Tuesday, October 23, 2007

MATH Recap and Playing Limit Holdem (Whaaaaa?)

If I was a betting man, then I would surely have lost the bet on Monday night's attendance at Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt. In the end 82 donkeys players came out and went for a seat in the upcoming BBTwo Tournament of Champions to award one lucky winner an 18k prize package for two to the Aussie Millions in January 2008. This far eclipsed the previous Hoy record during the first BBT of 56 players, and brought the total prize pool to just a couple players short of $2000, and creating for the second straight night in bloggerland on full tilt with a string of solid payouts to the top finishers, including a whopping $629 and change to the eventual winner. And how did I outlast 81 of the finest poker players in the Western Hemisphere to take down my fifth MATH title of the year, you may ask?

I didn't. Not even close. I did play better than I did in the Big Game at least, which is to say that I lasted more than 20 minutes before pushing into pocket Aces. In this case I lasted about 90 minutes before pushing into pocket Aces, where I was a bit short and pushed too hard with a pair of Jacks, the same hand I ran into Mookie's Aces in the Big Game this week. Although I played a lot smarter than my early fizzle in the Big Game, I still bounced around a lot and took way too many chances for early in an mtt where I feel I have a good skill edge, so that is something I absolutely have to fix if I expect to play my way in to the BBTwo Aussie Millions ToC. But in a way I chalk up both of this week's blonkament eliminations to some degree to bad luck really, running a strong-looking pair of Jacks preflop or on the flop into pocket Aces within 90 minutes in the first two BBTwo tournaments. I can't go too crazy about that.

In the end it was our longest MATH tournament to date, and even I fell asleep when down to just three players remaining so I failed to see how it all ended up. But congratulations to all of this week's cashers, listed in order here:

9th place -- $49.20 Fuel55
8th place -- 59.04 Zeem
7th place -- 78.72 Presidentdave
6th place -- 118.08 Astin
5th place -- 157.44 Easycure
4th place -- 216.48 Garthmeister
3rd place -- 275.52 actyper
2nd place -- 383.76 Joe Speaker
1st place -- 629.76 JJ

I do love it when these cash gamers come in and tromp all over our tournament fields. It happens from time to time, whether it's Don or Peaker or Wes busting out with a big blonkament victory. This week that man is none other than the new boy babydaddy himself, JJ. And what's more, I saw JJ win a ridiculous pot when he saw a flop with pocket Jacks -- his moniker, mind you -- but instead of saying "meh" he called a preflop raise with them and then proceeded to flop quads. That is always good against two other preflop raise-callers isn't it? Well JJ entered three-handed play with Speaker and actyper with a huge chip lead and was able to hold on for the victory, JJ's first Hoy cash of the year. Congratulations to all of this week's cashers, and especially to JJ for securing the second seat in the upcoming BBTwo Tournament of Champions. Way to go JJ!

And here are the newly-updated 2007 MATH moneyboard figures, including this week's Hoy tournament. Remember anything can happen to the leaderboard heading into the BBTwo with the large field and huge prize pools for the balance of 2007, so this week begins a key period for the moneyboard and the players looking to end the year at the top:

1. Bayne_s $1400
2. Columbo $1362
3. Hoyazo $1162
4. RaisingCayne $1110
5. Pirate Wes $792
6. VinNay $775
7. cmitch $774
8. Iggy $745
9. Astin $734
10. NewinNov $677
11. Lucko21 $665
12. Waffles $650
13. IslandBum1 $642
14. JJ $630
15. Fuel55 $617
16. Tripjax $561
17. Buddydank $553
18. swimmom95 $545
19. Gary Cox $518
20. Byron $510
21. Julius Goat $507
22. bartonf $492
22. mtnrider81 $492
24. PokerBrian322 $490
25. Chad $485
26. scots_chris $474
27. Emptyman $461
28. Mike_Maloney $456
29. RecessRampage $434
30. Otis $429
31. Surflexus $402
31. Miami Don $402
33. Zeem $389
34. Joe Speaker $384
35. jeciimd $382
35. Jordan $382
37. Blinders $379
38. lightning36 $371
39. ChapelncHill $353
40. LJ $326
41. OMGitsPokerFool $324
42. oossuuu754 $312
43. leftylu $295
44. Wigginx $288
45. ScottMc $282
46. Fishy McDonk $277
47. actyper $276
48. Irongirl $252
48. Manik79 $252
50. Wippy1313 $248
51. Easycure $244
52. Garthmeister $216
52. wwonka69 $216
54. Omega_man_99 $210
55. katiemother $209
56. Pushmonkey72 $208
57. Thepokergrind $198
58. StatikKling $180
59. 23Skidoo $176
60. Santa Clauss $170
61. jimdniacc $166
62. Iakaris $162
62. Smokkee $162
64. cemfredmd $156
64. NumbBono $156
66. lester000 $147
67. Heffmike $145
68. Kajagugu $143
69. brdweb $143
70. Mookie $137
70. DDionysus $137
72. Patchmaster $135
73. InstantTragedy $129
74. NinaW $120
75. Ganton516 $114
76. Fluxer $110
77. hoops15mt $95
78. Gracie $94
78. Scurvydog $94
80. wormmsu $91
81. Shag0103 $84
82. crazdgamer $82
83. PhinCity $80
84. Presidentdave $79
85. maf212 $78
86. Alceste $71
86. dbirider $71
88. Rake Feeder $53

So that is now 88 different players who have cashed in Mondays at the Hoy at least once during this year, although none of the top 8 spots on the board changed this week, with only Astin finding his way into the top 10 thanks to the generous payouts resulting from the onset of the BBTwo. I look forward to next week when another big crowd is likely to take another stab at the leaderboard and at playing in to the Aussie Millions ToC freeroll at year's end.

In other news, the suckouts killed me at the cash tables on Monday, but I have been having a great time playing in -- of all things -- the limit holdem FTOPS satellites over the past few days since full tilt started running a regular nightly mtt sat into FTOPS #12. FTOPS #12 is an event that I am actually shockingly really into, as it is limit holdem, but with a nice twist: the event is also 6-max. With shorthanded tables, limit holdem is not nearly as robotic and redonkulous to play, and there is still plenty of room to make some moves and be aggressive and trappy and all those things that make playing poker fun for a guy like me, and that are generally not present in limit poker.

You know, I'm almost embarrassed to say it, but limit poker is actually more fun to me the more I play it these days. There are always lots of options for how to play strong hands. The biggest hands I often play slowish on the cheaper flop street just to get the raises and extra bets in on the more expensive turn. Sometimes I even play slow on the turn if I hit my hand there, or if I have a monster and want an extra bet on the river and think that is the best way to profit from the hand. Say for example that I flop top pair decent kicker in a heads-up pot in a limit holdem tournament. Do I bet out on the flop and try to take it down, or do I check, hope my opponent bets and then I can call and then lead out on the flop? Assuming I do bet out with my top pair on the flop and my opponent calls, then what to do on the river? Assuming it was not a scare card, sometimes I can check, make like I was going for the flop steal, and try to get in a check-raise right there on the turn if my opponent takes the bait. Sometimes I'm betting on every street with a good hand, and other times I might check through the river with even a decently strong hand if that seems like the most profitable way of playing a given hand. Again, with 6-max that helps to readjust for what is otherwise often a mechanical, boring game, as you can never be sure exactly if the preflop raiser actually holds a good hand or has just been on some kind of a steal play all along.

