Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Guess We Know Somebody Reads My Blog....

and that somebody is pushmonkey72. That is basically the only explanation I can come up with for my most untimely elimination on the first hand back from the break in this week's Mookie tournament. I was somewhere around 2300 chips to start the second hour, and the action folded around to pushmonkey in the small blind, who raised it up from the 120-chip big blind to 360 chips in what I perceived to be a pretty sure steal attempt. I looked down to find A6o. So, rather than beat around the bush given my read on push's play, I figured maybe he'll call me with less than my A6o and I just moved allin for my last 2300 or so in chips. Push's response?


I mean this was probably the quickest of all the instacalls I have seen coming my way over the past several blonkaments. It was as close to beating me into the pot as can happen on full tilt. I knew I had to have been duped as he made the insta-call. It happens sometimes, I know it does, because people have me pegged as an aggressive move-maker with shitty cards, so every now and then when the perfect scenario arises like a blind vs. blind battle where the other guy actually has a big hand, I will often get slow-played or check-raised because people think they can catch me trying to make a move. And this had to be what had happened here. How else do you instacall an allin reraise from me for about 7 times the original bet, representing just about all of pushmonkey's stack of chips. Right? I mean, if he had sat there and thought about it for a bit, and eventually decided to begrudgingly call, then I'm thinking my A6o could be good. He could have K9s. He could have A3s. Any hand like that might agonize but then eventually make the donkey-call. But when push instacalled, I knew I was beat and probably dominated. Oh well.

Let me ask you this: what's the worst possible hand pushmonkey could be instacalling me with here? Keep in mind, my allin reraise 7 times larger than his open raise had been, and would require push to get basically all of his own chips into the pot in order to call me. And again keep in mind that he absolutely insta-called. So what's the worst possible hand he could instacall there with? Think about your answer, then look below.

T9. Offsooot. That's right guys, it's a ten-high, unsooooted hand. Good old T9o, that preflop allin showdown powerhouse. 6 on the flop helps me a tiny bit, but then Ten on the turn does me in and IGH in 70-something place out of 107 runners in the Mook. "Nice call" is all I had time to type into the chat as soon as I saw what pushmonkey was holding. Because no matter how that hand had turned out, I wanted to make sure that push knew what a wonderful, strategic and +EV call that was for him to make. T9o is what you always want to call an allin with preflop with plenty of chips and against a very large allin reraise before the flop, even against an ATC guy. Riiiiiiiiight.

Let's assume pushmonkey thought I was completely full of shit. Of course, that is itself a foolish thought to have in this spot with me moving allin like that in such a large overbet, but let's just say for the sake of argument that pushmonkey thinks I am literally pushing with any two cards (ATC) here. So then he calls me instantly with T9o? I have news for ya: T9o is still clearly below an average hand in holdem. T9o doesn't beat any hand with a Jack, Queen, King or Ace in it, or any pocket pair when run at them heads-up over all five cards like calling my preflop allin reraise would guarantee him. I mean, this hand wasn't even sooooted so I can't even dismiss push as just a sooooted donk. So instead I got to sit and watch him bust maybe 20 minutes later in like 60-somethingth place. Quelle surprise.

But you do know one thing: Pushmonkey72 reads my blog. He must. That is the only even semi-plausible explanation for making that specific call at that particular time. Insta call, that is. Push must know how any tard insta-calling me with shit -- the more garbagey the instacalling hand, the better in fact -- over the past few weeks of blonkaments is sucking out against me. He must have literally taken comfort in knowing that, with such a horrible hand to even consider calling an allin preflop reraise with still enough chips to do plenty of damage, his chances of sucking out were exceedingly high. Why this has been happening to me so consistently during the BBTwo tournaments is beyond me, but if you phucking idiots don't stop picking me as your "horseys" and your "Pick 5" or whatever you want to call it, then you are just not living in the real world. And you're throwing your money away. Picking me to win a Mookie tournament makes you especially assy btw. How ridiculous. I'm to the point now where I'm a fucking circus freak show. I'm purposely getting insta-called allin by any fucking shit that any donkey can throw at me, because people know their garbage is going to suck out on me and they want to see me write about it.

