Monday, July 02, 2007

Big Gamin' It Up and Making a Run in the BBT

I am the fourth-best poker-playing poker blogger.

This is something I have known for a long time, but it finally became official on Sunday night with the latest Big Game hosted by Miami Don, which was also the final event in the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments. And this conclusion is not just based on this year's final BBT leaderboard -- if you will recall, I also finished in 4th place in last year's WPBT annual Player of the Year standings, back when it was hosted by B-Diddy. So clearly, I am the fourth-best poker player among the bloggers. And what an honor that is, let me tell you.

Hey before I forget, tonight is Mondays at the Hoy again on full tilt!

With the BBT coming to an end this weekend with the Big Game, I cannot say how much I am looking forward to tonight, the first of the big regular weekly blonkaments that will not be a part of any formal scoring system, no points to be awarded for just hanging around for the first 80 minutes without doing much of anything, no sitting out and still making "the points". Believe me, I have loved the BBT. I have a post coming this week about the challenge as a whole and my feelings about it, but suffice it to say I have had an incredibly fun time making a late run in this thing, and as you know from my focus on the WPBT list from 2006, I enjoy setting these kinds of series-long goals and then doing what I can to win them. I play most of the regular tournaments anyways, so this was a real pleasure for me across the board. But I've made no bones about my dissatisfaction with the scoring system for the BBT, and I say again I am really looking forward to playing with the group again starting tonight without that whole thing hanging over everyone's head. And the lack of BBT scoring should also add to the quality of Buddydank's radio show, which I understand is going to continue unfettered now that the BBT is done with, which is all good since Buddy and Sean are really getting good at that shit, if I don't say so myself.

So come one and come all tonight to the first MATH tournament after the end of the BBT! No more points, no more tightydonk play on a regular weekly basis. The bubble will once again be The Bubble, where if you go out there you get nothing. Nada. No points. No glory. No movement up the leaderboard. Just. Plain. Nothing. The way any bubble should be. And no points for donkeying around for an hour and then open-pushing with sooted donkjunk and busting in 31st place out of 62 players. Bah!

OK so on to last night's Big Game, which had 45 runners for a juicy $2925 prize pool payable to the top 5 finishers. I got a bad omen early on when I busted out of the 50-50 tournament on Sunday night on this wonderful river allin play:

Gotta love losing with a rivered nut flush on an unpaired board -- if that ain't the way to bust early from an mtt, then I don't know what is.

The early story of my Big Game run on Sunday was dominated more by big laydowns than by any big plays from me, including in one case where I laid down QQ preflop after Lucko raised about 2x allin on a very short stack, and I 3x reraised his raise from utg+1, hoping to isolate and eliminate the guy who will be playing in the WSOP Main Event in just a few short days. Then ChapelncHill minre-reraised me from the button, and immediately the bells went off. As I told him in the chat, if he had moved allin I probably call there and assume I'm dominating or slightly ahead in a race to AK. But with the min re-reraise, that thing just plain stank. A minraise is one thing, and from many players can mean any of a few different things. A min-reraise is usually indicative of a strong hand in my experience, although there are people who will min-reraise when they think someone is just trying to steal a pot with air on a naked steal-raise. But the min re-reraise, I just didn't see how that could be anything other than AA or KK. So I laid it down, Chapel showed Aces and I breathed a sigh of relief there, and some thanks to Chapel for his min re-reraise play which otherwise might have really donked me out early of this thing.

Here was an interesting laydown I made early vs. Don. What do you think of me laying this down here?

The more mtt's I've played, the less enthused I have become about hands like this when I'm facing action from another player and the board looks juicy. Nowadays I like to either be the aggressor in these pots, or I like to have top pair or an overpair along with the oesd in order to really feel comfortable commiting a lot of chips or getting myself into a situation where it appears I'm going to need to commit a lot of chips against a good player.

