Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Blogger MATH II -- Night of the RESUCK

Another awesome time was had by all in last night's MATH (Mondays at the Hoy) tournament, the second since I opened up the home game to the bloggers and anyone else who wants to play in our weekly 10pm ET Monday night online homegame. For the second straight week, we had 20 entrants at $20 a pop, giving rise to three payouts of $200, $120 and $80 to the top three finishers. So there was again some serious money at stake, and a lot of Hammers shown, hoys dropped and smack talked was the norm as per usual with this crowd. And, moreso even than usual with pokerstars, the game was just chock full of Resucks, where one player sucked out a card on the other on the flop or turn, only to see the original frontrunner take the lead back later in the hand by hitting a major longshot to make all right with the world.

Here was my starting table in the MATH tournament:

Unfortunately, for the second straight week I didn't get cripe for cards throughout the entire tournament. I don't say that as an excuse, because after thousands of MTTs I can now say with certainty that one can often win an MTT without getting anywhere near the normal dose of good cards. It's harder of course, but I would say that in at least half of the MTTs in which I have made significant scores, my cards sucked. Even when I won the party 40k nightly guaranteed tournament last month, if you recall from my blog entry I saw a measly 8% of flops throughout the entire event, something which I think exemplifies how bad my cards were overall more than any anecdotal evidence I could provide. So getting no cards is no excuse not to do well, but it does say a lot about the kind of tournament it was for me, and the kind of play that it was going to take for me to add to my chip stack. And that kind of play that can succeed without actual good cards is aggression, and bluffing. Two of my favorite things in poker!

So, five hands into the event, I put Jules, last week's 3rd place money winner, to the test early. After my open end straight draw busted on the river, I decided to go with my read that Jules was somewhat weak, and made a slightly more than pot-sized bluff with nada:

Jules thought and thought, and eventually mucked her cards:

Whew! Sorry to have to show you that one Jules, but something tells me you're feeling fine about your play overall last night. So this gave me a few chips to work with, but then I got caught slow playing trips that I could never have been put on by my opponent, Waffles, when I got pokerstarsed on the river:

and I was back down to around even. Waffles bragged on his blog how he loves to knock me out of tournaments (as if that's ever happened!). So I know that's partially why he stayed in on this hand despite my giving him slightly poor odds to draw to his flush. I've seen Waffles do this before, and unlike SoxLover who I believe it was who took offense to Waffles's attempts to even make a poor call just in the hopes of tilting someone, I welcome Waffles (and anyone else with this strategy) to keep it up. I make my living off of fishy moves like that, so I say Thank You Waffles, for taking a chance at a drawing hand like I know you love to do, and more importantly for creating some fun action in the earlygoing of the MATH tournament. Action after all is what these blogger events are supposed to be all about, so I do appreciate that.

What I appreciate even more, however, is this shot, taken about 4 hands later:

Notice we are just 17 minutes in to the event, and take a look at the bottom of the leaderboard. Waffles has been on a bit of a slump lately -- the second time in fact in recent memory when both he and I were running bad at the same time -- and yesterday was no exception as Waffles made a questionable allin call with AJ on an Ace-high flop against my hometown friend drraz and his two pair on the flop, and WGH in 20th place out of 20 players. Let me see, have to find my calculator here....okay there it is....punch in some numbers here....
OK yes I've just confirmed it, that in fact means that Waffles was the first one out in the tournament last night. Thanks for playing man, seriously. As I posted on his blog yesterday, a blogger tournament is just not the same without a Waffles sighting. And a "sighting" is all we really had time for yesterday, but he still managed to make the event a more fun experience overall in just the very brief time we all had together.

The next 15 or so hands went by relatively uneventfully at my table, until my brother in law (lester), playing in his first ever MATH event (or first online poker event overall, to my knowledge), could just not get away from his pocket Jacks after the flop, despite the single Ace hitting the board and my apparent happiness with the flop, sending him home in 18th place overall:

I've played with lester on several occasions in live games, including one trip to the Taj in AC for a $60 buyin holdem tournament, and the guy has won multiple tournaments before my very eyes. Last night, he was already a little short-stacked when he made his move, and frankly I don't think I gave much actual reason for him to believe I held an Ace in my hand, since I called his preflop raise from the cutoff, a position where I will quite often call a stealy-looking raise from late position preflop. So here was where I amassed a nice pile of chips, bumping up to 2nd place of the 16 remaining players. It's amazing how much my aggressive style lands me in the top 5 or so of these mid-sized MTTs at some point in the earlygoing. And correspondingly how few top-5 finishes I have produced, given those early leads. But I was off to a good start yet again, and that's about all you can ask for in these MTT events, so that was all good.

