Friday, January 11, 2008

Riverchasers Win #5

So this Thursday night I was back to my favorite blonkament stomping grounds other than maybe my own MATH tournament -- the weekly Thursday night Riverchasers event. I won four of these RC tournaments in 2007, plus at least another two 2nd place finishes (one to the 12-year-old button masher that I still remember like it was yesterday), and lately I have been on another good streak here with two cashes in my last three appearances. For 2008 Al and Riggstad and crew have decided to make the Riverchasers a weekly instead of biweekly tournament on full tilt, and to alternate between nlh and a rotation of non-nlh games on a weekly basis. This week's selection was Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or better, or O8.

Although I know and have studied well how to play O8, I have been very vocal that it is actually my least favorite form of all the poker variants. Sometimes it seems like razz is taking that title away from O8 with me, but in general like razz I guess I just find the game a little bit too simple (not to win, but to play), mostly due to the fact that if you're dealt A2 in your hand you often don't need to do anything other than just sit and call call call to win half the pot. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that it doesn't work quite like that and I know that is an oversimplication there, but for example I've been playing Stud Hilo in the casinos of Atlantic City since I was a teenager and I've always loved the split aspects of that game because the low is going to be awarded to the best low hand that develops during the hand, not to the person who is dealt the two lowest cards in the deck to start the hand.

Anyways, I digress -- my point is, I've played a lot of O8 in my day, it's something that I have won a little bit at, including satellites and an occasional 1- or 2-table sitngo at most. I've definitely never won an O8 tournament of the size of the 44 runners showed up to play the first time I can recall the Riverchasers setting up an O8 event this week. Thank god it was at least PLO8 and not regular limit O8, which I find just increases the donkery to almost intolerable levels for me personally.

So the tournament started off slow for me as usual, as I went down a bit early, losing first a small pot with rivered top two pairs to a rivered straight, and then another smallie when I chased an oesd on the flop and folded after missing it on the turn. But I quickly got back to near even on this allin call by me preflop against a super short stack who had lost about 90% of his stack already in a previous hand, I think to Gracie who hit some huge ones early:



I didn't run the math here but I have to figure those two hands are pretty close to even allin before the flop.

About four hands later I had my first big hand I made all night, when I turned two pairs Kings over Eights and then rivered a boat with no low possible. But, I still managed to funk that one up by checking the river from up front after three opponents had all called me on the turn, hoping for and expecting a bet from at least someone so I could either raise or call depending on how many overcallers seemed likely. My river check proved to be a big mistake, as noone out of my three opponents bet out at the end. Still, the hand got me back over 3000 chips for the first time since the opening hand of the tournament.

I won my first sizeable pot I scooped on the night right here against Waffles which I think always at least doubles the intrinsic worth of the chips involved:



Basically I made a fourth pair (3s) to go along with my second pair (Kings) on the river on a hand where I was sure Waffles was playing with nothing much, so I bet out 300 into the 600-chip pot, which Waffles clearly knew was a suck bet from his chatbox commentary and yet still went on to call. That is always good, although I'm still glad I did not bet more because 2nd and 4th pair is basically not a strong hand in Omaha games, even in O8 without a low on the board, and I figured I could be beat pretty easily if I wasn't careful. In the end Waffles called with just top pair, which is most definitely not gold in Omaha, but I guess he doesn't trust my plays any more than anybody else does so for once it worked out for me there and got me up over 3800 chips for my largest stack of the day about 25, 30 minutes in to the Riverchasers.

I had another big pot about 30 minutes in or so when I flopped this big wrap straight draw on a board with no low draw looming on the flop:



So here, any 8, Ten, Jack or King would make me a straight, so I checked with the intention of checkraising the short stack on my right who I figured more or less had to bet strong given the size of the pot and his stack. He did bet, I checkraised and Waffles folded, which was doubly good because I had less to worry about a heart draw in just the short-stack heads up pot. Turns out the short stack had just AA and an inside straight draw to the Ten, taking away three of my outs unbeknownst to me. The turn and the river came running Kings and I won my biggest pot of the night to that point. The Omaha odds calculator said I was 35% to win on the flop given that my Tens were not outs, but my 2-to-1 underdog hand held up and I was off to the races with just over 6000 chips.

