Friday, June 29, 2007

Riverchasers Victory # 2.5

There can only be one King of Donks (KOD), and that guy is clearly Chad. I wouldn't even try to stake a claim to that position, as Chad's four final tables in a month in the fonkfest that is the nightly 26k guaranteed on full tilt, including two outright wins and about $15,000 in aggregate wins from this tournament alone over 33 days, are far greater than anything I could possibly come up with. As someone who spent the better part of 2006 playing that tournament most nights of the week and never finished better than 5th place, I'm still in awe of those accomplishments, so if anyone around is more deserving of being called KOD than Chad, I'd like to see 'em. That said, I think maybe Don might be on to something -- maybe I am POD (Prince of Donks). Aside from the fact that that would make Chad my father, my Riverchasers tournament performances over the past couple of months definitely lay a good argument for me being POD, of KOF (King of Fonks), or something similar.

Those of you who play in this tournament regularly can attest to its normally large fields -- this Thursday night's 78 runners a good example of this -- and the, uh, how shall we say...less than stellar play among many of the players, especially in the earlygoing of this bi-weekly tournament. I envision a bar full of drunkasses sitting around and maybe taking a shot every time they see someone show any Ace or any paint card, and playing in between runs to the pissah while they get increasingly hammered as the night goes on. Sprinkle in a bunch of bloggers, and you've got the recipe for one damn blonkified tournament, twice a month on Thursday evenings. And yet, somehow, I have had quite a run in these things recently. First I won the Riverchasers in early May, actually chopping with Zeem once we got to heads-up with me at a slight chip advantage, and then the very next Riverchasers tournament was the infamous victory by the 12-year-old where I came in 2nd place thanks to a highly dubious slew of moves from the first hand through the final table by the eventual winner, who turned out to be a tween son of one of the Riverchasers guys playing his father's account for the night. Which brings me to last night, the latest RC event and the final RC tournament of the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments, which comes to a close this weekend with Sunday night's Blogger Big Game hosted by Miami Don at 9:30pm ET on full tilt (password is waffles"donkey" as always).

Anyways, getting right to last night's tournament, I had a very good feeling when this happened on the very first hand of the night in a limped pot preflop:

This one won me 460 chips from lightning (who had QJ btw) and got me started off on the right foot early. And speaking of getting off on the right foot, I managed to win a few key races during the event, something which I cannot usually say but which obviously helped me tremendously to survive to the end, starting with this one here, where I reraised Byron allin (for him) and he called for all his chips before the flop:

This would be the first of many eliminations I would lay on people during the night in this tournament, followed shortly thereafter by this one:

As you can see above, here just as with the Byron bustout, I reraised sellthekids when I perceived him to be on a naked steal from a short stack -- actually reverse hoying him which he got allin before showing me his 87o -- and my AT held on to win the pot and knock out my second victim on the night, not really in a race but still a situation where it's not very hard to lose in my position.

My first big chipup in this tournament came on this play, around 40 minutes into the first hour, on this unimaginably poor play by my opponent after I bet out with a flopped set into a raggy board:

Wow. Elimination #3 for me in the first hour of Riverchasers. After using my growing chip stack to bully the table a bit in the last few minutes of the hour, I entered the first break with 5500 chips (starting stack 1500 chips), in 3rd place of 46 remaining players, out of 78 runners who had started.

Around 20 minutes into Hour 2, I made an interesting call where I eliminated an allin shortstacked stealer by calling heads-up from my big blind with T9o with what I felt was definitely the right pot odds

I got called an idiot by this player just after I made the call and won the hand (elimination #4 for me on the night), which doesn't happen every day for me so I always enjoy hearing that sort of thing. All I know is, I had a big stack, T9o, and I was up against a button stealer on a very short stack. And it only cost me 668 chips from my large stack to call into an 1168-chip pot. I basically needed around a one-third chance of winning the pot to justify this call, and given the button steal and the short stack, I felt I had a decent chance of being outright ahead, or in any event of having at least two middle cards (which I did) and therefore having much more than 33% equity in the pot. Idiot? You be the judge.

At this point my stack was getting really big for the place we were at in the tournament at the time, and this is when a little bell goes off in my head to remind me to reign things in a little bit. I mean, I never, ever play weak poker. I don't know how to and even if I did, I wouldn't ever do it because weak poker is losing poker. Period. But, at the same time, when you're near the middle of an mtt and you're starting to build a really big stack relative to the others in the tournament, you want to be conscious of not making any decisions that are going to cost you any significant portion of your big stack at poor odds. I see people all the time with big stacks make crazy redickulous calls with ATC earlyish in big mtts, and you look at them 30 minutes later and they're suddenly not such a big stack anymore. I didn't want that to be me. So, I started playing a lot tighter (again, not less aggressive, just tighter), leading to me making some potentially big laydowns such as this one, to Waffles, where I sensed that I was either a 20% dog to a higher pocket pair, or at best racing against two overcards. And why take a chance of losing half my stack on a 50-50 shot when I've worked so hard to build it up early on in this thing, right?

Little did I realize at the time that this was just the beginning of a night pull of Waffles pushmonkery. Had I known, I probably call there with my Tens. At the time I figured Waffles moving allin so strong there from MP like that had to mean either big pair or two big overs. Who knows. What I do know is that I entered the second break a few minutes later with 4534 chips, having lost a few on a steal and a flop c-bet that had to be abandoned in the face of raises or reraises, landing me in 12th place of the 17 remaining players after 2 hours of play.

As Hour 3 began, Waffles sitting two seats to my right really started stepping up the aggro, pushmonkeying almost every chance he got with massive overbets. It was fun to watch, and I have to admit I do wonder what he had in most of those hands, but the sheer number of pushmonkey moves means he was clearly not just doing it with big hands every single time. I tried to steer clear for the most part, waiting until I had a hand that should be a favorite in a showdown, rather than pushing with AJ or something which could be dominated, which also fit well with my contiuing desire to avoid calling big bets with hands that were likely to be either dominated by higher pairs or just slight favorites in races, such as this one to my old nemesis, one of the wonkas:

I wanted to call here, I really did, but I did not want to get beat out by the mystery wonka yet again in a spot where I could not be sure I was ahead and where I had enough chips to wait for a better spot. Thanks to my early success in the tournament last night, I was never really at any time in a spot where I had to take a chance like this, at least not up to this point anyways.

With 12 players left I raised 33 under the gun up to 2000 chips at a 6-handed table, when Irongirl, my nemesis from this week's Mookie tournament, pushed allin for 3990 total chips, leaving me to call just 1990 chips into a pot of over 7800 chips. I felt I had to call and take a likely race, until Iron flips up AA and I double her up. Again. Grrrrrr.

Now what would a blogger tournament be for me without a little bit of tilt, right? It's bad enough running into pocket Aces in a key spot, but frankly my utg raise and my call with shitty pocket 3s was not my best move, and I knew that. Now, I love Irongirl, but the fact that she was threatening me to remove me from blogger tournaments that I had been killing for two nights in a row set me off kilter a little bit, I have to say. So much so, that one or two hands later, when Waffles pushmonkeyed allin from the button for about the 24th time in the tournament, and I looked down from my big blind to find JTs, I made the crazy move and just called his bet, putting all my chips into the middle with a hand I figured would be around 50th percentile against the hands Waffles had to be pushmonkeying with all night long:

One the one hand, I'm thinking Dammit what did I just do? But on the other hand, I am racing here, basically right around 50-50 exactly, so I couldn't really complain all things considered. And this is a great example of the big downside to pushmonkeying your way through a whole tournament like Waffles did in the Riverchasers -- eventually if you continue to pushmonkey with hands that do not contain high cards, the likelihood slowly increases and increases that somebody with a stack size similar to yours is gonna call you with overcards, which is exactly what happened here -- in my case with soooooted connector overcards. And the race gods smiled on me once again:

I was now in 8th place of 12 remaining players, and I was smelling the beginnings of a potential Waffles tilt, which is always delicious. Lucky for him, Waffie soon pushmonkeyed again with A2, getting called by, of all players, pushmonkey72 himself who showed AK, and Waffles sucked out a 2 on the turn to double back up and grab his
biggest stack of the tournament to that point, so the tilt welling up within him I think subsided a little bit. For a while anyways.

I then hit three consecutive hands were I was able to steal the blinds and antes, which at this point were over 2000 chips per steal attempt, and before I knew it I was up to around 13k in chips, good for 3rd place of 11 players remaining. I was in good position, but the top two players were still well over 20k so I wasn't anywhere near the leaders. Yet.

I made a little bit of a strange decision two hands later, when I found 55 in an unopened pot in the small blind, and I opted to smooth call, which I felt sure would cause Irongirl in the big blind to push her stack allin with most holdings based purely on her stack size and my showing of weakness from the blind:

My plan worked (still not 100% sure how smart this was or not given that I held two low cards in my hand, but seeing her holding and her stack size, there was no way we didn't get it allin here in any event so it doesn't much matter):

And once again, the chase gods were on my side as my luck in 50-50 confrontations continued on the night:

I agreed with IG that this could be revenge and make the two of us even after her beating of my pocket Kings in the Mookie this week, so I will stick with that agreement, even though I was the favorite in both situations. I do hate knocking IG out of a tournament, especially with a move that I questioned even while I was making it last night and still this morning as I review the screenshots and the hand histories, but I think I have to be ok with the overall balance of power with IG this week in the blonkaments, so it's all good there. The funny part of all this is that right after this hand, a girly chat pops up on my screen, from Waffles who is still sitting at my table and in the tournament, saying "Hoy had trips, he turned a set." I responded with "I am Hoy you donkey!!" Waffles: "Whooops! Wrong IM, sorry." Fonkey.

Here was the Riverchasers final table, with me entering in 3rd place:

Waffles started things off well at the final table with yet another pushmonkey suckout to knock out JTS102, this time with Waffles' J8 besting JTS102's A2 thanks to a rivered Jack. A fonkey and a luckbox. Great.

