Thursday, November 15, 2007

The River is a Bitch

Well, obviously I am worthless for the BBTwo. It's funny -- this is exactly how my performance in the first BBT started, almost uncannily similar to this one. For the entire first month (here we are about to finish the fourth week of the challenge), I had exactly one in-the-points finish, out of I think the first 12 tournaments or so. Same as this time around. And just like the first BBT, that one points-finish was a worthless final-two-tables kind of performance, nothing worth even mentioning or being the least bit happy about. I was so out of it after the first month of the original BBT that my game outside of the blonkaments was suffering, and my interest in playing poker was lower than it had been for months. I didn't like playing against the bloggers, I knew they were playing stoopid against me just for shits n giggles, and I barely wanted to play any real poker at all. I wasn't even thinking about the BBT anymore at that point. I knew I was done, I knew I wasn't playing well and was experiencing horrible luck, and I didn't even care about the whole thing anymore.

Fast forward five months to the BBTwo. Almost four full weeks in the books now, and I have just one in-the-points finish. That was I think in a Riverchasers tournament where I busted somewhere in the upper teens -- again, absolutely nothing to be the least bit happy or proud about, and believe me, I'm not. Otherwise, just like the first BBT, my performance is a history of bad beats, horrible plays by my opponents and a few bad ones by myself as well. Just like last time, I'm getting instacalled allin preflop by the jackace, by fucking T9o, by pocket 6s, and losing to all of these horrifically poor plays where my opponent is not only displaying terrible poker but is getting in factually behind as they should with plays like these, but I'm still losing. And I haven't played great either, don't get me wrong, a lot of which is a result of my disappointment and disillusionment with poker in general right now, another similarity to the first BBT.

As most of you know, almost immediately after the first month ended in BBT1, things started to turn around for me. I made a final table, then I came in 2nd place in the MATH. After that I won a Riverchasers, following it up with another RC win and still another second place finish at the hands of a highly skilled 11-year-old kid who really knew when to call allin with J6o and then suck out in heads-up play. I finished near the top in another MATH, and then ended the BBT by taking second place in the Big Game. I wish, wish wish I could get back inside my head from back then and get a sense of what I was feeling, of how I turned things around so quickly and so dramatically for the final two months of the challenge, where I cleaned up and basically outperformed everyone else on an improbable run from deep in the 100s to a final finish in 4th place, winning a Nintendo Wii that I still use regularly with my family at home.

How the fuck did I do that? I was so awful in the first month of the BBT1, and yet so great after that point. What did I change? Was it luck? Mental attitude? Did I just play better, smarter poker after that point? Who knows. What I do know is that I am now back to the exact same point I was after one month in the first BBT. I mean, I am completely and utterly broken down and beaten down at this point. As in, I just don't care about the BBT anymore. I don't care about the Tournament of Champions, I couldn't possibly go to Australia in January anyways, and I don't care about winning any events, turning a profit for the challenge, anything. I don't even care about not embarrassing myself with my BBTwo performance in front of all you clowns. None of it matters to me right now.

Man I am down on poker just now. I've spent a lot of time since Wednesday night thinking it over, and I think I have a handle on why, or at least a big part of the reason: the river is fucking killing me lately. I was chatting with Goat on the girlie the other night and he was telling me how he keeps getting in ahead on the flop but then getting crushed by the turn card. I believe he went out of the Mookie this week when he flopped AKQ to his JT for the flopped nuts, got allin and called by someone with AK, and the turn card came a King to eliminate Goat early. That is a tough beat and I feel for the guy, I really do. But at least he got called by someone who was clearly going with that hand no matter what happened, and I can't question the guy one bit who got it allin on that flop while holding Big Slick. And more than that, all things equal it is only about 734 times worse (to me anyways) to be ahead until the last card, but have that fucking river rip your victory away and smack you in the face with defeat at the very last moment. And lately, the river is fucking me like it's going out of style, and it is just completely demoralizing to me.

On Monday I got beat out from the MATH in a race situation when I flopped a pair but then lost to a straight at the river. So, it was just a race that I lost, but the way it shook out felt pretty fugly to me. I'm basically 50-50 going in, I take the lead on the flop and my opponent has basically 3 outs to beat me. The turn is a rag but does make a straight draw for my opponent, making me now about an 80% favorite with one card to come. Looks live I've probably survived another race, I'm doubling up and it's all good. Then Booooooooom, I'm done.

