Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MATH Recap, Weekend Update and Bad Decision / Good Decision

On Monday night I made a really bad decision in my attempt to satellite in to the evening's FTOPS Event #7, the $1000 buyin 6-max nlh event, and in doing so I broke basically my #1 cardinal rule of playing poker: I made it personal. I took the game personally, and as usually happens when you do that, your own game goes south as a result. At the cash tables this is bad enough, but playing this way in a tournament is, in a word, suicide. Unless you get really lucky, you're going to get chased down one too many times if you continually target a specific individual at the table, rather than just playing optimal, winning poker across the board. This one guy sucked out on me early in the FTOPS #7 satellite, and then he instacalled two rereraises in front of him preflop with AK. Of course he hit a K on the turn to beat my pocket Jacks, and for some reason I was furious. I haven't tilted much recently, as I've been winning for the most part, but for whatever reason I was really annoyed at losing all those chips early. So I decided to make it my sole purpose in that satellite to bust the Ak guy, the very first chance I got.

I got my chance soon enough. I find AQ in middle position, I open raise it 3x, and he reraises me 3x more from late position. Now, I know I'm beat here. Is he reraising me with AJ or AT here? Come on. It's either a pair or it's AK (again, second time against a good hand of mine in 25 minutes of this tournament), and wherever it falls on that spectrum, I am behind with AQ, possibly very behind if it's QQ, KK, AA or AK. Nonetheless, I donkishly move allin. I want this guy to call me with his (hopefully) underpair. I want to be racing against him early. I actually am trying to get into a race early on for all my chips in a $200 buyin tournament against a donkey when I know I am slightly behind as it is! Who the F is this guy and where did he come from? I laugh at you when you make this move, but I don't do that myself. Do I? Well, there's the rub. I got pissed off at a specific individual, and I dedicated my play to "getting my chips back". Nice move, Hoy. That's the donkiest thing you can do at the table, and usually I'm the guy laughing at the fonkey who makes poker into a personal game. In tournaments especially, that guy can never win. And as I've written about here several times in the past, once you're in that mentality, even if you do succeed in knocking out your nemesis and getting back into contention it is exceedingly hard (harder than anyone ever realizes at the time, for sure) to suddenly ratchet your game back down to proper play from that point on. Almost nobody I know can pull that off, and I've seen countless examples like that both inside and outside of the blonkaments where someone jumps out to an early lead playing crazy but simply can't hold on and ends up well short of the final table, even in a small event.

So you never, ever make it personal in poker. Personal play = suboptimal play. Period. In that split second on Monday night, the only split second that actually matters, I was actually ready, willing and able to take a guarantee at less than a 50-50 chance, including potential domination, for a small chance to bust a guy who I had perceived as pissing me the hell off. I let it get personal. And it cost me, as I called allin with AQ against AK, and IGH very early in the sat to FTOPS #7.

This is one of the cardinal rules of poker, just like in New Jack City. It is always business, and it's never personal. If you let it get personal, if you start letting personal feelings and desires for "revenge" against someone who "screwed" you dictate your decisions at the table, you not only are taking the game too seriously, but you are by definition playing suboptimally. It's one thing to focus on attacking the weak players at your table. But it's a whole other thing to take on bad bets and call raises with poor equity just because of a personal vendetta, especially one against a guy who played bad but sucked out on you.

All this talk about my bad decision in the FTOPS #7 satellite leads me as well to my good decision from last night. So I failed in my couple of attempts to qualify for FTOPS 7. There it was, $1060 to buy in, Monday night at 9pm ET. I could have bought in for cash. It so happens that my roll is close to the biggst it's been in months, thanks to a nice long run of good cash game and tournament play, resulting in several nice wins for me of late. I even won a $1016 pot in 2-4 6max nlh cash hand over the weekend from the beach, when I flopped bottom set with 33 on a JT3 board, I bet out, got raised by AA and then allin by AJ, which I called (expecting fully to be set-over-setted, make no mistake) and so did the AA. Turn is a T, giving me a boat, and I win! Anyways, I turned the idea of just buying in directly over and over in my head, and Hammer Wife was even encouraging me to just buy in after seeing how pissed I was about losing quick in the sat. I thought about it. Do I really want to drop a grand on a big buyin mtt? Yes I am confident I can cash in the tournament -- 6max is probably my best overall game, I just cashed in the 6max event at the WSOP which wasa bigger buyin than this, and I have been on fire lately at both the cash and tournament tables.