With a reasonably big stack and with me wanting not just to cash but to win this tournament, I did my usual early final table thing, actually similar to Chad's KOD advice from the other day, and laid very low, playing very tight at the final table, in particular where other players had already shown some strength in the hand, such as here:

or where I was in early position, even at a short-ish table:

Finally, when Waffles did this from the button:

I guess I had finally had enough, I figured I was almost surely slightly ahead but not more than a race, and I guessed that he would not likely lay down with anything but his worst possible hands, if even that. Nonetheless, I decided I was willing to race to get Waffles outta there, so I pushed with what I figured was the best hand, albeit only slightly, since my races had been holding up so well overall on the night:

Turns out Waffles had AKs, so of course he instacalled, and here was your final board, with my 5s ahead on every street:

Let's just say that Waffles wasn't happy about my play. Whatever. I was ahead on every street, and frankly as I said earlier, when you play highly aggro poker, you have to be prepared to have to go to the mat in races more often than you might otherwise have to do. I believe Waffles commented in the chat that I never usually make plays like this, I don't remember I was too busy enjoying the moment. Of course, me making comments in the chat like this one here:

did not seem to help Waffles' mood much. Guess maybe I shouldn't have told him that. I don't know. It was fun though, anytime you can bust Waffles when he thinks he has a real chance to win a tournament, it's a good day.

Here was the situation shortly after the Waffles beating:

So you can see I was in first out of 6 players left, but the top three all had large stacks and frankly even the bottom 3 had enough to be afraid to call their allins without a strong hand. I knew it would be a tough battle from here still, but I did have the slight chip lead and I planned to hold on to it. Luckily, shortly after this play, I found KK and of course got it allin preflop against Alceste's QQ, vaulting me way up to 43,500 chips, well out in front of the 5 players left, with wwonka in 2nd place with 22k in chips. Always nice to find a monster hand at the final table of an mtt, no doubt about that, especially when another guy at the table has another monster, but one that is dominated by yours.

Down to four players left, with me still well out in front with over 40k in chips, I experienced my one and only suckout of the night, but boy was it a doozy. Buddydank open-raises 3x to 6000 chips from the small blind, and with A6 I figure I am most likely best here, so I raise enough to get him allin:

Big mistake (not that I would do that differently in the same situation again, but this was just a setup hand pure and simple):

My fucking nemesis. The JackAce. But then look what happened at the river here:

Now obviously I feel awful about that beat. Buddy got me fair and square there, with a little help from the full tilt "random" number generator no doubt, and I was all set to be in last place of the 4 remaining players, until that sick, sick rivered 6 lifted me to the highs of the tournament, basically ensuring my victory with a huge stack, and getting rid of the only top-ten BBT guy left in the race. And I have got to say, unlike so many people (myself included) in these events, Buddy took this horrendous, hideous beat like a man and a half. I would have considered eating my buddydank radio microphone and shitting it out right on the air in his shoes, but instead on his broadcast he congratulated me and humbly, and amazingly calmly, explained that he had no business making it this far as it was, etc. Good man, that Buddydank, much more magnanimous than I would have been in that spot that's for sure, a great DJ and one hell of a BBT scoring machine too boot.

So here I am up 61k to 24k to 22k over wwonka and shamanlix, the latter whom I'm pretty sure I played with briefly at the Orleans in Vegas earlier this month in that poor excuse for a "tournament" with the bloggers. Two hands into 3-handed play, wwonka and I basically checked a T9347 board down to the river, when I finally bet out the size of the pot, making it look like a steal when in reality I had actually rivered a miracle inside straight, and wwonka pretty quickly moved allin on me.

That couldn't have gone any better, could it? Of course I called, fearing the flush a little bit but not much, and this is what I saw:

Wow. So wwonka slow-played himself right out of the tournament, in a hand where I obviously would not have called any bets on the flop or turn, when he had flopped bottom two pairs, 9s and 3s. FWIW in my opinion bottom two pairs is just not a good slowplaying hand, just about never. Even top and bottom pair I like to bet aggressively with, because it's just too easy to get counterfeited with your bottom pair thanks to a running middle pair on the board or something like that. I think top two pairs is a great slow playing hand in many cases, but bottom two, especially in this case, I think wwonka misplayed that hand terribly and in this case he happened to pay the price dearly. Some may call me a luckbox here, and I certainly hit a miracle river card, but that one I'm putting 100% on wonka and I think he agrees with me based on his post-hand chat.

So now I'm up basically 93k to 20k over shamanalix, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome having Buddy on the radio broadcast, hearing the resignation in his voice as he proclaimed that I was basically definitely going to win this thing. He was right. I won the first heads-up hand with a steal, and shamanalix and I split the next two or three hands. Finally I call my opponent's preflop raise with my K5s, a decidedly better than average hand for hu play. The flop comes KJ3, giving me top pair, I check it, hoping to get shamanalix to bet strongly, but he checks as well. The turn is an offsuit 7. I check again, thinking showing this kind of weakness will have to elicit a bet, and it works like a charm as he moves allin for his last 16k chips:

I quickly call with my hidden top pair, shamanalix has just third pair 7s with a Ten kicker, and my big favorite holds up to win me my 2 1/2th Riverchasers tournament!

As far as lessons learned from this victory, as with many of my mtt wins, I am reminded once again of the importance of not going crazy with a nice stack early, including making those big laydowns when you have some chips and are probably either a small favorite or a big dog. A big stack is not a license to make stupid calls, and I find that is a huge problem with many players' mtt games in what I see regularly online. You have to steal some pots to stay afloat in these things as the blinds and antes increase, but otherwise the key is to not waste your chips, and to win those races in key situations. As is often the case with me, I don't tend to get very good starting cards in most tournaments I enter, unlike some people (I will skip the links there, you all know who I am referring to, A and B!!). For me, getting lucky often means the standard one or two suckouts, but otherwise winning a majority of my 50-50 hands in key spots to get where I want to be in tournaments.

Thanks again as always to Al for hosting this, my favorite of the weekly blogger tournaments, or at least my bankroll's favorite that's for sure, and to the Riverchasers guys for sponsoring this whole thing and helping to put it together. Hopefully I can make it back from dinner with my brother tonight to play in Kat's $1 rebuy donkament tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt, but if not I will try to get into the 50-50 as well as that 9:45pm ET token frenzy on full tilt to try to win my $75 token for Sunday night's Big Game, the final event of the BBT and hopefully the biggest blogger tournament prize pool in history. Come be part of history on Sunday night at 9:30pm ET and join in the Big Game to take your run at the huge cash payouts for the top spots! See you then!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tilt-Reeling From the Mookie

People keep telling me I have got to work on my tilt. Sometimes I feel like they're right, but most of the time I'm not so sure. I mean, I'm a firm believer that my tiltmonkeyness -- or rather, the qualities and emotions that lead me to be such a tiltmonkey, anyways -- are huge contributors to the success that I've had as a poker player. You won't find someone more competitive than me, or who wants to win more than me, or who expects to win more than me. I'm like KOD in the nightly 26k -- I expect to win every single time I sit down at the poker table, be it IRL or on the Internets. I have a deep understanding of all the important elements of all the major poker games. And my ability at reading other players is generally very strong relative to the others I play with, no matter who they are.

As a result, when I get beat by a play that I know is horrible, or if I just plain get sucked out on, in a spot where I was close to making a big move, it tends to really piss me off. And as a result, I tend to go on tilt more than your average player. A lot more. But if you take away my tilt, I think you take away a lot of my edge as a poker player as well. So I am comfortable generally speaking with the existence of my tilt. I suppose it could be reined in a little bit and still be an improvement for me overall. But I wouldn't want to that it away too much. You would be sad and disappointed if you saw me playing like you know who or you know who among our little blogger group -- you know, the pussy guys, guys who always fold to your steal attempts, guys who constantly get caught pushing with crap early into small pots and routinely watch the last few blonkament tables every single week from the sidelines.

Anyways, all this is a roundabout way of saying that last night I let myself get pretty effing tilted. Basically, I was down to 11th in the Mookie out of 72 players, sitting in 7th place of the remaining players, and I had happen to me what absolutely never happens for me late in these blonkaments -- I actually picked up a fucking hand! Pocket Kings, in the blinds no less, and you can imagine my excitement when Irongirl open-pushed utg ahead of me with what turned out to be A8o, which I obviously instacalled and looked for the easy double-up which was going to get me into the top half of the field and lead me to my 3rd top 10 finish in the last four Mookie tournaments. I don't know whether it was the Ace on the flop or the 8 on the river for good measure that set me off more, but what I did know is that I was suddenly out of the Mookie in 11th place after finding my first big starting hand in a late-stage blonkament in literally as long as I can remember. Dammit! It still pisses me off thinking about it now. I will never, even win a Mookie. It's just not in the cards for me (pun intended). If I can't take advantage of KK in the blind with an utg push preflop ahead of me with a weak Ace, then it's just never going to happen. If I was a man I would just stop playing this shit altogether. But I'm not a man, I love the Mookie just too much. But I wish I was a man, since I've accepted I can never, ever win this thing. For some reason I'm just not allowed to.

One thing I will say about last night is that, basically since Bayne all but sealed up the BBT title a couple of weeks back, the Mookie and really all the blonkaments in general have loosened up considerably in the earlygoing, as compared to the earlier BBT tournaments where the scoring system has basically created an incentive for many people to play much tighter than usual for a blonkament. I will admit that I'm looking forward to the blonkaments starting next week without the BBT for the first time in three months for this very reason. And don't get me wrong -- nobody could be happier with how much participation and community has been fostered by all the BBT tournaments since early April. I just think three months is a good amount of time for the BBT, and I believe many other blonkeys will be happy as I am to play some blonkaments for a while without any specific scoring system or method of tracking indivual cumulative performances affecting decisions that certain players might make in these events. Anyways, in this week's Mookie we got all the way down from 72 entrants to 38 players remaining in just the first hour, which I really love because as I said it's like the old, pre-BBT days and I look forward to more of the same in the coming weeks as the BBT tournaments continue to roll on.

