Monday, October 08, 2007

MATH Pimp, FTOPS Returns and Cash Game Profits

Don't you forget:

Mondays at the Hoy is back tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt! $26 buyin, password as always is a very a propos "hammer". The crowds have been bigger than usual lately for our weekly Monday night get-together, so see you there tonight as the race for the top of the 2007 MATH moneyboard heats up heading into our last 10 or 11 tournaments of the year!

On an related note, it was a good, fun weekend of poker in the Hammer household, the most profitable weekend I've had in a long time at the virtual tables. I knew the weekend was going to be strong as soon as I actually won a hand during Monkey Hour in Friday night's donkament. It was just about the only hand I would win the entire night, but it was a quick double-up and I won't soon forget it. I think I had a primary draw and it filled on the turn or river or something. The whole table stared dumbfounded for a few minutes while play was stopped and the servers were checked for any evidence of tampering, but apparently it was for real. So I won one hand in the donkament and then flamed out early in the first "real" hour of play since I was a tiny stack (the result of winning just one hand in an hour of play) and had no cards to speak of. But that one hand I won during Monkey Hour on Friday got things started off to what I just knew was going to be a profitable poker weekend, and I was right.

At the cash tables, I won probably 4 buyins overall over the past few days, where I played really great in almost all facets of the game. Out of 24 sessions over the weekend, 16 were winning and only 8 were losing, and the average win was more than twice the size of the average loss. That right there tells you more or less what you need to know about my quality of play this weekend, but I think I've narrowed my recent success to three key areas at the cash tables:

1. Bet some draws and check some draws. I've noticed that at my worst, I am too aggressive with my drawing hands, which inevitably kills me at cash because those draws don't hit quite as often as you like. It's not usually something I'm directly perceiving at the time, but after the fact when I go through a bad spell in cash games I tend to decide that I've been simply too aggressive on the come, betting in some form almost every draw I pick up, and that strategy my friends does not normally translate into profitable play. At other times, often in reaction to overbetting my draws, I catch myself constantly being bet out of pots where I have draws because I am playing too timidly and failing to bet out on occasion to keep my opponents honest and to mess with my opponents' reads. In the end, either strategy ends up being too predictable and frankly too exploitable by most decent players, and that's why I mention the moderation I found in this area over the past weekend's play. I found success betting out with some of my draws on weaker boards, because those had the highest chance of creating folds by my opponents as well as potentially disguising the hand when it does fill. At the same time, on strong boards, in particular those with an Ace (when I did not have one and felt fairly sure that someone else did), I seemed to do better trying to get a free card or two when I was drawing. In all it seemed to be a good balance because I tended to lose the minimum with my missed draws and to get paid off nicely when I hit 'em, which actually happened a few times for a change.

2. I play extremely well out of position. Now this may seem like an odd thing to say to many of you, but as I've mentioned here previously, I just don't pay quite as much attention to in position / out of position as most other "good" players seem to. Maybe that's a fault in my game, I don't know, but as a rule I am not the least bit fazed by playing out of position, and this weekend my stats and screenshots show me winning a good number of hands from up front, mostly on the flop. The best way I like to do this is as simple as it is fun to do. I'm in the blinds and I call a mid-late position raise into a heads-up pot. Then, as long as an Ace doesn't come on the flop (or sometimes, even when an Ace does come, if I don't put my heads-up opponent on an Ace for whatever reason), I bet out, in the exact same amount as I would bet if I made a hand like top pair or two pairs or something. It's fun. I can tell the guy was expecting to c-bet me out of the pot, and then suddenly there I am leading out into his expected c-bet. Wow, I must have a strong hand to bet out into a likely bettor like that, right? Now of course you can't get too fancy with the OOP lead or you will get burned, but I find that if I keep my wits about me and stick with my reads (and base those reads on real information and not just blanket "intuition" or whatever), then OOP lead betting, in particular on the flop but sometimes on the turn after a flop check-around, can be a profitable tool. And a useful one in that it allows me to represent some hands from out of position when I don't have them, such that when I opt to just smooth call a preflop raise with pocket Kings or something, or when I flop a set, I tend to get paid quite well with those hands because by that point my opponents at the table are positive I can't be getting that many good hands in the blinds.

3. Run goot when I need to. As I mentioned above, I actually hit a few of my draws, and when I did, I made for the most part well-sized value bets on the river that were getting called almost without exception over a good 20+ sessions overall since I last posted. I was actually able to play a little bit as I flopped top pair or at least a pair on the board more than a few times, and throw in some nice primary draws as well to give me lots of opportunity to mix it up postflop where the decisions get real interesting. I made a few nice pulls on later streets and was able to get paid for the most part when I did.