On Tuesday I played FTOPS #9 the PLO8 event, and as I mentioned yesterday, I lost five big pots to bust near the end of the first hour in unceremonious fashion. The thing is, all five pots I was ahead on the turn and got effled on the river. Five times in 40 minutes. It was gross, seeing my opponents turn up an anussy hand that was given a victory on the river. In each case I was definitely at least 80% to win heading into the last card. When that happens five time in 40 minutes, every single one of them on the river, at least for me it has a major effect. It's very hard to overcome. In the span of just a few days, I've reverted back to that guy from a couple of years ago when I had only been playing online for a little while -- when the cards are flipped and all the money's in the middle, whether it's a race or if I'm dominating, I already know what's happening on the river. I could tell you the exact card that's coming. And lately it never seems to fail. That is such a demoralizing, annoying feeling that it really weighs on me.

Then last night I'm in the Mookie, and I also played the 9:45pm ET megasatellite to Thursday night's $535 HORSE tournament. Well, technically I also played that FTOPS #10, the $322 rebuy nlh tournament that I satellited into the night before, but just as I said I would, I refused to rebuy at all, so when my AKs lost to a flopped set of 3s in the first 6 minutes or so, I logged out of that tournament without a second's thought or care about it. But otherwise, the Mook and the HORSE sat were my only two events of the evening. And here's how it went down.

I made the second break in the Mook, though I got rivered for a 1200-chip pot in the earlygoing by Roccoboxer who could not lay down his open end straight draw on the flop or turn. I lost the minimum I think, as my bottom two pair on the flop was good all along, but on the river the top card paired, giving Rocco and his inability to lay down middle pair middle kicker the undeserved victory. That was 1200 chips gone on the river, when I knew I was ahead before that time. What can you do.

Anyways, eventually I've made it to the second hour, with around a third of the large field of 112 players eliminated, and I had just won an allin preflop race against a shortly when I flopped a Jack to my unbeatable Jackace and held off a medium pocket pair from another short stack. This had gotten me back to around the starting stack of 3000 chips, and I was feeling like I maybe had a second lease on life in this thing after a couple of tough beats in the earlygoing. Then this hand:

Here, I'm still in the bottom fifth of the leaderboard and I need to build some chips fast if I'm going to survive much further than where I'm already at, so I will readily take an allin preflop with AQ against a guy who limped from utg+1 to start the hand. Of course I'm not pleased to see the JJ, but at the same time I am now racing and with the chips already in the pot at the time it was an obvious call even if Mr. Subliminal had shown his cards before we got it allin, so all that is fine.

So, here's your flop:

Ba ba ba Booooooooom! And I'm going to double up here and be in great shape all of a sudden. It feels good, I like the play I made and I can win a race once in a while for sure. The turn comes an offsuit 4, and we're down to just two outs. Two outs once. It's another of those 95% favorites of mine that you hardly even really consider as possible to lose. I mean, 19 to 1 is 19 to 1, and one of out every 20 times you face this situation, you are going to lose. But it's 1 in 20, and I've already lost to several 5% shots at the river over the past week or two, so no way it happens here.

Or not.

Now tell me something, can I count this in my mind as a "suckout"? I am curious about people's thoughts on this. I mean, certainly preflop allin it was a race situation, and in that sense nothing that happens to either player is a suckout if you think about it only that way. But seeing it another way, preflop it was a race to see if I could hit an Ace or a Queen, which had basically a 50% shot of happening. And it did. So me hitting my Ace is certainly not a suckout of any kind. But him hitting his two-outer on the river, isn't that a suckout at this point? My 50-50 shot "won", surpassed his JJ, and now he hits the 2-outer, again at the river? I think it's a suckout but I would be interested to hear others' thoughts on the topic. Not that it matters of course in the end, but I feel like I got sucked out on at the river again and want to wallow in it some more today.

Let's think about the question another way. I agree 100% that it is no kind of suckout if I have the JJ, he has the AQ, and my Jacks hold up until river, where the Ace falls and I lose. Yes that was technically a 6-outer at the river, but once you're allin preflop, it is roughly a 50-50 shot through all five cards, and just because the Ace or Queen happened to fall on the river, to me that is clearly not a suckout in any way, shape or form. It's just a lost race. But this is a different situation from that. Here, the race already was won on the flop by the AQ hand, and it leaves the pocket Jacks with just two outs to overcome the deficit on the flop. This is clearly not a "resuck", since there was no kind of suckout whatsoever on the flop when it was basically a 50-50 shot going in. The 48% AQ hand hit its card, the race was over, and only then does the set of Jacks fall on the river. To me, that is a big bad fugly suckout. It's a plain old 2-outer on the river the way I see it, and not just because it happened to me. Again, I acknowledge going in that it obviously does not matter one bit in the end whether or not this was a "suckout", but I was thinking about this hand overnight and I'm curious to know what you guys think about it.