And speaking of this week's Mookie tournament, congratulations to Pirate Wes and Alan, who put on quite a show last night through about an hour-long heads-up battle for the win, with the chip lead seesawing back and forth and back and forth seemingly countless times. One player would get up 2-to-1 or maybe even 3-to-1, and then the other would power his way back and end up taking his own 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 lead, and then it would start all over again. Eventually with the two players close to even, Alan clearly kinda lost his nerve and just started pushing allin preflop with a lot of shit, and that plan worked as he nailed this massive suckout:

Of course, one hand later came the obligatory second suckout which always seems to happen to the short stack at the end of an mtt after taking a sick beat on the preceding hand:

and Alan is your latest Mookie winner, so congrats on a fine performance for the already-top-10 BBT player with now just two BBT tournaments left. And congratulations to Wes for avoiding his recent bubble troubles in a big way. And congrats to me for playing better than anyone else in the Mookie last night, and for deserving to be the real winner. Hah.

Anyways I started off writing about tilt today because that's what happened to me after my untimely exit from the Mookie allin preflop with pocket Kings against a weak Ace. It didn't help that jj sucked out a recockulous flush against me in the PLO8 in the Dookie just a few minutes prior to my Mookie elimination. But I was pissed off in a big way, and it took its toll in my other poker engagements after this time. Specifically, I ran off a $250 profit at the 1-2 blogger cash game down to just a $50 profit over the next hour or so, mostly due to my flopping top two pairs with KQ against a guy who made a downright silly flop call and then spiked an inside straight on the turn with his JackAce (naturally), and then my flopping a straight but then losing to a turned higher straight to a player with the JackAce, something which happened exactly the same to me now two nights in a row in blogger cash games (thanks Don!). Blech.

I was also in the 50-50 tournament last night on full tilt, which was my 5th attempt in this tournament, with my previous entries resulting in one deep cash (14th place), two bubbles and one early exit, but last night I was on a huge fucking roll in this thing. I had over 24,000 chips as we neared the bubble, which has been set at the top 153 players to receive payouts every night since the 5050 started running a little over a week ago, and I was sitting in the top 12 on the leaderboard or so when the hideous Mookie n Dookie beatings hit me, and I managed to spend the next half hour or so tilt-donking away half of my huge stack on a bluff against a calling station, and eventually the rest of it by calling a preflop reraise when I raised from steal position and he seemed like he was defending against my steal. In the end I had QTs, a much better than average hand against a guy who I figured was just defending without reference to the strength of his actual hand, but of course he called my allin reraise and flipped up pocket Kings. And unlike me last night, he had the kind of pocket Kings that of course hold up late in tournaments, even against two live sooooted, connecting paint cards, and IGH in 140th place for my second 5050 cash in 5 tries in this tournament. I have to say, that 5050 really is a great tournament. Between the 2000 chip starting stacks and the 12-minute blind levels, there really is room for a lot of play. And man are the players in this thing horrendous. Myself included.

Here was an interesting hand that happened to me in the 5050 tournament last night, and I am interested in how you guys out there like to play this hand before the flop. I guess I should be asking guys like Iggy, Bayne and Astin most of all since you guys get dealt starting hands like this 15 or 20 times every time you sit down to a small mtt to play, but really comments from any and all are welcome.

Here's the setup: It is about an hour into a large mtt. You doubled your starting stack early on, and have spent the last hour or so slowly dribbling away chips such that you are sitting now only about 70% above your starting stack, at 3380 chips. You are dealt pocket Aces in the cutoff. Two players to your right opens the betting preflop with a 3.5x raise (yes!), which is followed by another 3x reraise from the hijack position (double yes!). Here's what it looks like:

So how do you like to handle this situation here? Auto-push? Min-re-reraise? Smooth call? Fold? What do you think is the best way to put yourself in position to win the most possible total chips with this hand?

OK tonight is the last Riverchasers tournament of the BBT, so don't forget to join in tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt (password is "riverchasers"). This is especially important for those of you still on the outside looking in for the upcoming BBT freeroll, which includes dbirider, BoneDaddy, Patchmaster and Joe_13 as the four players not already qualified for the freeroll and who are within 50 BBT points of 50th place, who is currently the loose aggrodonk we know as Gary Cox. I've also got my eyes on Lucko and pvanharibo, both of whom have played in 19 BBT events and need just one more out of Riverchasers and the Big Game this week to qualify automatically, as well as Don Morris who has played in 18 events so can play his way in to the freeroll just by showing up and buying in to both of this week's remaining tournaments on the schedule. And a special callout to Irongirl, who used her sick and wrong, cruel and unusual and just generally unfair suckout against me with 11 players left to go on to a 3rd place finish for her first BBT cash of the year.

So tonight at 9pm ET, Riverchasers will definitely be the place to be on full tilt, and if you're want to see my tiltmonkeying self in action, you can surely find me as well at the 9:30pm ET 50-50 tournament, as well as for sure at the 9:45pm ET token frenzy where a whole slew of bloggers have been hitting up the virtual felt nightly this week to try to make a run at a $75 token for this Sunday night's upcoming Big Game, the final BBT event where it appears that at least spots 2 through 5 on the BBT leaderboard should be very much up for grabs.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Work Tilt and Blogger Luckboxery

OK so as most of you can probably tell, I really did not have time to get up Tuesday's or today's post until much later in the day than usual. Sorry about that. I hate writing a post but not being able to get it completed until most of you have left from work or whatever it is you degenerates people do during the day, but sometimes work tilt just takes over and I have no choice. Right now my already small legal department in my company is basically falling apart, with one of our two legal assistants getting ready to leave for another job, and the other two lawyers other than myself really not around or available to do any work, one of whom is also getting ready to leave for another job. My boss doesn't even know any of this stuff yet, but I do, and let's just say that the amount of work being done by those people right now is nowhere near sufficient to keep me from going absolutely apeshit at the office. It doesn't just feel like I'm doing four people's jobs right now; I am doing four people's jobs right now. It's sad when it's only the middle of the year and I already know that my company could not pay me enough at year's end to make me feel fairly compensated for the sacrifices I have made this year. Seriously. The amount of money it would take for me not to be fucking pissed off at year's end at this point is so far above and beyond what I've made in the past here, it would not be possible. This probably does not bode well for my future at this company, but que sera sera, that's not my problem.

All I know is that at the very beginning of this year (literally on the last day of last year), the ranting maniac lawyer from my group (that's actually not me, if you can believe it!) was finally fired at long last, and I was "asked" to take over his job responsibilities "temporarily" until we could find a replacement. Keep in mind here, this is not a 100-person group where I was just taking over a few deals from the guy or something. This is a 3-lawyer group, and suddenly I was asked to do 2/3 of the work in the entire group that was normally handled by three people. Not good. But, I wasn't really given a choice, and of course the implication was made to me that I would be rewarded for my loyalty come year end, so what was I gonna do? Quit on the spot? So I took this guy's work. Anyways, fast forward five fucking months later, when we finally hired someone to replace the asshole maniac guy, and I was finally allowed to transition his responsibilities back to the new lawyer. This is where the story gets really good.

Some ho in another continent in my company gets pregnant and takes maternity leave. Someone from another division of the company in the U.S. decides to move out to the other continent to take the pregnant ho's job. And before we know it, one of our three lawyers is "asked" to sit in for this chick in the other division, for three months (the entire summer). This is not me, and not the brand new lawyer we hired to replace the maniac, but our other lawyer who is currently doing the other 1/3 of the work in our group while I had been 2/3 for the past five months. He basically has no choice, and plus it was a good career opportunity for him, so he left and took the 3-month job helping out in the other U.S. division of my company. This was exactly two weeks after we hired the new lawyer, which meant that I had had two weeks of training and transitioning the new person where I technically was not doing two jobs in this entire year. Two weeks. Then my boss calls me into his office, tells me that our third lawyer is leaving for three months, and "asks" me to take on her job responsibilities for the summer. Yummy. So, for precisely two weeks through the first 9 months of the year, I will have done just my job and no one else's, and for the other 8 1/2 months, I will be working two full jobs. Not my job and a couple of things from another job. Two. Full. Jobs. Two salaries, two bonuses, two full sets of responsibilities. All being done by me, for one salary and one bonus. Good deal for my company, huh?

The kicker to all this is that, as I alluded to above, the other lawyer from my group, who is now approaching halfway into his 3-month "temporary" assignment in this other division -- just as I predicted was going to happen all along, even though everyone here said I was crazy -- has now decided to accept an offer of permanent employment by the other division, instead of coming back to us at the end of the summer. The glorious thing here is that when he doesn't come back, there is literally zero doubt who will be keeping his work on an "extended" basis, and let me just tell you, it ain't fluxer and it ain't Waffles. It's me. And given the time it has taken to find a new attorney for our group in the past, we're probably looking at 3-4 months before we have someone new after August, and that my friends means I will spend this entire year working two full jobs for one job's pay. Delicious. As I said, the amount of money these clowns would have to throw at me at year's end to make me not be really effing pissed about the sacrifices I've made this year is so far off from anything they would or could ever offer me, it cannot be good for my likelihood of staying here for the long term. Which is too bad because I had a nice thing going here for a while, but I would look at some point within the next year or so for word that I am switching jobs to somewhere else that won't shit all over me and take advantage of my talents and my willingness to chip in and "be a team player". God I hate corporate speak.

