Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas, MATH is ON, as is the Monday 1k

Merry Erev Christmas everybody! In case you're wondering, that is "Jew" for Christmas Eve, and I do hope everyone has a wonderful holiday for those of you celebrating this evening and tomorrow. I know it's a sort-of holiday so many of you won't be around and reading blogs on the day, but I wanted to mention a couple of quick things. First and foremost, for those of you who will be around and online on Monday evening, I am running the second-to-last Mondays at the Hoy of the year in its regularly scheduled slot of 10pm ET tonight on full tilt:

As I mentioned last week, tonight's MATH will be a special format in honor of the smaller field and holiday celebration for many of you Christ worshippers out there. Specifically, tonight we will be playing full tilt's standard evening turbo rebuy satellite structure, which a $6 buyin. I did this #1 to mix things up on an otherwise slow night, and #2 in response to comments to last month's $10 rebuy that an even smaller buyin might be better for most bloggers. Now, being Christmas Eve, I don't expect most bloggers to be online tonight at all, but for those who come, the idea tonight is to just relax, have some fun and donk it up for the 30-minute rebuy period followed by the remaining hour or so that I would expect a turbo event to take. And again tonight's MATH tournament will follow full tilt's own standard turbo rebuy structure, so there shouldn't be any surprises for anyone who does come out and play. For me, Christmas Eve is the perfect night to be playing on full tilt, because nothing else is open anyways, there's not much of interest to me and my kind on tv (none of the weekly prime time shows are new, that's for sure), and most of all, the crowds are likely to be smaller than usual on a night when I highly doubt full tilt will otherwise be lowering the guarantees for its usual nightly guaranteed tournaments. So come out tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt to play Mondays at the Hoy, with a password as always of "hammer", and I hope to see you there, whether you are a long time blogger or a "Hoy virgin" as we always seem to come up with most weeks these days.

In other poker news, I'm excited to report that last night I qualified once again for the Monday 1k, a $1000 + $60 buyin tournament on Monday nights at 9pm ET that carries with it a $150k guarantee. This will equal the largest buyin tournament I have ever participated in on full tilt, which I have done now three times, all three of them being this Monday 1k event (this week being the third), so that aspect of things is exciting if nothing else. I made an actual effort to qualify for this on Sunday, not something that is usually on my radar screen, but I did so because again, as I mentioned above, if nothing else I expect this field to be a little lighter than usual, and that is all good when there's already a 150k guarantee going and when the general level of skill in this thing is somewhere north of "uber donk", something I would not normally say about the games I most often frequent on full tilt. For $1060 a pop, if you're expecting stellar play then you are going to be sorely disappointed, but at least people won't donk allin on the first hand with top pair no kicker, won't call with just oesd's on the turn and similar nonsense that over the long term will just throw their buyins away.

So with all this in mind, first I played the 10:45pm ET $26 buyin satellite into the Monday 1k on Sunday night, but in that one I believe I was literally the first player out out of 26 runners when my AK ran into KK on a King-high board just a few hands in. Yay me, see even I play far more donkishly for $26 than I ever would for $1060. So then I did the unthinkable and registered for an 11:30pm ET mtt satellite for the Monday 1k with a $75 buyin, using one of my constant storehouse of tokens won from the nightly token frenzy tournament that I have so loved to frequent this year. In the end, there were only 11 runners in this thing, but due to the $1060 buyin of the underlying tournament, it still was winner-take-all (much like the early $26 buyin satellite) which is not my usual preference for such things. But I am a big fan of playing in tournaments with overlays, and in this case we had 11 players ponying up $69 apiece to the pool for a total prize pool of $759, while the tournament awarded exactly one $1060 seat. So for a total overlay of right around 40% of the actual cash prize pool, there was no way I could stay away from this one.

I got a little bit lucky very early in this 11-player satellite when within the first five hands, I was faced with this situation on the river:

I had played pretty slow given my meh stating cards, but being in the big blind I felt that K9s was surely playable. The Ace on the flop had scared me a bit, but then this river allin came kinda out of nowhere and I just couldn't find a fold to a guy I figured probably had some kind of low Ace. Obviously any two pairs with an Ace, or the obvious straights on the board had me beat, but I went ahead and made the call and saw this:

Setup hand for him, and well played on all streets by me. So this early doubleup basically took me to the final table as one of the two large stacks, but with a ton of low-M poker still to be played:

I won a nice pot with pocket Kings in the early stages of the final table, and I made some big folds like K8 on a KJ9 flop to a minraise on the flop against an aggressive player, figuring that with my big stack I had no reason to risk losing a lot of chips and my favorable chip position with such a mediocre hand in the hand. I moved allin over the top before the flop from the button against an early position short stack's allin with my 99, ended up racing against AQ, and my 9s mercifully held up which is always nice early at a final table that you really want to win. I won a top pair hand with KQ as well against this flush-chasing donkey to my left who simply could not lay down a flush draw to save his life, and kept hitting them against myself and other players which was super annoying, but with five players left at the final table here was the situation:

So I was still looking good, though I had another similar sized stack across the table from me, and this guy LegacyRik on my left, the flush chasing soooted donk, who somehow has actually won close to 100k lifetime from full tilt on mtts. He was the guy who scared me the most because of his penchant for betting and calling with flush draws and seeming to hit them far more often than the 35% flop odds would dictate.

