Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Assault on Precinct 40k

I swear, that title seemed really clever when I dreamed it up in the shower this morning.

Firsr things first. Last night was the weekly WWdN, and my starting table included some good blogger friends of mine, including Surflexus fresh off his Mookie win last week, and Chris in basically his first poker action since traipsing around the streets of Munich and elsewhere in Europe. As the tournament began, I did my usual thievery and aggression thing, chipping up slightly and landing in the top 10 early on as I almost always am able to do in these things within the first little while just by aggressively moving at pots that I play, and "mostly" playing "strong" starting cards. However, last night saw the ultimate in annoyance and embarrassment for me, when my other game window at the time was lined up in just the right place to make me accidentally click "Call" instead of "Fold" against an allin bet on the flop from Lakaris, when I had nothing and clearly no draw, high cards, nothing. I lost to top pair, and within the first 15 or 20 hands, I was down to a measly 315 chips. I could not believe that was how my poker evening was going to start off, but it happened. I was able to double up on a couple of big stacks who figured me for tilt raises when I actually had some high cards, I got lucky on the turn card once, and before I knew it I was back over 1000 with 7 people already gone out of the 78 entrants who started the event.

This was when I became Chris's worst nightmare.

First, I'm dealt AKo in the cutoff when it's folded around to me, so I put a standard sized steal-raise of 4.4x the big blind:

I wanted this to look a little stealy given my position and my nature to...uh...pilfer a pot from late position now and again, so the extra oomph to 4.4x was done for just that purpose. Only Chris called me from the BB, and we see the flop:

Chris leads at this flop for 250 chips, about half the pot and just smacking of a probe bet, leading me to believe he is on an underpair, or maybe a draw. I've played a lot with Chris and it just didn't seem like a strong enough move to be what he would do with a Jack, a Ten or any overpair, and to me that seemed vulnerable, so I pushed allin as a flop raise. I felt good about my read, and given the relative chip stacks and my aggressive reputation, I strangely wanted a call even though I hadn't really hit the flop at all. I got my wish, and he turned over more or less what I was expecting:

His OESD failed to convert, and I was back in bizness:

A short while later, I'm dealt QQ in middle position, so I put in my exact same 4.4x raise here. This is a move I picked up from Waffles, where early in an MTT I will keep my preflop raises within a very narrow range in terms of multiples of the BB so as not to give any information to my opponents. Chris moves allin for his last 720 chips from late position, a sizable raise which indicated that he held something good, but I just couldn't see how I could lay the motherfucking biatches down when his stack size had his likely holdings in my eyes as low as any pair probably 5s or higher, and an Ace with any K or Q, or probably even AJs and maybe even ATs or KQs. So I called, and he flipped this:

Although Chris did manage to improve to trip 10s on the turn, I had already made trip Queens on the flop, and I sent him home early while bumping myself up to 6th place of the remaining 52 players.

Although I was able to chip up steadily and remain in the top 10 down into the final 30 players in the WWdN, eventually I got it allin on the flop with this hand:

Not sure how I could have gotten away from that one given the action and that flop, and IGH in 20th place out of 78 entrants after failing to improve to beat Ryan's pocket Kings. And speaking of which, congratulations to Ryan for taking the WWdN down in the end. First the LA Poker classic, and now the illustrious WWdN? What is next for this guy, seriously? The Special Olympics holdem title?

But as the title of this post suggests, the WWdN is really not what I'm here to blog about today. While the WWdN is still running, I manage to talk my buddy R, who has recently returned after a long hiatus from online poker to play exclusively in live poker rooms instead, into entering the partypoker 40k guaranteed tournament with me at 10:20pm ET. This would be R's first time ever in the party 40k or any of the major nightly guaranteed tourneys for that matter, and with 2382 entrants, it is also the largest tournament in which R has ever played. Nonetheless, my friend doubles up against an uberfish on the very first hand, and from there the deck proceeds to smash him in the face again and again, and before the first round is up, R is the chip leader in the entire tournament, sitting on over 24000 chips (starting stack is 3000). I went into the first break with 8570 chips myself, having chipped up mostly through theft and subterfuge, and then doing most of the real damage on this one hand, which was obviously a huge river suckout for me, but was also one which my opponent had no business being in after the turn:

He tried to check this thing down on the turn, but I bet back at him, representing the flush and knowing that the inside straight draw existed, long shot though it was. He crying called my turn bet, and then when the river straight filled for me, I knew he did not have the flush, so I moved him in, just knowing from his turn call that he would put the rest of his chips in when he absolutely, positively knew his hand was a loser. And it was.

