Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Effing Mookie

Another Wednesday, another Mookie gone bad. As usual I played good, solid poker, even made a large laydown in the earlygoing against Iakaris of middle two pairs against what just felt like a bigger hand from the man formerly known as a blogger. But I fought back, pushing aggressively in several hands against pokerenthusiast to get my stack back, and then at some point about 25, 30 minutes in to the tournament, I raised the pot from utg with ATs. It's a good raise, I think basically a required raise at any real 6max nlh table, and it got just one caller from probably the small blind, from a person who I just met for the first time last night but have wanted to meet for some time.

The flop comes AA4 rainbow. My opponent checked the action to me into I think a 400-chip pot. I'm sitting on trip Aces and a ten kicker against a call of my utg preflop raise in the blinds. I bet out around 2/3 the size of the pot, actually hoping for a call (but not a raise). Villain called.

The turn card is an offsuit Jack, making the board now AA4J with no flush possibility. Even though this would now mean my opponent had a boat if they held AJ, my AT was already behind to AJ so I could not worry about that. In fact, the Jack on the turn actually made me happy, in that it made it that much less likely that my opponent held AJ herself, and that was the card I think that tipped me over the edge. Just that little extra likelihood that my opponent could not be on AJ is what did it and made me think I was probably best. No reraise preflop and no raise on the flop, so I simply didn't see this as AK or even AQ, as either of those hands should probably raise on one of those two streets given this board. AJ was my biggest concern, and when the Jack hit the turn, I took that as my green light to go forward with the hand because I was probably best.

So when this Jack hit the turn, Villain bet out for around the size of the now fairly large pot. I was pleased, given my analysis above, assuming that I was up against A9s or A8s, but I figured I wanted to get the rest of her chips with my AT that I felt I had good reason to believe was best. Thus, rather than insta-call, therefore making it obvious that I had a strong Ace in my hand, I spent a good deal of time thinking over the decision that I knew already I would be calling down, and then I eventually smooth called after much thought. I was trying my best to give off either the Ax vibe, or maybe at least the KK or QQ vibe, in the hopes that Villain would pay me off the rest of her chips with what I figured had to be A9 or A8, probably sooted since she called my preflop raise with this hand.

So the river comes down an offsuit 6, which I am very happy with. Villain empties out the rest of her stack, and acting on my read of a weak Ace, I insta-call allin and we flip up our cards on the AA4J6 board:

Me: AT
Villain: A6

So frucking gross. But as gross as it is, it's equally typical for me of my Mookie performances of late. I make a read, I nail it and then I get flocked at the river. So Mookie-ish. To be fair, Villain was very gracious and cool in victory so I can't complain about that, but it's more the nature of the beat itself that gets to me, and the regularity with which this shiat seems to happen in the Mookie in particular. I'll never win that shiat. Not in a year, not in a hundred years.

FWIW here's my quick primer on how this hand "should" have been played, and keep in mind that I've won a good deal of money in 6max nlh tournaments and I've played a ton of it both in tournament and in cash game formats. Also keep in mind that at least half of you reading this drivel from me think I'm an abject donkey and play like one regularly, so take everything here with a giant grain of salt if that's your thing. In general, though, in generally more aggressive shorthanded games, I tend to loosen up my open-raising requirements just a bit to include most Aces from most positions. I'm pretty sure I've written about this before, but at a 6max table I think basically any Ace is openable from any position, although I might be tempted to lay down a shitty Ace from utg, in particular if I have recently won and/or stolen a lot of pots. In any case I think as I mentioned above my open-raise with ATs from utg is I think an absolutely standard move in 6max nlh, and while you might very well lay this hand down from utg at a full ring, I don't see how you can possibly drop it as first to act at a table with only 6 players.

So my open-raising standards are somewhat loosened at shorthanded nlh as compared to full ring nlh. But I have found it far and away the most profitable approach not to adjust much my preflop raise-calling standards. So I may raise when no one else is in the pot yet with a hand like A5 or A6 from middle position -- something I am not apt to do at all at a ring table, where that would be typically an automatic fold of a hand -- but if someone else has already raised preflop, I would never recommend calling from late position with a shitty Ace like A6. When you switch from open-raising to calling someone else's raise, I barely change those preflop raise-calling requirements at all at shorthanded holdem as compared to a full table. Just like at a full ring, in 6max nlh I won't call most preflop raises with A6. I won't even call most preflop raises with A9 or AT. The possibility of mucho chipspewage is just too great with these hands against another person who's already raised it up preflop and therefore might likely have me dominated with a hand like A6. So I do not believe that was the right play to call the preflop utg raise from the small blind with A6.

