Monday, March 31, 2008

Setup or Stoopid?

So after a rollercoaster weekend in which I qualified for Iron Man Iron status once again while at the same time seeing my fortunes fluctuate wildly based on some aggressive and in some cases reckless decisions, I sat down to the latest Big Game ready to extend my dominance in this particular monthly blogger tournament. I believe I have cashed in fully half of the Big Game's I have ever participated in, including one win, one second place and one third place in just the small number of these that have been run over the past year, year and a half or so. Actually, I forgot all about the tournament and missed the first half hour due to a charity auction I was attending, but when I got back I quickly doubled up off of smizmiatch with AK allin preflop against his pocket Jacks, and from there I remained in the top 10 of the tournament throughout the balance of the first hour of the event.

Early in hour two, with me still perched near the bottom of the top 10 with about a third of the starting field of I think 62 runners already eliminated, I engaged in maybe my third or fourth battle of the blinds with Julius Goat who was seated to my immediate right and thus got to have me attempt to steal his blinds almost every chance I got. He pushed back some, he let me have them some, and in the end I was happy with that situation, especially when this hand came up which saw me open-raise from the button I think with JTo. Goat called from the small blind and the big blind folded. We saw a heads-up flop of JJ9.

This is exactly why I like to steal so much even from early on in mtts. Now, there is no doubt that the value, even the necessity, of stealing increases dramatically later on in tournaments when the antes kick in, the blinds are high and the Ms are correspondingly low. But for me, I have enough confidence in my abilities to avoid trouble most of the time after the flop with marginal hands, that I like the kind of opportunity that being known and recognized as a blind stealer has brought to me over time right from the earlygoing in these tournaments. So when I can raise preflop from late position and know I am going to be put on a steal, and then a follow-up steal-cbet on the flop, I like my position. And occasionally I flop a monster like I had here from steal position, and then I know, in the words of immortal blowdog "pro" Josh Arieh, it's on.

So here I am, I've steal-raised from the button, been called by a guy I know thinks I am a blind stealer -- in fact he had called me down earlier for a large pot on the river with just KT-high on the assumption I was full of shit from the blinds -- and now I have flopped JJ9 with JT in my hand. It's a good situation. I don't remember exactly the action but I believe Goat checked this hand to me, and I bet out my normal-sized continuation bet, knowing Goat would give me no credit whatsoever for the play. And frankly he is right, because a lot of the time I am going to bet out here with ATC after the action checks to me in position in a heads-up pot that I had raised preflop. So he checks this flop, I bet my trips -- because I am a man -- and Goat I think flat called. Now I know he has some kind of a hand.

The turn is some raggy biatch card, an offsuit 2 or something. This time Goat checks to me again, I bet out about 3/4 the size of the pot, and Goat fairly quickly minraises me. A minraise of a bet from me, coming from the Goat, definitely suggested that he liked his hand in this spot, I was sure of it. But still, I felt in a stealy-button vs small blind confrontation, my JT had to be ahead of his range, which would include most Tens, most pocket pairs and probably some KQ or other two-high-cards-plus-a-draw kind of hands as well. So I reraised Goat allin there on the turn, and he beat me into the pot with his call for almost all of his chips. He flips up?

99. I think the river brought another 9 as well, giving Goat quads instead of his boat just for good measure, and I was left dealing with another setup hand elimination from a BBT3 tournament.

With a few hours now having gone by to think about the situation, I am left wondering just how much of a setup hand this really was. I mean, I know it was a setup in that it is clearly not wrong of me to believe I am ahead in this circumstance, and I happened to flop a set with a decent kicker in a heads-up pot from a stealy position, and yet happened to run into the flopped boat from my opponent in the small blind. It is affirmatively hideous luck, I don't need anyone else's opinion to know that. But the question I have for you today is: Did I need to go busto on this hand? What would you have done with this hand? Who out there is not going to push hard with JT on the JJ9 flop from a stealy situation, and, more importantly, why not?