And then came my Hand of Truth™ in the tournament. I raised 4x preflop with 88 from middle position, and Smokkee quickly reraised me allin with a medium-sized stack. As my readers know, I've played with Smokkee and watched him play other tournaments quite often by this point, and I knew enough to know a few things:

1. Smokkee would not make this move with, say, the Hammer. He is aggressive and he'll play the Hammer or other crappy bluff hands on occasion. But not in this way. He's not pushing against a guy who is known to bet his good hands preflop like me, not with nothing. So I know he has something. A pair or a solid Ace most likely.

2. At the same time, I also knew right away that Smokkee wasn't sitting on Aces or something like that. He may not slow play as much as I do, but Smokkee is the kind of guy who, in this situation, would not play AA or KK in this way. Queens maybe, or a lower pocket pair. Or AK or maybe even AQs if he was feeling extra fishy.

So, I was faced with a dilemma. I had Smokkee on a medium pocket pair or AK -- I have definitely seen him play AK in this exact way before -- and so I figured I was probably 50% chance to be in a race situation with the slight lead, and probably another 25% chance to be dominating him if he had a pocket pair lower than my 8s. In all, I went with the adage I've read in a few poker books lately that say that the 8 is where many professionals will make a move like this, because it's the exact midway point where there are 6 pairs that lose to it and 6 pairs that beat it. I had the median pocket pair, and I know Smokkee would play an AK or a lower pocket pair in this way, so I went ahead and made the call. And took it in the chin:

So this was just one of those situations where my read was more or less right, but it turned out he had one of the last 25% of hands that would dominate me, and not the 75% of hands that I would have had either a small or a large chip lead over. I got no help and was down to just over 450 chips remaining, which I promptly lost on the next hand where I got allin as the favorite:

but then got pokerstarsed again on the board:

and IGH in 17th place overall:

A very poor performance for me, but typical of what's happened to me of late. As I look back over it, I probably should not have called Smokkee's allin bet with my pocket 8s. I've just seen Smokkee play low to medium pocket pairs and AK or AQs so often in this way that I decided to go with a chance since my pocket pair was in the middle of all possible pocket pairs. I read it more or less correctly but was just close enough in being wrong that I found myself dominated. What can you do.

As the tournament wore on without its esteemed host still participating, players slowly but surely dropped out as we marched towards the final table. With the elimination of Drewspop in 11th and then Matt, last week's WWdN champ, in 10th, the final table was set. In the first hand of final table play, Jordan moved his short stack allin on a Q73 rainbow flop and holding KQo, which was the best hand at the time. And from here is where this week's Hoy Hand of the Tournament™ occurred. Two players called Jordan's allin bet on the Queen-high flop. Then the turn brought a seemingly harmless offsuit 4. Surflexus moved allin, and drraz quick-called his bet, flipping up pocket 9s. The problem for drraz was, Surf held pocket 4s, and had just made trip 4s on the turn, sucking out on Jordan's best hand on the flop when Jordan had moved allin. So there's the first Resuck of the MATH tournament.

As the rail braced for two players eliminated from the final table by Surf on the same hand, the extremely rare suck-resuck-Resuck went down at the river:

giving drraz the surprise hand victory, eliminating Jordan, and knocking Surf down to nothing, where he went out on the next hand after losing to a rivered flush (in case you're wondering, yes pokerstars was definitely in rare form last night.):

Soon after the Hoy Hand of the Tournament went down, the first break in the MATH event occurred, with this the setup:

The final seven players included Jules, Smokkee, fellow New York poker blogger SoxLover, drraz, my brother Aquaverse, Hoff in his first MATH event, and Hacker59, also playing in his second consecutive Hoy final table.