Anyways, now that I've gotten that off my chest, let me get to a few announcements that I just did not have time to mention in my abbreviated post from yesterday. First and foremost, and I know this is old news now, but our own Dr. Pauly cashed bigtime in Event #38 at the WSOP, a $1500 buyin nlh event. Out of 2778 entrants, Pauly finished in 119th place, taking down $4740 and change for his incredible effort. Is that fucking incredible or what? This brings the number of people in our blogger crew cashing in a WSOP event this year to at least three, with myself, LJ and now Pauly ringing the bell and bringing home some bacon after surviving through very tough fields. I am probably missing somebody but this is all that comes to mind right now. Add to that that we have at least Fuel55, Lucko and KOD already having won WSOP ME seats -- and KOD you had better be playing in that thing -- the chances are aplenty that there will be more cashish to come for our group. Which to me is a glorious thing to say the least. Cashing in the WSOP, who'd a thunk we could produce so much of that out of relatively few entries this year? Not me, that's for sure. Especially when I see how you blonkeys play in the blonkaments. Dam do we suck.

And speaking of blonkeys, I also did not have time to mention yesterday that fucking Chad a.k.a "KOD" (King of Donkeys) won the fucking nightly 26k guaranteed tournament on full tilt again the other day! That is I think two wins in this friggin unwinnable tournament in a month, to go along with two more final table finishes in this event, which is not only unwinnable but also unfinaltableable. I do not know the funk he does it. But Chad was cool to give us this post the other day which gives away just a few of his secrets on how to bet these large minefield mtt's. Nothing much new in there for me, but then again I am already the king of the resteal so there's not much surprising there. I basically do everything that Chad mentions in that post already, but even these days when I play the 26k I am usually lucky to make it past a couple of hours. Some shitdonk calls my allin reraise with my A9 and his AJ on a board of A92, and then turns a Jack to send me home. I get in ahead way, way too much to survive in that thing. Chad, I honestly don't know how the fuck you do that. Four final tables in a month in the biggest donkey tournament I've ever heard of. Unreal. Go read his strategy post if you haven't yet, as it is fairly rare for the KOD to give tips like this on his blog.

I also want to link to this post from Astin, where he gives an honest and humble recount of the card rack that smacked him in the face all through this week's MATH tournament. I got to hear about these hands as they were happening on the IM, but to actually see this stuff verified in screenshots it is really just sick. It was a couple of weeks ago now that I wrote about Astin's amazing card rack abilities, and the funny thing is, that commentary from me was based on my own personal experience of months and months of playing pretty regularly with him. Now, FWIW I definitely do not believe in luck over the long term, let me get that out of the way first. But I have got to say that Astin has me thinking about it. As I said, it's been months that I've been joking with him that he gets unbelievable starting cards, so this has been based on many many many tournaments where I have seen a number of his starting hands that were awesome. Well, take a look at that post I linked above, where you can see Astin's one AA, three KKs, one QQ and two AKs from this week's MATH tournament. What's that, you say? 7 premium hands isn't that much for a guy who lasted all the way to 10th place in a tournament? OK.

It turns out that was just during the first hour of the MATH. Impressed now? I guarantee you I haven't seen 7 premium starting hands in all 28 BBT tournaments I have played in this year, and this guy gets 7 premiums just in the first hour on Monday? Sheeeeeeit. And I'm not even mentioning the two flopped 3-of-a-kinds, the flopped nut straight with J8 or the turned flush that Astin also mentioned in that post, which you really should read for yourself if you want to get a good experience of what being on a rush of cards is really like. And if you really enjoy this stuff, then go check out this post by Astin about his first round of starting hands from the Riverchasers HORSE tournament this past Sunday, which included AKo, QQ, 22, AQs and 66 all during the first eight hands he saw in that tournament. That has got to be nice. And let's not forget this post from last week's Mookie tournament, where Astin details the starting cards he saw in that event as well:

"Mookie - I don't think I've ever seen cards like this. Pocket Aces 3 times, Cowboys at least 4 times, Hiltons twice, AK at least twice, and more medium pocket pairs than I can count. JJ turned into quads on the river to beat pocket Kings at one point. Hoy might be on to something. Then again, I had pocket kings totally counterfeited with quad 9's with an A kicker on the board."

Wow. That is at least 11 premium starting hands in one 3-hour tournament, plus quad Jacks and "more medium pocket pairs than I can count". Just wow is all I have to say. Obviously Astin knows how to play with these big cards, as he has been on quite a run lately in the BBT tournaments, but...I mean...damn. 11 premiums in last week's Mookie, all those good starting LHE hands in the first round of HORSE, and 7 premiums (plus at least two other pocket pairs) in just the first hour of the latest MATH? Have I said "wow" enough times yet? Wow.

Bayne is a luckbox too, by the way.

Do not forget the Mookie tonight, at 10pm ET on full tilt. Password as always is "vegas1". For once I am an early registeree for that event, and last week saw a new record of 82 entrants. Also don't forget to listen to Buddydank's live radio show during the Mookie, which I say again IMO is the coolest new thing in the poker blogiverse in a long time. The BBT is coming right down to the wire here with this week's Mookie, Riverchasers and Big Game tournaments all on the slate to finish up the 3-month poker tournament series, and with a number of players still vying for the top 50 spots on the leaderboard and/or the 20 events played threshold, participation should be up tonight in the Mookie as well, which is always fun. And lastly, don't forget tonight's 9:45pm ET token frenzy on full tilt, the $14 buyin tournament that awards $75 tokens to the top 18%+ of finishers, which you can then use to buy in to Sunday's Big Game, the BBT finale and one of my favorite blogger tournaments every month due to the higher buyin and generally higher quality of play.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

MATH Recap, and All Hail the Fucking King

54 more runners in Mondays at the Hoy last night on full tilt, and yet the results were shockingly similar to the past several blogger tournaments. The same guys seemed to get lucky again and again, the same guys seemed to be stuck playing 75s and A8s as their only good cards of the night, and in the end, Bayne took the thing down again. Yep. That's right. The same Bayne who won the last Riverchasers tournament last Thursday. The same Bayne who won the last Mookie on Wednesday. The same Bayne who has already sealed the deal on the BBT title and then some. The same Bayne who is now atop the MATH 2007 moneyboard. Bayne Bayne Bayne Bayne Bayne blech.

Cashing in 6th place for $77.76 in I believe his first ever MATH tournament is maf212. Maf, if you have a blog please let me know in the comments and I will link you up, otherwise thanks for playing and we hope to see you next week when the albatross known as the BBT scoring system will finally be lifted from around everyone's necks for the regular blogger tournaments.

Iggy finished the MATH in 5th place this week, winning $103.68 more for his efforts, with a little help from me as I called his 18th pocket Kings of the night (or was it his 19th?) with my lowly 75s to jump him into the top 10 with about 20 players remaining in the event. Iggy is making a strong push for 2nd place on the BBT leaderboard with his performance last night, a race that is really going to come down to the wire and culminate with this coming Sunday night's Blogger Big Game hosted by this donkey.

In 4th place this Monday was brdweb, winner of this year's Blogger Bracelet Race, who won $142.56 for his first MATH cash of the BBT. I don't recall how brd went out last night, but it's a safe bet that it was to Bayne, maybe when his AT ran into Bayne's pocket Jacks allin preflop.

Columbo came up with yet another strong MATH performance last night to add to his already top 10 moneyboard position with another third place finish, scoring him $194.90 cash in the process. Again I don't recall how he was eliminated other than to say this one I know was Bayne's doing since Bayne went into heads-up play with leftylu with about a 6-to-1 chip advantage, probably as a result of a sick river suckout or something like that which I know there were a lot of over the final two tables. Nice job to Columbo who has quietly really ripped shit up in the Hoy over the past few months.

Finishing in second place this week was non-blogger leftylu, who captured $295.12 for his performance and who can hardly feel bad about failing to overcome the undisputed King of the BBT. lefty played a conservative game at the final table, basically lying in wait while his opponents one by one took their shots at Bayne and lost in various ways, with the only downside of this approach being that once heads-up play started, as I mentioned above Bayne had a huge chip lead and was able to wait for a big flop for him to make his move.

And winning the Hoy this week again, along with the $492.48 in cash for first prize, was Bayne Bayne Bayne Bayne Bayne more of the same, who took out leftylu when his 43o managed to flop trips which is always nice. This time around Bayne bided his time early, taking the chip lead somewhere around the beginning of the final table which he only briefly relinquished before doing what he does best and crushing the rest of the field. Wow is all I have to say about what Bayne has done to the rest of the bloggers over the past few months, and keep in this mind this is without a doubt the first and only time that the same player will hold the Mookie, Riverchasers and MATH title all at the same time. Just. Wow.

So here are the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard standings as the first half of the year's MATH tournaments comes to an end:

1. Bayne_s $1175
2. Hoyazo $849
3. Columbo $801
4. VinNay $775
5. cmitch $774
6. Iggy $745
7. NewinNov $677
8. Astin $616
9. Tripjax $561
10. Julius Goat $507
11. mtnrider81 $492
12. Chad $485
13. scots_chris $474
14. Fuel55 $458
15. Otis $429
16. Miami Don $402
17. Lucko21 $389
18. Jordan $382
19. Blinders $379
20. Pirate Wes $372
21. IslandBum1 $357
22. ChapelncHill $353
23. Zeem $330
24. Mike_Maloney $326
25 oossuuu754 $312
26. leftylu $295
27. Waffles $294
28. Wigginx $288
29. ScottMc $282
30. Fishy McDonk $277
31. Manik79 $252
32. Wippy1313 $248
33. Byron $234
34. RecessRampage $224
35. wwonka69 $216
36. Omega_man_99 $210
37. Pushmonkey72 $208
38. lightning36 $205
39. Buddydank $197
40. bartonfa $180
41. 23Skidoo $176
42. Santa Clauss $170
43. Iakaris $162
43. Smokkee $162
45. cemfredmd $156
45. NumbBono $156
47. lester000 $147
48. Heffmike $145
49. brdweb $143
50. DDionysus $137
51. Patchmaster $135
52. InstantTragedy $129
53. Ganton516 $114
54. Gracie $94
54. Scurvydog $94
56. Shag0103 $84
57. PhinCity $80
57. jeciimd $80
59. maf212 $78
60. Alceste $71
60. dbirider $71
62. Easycure $67
63. Rake Feeder $53

So it was another interesting week for the MATH moneyboard, as three of this week's 6 cashers were first-time entrants onto the moneyboard, and the other three added to already top 10 positions as they have really stuck it to the other players in this tournament so far during 2007. And again kudos to Bayne Bayne Bayne Bayne Bayne who has taken over the top spot in a big fat huge way with his nearly $500 cash tonight to power way over $1000 won for the year as the first grand winner for 2007 in the MATH. Way to go Bayne.