Either way, it was another sick, sick river loss where I was wizznay ahead after four cards. Out of the Mook in the low 70s somewhere. And congratulations to Mike Maloney for taking down this week's Mookie and for winning the 12th of 27 seats to the BBTwo Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions. Mike is a great guy and a very solid poker player, so congratulations to I'm sure a well-deserved win. And I have to say, I do feel bad for runner up Astin, who busted out with his second 2nd-place finish so far in the BBTwo to go along with a good 3 or 4 final tables. That has gotta suck, but congrats as well to Astin for playing without a doubt as well as anyone so far in the BBTwo, regardless of what the points system says or doesn't say.

So, on to the HORSE megasatellite, which would award 20-some seats out of 253 or so players to Thursday night's $535 HORSE event for FTOPS #11. In this one, as is always always always the case with any level of buyin in HORSE on full tilt, the play was complete and utter shit. It was worse than shit. It was the shit that the flies excrete who sit around all day eating the shit that comes out of horses' asses. It might even have been worse than that. I want to show you another rivering, on a hand that took just about my entire stack away from me, just because I want you to see how god dam awful at this game these assholes really are.

So the game is razz (what else?), and the blinds are 120-240 with an ante of 20. I raise it up to 120 with a 2 up, and only the 5 up across the table from me calls. Then comes 4th street:

Of course I'm betting with me showing A2 and my heads-up opponent picking up a Ten. Fonkey calls, which of course makes me happy because now (1) I know I am ahead, and (2) I know exactly what he has underneath, which must be near perfect (one would think) to make a fonkorific unjustifiably -EV call like this. Simply no understanding of razz at all is the only explanation. Not with my A2 showing and me having bet on 3rd street.

Fifth street is more awesome for me, although my opponent also catches good which is fine with me given my up cards:

So I bet out with my A23, and he calls again with his 5T2 showing. Quelle fonkey! So now I know (I think) that he must have A2 and not A3 underneath, because at this point with me betting all the way and now showing A23 up, that's the only possible explanation for his calling still at this point now that the bets have doubled.

Sixth street, still more awesomeness for me:

So here I am, showing fucking A236 and having bet out on every street, and here's the guy with a Ten up calling that bet. Now, he doesn't raise here, with the bets already doubled on 6th street, so there's basically no way he has a wheel with an A4 under. There could be no possible explanation for not raising with a wheel at this point, and flat calling will only cost you a bet and basically can't possibly win him anything extra on 7th. But my point is, when he calls me here with me showing an A236 and him showing 5T32, what could he have here? As I said there's no way it's A4 underneath, but I have to figure him for an Ace and some other rag. Sure I guess it could be A6, but with A2356 and me showing A236, doesn't he raise here with the second best possible 6? If he's not a total fuckafonk he does. But not here. So I don't even see how he could have A6 underneath. In which case, this guy is making a horrific fonkplay no matter what he has going on underneath those two down cards of his. What, is he going to put me on a complex 5-street bluff when I'm showing A236 and have bet on every single street here? Now now please.

Now, naturally because this is razz, and because the river is my fucking bitter enemy over the past week or so, I brick out with two pairs on the river. This leaves me with a filthy 9-low, but obviously there is no way I can fail to bet here. This guy could easily be drawing to a wheel-type of hand, and he has to be willing to fold anything but a made 6-low at the river given the A236 I am showing. Any experienced razz player will know that this dickhead cannot call here with out a 6-low. Period. Any fidiot will know that. I'm showing A236 and I bet on 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th streets. I obviously have the low, period. Even a fuckfool knows this. So I bet out. My opponent thinks for a few minutes, and calls me. Shit!

Of course my 9-low lost the hand, if he was willing to call me on the end. So what did this fonkafuck have to make this brilliant play? Check it out:

And there you have it. Now thanks to full tilt's clusterfuckian idea of mixing up the holecards every time they show in the stud variants, we will never really know which cards he had under in which spots. So let's play what I like to call "best possible scenario": since the 5 underneath paired his 3rd street card, let's just assume that the 5 fell on the river and did not help him. That means he called me on 3rd street with (84)5 when I had a 2 showing. Objectively bad play, that cannot be denied. Some of you out there might think this is a fine call for 3rd street, but that's because you are fonkeys. It's -EV and that is an objectively true statement. In fact, it's a terrible call with that 8 underneath (even worse if he really started with (54)5).