Then at this point something I found to be incredible happened. Perennial Riverchaser and dominant poker player in her own right Lori (Donkette) proclaimed in the chatbox that I was going to win the whole thing. It was way early, I was up to 4th place at the time out of I think 38 players still remaining. Waffles responded with "I bet he doesn't", and that was where Donkette offered to bet on it. To my dismay she bet Waffles $20 straight up that I would win the tournament. Not final table, not cash, and no odds were requested by Donkette or even discussed. She just straight-up bet Waffles $20 that I would win the tournament outright, which he was of course all too happy to oblige. This is a complete insane bet by any standards and one that should have to get mega odds given the unlikelihood of any one person winning, the fact that were were a full 38 players still remaining, and the fact that I wasn't even in the top 3 at the time of the bet, but there it was. $20 straight up on me to win. Now if that ain't confidence, then I don't know what is. The pressure was on. Inspired by the confidence and support of one of the finest poker players Riverchasers has to offer, I set out to make Donkette proud.

The first step to this was, of course, eliminating Waffles from the tournament, which happened maybe 15 minutes later or so when I flopped another middle pair plus a wrap draw, which I raised on the flop with what I figured was a whole boatload of outs:



Unbeknownst to me, Waffles had actually flopped top set here with a pair of Jacks in his hand, but with all those outs I had going there was no way I could be planning on so many redraw outs for Waffles. In reality, here were the odds on the flop, if I had known Waffles' actual holecards:



So he's basically a 71-39 favorite over me with the made set and redraws to several boats, but I thought I was sitting on a pile of outs so I played it strong. Waffles just smooth called my flop raise, playing it trappy on a straightening board. When my nut straight filled on the turn, I checkraised Waffles allin (minus 1 chip of course -- just an accident of course):



And in the end:



Waffles no boat, and he goes home early. Insert Donkette cackling in the chatbox. Now I am back up to 4th place of 34 left, and when the first break came a few minutes later, I entered Hour 2 in 5th of 30 players remaining and feeling good about my game and once again by the repeated chatbox support from Donkette, one of the finest poker players in any of the blonkaments and an excellent judge of poker talent at that.

I won a nice pot early in Hour 2 when stb chased just a nut low draw with A2 and 34x on the board by betting on the flop, again on the turn when no low hit, and then even betting out on the river with just the missed low draw. I would have had to fold the river but I was lucky enough to make trip 10s and figured it was good for one more call against a guy who I figured might just bet the missed draw there given a somewhat short stack. But even here I had gone runner-runner on the turn and river with my two Tens to make trips, so I was very lucky to survive in this pot and really keep intact a streak that lasted through the entire tournament for me where I really did not lose a huge pot all night long, thanks in very large pot to some lucky cards for me. I played I think pretty well in the tournament, but I flopped a lot of big draws and was lucky enough to outrun some long odds and even record a couple of massive suckouts along the way to get to the end.

Around this time I laid down AAxx on the flop in two consecutive hands when I failed to improve. Laying down Aces in Omaha high is a crucial skill and one that will absolutely crush you if you insist on playing them all the way to the river when they don't improve and there is any significant action on the flop. But failing to lay them down in O8 is complete tournament suicide since you're splitting the pot with the low hand half the time on top of your unimproved Aces not holding up to win very often. There were a few of these on the night but I just wanted to illustrate that I was using some of my general Omaha skills as well along the way here.

I had some nice foreshadowing about halfway through the second hour when I doubled up Pirate Wes by getting him allin on his short stack with my A2Q8 with three hearts. He had raised and I determined that my hand was good enough to push into a shorty, which in retrospect was a bad decision. He called me with A22x, hit a 2 on the turn and stayed alive while about a sixth of my stack disappeared. Grrrrr, but I would be clashing again with Wes soon enough.

Interestingly, I decided to follow some advice I have received from some other bloggers as well as a few books on O8 over the years and I dont think I raised preflop once the entire night in this thing except when trying to isolate against a shorty but not based on my strong starting cards, which seemed to continually work to my advantage. I may have raised an AA2x hand one time but that has to be about it. As I said, this is a more recent strategy for me, after reading Lyle Berman and Ray Zee's thoughts on Omaha and O8, essentially to the effect that there is just not much worth raising preflop in an Omaha tournament without a specific reason to be doing so. So I didn't, and instead I limped almost every hand I played or smooth called someone else's raise before the flop except against shorties, and this worked greatly for me all through the second hour of O8 on Thursday night.

