Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Al Rocks the Bloggas, BBT Re-Freeroll, MATH Recap and Hand Reading

What's this? Blinders final tabling an mtt? Blinders even playing in an mtt? That is good stuff, go stop by and congratulate the tight man himself for his biggest-ever online score in the 50-50 on full tilt earlier this week. If there is one thing I love reading about, it is bloggers making their biggest ever tournament scores. I wish that could happen for someone in our group every single day. Other recent career-biggest mtt scores of note include fellow New York bloggers Jordan and Sox, both on full tilt, as well as Miami Don in his recent live run at the Venetian I think it was. I love it guys, congratulations to Blinders, and keep up the good work. I hope I can join you back in that group someday soon!

Anyways, it's official: Al really can hang, and in a big way. I wrote about this yesterday, but in the end Al worked to finalize the plans for the reschedule of the BBT Freeroll after last week's server debacle, which will now be held on this coming Thursday, August 2 at 10pm ET on the off-week for Riverchasers. A big thanks to Al to greasing the skids with full tilt to get that done so quickly amidst the fallout from not one but two consecutive nights of server shutdowns over at full tilt, of which one would expect our Freeroll tournament to be surely among the lowest priorities. But more than that, Al also managed to finagle an additional token of full tilt's appreciation for the poker blogging community and what we do for them: a whopping $650 added to the prize pool to bring the total pool up to an even $2500!! This is the kind of shit that Al likes to pull out of his ass in addition to running his day job by day and his night shift at the bar / on the virtual felt in the off hours. It's amazing, really. That is basically a $2500 freeroll tournament for the 56 players in the rolls for Thursday.

And yeah, let's talk about that 56 players for a minute. To be clear, it was I who first mentioned on Monday morning to Al and Mookie that I was thinking maybe we should just include all 56 players back in the Freeroll rerun this Thursday night at 9pm ET on full tilt. That's why I posted the question yesterday here on the blog, because I had been thinking about it all weekend and was finding myself more and more moved by the arguments in favor of simply rerunning the entire field rather than just rerunning the entire field minus the 5 players who had already busted out last week. To his credit, Al, who himself had busted among the first five eliminations the first time through before the servers melted down, steadfastly declined the option that would have put him and his four donkey brethren back into the BBT Freeroll for another chance. In the end I thought it was the right way to do it, and Mookie agreed and so here we are.

Some people have written some interesting observations in light of this decision to include the 5 bustouts in the re-run from the beginning of the Freeroll. Obviously people can write and think whatever they like and I am all for openness and freedom of ideas in the blogiverse, but to be clear I won't care in the slightest if one of those five guys goes on to win the whole Freeroll. Why would I? The entire first Freeroll tournament was a no-go. As someone said in the comments yesterday, it's really just like a baseball game that gets cancelled in the 3rd inning. It doesn't matter if the score was 15-0 when the skies opened, and it doesn't matter if someone had been ejected from the game for arguing a call early on. Everyone starts it up again anew when the tournament is redone. If you think about it at the extreme I think it shows why this is slightly the most fair solution. Imagine you had just gone allin and lost in the hand before the servers crashed. You got reverse hoyed by me so you were sitting on exactly 1 chip left in your stack when the site froze up. That guy would get to start all over at 3000 starting chips, exactly even with everyone else, while the guy who had busted allin on that same hand is done. It just doesn't make sense.

If we had the capability to have full tilt just start up the Freeroll for us right where it left off last Wednesday night, with everyone having the exact stack we had at the time of the meltdown, then that would be a different story and I would be 100% in support of that option as the most fair outcome following the freeze-up. But since we have to start everyone back over at 3000 chips no matter how many chips you had won (or lost) in the first 45 minutes or so last week, to me it is just barely not as sensible to exclude the 5 bustouts as it is to include them. We're starting over. The whole thing, from scratch. Everybody in therefore makes the most sense to me. So if one of the original bustos now goes on to cash in or even win the BBT Freeroll event, I will be happy for them, just the same as I would be happy about a guy who was 0-for-3 in a rain-cancelled 4th inning game, got to come back for the makeup game and promptly went on to hit four home runs. No harm no foul with that whole thing. And before anyone goes making any assumptions about my own personal interest in this decision, I had chipped up nicely and was in 11th place out of 51 players left when the servers crashed in the first BBT Freeroll last week, so this decision actually goes against my personal interest but it is what I think is right and what I think makes the most sense to do.