Then on 4th street, my favorite part of the whole hand I think, he calls again with let's assume (84)5T, with me showing A2. Now how the flockity flick do you make this call? Do you think maybe he forgot he was playing razz, and instead thought he was maybe playing home game poker, with 8s and Tens wild? I mean, there is just on other explanation for this play. I haven't been playing crazy (you really can't in a game like razz), I bet with the low card on 3rd, and now I've picked up A2. Un fucking real.

On 5th street he calls again with (84)5T2, with me showing A23. That is unbelievable, now for a double bet when I am showing the three lowest possible cards, and he has a fabulous made Ten-Eight low. Just wow.

On 6th street he calls again with (84)5T23, now an ever-powerful made 8 low against a guy showing fothermucking A236 and who's been betting on every street. More brilliance. What the flying flock could this assclown possibly think I am holding here? It's not a question of me bluffing him -- I'm showing A236 for crying out loud!! And he has a made 8 low. Obviously he only calls on 6th street to try to draw to his wheel, which is exactly what I put him on. But what a terrible, terrible play.

Then of course my river affliction kicks in, double-pairing me and ruining my otherwise beautiful hand. Here my opponent, who I can only assume was hoping to draw to his wheel, pairs his 5, leaving him with that made 8-low against me with the A236 showing and having bet ever since the beginning of the hand. I bet, and of course he can't lay his monster 8 low down at this point, can he? Because the fact that he has a smooth 8 low is highly relevant here, with me showing A236 and betting all the way, right? Just unreal. Needless to say, I did not make it into the HORSE event tonight, although I know that at least jeciimd, emptyman and KOD will be in there today so stop by and check them out at some point after the 9pm ET start time this evening if you like to watch luckboxes in action. :)

So F the river. And speaking of rivers, don't forget tonight is the next Riverchasers tournament, at 9pm ET on full tilt. This is another BBTwo event, so get in there early to play for the next Tournament of Champions seat to be awarded. As for me, I am done with BBTwo. I mean, I'll be playing tonight because I've been focusing more on the blonkaments this year than anything else (sad as that is), but I am irrelevant. I can't stop people from instacalling me even with hands like T9o for most of their good-sized stack, I can't start off with five pocket Aces in the first hour like sooome people, and I can't even win my 19-to-1 shots with one card to come. So I'm done. But I'll be there and I'm going to try to just take the whole thing more light-heartedly than I have been previous to now. Giving up can be good like that I guess. The Riverchasers is always a highly skilled tournament made up of highly skilled players, so I can't expect to compete with the big boys like that and I won't even be trying anymore. I give up.

See you tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt!

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Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Ah yes, no question that AK was quite rightly going to the felt vs. my JT on an AKQ flop. It was no more and no less than a cooler. I don't see how he's going to fold there and I was of course delighted to get action.

I think I'm a little cooler now than I was after the cooler in the chat, though.

You will turn it around, I have no doubt. GL in that Riverchasers thing tonight.

11:40 PM  
Blogger emptyman said...

Hey, don't forget this luckbox in FTOPS #11 HORSE tonight.

Played in that same HORSE 255-person satellite (for cash), went out in Razz when my A346 finished 6J6. 9 high good. Puke.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

If you have AQ vs. JJ all-in preflop, you flop a pair and he rivers a set, no way that's a suckout. All of the money went in when it was a coinflip, so really, any results after that are irrelevant as far as percentages go to determine whether or not it was a suckout. You didn't get more money in the pot after you flopped a pair, it was all done preflop, therefore, not a suckout. Sure, he hit a two-outer on the river, but the cards could have been in any order and it wouldn't have made any difference at all. He could have flopped a set, and you could have rivered your queen, and the hand would have played out exactly the same. Therefore, the order in which the cards come down when you're all-in preflop is completely irrelevant.

1:01 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

I agree with Mike? I went out on a flip in this as well, AQ soooted on button vs TT in SB, flop Ace, running diamonds and I am four flushed :( That's poker though, and thats what we get for gambling with coin flips :)

1:41 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

Let's all have a pity party!

Seriously Hoy, what was that last paragraph? You sound like the kid who got picked last for dodgeball.

So you're getting rivered. Again, and again, and again. That means you're playing GOOD poker then. You can't get sucked out on if you aren't ahead to begin with.

A big part of the problem could be attitude. Once you expect to get called by crap, you start getting called by crap. You start seeing the rivers coming? They come. This isn't some "The Secret" BS I'm talking about either.

