Thursday, June 22, 2006

Surfin at the Mook

Wednesday night. It's quickly becoming a night when I want to leave work early, so I can get home and get started with the pokering to prepare for the nightly home game of the stars, the Mookie. It's a $10 buyin private tournament on pokerstars, and it's every Wednesday night at 10pm ET. This event, which I remember started with just a couple of tables maybe 3 or 4 months ago as I recall, has steadily grown almost each and every week since its inception. And as the number of players / bloggers has grown, so has the word of mouth. And the word of mouth has led to more and more players hearing about this weekly event, slowly bringing in even some of the blogger heavies that you don't normally see traipsing around the weekly low-limit blogger tournaments. Even Change1OO made an appearance at the rail in the earlygoing. And with all these bloggers and all these poker players coming together every Wednesday night like this, the notes are being made, the patterns are being noticed, and the traps are being laid. And the chat of course is some of the most riveting stuff about the whole event. And that's exactly what the weekly Mookie tournament is -- an event, one not to be missed except for extremely exigent circumstances.

After a bit of a lull in the number of players signed up last week when Mook was away in Vegas and unable to join, at least one blogger mentioned to me in the girly chat that maybe the interest was drying up a bit. I said right then that there was no way. The bottom line is, the event is just not quite as fun without Mookie himself there. I don't know, but I definitely felt just a little less pull to play in the Mookie last week knowing the Mook wouldn't be participating. I still played, don't get me wrong, but I actually debated not playing and just returning the following week with our esteemed host. Instead I played anyways (of course), final tabled, and watched Smokkee donk his way to victory. I was ready to roll on Wednesday night, and before we knew it, a late push of signups led to 57 players, easily the biggest event yet.

To me this was a particularly big week for the Mookie, because the Mookie's 57 players compares very favorably with the 65 we got for the WWdN tournament on Tuesday of this week. Now granted, Wil was not available for that tournament either, but 65 is fairly close to the average WWdN attendance. Wouldn't it be amazing if the Mookie soon becomes the largest weekly gathering of poker bloggers, anywhere? I mean, when you've got Pauly and CJ showing up every week, the rest of the poker blogging world cannot be far behind.

Also, congrats to Smokkee for yet another blogger final table. Smokkee, you are a final tabling machine. You have got to play the Main Event man. At least a million to everyone at that table man. And with your penchant for final tables, you're basically a lock. Right?

Lastly, extra special congrats go out to Surflexus, who won the Mookie last night after a tough heads-up battle with still freakishly non-blogging totally normal guy slb. For those of you who don't know, in what seems like just a few months, Surf has now won the Mookie not once, not twice but three times. Clearly, Surf has this what I call "mid-MTT" structure really down pat. Three wins in this event, that is really something worth mentioning. So congrats, Surf, you have really earned my respect.

With all this in mind, I'd like to focus on one hand that occurred between Surf and I about 25 minutes in to the Mookie on Wednesday night. Preflop, Surf limped in from MP, and I raised it up strongly also from MP with my pocket Kings. It folds around to Surf, and he just calls my raise. Then the flop comes:

So, of course there is an Ace against my pocket Kings (what else is new), but after my large preflop bet with the second-best possible starting hand, I am fairly short now, and I'm not going to check and just let Surf move allin with what I assume is not a great hand since he only limped in from MP, and only smooth called my preflop raise. If there's going to be any fold equity here on the flop, it's going to be me with that fold equity, not Surf. Try as I might, I just can't put him on a strong Ace to have open-limped in front of me, and then just called my large preflop raise. So, since I'm beating almost every hand other than the Ace hand that I can't put Surf on, I pushed.

Surf goes in the tank. His 15 second warning comes up. Then he goes into his bonus time. Finally, after hemming and hawing in the chat, Surf elects to call my allin bet.

What do you think Surf has here? Keep in mind, this is your now 3-time champion of the Mookie here. Would he call this allin bet on the flop without an Ace in his hand? Would he have called my large preflop raise with a hand like A-7 or A-8, and would he call with that now, in the face of my allin bet on the flop? What is he holding to make this call?