Along these same lines, I think it might be acceptable (barely) to make a play like calling a preflop raise with A6 from the blinds in shorthanded nlh, but only for a player who is willing to lay the hand down to a showing of strength from the original preflop raiser if if an Ace or Aces do fall on the board. This was Villain's second big mistake with this hand. You can't call preflop raises with A6o -- whether in or out of position, IMO -- if you're the type of guy who isn't going to be able to lay it down when the flop comes AK9 and the preflop raiser is giving you a lot of action on the flop. The only way you get away with making a preflop raise-call like this with A6o is if you know you can and will lay it down without allowing yourself to get stacked with your top pair shitey kicker. Of course the fact that two Aces hit the flop in this particular hand was probably that much more of a reason for Villain to believe that her single Ace and shitey kicker was good, but once I had bet out on that flop at that point I would say it's a pretty safe bet that I have an Ace and therefore it is almost surely going to be a better hand than her A6. So in this case, I was knocked out of the Mookie this week by someone whom I believe should definitely have laid their A6o hand down preflop in bad position, and then who followed that up by not being able to lay down this same TTFK (top trips fideous kicker) to my bet-out on the flop as well. Grrrrrrr.

OK that's all for today. Congrats to leftylu for winning I believe his 853rd consecutive Mookie title last night. Glad he's won so many of these things and I ain't won squizznat, especially since I think I recall leftylu donkeycalling against me and sucking out probably about 15 times over the past few weeks in the Mookie. I really hope you all have the chance to win a Mookie but me. One of these days there will be a major holiday or something on a Wednesday, and I'll be the only one in the Mookie and I will rip that shit up on my way to victory. Until then, happy donking!

Phillies Playoff Chances Meter: Still 2%. I repeat: Do not believe the hype!!

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Blogger Astin said...

Well, I agree with you that A6 is not a calling hand, unless you're planning to get away from it, I think the online poker world has already entered into another trend.

There's a severe case of "really?" going around. I know I've suffered from it, but am finally breaking away again. People see AAx with A-crap in their hand and they think "no way he has that one-outer 4th ace, and no way he has me beat." Same with any A, K or overcards on the board. I've seen a lot more calls from people with middle-bottom pair on boards that are textured to say "get the fuck out." There's no respect for C-bets and very little thought for the story being told. This might be why there was a rash of horrible RNG-blamed suckouts lately.

I was seriously shocked last night when I was at not one, but TWO tables that respected my raises, re-raises, and post-flop bets. I mean, I was starting to count on people calling down against my flopped sets with bottom pair, and it just didn't happen.

Like I've said, the online poker world is a bunch of sheep. Just keep an eye out for the trends, and play against them.

1:35 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said... is interesting article on tie scenarios for Phillies. I am rooting for the monster 4 days of playoff baseball.

Is ATs a raising hand against a button raise when 5 are at table and you have implied Waffles tilt odds?

2:02 AM  
Blogger lj said...

"but once I had bet out on that flop at that point I would say it's a pretty safe bet that I have an Ace and therefore it is almost surely going to be a better hand than her A6."

to be fair you write often about stealing and re-stealing, so i would only disagree with this aspect of your post/reasoning and say that you raising pre flop and then betting out on flop would definitely not, in my mind, set off alarm bells that you "almost surely" have a better hand than A6.

sick suck out, though, to be sure.

3:28 AM  
Blogger ckbluffer said...

I am not going to defend my A-6 call (too much) but . . .

Here's the situation: (1) I don't raise enough pre-flop, particularly in cash games (which I play more than tournaments), given my proclivities for seeing lots of flops, so (2) I've gotten into the bad habit of Negreanu flop-itis (which is much worse for you in tourney land than cash land), so (3) if you *are* going to play A-6 (it was sooted) OOP, then you sort of have to make a decision (before you call the flop bet) as to how you're going to play it - which means that if the flop has an A, proceed with extreme caution.

