. VinNay $310
22. Waffles $294
23. Wigginx $288
24. ScottMc $282
25. Blinders $275
26. Manik79 $252
27. Wippy1313 $248
28. Byron $234
29. RecessRampage $224
30. Omega_man_99 $210
31. lightning36 $205
32. NewinNov $190
33. bartonfa $180
34. 23Skidoo $176
35. Santa Clauss $170
36. Iakaris $162
36. Smokkee $162
38. lester000 $147
39. DDionysus $137
40. Pushmonkey72 $129
40. InstantTragedy $129
42. Buddydank $124
43. Ganton516 $114
44. Gracie $94
44. Scurvydog $94
46. Shag0103 $84
47. PhinCity $80
47. jeciimd $80
49. Alceste $71
49. dbirider $71
51. Easycure $67

So, another strong week for the MATH moneyboard, as this week's winner Otis makes his first appearance on the board, while all five of our other cashers are repeat offenders in cashing in the Hoy during 2007. Congratulations again to all of our cashers and especially to Otis for taking the whole thing down for the first time.

OK before I go today I thought we could take another look at my Poker Tracker stats as I continue to build a database through several hours of playing and observing at the 1-2 and 2-4 6-max nlh tables on full tilt. To be honest I still have a very, very small number of hands to evaluate from (under 900), but it's about 9 times more than I had when I first posted these figures last week, and I'm still trying to figure out how to interpret all these statistics and really in some cases what these numbers even mean in practical terms. Plus, PT is good in that it allows me to compare my results and my statistics to the other profitable players I've seen online, and look at how I fare against those players in a number of key statistical areas.

For starters, here are my General poker stars via Poker Tracker:

Interesting items to focus on from this view include that I am up about 3.5 buyins at 2-4 over 887 hands. It may not sound so impressive to some of you (and to some of you that track record probably would not be that impressive), but #1 I'm not losing, as I used to consistently at the cash tables, and #2 these figures do not even include my first 4 or 5 buyins won when I first started with $400 nl 6-max cash about three weeks ago. I figure I am probably up more like 10 buyins over 1500 hands or so, which is much prettier than 3.5 buyins over 900 hands. So playing 400nl has been very profitable for me this month, and I feel like I am getting increasingly adept at knowing when I am likely ahead or behind, and acting appropriately based on that information. Also, I point out that you can see on that screenshot that I have won exactly 1 out of 8 times I've been dealt AK, either soooted or unsoooted. That is redonkulous and will not persist over time, especially since I am just about the last person online who you will ever see push unimproved AK into a raggy flop against anyone who's shown any semblance of strength so far in a hand. Otherwise, looking at the above numbers, the stats themselves do not seem to have changed too much since I first showed them at right around 100 hands played. Pre-flop raise is still at just under 20%, which is fine I think, and my VP$IP is up to 29, still a bit higher than where I think I want this to be over the long run. That said, I tend to use stealing blinds as an integral part of my strategy at 6-max, and that may explain why this number feels a bit on the high side for what I was expecting to see. The one number I still think really needs to get higher is my Won $ at Showdown percentage, which still sits right at 50%. 50% isn't terrible, but for a winning player who expects to keep winning more and more at this game, I think WSD needs to be closer to 60% or higher to really maximize the efficiency of my profits.

Here are my PT stats sorted by position:

What I love about the top of this screen is that you can see that I am basically playing profitable poker from every position at the table. Yes in the BB I am down $148.25, but if you add back in the price of the big blind I am up a good 5 hundy from there, and the only position where I'm not showing a healthy profit is 2 from the button, which I imagine is just random and over time will even itself out. I also note that at 2 spots away from the button, that is my only slightly negative position at the table, and it is also -- perhaps not coincidentally -- the only spot other than acting last on the button where my preflop cold-call % is over 1. Those of you who know my game know that I am definitely not much of a cold caller -- cold calling preflop is most definitely a recipe for poker losses and not poker profits -- but here you can see even in those few instances where I cold call preflop, it appears to be costing me over time in terms of overall profitability. Another interesting stat that goes along this one is that you can see I am going to the showdown more frequently from 2 spots away from the button -- my only money-losing position -- and I am winning at showdown less frequently with the higher percentage of the time that I see the river and show down the cards. So I can see already that I have some work to do there, as far as ensuring that from all positions at the table I am not staying in too long, in particular to see a showdown, without a hand of sufficient quality to warrant staying in.