You start expecting to lose, and you'll find ways. You'll play tilty, you'll hesitate on big moves and your opponents will pick up on it. Worst of all, you'll play scared, and scared poker is losing poker. You'll stop stealing; you'll stop trying to outplay them after the flop; you'll become weak-tight. You KNOW this already.

On top of that, you'll never remember the times a hand actually holds or YOU catch a low-percentage card, so those rivers will seem worse. Especially since most of those hands will be for smaller pots. Hell, you have shitty hand memory to begin with. :)

These days, I find my attitude heading in makes a ton of difference in my results. Yesterday I spent the trip home from work visualizing how I was going to win the Mookie. By doing this I set my gameplan up, and when the time came to implement it, I did exactly what I needed to to give myself a chance at the win. It wasn't all aces and kings last night for me. When I rely on that, I suck. When I just plopped myself in front of the keyboard to play other events, I floundered around.

In the end, you'll come out of this. You were in the same spot a few months ago and turned it around. You're in this spot at least 2 or 3 times a year, and always get through.

Take a step back and look at your game. When do you get the money in? When are you winning? What are you overplaying? You have Pokertracker, use it. Remember, in the BBT events and the FTOPS satellites (and by extension the FTOPS events), you'll be walking through a minefield of calling stations, TPTK donks, and draw-chasers. They'll be all over a pre-flop and flop bet, but how about a turn? And why are you in a position to be affected by one bad beat anyway? Sure, 5 in 40 minutes is nuts and nearly impossible to overcome, but for everything else, if you're playing right, you should have plenty of padding to absorb a suckout or two.

Donks and shitty RNGs aren't going anywhere, so what can YOU change to improve your results?

Maybe I'm just blowing smoke here. I haven't exactly been analyzing your game and betting patterns beyond what anybody else does, and your past results speak for themselves. You know you're good. Now find out why you're losing.

2:03 AM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

Mike stole my thunder. You were all in and were going to see 5 cards. The order in which they come has no bearing on whehter it is a suckout. Now, having said that it does suck.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Howdy Hoy.

I was where you were at as you well know back in September into October and it screwed with my head. The biggest thing that helped me was returning to live play where I reallly excel then online. That got my confidence back.

Secondly, I think you need to dummy down your game in the early stages of a blogger tourney. ABC poker until the blinds and antes kick in. Why? Because most of the people showing up to play these things dont think of their game in the multi-leveled manner that you do. They play by feel. they dont care if they are making loose calls,chasing their flushes or gutterballs or pushing small edges or pot/implied odds etc.

You will turn it around and dont be so hard on yourself and dont give up. There is a lesson here for you somewhere.

2:24 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

A coin flip is a coin flip. If you take a coin flip in an MTT for all your chips you will be going home 1/2 of the time. I see you taking huge coin-flips a bunch in these blonkaments (not saying this is wrong), and you will go to the rail a bunch when you do this. Once you make the decision to take a coin-flip like that, it is either the correct decision or not, and the results are not important. Keep from being so concerned with the results, and you will tilt less and play better.

I also still question yout MTT Sat strategy. Why would you waste time and money in Sats for a rebuy MTT, if going in you know you will not rebuy? Makes no sense to me.

12:26 AM  
Blogger ASHMC2 said...

Holy Shit Dennis Miller. You really shouldn’t keep things bottled-up inside; let us hear what you really think. I don’t think I’ve heard a drawn-out rant that good ever.

Ok, here’s the lurker’s slant on things. First of all IG, how much did Hoy pay you to say that tripe? He is probably still smoking a cigarette. No disrespect meant IG. I just found the ass-kissing rather humorous

Don’t get me wrong Hoy; I do think you are an advanced player, from which I have learned a lot via your in-depth posts and Hot Hands. (Damn this ass-kissing is contagious!) But it isn’t, as IG blatantly stated, that you are thinking so far above everyone else’s skill level that they are helplessly and inadvertently donking off their chips to you. Here’s what I think the problems are. 1 – Most bloggers read your posts. 2 – You have Hellmuth Syndrome. 1 – You openly discuss your strategies and often give us play-by-play with nice pictures for even the worst of us lemurs. Over and over you tell us how you steal and resteal form position with any two. So far be from someone to attempt making moves here and there, hoping that you are full of it that time. Even if someone calls your steal bluff with a better hand, but doesn’t show down a premium hand they still get berated for bad play and likely their name gets placed in infamy on your blog for all to see. LOL. 2 – That leads us to the Hellmuth Syndrome. Why do people purposely target him? Because he always blows up and really what is funnier than making someone snap if your steal or resteal doesn’t workout.

Hey, but that’s just my opinion. ;)

Later, Ash out…

6:49 PM  

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