Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Silly Superstitions, Smartass Kids, Funny Goat, and Suited Connectors Hand Concluded

Tuesday night was my first solidly winning day at the tables in several days, and man did it feel good. And more than that, I know exactly why it happened:

I changed my shirt.

When I get home from work and head into the evenings, including during my nightly online poker play, I usually wear my "pajama" shirt, which for me amounts to no more than one of the many fugly t-shirts I have acquired over the years and which I would not otherwise be willing to wear outside of the house. Well, for the last several nights I had been wearing this "Hudson, New York" t-shirt that my wife picked up for me one day when she took the kids with her family up to the Catskills to walk around some ghey little town (so sorry I missed that one, btw!). And I was losing. I think I had one other winning day mixed in there for the past week or so of wearing the Hudson shirt while I played, but for the most part I was a tilting mofo and was losing overall almost every night. As I've written about some here, I have really been struggling over the past several days to figure out a way to get out of this poker funk I've been in, and I've tried a lot of possible solutions, including sitting in a different place to play, trying to focus on getting into the right mindset before I fire up full tilt, and even heavy drinking, none of which have really worked to get me playing my best poker. But then out of the blue it hit me at some point after work on Tuesday -- my shirt was obviously the problem! I changed things up, throwing on my too-small ESPN Radio shirt that I won when I won a New York Jets prize package off the radio (1050 am ESPN Radio New York) a few years ago that also won me tickets to see that year's opening-day Thursday night game between the Jets and the hated Washington Redskins.

And you know what? I played better on Tuesday right from the getgo, no doubt about it. I was typing in less smack talk in the chat after horrible plays by my opponents than I had been for days, and more importantly, I was playing good poker again. I consciously recognized myself not calling allins with marginal hands where I know over the past few days I had been instacalling and just hoping for the best. It's so hard to recognize every time your game has gotten a little off kilter, at least for me it is, but I always make a concerted effort to do that and I have had a lot of success at this game overall in always keeping as keen of an eye as I can on my own game and the decisions I am making at the tables. So I played better, and the results were excellent as I won outright three of the four sngs I participated in on the night. Sure I gave some of that back by being sucked out on and setup-eliminated from both the 50-50 and the 28k on the night, but that's ok. Overall it was a good day results-wise, but much more importantly, a good day from a decision-making perspective, which for me is really the only important thing there is. The results may be good or bad on any given day, but if I'm playing well, and playing this game to win as opposed to playing it on tilt, then over time my results will take care of themselves as the short term turns into the medium- and long term.

It's funny too, because I am so not a superstitious guy. At all. I don't have a lucky charm and I don't believe in walking under ladders or breaking mirrors or any of that stuff having any effect at all on luck. In fact normally I laugh at people who believe in those things, I really do. Just like I laugh at all these donkeys who "find God" once they're on death row after brutally beating and murdering 25 children. That said, sometimes when I'm on a protracted downswing in my poker game -- something which happens to all of us, very much including the best poker players out there -- I will try just about anything to get me back on my game. Believe me, it's not that I actually believe my ESPN Radio shirt will bring me good luck. It wasn't luck I was looking for at all over these past several nights in the first place anyways -- rather, what I've been searching for is a way to get back on my game. Something. Anything that could help just to shake things up, and change my perspective from the way I've been playing, the unneccesary pushes and the ill-advised calls I've been making, and back to the way I know will lead to profitable decisions and, ultimately, profitable play. And for me on Tuesday night, finally, changing shirts was the thing to do it. So Boooo to Hudson, New York, and yay to ESPN. I want to thank Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on the ESPN Radio "Mike & Mike in the Morning" radio show for first alerting me to this Jets contest back in 2004, and to Michael Kay in the evenings for picking my name out of a hat from among 20-something winners to win the grand prize of the NY Jets package. Without you guys, I would have probably donked out of another 5 sng's last night. Instead I get to write a pompous and confident post for the first time in a few days. Thanks, guys, from my heart.

Speaking of pompous and confident, I just have to share some amazing news that I received on Tuesday afternoon as well. This is the first time I've gotten to experience anything like this feeling, and I have got to say -- it's at least as good as everyone says it is who has kids. My oldest daughter, M, just turned 4 this week. About a month or two so, at the ripe old age of 3 years old, we took my daughter to a psychologist to get an IQ test. Now, if you have a brain on your phucking head you're probably thinking, "Whaaaaa? What kind of a sick fuck IQ tests their child at 3 years old?" And let me tell you, this is a very good question. But there is also a very good answer -- anyone in all of New York City who wants their child to have the option to go to any of the gifted & talented public schools in the city. Every one. Period. To me this is and will always be one of the sickest fuckest things about living and raising a family in this city, but it is what it is and, unless Hammer Wife and I are prepared to shell out 30k a year for our barely-old-enough-to-use-the-toilet daughter (and then another 30k a year for K, starting in a couple of years) to go to private school, the g&t public schools are simply the best option for us. Really, the only option other than moving out of the city within the next couple of years. So we had to take her in to get her ghey little 3-year-old IQ test. And yesterday we got back the results.

