Saturday, December 08, 2007

Final BBTwo MATH, and Back On My Game

This weekend, it would seem that I finally came out of the semi-slump I had been experiencing for the past little while. Couple of months even I guess. I mean, I've had some nice wins smattered throughout that time, but in my personal opinion I have not been playing my best game for some time, and I think I've seen that in my results. But I digress....

That's right boys and girls. Tonight is the last night of the BBTwo-enabled MATH. Oh don't worry -- the weekly Monday night MATH tournament as we know it will continue on into perpetuity, or until I die an untimely death or when they finally outlaw and prevent anyone in the U.S. from playing poker online. But this is the last week of the BBTwo, with four juicy tournaments for each and every one of you to pick up one of the last four BBTwo Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions freeroll seats. We've got the MATH on Monday night, the Mookie on Wednesday, Riverchasers on Thursday, and then we will end the BBTwo just the way it started, with the Big Game on this coming Sunday night for your TOC-qualifying pleasure, and it all begins with tonight's MATH tournament at 10pm ET on full tilt. The password as always for the MATH is "hammer", and tonight the game is once again 6-max no-limit holdem. No turbo, nothing fancy, just plain old 6-max nlh. I think I alluded to this in an earlier post, but my plan for the time being is to make the MATH a 6-max nlh event for the foreseeable future starting in 2008. I mean, it will be 6-max tonight and again I believe next Monday, but I have something fun planned for the last two Mondays of the year, as they happen to occur on Christmas Eve and then New Years Eve, so only the abject junkies(including myself) will be playing in those two events. Otherwise though, for the time being I think we're looking at 6max nlh, starting with tonight for the MATH at 10pm ET on full tilt. Same $26 buyin, same "hammer" password, but come out tonight for your last chance to qualify for the BBTwo ToC for the Aussie Millions in the Hoy.

OK so back to the weekend. As I mentioned earlier, while you guys were all out living it up in Las Vegas over the weekend, I went and turned my game around in a hurry from right here in my bedroom.

The fun started when jeciimd, your current 2nd place on the BBTwo leaderboard btw after a 3rd-place finish in the first BBT, hit me up on the girly and talked me into starting up one of these 90-person $24 knockout sngs on full tilt. I think I've never played a 90-person sng in my life on full tilt, though I used to enjoy those 180-person tournaments on assholestars so I figured why not, I would give it a shot. Fast forward about 2 1/2 or 3 hours, and 7 $4 bounties later to mean I was already freerolling the thing, and I had ended up in 2nd place overall out of 90 runners. Total profit of over $350 net, I will definitely take me some of that. That will buy me into my next 35 Mookie's right there without ever winning one, you can't beat that, right? I was disappointed not to win it, but I entered heads-up play as about a 3 to 1 chip underdog, and as it is I got allin on the flop with a pair and an OESD. Unfortunately my opponent held a higher pair, and the OESD did not fill, and I just didn't have the chips to withstand that kind of a beat. I would push again at a 3-to-1 chip deficit with pair + OESD, so I'm happy about how that whole thing turned out overall. My final table play was impeccable to get to that point, and for that I have got to credit playing a lot of one-table sngs recently. More on that in a minute.

Anyways, the real reason I was on on Friday night and willing to start that 90-person sng is that I knew the Kat-less donkament was going on and I figured I would jump in there as well. I was laughing about it with some friends on the girly chat this weekend, but I basically get my ass mauled in that thing every single week during Monkey Hour. I mean, one time I got lucky a few times and I went on to win the donkament that week after I ended the first hour with the chip lead and just never relinquished it, but the way I see it, everyone takes out their anger and aggression on me for playing so aggressively in all the other blonkaments every week and for ranting and raving like a lunatic here on the blog about the play of others, and as a result I end up having to buy in at least 10 or 12 times without exception, sometimes as many as 20 times or more, and in the end I basically always end the first hour right around the minimum possible stack. I do enjoy playing the donkament, but even though I joke that it is my poker therapy for the week, in reality I see it more as poker therapy for my opponents against me rather than actually for me. In any event, the story was the same this week, as I ended Monkey Hour at just under 4000 chips and about 2/3 of the way down the leaderboard. Nonetheless, after three hours of grueling play, here was the end result:

Booooooooom! My second donkament win of the year, and a huge $30 profit for exactly three hours of play and hard work. Wow.

But the real story of my big run this weekend was at the sng tables. Although a lot of people have noticed or even participated in the recent string of sng challenges and similar assaults on the sng tables among the poker bloggers, few people know that I actually started this assault a few weeks back. I began hitting up the $55 and $110 turbo sng's about a month ago, something which a number of other bloggers quickly started doing as well, although I'm happy to say I don't run into many other bloggers at the 55s and 110s where I focus most of my play. Really I'm more often in the $55 turbos than anything else, and I have to say that overall the results have been really great in a few key ways. First and foremost, the bottom line. I don't keep detailed stats and I don't have any foncay graphs to show of my performance, but I would estimate that I am up around 2k on the $55 and $110 turbos in the past month. Just this weekend alone, I cashed in 12 out of 17 $55 turbo sngs, including 7 outright wins for $247 and change apiece, or a net profit of over $180 in each. And that doesn't even count the two $110 turbo sngs I also won outright for each a $495 payout. It was a very profitable weekend for me overall at the tables for a number of reasons, the sngs being a big part of it. That 90-person sng from Friday and the donkament helped too, as did three other large mtt cashes on the weekend including in the 50-50 on Sunday night which I qualified for for $28 earlier in the night, but overall my results really shot up this weekend so at least I had that to hang my hat on while knowing all the fun that was going on in my absence in a certain place in the desert.

