Friday, June 15, 2007

Tiltmonkey is Me, and Looking Into the BBT Top Ten

Yesterday I played on tilt. And it had the usual results. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As most of you know, I am a lawyer. Although I started off working for a big law firm in a big city for a few years, nowadays I work in house at a company doing corporate-type of legal work. Anyways, this week I am working on a large deal for my company, and we're using outside counsel to take the lead on the deal because it is one of the largest deals a company like mine does. So I get to be in that fun position now of managing the very same big city, big law firm lawyers that I used to be one of. Since I came from that environment, however, I tend to remember how shitty that life was/is, and thus I always take great care to treat my outside law firm lawyers with the respect that I always wished I would have been treated with by my clients when I was in the law firm (but rarely ever was).

Cue this other guy working the deal with me here at my office. Yesterday he was such a raging asshole to our outside lawyer that I was embarrassed to be associated with him. And he did it for no good reason. This is really only the second time I've gotten to see this guy interact with outside counsel in a significant way, and now he is two for two in being a supreme prick to our law firm lawyers. I mean, automatically claiming all the work they do is terrible (even when it's not), literally accusing them of malpractice (both times), and just generally speaking to these guys like he is god and they are his little bitches. I've never seen anything like it. For a guy who, like me, started off and was trained in the very same big firm environment -- and who left it because the lifestyle and the way you get treated was just plain atrocious -- it is just amazing to me how quickly some people forget themselves and where they came from. I've never been like that, and I never will be. I sit and watch this guy bitching out our outside lawyer, and the way he speaks to the guy, I am just amazed. When my co-worker himself was a law firm lawyer, he doubtless did nothing but bitch about how his clients treated him, as did I. Now, when he has the opportunity to treat this guy, who is busting his ass, coming in early and staying late for us by the way, with the respect and dignity that he himself always thought was sorely lacking in his own law firm, he declines the opportunity fully and instead it's like he relishes in having the chance to dish this same shit back out that he had to put up with all those years in the firm.

What a losery move. That's about all I have to say about it. I mean, what does it say about my co-worker and I that his reaction is to work out his 10-year-old grudge against law firm life basically by hazing the shit out of this new young guy, not even giving him a chance to do a good job even when he actually is doing a good job, while my reaction to the exact same situation is to never forget where I came from, and to try to give our outside counsel a fair shot to do a good job. I don't know exactly, but what I do think is that it really shows some kind of unresolved feelings that my co-worker must have about his own law firm experience. I have nothing of the sort. I worked that job and lived that life for four years. Four miserable, fucking shittyass years. And then I got out, got a great legal job at a great company, and now I'm here. I like my job nowadays, I love being a lawyer, and frankly I don't even regret a second of the time I spent in the firm, now that it's all in the past. I don't have any issues about that time of my life that I still need to work out, and I don't need to take out those unresolved issues on any other poor unsuspecting sap who I for whatever reason cannot bring myself to keep an open mind toward. I've never been one to hold grudges -- if I did I could never continue playing poker with most of you abject donkeys -- but it still never ceases to amaze me how some people just cannot get over themselves. And when I see someone acting like this guy did yesterday to our outside lawyer, even to the point of hurting the quality of the very work that we are paying this guy to do for us, it really puts me on life tilt.

So by the time I got home last night I was already on major tilt, both from the attitude my co-worker had generally, and from the way he was acting towards out outside lawyer all day long, including how I know it eventually impacted the overall quality of the work he was doing for us by the end of the day. Shit, I wouldn't have been putting my best foot forward anymore for that guy after the shit he said to our outside lawyer all afternoon yesterday. Nobody would. So I got home, life tilting, and yet I still felt pressure to play in the Al's Riverchasers tournament. I mean, I've bitch-slapped this tournament for the past month straight, chopping first place two tourneys ago and then losing only to a 12-year-old who could not be beat in the last event. So I ended up logging on just minutes before the tournament started, and you know what? I played like I was tilting before it even started. Because I was. I played TPTK like it was gold Jerry gold early on (with the JackAce of course, but it was soooooted), folding when it was obvious I was behind to an overpair, but not before tilting off most of my stack on what would normally be an obvious situation to avoid getting into much trouble for me. Throw in some very unlucky river cards, and I was probably around the 15th person eliminated from the event last night, but I never really had a chance. If you got some chips from me yesterday, then consider yourself lucky to have been at one of my starting tables, because those badboys were destined to spew to somebody early on. I hate playing like that, but what can I say. I'm at least as susceptible to tilt as the next guy. Who are we kidding, I'm much more susceptible.