So I know the solution isn't perfect. When you have a tournament voided like that, it never is. Some people had busted already, others had big stacks already. But make no mistake -- despite Donka (not to be confused with Wonka)'s comments that under full tilt's tournament cancellation policy we would have paid all the existing players out according to chip counts, in reality if you read full tilt's policy, they would have simply voided all the payouts and returned the buyins to everyone while distributing the five busted players' buyins to everyone else. So basically, if we weren't a bunch of poker writers and players that full tilt really cares about keeping happy, you wouldn't even have any choice in the matter -- in this case since we were in a freeroll tournament, we would have gotten nothing back, no payouts, nothing. Instead, we will be re-running the entire BBT Freeroll, from scratch on Thursday like we have to anyways, and to boot thanks to Al the Miracle Worker we also add another $650 to the prize pool to even it out at a cool 25 hundy. Now that is awesome. So free your schedules up on Thursday night at 10pm ET, and the 56 of you who originally qualified for the event should already be registered for the new rescheduled Freeroll in just a couple short days from now.

OK last night's Mondays at the Hoy tournament saw 26 runners, with me easily dominating the field throughout most of the second half of the event. BBT crusher Bayne even made it all the way to 14th place this week before busting, what would have been one spot short of the BBT points if we were still doing that right now. Wtg my man Bayne!

Anyways as I mentioned, at some point around the middle of this week's MATH, I took over the chip lead from my buddy jeciimd, which was helpful since I suffered two horrible bad beats when allin with at least a 2-to-1 chip lead, but thanks to that stack I was able to weather the storm and still coasted into the final table with a solid chip lead. Sadly, the poker gods would see to it that I could not hold on to cash in the event, as I suffered not one more, not two more, not three more but four more suckouts against me just at the final table, a pile of bad luck that I was just not able to overcome despite my superior play throughout this event. It happens in poker tournaments, but boy does it leave a sour taste when it does. All I know is, by the time it got down to the bubble with just four players left, I felt like I had already eliminated each of the other three remaining players at least twice, and yet there I was still stuggling to officially vanquish them. Eventually of course this recockulous string of bad beats caught up to me, as I found the dreaded JackAce in four-handed play and ended up allin preflop against jec's QQ. Especially funny there is that, after six suckouts against me over maybe a 90-minute period, and absolutely zero suckouts in my favor all night when the best luck I could muster in the whole thing was winning two preflop races to eliminate these two guys from the tournament, this AJ for me was in my small blind, and jec happened to find his QQ in the big blind. So it wasn't enough that I found AJ short-handed with four players at the table, but it was a small blind - big blind special to boot. Thanks for the love, full tilt.

Anyways, so I bubbled in fourth place after ripping up the field all night, leaving pokerbrian322 to end in 3rd place, winning $124.80 for his efforts after holding on following a huge stack in the earlygoing in this thing for his second MATH cash this month. Second place this week went to jeciimd, who made his second or third blogger cash since the end of the BBT in taking down $187.20, and who in his defense is probably the only guy of the last few left who did not suck out on me twice during the tournament. And winning this week's Hoy title is bartonf, who nabbed the $312 first prize in winning his second Hoy of the year, representing his only two cashes in this event in 2007 as well. Batronf overcame around a 3-to-2 chip deficit vs. jec when we got to heads-up play, so well done to Bartonf as well as to our other two cashers on the evening.

