Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Two Hands I Am Proud Of

OK so I donked out early in the WWdN once again yesterday. And when I say donked I mean Donked. So much for "moderated aggression"...early on I bombed out on a reverse hoy where I ran into one of the two cards in the deck that would cripple me. The reverse hoy is only to be used when you have more chips than your opponent, and it is betting just enough chips to put your opponent allin minus one of his chips. This is a more aggressive variation of the hoy, which is betting all but one of your own chips. Anyways, I was up against my boy Smokkee, who I know reads my blog regularly. So I know he knows all about the hoy, and as a result, that he also knows that I generally only use the hoy when I have a near-nut hand and am about to knock someone out of the tournament. Thus, when my blind-bluff with 92s ran into a flop of JJ4, and then a scare-card Ace came on the turn, I completely abandoned any moderation of aggression, and just reverse hoyed, figuring that Smokkee knows my strategy and that I must therefore have a high Jack in my hand for trips:

Unfortunately, Smokkee was the guy holding a Jack, and he correctly called me down, and I was done early:

I am proud to have been the first donator to Smokkee's cause last night, and congrats to the big man for taking the entire thing down after accumulating a massive stack near the end (flopping a boat with Q2 on the last hand didn't hurt much either):

So, since I effed up the WWdN so badly, I want to feel good about myself this morning, so instead of telling you about my other exploits last night, I'm going to post about two specific hands I played in last night where I am very pleased with the strategy I used to get where I wanted to be.

This first hand occurred about half an hour into the 6-handed MTT on pokerstars last night. I was in the top 20% or so of the 179 remaining players and was dealt 98s in first betting position preflop. Now, those of you who play it -- in particular in the cash games -- will know that 6-handed nlh has Brute Aggression as an absolute prerequisite. With only 6 hands max playing at any given time, you just can't sit and wait for the nuts or you'll be giving up way too many pots where you could have been stealing blinds, bluff-raising, etc. So, to try to set up a play after the flop, and really for future advertising and general variation purposes, I will definitely make a play sometimes like the one I did here:

It's a very aggressive move, but if you're confident in your ability to play after the flop, including to fold when you are likely beaten and without chance to steal the pot, it's not any big deal, and you simply cannot underestimate the effect that making a raise like this every once in a while will have on the action you can get later in the tournament when you raise preflop with your monster hands.

Anyways, the flop comes K75 with two clubs, giving me a flush draw and a gutshot draw. Since I made the original preflop raise, I'm going to bet at this pot, and for me that is typically somewhere around the size of the pot since I represented a very strong hand preflop by raising from first betting position after the blinds:

I get called after just a short pause, and here is the river card:

I've made my flush. Yes it's not a nut flush, but I don't see how I can play this hand the way I have, and then only now get scared that I'm beaten by a higher flush. If that's what happens, I'm just gonna lose a lot of chips and that's that. The whole reason I'm playing in a low-buyin MTT instead of a cash game is so that I don't have to even think about playing scared like that. So I've got to assume I have the best hand here at this point. And when I ascertain that I likely have the nuts with one or more cards still to come, as my frequent readers know that is when I start focusing on how I can get all of the other guy's chips over to my side of the table.

So, I know I have a great hand that I believe is already better than what my opponent will have after five cards (Level 1 thinking). Level 2 is taken care of as well by that statement, since whatever he has I have to assume I am well ahead, barring any crazy river suckouts. So, moving to Level 3 -- what does he think I have? -- this guy can't really put me on holding two clubs. Of course it's possible, but with my 4.4x raise from first position preflop, and then my 1.4x the pot-sized bet on the flop, he has to figure me for a high pocket pair, or maybe AK or AQs. So unless I have AK or AQ of clubs, it is highly unlikely in his eyes that I am helped at all by the 2 of clubs on the turn.

So, I feel like I've already got the hand won in terms of what we each are acutally holding, and I am fairly certain that this guy must think he can beat a high pocket pair, because he has to be putting me on that type of a hand given the story I have fed him since the hole cards initially came out. And that is exactly where I want to be. I'm figuring he must have 2 pairs, maybe even hidden trips, something like that. Whatever it is, I want him to put some more money into this pot, but I don't want to lose him yet because he has a hand he thinks is likely better than the pocket pair he thinks I am playing. So I came up with this:

I bet 600 chips, into a pot of over 1600 chips before my turn bet. This bet accomplishes two things, both of which should be crucial to me right now for the play of this hand:

1. Assuming he has the hand that I think he has, it will get at least 600 more chips from my opponent into the pot. This is good because those chips are eventually destined for my stack, and because it will make it harder for my opponent to get away from another big bet from me on the river.

2. At least equally importantly, the bet is small enough to support the story that my opponent desperately wants to believe right now. He has two pairs or trips, and he thinks I have Aces, Kings or Queens in the hole. This bet would support a situation where I know I have an overpair to the board, but am beginning to fear that I might actually be behind. This is what my opponet wants to believe already, and I'm just feeding him exactly what he wants to see. He calls.

The river comes the Ace of spades. A good card for me (unless he has put me on pocket Aces), because it figures to hit a lot of the hands he might have been playing here, to have improved his hand in some way. So now I go in for the kill, hoping that he won't abandon his hand with the Ace hitting the river:

Yes, I hoyed the guy. And yes, he called it.

Anybody want to guess what he was holding there?

Hand #2 from last night was an example of one of my favorite kind of moves to make in an MTT. It's something that I like to think is only typically done by guys who are able to make the jump from Level 1 to Level 4 thinking fairly quickly, and I think it is a great example of what can go on in the minds of two players who are both really considering the options, the circumstances and the situations surrounding their plays. I admit it, I fucking loved playing this hand.

