Friday, June 22, 2007

Runnin' Deep With Iakaris

In contrast to Wednesday night, Thursday night turned out to be one of the more fun nights of poker I've had in some time. I began the evening by returning to the cash tables for a few solidly winning sessions, my first consistent winning day since the debacle that was last weekend, which saw me lose to four different flopped sets with three of my own flopped sets and a TPTK hand as well. I actually decided to move back down to the 1-2 6-max tables, really just to try to get my bearings after I had simply not been playing my game at all since those horrid beats from last weekend, and after a couple days of play at $200 nl, I definitely feel like I'm back, including winning around three buyins over the past two days, mostly all of which came on Thursday. And as nice as the money was to see my full tilt account balance moving higher instead of lower, the return of my confidence at the non-blogger cash tables in general was worth much more than that. Of course at blogger cash games I am pretty much always a solid winner, but outside of blogger cash this past week was not a pretty one for me cash-wise. It happens, I've been there before -- much worse than this week, for that matter -- and I'm sure I'll be there again, but this week definitely saw me meet head-to-head with the assy end of variance, and I look forward to continuing to put that behind me in the coming days on full tilt.

So after a few solid sessions on the cash front on Thursday evening, I decided I was going to take my first stab at this new 50-50 tournament that a number of you bloggers have been hyping up recently. Shortly after I sat down and started to play the 50-50, I got a girly chat from someone that our boy Iakaris was deep in the 19k, down well into the final 100 players or so in his second deep 19k run of the past week. I proceeded to rail Iak not just at the table but in the girly chat, discussing hands and just generally talking poker, all the way to the final table, Iak's first large mtt final table in several months. Eventually Iak ran his JJ into AA preflop and busted out in 5th place out of over 900 players:

Scoring nearly $1100 cash for himself and also a much-needed confidence boost of his own. It's funny, because the last time I talked to Iak the night before I left for Vegas a couple of weeks ago -- the infamous conversation where I told Iak I was feeling great about my game and that I knew I could do some major damage in my shorthanded WSOP tournament the following day if I just played my game and didn't do anything stoopid -- Iak was also telling me how he finally feels like his mtt game is back after months of lack of playing time and just general poker frustration. Since then he has now ran deep in the 19k twice, probably his two best mtt runs in a long time, plus he and I also made great runs in the 50-50 tournament as well last night. So I think at this point we can definitely confirm the rumor: Iak is back in da house, and I for one am happy to see it, it couldn't happen to a better guy. Now we just gotta get this guy back on the mtt success horse, which I bet is coming soon as well, and we'll be in business.

Anyways, once Iak busted in 5th place in the 19k yesterday, he was able to focus much more on the 50-50, which at the time was just getting into the money positions, which paid the top 153 players out of 1028 entrants in this nightly 50k guaranteed prize pool tournament. At the time I was sitting on around 30k in chips, while Iak was down near the bottom of the leaderboard with just over 10k. But that would soon change, as Iak picked up AA, KK, AA and AA all in the span of about 20 minutes, in each case seeing at least one raise -- two of those times including allin reraises -- all ahead of him in the action preflop, basically making it almost impossible for Iak not to double up a few times and the result was a quick rise for his stack into the top 10 of the remaining players -- at the time there were around 60 players left when the deck smacked Iak in the face -- where Iak would stay for much of the rest of the tournament.

I, meanwhile, was experiencing a different phenomenon. It's something we all call card death, and most deep mtt runs I have made in my life have included long bouts of it. Thursday night was no exception. During the entire last three ours of this tournament, I did not see a premium hand or really something that even resembled a premium hand, other than one time I was dealt AK, got a caller of my preflop raise in the biggest stack at the table, and then I was forced to push in a large overbet of the pot on the Ten-high flop after he checked to me, somehow getting a fold from the guy after he let his timer and then his additional time clock count almost all the way down to zero before taking action. It was like all my premium hands got sent straight over to Iak, who was using them masterfully to play his opponents like fiddles over on his table, which I again had up and was watching closely as he and I continued to outlast opponents in this event. But I got no AA, no KK, no QQ, no JJ, and I had to fold TT about 2 1/2 hours in to the tournament when a shorty curiously pushed in only half his short stack from under the gun in a move that just screamed out big overpair or at the very least AK or AQs to me. With no premium hands to play with, every single pot I won in the last three hours of this tournament was a steal, or a resteal. Every single pot, with no exceptions. I had a lot of people railing me and on the girly chat, and we were all laughing pretty hard at the moves I was making. Somehow, I didn't get caught once.