The whole free card thing and the misdirection one can create in that area is really fun too, and it is something that is just not as applicable in no-limit poker because people basically always have the ability to price their opponents out of almost any pot they are ever involved in. Sometimes a well-timed raise on the flop can win you one if not two free cards later in the hand if you do have a strong draw but nothing made yet, which is always fun for me because one would almost never put in any substantial raise in nlh without a strong hand or at least a very strong draw. I also feel that in limit is where the real mathy guys who know all the odds and are good at doing calculations at the table can get an edge in a limit game as compared to no-limit where the pressure is typically exertable far above and beyond any pot odds considerations because of the lack of any cap on the betting in a given round. Limit can be fun because, unlike in nlh where you would for example almost never ever draw to an inside straight, in a limit game once the blinds have moved up a bit, you might find yourself even calling a 60-chip bet into a 360-chip pot with just an inside straight draw on the flop if you have more than one opponent and feel fairly sure that you will win at least one or two extra bets from some combination of those players because the implied odds will be there to get paid even to draw at such a long shot hand. If played correctly and played well, there are in fact ample opportunities in limit holdem for the skilled player to bet and/or raise without a made hand, something which in general I think is where you separate the men from the boys in poker, because without the allin there is actually a lot more strategery going on between the players and between the hands played at the table.

One thing I have been trying to focus on more and more in my limit game as I've played one sng and now two mtt satellites for FTOPS #12 in 6-max limit holdem is simply not losing any big big hands in the earlygoing in a limit tournament. Not that losing big early is a good thing in a nlh tournament either, but there's always that chance that you are dealt pocket Aces against someone else's pocket Kings on the very next hand and you can double right back up to where you were a few hands previous. But not in limit -- if there's one thing I would tell someone looking to take some stabs at limit holdem tournaments of any kind, it would be that advice of not losing any big pots early. As long as I don't put in a string of large bets on the turn and/or river with a hand that is easily beaten, I have found that to be a major advantage to my tournament game in a limit context. It may seem like trite, obvious advice, but if you bleed off chips calling preflop raises, flop bets and turn bets in just two or three hands early on, suddenly you find yourself with 2/3 or half the stack of the tournament leaders and that can be pretty hard to recover from easily in a limit event. In the end, much like my personal philosophy in nlh tournaments, my individual strength lies in the position plays and ATC push kinda stuff that you see more once the blinds and antes kick in enough to make the tournament play mostly like a no-limit tournament in the later rounds anyways, so I find that anything that enables me to survive to the later rounds of these limit events is a net positive for me for a number of reasons.

Anyways all that is a roundabout way of getting to this from my Monday night action:

FTOPS #12 here I come baybeeee! I always love winning a winner-take-all satellite tournament and pissing off that #2 guy like I have been pissed off bubbling in several FTPOS satellites already this season. This one took two $26 satellites and one smaller buyin event ($7 or $8 I think) for me to qualify, so once again I am in to a $216 buyin FTOPS event for far less than the actual buyin cost. Right now I'd love to focus on getting in to FTOPS #7 ($322 buyin nlh on Sunday November 7), FTOPS #8 (the $1000 buyin nlh tournament on Monday November 8), as well as the PLO8 and HORSE events slated for later that week on full tilt, and if I can sneak in a couple more pot-limit holdem mtt satellites into FTOPS #3 as well, that would be all good with me.


Blogger emptyman said...

Congrats! I will be hitting the satellites for FTOPS #12 too.

I seriously believe "limit" is half the key to my successes against weak fields. While cashing in a NL event requires playing well or getting lucky a handful of hands, limit requires solid play throughout. More hands played = less luck, and less ability to turn it into a lucksack contest by jamming all the chips in the middle.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

You inspired me last night so I played a HORSE and RAZZ limit donkness satellites. I won both first shot with a jecimd style comeback in the HORSE one heads up. Looks like I am about to win this $26 Event #1 satellite as well :) We should have a blogger board to see who does best in FTOPS :)

2:56 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Chad I will crush your ass in the FTOPS and you know it. These are not the phucking donkeys that you like to be the king of like in your ghey little $24 buyin "tournaments".

4:29 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Well donkey, I am in four now! Did I mention 4/5 in the sats? Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!!!!

6:30 AM  
Blogger change100 said...

Hoy wins again... yawn

5:56 PM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Thanks for the pimp Hoy. I hope to meet you in December. I need to make it out to one of your Hoys. It's hard for me to make it out to all the blogger events and keep my marriage safe with my situation right now.

11:18 PM  

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