Thursday, November 13, 2008

Suckout Blues

In bottom-line profits, this has been a good week for me at the online poker tables. I've won I think three or four FTOPS satellites, having a particularly good win rate with those $50 mega-satellites they run every night during FTOPS time at 9:45pm ET, as well as the highly juicy $100 turbo sats into the FTOPS Main Event that are now running every night at 8:45pm and 10:45pm ET as well. After cashing but failing to nab the seat in two out of three of those ME sats, I did win my seat the other day, so I do intend to play on Sunday night at 6pm ET in the $535 buyin event in which I have cashed at least two times before.

But despite my being up solidly for the week so far, this has also been one of those highly frustrating weeks where you can't help but focus far more on the money left on the table than on the money you've won. Those of you out there who play a lot of multi-table tournaments will know exactly what I'm talking about. I mean, in the two FTOPS ME sats that I mentioned I cashed in but failed to win, in both cases I was eliminated on a redonkulous two- or three-outer on the turn or river, when the money didn't get in until after the flop when I was a good 90% favorite or better. That was about $900 down the drain right there over those two tourneys. Similarly, late in "the" 32k on Sunday night, I lost Tens vs 9s allin preflop in a situation where I would have had the literal chip lead but instead took a major hit to my stack, and then shortly afterwards I ran Queens into Kings allin preflop with less than the average stack. And I'm not even going in to my at least two other two- and three-outer eliminations this week, all since just Sunday night, each of which cost me a good shot at some more tournament cash. Before Wednesday evening, I had estimated to a couple of people in blog comments and in the girly that I had -- conservatively speaking -- benn rooked out of a good $2000 in tournament winnings by disgusting low-odds beatdowns, all of which featured me as at least 80% to win the hand, if not 90% or more, when the money went to the middle of the table.

Then Wednesday night made it about a hundred times even worse. I played my bitch the 50-50 on full tilt, and I amassed an early stack with some strong tactics despite not being dealt a premium pair all night long that I can recall. Out of just short of 1100 entrants, I was in the top 10 out of around 700 runners left at the end of Hour 1, and I remained there all through Hour 2 as well, ending that hour in I believe 4th out of 290 remaining. I just kept building and building, near-doubling and near-doubling, and I didn't even show down many hands to do it, which is when you know I am playing my best. I did not suck out one time in the entire night of play, and was dealt AK a bunch of times but I don't recall any of the big pairs, and yet over 5 1/2 hours of play I never really fell too far from the top of the leaderboard. In fact, the only two times I did get knocked down to the middle of the pack of remaining players were two dominated suckouts against me, once when A9 beat my AQ allin preflop, and once when JT bested my KTs allin preflop, both against shortish stacks where I took a calculated gamble in raising it allin and really didn't mind the call in either spot.

Other than those two very, very typical beatdowns, I seriously cruised through the field in the 50-50 on Wednesday, to the point that I was the literal chipleader with 300 left, with 200 left, with 100 left, and even down to 40 left, 30 left and 20 left. There were a number of bloggers and people I know on the rail to see it all happen -- this run was a thing of beauty, even compared to my other 50-50 final table runs this year. I mean, I don't think I got in behind more than one time all night long, again against a shorty where I knew exactly what I was doing and figured I had the odds to take a stab at a racey-sort of situation with my two high, sooted cards. Eventually, as the blinds escalated as we got down to the final two tables, a couple of pushbots got taken out by bigger stacks, and my stack slipped to 4th place out of 10 remaining. As usual, the play even down to this point of a $55 buyin tournament online was generally garbage, and a couple of guys at my table were so awful that they were being berated by railbirds incessantly for the better part of the previous hour for some truly unbelievable moves. The worst of these people was the chip leader with 10 left, who had a little over 400k while 2nd through 5th (including me) each had between 200k and 250k), who had amassed his big pile of chips by doing shit like instacalling allin reraises with K7s and A7o against sizable stacks with just 12 or 13 players remaining.

So it's the last hand before the 5th break, it's just before 3am ET, and I pick up pocket Kings. In the big blind no less. This is my first premium pair of the entire night, mind you. Fewlbot chip leader open-raises the pot on the small blind, and I'm not effing around with this hand of course, so I reraise. The full pot. At the time blinds were probably 2500-5000 with a 500 ante or so, so his first raise was to something like 19k, and my pot-reraise was to a little over 50k. Like I said, I wasn't going to mess around here, on the literal final table bubble. He thinks for 2 seconds and calls. No sooner does the flop come down 743 rainbow than this guy pushes allin for 400-some thousand on a massive overbet into the 130k or so pot. I took maybe 3 seconds to consider, but realized quickly enough that even a poker blogger the biggest donk alive does not get away in this spot. I'm about to be the significant chip leader in fact. I mean, this wasn't on pokerstars, so I know he doesn't have 65o in there, and he did raise and then call my pot-reraise before the flop. He's done. I call.

