Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Poker Night

Turned out, Monday night was online poker night at the Hammer Household. I didn't know this was on the schedule for the evening, and in fact I didn't get on to the pc until maybe 4 or 5 minutes before the Mondays at the Hoy tournament was scheduled to start at 10pm ET. I'm going to take you through my night, as close to chronologically as I can, as I multitabled bigtime throughout what proved to be my longest and most profitable session playing poker online in several weeks. A few days ago I wrote about potentially turning a corner after a protracted losing streak. After last night, my confidence is definitely at a recent high. And I think an unberpost is in order as a result.

When I logged on at around 9:55pm ET on Monday evening, I was very pleased to see a new record turnout for the MATH tournament. In the end we had 38 players, easily surpassing the old record of 31 from a few weeks ago, although I guess I'm not sure how much if any of that was because of the $10 buyin to the event. To be completely honest, that was merely a mistake on my part, and I didn't even realize I had made it $10 instead of $20 until I looked at the total prize pool as the tournament began and noticed the pussy level it was sitting at. 300-some dollars? Come on. So anyways that is my mistake, but to the extent it contributed to bringing together 38 bloggers and blogger wannabes to play some poker, it's all good with me. A few of the notable first-timers that showed up to play the Hoy last night included Bobby Bracelet, Donkey Puncher, and Iggy even managed to find a stepladder to get his head up to the registration counter, so I was thrilled to welcome these old school bloggers into the fold for the first but hopefully not the last time.

Despite the bad run I've been on lately in the large mtts, while I'm waiting for the MATH to start, I stared in horror as my finger quickly darted the cursor over to the ftp 20k, clicked "register", and boom. Apparently I was also playing in the 20k last night. Ok. I'm still not sure why that happened, but something I didn't mention is that over the weekend, I managed to more than double up in the first hour of the party 40k. Sure, I was still gone before the first break, but this literally was my first double-up from my original stack size in any large mtt (more than 100 people, say) in about three weeks. So if you can believe it I guess I left that 40k with some confidence, managing to last all of 50 minutes but at one point having over 7500 chips as compared to my starting stack of 3000. That's how bad things have been for me lately, and I imagine that must have contributed to my body taking control away from my mind and force-clicking its way into the 20k last night.

While all this was going on, a few minutes before 10 as well, a buddy I work with also hit me on the girly chat, to see if I wanted to play some cash nlh. Now you all know my feelings on nlh cash games. I should like them, I should be dominatory at them. But I don't. And I'm not. I typically manage to get stacked repeatedly every time I play, mostly because eventually I get sucked in against a guy who's hit a monster either preflop or on the flop. Anyways, I haven't multi-tabled three tables like this in several days, I've been feeling like I've been turning a corner lately, I doubled up in the 40k last weekend, so I figured why not. I got on the waiting list at the $.10 / $.25 nlh cash table he was on (that's right that's the limits I'm playing. You don't like it, get the funk out.) at full tilt and waited for that to let me in. The 15 minutes or so I sat on that waiting list gave me some time to get settled into the 20k, and especially the Hoy as I looked for hopefully a soft-ish starting table to be able to be aggressive early.

Instead, I got this to start the Hoy:

Let's review. In clockwise order, we've got perennial blogger tournament casher GScott, the recently very hot in blogger tourneys KJ, a guy who's played more live poker in the past year than I've probably played in the last 10 years Weak, me, the immutable Waffles, the most aggressive Canadian poker player I know in Guin, the always willing to reraise me with nothing and also recent hot blogger tournament casher SoxLover and NewinNov, whom I don't know a lot about but whom has cashed in at least one of the last couple MATH tournaments. To me, this is, without exaggeration, the toughest starting table I've ever sat at. No doubt. I took one look at this, and for the first time I really thought it was going to be basically impossible to really play my game. And I loved it. As I've said many times here, I love the high level of competition that these blogger events create, when you really get to know how everyone else plays their game.