So I logged in this morning and I see that BBT leader Bayne made his 10th BBT final table at Riverchasers last night and won the whole tournament once again. That guy is crushing everyone else on the list. And it got me thinking, because I know how Bayne plays. Then I started looking at the rest of the top 10 guys on the BBT leaderboard. I have something to say about all those guys. And today, because I'm still in a pretty rotten mood as I have to keep working this deal with this anus at my office until we're done today, I'm going to share with you the dirty little secrets about how each of those guys in the top 10 play poker. I'm not saying I'm actually going to reproduce my actual notes on these guys. But, I'm basically going to tell you here the rub on all of 'em. One by one by one. Now with all the insecure donks out there I'm sure this will have annoying ramifications on some other blogs. And lord knows you could write a fucking treatise on how to beat me at nlh, in particular in blogger tournaments where I have had very little success this year. Who shives a git. I don't. So without further ado, please enjoy today's feature: Looking Into the BBT Top Ten. FYI this will use the top 10 players on the BBT leaderboard as of before last night's Riverchasers tournament. If you don't like that, screw off.

10. IslandBum1. It actually sucks for me to be starting with this guy because he is probably the person I have the least to say about of all of the BBT top 10 players. What I will say is that Island is not much of a bluffer. He plays tight, and if you give him some good cards he generally knows how to make use of them ok. But don't give him good cards, and he simply doesn't have much of a shot. More often that not, this is a guy who makes it to the BBT points, but is just not aggressive enough to make it to the money. He definitely posted a big win in one of the very early BBT events, but since then it's just make the points and then fizzle out early for the most part. Just get out of his way when he's betting big unless you've got a monster, and otherwise push him around when he's not betting big and you're basically good to go.

9. Astin. First off, let me say that Astin is a really cool guy. I met him out in Vegas last week for the first time, and I have nothing but good things to say about him. That said, there are two main points to make about Astin's game, three really even. #1, he gets luckier than many other guys out there with his starting cards. Plain and simple. Now I'm not really trying to say that he is just a lucky guy overall, as that is just not something I believe in overall. But what I think I am saying is that over the relatively small sample that is the last couple months worth of blogger tournaments, the guy has gotten better starting cards than most of us. Without those, he would not be as high as he is. Plain and simple. #2, Astin is highly aggressive. Normally that's a good thing and frankly in general nlh terms this is a positive and not a negative threat. But if you're looking for someone to slowplay into donking their entire stack to you when you flop that full house or nut flush, Astin is a guy you want at your table. Play him just right, and hope he has some kind of a hand to go along with your monster, and he's done. And this leads right into my final point about Astin: It can be hard for him to lay down big starting hands in big spots. Even at the live WPBT tournament last Saturday at the shithole Orleans, very early in the event, Mattazuma minraised Astin's preflop raise, and every player at the table was thinking Aces, or maybe Kings. Astin called the minraise, and then when the flop came three rags and Mattazuma uber-confidently moved allin just like that, Astin must have stared at the board for a full three minutes before finally calling with his pocket Queens. Mattazuma showed Kings and Astin's day in the tournament was nearly over.

8. MiamiDon. Don is actually a pretty solid tournament player IMO, but he has his weaknesses too. Basically, Don is like me in that he's willing to push his sometimes marginal edges harder than he needs to earlier in tournaments than necessary. This means he's the kind of guy who is prone to pushing allin over the top of an EP raiser and a caller of that raise early on in a tournament with, say, pocket Tens or a hand like that, where he could easily get called by AK or AQ and be racing. With Don it's that simple. Take your big hands up against him early and often, and you can take him out because, like me, he plays his own big hands very aggressively, even ones which are likely to be racing against two overs or against a lower pocket pair when he has the overs. That's why when Don does well he tends to do very well in these events, making the money in a full third (4 out of 12) of the times he's made the BBT points at all -- because he plays that same aggressive brand of poker that I and many other blonkeys do. But the fact of the matter is that playing this style makes it harder to survive to the end of these tournaments, even while also making it more likely that when you do survive, you go far.