99th percentile!!!!! I mean, this chick got the best possible score on the thing. She is awesome. For the first time in my life on Tuesday, I got my first taste of that feeling of why some parents are always bragging about their kids and how smart, how accomplished, how whatever they are. Because of course I give M most of the credit for how great she performed on test day, and how smart she is and driven she is to be the best at everything, even at this young age. But you know what? There is no doubt that Hammer Wife gets a lot of credit as well for all the incredible work and time she puts in with these kids. I credit their school as well, no doubt, and I'm sure that her teachers will be beaming with pride themselves when they hear the news. But I know my wife, and I know how awesome she must feel knowing that she has contributed significantly to what is now the first real proof of success and intelligence that we have ever had the opportunity to get about either of our kids. And myself, at the very least I've contributed the genes to these kids to enable them to grow up smart, testing well and hopefully succeeding at whatever they do. Even though I can be as much of a pompous pain in the ass at home as I come off usually on the blog, on Tuesday for the first time I know that Hammer Wife got a nice piece of incontrovertible proof of why it was a good move for her to have chosen to settle down with me. I may be a tremendous pain in the anus, but I've always known I would make me some smart offspring. I've spent a ton of time working with both of my girls on having the right attitude about school, about practicing their memories and about learning to read and talk and write, etc., and to see it all pay off like this with a Hoy-level domination of an IQ test by my 3 year old daughter is the coolest fucking thing in the world. I realized this week that I really am going to be just another one of those fucking annoying parents constantly crowing about all of my childrens' accomplishments. Deal with it.

Now, moving on to some tangentially poker-related items, I have to give a shout-out here to some of the funniest shiat I've seen in a while in any poker blog. Julius Goat, whom I have often stated here is clearly one of the wittiest and overall best writers among our group, has been busting out some awesome poker limericks over the past few days. Go on over to his blog and take a peek, this shit is some high quality stuff no doubt. If only I could write like this, I would have a fucking book of poker limericks, one for each one of the bloggers and probably one for each of the professionals on tv as well. It would be a New York Times bestseller and I would have retired by now from the grind and the rat race and would spend my days frittering away my countless mobneys at the nlh and plo cash tables on full tilt. But instead, I have no wit and no writing skills at all, so I'm left to prattling on and on about my kids and profiling hands that I misplayed throughout and getting lambasted for it repeatedly in the comments here. But Goat has done it right, and these limericks are really funny shit. Even funnier though I think is Goat's poker haiku, really a series of haikus, from an earlier post this week. Go read that shit, I dare you not to crack up.

I also wanted to make a quick pimp for tonight, which is as always the Mookie at 10pm ET on full tilt (password as always is "vegas1"). I am already registered and I think I saw more than 10 of my fake internet friends in there as well, which is good because the Mookie is the shiznit. And it's the shiznit that I can never win. But tonight I am all but assured of lasting through the first hour or so. How can I be so sure? It's simple -- I won't be there! Hammer Wife is taking me out for a belated birthday dinner to Peter Lugar's, allegedly the best steak place in New York City. I'll be the judge of that of course, but after nearly seven years living in the city, it really is a crime that a cow lover like me has not yet been to the best of the best of steakhouses in New York. Well, tonight that all changes, and I can't wait. But it will cause me to miss the first hour or so of the Mookie. Normally that might really bother me since it will make it practically impossible for me to compete in tonight's BBTwo blonkament. But, when you've accepted your complete inability to win one of these things no matter how well you play or how far you get or how close you are to winning like I have, things like giving up all chance to win take on literally zero meaning. So I'm just going to roll with it, outlast half the field before I even sit down, and join in some time around 11ish with 1000 chips. It's more chips than I would have had if I played in this thing anyways, so what's the difference, right? Let's be honest -- missing the first hour probably increases my chances of survival, not decreases them. And do not forget to tune in tonight to Buddy Dank radio, which will be broadcasting live from The King's house along with special radio guests KOD, Miami Don and LJ. I guess it remains to be seen what kind of a radio personality LJ turns out to be, but Chad and Don have already proven themselves to each be the best of the best as far as radio guests on BDR, so tonight should be a great time, especially given what I expect to be a good deal of fuckedupness among that radio crowd live from Las Vegas. I can't wait for that, although again I'll be missing the first hour or so. But there is absolutely no reason why you should not tune in to BDR prior to the 10pm ET start of the Mookie -- Buddy has good directions on his blog for how to tune in to his stellar radio program. If you've been waiting for your first time to check out what all the hubbub is about with Buddy Dank Radio, then make tonight that night -- I predict it is not one that you want to miss.