Gotta run for today, sorry this post is up so late. I'll be back with a proper post on Wednesday for sure.

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ruminating on the BBT

Yes, folks, it's Monday again. But not even just any old Monday. This is the last Monday of the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments, which means that tonight will be the last Mondays at the Hoy tournament of the BBT:

Of course the weekly MATH tournament will contintue to run in its regular spot every Monday night at 10pm ET on full tilt, with a tier I token or $26 buyin, and a password of "hammer" as always, but this week will mark the final MATH tournament of the BBT as the 3-month blogger tournament challenge comes to a close with a MATH, a Mookie and a Riverchasers for your donking pleasure this Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and then culminating with the final BBT tournament, the Blogger Big Game on this coming Sunday night at 9:30pm ET. So I don't know if any of you had plans for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday night of this week -- but if you did, cancel 'em. We should have some big crowds and loads of fun this week as players gear up to take their final shots at the top spots and the prizes that come along with them, or just to play their way into late July's BBT freeroll tournament which will feature a prize pool made up of half the rake we have paid as a group into every BBT tournament running back over the past 3 months.

Speaking of the BBT freeroll, I'm going to take a minute to go over a few specific people I expect to be seeing in most if not all of our four BBT tournaments scheduled for this week, the final week in the tournament series. Remember, anyone in the top 50 spots on the final BBT leaderboard will automatically be entered in the freeroll, in addition to anyone who has played in at least 20 of the BBT tournaments. Now take a look at that leaderboard again, which has been updated as of this past Sunday afternoon's special Riverchasers HORSE tournament, which Mike Maloney came out of the woodwork and crushed for his first BBT tournament victory. As of right now, heading into this week's final four tournaments, the top 50 spots end with Bone Daddy, who is sitting on 391.8 points as of this Monday morning. But let's look at just the 10 players right behind Eric:

In 51st place right now is IronGirl, a personal favorite blogger of mine, who sits just 3 BBT points behind Bone Daddy, and who has played 16 BBT events so far. So, Irongirl, you have to either play your way in to the BBT freeroll this week by reaching the BBT points in a few of this week's events, or you can just buy in to all four of the remaining BBT tournaments and then you will be automatically entered. But either way, it's like the lottery: you gotta play to win. In 52nd place place is Schaubs, whom I know from his blog has not been participating much in these tournaments over the past couple of months, but whom is also just a measly 8 BBT points behind the current 50th place, so again I expect to see you and that snazzy new blog banner from Jordan around several times this week, Schaubs. In 53rd is Gary Cox, who has already qualified by playing in 23 BBT events, so he is already into the freeroll there.

In 54th place is Joe_13, a blogger with whom I am not familiar but who is only 25 BBT points out of 50th place and thus also has a great shot to play his way in to the freeroll by participating in as many of this week's final four tournaments as possible. Next comes Skidoo, who also has played in 21 BBT tournaments at this point so he is also already qualified for the freeroll. In 56th place, however, is kickass writer Otis, who has only played in 8 events but finds himself just 35 BBT points out of 50th place to qualify for the freeroll. After Otis comes Patchmaster, Joe Speaker and BrainMc, all three of whom also are far short of the 20 events played plateau, but who range from a mere 38 to 47 BBT points out of 50th place, and then we have Lucko to round out the top 60, although Lucko is just 2 events away from 20, so all he needs to do is show up for any two of the MATH, Mookie, Riverchasers or the Big Game this week and he is in like flynn to the BBT freeroll coming up on July 25.

In addition to those listed above, just about anyone else on the BBT leaderboard should be able to play their way in to the freeroll, no matter what your current position, by winning a couple of events this week or just by scoring big in a few of them. And even putting actual tournament performances aside, there are also a number of bloggers out there who are outside of the top 50 but who can play their way in to the freeroll just by participating in some or all of this week's events thereby reaching the 20 events played threshold. This list includes Byron and Iakaris, who have each participated in 16 events and thus are in automatically if they play in all four BBT tournaments this week, in addition to Don Morris and pvanharibo, both of whom need to participate in just two of the BBT tournaments this week to qualify for the upcoming freeroll. So in all, there is a lot riding on this week's BBT tournaments, and tonight's MATH will start it all off at 10pm ET sharp on full tilt, so see you there!

Speaking of the BBT, before I forget, this Sunday saw a momentus occasion for the tournament series, and for one poker blogger in particular. My boy jeciimd cashed in the Riverchasers HORSE tournament on Sunday to the tune of $118 and change!! Jec finished that tournament in 3rd place out of 29 runners after outlasting a long and frustrating bubble period, and I was glad to have logged on for the night shortly before that tournament bubble burst, so I got to watch this huge happening live right in front of my eyes. Congratulations to jec, who has now solidified his 5th place position in the BBT standings and who actually climbed very close to Iggy in 4th place after Iggy busted early from HORSE on Sunday, setting up what is sure to be a very tight and interesting race for the top few BBT spots as the series ends with the final four tournaments this week. And now this means that everyone in the top 50 BBT spots has cashed at least one time during the BBT series, which just looks much nicer on the leaderboard than it used to previously. Way to go, jec!!

And one other quick BBT comment this week. As I mentioned above, this coming Sunday evening will be the final tournament in the BBT challenge, which will be Don's Big Game with its $75 buyin. For those of you who don't know or who have not yet played in the Big Game, it is a montly event, it sports the largest buyin of any of the regular blogger tournaments out there, and since the BBT began, it also has sported the largest prize pool of any blogger tournaments, ever. With it being the final BBT tournament and all, I am hoping that this Sunday's Big Game will be the largest yet, breaking the previous record of I think 53 or 54 players and a prize pool of well over $3500, making for some awesome cash payouts for the top finisher. But there is only one way we get the numbers for this Sunday's tournament up to those levels -- the 9:45pm ET nightly token frenzy on full tilt. As I have done in the previous two months, this week I am re-launching my all-out assault on the token frenzy tournament, which again runs at 9:45pm ET every night, and which awards tier 2 ($75) tokens to the top 18.7% of finishers for just a $15 buyin including the full tilt rake. This is a great tournament to play in for anybody who ever likes to play those $75 buyin mtts on full tilt, and it is the perfect way for just about anybody to qualify for the lofty $75 buyin to the Big Game. You pay just $14 + $1, and out of say 120 players on a given night, the top 22 finishers will all be awarded a $75 token. Easy as pie. As per usual with mostly any $14 buyin satellite on full tilt, the play is generally horrific in these things, and only having to play down to the top 19% or so of finishers means that the whole thing generally only lasts less than 90 minutes from start time to the awarding of the tokens. I will most definitely be in this thing every single night this week at 9:45pm ET on full tilt, and you should be too! Last month and the month before, we bloggers as a group managed to basically take over this nightly tier II token frenzy satellite on full tilt, and I would like to see us do so again this month, maybe moreso than ever as more and more of you out there are looking to get in to the BBT freeroll and just to play with the bloggers on the biggest stage we regularly have to offer, the monthly Sunday night Big Game. So not only will I see you tonight in the MATH at 10pm ET, but be sure to log on 15 minutes early and play in the nightly token frenzy tonight at 9:45pm ET on full tilt, where I will most definitely be as well.

Before I go, here was a fun hand from last night's 50-50 tournament, which saw me minraise preflop with pocket Queens for the first (and hopefully only) time in my entire life:

See, I felt like I had to minraise there in late position, because as you can see I was on a short stack, I hadn't seen a good hand for an hour, and I desperately needed to double up with the Queens in that spot. So, I figured the only way I could reasonably assure myself of at least some action in that particular situation was to make it like I am clearly trying to steal the blinds with nothing, so I felt the minraise did the best job of portraying weakness to my remaining opponents. In the end as you can see, I got lucky as hell and not only did the big blind wake up with AT in his hand, but then the Ten-high flop set me up for an easy double up. This was from Sunday night's 50-50 tournament, and in the end I busted in 162nd place (top 153 out of 1078 entrants paid) as I made what is for me the easy decision to play to win, and not just to play to cash. Wtf do I want with the $21 profit for the bottom cash payout spots anyways, right? We were down to 162 players left, and I found 55 in middle position, the only good hand I'd seen in the third hour of play other than the QQ hand profiled above, and a player with a larger stack put in a standard 3x raise from early position ahead of me. I opted to move in all of my chips in a big reraise, at a time when I was probably around 100th place out of 162 players remaining, for a pot that would have jumped me up to above the 50th percentile in the tournament if everyone had folded. Instead, the original raiser quickly called my bet, showing me pocket Tens, and I could not recover and I limped out just 9 spots from the money. That said, I like my play there, as I said I am always playing to win and have zero interest in just limping into the bottom cash payouts with a small stack when I believe I have the chance to make +EV moves that can jump me up in the standings and position me for another deep mtt run.

OK that's all for today. Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight in the token frenzy at 9:45pm ET, and then in the MATH at 10pm ET (password as always is "hammer") on full tilt!