Mission accomplished. Again.

Unfortunately, the tournament suckout streak that started for me on Tuesday and bled right into the Mookie on Wednesday also extended to FTOPS #1 on Wednesday, which was the $216 buyin nlh 6-max tournament to start off FTOPS VI. It was an auspicious beginning for me, as I sat down to a starting table with five other players at it, two of which were well-known professional poker players. To my immediate right was Matt Matros, with full tilt handle "jacksup", whose book I recently completed and who played a fairly solid game throughout the time I was at his table, which was every hand I played in the event. Also with me for just about every hand I played was full tilt pro GregFBTMueller, who I have to say played atrociously and donked his way up and down every window on the computer again and again and again in this thing, eventually donking his way to an over 10k stack by the time my run ended. But the best part about having these two pros at my table was that I completely smushed both of them. Again and again and again. Of course there was the one hand where Matros called my preflop raise with his short stack, we saw a heads-up flop of 864 when I held A8s, and he overbet allin on the flop. Naturally I called with my top pair against his short stack, and he flipped up the very pokerstarsian 75o for the flopped nuts. Unreal. But otherwise, I think I won 12 pots from Mueller and something like 17 from Matros. As I told KOD in the chat, those two clowns should be having nightmares about me after what I did to the two of them basically from start to finish. 6-max is without a doubt my favorite game, and one of my best, and I took it to these players and everyone else who sat at my table all throughout the tournament.

Unfortunately, the big recockuflop with the nut straight to Matros and one other big suckout just as the Mookie started at 10pm ET kept me from getting my 3000-chip starting stack above I think 4500 or so through most of the first two hours of the tournament. I probably lost about 5000 chips on just those two suckouts, and that right there is the profit that should have been in my stack heading into the second break, by which time I had already outlasted all the other bloggers I know were in this event.

Still, I was right around that 4500 chip level just a few minutes before the second break -- at the time I was around 1100th place out of around 1600 players remaining from the 3600+ who started at 9pm ET -- when I open-raised from the button for the umpteenth time, this time holding KJs. Some donk in the blinds calls my raise, and you can just tell he has put me on another steal. This is one of the great things that happens from playing hyper aggressive poker like I love to do in 6-max play -- you get action with your stronger hands because people think you're always in there with garbage (see the pushmonkey hand above for another nice example of this). Anyways so the flop comes down King-rag-rag, giving me top pair good kicker for a blind vs blind confrontation. I know the guy thinks I'm stealing, so when he checks to me, I bet out around the size of the pot, simply knowing he was going to call me given the fairly raggy board and his deep conviction that I didn't have shiat. Then the turn comes down and it's another total rag, but one which also gives me two hearts on the board for a flush draw. This time I do my "go-and-stop" move, where I bet the flop in an apparent c-bet but where I actually have a strong hand, get called, and then I deliberately check the turn to pretend like I was just stealing all along. This "go and stop" works best when you're playing heads-up OOP against a guy who you know already does not trust you for whatever reason. When I check the turn against a guy like this, it's like giving a cat some catnip -- they just can't fucking stay away. Figuring out what is in my opponent's head and then devising just the strategy designed to exploit that particular player's weakness or mindset is what playing good instinctual poker is all about, and this move was one for the ages no doubt.