7. RecessRampage. Alan is a tough player, and for a relatively new guy in our group he has made quite a significant inroad with his success so far in the blonkaments this year. In fact I don't really think Alan has a whole lot of significant weakness in his game. That said, there are ways to take advantage of how Alan plays, in the sense that there are ways to attack anybody no matter how they play. Alan is highly aggressive, as is the most successful general strategy for nlh tournament play. But that aggression means, for example, that Alan is an active blind stealer. Even very early in the blonkaments, Alan will quite often attempt to steal the blinds, and unlike many of the bloggers, Alan will do the blind steal thing from spots other than just on the button. Alan generally prefers the pot-sized steal in tournaments -- which I find to be fairly standard in 6-max cash games but not usual for tournaments where most stealers are sizing the steal-raises with relation to the size of the big blind as opposed to the size of the pot -- and he will try to steal from the button and from the cutoff with abandon with all but his worst hands, even early on in a tournament. I've even observed him stealing from two spots off the button on occasion, although my sense is that he tends to have stronger hands when he steals from that spot than he does from closer to the button. In any event, the best way to play Alan I find is to raise him. Raising him with good hands is all the better, but if he's near the button and is raising, you actually having good cards is optional. That's the thing about Alan, and about many successful aggressive nlh players -- he is aware of his aggression, and he's willing to lay down to raises when he knows his hand is not that strong. In stark contrast to some of the other players on this list, Alan is not normally the type to call off the rest of his chips to a reraise when his hand is not that strong. He's more apt to lay it down and wait for a better spot when he holds a stronger hand.

6. jeciimd. Obviously a lot has been written about jec over the past several weeks, as the only player in the top 52 on the BBT leaderboard who has yet to cash in any BBT tournament. That said, jec is not nearly the "fold to the points" kind of guy as his reputation might lead you to believe. Unlike some of the other well known tighties among our group, jec is not usually near the bottom of the tournament leaderboard when the BBT points are approaching. Rather, he's often gotten off to big stacks early in these events. It's only after that happens that jec's weaknesses start to show IMO. I just don't think jec is aggressive enough around the middle-game of these tournaments. Like some of the other players on this list, the way to get jec is to bet and raise him. Raise preflop, and he's tempted to fold even decent hands like pocket 8s and pocket 9s. Bet or raise him on the flop and he's tempted to fold hands like top pair second kicker, just like that. He's folded KK preflop in big tournaments. He's folded AK on Ace-high flops to just a lead bet from an opponent. That is no way to make it to final tables in strong chip position. Bet and raise the guys who don't want to call, and you can keep them in line.

5. NewinNov. I like Newin's game, probably because like some of the other people on this list, he plays a healthily aggressive game and isn't afraid to push his strong hands early. The way to beat Newin is to play good hands against him, and let him bet too much against you when you are actually ahead. Newin can and will c-bet with the best of us, so you can use that to your advantage and raise him out of pots on the flop with strong hands and/or strong flops. One move that also tends to work with Newin is the old stop and go, where you bet or raise preflop, and then just smooth call Newin's likely aggressive flop bet. Then you can bet the turn and take down a larger pot with a good hand. Newin is probably a bit more aggro than most of the other guys in the top 10, so if you play your cards just right, a well-timed slow-play has a better chance of knocking Newin to the rail early than most. And like Alan and some of other more aggro guys on this list, Newin is good enough to lay a hand down if you give him enough reason to, so always keep that in mind when playing a guy like him and you can do some damage.

