Friday, August 17, 2007

Turning Back to SNGs, and My Fantasy Football Invitation

Thursday night did not start out like I expected. Hammerwife had told me over the phone earlier in the day that she had banged her toe really hard and was in a lot of pain. She normally has a high tolerance for pain so I figured something was up, but I was not prepared for what I saw when I walked in from the office on Thursday evening. Hammerwife's two outside toes on her right foot had gone basically completely purple, and she really could not walk, pretty much at all. She's going to be fine, but it definitely put me on the clock for bedtime duties with the Hammer girls. And then my wife was in such bad shape that I went and got her some of her favorite ice cream in the city for a late-night snack too. The toes look even worse here on Friday, but I think she will be ok after a couple weeks' worth of healing. I had two brothers close-ish in age to me and spent innumerable hours running all around the house I grew up in, so I've broken my share of toes and I know how painful that all can be. But Hammerwife is a real trooper. Wouldn't she have to be to put up with me for almost six years and counting?

All that is to say that I never got to play my usual poker slate for a Thursday night. Instead I didn't even get to look at my computer until sometime after 10pm, and I took a quick perusal of what mtts were available and who was online at the time. This was when I saw The King. Chad was at his newest poker focus -- multitabling sngs. I don't know how Chad does it, but the guy was literally playing in ten sitngos at once when I first sat down to full tilt on Thursday, and doing pretty well in mostly all of them. That guy is a machine. But as I looked over the 10:30pm and after slate of mtts, given that I can't play in any more of the FTOPS events and I can't start a huge mtt like Midnight Madness too late because of my own sleep needs, there just really isn't anything up my alley at that specific time. I thought about playing some nl cash, but for whatever reason I just didn't feel quite like that. In the end, I found myself inspired by the King, and I opened up two sitngos of my own, a format of poker that I haven't played seriously in almost two years now.

I've told this story here on the blog before, but when my college buddy V first got me in to online poker, it was over at pokerstars and that was when all I used to play were sngs. All sngs, all the time. I don't think I ever even sniffed a bona fide multi-table tournament until probably I had played (and lost) sngs on pokerstars for a good 4 or 5 months. The way V explained it to me, the sngs were where the real profits were at, and I took him for his word because I was completely new to this whole poker-on-the-internets thing. I played sngs maybe 5 or 6 nights a week with V, and scored well in several of them, but take it from me if you've never been an sng grinder before -- the shit gets old very quickly. Quicker than you think, you look down and you've busted on the bubble or in the middle of the table 5 of your last 6 or 8 of your last 10, and it's because it is just incredibly difficult to keep up the required focus over a span of only and all sngs over a period of weeks or months. Trust me. I'll be surprised if even KOD can keep this up for more than a month. Grinding out sng's sucks in my book, even if it is, as some bloggers and non-bloggers maintain, the most consistently and formulaically beatable form of poker.

Anyways, long story short I fired up a $55 turbo sng and a $110 turbo sng, with the $110 buyin representing the largest individual buyin sng I have ever played. I had no idea what the quality of play would be like in these things, but given my increased success as I have moved up in limits in nlh cash games and mtts, I definitely believe that my greatest chance for consistent sng success would also be at limits above the $5 and $10 sngs or really anything near there. And, I am happy to say, I think I proved that hypothesis last night, at least to the extent that a whopping sample size of two whole sngs can prove something. Generally speaking, the play int he $55 sng was just about the same as what I run into in, say the first few rounds of a donkfest like the nightly 28k guaranteed at 10pm ET on full tilt. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn't see a single "fancy" play that impressed me throughout that event, and it even came replete with the requisite donkey who pushed in an allin reraise preflop with what turned out to be KTo on the very first hand of the 9-person tournament that pays the top three spots. I made it pretty far, lasting to 3rd place before being called allin by AK with my 99 and losing to an Ace on the flop, netting me about a $50 profit in the process.

The $110 sng was even more fun, and once again I have to say that I saw absolutely no discernible difference between the level of play in that event and that in the early rounds of the normal mtts and mtt satellites that I play in regularly. Yep, that's right, even at the $110 buyin level at 11pm at night in a single-table sng, I still found the play to be pretty damned ordinary and totally beatable. I busted a guy who had top pair Ten kicker when I flopped a set of 3s, and I knocked out another guy who pushed allin with just overs on a raggy flop after raising it up preflop. I did suck out one time, against another guy whose play I can't classify as anything but mediocre at best. In that hand I called a preflop raise into a 4-handed pot with the sooooted Mookie -- T8 of diamonds -- the flop came J82 with two diamonds. With middle pair, a weak backdoor straight draw and a flush draw, I figured I was ok to push hard here, as long as I was the one retaining a lot of fold equity by making the big pressure bet with however the hand played itself out.