So my opponent took the bait of my turn check, and simply could not stay away. He bet out the size of the then large pot. I deliberately paused for a short time, maybe a few seconds, and then pushed allin with a reraise with my top pair Jack kicker (plus K-high flush draw) on this Kxxx board. His turn bet had been about 1k into a pot of about 1k, and my turn raise was allin for another 3000 or so I think. My opponent calls after maybe three seconds, and tables his KTo on the K high board. And there you have it -- my subterfuge once again successful, as was my overall large tournament strategy of waiting as far into the hand as possible to make my move, thereby decreasing the chances of some crazy suckout with 5 or even two cards still to come. In this case, I got KT to call my KJ on a K high board where I also had a flush draw, and I didn't get all the money into the middle until after the freaking turn card! I mean just think how much better that is that I got to keep most of my chips until after the turn card when there was just one card left to come, rather than getting him allin preflop with his KT vs. my KJ, giving him five chances to spike a Ten. Instead in this case, he had just one chance left to eliminate me, and just two outs to do it.

The 19-to-1 river card? Ten. Not of hearts, which would have made me a flush. Apparently even two outs once is not too small for me to dodge. Two frucking outs, which I had the discipline and the skill to wait until after the turn card to get the money in for. How much better can I play that hand? So instead of a huge double-up and a jump into the top few hundred chip stacks, IGH in 1600-somethingth place. That was as rough a beat as you're going to see in one of these things, and a bitter ending to start my FTOPS run after totally kicking ass and winning nearly 5 grand during FTOPS V back in August. Dam that one still stings the next morning, what can I say. And now I don't want to talk about it anymore.

So moving then back to yesterday's river-decision hands, for starters of course let me say thanks to all the commenters, who gave I thought very well-reasoned and sensible arguments for their positions. I will start off by saying that I purposely chose these three hands to profile about playing at the river because, to be honest, I was dubious with how I played each of them myself. At least one of the hands I thought I definitely screwed up, and I might have with the others as well as far as not making as much money, or not losing as little money, as I could with them. So these comments and thoughts are very valuable to me, and hopefully to you all as well.

So, starting with Hand #1 from Wednesday's post, this is the one where I called a preflop raise with presto, checked on the 992 flop and my preflop raising opponent checked behind. Then I bet $20 into the $32 pot when the turn card made the board 9922 and I held the pocket 5s, which my opponent smooth called. Then the river brought us this situation:

and I asked how you would play this here. Bet or check? If you bet, how much?

My favorite comment and the one that is most in-line with my own thinking on this point came from cmitch, an awesome cash player in his own right and someone who really understands the 2-4 6max games that I play, where he said: "If you check, you are basically telling him that you are giving up on the hand and have to fold to most bets and he could be betting with an Ace." That's the long and short of it right there. I felt I had to bet here. The bottom line is, this guy has played this hand like he has two good high cards (AQ, AJ maybe, etc.) right from the very beginning. Surely it could also be another middle pocket pair, probably higher than mine, but that's the chance you take when you play a game like this, especially 6max which tends to be significantly more active and move-makey than the full ring poker tables. If I check, he is likely to bet with an Ace, and I am likely to give serious thought to folding. Instead, I prefer to make fold equity work for me instead of against me, and I also want to give him the chance to call me with his Ace-high hand. Odds are much greater than he will call with an Ace than that he would ever bet out with an Ace. My best chance to profit here is to bet out -- not too big, because my hand could be beaten in a lot of different ways here by a preflop raiser -- but enough so that he will fold, and yet little enough that he will maybe call with an Ace high hand. And I'm basically going to fold to any normal-sized raise; that's just the way it is, and I definitely have the discipline to do that.

So I opted to go for this bet:

And he folded:

I'm still trying to figure out if this is a good outcome or not. I guess I'll go with yes, since I won a nice sized pot with a pretty shitty hand and without knowing exactly where I was at against a preflop raiser all along. But did I bet a little too much here? Should I have bet a little less in the hopes that he calls with an Ace high? It seems like mostly everyone who suggested betting out suggested half the pot or even a little less. I guess if my only objective were to get the Ace-high hand to call, then that is clearly the better move. But to be clear, in this case my roughly 2/3 of the pot bet is being done for a slightly different reason as well, which is the very significant purpose of camouflaging my river bets with strong hands as well. I don't want to be stuck betting 1/3 of the pot with the nuts at the river, so I don't want to be the guy who bets 1/3 the pot when I want a call but am not confident about my hand, and 2/3 the pot when I know I am good. That would make me very easy to read and very easy to play. Balancing the types of hands I will bet 2/3 of the pot with is of the utmost importance to me over any session or sessions in which I play, so I let that consideration push me towards my more normal 2/3 pot bet in this case even though I would have loved the Ace-high call here. To tell the truth, I'm still struggling with that question now.