After the first break, I was railing at R's table as he continued to add to his chip lead, while I also was taking strategic advantage at my table wherever possible. Here I called a guy's allin on the flop with my SPDK (second-pair-decent-kicker) when I was sure he did not hold top pair (an Ace) from the betting thus far in the hand, and even though he almost sucked out on me, all remained right in the world and justice was once again served:

A few hands later, here I was dealt pocket Kings preflop, and got my opponent to call off most of his stack preflop when I was sure I was ahead. Then, when the flop came all rags, I did my signature All-In-Minus-One-Chip™ bet on the flop, which he called:

and when my hand held up (hitting another King on the turn for good measure), I had over 17,500 chips, and was approaching R's chip stack which had run down to a mere 20,000 or so. A short while later, this fish moved it in on me with just a non-nut flush draw on the flop against my TPTK (god how I love those people):

and I vaulted up over 26,000 in chips. I'd love to tell you what place I was in at that time, but partypoker inexplicably continues not to provide the functionality in its MTTs for current players to know their current position in the tournament. How that is possible remains beyond me, but despite pokerstars, fulltilt, ultimatebet, etc. allowing this functionality (of course), something which can definitely play into one's decisionmaking on a particular hand in the right circumstances, party remains steadfast in its technological backwardness to this day. Suffice it to say that with a stack over 26000, I was in very good shape, with about 150 spots left until the money (top 220 got paid, as per usual for this tournament).

Near the end of Round 2, I had donked off some of my chips, but then this uberfish not only pushed hard with just a non-nut flush draw on the flop (sound familiar?) but then moved in on me on the river when his flush draw busted, and unfortunately for him, I wasn't donking around with an even worse bluff than him. This was a truly horrible play if you look at what was on the board, and the fact that I had bet him hard on the turn and the river:

and I was over 30k in chips for the first time in the tournament. It was then that I started reviewing my histories, determining that 107th is my best ever finish in the party 40k tournament thus far, and as I sat in what appeared to be the top 10 of the remaining 260 players with over 35k in chips at the second break, I actually began considering whether I might be able to surpass that previous best finish.

For those of you who don't play it regularly, Round 3 of the party 40k is where the blinds are really escalating, and no matter what the exact number of entrants in this nightly event, the cash always seems to come somewhere in the first 20 or 30 minutes of the round. So, there are a lot of pussy stallers like this ass "bs4sure" at my table, and a lot of tightass hanger-onners at this point, in addition to some sharks who try to take advtantage of the bubble tightness to make some solid moves upward in their stacks. Of course that also creates some opportunities to pick off the aggressors, who very often will be making moves without a top hand, and yet themselves are also concerned about not donking out right on the bubble. It is one of my favorite times in any MTT, and I like to think that my reading skills help me really to excel at such an inflection point in the tournament. In any event, Round 3 was pure card death for me, as I saw not one playable pocket pair during the entire hour, and no Ace with a card higher than a 9. This forced me to do a whole lot of sitting around, which I did with interest, and of course with my usual bullshitting and larceny that is so common with my game. Both R and myself managed to make it into the cash at 220th place, although R ended up going out near the end of Round 3 in 150th place when his 66 ran into a dominating KK and he did not improve (Still, R, a great performance in his first-ever 40k guaranteed and largest-ever MTT entered, don't you think?). After a lot of stealing and not much else to speak of, I entered the third break with just over 40k in chips, still appearing to be in the top 20% of the 135 or so remaining players:

Now that everyone is solidly in the money, Round 4 in this tournament is where you really separate the men from the boys (insert gender-neutral noun as appropriate for you. I like the saying as it is, and it's my blog so it's staying that way), where you have to get in there and be aggressive early on, or the 1000/2000 starting blinds will eat you alive quick, even if you're a largeish stack. That said, I got almost no cards for the first 10 or 15 hands of Round 4, causing my stack to slip a bit away from the chip leaders, until I was dealt AQo in the BB. First position raised it up 3x, everyone else folded, and I decided to put him to the test, since my notes on this player indicate that he is prone to moving from an early position with just an Ace and a not so high card. I reraised him just under 3x his preflop raise, which he pondered for a few seconds, before pushing in. This is a move I have mentioned before in the blog, but AQ is one of the only hands where I will sometimes make a purposefully small raise preflop, in the hopes of trapping someone with AJ, or even AT or A9 with fish involved, into not only playing but thinking they have the best hand and taking it to the end under the right circumstances. Here, I called his bet, and he flipped:

which led to this board:

and suddenly, I was up near 100k in chips, once again among the chip leaders in the tournament. It was around this same time that I crossed the 107th place threshold, marking my furthest-ever advance in the party 40k tournament, which I was very proud of. But I was also hungry for more. I wanted to at least make it to the 60s, where the triple-digit payouts start coming in, so I would have something nice to show for my efforts.