Here at my stats sorted per winning hand:

As you can see and as is probably not surprising, with "high card" hands I am strongly negative, as these hands of course tend not to win nlh pots. That said, you can see that I am solidly in the green for every other type of winning hand better than high card. And I once again call your attention to the one-pair category, where I am now up more than a buyin for what is easily my second most profitable hand other than straights, which for some reason have been gold for me thus far, winning me 6 out of 6 showdowns with my straight hands. But my point is, I continue to show evidence that playing with just one pair at 6-max nlh can be a winning strategy, if played correctly, cautiously and if your reads are right-on. Of course it helps that I am not one to call big bets with top pair most of the time, but rather I focus more on overpairs, pocket Aces, etc. for situations to consider calling significant bets with just one pair hands.

Lastly, and this is one of my favorite screens on Poker Tracker, here are my general stats as compared to the list of the other most profitable players I have run into and recorded stats for over the past week I have been running PT during my nightly play:

I like this view because it can really show my generalized statistics against other good (or bad) players, stat-by-stat in the columns. So, out of 1177 total players I have recorded, my profitability has been 7th best among all of those players during the times I have been recording plays online. That is quality right there. I also note in the totals at the bottom that there are a total of 58% losers and only 41% winners during all the time I have recorded. That means there's a whole lot of fish out there to be draining money from, something which I have definitely found myself over recent experience. Anyways, this screen can help put some of my overall stats into good perspective -- for example, my BB/100 rate of 19.95 is actually fairly low, among the good players. That is interesting to me given my success, and the only thing I can think is that maybe I am playing a bit tighter than some of those other players are, or maybe I'm failing to maximize the profit I'm making from my best hands, I don't know. I tend to avoid sitting at tables with more than one large, winning stack, so that may also factor in to lowering somewhat my overall win rate. My VP$IP and my PFR also seems to be just slightly on the high side, as compared to the other profitable players who have recorded more than 3 or 4 sessions to give a good indicator of their general play with both good and bad starting cards, which is something which I have already identified as a potential area for improvement as far as tightening up just a little bit preflop where appropriate. And of course, of the top 19 most profitable players I have recorded at 400nl 6-max, my 50% win rate at showdown is in 15th place of those 19 most profitable players. Again, clearly something I need to improve at if I expect to keep winning, and to keep increasing my win rate, over the long run at this game.

OK so hopefully all those cash play stats are useful or at least interesting to you all out there. I would love any thoughts that any of you Poker Tracker guys have on my play generally or on the very quick analysis I give above on some of the things that jump out at me from these four pages of PT statistics. I look forward tonight to jumping back on to the cash tables for some more action winning with one pair and raising it up preflop a bit too often, in addition to possibly playing the Wheatie at 8:30pm ET on pokerstars, and maybe looking into that WSOP Main Event Tuesday night qualifier as well on full tilt.

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Blogger cmitch said...

I think you may be reading too much into the stats of the winning players. I would wait until you get a lot more hands recorded before making adjustments to your game based on some of the "winning players" stats.

Some examples:

1st place guy - You have him at +$2,200 over 904 hands. I have him at -$410 over 1,229 hands. If you are trying to emulate his style (or using it as a guide), then it looks like you will have some huge swings. (his stats are similar in my PT 19.5/13.5 vs 21.5/14.2.

The 2nd guy on the list - he has won $1,800 over 200 hands. He has obviously been running like Jesus in Nikes. (I don't have any hands on him.)

3rd guy - You have at +$1,600 over 1,181 hands. I have at +$196 over 1,138 hands.

etc, etc, etc.

OK. I think you get the point that I'm trying to make and I understand you are using the stats that you have.

All that said, I think the key thing that I would look for is how aggressive the player is. Look at their total aggression factor (TAF) without the preflop aggression included. (If you need to know how to do this. Go to General Info tab, click More Detail right above the summary, and uncheck the tab that says include preflop agg). I have found that the biggest winners over a long haul have higher than average TAF. The top 2 in my DB have 4.5 and the 3rd biggest winner has a 6.5.

I would go through the big winners' hand histories and see how they won their money. I would look at where they won their money and how they played the pots that they lost money on. It should help gain more insight into what the winning players are doing rather than just relying on their stats.

I understand wanting to be at certain stats that are most profitable, but IMO more can be gained by looking at how they play. It will not only help you see how others play hands for max profit but will also help you play against the winning players in future pots.

I didn't mean for this to sound like a negative comment - I hope it doesn't come off that way.