About 30 minutes into the Hoy event, I had my first big hand (I had eliminated LamarVannoy early on, but as I recall he just moved in preflop against my better hand, and it was an easy call for me), this one against Waffles. Weak limped in from EP with the blinds at 25/50, and I raised it up to 170 when I looked down to find pocket Aces. Waffles called my raise from MP, everyone else folded, and we saw a raggy flop of 753. The pot size was 465. I bet out 300 with what I was fairly sure had to be the best hand, unless Waffles had nailed trips, a highly unlikely possibility. I figured that my 2/3 pot bet would make an astute fellow like Waffles believe I was weak. Waffles complied with my jedi mind trick, raising me with what I figured at this point was some kind of medium pocket pair, but I believed he would have smooth called if he had had trips:

By the time Waffles made this raise, I knew he was pot-committed, so I went ahead and moved him allin there, which he had to call, although I figure at that point he probably knew he had just made a mistake. My Aces held up against his pocket 10s, and I was doubled and Waffles was out. It's always a pleasure knocking out Waffles. I can't explain it, but you know what I mean when you get to experience it for yourself.

Eventually, with a sizeable chip lead, I got moved to this new table, another really fun one to be at:

Here we're looking at 6-grand Bodog winner Wes, new pokerworks blogger cc, the artist formerly known as tight Gary Cox, new poker blogger Meanhappyguy (welcome to you), my usual ATM user in the Hoy Monday night tournament ShadowTwin, DADI organizer Jordan, me, KJ and freak nasty daddy of triplet girls JJ.

Just after this table change, I won my first big pot at the cash nlh table with my buddy from work. And I did it with pocket Aces, my second of the night already as I multitabled on three tables from nearly as soon as I logged on:

This had to be my biggest hand win in several months in an online nlh cash game. Again, that's how sad my performance has been of late, and how rarely I manage to hit big hands when I have played. Then, about 10 minutes later, I had my first big hand of the night in the ftp 20k, and this one was huge as it took me from well below average about an hour into the event, and vaulted me to just above average and right back into the thick of things for what was already my best, deepest large mtt run in over a month:

My opponent for some reason pushed on me when he held just a King, so again this was an easy call for me, especially with the top kicker to go with my trips. No way I was putting him on KK or KT there, so I figured my third nuts had to be good, and it was.

About 10 or 15 minutes after my big move up in the ftp 20k, the Hoy turned into a battle of the races for me, and I came down on the wrong side of both of them. First, KJ called my allin reraise preflop with just AQo. Not a +EV poker move in my view, especially given that I had pocket 9s and was a slight favorite, but it worked for KJ here:

Blech. Then, about five hands later, I again got allin preflop, this time with my AK the slight underdog to Meanhappyguy's pocket 8s, who made another allin call with his 88 in what I also believe is a -EV poker decision over the long run, and in that case, again, my opponent's hand held up:

And that's how it goes in tournaments. You gotta win some races, period. If you're not in many races, in particular as the tournament progresses to its later stages, then you're not playing aggressive enough. And if you don't win the key ones, you go home, period. Over five hands, I went from 4th place in the Hoy to out in 18th place because a 51% favorite and then a 49% dog both failed to hold up, and in both cases my opponents put too much faith in my known aggressive style and called me with hands that they thought could be significantly ahead. Sucks, but what are you gonna do. I still have failed to cash in the Hoy, now out of 7 tries once I invited the bloggers to play, though I guess I shouldn't be too surprised given how things have gone for me lately.

And congratulations to Astin for taking down the MATH tournament last night, after holding the chip lead for the majority of the last 90 minutes or so of the event:

Congrats in fact to all of our five cashers last night, Astin, as well as four other bloggers who have all been on hot streaks lately when it comes to the blogger events: GScott, KJ, Skidoo and NewinNov. Sorry again for the smaller buyin, and next week's Hoy tournament on Monday night at 10pm ET will be back to the normal $20 buyin level.

Meanwhile, just minutes after my untimely elimination at the Hoy, I stacked another opponent in my cash nlh game:

When my buddy decided to call it a night shortly after this hand, I left as well, with my final tally here, up over $22 from my initial max buyin of $25:

For me, nearly doubling my buyin at a nlh cash game is just about equally rare as me winning $10,000 in a large multitable tournament. I was loving it, and really liked that my friend from work was there to see it. Don't tell him if you see him -- he probably thinks I know how to play no-limit holdem cash games!

