Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More SnG Hotness, and Another MATH Victory

I wasn't even sure I was going to play any poker on Monday night. I was feeling kinda tired and think I might be battling some weak form of bug or something, but in the end I got it up for some Mondays at the Hoy action at 10pm ET on full tilt. It is my tournament, after all, right? In the end, Monday proved to be one of the most profitable evenings I have had in what has proven to be an awesome streak of positive variance that has lasted a good 5 or 6 weeks at this point, and arguably through most of this year. As I logged on around 9:15 and still had a little while to go before the Hoy kicked off, I ended up playing another of those $110 turbo sngs. This would be my third sng, after I won the first one last Friday, and I busted fresh in 10th place on a dumbo setup hand QQ vs KK very early on in my second over the weekend. These sngs are a good time for someone who plays like me because, if you can believe this, in the turbos at this level the blinds increase every 3 minutes. Basically this thing is set up such that it usually lasts under an hour and never possibly much more, and it really tends to reward aggressive play, in particular the people who are good at reading when their opponents are weak and will have to fold to a large reraise.

Anyways, the results of turbo $110 sng #3:

Saaaawwweeeeeeeeeeeet. At $495 a pop, I could play these things all day. If I can just sustain this pace of outright winning two out of every three sng's I play, this'll be like a cash cow.... Seriously though, a couple of these a week is all I will ever be able to handle. I get bored with sng's, I've already been there done that and I can even see the beginnings of it creeping in with me now after just 3 or 4 sngs over the past few days. It's just so easy to donk and run, so easy to just register for the next one and forget that first one ever happened. It's all just too easy, and when you focus as much as I do on the games I'm playing, I guess sometimes it's like I just crack when I'm trying to grind out small profits one at a time at sitngos. Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I'm an mtt guy, I'm a cash guy if that's the game, I'll play any variation of poker available at the big online sites. Even if they are the most formulaically profitable form of poker as others have claimed, sng's burn my soul. I die a little bit every time I play in one. It's just too patterned or something. I can do it in small doses perfectly well, but the more I play 'em, the worse I play 'em.

Anyways, on to the MATH. We ended up with 29 runners, a strong showing which made for a $696 prize pool including a sexy $313 and change for first prize, and cash payouts to the top 4 finishers instead of our usual top 3. I had not been feeling strong over the past few days, but for some reason the onset of the latest MATH tournament had me feeling invigorated. As I have been lately during my hot streak in almost all of the blonkaments, I was ready to play aggressively from the getgo and just ratchet it up from there.

My first big hand did not come until the 30-60 blinds level, when I saw a cheap turn card and hit the top of an inside straight against IslandBum. IB called when I raised his turn bet of 180 up to 840 chips, and then on the river when he checked the action to me, I felt I had to do this since he had played this as if he was holding a real hand:

As you can see, Island called when I reverse hoyed him at the river, and I dragged the big pot with my nuts (that does not sound good when I read it to myself). In the end it was just top pair poor kicker that Island called me down with, but that is the kind of action I tend to get in these blonkaments due to my nature as an aggressive player who seemingly would bluff in that spot with the exact same bets and betting pattern as I did here with the nuts on the turn. In particular I tend to get this action following a post like I did about last week's Mookie when I lost heads-up to Surf amidst a flurry of bluffing and stealing with almost no quality cardage throughout that tournament.

A short while later I raised it up preflop with AQo, called only by Don Morris in the blinds, and found a Queen-high flop with two spades. I found the courage to check it, willing to give the hand up if another spade and significant betting ensued, but otherwise planning to checkraise on the turn, which is exactly what I did. Don folded, and I added another 2100 chips to my stack, which moved into 3rd place among all 22 remaining players at the time (29 started).

Around the middle of the second hour of the MATH, I was faced with a very interesting situation when this action came to me before the flop:

What would you do? It's a toughie. Chad hoying there can mean a lot of different things. Knowing Chad like I do, he gets bored and frustrated in these blonkaments very quickly these days. I figured that could be the Hammer, the JackAce, of course AA, KK or AK but probably also any pocket pair, maybe KQs or JTs or T9s (assuming he would get called in most of these spots and wanting to double or get out). So that bet didn't scare me with my Queens, which I figured had to be ahead of his range. But Surf's call of the big allin from Chad is what scared me. In the end, I figured Surf, who is a very good and intuitive player with a lot of poker playing experience, would also have picked up on Chad's likely weakness, and that therefore there was a significant chance that Surf could be calling here with a hand like AJ or AQ or KQ or 66-JJ that he figures is likely ahead but is actually not all that strong against a ton of action. Thus, I decided that Surf still had enough chips to fold, I figured it was more likely than not that I was ahead, and I definitely wanted to get my Queens heads-up against Chad's probably-weaker-than-expected hand instead of against the likely Ace in Surf's hand. So I moved allin:

Surf thought for a good long while and then folded. Perfect. Chad showed this:

and I dragged another large pot, more significantly eliminating KOD in the process who is probably the most difficult guy to play with at your table of any of the bloggers, especially when he gets some chips. Tournaments or cash btw. And the best part about that hand? Surf lamented in the chat that he would have flopped a set -- presumably pocket Tens? -- but of course he made the right laydown then against my Queens and does not want to be the guy drawing to two outs there. This hand gave me my first lead of the tournament, as I was in 1st of 17 remaining at this time.