My first nice-sized pot did not occur until the end of the first hour, when I called a preflop raise with AQo, the flop came QJx and my large-stacked opponent bet the size of the pot. I thought for a few and then reraised allin, to which he folded. That pot got me up from my lows of the tournament of around 1350 chips (we started with 3000 chips) up closer to 2500 and at least gave me some semblance of chips to work with. Later on about halfway through the second hour, KOD push-raised into my pocket Aces here:

which basically knocked out one of the toughest players left in the field, and which doubled me up to over 6300 chips, easily my high to that point in the tournament, which landed me in 9th place of 22 players remaining right after the BBT points bubble had just burst since we had 45 runners to begin with on the night.

Despite this, a few failed steal attempts later and here I was, in 17th place out of 17 players remaining in the Big Game:

Nonetheless, I persevered, determined to make the most of my chance to move up a bit more on the leaderboard on the last day of the BBT challenge, and I spent the better part of the next half hour or so in Hour 2 stealing, stealing and stealing some more, mostly from DDionysus who had the unfortunate luck of sitting to my immediate left on a night when I was a blinds- and antes-stealing machine as this tournament wore on. Once again, I did not get many good starting cards, again requiring me to work my tail off for mostly every pot I won, and among other things that meant a whole lot of stealing was going on from my direction. And on the strength of just a bunch of steals through the second half of the second hour, I entered break #2 in 7th place of 15 remaining players.

Shortly into Hour 3 I was lucky enough to get a quick double when Alan open-pushed his KJo into my AKs, which jumped me up to 5th place of 13 left as the final table bubble loomed closer and closer. I made a huge call a short while later against DonkeyPuncher here:

only to find that my read was right, I was ahead with top-and-third card against second-and-fourth card for around a 60-40 favorite, which may seem fairly close but is actually in my view anyways far from being a race. It held up:

and I was 3rd of 12 left. About 10 minutes later, here was the latest Big Game final table:

From here, I did find pocket Kings once at the final table, which I got paid well on before inducing a fold from one of my opponents, and I also managed to push DaBag (Riverchasers dominator at the top of their leaderboard) off of a hand in a big pot with a flop checkraise where I actually had just an open-ended straight draw but I thought I had a good chance of inducing a fold. Otherwise, it was just steal, steal and more steal for me, while biding my time and trying not to get overcommitted without a real hand as the other players started dropping out and we inched towards the cash bubble which would be between 6 and 5 players left.

Eventually Smokkee bubbled, dropping out in 6th place. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but my recollection is that it was not a bad beat of any kind, just a regular old loss. But hey since I don't remember the details I won't try to guess what it was here from memory -- I know how some of you clowns tend to get when I get an insignifcant detail of a hand history wrong. Which reminds me btw, over the past 6 months or so there have probably been beteween 5 and 10 situations where I have been accused of getting the details of a particular hand history wrong on this blog. Although a year ago that would have driven me absolutely apeshit, at this point in time I just don't care anymore. As I've said many times, I take enough time writing this blog and checking it for spelling errors, etc. that I just don't have the time -- or more accurately I do not choose to make the time -- to check every detail of every hand history. Suffice it to say -- and you can do whatever you want with this information -- that of the 5-10 times I have been accused of posting inaccurate hand history information, I have always reviewed my own hand histories and screen shots, and on a good half of those occasions it turns out that I was right (or more right) all along. But I don't bother repeating myself here or saying I told you so, even as my blogger friends urge me to post the screenshots proving my accuracy and the inaccuracy of whoever it is who is commenting on my hand history not being right. My approach nowadays is to let people say whatever they want -- I've never removed a comment from my blog for any reason, even the assholes people with less than optimal levels of tact, but I'm not here to show anyone up. I just want you to know, I read all of these comments about my hand histories, and sometimes the commenters are right -- without exception in details that are not material to the discussion being had if you actually think about it -- and in many cases the commenters are wrong, often I'm sure with knowledge of their being wrong, and I'm fine with that without having to show proof to everyone. Even though I have the proof in the form of hand histories and screenshots. I'm here in the end to entertain and maybe help some people think through some good poker analysis, and I don't need to show people up when they post inaccurate statements or make inaccurate accusations on my blog. But I know who you fonkeys are, make no mistake....