On to Hand #2, this was the hand where I called in super-cheap to see a 4-way flop with my K3o, and the flop came down 6K3 rainbow. I bet out on the flop, got called by just one player in middle position, and then I once again did my "go and stop" move, checking the turn when an offsuit Queen hit the board, and my opponent followed my lead by betting out $20 into the $38 pot. In retrospect I probably should have raised him here, but this guy had been an active raiser and reraiser -- remember there are a lot of move-makers at this level and game -- and I did not want to face a large reraise with just top and bottom pair, which I knew was going to put me in jeopardy of losing a large pot because I definitely have to be tempted to call there. Having no clue what he might have held preflop due to the limpage, I just didn't feel comfortable with that possibility, and I guess the chance that he could have held KQ also entered into my mind. In the end, I made what was probably a mistake and just smooth called, opting to see what the river brought before I committed any more chips. I wish I had played this differently, but it is what it is and I eventually eventually saw a raggy, offsuit 4 hit the river for a final board of 6K3Q4, and me holding K3o. With $77 then in the pot, I asked whether you guys advocate trying to check this hand down, or rather betting out, and if so, how much.

In this spot, a lot of players I respect the games of commented that they would check-call here. My issue with that play is that, although I definitely have my doubts as to whether or not I'm beat here, I think I could easily be up against another King, and I want to get paid by that guy. Unless it's AK or something, I do not think one pair is likely to bet out against me on the river, although my turn check-call might help induce some action. But here for me it really comes down to something that Alan said in the comments: "I don't want to miss out on any money where he might call with one pair but also just check behind you." Exactly. One pair is not too likely to bet here, and I want to make sure I make something at the river here against one pair or a lower two pair. So I wanted to bet. With $77 already in the pot, though, something about this hand had my spidey senses tingling a little bit, and with just top and 5th pair on the board, I again did not want to face calling a larger raise than necessary, or risk being called by something like top and 3rd pair and losing a larger than necessary pot, so I don't quite agree with the 80% of the pot recommendations that a few of the commenters made. I opted to go with some of the later commenters' recommendations, reasoning that a bet of just more than half the pot is large enough to get some good value, and yet not so large that I will be really pissed if I get called and lose, or worst of all if I have to fold to a big reraise. So I ended up betting $41 into the $77 pot, just more than half the pot which is about as low as I will ever bet in this situation -- like Lucko said in the comments yesterday, I am fine with blocking bets in theory, but in practice more often than not when someone tries a blocking bet on me, I bluff raise them and they fold. I don't find blocking bets useful for my own style of play, so a little over half the pot is as low as you're ever going to see me go in a situation like this.

My opponent considered briefly and then called my $41 bet at the river, and I won a $159 pot. If you're interested, here is what he actually had:

Sucks. I'm sure I could have gotten more out of him than just $41. He wasn't going to call an allin overbet with his TPTK here (I don't think), but surely I could have probably even pushed this as high as the size of the pot and he would have called it. But given his range, and the incredibly pussified way he played his TPTK hand, I still am unsure whether the slightly smaller or slightly larger bet size is the best move here.