OK so at this point my night was at a bit of a crossroads. It was around 11:40pm ET or so, and so it was getting late for a working stiff like me. That said, I had had quite a bit of fun playing the cash nlh game, and seeing as I was still in the ftp 20k with just under the average stack size, I figured what the hey, might as well play some more poker. So, my hometown buddy and four-time Hoy casher drraz had just been eliminated from the Hoy tournament as well, and he and I decided to enter an Israel war token sng on full tilt (is that cheap google search value or what?). At the same time, I finally gave in to the enticing pull that had been nipping at me all night since I first sat down to play the MATH and the 20k -- I jumped on a $1-$2 limit stud hilo game, and bought in for the recommended $40 as I typically do. As I've written about over the past week, I have won in 7 of the 8 stud hilo sessions I have played in online since returning from Blogger Vegas and enjoying the $2-$4 HORSE games so much with the bloggers at the MGM Grand. I couldn't resist, so I jumped on, and quickly ran into more of the usual fishmongers that I've become so accustomed to, and that my bankroll has become so addicted to, of late.

I quickly got into a pot against a guy who was on massive tilt. Kolg8 reminded me of, well, me, several months ago. He was typing incessantly into the chat that he couldn't win a hand no matter what. How he was the best player at the table but hasn't hit shizz all night long. He was predicting his losses before they happened on every hand he played. As most of us know, a guy focusing on that stuff and with that attitude is a sitting duck to make some dumb plays, and I took advantage early. He was showing a low hand, and kept calling me even after I made an open pair of Jacks on 5th street, (and had another wired pair already as well, unbeknownst to Kolg8). Eventually we showed, and it turned out he did not make his low, but hit two pairs 4s and 3s instead, which my Jacks over 6s scooped a nice pot to start things off right in this session as well:

Then, check out this hand I hit in the ftp 20k just before the second break:

Royal Fucking Flush baybeee! I've hit one or two before, but never this late into a large mtt. What a thrill. And this hand got me right back up near the average chip stack with only around 200 players remaining out of the nearly 1200 who had started the 20k two hours earlier, and 108 players slated to make the cash. I hadn't been this far in a tournament in a long time, and yet, kicking it up a notch like one has to around this point in the tournament to stay ahead of the ever-increasing blind structure came very naturally to me here. I started stealing with reckless abandon, both before and after the flop. And I barely ever got called on it, as I was choosing the right spots, and even folding hands like low pocket pairs from MP to an EP raise, etc. I protected my stack, but grew it steadily through the power of selective thievery, the way only I know how.

Meantime, I won another whole pot in my hilo cash game when my hidden high hand that looked like a low to my opponent with an pair of Aces on the board, suddenly looked like a different high hand and a made low:

About 15 minutes later I won my largest cash hand of the night, when I made the elusive wheel and scooped both ends once again, this time from LeJean to my immediate right who had been showing a high hand all along, and against whom I was sure to play my low-looking hand exactly like I would have played a low against just one player, including just checking down on 5th street when I made my high straight. By just quickly checking down with him on 5th street, I firmly planted the idea in LeJean's head that I was surely going low, and had realized that he was surely going high. This way, I got to put in a double-bet on 6th street, which he quickly called thinking I was still surely going low, and then he even bet out for some reason on 7th street, I think to teach me a lesson about betting out after implicitly agreeing to check down to one opponent who is clearly going the other way. So I got to raise him on 7th street too, and then take down the entire pot with the scoop as I had the nuts for low and a near-lock on the high hand with my straight with my first five cards:

Within the next few hands, I scooped another pot that I checked down through the last few street because I thought I was looking at a low hand, but I ended up winning again with a higher two-pair against a lower two-pair and a busted low draw:

Here, I raised a guy who was obviously going high, even when he was my only opponent on 4th street, hoping to make a play later in the hand after putting on the exhibition I had in scooping pots and hiding the true nature of my hands for the past 45 minutes or so:

My plan worked great, when on 5th street he caught another bad card for a possible low, and I hit an Ace. When I bet out again on the bigger-bet street, he figured his low was busted, and his pair of 6s was no longer good given my raise on 4th street and now my double-bet with an Ace on fifth:

A short while later, as i crossed into the cash payouts in the ftp 20k for my first large mtt cash in over three weeks, I decided to leave this cash stud hilo table so that I could focus on the end game in the 20k. I left up $36, nearly another buyin for my 8th profitable session in the last 9 days at stud hilo:

As I cashed out of the hilo table, I had my biggest hand of the ftp 20k yet, when I raised allin with AQo on a shortish stack, and found a caller from a guy who obviously doesn't understand winning tournament poker and called with a hand that he had to know he was behind:

This shot me into the top 20% of the less than 100 players remaining in the 20k guaranteed tournament. Could I get back to the final table?