Anyways, back to the Big Game. So Smokkee bubbled, and I was 2nd place of 5 remaining players, with all 5 of us getting paid nicely out of that fluffy prize pool for our efforts. A few minutes into 5-handed play, DDionysus sucked out a disgusting rivered four-flush against DaBag to knock DaBag out of the tournament, leaving us with just 4 left and me still in 2nd place among the 4.

At one point shortly after DaBag's elimination, DDionysus raised it up utg, and I look down in the big blind to find pocket 9s. I move in, and DDionysus went ahead and make the what I consider to be hideous allin call with my nemesis hand here:

and for once I was able to overcome the JackAce in a spot where I always seem to lose:

And then a few minutes later, sensing a little bit of tilt-raising here:

I decided to make the call with my A7o, and although it required a resuck, I did win the hand on another great read from me to knock DDionysus out in 4th place:

And this was where my luck started to fail me. I had not dished out or been forced to suffer a single really bad beat in a big spot all through the tournament so far, which for me is all I can ask for as far as I'm concerned. But then I saw a free flop heads-up against Trip with my unsoooted Mookie (T8o), and the flop came down 982 with two hearts. I bet around 3/4 the size of the pot with my second pair decent kicker, and Trip called quickly. Too quickly. The call just screamed of some kind of a draw. So much so that when an offsuit 3 fell on the turn and Trip quickly overbet the pot allin, I just knew he was in fact on a draw and had missed with that harmless-looking 3, so I had to make the big big call here:

Oh poker gods, I supplicate my gods-fearing self before you. 21 outs for Trip, one card left to come, with me about a 56-44 favorite. Oh please oh please oh please ohpleaseohpleaseohplease:

F it! That one hurt. This also made 3-handed play continue further, which ended up lasting a good half hour or so before this hand happened, another beauty for me, courtesy of the poker anusgods. Here, RakeFeeder has raised it up preflop utg, and I reverse hoyed him from the big blind with pocket 9s.

The longer Rake waited before making a decision, the more I knew I was ahead, and then well ahead. Eventually I don't know if it was my chat or something else that did it, and I certainly don't know what he can think I am moving in with here in this spot that his hand is ahead of, but he made the big call here:

Ugh. I am just embarrassed to even be part of this hand. Naturally here is how it ended:

So no Ace. Just a plain old rivered four-flush, to best my own 9-high four-flush as it is. That was a terrible suckout right there, and I was pissed. Nonetheless, within maybe 5 minutes I had managed to get myself right back to the same chip position I had been in before that big suckout with a couple of big hands on the flop and a few big preflop steals, determined to get my chips back from Rake Feeder whom I viewed as just holding them temporarily. Happily I got my chance around 10 minutes later, when I raised utg with pocket Jacks. Rake took my utg raise as weakness, and pushed allin about twice my original bet, which I think he had to assume I was going to call at 2-1 with almost any hand that was good enough to raise with to begin with, unless I was on a stone bluff:

I don't know. All I do know is that I called, and he showed me this:

Wow. Mercifully this time my dominating hand held up, and I had taken Rake out and more importantly I had won back most of my chips from the earlier suckout.

This play got me started off in heads-up play with Tripjax with a 94k to 40k chip advantage. It was late and I was still a bit frustrated from losing two big huge pots within the final 4 players, both of which had me as a somewhat significant favorite, and both of which were against the last two players I ended up facing in this tournament. In the end I stole some pots heads-up, and Trip raised me allin out of a few pots on flops which really helped his stack, and eventually he had a slight lead when I raised with a soooted King acting first before the flop. Trip pushed in on me for about the 5th time out of 10 heads-up hands or something, and even though I had a shit kicker, I made the poor decision to call with my sooted King and see what happens:


and IGH in second place overall.