Then came the pocket Aces:

Those of you who often get to play deep into large MTTs will note that there is absolutely nothing better than being dealt a monster starting hand when the stack is shrinking, the Ms are dropping rapdily, and the blinds are just ever increasing. I saw these babies and I just knew I was taking somebody allin with them, given how pushmonkeyish this tournament gets down near this point in the structure. And I was already in the BB, so it's a great place to see what the other pushmonkeys are saying about their hands preflop first. That's when this guy in middle position raises it up a little over 3x:

I was interested in more than the size of his preflop raise, however (which frankly didn't tell me much of anything, since late in the big MTTs the standard preflop raise often becomes either allin or more like 2x to 3x, as opposed to early on when it seems more like 3x to 5x). What interested me was the fact that he had just put more than a sixth of his remaining stack into the middle, with several players still to act behind him. So, when it was folded back around to me, instead of my slow-play option here, I just had the feeling that this guy had a hand he was willing to go to the mat with preflop given his middle position 3x raise. So, I pushed it in. He called!

showed me AQo, and HWH in 83rd place, and I shot up to 136k in chips, a new tournament high for the night, and the largest stack I had ever held in the 40k tournament.

My sense of bliss was short-lived however, as I was forced to fold two preflop steal attempts over the next several hands to reraises from the table chip leader, and where my 22 and then KJs were simply not enough to justify a tussle with a guy who could knock me out and frankly not even care that much if he lost to me. But the real problem with that is that, at these levels, any time you try to steal the blinds by raising 3x or so, that is just a mountain of chips you have to put in, only to fold them away to an allin from the chip leader. So, I was down to just over 60k in chips when I was dealt 66 in early position. I pondered, and decided this was the time to try to steal back some of those chips I lost. I pushed in:

And this is where it hurts me the most to have made those two preflop laydowns and lost the chips I had put in in so doing. The prohibitive chip leader of the remaining 60-some players in the 40k was sitting there in second-to-last position. He types in the chat that he knows he's probably only slightly behind (he was right), that he knows he "probably shouldn't be calling here" (arguable), but that he has to make the move just because of the relative chip stacks, with his 250k+ easily dwarfing my 61k stack. So he calls me, and flips over:

Now, I knew that with pocket 6s, I was definitely hoping for folds all around, and that, barring anyone having a higher pocket pair (unlikely), anyone who called me was likely to be a slight dog in a race situation. His KQo was a weaker than expected call in my book, but again with the chip stacks what they were, I can't begrudge this guy taking a shot. Unfortunately as you can see the beginning of in the graphic above, the flop came TTQ, giving him two pair and leaving me only two outs for trips. Then the turn was another Queen, giving him the nut boat, and sending me home. In all, I finished the tournament in 62nd place out of 2382 entrants, easily my best-ever showing out of, say, 20 or 25 attempts in the nightly party 40k tournament, and I got my chips allin with the best hand, so I can't complain. And I took home another $100+ for my efforts, which like my 11th place finish out of 1083 in the pokerstars $10 MTT the other night, does not truly capture or reward the greatness that was my overall play last night, but it still looks very nice in my bankroll. If nothing else it will pay for my next 4 or 5 buyins to the 40k, as I continue to strive to final table this biatch and bring home some real cashish for the Hammer Family.

In all, a kickass fun night of poker (and morning, since once again I was awake until close to 3am ET finishing this tournament up, and up again bright and early at 6am with the kids). Looking forward to donking out of The Mookie tournament this evening at 10pm ET, and then hopefully playing non-donkily once again in a large MTT starting around that same time. Maybe I'll see you there.


Blogger smokkee said...

you made the right move. it just didn't work out. i went out in last nights FTP 17k on a coin flip also. nice run.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Guin said...

congrats on the good solid play. Small pairs are killer with big stacks behind you.... I think folding them from early position is probably the best move since you can't call raises. Also, lasting a bit longer increases the cash payment that you get paid. Once you were at the 130k mark you had an M of over 15 so you could take your time and be as patient as you were in earlier stages.

But then again I doubt I could last as long in one of those without a serious amount of luck!

Hope to see you tonight if i can get my computer working properly.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Garthmeister J. said...

Man, I am dying to know what my note says...

3:02 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Very nicely played! Congrats on that finish. Hopefully one of these days I'll go deep in that tourney myself.

3:42 AM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

Outstanding job! I agree with the others...your move wasn't ideal, but the stacks and blinds dictated it. You got your money in with the best hand, and das poker. Hope to see you at the Mookie.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Keep in mind, I was pretty short stacked at the time I moved in with the 6s. If I had been back up at 130k still, I would have surely folded the 66 in early position, as I had with other mid-pocket pairs at that time. But down to 60k, with an M solidly in the red zone, even Harrington says it's either fold or push. So I don't care so much about that move, or really anything about my performance in the 40k. I'm thrilled I got as far as I did, and I can't wait to beat my 62nd place performance the next chance I get. Who wants in the tournament with me?! Some blogger needs to take down that 40k nightly tourney someday soon, that's for sure. I nominate me.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Lot of fun playing at your table last night (WWDN). I felt like crap when you pointed out you meant to fold to my aces - though that was one hell of a comeback afterwards...I think you were at the table I busted out on later that night so we're officially bad mojo for each other. And not that it matters to anyone but me, its an I at the start of my handle not an L. See you out there.

10:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home