With 14 players left, I ended up losing a little less than half my stack to Iakaris when my AK < his QQ, dropping me back down to 7400 chips from over 13k I had been just a few minutes earlier. And then I made my laydown of the tournament. I had 99 in the big blind, the action folded around to the button who put in a standard steal-raise. While I pondered what to do with my 9s, Julius Goat in the small blind did a restealy-lookin thing allin for about 3 times the original button raise. I looked at that action, looked at my pocket 9s, and I could not escape the thought that with two Nines I had to figure I was racing there against at least one of these two guys, and possibly far behind to a higher pair as well. And in that case, why bother taking the chance when I still had chips. In the end the button laid it down so I never got to see what Goat had, but I told him I had 9s and he said we would have been racing. Exactly. So I'm glad I laid down there, except that after I folded, I was left in 9th place of the 10 remaining players with 5675 chips in my pile.

A few hands later I think emptyman busted in 10th, and we had made the final table, with me in 6th of 9:

Within the span of four hands early at the final table, Surf was dealt AQ over wwonka69's KQ allin preflop, and then again he found AA > Mike Maloney's 88 allin preflop, to rocket Surf, a very dangerous player, up to 23k and a slight chip lead over katiemother who held 22k at the time with 7 players remaining. I meanwhile did not see any good starting hands early at the final table, so I was forced to resort to my old favorite move -- stealing. I stole a lot of pots, mostly preflop but a few on the flop as well, and that helped me to keep afloat while some of the other players busted and we all crept slowly towards the top 4 spots who would receive cash payouts this week. At the second break, I was in 5th place of 7 remaining, with a chip stack nowhere near the leaders:

Surf's hot streak continued in the third hour of the MATH, as his JTo rivered a King to make a straight to beat NumbBono's KTs, and Surf once again jumped over 22k and a nice chip lead with now just 6 players remaining.

About 10 minutes into Hour 3, RaisingCayne reraised me allin when I held the JackAce, and I made the questionable move of calling his allin push, mostly because he was one of the very short stacks at the table and I knew he needed to make a move with something. He showed AT and was eliminated, my first knockout of the final table, and I was up to 3rd place of 5 remaining, with 19k in my stack. And a nice job to Cayne for making three final tables and two cashes in his first four MATH tournaments. That right there is an impressive run to start things off, and I'd love to see if that can continue.

We played for a good long time here at the money bubble with 5 players remaining, a good 15 minutes of fairly solid push-or-fold play. Of course I raised and reraised like crazy, including reraises with QQ and TT that I received when 5-handed, and I took a slight chip lead at 22k during this time near the end of the bubble for my first chip lead since about 16 players remaining.

Eventually, Goat busted in 5th place when his AQ failed to hold up against Surf's 99, even when Goat flopped an Ace to take about a 9-to-1 lead. Runner-runner clubs on the turn and river gave Surf the four-flush to eliminate Goat on the bubble. So we were in the cash and i looked forward to the action loosening up a bit and maybe some actual play after a flop or two. The chip counts were roughly 32k for Surf, 22k for me, 19k for katiemother and 13k for swimmom95.

Then i took over.

Katiemother called me allin with her AK racing against my pocket pair here:

which I miraculously held on to win. In fact, in this hand I raised katiemother first and I raised her last before the flop. She raised in the middle and committed herself, and my 51% hand held up. I was now up 43k to 24k for Surf to 19k for swimmom95.

A similar thing happened about 9 hands later, when swimmom95 called my massive preflop overraise here:

and lost:

Although this one was also a race, calling with the AQ there was not strictly necessary in my view, while in the last hand katiemother's call with AK was much more standard for a 4-handed situation. In any event, there you have the secret -- I won two 50-50 races when I needed to once we were down to 4-handed. Both times I was ahead slightly heading into the flop, and more importantly in my mind, both times I was the one putting in the last preflop raise, putting the pressure on my opponent, taking advantage of fold equity and giving myself the best chance to win without needing to go to that race. I'm glad I was rewarded for this play late in the final table of the MATH this week.