4. SummerBabe. Iggy is a good poker player, plain and simple. So why the fuck do you guys keep donking him your chips???!!! I don't understand it. Iggy can hold his own already. The best way to play with Iggy at your table early on is to respect most of his early action I cannot believe some of the bullshit I've seen this guy get handed to him in these tournaments, with people who act like he doesn't have top pair, or who act like he's going to lay down a good hand to their crap. It doesn't hurt that Iggy has gotten incredibly lucky in several of these BBT tournaments of late either, both with being dealt countless pocket Aces as well as hitting countless inside straights on the river, etc. But Iggy is a good combination of aggressive with strong hands, and yet protective of his weaker hands, in particular earlier on in the tournaments. The best way to beat Iggy is to check to him with good hands -- like many of the top BBT guys, he finds it very hard to resist betting if he doesn't think he can win in a showdown and if you are showing him weakness. But make no mistake, Iggy is actually a pretty effing crazy bluffer late in these tournaments, so remember that and don't let him push you off of your good hands. He probably has nothing. And stop spewing your chips all over him with subpar bullshit!!!

3. oossuuu754. As a relatively new poker blogger, oossuuu754 burst onto the scene this year and quickly made quite a bit of noise in the first few BBT tournaments. The thing is, osu hasn't done so well in these tournaments since then. And here's why: he is way way aggressive. Don't get me wrong -- the guy won his way into the WSOP Main Event on his first try, and he's done a lot of damage in the blonkaments, so he clearly knows how to play the game. But he is prone to early exits from these tournaments because, like all of us have experienced at some point or another, he gets too aggressive early with less than great hands, and is willing to go to the mat bluffing, or betting without the nuts. Although this tendency will likely serve him well over time as a nlh tournament player, this is a big reason why he has only moneyed 4 times out of 18 trips into BBT point land in 32 tournaments. Push him or let him bet at you with your strong hands, and osu is as vulnerable as anyone on this list.

2. Buddydank. Buddy is also a relatively new poker blogger, and creator of the kick-ballz live radio broadcast he has been running during the BBT blonkaments, in particular during the Mookie events when he is at his best. After just winning his first-ever blogger tournament in this week's Mookie, Buddy is up to 2nd place on the BBT leaderboard and there's obviously not much you can really say against any of the play of the guys near the top of the leaderboard. But I'm going to anyways. The only thing I can really say about Buddy is that he doesn't seem to quite have the aggression level needed to really excel in these things. I mean, obviously his 2nd place position speaks for itself, and he's been a very consistent BBT point gainer and that is what it is. But, if you watch Buddy play he doesn't seem to quite have that aggressive flair that the biggest moneymakers all have. Typically Buddy is not quite aggressive enough to build a big enough stack early to be able to make a run at the top 2 or 3 spots in the blonkaments. Even when he won his first Mookie this past week, he had to hit a major lucksack pot when down to 4 players to not only get a chip lead but to even stay alive beyond that point. More often than not, with Buddy you can push him off of hands and he will let you know if he has a monster, and is just not quite enough of a threat to make moves with nothing in key late spots to be a huge threat to win.

1. And last but not least, there is Mr. Bayne. Now again I will begin by pointing out that I don't know how much I can possibly critique a guy who has made 10 final tables out of 32 BBT tournaments. That is just incredible and as I've said for many of these top-ranked guys, that record basically speaks for itself. That said, Bayne has shown himself to be a bit of a calling station before the flop early in these tournaments. In my experience if you can reraise Bayne early preflop with strong hands, he doesn't like to lay down to reraises once he's already committed with hands, even hands that you normally have to lay down early on like QJ, etc. So push at him, or push back at him, with your strong hands and you can get an edge on him while building pots in which you are the favorite. Similarly, Bayne is also a big fan of the flop or turn push when he believes no one has hit the board. Don't be afraid to call once in a while if you have a strong hand after the flop and he gets allin, and that's a good way to keep this guy down. Otherwise, just wait till he makes the final table, where Bayne normally is not coming in with a big stack, and you can often take him out there, despite him winning last night's Riverchasers tournament to add to his very impressive BBT resume so far.

OK so there you have it guys. Now go get these clowns out of the way so people like me and this guy can make things interesting with late-stage runs in the BBT standings! Enjoy your weekends, I should be on hitting up the 2-4 6-max cash tables as well as maybe taking a run or two at the 100-seat guarantee on Sunday which I've just decided today for the first time that I might try to play in. It's Father's Day after all, so I should be able to do or play whatever I want, right?

