Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Faceoff With a Pro, and $T Decisions

The suckouts continue to dog me fast and furious on full tilt, as I have managed to amass large stacks early in most of the mtt's I have run over the past week, only to find a way to get beat by a 2- or 3-outer somewhere just short of the money in most of the opportunities I have had of late to post another big score. Thankfully somehow I have remained profitable over the past week or two nonetheless, thanks to some more nice $T hits as well as a successful run at the O8 1-2 pot limit cash tables on full tilt.

Other than the cash play, my most exciting story of the weekend was probably winning one of these $75 buyin supersats to the Sunday night $535 buyin satellite to the 25k PLO heads-up tournament full tilt is running. Unlike the $26 buyin variety, of which I have played a few as well to a little bit of success and which are limited to 32 runners, the $75 buyins are not surprisingly a much better deal in that the players are only limited to 8. Thus, the formula is simple: win three heads-up PLO matches, and you've got your 535 bucks.

Making this one more fun for me over the weekend was the list of players, which included out of my seven opponents two guys whom I already had marked as uber fonkeys from my Omaha cash play, plus red FTP pro Chip Jett, a guy who I've seen on tv from time to time. My first heads-up match was against a guy I did not know, and I dispatched him in 19 hands when he refused to bet the pot on the turn in a spot where I had a large draw to a set, top two pair, a straight and a flush. When my somewhat obvious flush draw filled on the river, I made a large pot-sized bet and the guy simply could not lay down his turned straight. Fast forward a couple of nasty chat comments later (and some goading from me, natch), and I was on to waiting for my second opponent. At the time only Chip Jett's match was still running, with Chip on the ropes with under 900 chips to his opponent's 2100+.

Well it wasn't maybe ten minutes later when Chip Jett showed up a my second opponent. I guess he had come back quick and won, something that frankly is just not that uncommon in a game like Omaha where there are so many big draws and so many come-from-behind victories. It's always exciting to have a shot at a professional in a heads-up context, and frankly I have always thought this is one of the very best aspects of playing on full tilt. Chip is a player with $1.9 million in lifetime tournament winnings according to full tilt and 33 major tournament final tables, so I figured I was gonna have some fun with this one. And a fun time I did have.

For all seven hands the match lasted.

Hand 1 saw me raise before the flop to 90 and Chip fold:

In Hand 2 I checked preflop and then bet the flop with an oesd after Chip checked there too, also taking down a small pot and preserving my early chip lead (pun intended, what the heck):

Hand 3 was my first loss of the match when I called Chip's raise preflop with JJ66 rainbow, not a hand I love but in heads-up play I figured a good shot to make a winning set. We both checked after I whiffed the flop, but then Chip bet the pot on the turn and I had to lay it down with too many possibilities that all beat me:

With Chip and I basically even once again after three hands, Hand 4 saw me reverse what Chip did with me in Hand 3, as I raised preflop with a pair of Queens in my hand, Chip called, and then I bet pot on the flop with the overpair plus a Queen-high flush draw. Chip folded and I won 180 chips back:

I called a minraise from Chip to see the flop in Hand #5 with a soooted Ace, but had to fold to Chip's c-bet when I essentially whiffed:

In Hand 6, I once again raised preflop with KKxx in my hand, Chip called, and annoyingly an Ace flopped. Thankfully Chip checked with me on the flop, and the turn filled my inside straight, giving me the current nuts plus the nut flush draw with one of my Kings. I bet 540 chips, the full pot, and Chip called. Unfortunately the board paired on the end, and when I pushed 'em in, Chip folded pretty quick. I'm sure he had an Ace in his hand but I didn't get to see since he folded to my turn bet:

When Hand #7 started, I was already up in chips about 1850 to 1150 and obviously I want to eliminate a professional player with lots of tournament success as quickly as I can. I was dealt AKJ9 with the J9 soooted in diamonds, and I figured this hand was worth calling a preflop raise from Chip just based on high-card strength and nut straight possibilities alone. The flop came K64 with two diamonds, giving me top pair and the 3rd-nut flush draw, which I figure has to be a good flush in heads-up play. Chip bet out about half the size of the pot, and I went for the pot-sized raise, thinking I was probably ahead or at least very close. Chip re-reraised me allin, and I suddenly figured my top pair and/or 3rd-nut flush draw were likely no longer best, but for only another half of the current pot and with a chance to eliminate a tough player like this, there was no way I was laying down there. We flipped up our cards:

Where Chip surprised me holding just the overpair Aces plus a 6 for an alternative second pair. His pair of Aces was currently head, but with two cards to come, I had a ton of outs to my flush, to trip Kings or to Kings-over that did not hit Chip's hand to give him Aces-over. I had so many outs in fact, that I was actually a decent favorite, making this a great spot for me to call Chip's final half-pot reraise, again especially getting in at almost 60-40 to eliminate a guy with nearly $2 million in tournament winnings.

As you can see from the final screenshot above, I hit the Queen of diamonds on the turn to make my flush, and I had eliminated Chip Jett from the supersat, advancing to the final heads-up match where the winner would take down the $535 seat, and the loser would grab the booby prize of 17 whole dollars. I was overjoyed to see that my hu opponent in the final match was a guy I already had noted from a previous mtt satellite as calling with anything. The specific thing I had noted in this event was him calling me down with 3rd pair shit kicker on the river in a holdem match, after I had checked just one time in the hand. Now that right there is a great example of how some good notes can really work for you, in that this gave me a great plan to just bet my good hands and whenever else I thought I was ahead on the assumption that this guy was going to call call call. And that's exactly what he did. It took me 13 hands, which saw me get out to the early lead after he twice called my pot-bets on the flop only to fold on the turn. Eventually I won the match by hitting a flush on river when he had turned an inside straight with 54xx in his hand when I happened to be holding a 5 too, which made me think it less likely that a heads-up opponent would also hold one of the other three fives in the deck. So my read that he was bluffing was wrong, but I still had 9 outs to flush him plus three outs to make a higher straight, and as I mentioned I spiked the heart at the river to take it all down:

Blooooom! And then the best decision I made the entire tournament through I think came right after this, when I considered for maybe less than a minute before unregistering immediately for the actual $535 satellite and just keeping the cash to play another day. Why play the best Omaha players in the world for $535, where the odds are exactly 1 in 50 of me winning a dam thing? Answer: I have no idea. So I quickly unregistered, pocketed the $535 and I say thank you to this guy, whose advice a long time ago on playing the weekly 1k on full tilt has alway stuck with me, and lord knows my roll has been noticeably better off for it.

Oh by the way, today we got our fucking house. The lease is signed, we have the keys, and we took the Hammer Girls up to see their new abode today, their new bedrooms, new backyard, and especially the awesome new porch, where we sat and ate bagel sandwiches for lunch together as we start the next chapter in the lives of the Hammer Family. All this a full three days before the lease on our current apartment of the past five years was set to expire. It's a kickass house in the 'burbs, and while I still have my trepidations about suburban life in general, it's not like I don't know if I can hack it. I spent years 4-18 of my life in suburban Philadelphia, and my wife in suburban DC, so I know how it goes. But it's a great place, far better than the one we were so trying to get for the past month, and it just goes to show what a little desperation and a lot of hard work can accomplish in a very short amount of time.

And my wife thought we wouldn't have time to find a good place. Pshaw!

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Blogger Bayne_S said...

Grats on House.

Did not know you could unregister from the $25k HU PLO.

I didn't think they allowed for $25k HU NLHE

10:39 PM  
Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Congrats on the house! (And the $535 in T$.)

4:45 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Bayne, I won a $535 supersat which I unregistered for, not the actual 25k buyin event which I believe I also saw you cannot unregister for once you're in there.

Better question is, what are you of all people doing not playing in that 25k tournament?

5:34 PM  
Blogger Nicholas J. Johnson said...

Every pot counts! $535 is better than a kick in the face!

The Honest Con Man

12:23 PM  

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