Monday, November 17, 2008

FTOPS Main Event

So earlier this week I had written about losing around $2000 of cash on three separate 2- or 3-outers on the river, all occuring when the money got in after the flop. It's something I've been focusing on for a good couple of years now, a strategy which I see most the great professional mtt players follow fairly religiously in the tournaments they play in -- almost to a man, these guys hate to get it allin without the mortal, uncatchable nuts. So I've been trying to do less and less of the get-it-allin-well-ahead before the flop stuff, even though I used to do that all the time. I've written about it here countless times over the past couple of years, but after getting it in ahead and taking the number of suckouts that I take,I have really been focusing on turning those 80% favorite hands before the flop into 90%+ favorites after the flop by waiting an extra round or two before getting all the money into the middle.

So there I was earlier this week, running in "the" 40k, "the" 32k, and those juicy turbo satellites into the FTOPS Main Event, getting knocked out of all three on either 2-outers or 3-outers despite waiting until after the flop to get all the money in to the middle. What does this mean, exactly? I'm talking about having pocket Tens in the small blind, and the cutoff bumps it up on a typical steal-raise, and rather than push my last 20 big blinds into the middle right there preflop when I'm fairly sure I'm ahead, I figure I will wait until the flop, and just give myself a chance to get away where the donkey with the A4o would have spiked his Ace on the flop and taken me out. So I just call, the flop comes all rags, and then by checking I induce my opponent to push allin on me. I flip up my Tens and he shows pocket 9s. 9 on the river, and IGH. When you've played 3 or 4 hours into tournaments over the previous few days and that has been the way it's ended for you just short of where the money really gets big three separate times, it can be very hard to swallow.

Then, one day after writing about this was when I made that fantastic run deep into the 50-50 on full tilt which I wrote about on Thursday and Friday of last week. This is the one where I picked up my first premium pair of the entire night in pocket Kings with exactly 10 players remaining out of the 1195 who started, the guppy chip leader calls my preflop pot-sized reraise with 75o, pushes all-in to me on a 7-high flop and then manages to suck out the river 7 to eliminate me in tenth place despite playing the hand about as poorly as it could have been played on every single street. That was conservatively another $4000 or so of Tournament EV added to my already $2000 from earlier in the week, all raped away from me by river suckouts after I managed to get myself in well ahead in key spots in big tournaments.

Well, Sunday night this weekend was the FTOPS Main Event, which I did play in, and played in very well might I add. I managed to chip up on several hands, mostly bluffs of course, in the first hour or two, and my first really big hand did not occur until just about two full hours in to the event. It's worthy of some screenshots, because hand histories just don't do these things justice all the time.

So I'm around 33% above the starting stack, right around average just short of two hours in to the Main Event. I pick up pocket 3s on the button, and since I've done my usual thing and been a stealy mofo throughout the tournament so far, of course I have to raise here so I go for my standard 3x raise to 480 chips. The small blind, a guy who had tried at least one time previously to move me off of a hand he thought I was stealing with by using a minraise, which he quickly folded to my pot-reraise, reraises me here with a below-average stack:

Now, even though I obviously don't have the odds to properly set mine, the bottom line was that this guy had gotten out of line a couple of times already, I figured there was a very good chance I was already ahead and that he would push any raggy flop allin on me from first position. So I went for the call:

The flop comes down T73 rainbow -- my only flopped set of the day -- and my opponent bets a big portion of his stack but not all of it:

OK so now I can whittle down his range of hands to literally just a few, all of which I am crushing. To not push allin here, he either hit top pair top kicker with AT, or better yet, he has AA-QQ and desperately thinks he's going to double up here, with a small chance that he might have flopped a higher set with 77 or TT given his please-call-me bet here on that short stack of his. Either way, I am content to play this one slow, just in case, so I just callin the hopes of seeing the turn card before committing the rest of his stack to the pot. In keeping with the tournament strategy I mentioned above and have written about incessantly here for the past couple of years, waiting until after the turn will just give me that much more information, and maybe if an Ace, King or Queen falls, and he does something that really indicates a higher set, I can at least consider getting away from the hand, unlikely though that may be:

So the turn comes and it is basically another rag, after which my opponent quickly pushes all in:

So here I am, I've waited until after the turn card here, and there is just nothing on this board that can possibly get me to fold here. My opponent's actions are consistent with a high pocket pair, and I nailed his ass by flopping the set on the flop in a spot where he rightfully assumes I have been stealing with air all along. I've seen all the cards but the last card with my deceptively strong hand, and my opponent has forced me to a decision for the rest of his stack. I've lessened the risk of my getting drawn out on significantly by not only waiting until after the flop but also until after the turn. What more can I do, I can't fold here obviously. So I call, with much confidence:

Booooom. Well played with the one pair for a just under the average stack in a $535 buyin tournament.

River card:

2-outer on the river, after waiting for not just the flop but even the turn before getting the last half of my opponent's stack into the middle. Sound fucking familiar?

Now granted, it was early enough in this thing still, with some 2500 runners remaining and only nearly 800 making the cash, that it is very difficult to ascribe an actual cash value to that disgusting, despicable suckout. Maybe just a couple hundred bucks, being fair to the math. But who knows what this could have turned in to. And like I've been saying all fucking week, it hurts especially much when I am going out of my damn way to decrease my risk by waiting to see as many cards as possible on the board before getting the majority of the money into the middle, even when I'm fairly sure I'm ahead on an earlier street. I mean, higher pocket pair losing to lower pocket pair allin preflop is bad enough. That is an 82% favorite or so in most cases, and anytime you lose a big stack on that kind of a dominated hand, it just feels wrong. But when I've got the Tens over the Nines after the flop and the money goes in, that is what, a 91% favorite? So this week alone, I lost two 91% hands and one three-outer on the flop as well for an 88% hand, all in key spots in big tournaments with real cash on the line. Then I closed that week out by getting beat after the fucking turn card with a 2-outer for a 95% favorite, up in flames, in the biggest tournament of them all.

I mean, what do you do when even 19-to-1 isn't good enough to double up in a huge spot in a $2.5 million guaranteed tournament?

It isn't often that I wake up the next morning still feeling physically ill about a bad beat. In fact, it's been years now since I almost ever care about a bad beat even an hour or so later. But this one, coming on the heels of a week of close calls, deep runs and horrible anal rapages, is really clinging with me. Someone think of something to say to put this into perspective please.

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Blogger Five Pound Bag said...

"Someone think of something to say to put this into perspective please."

I had Pittsburgh -4.5 yesterday.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

That was a hideous call at the end of that game, truly unthinkably bad.

But not even as bad as the Eagles/Giants call from last week when they moved the red line on the replay when he threw the ball from beyond the line of scrimmage.

10:39 PM  
Blogger The Litvak said...

"[T]he race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."

10:54 PM  
Blogger SilverVW said...

"Someone think of something to say to put this into perspective please."

You could be a die-hard KC Chiefs fan like me...

In the long run, don't you want players to bet/call/overplay hands like that?

11:18 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...


People always say that. Of course I want that in the long run. But it just doesn't do anything to make me feel better when I see the thousands upon thousands of dollars of actual cash disappear with stark regularity over my career playing poker.

This was just a particularly bad week on the bad beat front for a guy who already seems to take more suckouts than I should.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

what do you do about the typical Ftp suckouts you ask?....... Go play live or on some other site if you must play online. i can actually believe the beats live as I actually see someone shuffling and dealing. Fuck the Full tilt rng

2:26 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

That is the same as a $10 beat though, ask waffles and mondogarage.....

9:10 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. . .but that is the way to bet.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Dominic said...

We all know what we want in the long run but you're right, in the heat of battle it does little to comfort you when you get it in as a monster favorite and watch the chips get shipped away from you.

I had the same thing today when my AA got cracked by AQ after the guy tried to bluff a 9 high flop by shoving on my c-bet.

I'll save you my bad beat stories, better luck in the future.


2:48 AM  

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