And here is the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard, updated including this week's results:

1. Bayne_s $1175
2. Columbo $974
3. Hoyazo $849
4. VinNay $775
5. cmitch $774
6. Iggy $745
7. NewinNov $677
8. Lucko21 $665
9. Waffles $650
10. Astin $616
11. Tripjax $561
12. Julius Goat $507
13. bartonf $492
13. mtnrider81 $492
15. PokerBrian322 $490
16. Chad $485
17. scots_chris $474
18. Fuel55 $458
19. RecessRampage $434
20. Otis $429
21. Miami Don $402
22. jeciimd $382
22. Jordan $382
24. Blinders $379
25. Pirate Wes $372
26. lightning36 $371
27. IslandBum1 $357
28. ChapelncHill $353
29. Zeem $330
30. Mike_Maloney $326
31 oossuuu754 $312
32. leftylu $295
33. Emptyman $288
33. Wigginx $288
35. ScottMc $282
36. Fishy McDonk $277
37. Irongirl $252
37. Manik79 $252
39. Wippy1313 $248
40. Byron $234
41. wwonka69 $216
42. Omega_man_99 $210
43. Pushmonkey72 $208
44. RaisingCayne $198
45. Buddydank $197
46. 23Skidoo $176
47. Santa Clauss $170
48. Iakaris $162
48. Smokkee $162
50. cemfredmd $156
50. NumbBono $156
52. lester000 $147
53. LJ $146
54. Heffmike $145
55. brdweb $143
56. DDionysus $137
57. Patchmaster $135
58. InstantTragedy $129
59. Ganton516 $114
60. Fluxer $110
61. hoops15mt $95
62. Gracie $94
62. Scurvydog $94
64. Shag0103 $84
65. crazdgamer $82
66. PhinCity $80
67. maf212 $78
68. Alceste $71
68. dbirider $71
70. Easycure $67
71. Rake Feeder $53

So there you have this week's MATH results, including three previous moneywinners cashing in again this week, and keeping our running total of total cashers in the MATH this year at 71, ranging from Rake Feeder's $53 total won to Bayne's smashing $1175 in profits, thanks mostly to his big run in the BBT.

In other news, I did request my Neteller withdrawal yesterday, at long last. As I've said here for months, I'll believe that money is coming back to me only when I actually see the balance go up in my actual bank account, and not a moment before. And I am especially happy for a guy like KOD and a dwarf like Iggy, because they are the two members of our group who have been public about having the largest amounts of funds "temporarily unavailable" during this entire Neteller mess. While I didn't exactly lose a ton of money at Neteller last year, it does represent a significant chunk of my total poker bankroll. Let's just put it this way, if I ever see that money again, it will represent substantially more than the total amount I have in all online poker sites combined right now these days. So it ain't nothing. It's something, and if we all get our moolash back, I will consider that a major coup and I am committed to doing something smart and responsible with that money. Guinness for the entire bar on me, anyone?

Before I end for the day here, I wanted to get back briefly to the question I had posed yesterday about reading what my opponent held in his hand. To refresh, I tried a "semisteal" with an open-raise from the button with KJo in a 2-4 6-max nlh cash game, and got called by just the big blind. The flop came AQ6, my opponent checked and I checked behind. The turn brought a King, giving me second pair decent kicker, and my opponent then bet out the minimum of $4 into a $28.50 pot, which I called. The river then brought a second Ace, no flush possible, and my opponent led out for $16 into the then $36.10 pot, as seen here:

and I asked what you would do, and what this guy likely has. As usual the responses ran the gamut and were I think very well thought out and instructive. To me this read was very clear so I will explain where I was coming from. I had put in a steal before the flop. When he called that steal-raise, I had to assume he might be on an Ace. When the flop came Ace-high and my opponent checked, I checked behind because his preflop call was clearly consistent with an Ace of some kind, and in most situations in my experience a player will go for the flop check-raise in that spot, which I did not want to face right now.