Here's how the hand went down in my mind. 6-handed table. Need to play more hands than usual. Cards have sucked to this point. (1) Call pre-flop raise w/A-6. Heads up. See what transpires. Keep pot small. (2) Flop comes AA4. Not *too* bad, but given initial raise, need to consider fact that I am dominated. Check. See what initial raiser does. (3) Initial raiser bets. Is this *just* a c-bet, or does initial raiser have an A? If initial raiser has big A, why would initial raiser bet so much on flop? Need more info. Just call. No reason to re-raise at this point. I like to see what solidifies on the turn before making a move in these situations. (4) Jack. Not a bad card (increases possibility of chop if we both have an A). Let's see how initial raiser responds to a bet. If initial raiser was c-betting w/a pocket pair, should be able to tell at this point. Initial raiser calls. Red lights go off in head. In my mind, I got the info that I needed at this point. (5) Miracle 6. And the rest is history.

By way of background (check the previous posts on my blog), I hate going broke w/TPTK, trips and two pair. I have even laid down a set when I was pretty sure my opponent also flopped a set. (And I was right.)

3:28 AM  
Blogger meanhappyguy said...

Tough hand, but I agree with LJ and CK.

The flop bet scares no one, especially someone with the case Ace. I'd probably play KK-55 the same way.

The scariest move Hoy makes in this hand is the turn flat-call. CK might be ready to go into shut-down mode, but then the miracle 6 hits and she's golden except for AJ.

I might argue that CK's flop flat-call is a mistake, because she says "If initial raiser has big A, why would initial raiser bet so much on flop? Need more info. Just call."

If she is shooting for more info from Hoy, she isn't going to get it by just calling. Calling to re-evaluate on the turn might be what she means, and makes sense.

CK's best play I think is her turn bet, where she pretty much forces Hoy to declare his hand. If he calls, she is scared. If he raises, she is scared, but she also gives him the option to fold. The flat call doesn't necessarily mean she's beaten--but in her comment it sounds like she was ready to give up the hand if that six didn't hit.

4:19 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

"One of these days there will be a major holiday or something on a Wednesday, and I'll be the only one in the Mookie and I will rip that shit up on my way to victory."

Doh! That was MY only chance at winning one of these damn things.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

ck, that's a good explanation there and I accept all you have to say, in particular when you say that once I called your turn bet, you knew you were behind. That is the way this type of hand has to be played.

I still contend that the really questionable part of the play was calling from oop with A6 in the first place. Maybe that's just the way I play the game, but that call is what got you (me) into this whole situation to begin with.

And thank you LJ for the girl power and coming to another female poker player's defense. Imagine if us poker men stuck together this well.

4:34 AM  
Blogger lj said...

hoy - i was certainly not coming to ck's defense. she is a big girl and can "defend" herself.

i was just commenting on the reasoning that you wrote out in your post. my comment would be the same regardless of the gender of A6 holder.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

And Meanhappyguy, the only point I have to make about you and CK and LJ's argument about my flop bet meaning nothing is this: if you're going to go through your poker life calling utg raises preflop with Ace-junk hands, and then tell yourself that any bet on a flop with an Ace on it "scares no one", then you're going to be broker than broke right quick.

Something has to give there. It can't be the best way to play the game to just call utg raises preflop from around back out of position for the rest of the hand with Ax and then automatically disregard a bet on the flop from the original utg raiser. I'll buy the second part of the argument about my flop bet not necessarily meaning an Ace every single time, but not coming from the person who is calling a preflop raise from the utg player with Ax. You're doomed if you play that way, whether it's tournaments or cash games.

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone check your poker tracker stats and see how well you do calling with A6 OOP.

Doesn't matter who you are or who you are playing against it's a horrible play and it's big time -EV.

The rest of the hand is results based and means nothing.

4:52 AM  
Blogger ckbluffer said...

There is a *huge* difference between calling w/A-rag and seeing a flop of A-J-4 and seeing a flop of A-A-4.

Had it been a flop of A-J-4 (no diamonds), this whole thing would have gone down a lot differently.

So, yeah, A-rag players who never believe in a c-bet on an A flop will get themselves in trouble more often than not (unless they hit a *miracle* two pair). The whole point is that it's harder to believe on an AA? flop and the initial raiser is firing out on the flop.

Meanhappy guy raises a good point here. The flat call on the flop was a tough decision for me. I know it doesn't give you a whole lot of information, but I also know that lots of you like to play "situational poker", which bascially involves a lot of pressure when a board starts looking scary. Let's say I check-raise or lead out and then Hoy comes over the top. What additional information does this give me? Probably not much more, but I'm making a decision for a lot more chips at a point in the hand where I *wanted* to see the next card.

4:55 AM  
Blogger Francase said...

I guess the Phillies hit that 2% one-outer.

11:20 PM  

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