But more than the profits, these sng's have really been helping with my confidence in my game in general, my end game in particular, and have also helped me to focus on some realities of tournament play that I haven't spent a lot of time focusing on of late. There is nothing -- no way whatsoever -- that is going to help your shorthanded or late-game tournament play more than sitting in a bunch of 1-table sngs. I mean, where else can you get the hands-on practice at shorthanded, low-M nlh tournaments that you can get every time you sit down to a sitngo tournament? You just can't. At the $55 level, the money means enough -- at least to me -- to take the play very seriously, and as a result I find that if I make marginal calls of preflop raises with hands like the jackace and pocket 6s, I'm going to run into trouble. Playing as many sngs as I have in the past month -- I would estimate it is something around a hundy of them at this point -- I have gotten to relearn what kinds of hands to push with early and what kinds of hands are worth passing on before the pots get big to begin with.

Another thing that these 1-table turbo sngs are great for is reading players, and in particular reading players for steals and resteals. I cannot tell you how many times over the past month I have reraised a button open-raiser with air and won (and a few times I've lost btw) just based on watching their play, the pace with which they put in their bets and just their betting amounts and patterns generally, and this is all good for my game. As I've written about here many times, I tend to play my game based more on my instincts and my reads than anything else, and I purposefully go out of my way to encourage stealing and restealing, because I invite this sort of approach from my opponents because, frankly, I believe I am better at it on balance than they are. So these sng's have really helped me to hone my reading abilities and my penchant for sniffing out blind stealers, which is all good for me and my game, at all parts of a tournament.

One other aspect of poker math that I am constantly faced and re-faced with as a result of all of these turbo 1-table sngs is heads-up allin preflop odds. Especially with the turbo structure, give it 20-25 minutes or so and it becomes pretty much automatic for a short stack, for example, to open-push allin from the button with almost ATC, and certainly with any Ace. So, for example, I am re-learning just how likely one is to win with a hand like QJo when up against Ace-rag. After all these sng's, I have re-learned all over again about figuring pot odds given the large blinds in the late stages of these short tournament to know whether it makes sense to call with that QTs against a guy I know is pushing any Ace. As anyone who's played a lot of these sngs recently can attest, these two-middle-cards against a top-and-bottom hand showdowns really end up deciding the final finishing order and payouts of the turbo sitngos a whole lot more than most people may think, so making keen decisions based on pot odds -- even when you think you are likely "behind" but not that much -- is a crucial skill and one that I think most people have not developed nearly as much as it can be developed.

All this is to say that this weekend really got me thinking back in the right frame of mind after several weeks of tilty attitude that definitely had me playing less than my best poker game. So while I look forward like I always do at this time of year to reading all about the great times that were had by all out in Vegas for the WPBT this time around, be forewarned that I've gotten my game back on and I'm coming looking for you tonight in the Hoy and through the rest of this week as well. Monday night's field may still be a bit small due to the return from Vegas of 120-something of our closest fake internet friends, but then with this being the last week to qualify for the freeroll I guess I could see the crowds going either way for the MATH tonight as well for the other blogger tournaments to round out the BBTwo this week. And don't forget to get into that 9:45pm ET nightly token frenzy on full tilt to get your $75 token for this Sunday night's Big Game on full tilt. Even though I already won my token last week and registered for the Big Game, I will probably try to play the frenzy every night this week if I'm around as a showing of solidarity with you all. And although I will write some more about this later in the week, don't forget that KOD is hosting a new Sunday night HORSE knockout tournament as well, starting this Sunday night, also on full tilt. You can look me up to find the tournament, which I believe has the password right on the tournament lobby. Get in there as well for what I am really looking forward to as far as you non-holdem-all-the-time donks out there. More on that later.

See you tonight for Mondays at the Hoy!!

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Blogger emptyman said...

6-max seems to capture the spirit of the MATH. Also, it increases my advantage of starting at Fuel's table every time.

You mention going to war with top-and-bottom against two-in-the-middle in SNG's. I would even stretch this to 2 live connectors, like 97s and such. Sometimes it requires going in knowing it's likely 40% to win because the pot can still offer those odds late in SNG's.

Regardless, you're right, amateurs fold way too much on both sides of the equation there.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Wait, Empty . . . you've seen folding in SNG's? Never mind 'too much' folding. Just folding?

Which site? Can you prove this?

2:01 AM  
Blogger emptyman said...

Goat, I can prove it, I have a picture of someone folding. However, Bigfoot on the rail watching, so it might draw the validity of the picture into question.

There was a great article in the magazine this summer, which detailed all ~100 hands of a $100 SNG, including correct ranges of hands to shove or call a shove with in LP, SB, BB, and I think they would surprise you and almost everyone else. Shoving hands like J5s, Q4o become +EV.

Since 2+2 only archives 3 months for free, I don't see it anymore. I now proclaim it to be only an urban legend.

I would get a screenshot of someone folding, but I'm too busy playing 6-way 4-bet pots in HORSE Omaha.

4:12 AM  

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