In any event, I headed into heads-up play against Surf with a 70k to 17k chip lead, but more than, with an extreme feeling of deja vu. Surf and I just played heads-up for the Mookie last Wednesday, and now here we were again, again with me starting heads-up play with a nice chip lead, but hopefully this one would end differently from the Mook where I lost my chip lead on one big drawing hand and gave up my chance to win my first Mookie title. I was more determined than ever to not let this one slip away.

I think I basically sealed this one up on this hand, when I reraised Surf on the flop here with just a draw although I figured quite possibly the best hand with King-high:

and he folded:

So obviously Surf did have nothing here, as I'm sure at those pot odds he calls even with Ace-high, but the good news was that this hand left him down with just under 7k in chips to my 80k+, and I knew it would take a miracle for me to eff this up. Two hands later came the final hand, my KTo calling allin against Surf's hopeful Hammer, but the King on the flop sealed the hand, and I had won my fifth MATH tournament of the year.

In the end, congratulations to all of our cashers this week: Katiemother in 4th place for $83.52, swimmom95 in 3rd for $125.28, and Surf in second place for $174 after another nice run for the guy who was just saying in his blog that he feels his tournament game is really "dialed in" right now. I have to say I feel just the same way, as I took down the MATH and the $313.20 first prize on the night in my own right, and had a blast doing it along the way.

So here are your updated 2007 MATH moneyboard standings including this week's tournament:

1. Bayne_s $1175
2. Columbo $1168
3. Hoyazo $1162
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
41. swimmom95 $245
42. Byron $234
43. wwonka69 $216
44. Omega_man_99 $210
45. Pushmonkey72 $208
46. Buddydank $197
47. 23Skidoo $176
48. Surflexus $174
49. Santa Clauss $170
50. Iakaris $162
50. Smokkee $162
52. cemfredmd $156
52. NumbBono $156
54. lester000 $147
55. LJ $146
56. Heffmike $145
57. brdweb $143
58. DDionysus $137
59. Patchmaster $135
60. InstantTragedy $129
61. Ganton516 $114
62. Fluxer $110
63. hoops15mt $95
64. Gracie $94
64. Scurvydog $94
66. katiemother $84
66. Shag0103 $84
68. crazdgamer $82
69. PhinCity $80
70. maf212 $78
71. Alceste $71
71. dbirider $71
73. Easycure $67
74. Rake Feeder $53

So congratulations to katiemother and to Surf for clawing their ways on to the 2007 moneyboard for the first time, as well as to swimmom who jumps up 41st place overall with her second cash in the recent past. And with my win this week, check out that logjam up at the top of the moneyboard right now in those first three spots: we've got recent Hoy-killers Bayne, Columbo and myself all separated by a total of only $13. Wow. Looks like it's gonna be a close race as we head out of the summer months to see who can end 2007 atop the moneyboard, and right now it is still anyone's game. Thank you to everyone who came out to play in the MATH this week, and I look forward to another fun (and profitable) time next Monday night at 10pm ET on full tilt!

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Blogger 4dbirds said...

Congrats on the win. If I'd known I was in the money (it was way past my bedtime and I can't multitask poker AND reading), I would have reraised your obvious steals against my blinds. Heck I should have done it anyway. When I can do that, I'll consider myself a 'fair' pokerplayer. It was a blast. BTW in the hand decription where I go out, you list me as Swim mom, who I'm sure is a lovely person, but I'm not her. Again, nice win.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Chad C said...

I was all in like 8 hands in a row after katiesdonkmom (or whatever that name was) called the third re raise all in with AK.

11:15 PM  
Blogger 4dbirds said...

Ok Chad, let it go. I didn't call the third re-raise. I re-raised an all-in so that was a done deal. You took forever to reraise me, forever and I put you on a middling pair. I gambled I admit but hey, even though you had queens, they might as well have been dueces when one of my two overpairs hit. Just crush me next time we play. You're way better than me anyway.

12:16 AM  
Blogger cmitch said...


12:28 AM  
Blogger surflexus said...

Nice re-cap. Enjoyed it as always! (and it was 88, not 10 10)

3:15 AM  
Blogger Island Bum said...

congrats on the win, yeah I took a big dumb chance but hey, top pair with an open ended straight draw, mid straight but heck wanted to gamble and hoped you were going for the same draw and missed and by chance was bluffing. I'm just glad a I have a heck of sense of humor towards poker and don't take the game personally and pull a helmuth lol. And the fact that all y'all are a great bunch to play the felt with.

You know you always see some of these boards go your way after the fold and you say "if i had stayed in ... and all that junk and sometimes you take the chance and come out ahead and hope you read the table correctly. If not, lesson learned and file it away for next time.

5:46 AM  

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