I won this big hand on a re-steal from the BB with two cards I definitely did not want to go to a flop with:

When my stealy opponent on the button folded what I'm sure were shizz cards:

which got me over 20,000 in chips for the first time in the event. Three hands later, I pulled off one of the largest reverse hoys ever captured in screenshot format:

which got a call, and then I flopped trips for the first time in the night to knock this guy out and amass a large stack, putting me into the bottom of the top 10 players with around 40 players left:

Unfortunately, the magic would run out on -- you guessed it -- another race for me about 20 minutes later, when I got allin preflop with AK and lost to an absolute clown who called me with 22:

I mean, he won the hand, so I guess I can't rag him too hard for the play, but man is that a fucking idiotic donkeyplay or what?! Calling my allin raise with 22 preflop? By definition since it's 2s, he can't be dominating any other pair, and, again since it's pocket 2s, he knows I have two overcards. So by definition, he knows he is either a 50-51% "favorite" in the hand, or an 80-20 dog if I have a higher pocket pair. Would you call allin for a huge pile of chips late in a tournament when you know there is maybe a 50% chance that you're a 20% dog, and a 50% chance that you're 50-50 in the hand? Why? How? Hee haw? But he did it, and he got me, and IGH:

Out in 30th place out of 1194 players in the ftp 20k. Easily my best mtt finish in six weeks, easily the best tournament poker I've played at least in this month, and a perfect ending to what was easily the most fun night of poker I've had online in quite a while. And good for a $100 cash payout to boot, bringing my total winnings for the evening to over $150 in both my pokerstars and full tilt accounts.

And, suddenly, I'm feeling it again. At least, I think I am. I guess only time will tell. I do plan to play in the WWdN tournament tonight, though I won't know for sure if I can get on that early until later tonight. Wouldn't it be nice if I could actually win a WWdN, for the first time? I will need to stop moving in and calling allins in what I know are race situations early in the tournament if I want to really make a run, but I'm thinking it really is about time I made some noise in Wil's weekly tournament, or at least eliminate Wil himself and get me some naming rights for the first time as well.

See you tonight in the WWdN! 8:30pm ET on pokerstars, password is "monkey".

Question: Do you all think I should throw some more variety into the MATH tournament buyin? Like, $10 sometimes and $20 sometimes (or $30 sometimes)? I'm not inclined to do it, but I would certainly consider it if that's what people really want.


Blogger CJ said...

Why do you consider those races you lost both -EV for your opponents?

In the first case, the player had no more than about T1250 preflop with blinds at 75/150. With an M of 5.5, AQ was a very reasonable push. The only hands he needed to fear were AA, KK, QQ and AK. Otherwise he's got you dominated or he's racing. With an M of 5.5, that's +EV.

In the second case, I can't really see the action there, but I'm guessing the 88 raised from 150 to 450 or so and you then pushed all in. If he had 2K left in front of himself, I'm not sure I make the call... but depending on how you've been playing, I might be willing to race there. And, frankly, he was ahead, so it's hard to call that a bad play.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

CJ, to be clear I don't consider either of the plays to be "bad plays" (I tried hard not to use those words). But, I do think that calling an allin with AQ is not +EV poker. I see the M of 5.5, but I guess that while maybe that makes his push a reasonable play, I still think the expectation would be slightly negative with that move overall. Taking the M's out of the equation, I don't think calling allin reraises with AQ has been positive EV for me in my online poker career -- that's really all I'm basing this on. I think he could have put me on a pair, AK or AQ. I would not allin reraise with AJ, KQ or worse. So I think if he does the hand analysis correctly, he should determine he is likely behind, either dominated or just on the short end of a race. I guess he wanted to race there like you suggest given his low M, and maybe the low M makes this the techically "correct" play, but I still think it's -EV in this situation. He may want a race here, but he's on the short end of that race, and sometimes dominated by me and a 4-to-1 dog, so I don't thin he could have had high hopes there.

And on the second hand, my opponent had a higher M than I did, so that wasn't an issue. And again, I would not have allin reraised him with AJ, KQ or worse. I might make this kind of move in this situation with AQ, but not likely. Far more likely is that I have AK (against which he is basically racing), or a medium or high pocket pair. If he really does the hand analysis correctly, I think Meanhappyguy should put me on a higher pair (he is dominated), AK or AQ (he is racing), or possibly a hand like 77 or 66 (though I wouldn't be likely to allin reraise here with 66 or worse). So, unless he put me on 66 or 77 or something like that, again I don't think this is a +EV play over the long run. Again, doesn't mean I'm saying this was a bad play -- in particular this second play with the pocket 8s is easily defensible, but I think a proper understanding of my game would lead both of these to be -EV over the long run. Maybe I'm wrong, who knows.