And this was where the Resucks really starting hitting the fan, to an almost ludicrous degree. First, here is Smokkee fishcalling an allin bet from Aquaverse at questionable odds with just a nut flush draw on the turn:

Here he is donkeyhitting his draw on the turn:

But then boom! on the river:

to keep Aqua alive. For the time being. Meanwhile, Smokkee's luck ran out a few hands later when he pushed with KT into what turned out to be AT, and got no help:

A very solid showing of 6th place for Smokkee, who won this event last week while also winning a mere $3500 for "bubbling" in an ftp WSOP main event qualifier.

Aqua's luck also ran out a few hands later in consecutive toussles with drraz. First there was this hand which saw Aqua's flush lose to drraz's full house on the turn:

and then Aqua, sharing the same blood and genes as I have, tilted his way into a preflop-raised hand with just a weak Ace, and he went home in 5th place overall:

Also a nice showing for Aquaverse, who went out on the Very. First. Hand. last week.

Two hands later, Jules scored a huge pot from drraz when his Jacks ran into a noticeably stronger hand than that:

Pocket Aces. Something I have seen exactly one of out of my last 789 hands played online. That's painful, for something that should occur once for every 221 hands played. But Jules made the best of it here, staving off elimination and building a nice stack here on the MATH tournament bubble with just the top three spots paying.

And speaking of the bubble, drraz eliminated the bubble here when he induced Hacker to move in on the flop with a medium Ace when drraz already held two pairs:

So, two straight money finishes for Jules, who along with Sox and drraz rounded out this week's money positions in MATH.

Here was another great hand that occurred a few hands into the money positions last night. Drraz raised 3x from the SB, and Sox reraised him allin. Drraz called, and the players flipped their cards:

A classic race situation. But on the turn, Sox, who had been the slight dog heading into the flop, hit one of his six outs to take about a 14-to-1 lead heading into the river card:

And the river hit, and hit hard:

And Sox was out, with $80 to show for his efforts.

Heads-up between drraz and Jules was quite a ride, with a few very interesting hands. On this one, after a flop of Q97 rainbow, Jules hoyed drraz, and drraz responded in kind by moving Jules in for her last chip. Jules had to call, and when they flipped, we saw this:

We all thought that was pretty funny. Similarly, a few hands later, Jules raised 2x (+1) preflop, and drraz moved her allin. Jules begrudgingly called, and again the players flipped their hands:

For another split pot, the second in a span of six hands. Back and forth the players went, trading the lead on consecutive hands in a few spots, until Jules took the lead when drraz made this highly questionable preflop allin call:

where Jules took her first chip lead of the night just before the second break hit. Things continued back and forth for about 10 hands into Round 3, and finally the following hand went down. Drraz raised 3.5x preflop, and Jules moved him allin, minus the requisite one chip of course. Drraz called and the players flipped their hands:

Once again, the turn card put the underdog ahead significantly with just one card to come:

And once again, pokerstars put an exclamation point on things with a little longshot river surprise of its own:

Two hands later it was over:

and Jules had done it! Third place last week, and now first this week, bringing her running total from two MATH tournaments to $280 cold hard cashish.

Congrats to all the final tablers, and to Jules, drraz and Sox for their cashes in the event, and thanks to all who came out to play. Same bat time, same bat place next Monday night for Mondays at the Hoy.

WWdN tonight, 8:30pm ET. Password is "monkey". Play in it, or you're insane.


Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Thanks for hosting, Hoy. You need to talk to your dealers, though. I was completely card dead the whole time. See you at the WWdN!

3:53 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

You n me both, Matt, you n me both.

Good luck defending your wwdn title tonight. Sorry in advance for eliminating you. ;)

3:53 AM  
Blogger Malcolm Clarke said...

Hi, Found Your Blog and linked to it, hope I find my way onto your link list somewhere!

Looking forward to reading more!


6:24 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

dude, that A5s vs. 99 call wuz a coinflip after that flop. obv i'm hoping for a flush draw when i raise preflop with a suited Ace. when i saw the flush draw hit, i already had it in my mind i was going to move in on the flop. although, aquafish wuz ahead on the flop, i don't see how he can move in EP with an overcard on the board holding 99. he wuz lucky his hand held up.

1:16 AM  

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