Monday, August 07, 2006

On a Roll

It's funny. It used to be, and I'm talking just a few short months ago here, that when I had a post called "On a Roll", it meant I had made deep runs into multiple large nlh tournaments over the weekend. Some of those have been really big scores, and others have been deep runs, netting me a couple hundy, but nothing significant. But that's always what it's meant on the blog, that's always what I've been writing about, more or less exclusively from the beginning. If you had told me, at any point during, say, the first several months of 2006, that in the summer of this year I would be posting about a roll I've been on in cash games and not tournaments, I would have told you No Way. I remember Jordan suggesting in a comment a while back that before the end of the year he predicted I would be playing cash games and not tournaments. I thought he was insane, and I told him so. Well Jordan my boy, you were right. I admit it. Regardless of what happens in the rest of this year, at this point in time you are spot-on. When I sit down to play these days, it's not to look at the next mtt hitting the schedule on my three big sites. Instead, it's to find how long the waiting list is at the 2-4 or 3-6 hilo tables on pokerstars, partypoker or full tilt. And the craziest thing is, it's not even holdem cash games! Although I've been playing hilo in the casinos and with friends since I was a teenager, and only playing holdem for maybe four or five years, it's not like my love of stud hilo led me to start playing online poker. I never thought I would get into stud hilo online, and certainly never thought it could be this profitable. But more on that later. This is Monday afterall, and that is reason enough alone for an Iggy-inspired megapost of my own.

OK first things first.

That's right. Tonight is your night to show what you're made of at the weekly Mondays at the Hoy tournament. Remember, it is at 10pm ET on pokerstars, under the "Private" tab, and the password as always is "hammer". We've had a real blast over the last several weeks as we play for a $20 buyin, making for some large prize pools and some really good poker action. And the best part is, if you play in the event, no matter what at least you know with 100% certainty that you will get to see me make a great allin call on someone whom I am slightly ahead of in a race situation, and lose. Often in the most painful way possible. Guy moves in on me with K9o on a pure bluff, and I call with a pair of 8s. I'm done. I move in with AK preflop, and a guy calls me with 22. No help and IGH. It's a guarantee, and you can set your clocks by it -- this is usually somewhere around 10:45pm ET or so. So see you at 10:46 on the rail tonight at Mondays at the Hoy.

One more quick pimp, a repeat from last week but one worth mentioning. Pauly is running around the WSOP like crazy, avoiding the media Nazis, taking pictures of countless hot chicks (with or without cleavage), and yet is still finding time to provide the very best WSOP coverage there is out there. If you're addicted to the Main Event like I am, I've been hitting Pauly's site about 250 times a day for his best-on-the-web live blog updates every 10 minutes or so right from the covention floor of the Rio, where we are down to just 45 players remaining heading into action on Monday. Tuscaloosa Johnny did great in the Main Event, busting in the second half of Day 3 on Friday and winning himself over $14,000 in the process. And fellow blogger Ryan made it even further, surviving through the middle of Day 4 before succumbing Saturday afternoon and winning himself over $30,500 as well. I guess that's not such a big deal to Ryan after his rediculously huge Commerce Casino win earlier this year, but to us mortals, 30 large at the WSOP main event is fuckin phat. And that's not a word I just throw around the blogiverse, as my readers will attest to. Per Pauly, the only name pros left in the event heading into Day 6 are Humberto Brenes and Allen Cunningham, both very accomplished tournament players with plenty of TV time and at least a few WSOP bracelets already under their belts. It should be exciting, and if you're like me and wish to god ESPN would get their heads out of their asses and find a way to broadcast at least the end of the Main Event live, until then Dr. Pauly's Tao of Poker continues to be the beginning, middle and end of the road for your closest-to-live coverage. Seriously, go click over to his blog right now to get all the coverage of the Main Event so far, including all the people you actually care about in the event.

OK how about some poker for this megapost?

So I'm sure many of you remember the two holdem hands I posted about last week where I was dealt pocket Aces, got someone with pocket Kings to move allin on me preflop, and then lost, right? I posted the screen shots and wrote about how disgusting it feels to lose in that way. Well, on Friday I got myself eliminated from the ftp 20k guaranteed when my AA lost an allin with JJ when the guy flopped a Jack late in the second hour to snatch another mtt cash out from under me. I didn't upload the screen shot but you'll just have to take my word for it. Well, as I sat down to the virtual felt on Sunday night, I was lamenting to my boy drraz in the girly chat that I have only won 1 out of 4 hands this week with pocket Aces, and how frustrating and, really, how devastating that is to any serious tournament player. You count on your very few pocket Aces to all be winning hands, hopefully as large as possible, so you certainly can't be actually losing more often than not with your Aces. Not if you expect to run deep into tournaments anyways. So anyways, I'm lamenting to drraz, and he astutely points out that Sunday is technically the beginning of a new week, so that should all be done with by now. So I went into my poker action on Sunday night with new optimism that my horrific acecracking streak would be over.