I made the first move that might have been a real mistake in the tournament a short while later, when I decided to push strong with a pot-reraise preflop with A22K, all different suits here:



I would rather be suited to the Ace here, or have a higher pair than deuces, but at the time I sensed some kind of weakness and thought with an Ace and two 2s in my hand there probably were not real strong low draws in my opponents' hands as well. It was probably not the best move in O8, especially when I completely whiffed the flop:



But I did a little move that worked for me several times on the night and only bet half the pot as you can see above. I figured I had nothing but did not want to give up into this massive pot, and that maybe I would get lucky and Gracie would be on a low draw after all, or a double-pocket-pair hand or something. I needed a fold obviously since I didn't have shiat, so I figured that a halfpot bet might seem more like I wanted a call so I could milk some more chips into the pot with a monster hand. Of course this could totally backfire if Gracie had been the one who had flopped a monster hand, but I got lucky and she folded to this bet, giving me my biggest stack of the tournament to that point.

Probably my biggest hand of the tournament occurred shortly before the end of Hour 2, and as with most of the large pots I won in this thing, it occurred when I flopped yet another very big draw. I had called a preflop raise from heffmike with a high-only hand, but that's a move I'll do on occasion with a big enough stack and against another big stack to see if I can flop to it huge, and in the end I think I flopped about as big of a draw as you can possibly flop in Omaha:



So I had a big wrap straight draw, with any 5(4), 7(3), 8(3), T(3) or J(4) making me a straight, plus a flush draw that had only four higher diamonds available to outflush me anyways, and in a heads-up pot again the higher flush didn't seem like much to worry about in any event. So the flush outs added 6 more outs to the 17 straight outs I already figured I had, giving me a total of 23 outs twice, which was enough for me to push as hard as possible, eventually getting it allin against another of the largest stacks left in the entire tournament -- we were down to just two tables at this point in the event.

As with an earlier hand with Waffles, it turned out that heffmike was holding the nut flush draw, eliminating all of my flush outs, and with some backdoor low and straight draws in there, I somehow was still behind on this flop as shown on the Omaha odds calculator here:



So I was about a 55-45 underdog at this point on the flop, though even at the time when the cards were flipped I figured myself to be probably more like a 55-60% favorite, but those backdoor outs plus I guess the Ace overcard in heffmike's hand really cut against me. Nonetheless, I lucked out and won the biggest race of the entire tournament thanks to very friendly turn and river cards here:



This pot propelled me way into first place with just 14 players remaining:



and with Donkette still cheering hard and clearly believing in me from the rail, I knew I had to do whatever it took to take this biatch down.

Then commenced my only real spate of card-death in the entire night's tournament, where I probably went close to 30 minutes without seeing beyond a flop or getting involved in any big pots. I still managed to maintain my chip lead with a few preflop and flop steals of small pots, but only barely. I also called daiwee's short stack allin preflop push with a small rundown of 4567 with the 4 and 5 soooted, and managed to outrun his KKxx hand to maintain my spot in first place as we inched down towards the Riverchasers O8 final table.

Just a few spots away from the final table, I faced this situation against aggro shorty SoxLover and fairly tight player IslandBum1 after I had over-limped with A23K rainbow:



With the A2, the counterfeit protection of the 3, the straight potential with the A23 and the AK-high in my hand, I figured this was strong enough for pot-reraise against Sox, who would clearly push but is highly aggro and thus did not have as strong of a range, and that tighty IslandBum1 would likely fold:



Unfortunately tighty IslandBum1 pushed allin after Sox's allin push, and at that point I felt priced in for 10k more into a 40k pot with A2 and AK and the extra low card in my hand. I think I had to call at this point based on pot odds alone but I was not exactly optimistic about my chances having seen the action in front of me from both players:



Yuck! So I was up against another A2 and an A3, both counterfeited in my own hand, plus a suited Ace for Sox and AA for IslandBum. Not good. Here's the numbers on the three-way allin push in this spot so that you can see the ugliness for yourselves:



So this is a pretty close one in the end, with me in third place heading into the flop but in a fairly tight 38% - 35% - 27% race to see who would enter the final table on a huge huge stack. Somehow, I pulled through again:



BOOOOOOoooooooom! Now here is me entering the final table as the massive chip leader, in a game that I am still not convinced a whole lot of the people in the Riverchasers this week had much experience in, so I was in good shape here:



From here the action went pretty fast, much faster than I thought given that the blinds were still somehow low relative to the number of chips in the remaining stacks. I busted dino_burger first at the final table when my AAxx held up to best his KKxx and a short stack. I stole and raised pretty recklessly with my bullystack, but never into huge pots where I could really get hurt by a reraise, and when we were down to 6 players remaining I had managed to increase my lead considerably still to 73k for me and 18k for second place as we sat on the money bubble.