But in the end it just comes down to bankroll management. Although my roll at full tilt is fairly flush right now, it ain't so flush that $1060 doesn't put a nice, noticeable dent in it. If I'm going to continue playing this game, I need to be ever vigilant about bankroll management. Now, while I do think that KOD's recent post on this topic is probably a bit rosy in recommending 100 buyins for every mtt you enter, there is no doubt that BR management is a key skill for any successful poker player. Any one of 'em. And now let's take an honest look at ourselves here. Yes I am good at poker, and yes I'm on an awesome streak lately. But what really are my odds of cashing in the $1000 buyin FTOPS event on Monday night? 5%? 10%? 20%? 25%? You can't realistically go higher than that, and I would argue that even in the 20s is just not factually accurate (though I appreciate it if anyone out there does think that about me). So how do I justify dropping a large on a tournament that I have probably a 5-15% chance of cashing in at all, and much lower than that of a chance of a truly meaningful cash (i.e., at least 3 or 4 times the buyin at the 1k level)?

Answer: I can't. I can't justify that kind of a buyin, even from a bankroll on full tilt alone that would support me buying in directly and not having the rest of my ability to play hindered in any meaninful way, at least not immediately. Anyways, long story short, I resisted the tempation, I did not play in FTOPS #7 on Monday, and the way I see it, I am $1060 richer today as a result. One bad decision in the satellite, and one good decision from a bankroll management perspective not to buy in directly to what would have been by far the largest individual tournament buyin I have ever made for any online event. Bad for me, good for me, and I can live with the results overall.

OK real quick, last night we had 25 runners come out for the weekly MATH tournament, making for a nice round $600 prize pool, and payouts to the top 3 spots of $300, $180 and $120 respectively. Nice and easy with the amounts for a change. The donkeys were out in force for sure in this week's Hoy, as I personally lost to the JackAce allin preflop twice, to QJ allin preflop once, all with better hands of course, and I lost KQs and 99 twice as well allin preflop in various circumstances. Hard to survive when you're up against this kind of stuff again and again and again, night after night, blonkament after blonkament. With how successful I've been outside of the blogger events, sometimes I wonder why the eff I keep playing these things two or three times a week. Who knows? I guess I enjoy the camaraderie, the bragging rights, whatever it is. But my lord, when I have to outrun AJ and KT and QJ and 66 and 88 and 33 all night long, even if I am in ahead every single time, there's just too much opportunity to get donked to be able to persist for the 3+ hours it takes to win one of these things.

In the end it was swimmom95, who knocked me out when I ran my AT into her pocket Aces in the big blind at the final table, taking third place for $120 cash. Islandbum1 took 2nd place and the $180 cash prize, and first place and this week's MATH title goes to Pirate Wes, who also captured the $300 first prize after playing his typical solid, close-to-the-vest game early on, and ramping up the aggression where needed to take the tournament down as well as bragging rights for the next week. Congratulations to all of our cashers this week, and following is the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard standings, including this week's event:

1. Bayne_s $1175
2. Columbo $1168
3. Hoyazo $849
4. VinNay $775
5. cmitch $774
6. Iggy $745
7. NewinNov $677
8. Pirate Wes $672
9. Lucko21 $665
10. Waffles $650
11. Astin $616
12. Tripjax $561
13. IslandBum1 $527
14. RaisingCayne $522
15. Julius Goat $507
16. bartonf $492
16. mtnrider81 $492
18. PokerBrian322 $490
19. Chad $485
20. scots_chris $474
21. Fuel55 $458
22. Mike_Maloney $456
23. RecessRampage $434
24. Otis $429
25. Miami Don $402
26. jeciimd $382
26. Jordan $382
28. Blinders $379
29. lightning36 $371
30. ChapelncHill $353
31. Zeem $330
32 oossuuu754 $312
33. leftylu $295
34. Emptyman $288
34. Wigginx $288
36. ScottMc $282
37. Fishy McDonk $277
38. Irongirl $252
38. Manik79 $252
40. Wippy1313 $248
40. Byron $234
42. wwonka69 $216
43. Omega_man_99 $210
44. Pushmonkey72 $208
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. swimmom95 $120
60. Ganton516 $114
61. Fluxer $110
62. hoops15mt $95
63. Gracie $94
63. Scurvydog $94
65. Shag0103 $84
66. crazdgamer $82
67. PhinCity $80
68. maf212 $78
69. Alceste $71
69. dbirider $71
71. Easycure $67
72. Rake Feeder $53

