Thursday, May 25, 2006

Suckouts, Bustouts and Another Party MTT Final Table

Let me start with the good news today. I made another final table this week, my 8th major MTT final table of the year. When I say "major" in this context, I'm referring to a tournament with more than 100 entrants. So the WWdNs and most of the other blogger tournaments I'm not counting in that total. My WPBT Gemini event win last weekend also doesn't count for me, although it is one of my most proud accomplishments thus far since I started the blog last year. But last night I played in the $10 satellite to the partypoker $1 million guaranteed tournament, and 114 entrants showed up to join in this nightly 11:30pm ET tournament on party. This is a satellite which I won in late January of this year, my first ever major online tournament win, and which eventually led to my cashing in the party million guaranteed tournament in mid-February, the only time I've played in the event thus far. It was a real thrill playing for that big of a prize pool (winner takes close to 250k if there is no deal), where even if you cash at the lower levels, you're getting a payout of around $750 or more. Anyways, party offers every hour or so in the evenings a satellite to their monthly million dollar guaranteed event, but some of them are $30 buyins, some are $20 buyins, some are 750 FPPs only, and the later one at 11:30pm ET every night is the $10, my buyin of choice for this event.

So, things started off nicely for me in the party satellite, as on hand #1 I picked up K3s in late position, and put in a steal raise when it was checked around to me, getting only the BB to call to see this flop:

Now if you know me, you know I don't normally chase draws in nlh tournaments, because chasing draws is normally a losing proposition in this game. However, in this case I had put in a steal-raise, I had no reason to believe that this flop had hit my opponent in any way, and I did have the flush draw as well as third pair, so with a lot of outs I bet the pot on the flop. My opponent thought for a moment and then raised my 480 bet to 1000. Try as I might, I could not put him on a big pocket pair since he merely called my preflop steal-raise. That left me to assume that I had 3 Kings as outs, 2 Threes as outs, plus the other 9 flush outs, for a total 14 outs, making me a virtual 50/50 battle with him to win the hand with two cards to come. At that point the pot was laying me better than 3 to 1 odds, plus likely more in implied odds if I hit my hand given how much of our chips were going in on hand #1. So I took it, but I didn't just call his raise to 1000 chips on the flop. I know I'll be more or less committed once those 1000 go in, so I just skipped a step:

and reraised him allin. He called, and flipped up trip 6s. So a few of my outs were not in fact the outs I had counted them to be, but none of that mattered when I flushed on the turn and again on the river, doubling up on hand #1:

I lost close to a third of my stack not too long later when I ran into this similarly hard-to-get-away-from hand:

Nothing like raising it up 4.4x preflop, and getting one fishcaller with 86s who then flops a straight and doubles through you. Frustrating. But luckily thanks to my first hand fireworks, I still had plenty of a stack to work with. And I played aggressively with those chips, early and often. Here is a great example of what aggressive nlh play enables you to do in an MTT:

I have 64s in late position, with only one limper in from mid-late position ahead of me, and this was a guy whom I had personally observed limping in to multiple pots from lateish position with absolute cripe in his hand. So, I raised him up 4.4x right off the bat. Unfortunately, one of the blinds called in addition to the limper, whom I still had pegged for simply not being able to get away from his bad hand at that point, because he was clearly a guy who raises with his good hands early on. The flop came:

A weak flop that was not likely to have hit anyone, and no one bet it preflop like they had any kind of a pocket pair worth going to the mat with. So when they made the mistake of both checking that flop to me, I made the deliberate move of betting the pot, and the weaklings all folded to my 6-high:

I love it. Though I resisted showing that bluff, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

I won another nice hand here and kept chipping up when another bozo pushed in a little too quick on a raggy flop with that well known powerhouse hand of QJ. It wasn't even sOOted!

Please, people, if you're going to push-bluff on a raggy flop, at least wait a few seconds to make it seem like you are either considering something, calculating your odds, or trying to show some false hesitation. When you just quickpush after a raggy flop, you almost scream out to me that you are a moron don't have a very strong hand. Please!