Labels: ,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Runnin' Deep With Iakaris

In contrast to Wednesday night, Thursday night turned out to be one of the more fun nights of poker I've had in some time. I began the evening by returning to the cash tables for a few solidly winning sessions, my first consistent winning day since the debacle that was last weekend, which saw me lose to four different flopped sets with three of my own flopped sets and a TPTK hand as well. I actually decided to move back down to the 1-2 6-max tables, really just to try to get my bearings after I had simply not been playing my game at all since those horrid beats from last weekend, and after a couple days of play at $200 nl, I definitely feel like I'm back, including winning around three buyins over the past two days, mostly all of which came on Thursday. And as nice as the money was to see my full tilt account balance moving higher instead of lower, the return of my confidence at the non-blogger cash tables in general was worth much more than that. Of course at blogger cash games I am pretty much always a solid winner, but outside of blogger cash this past week was not a pretty one for me cash-wise. It happens, I've been there before -- much worse than this week, for that matter -- and I'm sure I'll be there again, but this week definitely saw me meet head-to-head with the assy end of variance, and I look forward to continuing to put that behind me in the coming days on full tilt.

So after a few solid sessions on the cash front on Thursday evening, I decided I was going to take my first stab at this new 50-50 tournament that a number of you bloggers have been hyping up recently. Shortly after I sat down and started to play the 50-50, I got a girly chat from someone that our boy Iakaris was deep in the 19k, down well into the final 100 players or so in his second deep 19k run of the past week. I proceeded to rail Iak not just at the table but in the girly chat, discussing hands and just generally talking poker, all the way to the final table, Iak's first large mtt final table in several months. Eventually Iak ran his JJ into AA preflop and busted out in 5th place out of over 900 players:

Scoring nearly $1100 cash for himself and also a much-needed confidence boost of his own. It's funny, because the last time I talked to Iak the night before I left for Vegas a couple of weeks ago -- the infamous conversation where I told Iak I was feeling great about my game and that I knew I could do some major damage in my shorthanded WSOP tournament the following day if I just played my game and didn't do anything stoopid -- Iak was also telling me how he finally feels like his mtt game is back after months of lack of playing time and just general poker frustration. Since then he has now ran deep in the 19k twice, probably his two best mtt runs in a long time, plus he and I also made great runs in the 50-50 tournament as well last night. So I think at this point we can definitely confirm the rumor: Iak is back in da house, and I for one am happy to see it, it couldn't happen to a better guy. Now we just gotta get this guy back on the mtt success horse, which I bet is coming soon as well, and we'll be in business.

Anyways, once Iak busted in 5th place in the 19k yesterday, he was able to focus much more on the 50-50, which at the time was just getting into the money positions, which paid the top 153 players out of 1028 entrants in this nightly 50k guaranteed prize pool tournament. At the time I was sitting on around 30k in chips, while Iak was down near the bottom of the leaderboard with just over 10k. But that would soon change, as Iak picked up AA, KK, AA and AA all in the span of about 20 minutes, in each case seeing at least one raise -- two of those times including allin reraises -- all ahead of him in the action preflop, basically making it almost impossible for Iak not to double up a few times and the result was a quick rise for his stack into the top 10 of the remaining players -- at the time there were around 60 players left when the deck smacked Iak in the face -- where Iak would stay for much of the rest of the tournament.

I, meanwhile, was experiencing a different phenomenon. It's something we all call card death, and most deep mtt runs I have made in my life have included long bouts of it. Thursday night was no exception. During the entire last three ours of this tournament, I did not see a premium hand or really something that even resembled a premium hand, other than one time I was dealt AK, got a caller of my preflop raise in the biggest stack at the table, and then I was forced to push in a large overbet of the pot on the Ten-high flop after he checked to me, somehow getting a fold from the guy after he let his timer and then his additional time clock count almost all the way down to zero before taking action. It was like all my premium hands got sent straight over to Iak, who was using them masterfully to play his opponents like fiddles over on his table, which I again had up and was watching closely as he and I continued to outlast opponents in this event. But I got no AA, no KK, no QQ, no JJ, and I had to fold TT about 2 1/2 hours in to the tournament when a shorty curiously pushed in only half his short stack from under the gun in a move that just screamed out big overpair or at the very least AK or AQs to me. With no premium hands to play with, every single pot I won in the last three hours of this tournament was a steal, or a resteal. Every single pot, with no exceptions. I had a lot of people railing me and on the girly chat, and we were all laughing pretty hard at the moves I was making. Somehow, I didn't get caught once.

I mean, I did nothing but steal and resteal with shit for every single chip I won in the last three hours of a tournament that lasted in the end a little over 5 hours for me. I restole with allin pushes from my big blind against the player to my right who had just limped from his small blind probably 8 times in this thing. By the time we got into the final 25 or 30 players left in the 50-50 tournament, this guy on my right had such a boner for my chips you could fucking feel the tension at the table. He wanted so badly to pick up a monster and then open-limp from his small blind, he could taste it. But I did what I had to do -- what else can you do when you get no starting cards to speak of for like 200 straight minutes, right? I maybe got pocket 5s or pocket 6s once or twice, in all cases facing a large preflop raise before the action even got to me, but otherwise, I was open-raising from middle position with 97s and 74s and K7s all night long, and when I wasn't doing that I was restealing with allin raises with 52o and J4o and K3o against players who had shown weakness preflop ahead of me, but whose stacks were just barely small enough that calling my allin reraise would cripple them if I actually happened to pick up a hand this time. And since I was so utterly frigging card dead for 3 hours, these guys could never be sure if this was the time I actually had a hand. Especially since I kept winning these steals and resteals without a fight and without even seeing a flop -- and I mean, I didn't get caught one time until down to the final two tables -- no one even knew that I was pushing repeatedly with bullshit cards. Again and again and again, total bullshit cards. Every now and then I would look up and Iak would be cracking someone's Aces, or flipping up pocket Kings or whatever over at his table, and meanwhile I would look down and push allin on a resteal with Q7o. It sucked, but at the same time I was somehow crawling my way up the chart, or more accurately, I was just surviving while more and more people kept dropping out as the clock wore past midnight, then 1am and eventually past 2am ET.

Finally, both Iak and I reached the final two tables of the 50-50, after railing and chatting and analyzing hands with each other on the girly chat for a good 4 hours together. I don't recall making it this deep in this large of an mtt with another blogger, and a close friend at that, and I have to say it was something really special that I can only hope I get to experience again sometime soon. Actually, forget Iak I just hope I can experience another run like this myself sometime soon! No seriously, it was a lot of fun as I bet those of you who love to run mtt's can imagine, having someone else there to watch and just be part of the experience of a deep mtt run with together kicked some ass. Ghey as that may sound, I know Iak agrees 100% with the sentiment.

Anyways, with 17 players remaining and me sitting in 12th place (Iak was in 10th at the time), I ran into this hand which I would love to get your thoughts on. Basically, I'm in the big blind for 5000 chips, about 8% of my current stack, and the first few players fold around to the hijack, who is the short stack remaining in the tournament with just over 14k in chips. He open-pushes allin, which to me literally told me precisely nothing about the strength of his hand. Well, to be more accurate, it probably told me that his hand was not in the bottom 10% of possible hands, in that I like to think he would have folded there and waited for a better spot with a hand like 52o. But I'm thinking any kind of reasonable holding that is not in the absolute worst category of hands he could have, and he has to push there. 96o, it's a push. J4o? Push. He's way the short stack left in the event, and it's folded around to him two spots off the button, with huge blinds and antes that themselves already represented about 85% of his stack that was already in the middle when the action got unopened around to him. He was pushing with basically anything here:

As you can see, the rest of the action folded around to me in my big blind, where I held the lowly, shitty hand known as 75o (probably one of the better hands I had seen in the preceding hour as it is, btw). So I'm looking at the pot, and at my hand, and then back at the pot again. I know this guy is pushing in that spot with probably the top 90% of hands that he could have (if not more), and I'm looking at making a call for 9154 chips into a pot of 26,454 chips. So this pot was laying me 2.9-to-1, which I reasoned just from a pot odds perspective meant that I had to call if I thought I was anything better than 2.9-to-1 to win the hand. Again, I'm basically putting him on any random hand, and although I don't know the numbers in detail, those math instincts I've written about before told me that my 75o had to be around a 35% chance to win against a random hand (maybe someone out there knows the actual number and can post it in the comments, not that it matters at this point). At 35%, that is more like 1.8-to-1 odds to win the hand, so I felt like I basically had to call here, that this was actually an easyass call to make even though I had the shit known at 75o in my hand. Risking 9154 chips to win 26,454 chips, I basically felt like that meant that I had to call with any hand that was at least 26% or so to win in a showdown, which basically meant just about any hand out there since I felt certain that the short stack would have pushed with anything in this spot. So I made this call and prayed, fell way behind on the flop and could not recover:

What do you guys think of this call? Is my math and my analysis right there? Would you have made this call here in this spot, down to 17 players left in the 50-50?

Here was another one, which occurred just two hands after the above call. I'm now down to 43k in chips, in 14th of 17 players remaining, and I'm in the cutoff with pocket 5s. Now, presto has not been nearly as kind to me over time as it has been to some people, but believe me when I say this hand looked like quad Aces to me when I saw it because it was that much better than any other starting hand I had seen in well over an hour, so I was looking forward to raising or pushing allin even when the action hopefully got around unopened to me. Instead, though, this happened:

So utg+1 put in a 3x raise preflop here, a guy holding plenty of chips with no need to push anything. So far I'm thinking I can still push allin here and he is likely to lay down what could easily be A9, KQ or even a superior hand like 66 but one that he can't really call a big reraise with unless he's a huge donkey. But then as you can see the guy to my immediate right, sitting on an even larger pile of chips, also called the 15k raise. Now what would you do here? You pushing allin over the top of these two guys? Just smooth calling and hope to nail the flop? Or do you lay this down and hope for a better spot to get your chips in?