You know you want to know. Here's Surf's big call:

Slam! Another spot-on read. Now check out the river card:

Reverse Slam! WTF?!

I am the king of losing to 2-outers lately. I got knocked out of the $12,000 Winner's Choice event on Tuesday night more than 60% of the way through perhaps the toughest field I've ever played against, and in position to be in the top 5 of the remaining players with a victory, when my allin preflop JJ lost to TT when a Ten hit on the turn. Later last night, I got bounced from an 830-person MTT on pokerstars in 73rd place overall to win back my losses for the night and then some, but going out when 99 hit an effing 9 on the turn to beat my Hilton biatchwhores. So for this to also happen just a few minutes into a really fun Mookie tournament when I was about to amass my usual large early stack after making a kickass read and bet on the flop despite the presence of an Ace on the board, I am still bitter this morning. In fact, I'm going to kill Surf's call here.

I raised it up strongly preflop, from MP, and when Surf had already limped. Given his limp in front of me, and how many players remain behind me, it is highly unlikely that I'm stealing here. The large size of the raise does nothing to suggest that I'm not raising with an Ace hand. What would Surf have put me on here? 55? 99? I suppose that is possible. But given the strong preflop raise with an open limper already in in front of me and with 3 or 4 players still go act behind me, that suggests a strong hand. Most likely a strong Ace. AK, AQ, maybe AJs or ATs. AA or KK are always possibilities to be considered as well. Certainly, there are many more A-x possible hands than there are 55 or 99 hands for me to be holding. And I think my play was more suggestive of A-x anyways.

Surf made a major error of nlh tournaments here. In fact, I think he made several. He had a high pocket pair preflop. With the biatch sisters in my hand, I advise almost always putting in a raise. Why? You need to get out the middle Aces and the high Kings, the hands that will draw out on your Queens if you let people see a flop cheaply. Just limping in middle position was big mistake number 1 in my view (not that it would have changed anything here, since I had KK. But Surf could not have known that yet, since I was yet to act for the first time). Mistake #2 I think occurred after I raised his open limp preflop. With that pair, and after a large reraise from me preflop, I think Surf should have seriously considered reraising here. If he reraises me preflop (say, another 2x or so, so still small enough to leave him with a playable stack even if he has to lay this down after the flop), he will get one of two options: either (1) if I have AA or KK, I will re-reraise, and he can lay the hand down at a (relatively) minimal loss, or (2) I will call, in which case he has added money to the pot where he almost certainly has the best hand. Either way, I like the modest reraise here as Surf's best move facing an MP raise from a perceived aggressive positional player, designed to win the most money if he's ahead now, or lose the least money if he is already behind with his QQ. Instead, Surf just flat called. That's fine -- I certainly don't see how he can fold here, especially given my reputation for pushing with less than premium startings hands (all the more reason for him to have reraised me preflop) -- but I don't think it is strategically as good for him as a modest reraise, whether he is actually ahead or actually behind preflop.

Surf's third and most egregious error I think came on the flop. It's the cardinal error I see among nlh players online. They get a big hand, the flop is bad, and an opponent bets at them representing whatever made the flop bad for them, and what do they do? They still call with their big pocket pair. Just not able to get away from a big hand. You see it all the time online. In this case, Surf's hand wasn't even that big. Queens is good. But after this flop, I could have a flush draw (I did have the nut K♣ in my hand), KK, AA, or any Ace, and Surf is basically calling off all his chips. The vast majority of the hands I could have been holding after my strong raise preflop, just got helped dramatically by the flop. I think Surf needs to put me on an Ace here, and not call allin with Queens against an Ace-high flop when I bet strong before the flop and hoyed him on the flop itself.

Surf's one big correct decision however was calling allin when he was way, way behind. Like, I mean 95% to 5% behind. 19 to 1? No problem, pokerstars to the rescue. Smart move, Surf, I cannot fault you for that one.