Quickly, in other news, I lost with KK to AA twice now over the weekend. Once was in FTOPS #3 on Friday night, first hour, and then again in Monday night's 14k 6max at 11pm ET, that one in the third hour. Sucks. In FTOPS #3 on Friday, I knew it too! He put in the third raise preflop, and I immediately knew my KK was no good. I was so sure in fact that I opted to just smooth call that third preflop raise, willing to give myself an opportunity to not go broke if an Ace fell on the flop as it always seems to do when I can't get someone to lay down when I have a pair of Kings preflop. But then the flop came JT3, and suddenly I couldn't beat AA, JJ or even TT anymore. This guy basically would have had to have exactly QQ or else I was beat as far as my preflop range I put him on. But even seeing this shitass flop I still didnt listen to myself and I moved allin anyways. He instacalled with AA and IGH. Nice play, Shakespeare!

I did win another token frenzy this weekend at least, on Saturday night I believe. That gives me now five $75 tokens sitting in my account in addition to some decent cash. I haven't been on a run like this in the frenzy since they first started running it several months ago.

What else? The beach as always was awesome. Even better than previous times I've been out there. There is just something about seeing your young children at the beach that just cannot be beat. We took my 3-year-old M. to an amusement park to ride some kiddie rides, to an arcade where I played some racing game with her that bored her to tears. But then I put her on that dancing game where it tells you which steps to take and you do them, and she was freakin out. Again, seeing a young child when they first discover the wonders of something like an amusement part or an arcade is like the Matrix -- it's a feeling that you just have to experience for yourself, and it simply cannot be explained or understood through anything other than first-hand experience. All the fun times even more that made up for M barfing all over my car during the ride home, after complaining for an hour that her stomach was bothering her, and me ordering her to just close her eyes and go to sleep all that time and her stomach would feel better. Good times I tell ya.

Tonight I may or may not buy in directly to the FTOPS Event #8 in Omaha 8 or Better. I have failed to qualify for this event out of probably 6 satellites, final tabling 4 of them but never managing to win the winner-take-all FTOPS seat prize, which is the first time out of the last three FTOPS series that I have not qualified for the O8 event. I guess I'll see how I feel at the time, and maybe buy in and maybe not. Either way I should be online at some point this evening to hopefully resume my hot streak after a pretty much fruitless night at the virtual tables on Monday at full tilt.

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Blogger Chad C said...

I've seen guys recommend 200 buy ins per tournament! I made it clear though that LAWYERS like yourself do not need to follow any bankroll management really because you can always re-load.

3:37 AM  
Blogger Wippy1313 said...

Not making it personal has been one of the hardest things for me to learn. Your poker game mirrors your real life and I am definitely going to make it personal if you cut me off, take too long in the drive-thru or run a restaurant and fail to replace the toilet paper. So why not make it personal when some jack-ace calls a re-re-raise with AK? Yeah...that's why I'm at .29 cents in my FT account.

GL in fantasy football.

3:55 AM  
Blogger lj said...

GREAT POST. i have been waiting all day for this!

you are dead on about not making it personal, and it can be very difficult. part of the reason why i don't want you, and especially don't want bayne at my cash table.

lately i've also been saying that i'm not going to play in blogger events, but have convinced myself and/or succumbed to the tiniest bit of peer pressure (who would do such a thing?) and played.

5 $75 tokens, that is awesome! i have tried numerous times to win those, and just can't do it. i don't remember which blogger has said they are the easiest tournament on ftp, but i wholeheartedly disagree, so well done.

i try to bank up tier 1 tokens, but it seems i usually spend them as fast as i make them. : )

i am trying to convince myself not to buy directly into o8 event if i happen to make it home in time. if you end up playing i will definitely holler at you on the rail as you go deep.

4:11 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

screw FTOPS!

go play some roshambo on UBet. you won't ever run KK into AA there. but, you might run your scissors into a rock.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Just a thought - I would think a guy like you could get staked fairly easily if you want to play the big buy in FTOPS. Just throw it out there on the blog and say you will accept transfers up to an hour before the tournament start as long as they comment on the blog. Maybe controlling how much to get staked might be hard but again, just a thought.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Great post Hoy on tilt and on bankroll managment. Ditto what LJ said. Yesterday's post was a tease and didnt get my fix satisfied.

Im taking a few weeks off from blogger tourneys (except perhaps the donkament) and have been playing a lot of Omaha 8: Teaching myself limit and working on perfecting my PL08. Been a great change of pace.

8:03 AM  
Blogger ASHMC2 said...

I coined it Vendetta Tilt in one of my posts and you’re right it is definitely –EV.

Later, Ash out…

2:54 PM  

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