OK before I end today I wanted to close out the hand I've been profiling this week. To recap, utg+2 minraised the 500 big blind to 1000 chips preflop, and I smooth called next from middle position with T9s. The next player to my left also called the 1000, and everyone else folded. The flop came down QT9 rainbow, giving me bottom two pairs, and when the utg+2 player checked on this flop, I bet out 2600 chips into the 4200-chip pot, representing a bet of around a third of my less than half the average stack. The player on my left surprisingly minraised my bet to 5200 chips, and then to further complicate things, the utg+2 player went and called the 5200-chip minraise after having led off the flop betting with his check. Here is what the situation looked like:

I was interested to see that the comments to yesterday's post seemed somewhat evenly split between people saying I should push, and people saying I should fold. I still don't know what the "right" answer is. I mean, obviously calling here is out of the question, as basically all the commenters agreed with. No reason to leave myself with a tiny stack left when I have flopped two pairs on a scary board, and I have a short stack to begin with. So the real option is between pushing or folding.

I'll be honest with you guys -- I tried hard to find a fold here. My reaction to the action after my bet on the flop was that I was quite possibly behind, and certainly facing a lot of outs. But I wasn't so sure. This is the 28k after all, and there's a reason that Chad became the "King of Donks" for final tabling this tournament 25 times in a month -- the play in this thing, more or less all the way through, is utter and complete shit. These people are horrible for the most part. Now, that doesn't mean that even horrible players never pick up a strong hand or flop strong to their hole cards. But at the same time, the combination of my short stack and my flopped two pairs, including possible outs to a boat, weighed heavily in my mind. And of course the fact that I know the 28k donkeys are horrible, horrible poker players for the most part.

Let's talk about my reads here. I like the read from many of the commenters that the guy on my right was likely on an overpair. He had minraised from utg+2 preflop, which could easily be AA or, more likely, KK, and KK seemed to me to be a likely holding for his entire actions so far in the hand, including having the overpair and the inside straight draw to check-call the bet and minraise on the flop. The guy on my left, of course, was the bigger concern. He had just minraised my flop bet into a growing pot, a move that had to be seen as scary at the least. But I also noticed he was on a big stack, much larger than either myself or the guy on my right, and that made it possible that he wasn't quite that strong and was just trying to get both of me and the guy on the right to fold for relatively cheap. Again, if he had been on a short stack, then a minraise like this would be more or less screaming out that he had a set or a straight, but with the big stack this move could mean more than just a monster hand on this flop. Personally, although KJ was possible I just don't really put a guy who called a preflop minraise with still four players left to act on KJ. Even sooooted. The bigger concern for me was a flopped set. But in the end, with me having T9 in my hand, lefty having TT or 99 was unlikely. Possible yes, not certainly not likely. QQ was certainly possible given his flop minraise, but I guess I don't see him just calling the two minraises preflop with pocket Queens, especially given the likelihood that the minraisers and the minraise-caller are on some kind of Aces and/or Kings.

So the set possibilities for the guy on my left just didn't scare me that much, and the two pair possibilities were somewhat limited, and the KJ is just such a bad call of a minraise and a minraise-caller preflop, and my stack was so short at this point, and the buyin was just so low to this tournament, that all of these things together convinced me to get in there and play for what I had planned all along with my smallish bet on the flop. As Astin pointed out in the comments yesterday, my whole point in betting out with my short stack on this flop was to get someone's entire stack. Now clearly I was going to get it, and even though it was clear that I could be behind or even hopelessly behind, the math of the situation made most of the hands I feared most somewhat unlikely, and the preflop play made the rest of those hands (i.e., KJ or J8) even less likely. So I pushed for the rest of my chips, very much aware that I could be behind, and totally willing to lose my $26 buyin with my current short stack if I was in fact beaten:

Notice btw that there was basically no chance of anyone folding at this point, with over 22,000 chips in the pot and it being only another 2500 chips maximum for both opponents to see the river since the guy on my right only had another 2639 chips remaining at this point. So I know I'm taking my bottom two pairs to the river here on a scary board. A questionable decision no doubt, but one which I explained above and which I am comfortable with making given the reasoning I just provided.