Don't forget, the 6-max nlh Mondays at the Hoy is back tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt as the BBT3 rolls on:

Password as always is "hammer", the buyin as always is $26, and anyone and everyone is welcome to join as there are no prerequisites or other requirements for anyone to be able to play. Just log in to your full tilt account, click on the "Private" heading under the "Tournaments" tab, find the MATH and register for the event using the password of "hammer". That's all it takes to sit down with the bloggers and get donked.

See you tonight for Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt!

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Blogger Julius_Goat said...

You got the hand right except I'm pretty sure we got it in on the flop. I'll probably be checking it if I do a tournament recap, so we'll see. But I did min. raise you and then we had fireworks.

It doesn't matter at all, though, because the money was sure enough destined to go in.

For what it's worth, I would never find the fold there. You're worried about J higher kicker, which is really unlikely given that would be the case Ace in my hand, or 99, and that's it.

You could also have reasonably put me on TT, QQ, KK, or AA with that action. I think you have to call.

My ruling? Setup.

For me, a setup is when two hands hit the flop in so hard that the money is going in, period. If that's the case, this was a setup. You can get away, but if you do, what were you doing with JT anyway?

11:58 PM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

The money's going in regardless, and I don't think there's anyway you avoid an all in with top set on that action, but there's no way it's a setup hand.

By definition, no naked preflop steal attempt with marginal cards is eligible for a setup hand, because your first move is trying to steal a pot with less than optimal cards. It's just not, not unless you want to define setup as you setting yourself up.

That said, if you're not willing to go to war with top set there, how many hands are you willing to go to war with?

12:05 AM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

One thing to consider. And Goat saying min-raise on the flop will make me reconsider this. But smooth call on the flop and min-raise on the turn ALWAYS means Monster. Always. I can't ever think of a time it doesn't mean that.
So you have to decide if trips with a weak kicker is worth losing your tournament for. That depends on your chip stack, the stage. Sometimes you have to go with a hand. Did you have to go with it there?
I'm not sure.
I've seen people lose more money with trips than any other hand or overpairs, and it doesn't always have to be so.
But I also can't blame you for losing your money there. That's a very difficult fold, and Goat is an aggressive player.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

OK Mondo, I will buy that distinction you are making. The cards themselves were not a setup hand because I could easily have folded the JTo preflop.

Still, the hand is something though.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

It would help a lot to know what the stack sizes were and the exact betting patterns, but my initial take is that you should have avoided going broke on this hand.

Goat's behaviour seems to indicate that he has a good hand. You have trip jacks with a ten kicker. It seems to me your hand is fairly well-defined and Goat was acting like he had a better one.

I would like to see the action slow down and exercise some pot control. Hour two of a big tournament, you want to show some patience and prudence and live to fight on if you are beat.

1:21 AM  
Blogger $mokkee said...

any Bodog pro would know to fold there. outplayed again.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

I'll fly without hand history. Let's see how I do.

Our stacks were just about even at about 6,000. I obviously had Hoy covered, but not by much. I'm pretty much out if I lose.

I am pretty sure that there was only a bet/min. raise /shove/call sequence on the river, not a bet/smooth call. I am pretty sure the the money went in on the flop.

Hoy was going to have to either shove his trips or fold, as the min raise if called would have given him better than 2:1 on any shove on the turn. That's why I min. raised.

Some of you may have gotten away with top trips against an opponent who had just the orbit before called a big bet with King high in a blind vs. blind scenario.

I would not have.

2:07 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Without understanding how pot committed you are calling goat's min raise it is not possible to judge if you could get away or not.

I busted out of tournies at Orleans and Caesars flopping trips in blind vs. blind hands.

I almost folded 2nd time, but I said "I am not good enough to fold this" and BB went white. he had me outkicked with a 9 kicker vs. my 8 kicker.

2:32 AM  

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