Unfortunately, I did not see many good starting hands or hit many flops for a while at this point, which gave Pirate Wes, still alive after my gratuitous doubling of his short stack an hour or so earlier, a chance to bust some people and build up a stack to compete with mine. As the money bubble broke, I was still sitting on 70k in chips but Wes had claimed second place with 23k and five players remaining.

Another of those easy laydowns here with AAxx on a flop where I was checkraised, even by a much smaller stack than my own:



Down to four players remaining, with riggstad and donkeypuncher as shorties, Wes was starting to play a little tighter again before the flop, which I read to mean that he had started getting fewer good hands. So I was able to resume the bullying, stealing some pots preflop and on the flop, but always had to worry about one of the two desperate shorties with a quarter of even Wes's stack and less than 20% of my own pushing in on me in a spot where I did want to give anything back as Wes was slowly building his 2nd place pile o' chips.

About 10 minutes after 5th place was eliminated, riggstad raised preflop and I put him allin with my KK63 with one King soooted:



Although Jim was holding A2xx with the Ace soooted, I was still a slight favorite here in yet another race:



and I pulled it out to bring us down to three remaining players:



I am well aware that if I lose that 53-47 favorite in a race in that spot, I am quite possibly not winning this tournament given that Wes continued to amass over on my left. Meanwhile, a few hands later saw Wes eliminate donkeypuncher in third place when Wes's A345 bested DP's KK24, each with one soooted pair of low cards, bringing myself and Pirate Wes, whom I had doubled up from allin with a short stack earlier in the tournament, to heads up play with me at about an 81k to 50k chip lead:



At this point I knew I had to win this thing. I care quite a bit about winning blonkaments, I have proclaimed as much here in the blog and it is something I choose to expend my effort and energies doing because I enjoy it more than just about any other poker that I play online. And more than that, I cared about not letting down Donkette. Donkette, who comes out and gives it her all and kicks ass every single night at the tables, who had brazenly laid $20 on the line on me at impossible odds a few hours earlier and I felt I owed her this.

In the end, both Wes and I each had what I would consider to be one real bad hand apiece in heads-up play, and both cost us pretty bad. Wes had been playing his usual tight brand of poker, enabling me to steal a lot of pots both before and after the flop, but it also got me used to betting out quite a bit and in the end I got nailed when I was forced to lay down this hand:



Basically I had flopped bottom two pairs here with 87 in my hand, and I had bet it strong because you dont slowplay two pairs in O8 as far as I'm concerned, and especially because I had been betting a lot of weak hands on the flop on bullysteals, and betting your stronger hands as well is really the only way you can protect this sort of bullying behavior. I had put Wes on an Ace when he called my potbet on the flop, and on the turn as you can see another Ace came, with the pot already at nearly 58,000 in chips. Even scarier, Wes, whom I had already put on an Ace in his hand, then proceeded to check the turn. I checked behind, not trusting that check one little bit, and when he instabet allin on the river I felt sure I was beat by the trip Aces so I folded, annoyedly. Although I definitely think that was a fairly easily correct laydown there on the river, this hand cost me my chip lead, leaving me down suddenly in chips around 85k to 45k.

After a brief comment to Donkette on the rail not to give up on me yet after what proved to be my one really bad hand of the heads-up match, I went right back to resuming stealing, folding whenever Wes raised preflop or on the flop, and slowing it down as much possible whenever Wes called. This worked, and I avoided running into any monsters for the rest of the heads-up session.

Then I flopped another draw -- this time just a plain vanilla oesd plus some backdoor crap on a shitty board, after Wes had raised it up preflop, one of his only preflop raises of the heads-up session. This made me think Wes had AA or KK or something, all of which he would have to lay down to my giant reraise here for just about all my chips:



Unfortunately, Wes called my allin pretty quick here, but in the end he made the call with just top pair Jacks and an inside straight draw. This is not the kind of hand I would ever want to get it allin with, with the chip lead in the heads-up portion of an Omaha tournament, but to his credit Wes must have had a read and he was right, he had gotten in well ahead with just two cards separating him from Riverchasers victory:



So once again I am down 72% - 27% with two cards to come, even though I will say again that I do not like Wes's call in this spot with just top pair and the inside straight draw, and knowing how Wes plays, I am still surprised he made it. I mean, if I am holding any Queen, King or Ace in my hand and one of those falls, his top pair is beaten. It's not a strong hand, but he was spot-on with his read so what do I know? Anyways, in the end what I was saying above is exactly what happened -- I turned top pair Kings and took down the monster pot, giving me my biggest stack of the night and really crushing Wes's chances at winning in that spot:



At this point I knew I had to be in uber stack protection mode, and not get stooopid again, which for me included pushing too hard with two low pairs on the flop with an Ace on board like the hand in which I had lost my chiplead to Wes originally a few minutes earlier. But this is also where Wes went into protection mode with his short stack, so I could not help but attack his blind again and again. It's just in my nature I guess. When he raised, I mostly folded, but otherwise I was able to nab a full 50% of his remaining short stack that way over maybe 5, 10 minutes of the next hour after a much needed bathroom break courtesy of Magic Hat #9.

Just after the break, with me up about 8-to-1 in chips, the tournament mercifully ended when we got it allin preflop for Wes's last 13k or so in chips with my AJT5 (three hearts) against his AA97 double suited, also including hearts. I was actually only a 59% - 41% dog in this spot despite two of my Aces being in Wes's hand and with my heart draw trumped by his, thanks largely to my far superior low draw to Wes's:



and in the end my 41% hand held up as I made a wheel at the river to take it all down:



So there it was, the story of my 5th Riverchasers tournament, and the first of this year for me:



So it was $176 in cash for my efforts, in what was for sure the largest O8 tournament I have ever won. I know I have won a larger prize in multiple O8 satellites before, but it was for sure the biggest cash prize I have won in an O8 tournament, and of course when you're flopping so many big draws and winning so much from slightly behind and even on occasion from way behind, it always feel like a really fun time while playing. And I have to say, having the confidence and the support of a killer poker player like Donkette all along the way from the rail, even putting her money where her mouth is early on and taking a 20-spot from everyone's favorite Waffles, was really the thing that kept me going throughout the night in this tournament, even when I lost my chip lead for the first time in more than an hour during heads-up with Wes, who proved to be a very formidable opponent as always.

A few minutes after the tournament ended, I received a full tilt funds transfer of $10, and I looked it up and it was Donkette sending me the $10 for winning her at least $20 from Waffles (I know at one point she was trying to add another $20 on top to that bet but I do not recall whether or not that bet was offically agreed to or not by Waffles or Lori). But I did what I think was definitely the right move and promptly sent Donkette back her $10, plus $10 more on top, as a little gift of my own for her confidence boost and support in leading me to victory on this night. It really means so much to have such a gifted poker player on my side, you guys probably just wouldn't understand.

Good times, this Riverchasers. See you all at the donkament tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt, password as always is "donkarama".

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11 Comments:

Blogger smokkee said...

taking down the RC after putting a fork in wawfuls has to feel good.

well done.

3:03 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

lol. Good game man. I think your definition of a wrap is fucked up though. You did not have the wrap. You basically had an OESD. But that was enough for you. Good game again!

3:26 AM  
Blogger cmitch said...

Congrats!!

3:34 AM  
Blogger RaisingCayne said...

GG Hoy! I chose to NOT enter the RC last night myself. Given my experience and knowledge of PLO8 is pretty limited, I thought I'd just be donating. Nice breakdown of the tourney though, I enjoyed the post. Nice tournament, congrats!

I'm all sorts of bitter I won't be home prior to the Donkarama tonight... my weekend just won't be starting the same!

3:56 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Waffles, I agree I think that was just an oesd in the end. Not your usual holdem-style oesd, but an Omaha-style oesd. Hence why you were such a big favorite on the flop.

What's the diff. You said it best on your blog, I couldn't miss last night and rode that luck to victory.

I Pwn Riverchasers.

4:24 AM  
Blogger BamBam said...

Great breakdown and good win Hoyasir !

See you in a few at Kat's place.

4:51 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Just policing the Hoy Machine to make sure it keeps accurate accounts of all hands played. Please add 3 points to the Hater of the year award.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Island Bum said...

Congrats on number 5. I had a pretty good idea you would take it down after taking us both out to the final table. after I saw both had you had an ace each I new my chances were not as great as I thought although ahead but oh well.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Loretta8 said...

very nicely done

you're welcome for the dead money I contributed. never played this game before. I has 4 cards? Rigged.

12:39 PM  
Blogger BigPirate said...

Nice job!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

You're better off looking up the EV on those hands vs. win/lose/split on twodimes.

1:43 AM  

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