Monday, January 24, 2011

In Poker, So Hot and Yet So, So Cold

Ever wonder why I tend to get kind of short when people talk about how "bad they run"? Why I openly chuckle when I read about someone quitting poker because of how bad they got the Mookie last night? Or why I don't have the pitying reaction you're looking for when I read your story about your brutal loss in the first hour of that 1500-person mtt you like to run on occasion?

This weekend of online poker for me had all the answers and then some. I should start by saying that I played some of the best poker of my entire life over the past four nights (I was home from work on Friday, so this was like a four-day weekend for me in terms of being able to stay up late and make some deep runs without having to worry about being up at the crack of dawn to get to the office). But while playing a bunch of really awesome tournament poker enabled me to make deep run after deep run over the weekend -- some of it in some pretty damn big tournaments -- something always seemed to just get in the way to prevent me from making the real big money on the weekend. And the stuff that "just got in the way" this weekend was enough to make most of you yak in your shoes, especially when you consider how much actual cash money I left on the table over the past few days.

So here was this weekend in a nutshell for me.

On Thursday night, I didn't do much in a few of the other tournaments I played, but I made an awesome run in the nightly 25k guaranteed sniper (bounty) on UB. After nearly five hours of play, I'm in 6th place out of 17 remaining. I've spent hours building up a solid image and playing absolutely, positively mistake-free tournament poker to get to this point, and I find JJ in mid-late position and open-raise it up preflop. The guy to my immediate left calls, who had played fairly tight over the past couple of hours at the table with me and the flop comes the almost best possible flop I could imagine:

I mean, sure, everyone wants to flop top set, but when you think about it, when you're this close to the final table and are looking to build an insurmountable stack, and your preflop raise without an Ace gets called, you're almost rather looking to flop second set with an Ace on board so you can feel confident you're going to get paid off by someone holding a big Ace of some kind. I had played with this guy for hours and I was quite sure he does not just call my preflop raise with pocket Aces, so needless to say I was thrilled with my situation there on the flop, and I could begin to smell the 6k+ first prize as I prepared my bet on the flop. I bet around half the flop, wanting to seem a little weak and encourage a raise from a guy with an Ace, and was overjoyed when the guy pushed allin on me without even a moment's deliberation:

Of course I can't fall over myself fast enough to call, and my opponent flips up QTd -- not even an Ace -- for a Queen-high flush draw and an inside straight draw to boot. With my set on the flop, plus all the redraws to a boat even if my opponent makes his straight of flush, I am a 66% favorite here, or 2-1 to amass a monstrous stack and be comfortably in second place of the 17 runners remaining. But then check out the turn (and the river!):

He made his 2-to-1 shot on the turn, and then made it again on the river for good measure, and of course no resuck for me. First prize in this tournament was a little over 6k. I bust in 17th place for a paltry $420 instead after playing absolutely perfect poker and flopping a set on pretty much the most favorable flop for me that I could realistically have imagined.

Moving on to Friday, I should mention that I finished in 22nd out of 1227 players in that same nightly 30k guaranteed tournament on pokerstars that I took 2nd place and 1st place in earlier this month:

My exit here wasn't bad, really. After losing a big race with 77 vs AQ, I was in 18th place out of 22 left when I obviously open-pushed allin with A8o from the hijack, and the cutoff woke up with AK. IGH in 22nd place -- netting under $100 cash in the process as opposed to the first prize of around 6k -- but at least it wasn't a suckout or bad beat that did me in.

Unfortunately, I can't say that about the rest of my weekend's big eliminations.

Also on Friday, I busted from the nightly $75 buyin, 7pm ET 40k guaranteed tournament on full tilt in 26th place, my second-deepest ever run in this tournament, and this one was another of those eliminations that I just cannot deal with very easily. A middle position player who's been highly aggro for hours open-raises it up preflop, and I call from late position holding pocket 7s, feeling pretty confident based on this guy's history that I am ahead here of what is likely a couple of big calls. The flop comes T88, and my opponent insta-pushes allin for the rest of his stack without waiting even half a second after seeing the flop hit the felt, the classic sign that a donkey has missed the flop with two overs, and I think for just a few seconds before calling him down, and I am shown AQ unimproved. I'm in line to have a top-3 stack with fewer than three tables left, but no sooner can I begin to enjoy having outplayed another guy in a huge spot in a big tournament, that the turn comes a Queen:

First prize in this one was around 10k. I bust in 26th place for $220. Who knows how much more Tournament EV I left on the table there, but with a 3rd-place stack and 25 players left, several thousand was entirely likely for me, a heck of a lot better than a measly $220 for my efforts.