Early on Sunday evening, I went and played one of those $20x180 sngs on pokerstars, and I found myself with a decent stack near the second break, allin with another decently large stack as well as a third small stack. Given the whole "new week" theory, I optimistically showed my Aces, up against an AJo from the other big stack idiot, and 34s from the shorty. After the turn card I was sitting pretty, confident that the streak was at long last over, and take a look at the pot and the relative chip stacks at the table -- this hand was going to be for 2nd place in the current standings with about 45 players remaining:

And then this glorious river card:

So the streak continues! I have now won 1 out of my last 5 pocket Aces hands, and lost the other 4 times. That is sick.

But the streak finally came to an end later on Sunday, when I again played in a pokerstars mtt, and again found pocket Aces, only to maneuver some unsuspecting slob into pushing allin into me with this huge monster of a starting hand:

Want to see what the final board looked like for this one? Too bad, you only get the flop and turn card:

See what I just did? I fooled you! I told you my streak of ace-cracking came to an end, but I lied just to keep you interested. I got whipped again with my Aces here, now making me a bona fide one win out of my last six hands of pocket Aces. How can anyone possibly win poker tournaments under those circumstances? Now imagine losing every race imaginable on top of losing with every pocket Aces. Is there any doubt why I haven't cashed in a blogger tournament in a few weeks? Sheesh. Please let this Aces streak end soon.

So after the above displays, I assume it is easy for you to understand why I have been finding so much solace in my stud hilo games. I played a lot of hilo this weekend, and I won a lot as well. Easily my most profitable weekend of cash games of my entire life. Where to begin....

OK first here was me DQB'ing in a hilo cash game on Friday night, for a nice pot of over $53:

You gotta love quads. However, whenever you get 'em, you have just gotta love 'em. I believe MeanHappyGuy was there to see this one live, though I'm not 100% sure about that.

Here is a good example of where you have got to keep your wits about you in hilo, including making good laydowns where the cost to play is getting pricey, and where by all rights it seems that you are likely behind at least one other player, and/or with a good chance to be behind other drawing hands before all is said and done:

In this case, I had made two pairs already by 6th street, and was thinking I was likely good as the betting began for the round. But then the first guy raised me, after making a third diamond on the board and with already two non-qualifying high cards faceup, so I had to put him on a high hand, at least a draw to a flush if not the made flush itself already. Then the second guy reraised, also showing a pair, so that hand could have been a low hand but it could also have been a deceptive high hand (2 pair, trips or even a straight). By the time the third guy re-reraised, also showing a pair including three high cards so he could not have been going low, I was faced with a grim decision. Given that at least two of these players were almost certainly going high, one had a pair showing, and one had a three-flush on the board, and since I had no low hand to fall back on, I made the tough decision to lay this down. In the end, flushboy over on the right made his flush, and tensboy on the bottom already had made trips to trump my two pairs anyways, so it was the right laydown, and realistically, this street was going to be capped, as was 7th street, so I saved myself a good $20 or so by making a well-timed laydown at a key point in the hand. Chasing is bad in any form of poker, but chasing 2 pairs against a flush and trips is never good. Yes I could improve to a full house, but the guy with trips has many more outs to make his own boat than I do, and plus the flush out there also threatens me if I'm not going to make my hand. As bad as this is when you're playing for the entire pot, to only be playing for the high half the pot, that in my view made this a bad play to remain in the pot. Something to keep in mind at the stud tables.