Speaking of which, I actually had this fucker eliminated shortly after this point here when I made the unlikely backdoor flush on the turn, which I had bet my top pair with on the flop and the soooted donk had called me so I knew he wasn't on another flush draw as well. So I raised him allin quickly on the river, trying to act like an overconfident bluffer:

Unfortunately LegacyRik beat me into the pot with this:

Fucking unreal. Have I mentioned how often I lose with made two-card flushes in this game? My lifetime record is so negative with made flushes and no pair on the board that it's not even funny guys. Dammit if I can understand how I lose so often with made freaking backdoor flushes even, but somehow I find a way. I bet this guy just about the size of the pot on the turn too, which he called instantly being the flush chasing donk ("FCD") that he is. Dam him and dam full tilt for continually rewarding the fukdonkery.

Anyways, one lucky hand later where he called a preflop allin with the jackace of all things -- sooooted of course, and he was up to 8570 chips, the guy across the table with 4670, and me up top with 2365, with the short stack at under 700 chips to my immediate right. God that sucked. But the short stack doubled through the guy across the table shortly afterwards, and then he thankfully called my allin reraise preflop with his A6o against my TT, and somehow I dodged the other 16 aces in the deck to get back up to 4300 chips for myself and the guy across the table, and still 8200 chips for the FCD to my left, down to three-handed for a winner-take-all shot in tonight's Monday 1k. I knew I needed to be the one to eliminate the guy across the table with his nice stack if I were to have any realistic shot to beat FCD, but then this hand went down where across-the-table guy raised allin on the flop with top pair King kicker, and FCD called almost his entire leading chipstack with, well, you guessed it, another naked flush draw:

Worst. Call. Ever. Coming from the big stack with just 3 players left and winner take all, this was just about the worst move imaginable for that clown with 100k in lifetime mtt winnings to make. But he did it anyways. And full tilt said thank you in its customary way as well:

Sick. This made me about a 3.8-to-1 chip dog heading into heads-up play, and I knew my chances were slim. Just about the only weapon I had against this donkey was that I knew he was an FCD and I guess had to hope he would chase in some dumb situations like he clearly had done here since I don't ever get strong cards at the end of tournaments it seems. The heads-up match with this guy ended up lasting over 40 minutes, which was brutal but I guess in the end should not be too surprising since even I in the short stack heads-up had more tan 35 big blinds when we sat down to settle our differences mano a mano. I did get KK once and did not get my reraise called preflop. I found QQ early as well, but an Ace on the flop and a King on the turn (of course) led me to lose just a small pot to FCD's K8 after the river came down. At the first break I was down exactly 13,000 to 3500 chips, and still feeling pretty pissy about the way this whole thing had shaken out.

Shortly into hour 2, I raised preflop with AT, and FCD called. Flop came KT6 with two diamonds. I figured the odds were high that I had the best hand, so I bet out 660 chips into the 720-chip pot, about a fifth of my remaining stack at the time, and he reraised me pretty quick allin here:

I decided the quick bet and the allin sizing just didn't sound like a King to me, and that I knew I had 5 outs against even a King-high hand anyways. He hadn't reraised me preflop so I wasn't concerned about AK or even really KQ, but KJ, KT, etc. were always possible. In the back of my mind I knew that flush draw was there too, and having seen him dump off a significant chip lead already once tonight on nothing more than a naked flush draw, and with me sitting on second pair top kicker, I decided to go for it. I was already down so much in chips I figured I wasn't losing much if he did in fact have big slick or something. I called and he showed this:

FCD!! FCD!! FCD!! Seriously. This is such horrible big stack poker I just cannot believe that this guy has won nearly a hundy large playing mtt's on full tilt. When you're the prohibitive big stack in a tournament and down to just a few players left, the last thing you should ever want to do is get it in with a draw against a guy who's already bet before and after the flop. Why would you ever want to jeopardize a nice chip lead on a 35% shot against a guy who's already shown strength and is therefore not likely to fold his short stack at this point in the hand? With just 9 outs? Makes no sense at all. For the record, I think pushing with a fairly short stack in this spot -- as long as there is some fold equity given the amounts of chips involved -- makes some sense. That guy has not nearly as much to lose and a lot more to gain. But to risk your entire 4-to-1 chip lead on just a naked flush draw against me having bet preflop and on the flop already, that is pure suicide and is the exact opposite of how you should want to be playing your large stack shorthanded in any tournament or sng. Anyways, miraculously he did not hit, and suddenly I was back in this thing, down only 9620 to 6880 in chips. Dam what a bad play, I can't even believe it now as I review the screenshots today.