I thought this was a pretty tough decision, and I know that some of my girly chat railers did not agree with my eventual move, which was to lay it down. As I mentioned, against just one 3x raiser, I could be the favorite in a showdown, but only a slight favorite at that, and I might have the chance of getting him to lay down even with my paltry 43k in chips which represented over a third of the first raiser's stack at this point. But once the second guy also overcalled the raise, a guy who not only had around 4 times my stack at the start of this hand but also who had such a hard-on for my chips after I restole from him 8 times over the previous hour or two, I didn't see how I could call here. It was only going to be another 28k raise from me, and I felt the odds were significantly high that one or both of these guys would call, and I could even very easily be dominated by a pair higher than my 5s. Given that we were so close to the final table, and the payouts were starting to rise by a hundy or so for every couple of players out, I thought and still think that the laydown was my only choice here. What do you think? Yes Fuel, we know you would have raised allin, that much is obvious, but I would love to hear from the rest of you your views on this hand and the one above where I called with the 75o based purely on pot odds.

Anyways, it wasn't probably 3 hands later that Iak allin reraised a guy at his table with his A5o, got called by KTo, and then saw a flop of AK6 to basically give his opponent just 5 outs or else Iak was going to get another key double-up and give his night some additional fuel to make a run for the final table. But a fuglyass river card ruined that:

sending Iak to the rail, out in 16th place out of 1028 players for another $300-some payout on top of the nearly $1100 he'd already won at Thursday's 19k final table.

At this point, still around 41k in chips and now in 13th place out of 14 players remaining, I find 66 utg. Over the next two hands I'm going to put in another 8700 in blinds and antes, well over 20% of my remaining stack, and this pocket 6s is the new best hand I've seen in over an hour. I felt I had to make a move, and could afford to take a race against two overs with all the big stacks at the table since I was so short and needed to make something happen quick one way or the other if I wanted to survive to make my own final table run on the night. So I pushed in for my last 41K in chips:

I knew I was in trouble when the player to my immediate left moved allin over the top of me instantaneously. I was actually pleasantly surprised when everyone else folded and he flipped up just your standard run-of-the-mill unsuited big slick, as I had feared he was on a higher pocket pair. So I was actually slightly ahead here, with a chance to get back into contention with a much-needed double-up with the best hot-and-cold starting hand I'd seen in a long time, at least 2 or 3 hours without a doubt since I had to lay down my last pocket Tens. Alas, it was not meant to be:

and IGH in 14th place out of 1028 runners in my first ever 50-50 tournament on full tilt:

The win paid nearly $500 in cash, so that is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you've lost several buyins at 2-4 nl over the past week so every little bit feels good when you're building your confidence back up as I have been trying to do these last few days. More than that, I have to say that I agree fully with the commentary I've heard from a number of other bloggers about the overall structure of this tournament. First off, you start off with 2k in chips, not the usual 1500 like in the other donkeyfests like the 26k and most standard blonkaments as well. The extra 500 in chips really helps to give you some extra cushion, #1 to be able to make some moves and still survive if they don't work out early, and #2 and more importantly, to be patient and wait for the good hands or a really good spot to make your moves. More than that, the blinds increase every 12 minutes I believe in this tournament, which is 2 minutes longer than full tilt's standard turbo-esque tournament structure. Two minutes might not seem like much, but over the 5 1/2 hours it took to run this deep for Iak and I in this thing, that extra 2 minutes every 10 minutes makes a big huge fucking difference. That basically means that by this time, we were a full hour behind where the normal full tilt tournament structure would be. So that's the only reason I still had those 40k in chips left when I finally busted -- because without this extra blind rounds time, I would have likely been forced to push allin that much sooner. And when you like to delude yourself into thinking you are a "skill guy" like I do, giving me more time before push-and-pray monkeytime is all good. So after one try, I am definitely a big fan of the structure of this tournament, and I highly recommend it to anyone with the time and the inclination to play a large mtt like this. Frankly, even the 9:30pm ET start time is better than most of the other large, regular mtts I get to play in, and with only around 1000 entrants or so most nights (so far), the field is nowhere near as large as some of the larger minefield in things like the 26k and other fields that only this donkey could routinely play his way through. There are also satellites in the early evening for this event, so if the $50 buyin is a bit on the pricey side for you, there are plenty of cheaper options to get in between the hours of 7 and 7:45pm ET every night.

Maybe I'll see you there this weekend at some point, as I expect to play this thing again if and when I can. Maybe tonight, along with the donkament which is also scheduled to go off at its regular time at 9pm ET this evening as well. If you haven't tried out Kat's brilliant $1 rebuy tournament yet on full tilt (password is "donkarama"), then you are a donkey and maybe now is the time to put a stop to that once and for all. You will definitely not find cheaper poker therapy anywhere on the Internets or otherwise, so come on by and play the donkament at 9 while you get ready to rail a bunch of your friends in the 50-50 tonight on full tilt!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bubble Night, and the Student Becomes the Teacher

Last night was a somewhat frustrating, bubbly night of poker for me, although on the whole I ended positive on the night, thanks once again to another juicy-ass blogger cash table where it seems I can do nothing but win. For some strange reason. Heh heh. But I'll get to that.

After a quick workout and some dinner on Wednesday night, I sat down just in time for the Mookie to start at 10pm ET. The big news was that we cracked the 80 player mark in the Mookie for the first time ever, thanks in no small part to the constant pimpage from Al, as 82 runners came to try their hand in the biggest of the weekly blogger gatherings, as well as the 5th-to-last BBT tournament left on the schedule. I was once again pleased to see a number of people who are near the 20 events played and/or the top 50 on the leaderboard showing up to play, making their attempt to play their way in to the upcoming BBT freeroll at the end of July, so that was all good. I was also very psyched to have Buddydank radio going throughout my entire run in the Mook and Dook, and I have to say that overall that thing just gets better and better with every show. Even if Waffles was a bit of a letdown as far as a guest DJ goes. I guess he maybe got a little better as his appearance wore on, and if Waffles only DJ'd like he blogs the thing woulda been much better, but I don't know, maybe he has radio fright or something. But I am definitely looking forward to some more guest DJ blood in there in coming weeks and I am confident that within a few tries we can find some guys from our crew who would really liven things up on what I still say is the coolest thing to hit the poker blogiverse since...well...whatever the last coolest thing was to hit the poker blogiverse. I fuckin love it.

Oh yeah before I forget, better-late-than-never congratulations are in order to Fuel55, whom I will write some more about later in this post, for winning his way in to the WSOP Main Event earlier this week. I knew about this but kept forgetting to blog it, so there you have it. That is two ME seats won in two years for Mr. Presto, and we can't wait to see how he does in the biggest donkeyfest this side of the nightly 26k on full tilt, or better yet that $11 Rebuy Madness tournament nightly on pokerstars.

Congrats are also in order for MiamiDon, who ran all the way to day two and his first final table in the Venetian $540 deep stack mtt, which is impressive not only on its own merits but also because the structure of this event basically turned the entire last several hours into just push-and-pray territory. I've been there, and running deep in an event like that is incredibly draining -- exciting too, no doubt, but it requires a lot of savvy and a ton of mettle to make it that far, including requiring you to make a whole lot of correct decisions in a sea of quetsions all along the way. So wtg Don, who ended the tournament in 9th place out of 536 players, taking down nearly 3 grand for his efforts for what I believe is far and away his largest-ever mtt score. Check back at Don's site later on for a detailed writeup of what this run was like.

OK now that the congratulations to the real winners are out of the way, back to this week's Mookie tournament. I started off playing appropriately tight, building my stack slowly from the 1500 starting level to just under 2000 at the first break, and I was once again very pleased to see a departure from the kind of tightydonkiness that we've seen I think way too much of in these BBT tournaments over the past several weeks, with something like 33 players being eliminated during the first hour of the event. I didn't win or lose any big hands in there, and basically showing and winning with 3 Hammers was the highlight of my tournament to that point (really, all the way through to tell the sad truth). In fact, I don't really have a whole lot to say about the whole tournament last night, other than that I managed to squeak into first place for the first time with 14 players remaining, but then setup coolers on consecutive hands basically crippled me, ending with me out in 10th place and smack on the bubble despite playing a solid, controlled game throughout. That said, much like my Mookie cash from last week (my first cash of the year, remember), I can also admit that I didn't really belong there last night. Although Buddy went far, far overboard with how lucky I got last night during his broadcast, I did hit a 35% straight on the turn to stay alive with around 25 players left, and then again with like 20 players remaining I pushed allin on a preflop reraise with AKs, and cooleringly ran smack into Fishy McDonk's AA, followed by my weekly suckout elimination of Mookie when my AQ beat his AK. Fishy sat for a few seconds too long, even taking the time to type "hmmmmmm" into the chat before slow rolling my ass with his bullets, and for once the pokeranuses dished out the proper reward for such a play, sending me a King on the flop and another on the turn to give me my second suckout of the night. So nearing the late stages of the event I had two massive suckouts to even be alive until the final two tables, so I can't really complain about bubbling and I'm not going to, even though some of the stuff I saw in this event was (typically) really unbelievable.

What was so unbelievable, you might ask? I'll tell you. Basically one thing I really noticed was how spot-on some of my statements from last Friday's post were about some of the top BBT guys in this event. First off, let's get this out of the way: Bayne won another fucking BBT tournament after beating cmitch from a 4.5-to-1 chip deficit in heads-up play to take the Mookie down. But I have got to get this off my chest -- and Bayne hopefully knows that I love him -- but goddammit Bayne was such a calling station last night that it exceeded even the wildest exaggerations of the statements I made about him in my post from last week. I mean, I could not believe what I saw Bayne call with last night. Let's just say this, I sat with Bayne for maybe a total of one hour through various stages of the Mookie last night during my run to a 10th place finish out of 82 players, and in just that one hour, I personally saw Bayne call allin raises before the flop with 55, 99, KJ, A9 and KQ. Now, arguably not one of those hands should have been called with, and certainly all five of those during just one hour of play, it's enough to really frustrate. And then to think that he went on to final table his 11th BBT tournament, basically a full one-third of the total events now that he has reached the final table in, and eventually to win the entire thing, after playing like that, it almost brings tears to my eyes. But you know what, as bloggers we deserve to be being dominated by a guy who makes plays like this. It's fitting I think. And oh yeah, way to go Bayne, you rock. Hah.