On this flop, my opponent bet largeish into an already largeish pot thanks to four players calling a preflop 4x raise, and I opted to go for the massive allin overpush, hoping for a fold but fine if he calls as well since I have a large number of outs -- at least 9 flush cards and 2 eights as sure outs, and probably 3 more Jacks as well for a total of 14 outs, or basically a 50-50 shot to win the hand if we see it through a showdown. The guy thought about five seconds and called me with KJ. Top pair second kicker for all his chips fairly early on in a single-table sng with a $110 buyin. Bad play, so when he was ahead on the flop but then lost to my 8 on the turn, he didn't get sucked out on like the guy would later claim in the observer chat. He was roughly a 50-50 shot when he called off his entire stack with TP2K, and as far as I'm concerned, he got what he deserved when he called off with just one pair and not even top kicker. What did he think I was reraising him allin with here? Bottom pair and no part of the flush draw? Getting allin against a guy with a flush draw is an awesome idea, as long as you're the one pushing allin for a big raise and putting the drawing hand to a decision for all his chips. Calling allin early in a $110 buyin sng against a guy who likely has double-digit outs against you, that is just dumbo poker.

Anyways, long story short, I won about $50 in the $55 sng, and then this in the $110 sng:

Blammo!! First real-life sngs in about 22 months, and I profited about $450 for not more than an hour's worth of work. These were turbo sngs, after all, a particular type of donkey poker, but controllable if you know how to be aggressive and how to make plays and make moves on people when you are strong and/or they are weak. I have learned from my forays into shorthanded nl cash games that I really enjoy the metagame aspects and importance played on hand reading and on testicular fortitude that is brought forth by the levels I play, and I find the turbo sng format actually helps to replicate that atmo to some extent, forcing the action and requiring people to make some moves with less than stellar hands to much the same resulting tournament atmosphere as you see in the short cash games where stealing and restealing play such a large role. Anyways, other than the $10 rebuy mtt which I bought into 4 times I think before auto-busting when I was falling asleep shortly after midnight after two days of up late winning money at poker, that was my night, to the tune of a total profit of around $400. I'll take it, can I have some more please?!

OK guys, before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to do the same thing that I did roughly a year ago today here at the blog and extend an invitation to a couple of you out there who might be interested in playing in my fantasy football league, called the Baker League, this season. For those of you who do not know, I have hosted my own fantasy football league for the past 6 or 7 years, including the last 4 or 5 on Yahoo!. I blogged about it quite a bit last year and I'm sure will again this year, but in the past we have not played for money and instead have focused mainly on playing for pride and bragging rights. I may entertain a money buyin to this year's league, although personally I don't need a buyin to keep things interesting for me, and I imagine I will spend some time over the next five months writing about my trials and tribulations on my way to a league title in January.

So here's the scoop on my league for anyone who is interested: the deadline to sign up for the league is today, Friday, because the live online draft for my league takes place tomorrow morning, Saturday 8-18, at 10am ET. I have approximately 2 or 3 spots open in what I always cap at a 10-team maximum league, and I would absolutely love to have you join in the fun. The only rules are that I am definitely looking for people who will stay in the league and stay involved all the way through the NFL season, as opposed to quitdonks who lose a tough game and then sit all their players out or stop adjusting for bye weeks and matchups halfway through the year. So I'm looking for all-season guys, and you have to be either available tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 10am ET for the draft, or available to pre-rank your players before that time. And, of course, you have to sign up by tonight, Friday evening, or you will miss the deadline.

So, anyone out there who is interested, all you have to do is follow the simple instructions below, and do it right now because the first 2 or 3 people who follow these instructions today will be the only ones who can fit into the league:

I have created a Custom Yahoo! Fantasy Football League named Baker League IV and the team called StockLab in that league.

To join this league, click over to Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football and sign up to join a Custom League.

The League ID# is 198756 and the Password is eagles.