But of all the nice cards I hit over the weekend sessions, this one had to be the nicest. I allin reraised preflop on a short stack against a raise from a known active stealer, at a time when I was purely playing position and had a pretty dam funny hand for an allin reraise. Unfortunately I walked right in to my opponent's pocket Kings and he instacalled for all of my chips:

Oops! But then, Hammer Power!

Wooohoooo! And you just know this guy was bitching about that hand for the next several hours, and probably will still be for the next few weeks. Of course at that point I was up and actually felt pretty good that this guy would lay down to my reraise, since he had been caught himself raising and even reraising preflop based purely on his position and with absolute nothing hands. But it is nice to know that even when I get caught with my pants completely down around my ankles, I can still suck out once in a while to get it back. Once in a long, long, long while.

On the tournament front, I recorded a few small mtt cashes over the weekend to pad the online roll just a bit, plus I was surprised to notice the return of FTOPS VI already, scheduled for the second week and a half of November, which means not only another 11 days or whatever of large-guarantee tournaments, but at least as exciting for me is the whole slate of mtt satellites to those FTOPS events. Anyways, Friday night was the first night I saw FTOPS satellites on the mtt schedule, and I played in my favorite of all the mtt satellites, the $10 rebuy into FTOPS #1 on both Friday and Saturday night. On Friday I busted out against a guy who turned his lower pocket pair into quads against my higher pocket pair when allin preflop, so I had to get in there again on Saturday for the nightly run of this rebuy sat at I think 9:40pm ET, and whaddya know:

I also took second place after getting sucked out on twice when heads-up with a huge chip lead in a $69 buyin satellite to FTOPS #4, the $500 Shorthanded PLO tournament. This one takes place on a Saturday afternoon, so the odds of me actually being able to play in this event are fairly low, but I saw it there, I do have those $69 tokens just sitting in my account waiting to be used, and I do love me some PLO, so I figured why not. I did manage to blow a more than 3-to-1 chip lead in hu play, but like I said first a guy flopped a set of Queens allin preflop against my AAxx, and then a few hands later the river on a board of K2789 ended up making the ignorant straight for me with 56xx, but also made my opponent the miracle inside straight with his KQJx hand that crushered me once again. Frustrating, but 2nd place in that FTOPS satellite paid some decent cash so I'll book those profits and move on from there.

I plan to write some more about the upcoming FTOPS and the satellites I am looking at to play my way in, but let me just reiterate here that these low-buyin rebuy sats are without a doubt the easiest and most fun way to play in to the larger events. I only wish they had more of these $6, $8, $10 and even $14 rebuys for all the FTOPS events, because I would play every one of them every quarter the FTOPS comes around then. So far, this 9:40pm ET nightly rebuy satellite into FTOPS #1 will have roughly 30-40 players, and by the time all the rebuys and add-ons are done with, the top 4 finishers or so will be awarded FTOPS seats. So more than 10% or so of the field will eventually win their way into the FTOPS via each one of these satellites. And yet, my favorite part about them is that due to the 1000 starting chips, the 1500-chip addon at the end of the rebuy half-hour, and the low cost of the buyins, even busting on the last hand of the 30 minute rebuy period and then double-rebuying plus adding on leaves you right around the middle of the pack heading into the real tournament starting 33 minutes in. These relatively low buyin rebuy satellites are a great value, and in my experience it is reasonable to expect to be in decent shape following the rebuy and addon period with only a minimal investment of say 3 total buyins or so under normal circumstances if you play well.

As I said, I will be back later this week with some more discussion of the FTOPS and the way I like to play and prepare for this 4-times-annually high-guarantee series of poker tournaments featuring the best players and pros that full tilt has to offer. Until then, don't forget to play in tonight's Mondays at the Hoy at 10pm ET on full tilt, where I will look to avoid the donkeys and the recockusucks to make another run at cashing and stealing the 2007 MATH moneyboard lead away from current frontrunner and flop luckbox Bayne. Looking forward to seeing you then!

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Blogger Riggstad said...

RPT pimpage! See you there

12:14 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

seems like the FTOPS is a quarterly thing (or just about) as I know it ran in Feb of this year, August(I played one sat) and now November.

You can give your oldest Hammergirl a new lecture on what happens to gals who cheat take drugs

Loved your remark on Canseco

1:19 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

LOL @ the hammer vs KK. Good times!

2:05 AM  

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