Speaking of moronic moves, check out this guy, who truly made one of the worst preflop reraises I've ever seen in my entire life of playing poker. Maybe he read just the section of SuperSystem about how much Doyle likes the suited connectors, and nothing else (in that book or otherwise). I raised an unraised pot 4.2x from middle position:

When it got around to him, he quick-pushed from the SB, and the push just didn't seem like someone playing a real big hand. I called with my deuces, knowing I was in a race:

What a deeyonk! Luckily my 2s held up and I had nearly doubled up again. Shortly afterwards, down to 70 players of the 114 who started, I hit both of my hole cards on the turn and the river in this hand, and moved in on a guy who also had a hand he wasn't able to get away from:

I suppose this was a hard one to get away from for him, but (1) he didn't bet when he made second pair on the flop, so I stayed in, and (2) he might have assumed with the Ace on the board that one of the other two of us was holding AQ, A9 or A8. In any event, that was a huge hand for me and jumped me up near the top of the standings, with close to 40% of the field gone. What's more, I was still at the same weak table that I'd been playing at for some time, where few people were contesting my preflop raises, and even fewer seemingly were contesting any moves I made at flops and turn cards after everyone else had already shown some weakness. For example, here is me stealing a 2000 chip pot with the Hammer despite a flop that likely could have or should have hit someone, but my opponent was very obvious in his flop check that he didn't like the flop, so when I made this move on the turn, he folded it to me (and I showed the hand, as is proper):

I stole a lot of pots in this way. The more the field showed weakness with respect to a particular board, the more I bet, and the more pots I stole. Then, the more my stack grew by feeding off of this petty thievery, the more intimidated the board became by me, so I stole even more. This tends to be the pattern with most of my deep runs in MTTs online -- when I look back, there is just a whole lot of me winning pots uncontested with bets on the flop or afterwards, usually starting somewhere around the middle of the tournament and lasting all the way up to and through the final table. I just make the table respect me with my solid, aggressive play, and then once the table respects me, it becomes very easy to take down a huge number of pots by just maintaining that aggressive, solid image. For example:

Here is another pot I stole with just a pot-sized bet on the turn. I hadn't played hard in the hand preflop or on the flop, but when everyone showed weakness by checking the raggy flop, I figured the odds of someone holding a 7 were fairly low, so why not use my aggressive image and represent the 7 myself? It worked and I chipped up again.

And then we once again get to the best part about being so aggressive, so often -- as Doyle writes very eloquently about in SuperSystem, occasionally I actually get to wake up with a real hand too. And when you've been moving aggressively at a lot of pots, creating a lot of doubt about what cards you're really holding, people start making very dubious decisions when they like their hole cards, because they start thinking that I might be in the pot with anything:

So I raised up the pot when it was checked around to me in MP, putting in a solid raise with a suited one-gapper, going for a steal and adding some variation. The button called, and then I flopped a monster:

A few cards later, this guy was all-in with me at the river, holding the following cards:

I mean, just look at how easily this guy donked me his chips. Just ATo, and no hit whatsoever on the board. Damn that one felt good. And again, it's all brought about by my consistent, constant, unrelenting aggression throughout the middle part of this tournament. Without that, this guy would almost surely have folded his medicore ATo, in particular by the turn or river when I was betting at him and he had nothing. Instead, I've been betting at so many pots, this guy rightly figures I can't possibly have a hand every time I'm betting on the flop and turn here. He is very right as you can see from the hands above, but he picked the wrong hand to make his stand on.

Now, one very true statement that I've seen written about in many places (I know TJ Cloutier is into this in his holdem books, as well as others), when you're an MTT'er, you're going to need to win with AK and to beat AK in key places if you expect to make it to the final table, and last night was no exception for me. Here is me winning such a race on the river with about 20 players left in the tournament:

After 10 hands later, here is the opposite, me taking pocket 8s up against AK in a big way:

D Q B!! This huge hand and huge pot vaulted me over 50,000 chips, and into first place of the remaining 19 players in the MTT:

Having shown down a few large hands of late, I then resumed my pot-stealing ways, with a now even more intimidating image and a massive chip stack. Thus,


and soon, with a few more plays like the one above sprinkled in for good measure, we were down to just 13 players remaining, so there was the bubble aspect going on where the big stacks can really take advantage of the smaller stacks who are just hoping to hold on for the final table and a shot at the money spots or the big prize. Thus, in this hand, even after a minbet from early position at this flop:

I took the pot down by raising aggressively against a guy who was not about to chuck his entire tournament on whatever hand he was holding (I assume just a low ace or two other high cards, a hand that could easily have beaten me if he had just bet it bigger first, or reraised my raise of his minbet):

A few hands later, the 11th place player was eliminated, and I had made another MTT final table. Only the top 5 spots would be paid, with the majority going to the #1 spot who would get the buyin to the million dollar guaranteed tournament, which is what I was really after.