Either way, I am well aware that my loosey-goosey image among the bloggers is really what did me in in these two hands. These guys don't view me as having only these top hands to be making allin reraises preflop here. I guess that's what happens when I post all over my blog every day all the resteals I do with shit cards. I'm cool with that.

Thanks for the comment btw man. Love to have you in the Hoy one of these Monday nights if you can play it that late. If I can play it at 10pm my time, you can get in as well one of these nights, no?

11:13 PM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I do not agree that I was "Pot committed".. I re-raised you to see where I was in the hand and unfortionatly did not listen to the answer. A fold at that point would be totally reasonable.

12:06 AM  
Blogger CC said...

Congrats, and thanks again for hosting.

12:11 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

nice run in the 20k. i'm going to be a regular there again after the WSOP. i missed the hoy working a WC satellite and PStars WSOP sats to Sunday's tourney. got my seat into tonight's WC on full tilt. just missed my seat into the $650 WSOP Qualifier sunday. i probably won't be at the WWdN. GL

12:27 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

Thanks for hosting Hoy. I was actually expecting to pay the $20, and was a bit surprised by the $10. But, being my first MATH, I figured I just had the buy-in wrong.

Guess I'll be back next week.

12:28 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

In your 1st stud hand where the guy is cursing, your 6's were wired, not split, right?

12:39 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

slb, yes the 6s were wired, not split. The screen shot captures it exactly as it looked on the board. If I misstated that, I will try to fix it now.

12:55 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I think mixing up the buy-ins wouldn't be a bad thing to do, Hoy.

Although, if you wanted to be sneaky about it, you could do NLHE at $20, Stud8 at $10, and HORSE at $15.

So, not only to the buy-ins vary, so do the games. If that doesn't sit right with you, why not ask your readers if one week out of the month you switch up the game for MATH? Hell, you could have the winner of last week's tournament pick the game for next week if you're truly sadistic.

Awesome job in the 20k, Bro! Keep it up!

1:34 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I, personally, like the $20 buy-in. It makes the Hoy stand out. As for switching up games, I would be careful. The reason why it works with DADI is because the games are so infrequent AND the buy-in is low. With a weekly event, I think you want consistency so that drop ins know what to expect.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Guin said...

Thanks for the kind words after watching me donk out of last nights event!!

Tried to get some sleep so I could be ready to challenge you in the WWdN tonight.

2:37 AM  
Blogger Wes said...

I'd be more interested in the hoy having an occasional higher buy-in, not the other way around.

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Wes, maybe have the last Monday of the month be a $50 buy-in. All of us can afford it.

Glad to see you back on track with the MTTs and I'm impressd with the Hilo successes. Hey find a game you can beat up and keep beating it up.

4:24 AM  
Blogger MHG said...

All of us can afford it, my ass!

I like the lower buy-ins, because in all honesty it isn't the money that is drawing us to these games, it is the people. And the finger-pointing. And the waggling of the finger-pointing.

But if I *had* money, I would be all about the higher buy-in too, so make what you want from that!

As for the 8-8 hand, I think the money went in on the flop. I made lots of questionable calls, and in this hand I was scared (see the rut-roh comment) of the hammer flopped-full house. You go all-in and I think you're bluffing the hammer more than anything, so that tilts the odds in favor of a call.

Why you would push with a flopped full house? You probably wouldn't.

Did you see some of my calls against cc though?! Those were atrocious!

Thanks for making my first HoY a fun one, hope to chat poker with you more in the future.

4:55 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Okay, thanks...I was actually asking that as a true question since I'm quite unfamiliar with stud. You can read a funny section of my last post which included you. Take care and best of luck. Wished I didn't miss the run at the 20K...nice work!

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, I said it and I will say it again, great job hosting this thing. You do an amazing job.

Second I like the $20 buy in.

Third, the hand that I pushed on, if I remember correctly, I was 18th out of 18 players in chips. I had not seen a decent hand in almost 45 minutes and had determined that the next premium hand I was going to push. That is not a play I would make from a decent chip stack, but on the SS, I was willing to race with that hand. At that point I could live with exiting with that hand.

8:36 AM  

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