Anyways, Surf knocked me out early on with this hand in the Mookie. I railed for much of the rest of the event, including the entire final table, and Surf really dominated the field. He pilfered my chips like a street urchin, but he definitely put them to good use, and frankly I don't recall Surf making one other bad play in the entirety of the tournament. Luck obviously is a big part of winning any large nlh tourneys, and Surf got his luck early, and then made the best possible use out of it by going to work through the rest of the tournament, probably never dropping lower than 4th place from the moment he stole my chips until the last hand was flipped when slb inexplicably showed T2o and Surf took it down. But Surf, you were lucky to even be there man. It shoulda been me!

Three Mookie wins in three months. Nice work, guy.

One other thing I almost forgot. During a Jessica Simpson boob job token sng on full tilt last night, check out this clownfish who managed to suck out sickly with a garbage hand in each of four out of five consecutive hands, when she was clearly just trying to get eliminated and go to sleep. In each case, vrim got it allin preflop, including with a couple of real doozies:

Gotta love it. I still managed to eliminate this chique in 7th place at the final table, before donking out myself in 6th place for just the $14 booby prize. Such was my time at the virtual tables last night.


Blogger StB said...

Totally with you on the way the Q Q was played. I ran into that last week in the Wil and ranted about it. You need to raise with those queens to flush the people out. If you get re-raised pre-flop, you can lay them down to a very tight opponent or push on the soft one.

Calling on the ace high flop will get you booted out fast! My guess for his hand was queens or jacks. Just a case of a poor play hitting the jackpot.

12:12 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

Thanks for the kind words Hoy. Although I'm sure we'll see some dips in attendance during July...especially with a bunch of people in Vegas for the WSOP and WPBT.

Sick beat last night and there were alot of beats last night (CJ's run of them comes to mind too). I'm interested in hearing surf's thinking on that particular hand.

I think once you guys got to the flop and you dropped the Hoy on him, I wonder if we was thinking you may have had the Hammer or some other bluff type hand. That's one good thing about the get action even on an Ace high board.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

soooooo....does this mean online poker is rigged?

I kid.

You'll admit that you will reraise on a bluff with The Hammer in exactly the same manner you would if you had KK. Not that that's your likely hand, but a real possibility. It's possible Surf had you on a Hammer or its ilk, didn't think a preflop reraise would clarify much, and was just waiting on a board that would clear his post flop raise. Not standard operating procedure, but we've all seen the game from your side of the screenshot and trust just in the back of my head when I'm up against you. The Hoy might have fed into that, 'cause who doesn't love a good HammerHoy. Naturally, consider this Analysis from the Twilight Zone.

Like you said, at least the man used your beat to broomstick the rest of us.

Boy am I looking forward to the questions you submit to Mookie for the questionnaire.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Iak, I 100% agree with you about the possibility that I had the Hammer or was on some other kind of a bluff. My game is that, as best as possible, I try to play every type of hand exactly the same way, on every street that I can, so as to give away nothing about my hand.

What I don't think, however, is that Surf should have thought it more likely than not that I had the Hammer. I think he needed to consider that possibility, but calling off basically all of your chips because you know your opponent plays the Hammer the same way he plays his good hands which is also the same way he is playing the current hand -- that has got to be a losing strategy over time. Even over a short time. Look at what happened last night -- Surf won the hand, but only thanks to a 19 to 1 supersuckout on the river. I say bad call to that one, and uberBOO to pokerstars for bailing this guy out.

3:23 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i've seen surf play big pocket pairs weak in EP or MP. he likes to limp call you down with them. he did the same to love_elf his QQ vs her AKs. she got herself committed and lost a big chunk of her stack early. his thinking is probably that someone will raise it up and he's not betting out of position. he must've put you on a bluff there, that's the way he makes that call.

3:50 AM  
Blogger DuggleBogey said...

There is a definite disconnect between not raising your queens pre-flop, yet getting so married to them you can't lay them down on a bad flop.

I don't get it either.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

My word of the week?


It has replaced the use of pokerstars as a verb -
I was 80/20 by the turn, but got pokerstarsed good! - as the funniest thing I've read here. I laugh every time I say it out loud. Just waiting on a chance to use it regular conversation...

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