Just to make the screenshotting a little more interesting, and the suspense a little stronger, the fool on my right did not raise allin, opting to just call the extra 2500 and change, and leaving himself just 65 measly chips in his stack to see the river card. This was irrelevant of course in the overall scheme of things with this hand, but it did increase the suspense because (1) both opponents' hole cards remained hidden, and (2) this fuck-shitty turn card fell:

Holy shit was I pissed off. Now AK, A8, KQ, QJ, QT, Q9, Q8, JT, J9, 98 and JJ all just moved ahead of me with this card, just about the worst possible thing that could have happened. Whatever brilliance there might have been with my flop play here -- a dubious proposition already -- was gone in a puff of smoke, and I just had to watch the bullshit and know I was drawing to basically a few outs, at best, with just one card to come. I think I typed in some pissed off comment in the chat about that turn card, and then I watched the ultimate raggy 2♥ hit the river.

Now, to change things up a little bit from the way I usually present the conclusions to the hands I profile, I will tell you here that I won this hand, and I took down a monster pot. Knowing that information, anybody want to guess what each player held in the hand to have played them in this way? I'll leave some space here below while you take your guesses, and then you can scroll down to see the carnage for yourselves (and I'll give you a hint -- neither one of them even had AQ!):

Wow. Two fucking raging jackaces. So lefty not only called but minraised me into a large pot on this scary board with just the OESD and an Ace kicker. Wow. And righty, at least he was short stacked like me, but he got it allin on that flop after checking his OESD plus Ace kicker, seeing a bet and then a minraise for almost ihs entire stack, and yet he still smooth called those two bets and then also called allin when I re-reraised allin myself. That is some shitty ass-smelly poker right there, but absolutely fully typical of the 28k on a nightly basis. And the fact that I outlasted not one but two jackaces in this hand is still amazing to me, even now a week later as I review the screenshots one final time. I think a lot of the decisions I made in this hand were questionable, although I don't think any of them were wrong and as I review it all I am pretty sure I would play this hand exactly the same way today.

And don't worry -- I still didn't cash in the 28k this night. First I got sucked out on in a huge pot when a clown hit a 2-outer at the river to crush me when I was about to move into the top 20 with less than 200 players left, and then within one or two hands later, I moved allin with pocket 9s or Tens, got called by the jackace and of course could not beat that hand again on the night. But hopefully you guys enjoyed this hand and benefited from thinking about the best way for me to play it, as well as from analzying my opponents' play and trying to put them on a hand as well.

See you tonight, late, for the Mookie and on Buddy Dank Radio!!

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogger bodie25 said...

Hoy, don't let your kid become one of those know it all types. I can't stand those little fuckers.

Do you ever think your female avatar influences the way your opponents play against you? I have a theory that they give you less credit for hands... just curious.

12:19 AM  
Blogger StB said...

Now I see why someone created the "My kid just beat up your honor student" bumper sticker.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

Eureka, I've got it! The answer to overcoming your eternal bad run in the 28k.

1. Get past the first two hours
2. Turn over the keyboard to your lil' genius M
3. ??????

There, that was easy.

1:55 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

I am going to need to see some DNA tests before I am buying this story.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

What the fuck is an IQ test for a 3-year old? Do they even grasp the concept of an analogy? Let's ignore the fact that IQ tests are inherently culturally and socially biased.

Nothing against you, but that kind of system makes me ill. If more effort was put into recruiting GOOD teachers across the board, and money was spent wisely and adequately on education, then the need for private school and enriched schools would disappear. Yes, some kids are gifted (I was one of them), but I have yet to meet one person that went to a dedicated "gifted" or private school that didn't come out totally fucked up and unable to function in normal society without years of adapting (that's what University is for when dealing with these people - social education, and is why so many of them fail first year). A gifted program should suit the advanced needs just fine. It's really sad that there's such a dichotomy in schools that parents need to put their kids into a specialized education to help them have a strong future. I'm glad I was born when I was, and not 10-20 years later.

As for the hand - wow. Obviously those guys went to the regular public schools. I figured you were likely ahead, but would have never guessed BOTH of them had the jackace.

2:38 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

I don't know if the hammer girl in the 99th percentile or the Hoy defeats jackAce story is less credible.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Thanks for the kind words and the blog pimp, Hoy. My pager's still blowin' up.