Keep tearing up the cash games, just stay away from my pots. ")

1:58 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks cmitch, that is very helpful analysis there coming from someone who clearly has a far better handle on how to use Poker Tracker than I. And btw I don't think your comments come off as negative at all -- everything you have said over the past week about not reading too much in to just 1000 hands is all 100% valid and it's good for me and others to hear that again. And you make a good suggestion about looking at the hand histories of the profitable players instead of just focusing on their overall numbers. I know I have a lot to learn about properly using pokertracker and I very much appreciate insights like yours to help get me set right as far as what to expect from this obviously powerful tool.

Now hopefully one day my PA HUD will decide to work so I don't have to keep jumping back to PT in order to view stats for these individual players.

2:29 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

how do you datamine? I tried it before by keeping tables open but my PT doesn't seem to recognize the hand history from the games that I'm not sitting in.

Also, I echo what cmitch said. If you look, you mentioned that your BB/100 should be higher (which btw, yours is impressively high but take that with a grain of salt since you are in a different league than myself) but all the other guys who have a higher BB/100 than you also have a lot less hands. All that means at this point is that they're running hot or they got lucky. I think a guy who after 3,000 hands maintain a BB/100 of 20 is a much better player than a guy with 500 hands with a BB/100 of 80.

2:50 AM  
Blogger DuggleBogey said...

I think the acid test will be in the home stretch of the BBT events. If almost everyone without a mathmatical chance of winning decides not to play and participation plummets, you'll know the harshness of "keeping score."

I've witnessed it in our leagues. Even though the individual tournaments had unbelievable overlay, people simply stopped playing when they believed they couldn't place in the overall money.

These events might be different though, I think most people play them for the fun of playing with bloggers. If the participation does drop however, it will be difficult to deny the cause.

3:15 AM  
Blogger oossuuu754 said...

I bought Idleminer http://www.idleminer.com/
last week and it was $54 well spent. It automatically sets itself up as your screen saver and will open up to 16 tables (the specific tables you want $1NL, $22sng ect.) and mine the data. In 3 days I have collected almost 40K in hand histories on almost 2500 players. It works on cash and tournies allthough the FTP tournies have to be manually adjust in pokertracker since FTP doesnt send out a placement history.

I am all set if I only understood what the phuck a good number is

3:17 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah oossuu I'm in the same boat as you in that my big issue right now with Poker Tracker is not figuring out how to get it to work -- I finally got over that last week -- but rather figuring out what the F all these numbers really mean, and which figures it makes the most sense to focus on out of the huge glom of statistics this tool provides.

And Alan, as far as how I datamine, it's real simple: I open up the tables and it starts datamining. I don't have a clue why your PT would not be working with respect to that function. I am more than happy to help with whatever I know, but unfortunately my knowledge is really limited on this topic.

And if you figure out the datamining thing, can you try to figure out how the F to get my PA HUD to work too? Thanks bro!

3:57 AM  
Blogger Goat said...

I am loving the BBT, personally, but I could give a crap about points. I have not once, not ever, made a decision in one of those things based on points. I'm trying to make the final table and the money, same as always. I figure if I do that, the points will be there, too.

I hope most of you aren't really playing for the points. Eeeesh. The points are fine as an extra, but I'll bust in a heartbeat on the points-bubble if I think it's the right play.

If keeping score means that participation shrinks near the end, it can't take away from the fact that turnout has been HUGE since it started.

The MATH was 14-20 players pre-BBT. Now it tops 50 regularly. I don't remember for sure, but it seems like Mookie has jumped from the 40s-50s to the 60s-80.

Cripes, the Big Game was over 50 in April, and just under that on Sunday.

Even if we shrink in June, I doubt the MATH goes all the way down to 15 again.

I just hope this isn't a one-time thing; I think BBT could go big.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

You need a bunch more hands played before you can read to much into your play. You are running hot, and it will not continue forever. 18BB/100h at 2/4NL will make you a very rich person if you could keep it up and 3 or 4 table. Long term is 50k+ hands. You can lose over 10k hands and be a winning player, or win over 10k and be a losing player. Less than 1k in hands is nothing.

Folding to the points in the BBT is sound strategy BTW.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Goat said...

"Folding to the points is sound strategy in the BBT, btw."


Explain, please. Tight aggressive is of course a good strategy. But tighter than usual play, for points? Unless the actions which go along with "folding to the points" would be sound strategy in an MTT that isn't keeping points, I don't get it. Sure, if you can get enough points, you make it into the freeroll. But so what? If you play your best cards, you maximize your chance for a cash. If you maximize your chance for a cash, you maximize your chance for the most possible points.

