Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MATH Recap and a New Mookie Strategy

Ittttttttt's Moooooookie Day!!! And for once on a MookDay, I am actually running well in the world of online poker. On Tuesday night I made two final tables, though with no big scores to report as they were both of the $10 or so variety and in one case (the Skills Series) did not include any cash at all. But I played well on the night, cashing as well in a PLO8 rebuy tournament on pokerstars, and I also rounded out my poker for the evening by winning a 6-max $110 turbo sng, my first outright sng win in the past few days since my score in the stars 50-50 on Saturday evening. With that nice bump up in the roll from the sitngo, my net for the past couple of days turned back to positive which is always a good thing. Anyways, more on the Mookie in a minute.

But first, back to the MATH tournament from this week. We had another nice turnout of 31 runners, including I noticed a few people who have not played the MATH for a while, a number of New Yorkers which is always good since I don't get out to play much live poker with the nyc blogging crew, and even what appeared to be a few first-timers which I always to see out at the Hoy on Monday nights on full tilt. 31 players made for a $744 prize pool at $24 a pop, and the result was payouts to the top 5 finishers as has been our usual for most of the non-BBT-enabled MATH tournaments over the past several months.

Personally, I missed the first 31 minutes of the MATH this week as Hammer Wife and I went out to a belated Valentine's Day dinner at a place downtown in the city that came highly recommended from my little brother. Man do I have to stop listening to that guy's recommendations. If you recall this is the same guy who said the two Matrix sequels in addition to Terminator 3 were all three of them "the greatest movies ever made" after seeing them, so I should know by now what I am getting in to when I follow one of his recommendations. Anyways my brother told me that this place Scalini Fedeli was the second-best restaurant he has been to in the city (behind Daniel which I simply do not think can be topped by anyone, anywhere), so we headed out there for our annual few-days-after-V-Day dinner, and I have to say, I give it about a 6 overall out of 10, which is no good. Now I'm not about to turn this into a food blog or anything, but let me just say that for the price they charge, the food was pretty mediocre and the service was actually surprisingly poor for a swanky New York City location. Anyways, thanks in large part to the shoddy service, I missed the first half hour of the MATH, and when I sat down at 10:31pm ET, the very first hand dealt to me was pocket 5s, and of all people Fuel was sitting to my left at my table. I couldn't resist, so I raised preflop, and when Fuel reraised me, I just went for the massive overpush on my very first hand at the table, hoping Fuel would call me with two overcards and I would race with him for the quick double-up and the chance to impale him with his own favorite hand. Fortunately, Fuel did call me with two overcards. Unfortunately, they were both Aces. Yep, the very first fucking hand I sit down to at the table, it is my pocket pair up against his pocket Aces, a nice sign of how I typically run at the virtual tables. For a guy who only sees 15-20% of flops on average, I must run into pocket Aces a good 5 or 6 times every single night over a few hours of play. Maybe I've been playing with Astin at my table too much.

And speaking of Astin, he was our big winner on the night in this week's Mondays at the Hoy tournament, outlasting jmathewson_III and LJ in a pretty marathonic 3-way battle before Astin finally got LJ when he hit his set on the turn to eliminate her TP9K in third place. Then I looked away for 2 seconds a few minutes later, and when I looked up, Astin and j_mathewson has gotten it allin preflop with Astin's 78 against j's A7. I watched unsurprisedly as Astin hit his dominated 8 on the flop and he took down the MATH as only Astin knows how. Astin won this thing in typical Astin style, finding a lot of luck when he needed it and winning a few key races, but IMO it was not typical Astin poker in the strictest sense. Really, it was more Bayneage than Astinnage, as I do not recall seeing any of the AA and KK hands that have come to be so well-associated with Astin's starting holdem hands. It was in this case really much more a case of hitting the right cards on the board at the right time, and once again Astin played much more patiently and smartly than people sometimes give him credit for at the final table. He waited until the good spots and did not often get his chips in behind that I saw, and this solid strategy combined with some luck when he needed it brought him the win. Here is the list of cashers from this week's MATH tournament:

5. $66.96 -- fuel55
4. $89.28 -- ANIguy
3. $119.04 -- LJ
2. $171.12 -- jmathewson_III
1. $297.60 -- astin

And here is the updated 2008 MATH moneyboard, including this week's results:

1. astin $664
2. fuel55 $512
3. surflexus $488
4. Jordan $332
5. Pirate Wes $312
6. twoblackaces $298
7. Tripjax $288
8. Donkey Shortz $215
9. VinNay $203
10. columbo $180
11. jmathewson_III $171
12. buckhoya $150
12. Miami Don $150
12. Mike Maloney $150
15. pureprophet $144
16. chitwood $127
17. cubanlinks $120
18. LJ $119
19. bayne_s $112
20. thepokergrind $95
21. ANIguy $89
21. bartonf $89
23. Hoyazo $67
24. PirateLawyer $60

So as you can see, Astin powers ahead to the early moneyboard lead so far in 2008 with another big MATH victory this week, with Fuel also jumping over blonkament killer Surflexus to finish the week in 2nd position on the board. And don't worry, two of the top 5 MATH moneywinners this year are still lawyers, so we're all good, the Earth can keep on spinning without freaking anybody out too much. I'm still expecting Surf to tell us that he is actually a practicing lawyer with the way he crushes the bloggers on an almost nightly basis, but I won't hold my breath on that one....

So back to the Mookie before I sign off here. Obviously much too much has been written right here and elsewhere about my complete inability to win this tournament. No matter how much I tell myself I am focused on securing that victory in the Mookie, it just never comes. It's never even close, really. And I get some funny fuckin comments from you donkeys about my Mookie non-success as well. Some people like to say that I will never win the Mookie until I get the right mindset and level of optimism in it. I love that one. Like I go into these other blonkaments every week somehow expecting to actually win them outright every night, and that's why I do well. Or like the cards are going to fall differently or not have my AA cracked by runner runner broadway to AK on the river. Uh huh. My other favorite is that I don't adjust to the play in the blonkaments and that's why I am never winning the Mookie. Wake up people. I adjust to the play in the blonkaments like it's my job. That's why other people have a goal to win one blonkament in a year, but my goal is to win 15. Because I know how to play them all and I have had much relative success in that endeavor across the board. It is not for lack of adjustment and it's not for lack of having the right mindset. Believe me, those of you who know me well and are "fortunate" enough to be part of my nightly girly chat plans all know how horrible of a minset I have when it comes to, for example, the Friday night donkament. I go into that thing knowing I'm going to pull all my hair out during Monkey Hour every week, and yet every week it is still worse for me than I expected. You couldn't have a worse mindset going in to a tournament. And yet still I have won four of those. So I don't know exactly what it is that has kept me away from the winners' circle in the Mookie, but I know it's not either of those popular suggestions.

And what's the point of all this contemplation about the Mookie anyways? I'll tell you the point. I'm going to go back to the last time I felt this completely inept at something poker-related and then managed to dig out of my hole and finally find some success -- the first BBT. There, I effed up redonkulously during the whole first month, and at that point I made the conscious decision to stop donking and start playing tight, tight poker. And eventually, I cashed in a bunch of BBT tournaments, winning a few on my way to a nice finish on the leaderboard and winning my Nintendo Wii in the process. And that my friends is my plan for tonight's Mookie and for all the Mookie's in the foreseeable future. I will be sure to 4-table, which is my comfortable maximum given my normal-resolution laptop screen, so as to give me ample opportunities to play more hands more aggressively at the same time, but I am going to play dog-tight tonight at the Mookie. Just watch me. If I raise before the flop, I have a pocket pair 8s or higher or I have AQ or AK. Period. And if I reraise you, it is Aces or Kings, and that's it. Those are the fucking rules tonight and I'm going to follow them and see where it gets me. If I'm raising you and you can't beat those hands, you had better get the flock out of my way. I'll play Waffles-limit cash holdem if I have to so that I can just play every single pot and see every single flop if that's what it takes to enable me to withstand the Mookie boredom, but tonight you're going to need to crack my Aces if you expect to eliminate me in the first two hours of this thing. Book it, those are the rules and I'm sticking to 'em.

See you tonight at the final table of the Mook, 10pm ET on full tilt, password as always is "vegas1"!

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Blogger bayne_s said...

I want Astin on your left tonight and me on his left in the Mookie tonight.

See if he can catch AA when you have KK or I can crack you with a soooooooted connector

1:50 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

I was going to say something similar Bayne. Now I HAVE to play in the Mookie tonight, for the chance to crack Hoy's KK with my AA, just to have Bayne's 89s kill us both.

And yup, far more Bayneage than Astinnage on Monday. Nary an AA or KK to be seen in my hand history. It's all in the post.

3:11 AM  

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