The chip leader flips up 75o for shitty top pair against a preflop reraiser, and an even shittier kicker just for good measure. Turn is an offsuit 9, and I am better than 5-to-1 to be chip leader. That is, until the 7 on the river rivers the donkey trips, and IGH in 10th place, one away from the final table. Just like that. Dude raises preflop with 75o (strike 1!), then calls a pot-reraise with it as chip leader down to 10 players left (strike 2!), then flops top pair 7s with a 5 kicker and pushes allin on a massive overbet (strike 3!). The money is allin and he is a solid dog. And BOOOOOooom, IGHN. It is hard to believe and even harder to swallow.

Sure I won nearly a thousand for my efforts on the night. As I said, this has been symptomatic of my entire week (and my entire career, who are we kidding) of online poker. It was yet another very profitable run into the 50-50 on full tilt, probably my 15th top-25 finish of the year in this thing, which it's not like I play every night. And while it's always fun to run deep in front of a bunch of bloggers, losing like that is just so deflating, it can't really be described in words. Yes, I won another grand on Wednesday night overall playing poker, and I am thankful and happy for that. But it doesn't feel that way. It feels like I lost about $3500 to $4000 of expected value, all on that redonkulous riversuck by a guy who desperately tried to gift me his chips.

I've said this a million times before and I'll say it again -- to me the real trick, and the real difficulty -- in regularly playing poker tournaments is not figuring out how to win them. That part is elusive for many, but not for me, and certainly not for those whose tournament skills dwarf my own. It's more or less a formula, and for the most part that formula, if applied pretty much blindly, can increase your chances of final-tabling probably 4 to 5 times above the average online player's chances at this buyin level in my experience. To me, the real skill involved in being a regular tournament player is being able to withstand the bad beats, the setup hands, the thousand-dollar losing suckouts like mine last night, and still be able to show up tomorrow in the right mindset to come back and succeed again. Sometimes I really don't understand how anyone does it.

And pardon me if I can't feel too bad about your suckout with two tables left in a $10 buyin tournament with 30-some donkeys in it. If anything that happens in that level of an event is going to have a profoundly negative effect on you, you are really never going to be cut out for mtt play. Which is not an insult in the least btw, but a very accurate obsevation nonetheless.

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Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

Just in case you needed another reason to dislike Paulson, the UIGEA has finally passed. All financial institutions are to be in compliance by 12/01/09.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

They'll just use their $700 billion bailout money for paying non-compliance fines.

No problem.

11:43 PM  
Blogger yancy said...

flops top pair 7s with a 5 kicker and pushes allin on a massive overbet (strike 3!). The money is allin and he is a solid dog.

I agree with strikes 1 and 2, but you're overstating the case for strike 3. He has top pair and a gutshot. Way ahead of AK/AQ type hands and only a 60/40 dog to AA-99.

Shoving the flop is by far the best decision he made in the hand.

11:45 PM  
Blogger yancy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...


Chip leader, 10 left in a large mtt, overshoving for 5x the pot and completely giving up his chip lead against a preflop reraiser with top pair 7s and a 5 kicker was objectively a hideously terrible decision. It's not even close to good, given where he is at in the tournament. In all seriousness, completely discounting what I had in my hand, that huge overpush alone, and the chance of losing his 2x chip lead over the 2nd place guy at a point when the payouts are about to start their big final table escalation, probably has an EV somewhere in the neighborhood of -$500-800 or so, maybe more given that I had reraised preflop. And I'm talking real dollars here, not $T.

It's completely irrelevant anyways, as the only point that matters is that I was roughly a 2-to-1 favorite to have the chip lead when the money went in. But lord was that a horrible play. I think calling my pot-reraise is probably the worst move he made in the hand, but the redonkulous monkeypush for half his stack with a very dubious hand clearly comes next.

12:10 AM  
Blogger yancy said...

The comment I was replying to went away. Nevermind, I guess.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...


You need to consider the place in the tournament and the payouts left in this problem, rather than just the pure math odds of it, which I wouldn't argue with you on.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

"It's completely irrelevant anyways, as the only point that matters is that I was roughly a 2-to-1 favorite to have the chip lead when the money went in. But lord was that a horrible play."

Ironically, that hand is almost identical to my hand with Chad in the bodonkey. It wasn't the final table bubble, but it was for what would have been the chiplead, and only a couple spots from the points bubble, which in a series, is important...

and before you chastise me for the differece between the fiddy/fiddy and the bodonkey, winning's important at every level, and I suspect our buyins in each tourney were the same % of our relative bankrolls....

5:59 AM  

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