Also on Friday night -- a "great" night of poker for me that featured three really deep runs in the same evening -- was UBOC Event #12, the $150 buyin, 75k guaranteed sniper tournament that is right up my alley. I absolutely crushed in this one, taking advantage of two AA's and a KK during the second hour of play to build up a massive stack early, after which I coasted for a good couple of hours before taking advantage of countless Harringbots on my way to another deep run in UB's annual poker tournament championship series. I made so many great plays in this thing, never missing a read and always keeping my aggro in check despite being in the top 10 in chips pretty much from early in the second hour all the way to the 7th hour. I managed to bust 16 people along the way, which I know because you get one of those little bounty windows (and a $15 bounty prize) with every elimination in these sniper events on UB, and I was an absolute terrorist from start to finish through the field of 573 runners who came out to play UBOC #12.

Unfortunately, "finish" for me in this ended up being in 15th place, when I held a 4th place stack and ran KK into the 5th place stack's AA:

KK into AA, with less than two full tables left in one of the annual majors on UB. It is just so sick, especially since I didn't even reraise allin preflop with my Kings, opting instead to wait to see if an Ace fell to give me a way to get off the hand, but the Q22 flop did me no good as it it just about the least scary flop imaginable for a guy holding KK. But alas, this one was in the cards (pun intended) from literally seven hours earlier, and IGH two hands later in 15th place with just $570 to show for my efforts, plus of course the sixteen $15 bounties I picked up along the way. First prize in this tournament was 18k, and I had been in 4th place of 15 left, and was dealt KK to boot. From 18k to $571, with one flip of the cards. In light of all the other stupidity I ran into late in mtt's this weekend, this KK into AA might have been the biggest sickness of them all.

Not to be outdone, on Saturday night I final tabled full tilt's nightly $26, 8pm ET 35k guaranteed tourney for the second time this month, powering my way through more than 1200 runners despite having nothing going on for the first two hours in the event. So we're down to 8 runners left, with me in 6th place of those 8 remaining. The tournament short stack raises the 24k big blind to 72k from early position, and I push my own short stack of 390k allin from the big blind with pocket 7s. I am of course instacalled by AQs. The flop is clean, and the turn is cleaner, and I am just one card away from sitting solidly in 2nd place of 7 remaining in the 35k:

And then, putting a delicious capper on a weekend that was so hot, and yet so, so cold on the virtual felt:

Seven hands later, I'm out in 8th place, for a wonderful consolation prize of $761. Now, 29 buyins is 29 buyins to be sure. But, first prize in this tournament was $8800, and I was one card away from a 2nd-place stack with 7 players remaining. From $8800 to $761, it's hard for me to feel anything but queasy about it even when I re-read this a couple of days later.

I played consistently the best poker I've played over a whole weekend in my entire poker-playing life over the past few days. And while I probably netted around 2k overall over the period, realistically I've got to guess I left what, 15 to 20k in Tournament EV on the table in very real terms over the entire weekend.

So forgive me if I don't necessarily share your opinion that you "run so bad" because of how that $10 90-person sitngo ended for you the other night.

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Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I love your arrogant fuck posts. They warm me up on cold New England days.. oh and hey, T88 is NOT a great flop for your 77. Just sayin'.

10:43 PM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Poor thing. You've only won like 100K or so in the last year playing poker. I'm sure that was solely because of your skill and not because of a few bad beats you put on someone else.
Why are you still playing on Ultimate Bet? I'd say karma is catching up to you.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

LOL at Waffles.

Congrats on the cashing and I know how you feel. It's hard to be happy with the small cash when you know how close you were to winning the whole damn thing.

3:40 AM  

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