Also along the lines of my post from the other day, I didn't get to play at all with Iggy on the night for a change, but I did manage to open his table just in time to see some clown donkeyspew him their entire stack on a recockulous bluff. Why do you people keep forcing your chips down Iggy's throat? I just don't get it. Here I am winning about half of the pots I won last night by playing the Hammer for a raise or a reraise, and meanwhile donkeys are fucking begging Iggy to take their entire stacks. Begging him! Is it because he's a dwarf? Because if it is, let me tell you I know Iggy, and he does not want any special treatment just because of his height-challenged status. So don't let that be the reason anymore. Doesn't he do well enough in these tournaments already as it is, without you fewls spewing chips at him like it's your job? Please.

And I think my favorite thing from yesterday given what I had written about last week was Astin, whom I had the fortune of sitting with at my starting table, where I got to watch the worst hand he received in the entire first orbit be A6o. That was the worst starting hand he saw in the first 10 hands of the Mookie last night. Sick, that luckbox. Again, I probably didn't play with Astin for more than 45 minutes or so the entire night -- while he was on his way to a very impressive 4th-place finish to further solidify his own dominating top-ten BBT performance btw -- but in just the 45 minutes or so that we sat together, I personally saw him play and show AA, AA, KK, KK and KK. All in just 45 minutes. Who knows how many other monster hands this luckbox got in the entirety of the tournament. Obviously he did what he had to do with them and like I said, you can't argue with the guy who has consistently beat up on the rest of us clowns in BBT play this year, but dammit it is annoying seeing the same guys get more than their share of premium starting hands, and hitting more than their share of flops hard, week in and week out, while you're struggling just to win small pots with the Hammer, and losing even when you flop trips, straights and similar hands. Fuck, what can you do.

Anyways, I ended up bubbling the Mookie in 10th place when the top 9 paid out when I made a good allin push from the button but just ran into a setup against a better hand, and I also ended up getting nailed by two recockulous suckouts against Lucko to bust out of the Dookie in 4th place, also the money bubble (but hey this was O8 so I suppose I can't really complain since I don't know how to play that game, right?). So I'm left feeling like I played really great poker in the Mook n Dook last night, but with precisely nothing to show for it. Fun times.

What was really fun as always was the $200 nl ring cash game that we set up sometime during the Mookie with a bunch of bloggers. Although I started off losing around half a buyin, mostly because someone donked Fuel a bunch of chips and then Fuel just started betting and raising with nothing every single hand. I mean, I guess when you are used to losing $5000 or $10,000 a night playing like a donkey, what is losing $200 or $500 to a bunch of bloggers going to mean to you? You probably hardly even realize that money is gone, when you're making regular daily deposits of 10k just to fund your online cash game play, right? So once somebody staked this guy to a big stack early, Fuel just called with ATC on almost every hand, and then he just bet, bet and bet some more, throwing in some raises for good measure, and since the money means more to the rest of us than it does to him at this level, he got most of us to fold all night long. But this also helped me to set up the hand of the night, which I'm going to describe here, in which I actually got to use Fuel's own move -- the massive overbet for value -- against him. Hence the second part of the title of today's post.

Basically, Fuel had been pushing me and everyone else at the table around big-time once he had amassed around $500 at our $200 max-buyin table. As I mentioned, he bet with nothing on every single street and there was nothing we could do about it but fold unless we had big hands, which as you know simply doesn't happen that often. Finally at one point I find 33 in the small blind, and am able to limp in to see a cheap flop, which Fuel in the big blind just calls as well. The flop comes T63 with two clubs, giving me my only flopped set of the night. Now, despite the hideous luck I've had with flopped sets over the past week or so in online cash play, I'm still not going to change the way I play these things, which normally means I bet out with my flopped sets. But not here. In this case, I had shown no strength before the flop, and neither had Fuel by just checking his option from the big blind. Given that, I figured that even the slightest bet was likely to be folded by Fuel since he probably had nothing. And, I figured if I got lucky and he happened to have a Ten with some raggy kicker, a loose-calling maniac at this table like Fuel would likely pay me off, moreso on later streets if I showed weakness by checking now. So you know what I did? I insta-checked this flop. Like, I had shit and didn't feel like bothering with even trying to act like I might have something here:

Fuel surprised me just a tiny bit by insta-checking back, and I mean insta as in he checked it back to me right fucking away, like he had already clicked the "autofold" button on his side. This made me glad I hadn't bet out with my flopset there on this particular flop.

The turn card then brought a really beautiful card, the 10♠. This not only gave me a totally hidden full house, but it also paired the top card on the board, so in case Fuel had been slowplaying top pair there (I was a bit surprised he hadn't bet the flop after I checked, given how recklessly aggro he had been playing at this table for the past hour or so), he now had trips. And the turn also put a second spade on the board, creating two flush draws as well, both of which I already had beat even if they filled on the river. I figured my best chance at this point of making anything at all with this hand was to check it again, so I insta-checked as soon as this turn card fell, again giving the impression that I didn't have squat, and wasn't happy about the turn card being what it was:

Fuel instantly checked it back to me again. At this point I had to put the guy on some kind of a hand here, which was great for me since I was sitting on the near-nuts with my unknowable boat. As I said, Fuel had been playing like an aggro maniac for the last hour or more, ever since obtaining his bigass stack at this table, and for him to check both the flop and the turn here, and to do so instantly, I had to figure he had some piece of this board. Which was great for me. So, when the river card came down a harmless-looking 2, I considered my options:

If Fuel actually did have nothing, which I highly doubted given the action so far, then if I checked here he was going to check back and I was going to win a whole $3.80 with my flopped set and turned full house. Bad outcome. Similarly, if he has nothing and I bet, he's going to fold, again leading me only to win the $3.80 in the pot. Basically, if Fuel's got nothing then it doesn't matter one bit whether I bet or how much I bet, I'm not winning anything on this strong hand in that case.

If Fuel actually has something, it would have to be trip Tens or he was not likely to call much of a bet from me. I mean, the full pot at this point was less than $4, so how much could I reasonably expect him to call from me if he has a hand like, say, pocket 4s or pocket 5s? $4 (the full pot)? $8 (twice the current pot, an overbet for the river by any standards)? What about a $20 bet? I determined I think correctly that Fuel would not call anything that would resemble a large bet from me unless he had trip Tens (or better). I mean, both flush draws did not materialize on the turn or river, so he couldn't have a flush. I knew I didn't want to only make $4 or $8 with my very strong hand, and I figured there was a very small chance of me making anything substantial with the hand at this point no matter what I did given the action so far. So, taking everything into account, I took some advice I read most recently in Sklansk'y No-Limit Holdem: Theory and Practice book, and I opted to bet the pot as if Fuel might happen to have something strong.

Again, the thinking here is very simple. If he's got nothing, I'm not making jack shit more than $3.80 on this hand, no matter what I do. And if he's got something small, I don't really care about winning another $4 on the hand by betting more than the current pot and getting him to call with a crappy low pocket pair, King-high or something like that. But, with two Tens on the board, I figured there was some chance that he could have hit trip Tens. And if that was the case, given the insta-checking I had done all throughout this hand so far, and given Fuel's incredibly loose play at the table of late, I actually thought he would be likely to call just about any bet I could possibly make on the river on the thinking that his top trips had to be the best hand, and that I was likely just trying to make a move. So, taking all of this into account, I decided to make the move that looked the most donkeyish of anything I could think of, and I did this:

That's right. The massive overbet for value, Fuel's own move, with me sliding $201.50 into the middle to bet the river at a $3.80 pot. I figured the odds here are about 99.5% that he folds of course, but that again if he happened to have a Ten in his hand, he was going to call and I was going to double up. And, since him having a Ten in his hand was my only chance of making a big profit on this hand anyways, why not bet on the assumption that he does have the Ten and try to maximize my profit then? Thank you, David Sklansky.

I was shocked to see Fuel call my recockulous allin overbet at the river. And not just call -- insta-call. I flipped up my cards, Fuel mucked, and the $404 pot came my way:

And well, it turns out I was wrong about Fuel having to have a Ten in his hand in order to make this call too. Check out what he did have:

Dam. Now if that ain't a cooler, I don't know what is. He hit his straight on the river, and probably assumed I was either stealing the pot with a huge donkey overbet, or more likely that I actually was myself slow-playing top pair all along and had made trips, which his rivered straight was going to beat. I noticed the possibility of the straight at the river, but to be perfectly honest I never even really considered that possibility, although it did also fit the way he had played the hand so far perfectly, including explaining why Fuel would not have aggrobet at this flop or the turn like he had in so many other similar situations where his opponents had shown some weakness during the hand.

I do think it is a fun and interesting hand though -- mostly because I was on the winning end of it for a change -- and I think it illustrates an important and actually useful concept in no-limit holdem that as I mentioned David Sklansky also covers in his own book. Sometimes when you have very little chance of winning any kind of worthwhile money with a strong hand, it makes sense to assume your opponent has one of the one or two strong hands that actually could pay you off against your holding, and make your bet according to that assumption. As I mentioned above, your odds of getting paid off on such a large bet are going to be very, very low. But part of the premise here is that your odds of getting paid on the hand are already low, so you're really not giving up as much as you might think by making a move like this in this particular situation. Yes, maybe I gave up the chance that Fuel would pay off a $4 or $6 bet if he had middle pair or King-high or something like that. But I wasn't really interested in that amount. I assumed he could have a monster -- just not quite the monster that I had -- and that he would pay off any size bet if he did. And even though my specific read was wrong, my general read that he actually had something going in his hand was right-on, and I made more than a full buyin from the biggest stack at the table with the play.

Pocket 3s are gold baybeeee!

Labels: , , , ,