I mean, I did nothing but steal and resteal with shit for every single chip I won in the last three hours of a tournament that lasted in the end a little over 5 hours for me. I restole with allin pushes from my big blind against the player to my right who had just limped from his small blind probably 8 times in this thing. By the time we got into the final 25 or 30 players left in the 50-50 tournament, this guy on my right had such a boner for my chips you could fucking feel the tension at the table. He wanted so badly to pick up a monster and then open-limp from his small blind, he could taste it. But I did what I had to do -- what else can you do when you get no starting cards to speak of for like 200 straight minutes, right? I maybe got pocket 5s or pocket 6s once or twice, in all cases facing a large preflop raise before the action even got to me, but otherwise, I was open-raising from middle position with 97s and 74s and K7s all night long, and when I wasn't doing that I was restealing with allin raises with 52o and J4o and K3o against players who had shown weakness preflop ahead of me, but whose stacks were just barely small enough that calling my allin reraise would cripple them if I actually happened to pick up a hand this time. And since I was so utterly frigging card dead for 3 hours, these guys could never be sure if this was the time I actually had a hand. Especially since I kept winning these steals and resteals without a fight and without even seeing a flop -- and I mean, I didn't get caught one time until down to the final two tables -- no one even knew that I was pushing repeatedly with bullshit cards. Again and again and again, total bullshit cards. Every now and then I would look up and Iak would be cracking someone's Aces, or flipping up pocket Kings or whatever over at his table, and meanwhile I would look down and push allin on a resteal with Q7o. It sucked, but at the same time I was somehow crawling my way up the chart, or more accurately, I was just surviving while more and more people kept dropping out as the clock wore past midnight, then 1am and eventually past 2am ET.

Finally, both Iak and I reached the final two tables of the 50-50, after railing and chatting and analyzing hands with each other on the girly chat for a good 4 hours together. I don't recall making it this deep in this large of an mtt with another blogger, and a close friend at that, and I have to say it was something really special that I can only hope I get to experience again sometime soon. Actually, forget Iak I just hope I can experience another run like this myself sometime soon! No seriously, it was a lot of fun as I bet those of you who love to run mtt's can imagine, having someone else there to watch and just be part of the experience of a deep mtt run with together kicked some ass. Ghey as that may sound, I know Iak agrees 100% with the sentiment.

Anyways, with 17 players remaining and me sitting in 12th place (Iak was in 10th at the time), I ran into this hand which I would love to get your thoughts on. Basically, I'm in the big blind for 5000 chips, about 8% of my current stack, and the first few players fold around to the hijack, who is the short stack remaining in the tournament with just over 14k in chips. He open-pushes allin, which to me literally told me precisely nothing about the strength of his hand. Well, to be more accurate, it probably told me that his hand was not in the bottom 10% of possible hands, in that I like to think he would have folded there and waited for a better spot with a hand like 52o. But I'm thinking any kind of reasonable holding that is not in the absolute worst category of hands he could have, and he has to push there. 96o, it's a push. J4o? Push. He's way the short stack left in the event, and it's folded around to him two spots off the button, with huge blinds and antes that themselves already represented about 85% of his stack that was already in the middle when the action got unopened around to him. He was pushing with basically anything here:

As you can see, the rest of the action folded around to me in my big blind, where I held the lowly, shitty hand known as 75o (probably one of the better hands I had seen in the preceding hour as it is, btw). So I'm looking at the pot, and at my hand, and then back at the pot again. I know this guy is pushing in that spot with probably the top 90% of hands that he could have (if not more), and I'm looking at making a call for 9154 chips into a pot of 26,454 chips. So this pot was laying me 2.9-to-1, which I reasoned just from a pot odds perspective meant that I had to call if I thought I was anything better than 2.9-to-1 to win the hand. Again, I'm basically putting him on any random hand, and although I don't know the numbers in detail, those math instincts I've written about before told me that my 75o had to be around a 35% chance to win against a random hand (maybe someone out there knows the actual number and can post it in the comments, not that it matters at this point). At 35%, that is more like 1.8-to-1 odds to win the hand, so I felt like I basically had to call here, that this was actually an easyass call to make even though I had the shit known at 75o in my hand. Risking 9154 chips to win 26,454 chips, I basically felt like that meant that I had to call with any hand that was at least 26% or so to win in a showdown, which basically meant just about any hand out there since I felt certain that the short stack would have pushed with anything in this spot. So I made this call and prayed, fell way behind on the flop and could not recover:

What do you guys think of this call? Is my math and my analysis right there? Would you have made this call here in this spot, down to 17 players left in the 50-50?

Here was another one, which occurred just two hands after the above call. I'm now down to 43k in chips, in 14th of 17 players remaining, and I'm in the cutoff with pocket 5s. Now, presto has not been nearly as kind to me over time as it has been to some people, but believe me when I say this hand looked like quad Aces to me when I saw it because it was that much better than any other starting hand I had seen in well over an hour, so I was looking forward to raising or pushing allin even when the action hopefully got around unopened to me. Instead, though, this happened:

So utg+1 put in a 3x raise preflop here, a guy holding plenty of chips with no need to push anything. So far I'm thinking I can still push allin here and he is likely to lay down what could easily be A9, KQ or even a superior hand like 66 but one that he can't really call a big reraise with unless he's a huge donkey. But then as you can see the guy to my immediate right, sitting on an even larger pile of chips, also called the 15k raise. Now what would you do here? You pushing allin over the top of these two guys? Just smooth calling and hope to nail the flop? Or do you lay this down and hope for a better spot to get your chips in?

I thought this was a pretty tough decision, and I know that some of my girly chat railers did not agree with my eventual move, which was to lay it down. As I mentioned, against just one 3x raiser, I could be the favorite in a showdown, but only a slight favorite at that, and I might have the chance of getting him to lay down even with my paltry 43k in chips which represented over a third of the first raiser's stack at this point. But once the second guy also overcalled the raise, a guy who not only had around 4 times my stack at the start of this hand but also who had such a hard-on for my chips after I restole from him 8 times over the previous hour or two, I didn't see how I could call here. It was only going to be another 28k raise from me, and I felt the odds were significantly high that one or both of these guys would call, and I could even very easily be dominated by a pair higher than my 5s. Given that we were so close to the final table, and the payouts were starting to rise by a hundy or so for every couple of players out, I thought and still think that the laydown was my only choice here. What do you think? Yes Fuel, we know you would have raised allin, that much is obvious, but I would love to hear from the rest of you your views on this hand and the one above where I called with the 75o based purely on pot odds.

Anyways, it wasn't probably 3 hands later that Iak allin reraised a guy at his table with his A5o, got called by KTo, and then saw a flop of AK6 to basically give his opponent just 5 outs or else Iak was going to get another key double-up and give his night some additional fuel to make a run for the final table. But a fuglyass river card ruined that:

sending Iak to the rail, out in 16th place out of 1028 players for another $300-some payout on top of the nearly $1100 he'd already won at Thursday's 19k final table.