Congratulations Tripjax for winning the latest Big Game, and the last Big Game of the BBT challenge:

And that my friends is all she wrote for the latest Big Game. I will definitely have a post up later this week on the BBT in general and my feelings on it as a whole. The Hammer Family is also on our annual July 4 week beach vacation starting on Tuesday of this week, so the posting may be a bit less regular than usual, but you guys know me, I will try to post while I'm away because I typically enjoy writing about poker and blogging in general. But either way I will be back in da house next Monday, business as usual. And when you can, take a look at the final, updated BBT Leaderboard from Al, the brainchild behind the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments, which shows me, thanks to my last-week run of making the BBT points in all four events, getting near the final table in the MATH and the Mookie, winning Riverchasers and then Sunday's 2nd place and $700+ payout in the Big Game, having ended the season way up in 4th place, which I believe means I have won the Nintendo Wii game system. Interesting. Anybody have any ideas on how I can convince Hammer Wife to let me bring this new piece of technology into the Hammer House? I gotta tell you guys, I'm just not seeing it happening. But I'm thrilled to have done as well as I did, and to win a prize like the Wii is just awesome.

But more on that and on the BBT in general later in the week. For now I will post this badboy, say goodbye for a much-needed vacation which I bet I will post during from time to time, and again I'll see you tonight for the first non-BBT Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt (password is "hammer" as always)!!

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Blogger cmitch said...


1:18 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

If I get a token in time, I'll be there again tonight to push my AT into your AK again.'s July 2nd. 7.2.07. Hammer Day Redux. Any special plans for the MATH tonight?

1:40 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Regarding your fold with the bottom pair and OESD to Don's bet on the flop, I can see this as a good spot to check-raise a committing amount a certain percentage of the time, but I certainly have no problem with you folding.

I would fold a majority of the time here, but against a player like Don who is capable of making a good laydown, I would check-raise maybe one time in ten. Check-raising all-in makes it look too much like a drawing hand; Don would know whether or not you are committing yourself to a pot, so an amount like 1100 or so seems about right.

2:08 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

It's crazy how quickly I forget hands. The "big hand" between us - not the last one but the flush against your 8's - I completely messed up how I remembered the hand. I actually feel much better about my play seeing the screen shot than I did this morning when I tried to remember the hand. For whatever reason, when trying to recall the hand, I was thinking I held the unders, but i didn't. Glad to see that.

It's interesting...I had been having slight problems with my connection most of the night...nothing that caused me to be completely timed out, but almost always a delay from when I pushed the button to when the action showed up. So for the most part, any quick action on my part was less of a true quick decision and more of a desire to not get timed out. I was just trying to make sure my action took and I guess in those spots there was no delay so it happened quickly. Though I had made my decision very quickly, in most situations with a nice connection, I'll take a few more seconds to collect my thoughts.

I like my play in that hand and I can't question your decision. I'm not sure what I do in your spot would just be a tough decision to make. The thing about hands like yours in tough calling situations is sometimes you just have to play your gut feeling. For good or bad, right or wrong, you just have to go with what feels right. Sometimes you will look like a king and other times you'll feel like a fool for calling off chips in what turns out to be a bad situation. In this instance you made the right call, but I put myself in a situation to instigate a fold, double up on a huge hand if I hit, or die trying.

Once I nailed that big draw, I really liked my chances of taking it down. It felt good to mix up my game from laid back to aggro as needed.

For what it's worth, I tried to avoid you as much as possible. It was tough playing 3 handed with you involved. I did not like playing 3 handed with you, thought the banter and chat was good stuff. Still the actual poker was painful. Rat bastage.