The live online draft for this league will take place on Satury August 18 10:00am EDT. If you choose to participate in the live draft, please arrive at the draft 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. The draft will start promptly and may conclude rapidly if only a few managers are logged in.

So come on out and check out my fantasy football league -- last year two lucky readers had the pleasue of regular ass-beatings by me off the virtual poker felt in addition the ones they were already receiving on it, and one thing I can promise you about my annual fantasy football league is it is always a lot of fun. And you will probably get to read about yourself here in the blog every week as well as I'll be delighting you all with fabulous fantasy football bad beat stories, fully sans payment of any $1 fines for such charming anecdotes. But you gotta get in there today, as the draft in Saturday morning 10am.

No more FTOPS for me as I only ended up playing in the two events I was most interested in. This weekend is, well, the weekend, and even the ME on Sunday will have to be a no-go for me this time around as I am out at a wedding on Sunday evening. But otherwise I should be online at various points throughout the weekend as I look to continue a very hot 4 or 5 weeks for me on the cash game, tournament and now I can add the sitngo circuit. Best of luck this weekend and hopefully we all get to take in some more of the wonderful thing known as preseason NFL football games.

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Blogger Pokerwolf said...

No Pick 'Em this year?

11:29 PM  
Blogger NumbBono said...

I'm in for the FFB league. PackBreakers rule.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Buddy Dank said...

I was really looking forward to sleeping tomorrow morning but I'm too much of a Fantasy Football junky! I'm in!

12:23 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

AWESOME, guys. I'm thrilled both of you are in the league. Looking forward to some good times this year. We've had the same core of 5 or 6 guys for a while but the other 4 or 5 seem to rotate in and out every year.

Wolf, I do plan on running a pickem league this year, but I think I saw that MeanHappyGuy or someone else may already be running one and I don't want to be viewed as exlclusionary or some such thing by opening my own to the bloggers. In general yes I will be sending out the invites to my annual pickem league this weekend sometime. What do you think I should do?

12:32 AM  
Blogger lj said...

what's pick em?

sorry to hear about toes, she's hammer wife, and now i keep thinking about hammer toes. :)

nice work on sit n gos!

12:45 AM  
Blogger lj said...

just saw your comment. i am indeed quite hungover, and no worries on last night.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

What do you think I should do?

23skidoo is the one running the Pick 'Em league already. It's your call since it's your league. No worries if you don't want to open it to bloggers, bro. Seriously.

what's pick em?

Pick 'Em is when people pick teams to win for each game every week instead of selecting players in a draft to make a team.

12:48 AM  
Blogger KajaPoker said...

Enjoyed watching the donkalicious high stakes SNG games last night. If I had the roll I would probably do the same. I guess I have to build up to get those levels though.

And your comment was spot on. The stats so far reflect a session where I played push poker and shoved with almost anything. Then I re-grouped and went 3 wins, 1 second and 1 bubble in my next five.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Sit n Goes, so easy a caveman could do it.....

2:57 AM  
Blogger KrazyBangs said...

I'd still have the Hammerwife get an xray and maky sure she'll have flexability in her toes when they heal. After 13 years of soccer, only 4 of my toes bed at the joints. No curling them and running is painful to say the least.
They are toes, they will heal, but how much is normal comfort in the long run?

6:22 AM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

"Calling allin early in a $110 buyin sng against a guy who likely has double-digit outs against you, that is just dumbo poker."

Well, it would be if you were actually likely to have that. But if you're calling raises with T8s, you're much looser than most good SNG players and he probably figured you'd pushed with just the flush draw, as donkeys often do. I don't mind his call so much in a turbo, because top pair will often be good enough on a board like that, although I wouldn't be in that spot, so I wouldn't be calling it myself.

You probably didn't see "fancy" plays because most decent SNG players tend to avoid fancy, and stick to straightforward. That's kinda the point.

You're going to be a fairly decent SNG player anyway: first, your game is very aggressive, and aggression pays; second, you are a reasonable hand-reader and probably the key skill is correctly putting your opponents on a range. I'm not surprised you busted out a lot earlyish when you played them though. They do not play like the early rounds of MTTs, and playing them as though they do is a bad idea.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Passive Harry said...

Hammer I would like to talk to you about advertising.

Please send me your contact info.

4:42 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

My wife broke two toes jetskiing six weeks ago. She will stillbe on crutches for another two to three weeks. These have been some of the worst weeks of my life ...

12:38 PM  

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