This second hand was also during the same 6-handed nlh tournament on pokerstars. I had been playing with Indrid, this guy to my immediate right, for probably about an hour straight. During that time I had had occasion to observe his betting patterns, raising patterns, and his general play preflop and postflop quite a bit, and had taken copious notes. It seems our friend Indrid was someone who simply could not resist raising when it was checked around to him on the button or one of the blinds. He simply could not stop himself. Ever. And I personally had picked him off on a couple of occasions where he ended up quickfolding to a sizable bet or raise from me. But this guy just never learned. In over an hour of play I never once saw him fail to raise in any of the steal positions mentioned above, and in fact every time he ended up quickfolding (suggesting to me that he held total cripe in his hand), he was raising it up 3x from a steal position preflop.

So, knowing all this background, I am dealt K9o in the BB, with Indrid in the SB, and the betting checks around to Indrid in the big blind. Indrid again quick-raises his standard 3x, and I feel like Josh Arieh at the final table in the year that Raymer won the WSOP Main Event: "Oh it's On baby!" I know this guy almost certainly doesn't have squat. And I know that K9o, while no kind of monster by any means, is well ahead of the average hand one can expect to be dealt. So I think my hand is a definite winner, and I don't want his bogus showing of aggression to allow him to take control of this pot. So I do what I have to do after his 3x raise to 300 chips:

I reraised him back, 3x his already 3x bet. He quick calls. This tells me everything I needed to know -- if he was really holding a big hand at that point, my observation of him tells me he would have reraised. This was just a guy who had gotten picked off by me one too many times, and was not about to give the hand up this time. I felt very confident I was ahead with my K9o preflop, as I have him on a Q, J or T with a lower card, or else he would have either re-reraised or folded to my preflop reraise.

The flop comes all raggy -- 4T8 rainbow -- and Indrid suddenly leads out with a bet of 900 chips into an 1800 chip pot. Now, I had shown a lot of aggression preflop, so to me, the bet of only half the pot struck me as very weak. It's exactly the size of bet (half the pot) that Harrington advocates for most continuation-type of bets (even though I got in the last raise preflop), and I just didn't see how it suggested that he really thought he had the best hand. If anything, it seemed almost designed to try to just slow me down, or maybe to make one last stab at the pot, while still leaving my opponent with an exit strategy in case something went wrong. Something like, uh, this perhaps?

I was putting this to the test right here. I had aboslutely nothing, but I was so sure that this guy had had nothing from the beginning, and every bet and pause he had made since then supported that theory. So I was resolved to go with my read, and I figured this will end the hand one way or the other. Either he re-reraises allin, in which case clearly I was folding, or he would have to fold. He made his choice:

And I took down a very large pot. I love the bluff-bet with nothing -- that's a move that makes any amateur or hobby player like most of us feel good, but eventually becomes sorta run of the mill once you do it enough. For some reason, however, the bluff-reraise just never seems to get old for me. Bluff-reraising someone out of a pot is one of those situations where I'm thinking right up on Level 4. This guy must think that I think he has a good hand, given his preflop aggression and call of my reraise, and then given his lead bet of half the pot on the flop. Since he knows I must think he has a good hand, if I'm raising and reraising him like this, I must have a great hand. So he folds. It's a beautiful thing.

OK that's all for now. Unfortunately I won't be able to make the Mookie tonight, as I am going to to see my beloved yet hapless Phillies stick it to the Mets tonight at Shea. I may be on later or I may not, that remains to be seen, but you should definitely be playing in the Mookie tournament tonight, always once of the most fun times of the bloggerweek. And don't forget about my Monday night homegame tournament, which will begin next week at 10pm ET (I know DADI may get in the way of this this week and some other times -- but with my multi-tabling tendencies and my non-blogger friends who play in the weekly game, it will still go on as scheduled). In response to some comments it will be a $20 buyin next Monday and will be no-limit holdem for now, but I would love to hear any additional comments or suggestions as far as what has worked and not worked in the other regular tournaments that have gone down.


Blogger smokkee said...

thanks for the props. i just got lucky in that hand with the J-10. i knew there was no way you were gonna put me on a J the way i played it.

Hand 1, this guy's gotta have a high club and at least a pair. even tho he missed his flush, he calls your river bet, cuz he's already committed and considers it a bluff. he's got AQo or KQo with one club.

Hand 2, that guy is a 'tard. you played both hands perfectly.

too bad you won't be in the Mook' tonight. have fun at the game.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Hoya, too bad about WWdN, but I like your no-guts no glory style...and rest assured I Hoyed on without you (and in your honor).

Interestingly I posted you might have bounced on a reverse Hoy - I have a finely attuned Hoydar I guess...

Hand 1 - i was putting him on the low set, looks good, even though he knows he's in danger, he can't abandon it.

Hand 2 - very instructive, must make note not to do shit like that...

11:56 PM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

Nice play. Love the bluff-raise play. Nicely done. On the first hand, I put villain on one of three hands: 55, 77, or AcKx. He either flopped a set or hung around with TPTK and a runner runner on the nut flush draw, and wound up with top two pair. Of course I could be giving Indrid too much credit. I think he had at least one club in any of his hands, because even with a set, he should still be cautious with the club draw. Plenty of people play s00ted aces aggressively, and if he didn't have it, he certainly could've put you on it.

12:42 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

i love the "hoy" and "reverse hoy" comments...good stuff.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Guin said...

First hand villian has to be on 77.

8:21 PM  

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