In Hand #3 yesterday, I called a preflop raise out of the big blind with 3 players and my JTs to see a flop of KQT, giving me bottom pair on a scary board and also an oesd. The flop was checked around. The turn brough an Ace, making two spades on the board and also giving me the nut straight. I bet out $35 into the $59 pot on the turn, thinking that the Ace clearly was a great card for me in that in must have hit someone else's hand, and with all those high cards I could easily be up against two pairs or a set or something in a hand with a preflop raiser and two callers of the preflop raise. Just one player called that $34 turn bet, and the river brought a raggy offsuit 5 for this situation:

Here is again where I asked what you would do here, with me holding the stone nuts. All but one of the commenters suggested betting out here, and not hoping for this guy to bet at me so I could checkraise him allin. I agree 100% with that approach, but once again I was not sure about the proper amount to bet. In the end I decided to go with the full pot bet:

my opponent folded, and I won a nice pot of $127. But I think I probably bet too much here, and it seems mostly all the commenters agree. In retrospect, I think the key point is that with 4 to the straight very overtly showing on the board, I should have known I would get a fold from anyone not holding a Jack when I bet $124 into the $127 pot at the river. If I could do it again, I would definitely bet less. Maybe around half the pot, or more likely, for the same balancing reasons I discussed above, I would probably have dropped in about 2/3 of the size of the pot, maybe in the $80 range. If he folds to that then so be it, but if I can get an additional $80 in there with the nuts, and at the same time protect all my other 2/3 pot bets at the river when I do not hold the nuts, I wish I had done it that way. Bad play by me, but lesson learned. Next time, I get paid at the river with the nuts. I just wish I knew what this guy had in his hand in the end.

OK that's all for this topic for today, though I have lots more hands saved up just like this for future discussion. Don't forget, tonight at 9pm ET is the latest Riverchasers tournament on full tilt hosted by Al (password is "riverchasers"), and it is also FTOPS #2 at 9pm ET, tonight being the $322 buyin razz tournament. I know at least myself, KOD and jeciimd have satellited into this thing, so you can look for us tonight during the Riverchasers to see how we're holding up. But I suggest you do it early, because I know I speak for at least myself when I point out how completely maddening playing razz tends to make me. I don't know that I have ever played it at the $300 buyin level before in a tournament, but I already know that the calldonkeys will still be out in force, chasing their stoopid two-brick hands on 5th street and similar moves, and invariably they will cocksuck out on me and take me down early and often. Ah well, it's nice to have something to look forward to tonight, isn't it?

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Blogger lucko said...

LOL @ T9o!!! Bloggers are awesome!!!

Hand 1: Bet\fold is clearly not a good outcome. There is very little chance he folded a better hand. You got no value for your hand. I still think this is a pretty clear check\call spot. Expecting people to call down two streets with Ace high is overly optimistic to me. IMO, betting is a mistake and a pretty big one.

Hand3: Again, I stand by my line of checking. Not sure what hands people think are calling here that you beat and get value out of. You have to figure AT is about the top of his range of hands you beat and I can't think AT is calling very often here. I think there is more value in checking the nuts on this river.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Nice blog! More people should read it. If you want, you can register your blog It is free and and it automatically sends an annoying comment to you whenevers you do an update, so visitors of our site can be sick of reading. The big advantage is that . . . excuse me, somebody has found me and is now choking me to death . . ..

Greets Peter

1:50 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

pushmonkey loves his connectors.

Brutal beat in FTOPS, I felt need to ice my nutz just watching it.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

Yeah, I was at your table, and I gotta say, pushmonkey's instacall was baffling to me. I mean, he didn't hesitate for a split second to call you.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Why would you hesitate when you know you're holding the unbeatable T9o? Short of maybe the JackAce, is there any better hand to have hot-and-cold than T9 off sooooot?

5:46 AM  
Blogger sellthekids said...

Why this has been happening to me so consistently during the BBTwo tournaments is beyond me, but if you phucking idiots don't stop picking me as your "horseys" and your "Pick 5" or whatever you want to call it, then you are just not living in the real world.


i am shipping you 15% of my Lucko win tonight when i end up taking it again. all you gotta do is play your game, go deep, and make my three the winner.

i have faith.

7:39 AM  

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