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Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I know exactly what you mean with your coworker. I worked for a CPA firm and recently switched over the corporate jobs so when I had to deal with the auditors from a big CPA firm, I was very respectful because I know what those young guys are going through. But I also know d*ckheads that lash out and take out all their aggression that they received early in their career like a grudge that they can't let go. Those guys are losers. Your coworker's mother is a cunt. :)

I thought you were gonna totally rip all of us in the top 10 to shreds. And actually, I was looking forward to it. No matter who says what about my game, I won't take offense as I'll just consider that as another tool to learn. I can't wait for another blogger gathering where I won't make the same mistake of not going. As I told Don at the table yesterday, I would love to test my mettle with guys like you, Don, Fuel, etc in Vegas.

PS. Losers aren't worth going on tilt over. GL at the tables.

1:17 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Your analysis left out the phrase "suited Donk". Smokkee would appreciate it if you went back and added it.

1:27 AM  
Blogger oossuuu754 said...

Does someone need a hug?

1:27 AM  
Blogger Goat said...

Awesome, now do the top 50. I promise to start an amazing flame war if you dare suggest I have a single flaw in my flawless, flawless game.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I see this turning out like the scene from "Liar Liar" where Jim Carrey starts insulting his boss, and everyone enjoys it so much, they start begging to be insulted.

And that was a smart movie.

1:39 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Just realized when I looked at today's BBT leaderboard you wimped out completely by not looking into BBT Top 11.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Miami Don said...

Good stuff Hoy.

I shall counter.

How to beat Hoy.

Float in postion behind him with medium cards when he raises. Call any flop C-bet he makes whether you hit flop or not.

If you think he missed jam the turn and if he did miss he'll fold, if you have a monster slow play it til he puts you all in and take his chips.

Of course as he said about himself and many of us, he will push a small edge so you have to be prepared to go to the felt if you mix it up with him. Also his open raise range is wider than most of you think so you do need to be careful.

Love ya Hoy!

2:03 AM  
Blogger lj said...

so...are you hiring? cause i know someone just itching to leave biglaw. : )

GREAT post. love it. reading your analysis of the top ten guys (where are the ladies?) makes me so nervous to think about what some peoples' notes on me must be like.

how bout ditching those 2/4 online tables for a few hours and playing some live hands? i know a donkey who might be willing to sit at your table. email me sometime at live = fun!

3:42 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

LOL Bloggaments

3:55 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wide range to open-raise, my own dirty little secret right there....Heh heh.

Nice job Don.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Island Bum said...

hmmmm I think I will take that little blurb under the category of "Room for Improvement" I won't rebute most of what you said but you never know what is behind the cards you never see that don't get called :) but then again could I be misleading with this statement as well. hmmm I love this game ;)

but I must say since I found this group I have to say I have had some of my better times and games (talking total experience) online with y'all. Heck it actually has made me play a bit better in other tourney's on line. :)

I know I may not have been playing on a regular basis as long as most of you guys, but I don't consider myself half bad for doing it regularly for about 3 years with very slow and sporadic start. Of course a game or two every now and then many years ago.

My reads are usually pretty decent but now to act the right with that LOL

and hey you guys even got me into doing a blogger, sparse and pretty new, but it's there LOL

See y'all on the felt.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I take back what I said earlier about testing my mettle with you guys... well, sort of. I'd like to drop Fuel off that list, based on the comment he left on my pocket aces post... he's a sick, sick, sick dude... (and I thought he was only a sick, sick dude)...

6:09 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Check out the new tournament at 2300 EST on Full Tilt. I think they made it just for you!!!!

4:04 PM  
Blogger Astin said...

Great post Hoy. Anybody in the top 10 you covered should be looking at your analysis as means of filling holes in their game.

You forgot a key point of the QQ vs KK hand in the Orleans tourney. I put him on cowboys immediately, and called purely to check my read. I don't have him covered, I don't call. It came in handy when I took a lot of those chips back a few hands later. Can't be afraid to get short-stacked.

Maybe I'll mix it up a bit at the Hoy tonight. Maybe not.

8:33 PM  
Blogger WildDuces234 said...

Im waiting for the Player notes on the 2 - 4 NLH players. ;-)

9:15 PM  
Blogger golden said...

A lawyer? And I thought you were one of the good guys all this time.

10:36 PM  

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