At this point, still around 41k in chips and now in 13th place out of 14 players remaining, I find 66 utg. Over the next two hands I'm going to put in another 8700 in blinds and antes, well over 20% of my remaining stack, and this pocket 6s is the new best hand I've seen in over an hour. I felt I had to make a move, and could afford to take a race against two overs with all the big stacks at the table since I was so short and needed to make something happen quick one way or the other if I wanted to survive to make my own final table run on the night. So I pushed in for my last 41K in chips:

I knew I was in trouble when the player to my immediate left moved allin over the top of me instantaneously. I was actually pleasantly surprised when everyone else folded and he flipped up just your standard run-of-the-mill unsuited big slick, as I had feared he was on a higher pocket pair. So I was actually slightly ahead here, with a chance to get back into contention with a much-needed double-up with the best hot-and-cold starting hand I'd seen in a long time, at least 2 or 3 hours without a doubt since I had to lay down my last pocket Tens. Alas, it was not meant to be:

and IGH in 14th place out of 1028 runners in my first ever 50-50 tournament on full tilt:

The win paid nearly $500 in cash, so that is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you've lost several buyins at 2-4 nl over the past week so every little bit feels good when you're building your confidence back up as I have been trying to do these last few days. More than that, I have to say that I agree fully with the commentary I've heard from a number of other bloggers about the overall structure of this tournament. First off, you start off with 2k in chips, not the usual 1500 like in the other donkeyfests like the 26k and most standard blonkaments as well. The extra 500 in chips really helps to give you some extra cushion, #1 to be able to make some moves and still survive if they don't work out early, and #2 and more importantly, to be patient and wait for the good hands or a really good spot to make your moves. More than that, the blinds increase every 12 minutes I believe in this tournament, which is 2 minutes longer than full tilt's standard turbo-esque tournament structure. Two minutes might not seem like much, but over the 5 1/2 hours it took to run this deep for Iak and I in this thing, that extra 2 minutes every 10 minutes makes a big huge fucking difference. That basically means that by this time, we were a full hour behind where the normal full tilt tournament structure would be. So that's the only reason I still had those 40k in chips left when I finally busted -- because without this extra blind rounds time, I would have likely been forced to push allin that much sooner. And when you like to delude yourself into thinking you are a "skill guy" like I do, giving me more time before push-and-pray monkeytime is all good. So after one try, I am definitely a big fan of the structure of this tournament, and I highly recommend it to anyone with the time and the inclination to play a large mtt like this. Frankly, even the 9:30pm ET start time is better than most of the other large, regular mtts I get to play in, and with only around 1000 entrants or so most nights (so far), the field is nowhere near as large as some of the larger minefield in things like the 26k and other fields that only this donkey could routinely play his way through. There are also satellites in the early evening for this event, so if the $50 buyin is a bit on the pricey side for you, there are plenty of cheaper options to get in between the hours of 7 and 7:45pm ET every night.

Maybe I'll see you there this weekend at some point, as I expect to play this thing again if and when I can. Maybe tonight, along with the donkament which is also scheduled to go off at its regular time at 9pm ET this evening as well. If you haven't tried out Kat's brilliant $1 rebuy tournament yet on full tilt (password is "donkarama"), then you are a donkey and maybe now is the time to put a stop to that once and for all. You will definitely not find cheaper poker therapy anywhere on the Internets or otherwise, so come on by and play the donkament at 9 while you get ready to rail a bunch of your friends in the 50-50 tonight on full tilt!

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Blogger CEMfromMD said...

Great Job in the 50-50 Hoy! I saw that you and Iak were in it, I gave it my first shot myself last night, but got crippled early. Glad to see you both did so well!

8:24 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

That was so awesome to see you and Iak so deep in the tourney. Nicely done, as usual!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I'd fold both the 75o and the 55 hands. Yes, the shortie is jamming and yes, you already have the BB invested in the pot. But, here's what I'd consider the most:

1. With 75o, I'm looking at hitting six outs or praying for a flopped straight to win the pot. Yes, he's pushing with "anything", but if he has anything above a 7 in his hand, I have to hit a card to win.

2. I still have almost T57K. That's not great, but I want to save chips so when I jam, I'll have more ammo to make people fold and I'll get more chips if I double up.