Shortly into the final table, I made clear my intention to continue with my aggressive play, taking down this hand with a bet on the turn with pocket cards that I was fairly sure were behind in the hand at that point:

Some people were willing to stick with me for smallish bets on straight or flush draws with two cards to come, but my repeated aggression combined perfectly with a few choice instances of quads, flopped straights, etc. to create a sphere of invinicibiility around me, and people generally avoided tangling with me if I was putting any kind of significant chippage into the pot. This enabled me to hold on to my top stack for the first 30 minutes at least of final table play. This hand didn't hurt either, when we were down to 9 players remaining:

For you MTTers out there, is there anything better than looking down to find pocket Aces at the final table, when the blinds are already escalating out of control? I love that. Now, running into someone else's Aces late in a tournament is utterly sickening, but I love when they run into mine.

The very next hand after the above trip Aces, I lost a massive pot when I ran my top pair on the river into a rivered inside straight:

I was furious, but it turns out that I was behind the whole way, so I guess I can't complain too much. I think when you're going to play ultra aggressively like is most effective in these large events, you have to be prepared to take some bad beats, sometimes just due to the cards and the odds, and sometimes when you just make an aggressive move when you're actually way behind. You can't wait around all the time to see if everyone else checks first, or often times someone else will be the one getting in there and betting first, and you'll have to fold your hand that would have bet out and taken down the pot if the action had waited to get to you first. Despite this huge pot loss, I still had chips and was determined not to let my chances of winning the party million seat slip away when I was so close to getting there for the first time in a a few months. With my new shortish stack and the blinds ever increasing, I knew I had to loosen up my playing requirements just a bit, and push even more aggressively with hands that I might have waited on, or even passed on, when I was the chip leader. So, 8 hands later, instead of trying to slow-raise or get fancy with the larger stacks at the table, I pushed preflop with AK and dominated my opponent who called me:

Similarly, I bet most of my stack here with just second pair, and won:

And then, down to just 6 players remaining, I pushed hard one spot from the button with this medium Ace:

and chipped up again. Continuing with my aggression, I won this hand uncontested on the flop with top pair despite a potentially scary flop:

After pocket 7s took down another large pot for me, I was back in the chip lead for the first time in about an hour, with just 6 players remaining at the final table:

and I was determined to make this one count. I want to win the party million, so I have to find my way into that tournament in order to make that happen, and this was going to be my chance, I could just feel it. I was so bummed when this pot happened, where I was about to amass a massive chip stack that would have almost surely bought me the party million seat, but it turned out I was not as far ahead with my nut hand as I had thought:

Although I was still perfectly alive and with a hefty stack, this non-win seemed to take the wind out of my sails a bit. And, about 10 hands later when I once again made second-pair-good-kicker on the flop, I pushed, but sadly pushed right into my worst enemy -- Pocket Effing Aces:

And that was all she wrote for me. Out in 5th place out of 114 entrants. No party million seat for me today, but I did pocket another $100 for my efforts, so I'm not complaining about that. Actually, I am, I can't stand running into pocket Aces after a long run to the final table of an MTT. But I played well, and I can't wait to keep trying to play my way back in to this tournament in the near future.

As for tonight, look for me in the party 40k guaranteed at 10:20pm ET, as well as on pokerstars, at least for my usual $5 turbo event at 10:39pm ET, as well as my chance to defend my own title in Darval's WWdN Not tournament under the "private" tab on stars as well. I look forward to hoying you all but good in the WWdN Not tonight.


Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Nice run, Hoy. Sucks to run into those pocket aces, but at least you got paid for your efforts. I'm trying to get tomorrow off of work, so maybe I will see you in the 40k tonight. We'll see how it goes.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Matt, I definitely plan to be in the 40k tonight. Definitely check me out if you play in it. I feel like we haven't talked in ages. Hope you're doing well.

4:29 AM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

You. are. a. machine. Great run, great aggression. Bummer about the Royal vs your broadway and bummer about those final aces, but what a run! My only question, did you Hoy anybody?

6:19 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Ha ha hoff, I did hoy a guy or two, but nothing that was really worth reprinting here. In general I prefer to show the hoys that get called and double me up as opposed to the ones that draw folds.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

awesome post...worth goofing around the computer till midnight...don't know why i keep forgetting about WWdN not. I was up - shouldve played...

Also, there is not bad Hoy shot - as the Holy Father of the Hoy, you should try to work one in per post..this thing is building momentum...

11:54 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

dude, i love that all in call with your gutshot. you must vow to never bitch about stars again. good job tonight. it wuz fun to play you heads up for the "not" title.

12:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home