As for the double JackAce, it's the least surprising thing ever. I'd never fold there without a read that you are against solid players. The range to call off all your chips on a scary board for the baseline player? ATC. Ace high is fine.

OESD are black holes for call station donks. They exert a force that is impossible to resist. I am amazed that they didn't split your chips on a turn K, you lucky monkey you.

3:23 AM  
Blogger VinNay said...

Turning the keyboard over to your little genius might not be a bad idea - but since your "M" < 4, she'll have to double up a few times to really play her game.

Astin - Of course it would be better if money was more wisely spent and better teachers were hired. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and even if it were, there would probably always be private/enriched schools to help special needs children (gifted/slow/physically handicapped/performing&visual arts/etc).

I fail to see what is wrong with schools that can help different types of people excel and reach their potential. And in NYC, you most definitely want to have a say in what school your child ends up in, because random public school placement for your child is a disaster waiting to happen.

BTW - I too was a gifted program student, and did I have some trouble adjusting to "normal" society? A little bit, until I realized that normal society was just full of shit and the 9-5 wage slave zombie job that 90% of "normal" society holds was never going to cut it for me.

They taught us really crazy things in my gifted program and private college like Personal Responsibility, Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Challenging Authority. If the choice is that, or a school where punks come packing guns, which would you choose?

4:08 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i'm with Lucko on this one. i mean did "M" need to have her lucky shirt on to Ace that test?

that hand is a perfect example of the donkerific play in low buy-in tournaments. the funniest part about it is, KOD said you should fold after the minreraise....lololololllol

4:14 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

Vin - I realize that's the reality of the situation, but it shouldn't be the case. So I understand WHY it's a necessity, I just wish it wasn't.

And of course there will always be schools that cater to those with special needs, but the problem is that with the current system, the "dumb" and poor kids are being dumped into one end where they aren't given a chance to excel, and the "smart" and rich kids are being given every opportunity imagineable. How is that fair? Special needs schools should be for those who need EXTRA help. The learning disabled, the physically disabled, special-needs, etc.. NOT the smart kids. The standards should be high enough that the smart kids excel and have the opportunity to do more advanced things, and that the "average" kids aren't suffering and still receiving a high level of education. This isn't the way its going. Hell, public schools are practically daycare for anyone under 18.

And I'm a firm believer that kids should be coming out of school well-rounded. Not only should they have some knowledge of various subjects, but they should have some sort of social skills. The insular nature of private schools and the like means that when they get dropped in the real world, they either flounder terribly or become elitist bastards. Every single person I knew in university who went to a private school or some sort of advanced placement school either failed first year or became social pariahs. They couldn't handle the responsibility of looking after themselves. They partied waaaay too much and became self-destructive because they never had the opportunity to before. It wasn't until they failed miserably and landed hard that they turned things around and retook their first year. Those that went the other route just assumed they were better than everyone and were almost never seen. Now I see these same people showing up for job interviews and getting rejected because they have no idea how to communicate with anyone.

The problem lies with people accepting the system the way its going and cowtowing to it instead of demanding and implementing change. This will inevitably lead to an intellectual class structure that will almost undoubtedly mirror the economic one. Hell, we see it all the time now anyway.

4:56 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Astin, to be clear, in NYC the "gifted and talented" programs aren't really gifted and talented. They're just not awful schools like the regular city public school systems are. I hear you and agree more or less with everything you're saying about that being a sad state of affairs, but believe me if you took tours of the public schools in Manhattan like I have, you would instantly understand why your children can't go there. Cockroaches crawling all over the walls, the cafeteria, etc. Teachers who clearly not only don't give a shit but don't know a shit. It's really sad. But if you don't have the desire (or the ridiculous sums of money) to send your children to private school for 30k a year starting from age 4 through 18, then the "G&T" programs are really the only ones worth considering if you want your children to get a real education. I went to public school myself in the suburbs and all I want is for my child to have more or less the exact same thing that I had growing up.

5:26 AM  
Blogger OhCaptain said...

Welcome to cool side of parenthood! Enjoy it now, I hear that when our kids become teenagers, there is a distinct possibility that they will do things we aren't to proud of.

The town we live in has good schools and bad schools too. You gotta do what you need to do.

8:07 AM  
Blogger VinNay said...

Astin, it is a sad situation, and I don't disagree with most of what you have to say. I didn't mean to insinuate otherwise, or come off as attacking your position.

The realities of education in the US are pretty pathetic, but it's what we are stuck with for the time being.

Unfortunately, many parents don't care, and until they start caring, I don't see the system changing very much.

8:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home