Good gamin' and sorry for the long comment.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah Trip I agree with everything you said there. FWIW I probably don't call -- even as a 56% favorite -- if I had known you had nailed both an open ended straight and a flush draw with that turn card, which I could not possibly put you on being that the turn made a backdoor flush possible and not a flush draw that came on the flop. I had you on a drawing hand, and then your allin on the turn told me I was right that you had "missed" your draw on the turn. Little did I know that you missed your draw but actually added 7 more outs to the equation for you. Plus the two overs as well. Nice hand and nicely played overall in the tournament.

2:26 AM  
Blogger PokahDave said...

Hideous play calling with the A-Jo? .....and ridiculous suck outs. I guess that it kills you when somebody makes a call to any of your raises and/or bets. God forbid anybody thinks your stealing or re-stealing. sound like a Megalomaniac......

2:27 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I am the actual guy Phil Hellmuth was writing about when he talked about Megalomaniacs.

3:33 AM  
Blogger Rake Feeder said...

Nice match Hoy! The 3 way game was a lot of fun.

3:36 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Congrats on being the 4th Best Poker Playing Blogger!

4:08 AM  
Blogger Chapel said...

Your quite welcome for the mini-raise! Glad I was able to help you get there, or at least not prevent you from getting there. Had TripJax not been there I would have railed and supported you! Very nice game. Especially at the final 4 marathon. Hidiously entertaining at times. See ya tonight! -Chapel-

5:05 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

When it was down to 2 tables and you were at my table, watching you play really made me realize one thing I already knew... that you are a true tournament playa and I'm a pretender. I can hold my own to an extent but I can't make moves or reads like you do. For that, as much as I was disappointed to be knocked out of the top 5 in the BBT, I certainly don't deserve to be there and you clearly do. I look forward to the next BBT series with hopefully some change in scoring to weigh a lot more on money made/ROI coupled with some formula for incorporating the number of entrants. gg and enjoy your vacation.

8:59 AM  
Blogger PokahDave said...

Despite the fact that you have some kind of problem with me...I think that you, Al, and Mookie all did an awesome job in the BBT. You had a great run at the end...

9:08 PM  
Blogger Littleacornman said...

"I am the fourth-best poker-playing poker blogger."

You forgot to say "on this side of the pond" :-)))

Seriously though,well played indeed Hoy.

9:40 PM  
Blogger lj said...

if you can't convince hammer wife to allow the wii in, i'd be happy to purchase it off your hands. wouldn't it be great for hammer kids, though?

10:44 PM  
Blogger Nikademus said...

With the 98, I would have folded as well, after he bets behind you. Where you may have gone wrong, however, is that the screen shot appears that you checked that flop to him. I probably would have led at it. Checking it just begs him to bet it regardless of what he's holding.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Nikademus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:25 AM  
Blogger stlphily said...

I have a question that is off the subject. I signed up and deposited money via epassporte. Quite a lot easier than when i tried last January btw. I've been fortunate enough to have some nice scores in some 24+2 mtt's (1st and 4th, get loouud). Anyhow, how do you get around the 300 max withdrawal. I signed up for their debit card (great way to sandbag money from the old lady for some live play) and verified my checking account. Is the only way to have ftp send a check for large amounts, which seems like a lot of rigamorole and takes forever. Thanks for your help, or anyones.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Dremeber said...

Whooh, what a long post!
But a great blog, will certainly come back more often.

Also congrats.

Feel free to add your blog to the poker bloglisting, it would increase the quality of this listing a lot.

Also interested in exchanging links, you can find my blog in my profile. I don't want to spam your comments.


2:30 AM  
Blogger WildDuces234 said...

lol Love the site, where is MATH TONIGHT??? I just wanted to stop by and ask if you'ed add my site to your blog site list. Love your blog and read it daily, I have been posting a lot as of late. if you want to read about how I went broke, against a maniac. i have screen shots too!

1:15 PM  

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