3. The shortie is pushing again at anytime and there's a very good chance I'll have better cards to call with later.

4. I can get the 5K back the next time I steal the blinds.

5. If I make this call, my stack drops below CobraKid's stack which means I'll have more problems bullying him.

It sounds like you convinced yourself to call because of the math, which isn't a bad play. I'm less inclined to make that move by calling an all-in w/75o myself, though.

The 55 hand I'm with you the whole way. Racing against two people with 55 (with the blinds still to play) is crazy. Great fold.

It sucks that you went out like you did with the 66, but I'd do the same thing you did there. Nice run!

9:30 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Pokerwolf, I certainly agree with you if I wasn't already into that pot for the 5k. But I'd like to understand better how your first point jibes with the whole pot odds thing. Because to me, yes I will need to hit a card to win, but if I'm already priced in for those odds, then I should calling, yes? I mean, as an extreme example, surely you're calling there with the shitty 75o if it's just another 500 chips into a 26k pot, right? Even though the same reasoning as your point #1 applies with your same 75o hand in that spot. So we all agree the math can change things, and for me I think (not 100% sure but I think) the math said I had to call there, or else I'm giving away a significant amount of equity on the hand. If the pot odds was a close decision I could easily see folding, and I probably would have folded it there, but with the pot laying me 2.9 to 1 and me only a 1.8 to 1 dog in the hand, I just didn't see how I could lay that down. I'm still wondering though if maybe you're right and I should have folded it, but in order to get my head around that decision someone is going to need to convince me why that seemingly overwhelming pot odds surplus was worth giving up here.

Thanks for the comments.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Goat said...

I'm calling the 75o there for 9K more. Anytime you can have the hammer dominated, you gots to do it. Actually, that call is borderline, but it's perfectly acceptable in that context.

I'm folding the 55. It's jam or fold and you're getting called by one of those guys for a race at best.

The difference between the 75o hand and the 55 hand is control. When you call, the hand will play itself. You know how much you will lose, and it's an acceptable amount. You also have to think you're behind but not much of a dog. This is an ATC situation for your opponent, and you have a hand that likely has 2 live cards.

In the 55 hand, you have a raise (not too scary) and a smooth call (very scary). It is likely you're getting called there if you push and you're seeing overcards for sure on the flop against two other hands that have already seen strength. You have limited control over the pot and are taking a big gamble to play it.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Easy presto fold in that spot. As much as it would pain me ...

10:35 PM  
Blogger Astin said...

Congrats on the deep run!

The fifty-fifty is soon going to be blogger-dominated. The 26k is also picking up this crew quickly. It was impressive how many of us were playing in these things last night. Soon it will be 6 bloggers at a final table and 3 saps who have no idea what's going on.

As for the hands. I call that all-in with 75o in that situation every time, even knowing he's probably sitting on an ace.

The 55 - fold. If there's only the raiser and you're in LP, then push it, but with a bigger stack calling, your push and the pot odds will be too tempting for at the very least the two guys already in. Throw in 3 more to act after you and a chance to bust another player (you) this deep and I think you're screwed here. A higher pocket pair and it's a tougher decision.

10:49 PM  
Blogger lj said...

great job hoy, congrats on finish! and i loved this post. strategy when you're card dead and the steals and resteals is a huge hole in my game, as i'm too nervous to re-raise or push w/ hands like Q7, 97, 52, off, etc. thanks for the valuable info.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Same time tonight, this time we get it done.

Too good, too good.

11:26 PM  
Blogger bayne_s said... is a great site for finding the odds for hold'em hands.

Pot odds dictate a call. Future leverage with chips dictate a fold.

I let pot odds override with the 57o. 55 you have to fold you can race one but not two players.

11:28 PM  
Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

Hey sweetie!

Thanks for the constructive criticism! You know how important it is to me that you watch my clips, so I promise to come up with something better next time :)

Have a great weekend hoy!

11:38 PM  
Blogger WildDuces234 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:38 PM  
Blogger WildDuces234 said...