Maybe 15 hands later, I checked preflop with K8o, he minraised to 240 chips, and I called. The flop came a delicious K84, this time with two hearts. Knowing this guy was an FCD even on the turn card, I checked here, because I had top two pairs, the only two pairs I will ever normally slow play with in nlh as I have mentioned here several times. He checked behind, I bet 2/3 the pot on the turn when an offsuit Queen came, which he called. The river then brough an offsuit 6, where I went for the massive overbet for value and pushed allin in this spot:

He instacalled with this:

Now that is just a cooler hand right there for him, though he should probably have bet his top pair shit kicker on the flop, where I would have likely raised and he might have gotten away from his hand. He should probably have raised his top pair shitty kicker on the turn, opting instead to just call, and I give myself a lot of credit for slow playing top two pairs on the flop to perfection. That said, this particular river card is I'm sure the only reason he called me down, and suddenly it was I with the chip lead, 13,400 to 3100 chips, determined not to give that lead back up to this guy who had played bad and gotten lucky so many times during a short tournament.

I would love to say that from here I just dominated, but that's just not how the cards are. I lost a medium-small pot with top pair to his flopped two pairs. I chased a couple of flush draws -- unable to give up the possible irony of busting the FCD by hitting a flush draw of my own -- and lost small pots as a result. I had a few railers at this point and they would have seen me get back down to around even with the guy over the next 15 or 20 minutes once or twice, but each time I came storming back, all the while just waiting for another good starting hand with which to hopefully trap this chasedon of a player. But for all his donkchasery, he was simply not much of a bluffer, and that made it difficult for me to get paid big with my big hands unless he also happened to make a big hand, or a big draw, which was pretty infrequent. I tried stalling him out for a while once I got the big chip lead, I tried playing fast, but basically nothing could get this guy off his game.

I have to say again, all of the hundreds of sngs I have played over the past couple of months really came in handy again at a time like this, as I am just super super comfortable when shorthanded at tournament final tables of all sizes these days. I simply cannot overemphasize enough the importance to anyone interested in final tabling and winning large mtt's of playing a lot of sngs to hone and practice your final table and shorthanded play. There is just no substitute for hundreds of sngs of experience in playing shorthanded with a big chip lead, shorthanded as the small stack, shorthanded as a desperately small stack, shorthanded with even stacks, etc. Go out and play some sngs, at any buyin level you are comfortable with, really, if you are truly interested in bettering your end game in mtts. You will not be disappointed. It was these very skills that I relied on in playing from the small stack at first, and then on maintaining my chip lead and even fighting my way back from even once again in what turned out to be a real marathon heads-up battle with this flush-chasing donkey.

Anyways, I played Aces with kickers higher than 8s pretty hard before the flop against the FCD, and I tended to play any top pair fairly strongly as well which is pretty usual for me in heads-up play. Knowing what an FCD LegacyRik was firsthand, I ended up calling a lot of his bets on the flop, and then betting out or raising his smallish bets on the turn when the likely draws on the board had not come in, and all of these moves worked out well for me and enabled me to climb back up to around a 3.5-to-1 chip lead. Eventually, with me up to 12,430 to 4070 in chips, I saw a free flop from the button with 85s, which came down 952 all clubs. I had no clubs in my hand, but I sensed that this might be my chance to get the FCD to show his true colors and chase just about any decent one-card club flush draw in his hand. Figuring my middle pair was likely best at this point in an unraised pot preflop, I checked, waiting to see if a club fell on the turn before committing any substantial part of my stack, and just hoping he might have happen to have te Ace, King or Queen of clubs in his hand and be unable to let it go due to his FCD ways. He checked behind pretty quickly. Hmmmm. So far so good on the flush draw read, and hopefully he doesn't just have a 9 for top pair on the board. Well, those concerns disappeared when a beautiful offsuit 8 fell on the turn, making me now two pairs on a completely raggy board, and yet still that pesky one-card flush draw out there as well. So here I bet out around 2/3 the pot, 440 chips into the 530-chip pot, and my opponent thought briefly before raising me to 1440 chips, more than a third of his existing stack. Clearly he was committed here, and with my two pairs and the unlikelihood of him having flopped a flush in this spot, I had to push it on the assumption that he might very much call with just the one-card flush draw based on several examples I had seen at the table during the night:

He called for the rest of his chips, and showed this:

Bingo! FCD strikes again. It's amazing how consistent some people's poor play can be, and therefore how exploitable. The river ragged off:

and that's how I got into tonight's Monday 1k Christmas Eve special on full tilt!

So I'll see you tonight for Mondays at the Hoy, the $6 turbo rebuy special, on full tilt, and if you're around, feel free to rail me in the Monday 1k this evening as well!

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Blogger Astin said...

100k from obviously exploiting Tilt's RFG (Random Flush Generator). It would have been so much cooler if you'd knocked him out with flush-over-flush.

If I make it to the family's place before 10 tonight, I may very well be merrily donking it up at the MATH tonight.

1:10 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Where is he listed over 100k?

3:16 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Trip, thought I saw this on pokerdb. Maybe I misread it.

8:25 AM  
Blogger CSuave said...

Hope you did well in the $1k tourney.

10:44 PM  

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