I don't see folding to the points simply for the points as being any kind of sound strategy. Play to make the money, and you'll make some points. Play to make the points, and you'll have . . . well, points, I guess. Which won't buy you a burger in most states.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I actually think folding to the points is also a fairly sound strategy given the way we have set up the BBT points structure. That's why I prefer to track the 2007 MATH performances specifically just by actual money earned. But when all the guys who fold to the points repeatedly are all in the top 10 or 15 players on the BBT leaderboard, I find it hard to argue that it's not a sound strategy. It is. If you want to try to make a run at the top few spots and the fabulous free giftage we have for those top finishers, folding repeatedly to the points, along with the one or two times you can pick up some big hands late and make a final table run or two, can actually get you where you need to be.

But I think it's pussy.

4:41 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

We brothas gotta stick together. I'm cuter than him though, so I should be one place ahead of him...

5:52 AM  
Blogger River_Rat said...

With regards to your PA HUD, ive been using this for a while and will try and help.

Do you have any overlay at all ? any numbers over players ? does it show #NA ? Have you checked that it is pointing to the right Database ? have you checked the 'number of hands before showing' field is low enough.

keep up the great blog, was watching you play the FTOPS ME, you sure do have a great rail following...

Hopefully with some information i can

6:44 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

I have always been more on the tight side. Based on what I've been seeing from other successful (or what I consider to be successful) bloogers, it just confirmed what I have known for quite some time. You GOTTA LOOSEN UP!!! But I think it depends. Personally, I love the points just because that's how I am. If my parents were smart enough to allocate points to vegetables I had to eat growing up, I'm pretty sure I'd be near vegan (4 pts for snap peas, 10 pts for broccoli, 15pts for squash/zucchini)... but I don't play to fold to the points. It may seem that way to some but that's just cuz I can't just look myself in the mirror, tell myself to loosen up and be a different player all of a sudden. But again, I never play for points. I think it's fun to keep track but each week, my goal is to win. I guess part of me thinks that winning a blogger tournament (not once cuz that may happen just based on luck) with some consistency would be somewhat of a validation for me. It might sound stupid but as I become a better player, I start comparing myself to better players. So I always have this slight inferiority complex and doing well in these tournaments prove to me that I can hang with others who take this game seriously and that I'm not just taking money off the uberdonks who play every now and then when they get a chance to deposit. I know I've improved my game cuz I haven't had a down month in.... over a year. I play every day. So it's not like I play one day one month, log a profit and quit. But I have now seen what others can do who play in a different stratosphere. I want to get there and if that means playing in more blonkaments, then so be it. The points are basically bonus.

Sh*t... I should make this my post.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Hey Hoy:

A comment on my hand against waffles. I had been taking heat on my big blind. He raised from relatively EP to 300 I reraised him to $500 on a reraise steal from the BB. Although the blinds were relatively low I was under 2000 chips and probably only had $1200 left after my raise. So when he pushed I called. I figured him for a middle to baby pair as he did have or something like QT or JT. I hit the two kings on the flop. Now if he hand only called my reraise he could have gotten away from his hand. Then again maybe he wouldnt hoping to boat up.

Worst case scenario for me is I go out if his 66 hold. Best case scenario I flop a monster and chip up nicely and give Waffles the chance to rant.

After that I continued to build a stack and was up in the top five for a good part of the rest of the nite. Ill write about my exit hand in a post and ask for feedback.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...


Im not much of a cash player but a fellow blogger and forum mate of mine, who hangs with the Bluff Magazine crew: BILLINGA signed up for CardRunners and swears on it helping his ring game play. I have him linked from my blog


Two weeks to Vegas

9:47 AM  
Blogger Chad Carpenter (Yahoo IM: carchd) said...

I have a question about your bracelet race wins? Has Full Tilt just sent you the cash? Or do you collect the money at the RIO? Thanks man!!

5:34 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Chad, this is what I was telling you on the chat the other night -- full tilt has already emailed and said they are just paying out cash directly into your account for all the bracelet race and wsop ME qualifier wins. i got 2k sent directly into my account a few days after each of my bracelet race wins, and I believe oossuuu said the same thing about the 12k into his account after he qualified for the ME. So they're not doing it like they did last year where they just paid it at the Rio, they're paying it right now in full instead.

8:42 PM  

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