Please forgive My Math and thoughts - I cant help myself:
This call with 7 5 bothers me, here is why. With his M and position I would place him with the following stats
____________P(x) P(YOU WIN)
2 overs ____0.65 ____0.4
Bigger pair 0.2 _____0.15

Garbage ____0.15 ____0.5

P(YOU WIN) = .65*.4+.2*.15+.15*.5

Biased on this GUESS Work Math:
you would Expect to win 0.365 of the time
3842.92 = 0.365 * 26454
- (1-0.365) * 9154

This means that If you had a game where it cost you 9154 chips in a game where you expect to win 3842

I rather make my stand somewhere else -

I think the case where math Does NOT make sense is when your tournament Winnings are more significantly affected by your actions. Yes, if you move up in the money one LG step and it only Cost you one M to do so: then Yes Call IS MANDATORY!

11:56 PM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

The satellites to this thing are so prejudiced against us mountain time zone peeps. I'mma gonna need to make a deep run in one of the Daily Doubles to get into this one, but I love the structure.

Congrats to you an Iak -- hope to see you at a FT soon...

As for the hands, I don't really mind the 75o call, in that spot, but reading the comments in the thread makes me think otherwise.

With the 55, I agree with you...I jam if there's no caller of the raise before me, but otherwise, you have to fold it. At best, you're facing two players with two overcards each, meaning you have to at least dodge 12 outs pf with five cards to come. That's a $5 SNG play, not a $50, nearing FT, play.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

WildDeuces, I admit that I am having trouble following your math there, but if you can explain it in more detail I'd love to understand it a bit better.

That said, to the extent you are saying my 75o has a 36.5% to win, I basically agree with that number whole-heartedly, and this was basically the estimate I had made in my own head. But that means I am a 63.5 / 36.5 dog in the hand, or 1.74 to 1 against winning.

Now how do I not call on a 1.74 to 1 chance, when the pot is laying me 2.89 to 1? That sounds to me like a huge mathematical mistake. Hence why I called. Make no mistake, I knew I was a big favorite to lose the pot there. But with the chips already in there, it only cost me another 9k to win 26k. I was a huge dog, but nowhere near that big of a dog, the way I see / saw it.

Where am I going wrong here? How do I fold a 1.74 to 1 shot at pot odds of 2.9 to 1?

1:12 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

nice run Hoy.

i like the 5-7o call against shorty. you're getting 3-1 on the call in a 60/40 race.

i also like the 55 laydown with two players already in the hand ahead of you. even if you push, one of those clowns is gonna call and we both know 5-5 really sux ballz.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

Gotta go with Hoy here. The odds seem right.

Plus, he was last to act and wasn't putting any more money in the pot here. If instead of an all-in, the guy had left a couple thousand behind, I think it becomes a more difficult decsion.

The pot odds change, a push isn't going to scare him off, he's obviously go SOMETHING, and if you only call then you're faced with another decision on the flop.

Same if anyone else was to act after him or he didn't have any money already in. If I'm on the button with 75o, then I fold because the SB and BB both have a chance to call. Then it becomes the 55 hand only worse because you have nothing at all.

3:53 AM  
Blogger Rav said...

I would call the 57off in a heart beat getting 3-1 with your stack considering it wouldnt hurt you that much. The 55 is an easy fold. Dont sweat the cash game drop its normal and happens all the time. Just get your confidence back and u'll be back at 2/4 crushing it before you know. Anyone who says they never had to drop down playing cash is either lying or has a 4 leaf clover up there ass.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Dillo said...

Congrats Hoy (and Iak) on a good run.

75o - I call (fully expecting to go down.)

55 - Fold.

66 (shorty) - Jam

Love your blog bud. One of the few I check out daily.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...


3:42 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

7-5 Absolutely.

5-5 I'm out.

I can't wait to start giving the Fiddy Fiddy a whirl...

10:25 PM  
Blogger WildDuces234 said...

Ok so I realized I am wrong. The math is right but the analysis is wrong. I have in fact proved mathematically that you are Better then any coin flip here. In a Fair game your expected value is 0. In this game your EV not only Positive, but it's positive it's 3900 chips.

8:27 PM  

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