It was the turn bet that started really thinning out this guy's range in my head. If he did in fact have an Ace, most players I find who go for a check-raise but then are denied because their opponent checks as well, do not respond to that by underbetting on the turn. If anything they tend to overbet the turn, to try either consciously or subconsciously "make up for" the missed bet on the flop when their planned checkraise failed. At a minimum the guys who missed a checkraise opportunity on the flop will put in a "full" bet on the turn -- i.e., somewhere between half and the whole pot, depending on the exact nature and texture of the flop. This for me has been a very reliable betting pattern overall. So when this opponent came out with the post-oaky $4 bet into a $28.50 pot on the turn, I simply could not see that being any kind of Ace at all. I haven't acted particularly like I'm holding an Ace of any kind, and this guy therefore has no reason to think that any Ace is anything but ahead right now. And the minbet there on the turn, that's not to me a bet that "invites a call" as some of the commenters suggested. I mean, it is in that it's a very small, easily-callable bet, but it's too small and too obvious to call to be "inviting the call". It gets more money into the pot, but almost nothing as it only adds $4 more from my stack. In the end, that $4 turn bet stank to me of weakness, but more than that, of a guy who didn't love the Ace on the flop, but who after I checked it back to him on that flop, thought that whatever he had might be best after all. But not confidently. Just $4 worth of confidence.

So here I'm thinking he might have some kind of a medium pocket pair, or maybe a week Queen of some kind (soooted or otherwise). Then, when the second Ace hits the river, this guy now bets out $16 into a $36 pot. This to me also was not suggestive of him holding a third Ace here. I suppose from a "suck bet" perspective he could have been trying to squeeze another $16 out of me, but much like the turn bet, in the end I think the bet with trip Aces here would have been bigger than the $16 he tossed out there, which represented less than half the pot at the time. If I'm trying to do a suck bet there, I want to bust out with something maybe a little more than half the pot. Maybe $20-$25 into the $36 pot. $16 on the river, after just $4 on the turn and nothing on the flop -- if that's a guy with an Ace, then that is just about the most passively-played top pair and then rivered trips I can ever recall. To me, the $16 river bet actually seemed very consistent with me as well with my previous read. He bet small on the turn and I just called, so he did not think I had part of the Ace or King on the flop or the turn. It stands to reason that the guy holding 99 or Q8 or something similar would make that tiny turn bet and then bet out a little more on the river, thinking more that he was ahead after I elected to just call on the turn.

Given all this, I was right on top of this guy's having some kind of middling holding here, so I had to make the call with second pair and decent kicker. So make your final guesses, and down a bit is what he showed:

Booyah. Very poorly and transparently played by him IMO if you can really put yourself in his shoes and think about what specific holding(s) would have made you play the way that he did.

OK that's all for today. Tonight I am hoping to get in on some more of those FTOPS satellites as I continue to try to play my way in to Events 1, 2 and 7 (I am already in #3). Come check me out if you want to say hi, chat about the BBT Freeroll rerun, or get your ass smashed in in a $5 heads-up nlh sng.

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Blogger lucko said...

Since I was a no show at the first freeroll and am allowed a second chance, I definitely think the bustos should be allowed back as well.

Horrible river bet by that guy. He is in a clear check-call spot.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Poker Brian said...

Howdy Hoy,

Great MATH once again, always fun trying to compete with some very good people in these tourneys.

Grats to Bat and J!

11:59 PM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

It's 2,500 chips for the freeroll btw, Hoy, not 3,000.

12:01 AM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Not to brag, here, but I nailed his hand EXACTLY, and for proof, look at my comment in the last part.

One other thought I had was for some reason, a lot of players think they have "two pair" when the board pairs and they have the second one and tend to bet accordingly. They're right, of course, but all they really have is the second card, not "two pair" in their hand. I thought of Q,10 because I was putting myself in fish thoughts, and his thinking was probably "Hey, I've got a straight draw and a pair, here, why not block bet here and see if I can see another card."
It's not that bad of a turn bet from him, if you think about it. It worked. His river bet was horrible though.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

Hoy...my neteller EFT hit my bank account today so u are in fact correct about the money coming back

6:09 AM  

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