In other exciting hilo news, I did make the move up to $3-$6 limits this weekend, to some success. Late on Friday night, I ended up firing up partypoker for the first time in several days -- due mostly to its impossibly slow software these days -- and I took a seat at a 3-6 limit stud hilo table, the first time I had ever played these limits online (or anywhere in my life as I can recall). And I promptly won my largest-yet online hilo pot:

This was a hand where my board appeared as if I was going low, so I used that deception and bet the hand as if I was going low (i.e., checking on 4th street when I paired my open 5s). This deception worked wonders when two more low cards came on 5th and 6th streets, icing the thought in my opponent's mind that I was working on a low hand, such that he ended up staying in for several raises with me on the later streets with a lower two pairs than my Aces-over. $73...ahh the wonders of stepping up in limits. In all, I left that 3-6 table about an hour later, up over $100 and very happy about it:

Hey here was a fun stud hand. This is like the hilo equivalent of being dealt pocket Aces, checking the flop, then betting out small on a raggy turn, only to see everyone fold and you win just the blinds:

Rolled-up Kings, followed by three Aces open on the board. Damn. If only I could have spread those cards over three different hilo hands.

Anyways, I have lots of other screen shots from this weekend, but suffice it to say I won several hundred dollars in a combination of 2-4 and 3-6 hilo, although I do plan to keep playing the 2-4 limits at least for the near-term, as the dollar swings at 3-6 are definitely noticeably larger and it will take me a bit more time to get used to them. Chase two hands two streets further than you should, and you look down and you've already lost $50 in 3-6, so you really need to stay on your toes unless you have just an astronomical, Ryan-sized roll, which I do not.

I want to end this post with a question on a hand I saw over the weekend, and get your specific thoughts. I was on the button around the middle of a no-limit holdem tournament with AKs. Early position raises it up 4x to 100 (blinds are 25-50). The next guy calls the 4x raise. Late position also calls the 4x raise. Thinking I was likely behind at this point to at least one pocket pair, I also just called the raise, hoping to hit an Ace or a King on the flop and make my move then.

The flop comes down AJT rainbow. So I've hit my TPTK, but on a very dangerous flop, albeit one with no flush possibilities. The first guy bets out about 2/3 the size of the pot. The second player calls this 2/3 pot bet. Then the late position player raises allin for about 4 times the current bet. Calling this allin would take approximately 3/4 of my current stack, and I am currently the largest stack among the four players in this pot.

What's the right move here? Do I assume I am behind? Does that mean I fold? Or can I take a call here and hope to improve? Or am I likely ahead, given that the allin raiser on the flop is on a short stack? Can I re-raise allin here, isolate against the short stack, and take it down? What's the money move?

See you tonight at Mondays at the Hoy!


Blogger surflexus said...

Those may be the only two "name pros" but I would keep my eye on Prahlad "spirit rock" Friedman and Eric "rizen" Lynch.

12:56 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

ya, i agree with Surf. i'd like to see Rizen and Sprit Rock get to the Final Table along with AC.

Wes (aka mr. donkament) a cash game player, scoring big tourney wins. You and I doing well in ring games. although, i haven't been playing online ring games, i was having a real good time at the strip casinos 1/2 NL games.

funny how things have changed.

2:05 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

My money is on rizen.

Hey, if the Time Warner guy fixes my modem today, and I'm able to get back online tonight, then expect to see me Hoy it up tonight...

2:05 AM  
Blogger Nijle said...

Two comments for you:

1) I love it in highlow how the cards frame your smiley face guy. When you win it seems he is taunting everyone else with that snide smile.

2) You have been taking a beating with AA on pokerstars and not one time have i heard you say: Pokerstars is fixed!! FUG YOU BITCHEZ! or call Pokerstars "Riverstars" I hate that excuse for catching bad cards, its weak.

Keep it up.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nijle, thanks for the comments. I do not believe pokerstars is fixed, though I once was sure of it. I've just had too much success there overall to think anything is actually fixed.

That said, I have to admit that I've typed, said or screamed "fug you bitchez" probably about 10,000 times about pokerstars. And that's just over the past week or so. So on that one I may be guilty as charged.

Come join us tonight for Mondays at the Hoy man. I think it is time for you to get involved.

2:21 AM  
Blogger StB said...

You are most likely behind. With any knowledge of how they have been playing, that flop does you little good. Someone has flopped a straight or a set. At the very least you are probably up against two pair which would also mean your K could fill a straight for them.

I bet one had 10s, one A Q, maybe the other K J or K K. Thus calling to improve means you will have to fold or push on the turn. Would pushing get the others out of the pot? I doubt it.

I would fold. Why bother to risk taking a huge hit? You have chips and can play the rest of the tournament when you are in a better situation.

Did you consider making a move preflop?

2:29 AM  
Blogger SugarlandStump said...

I agree with surf & smokkee. You can't leave out Rizen or Prahlad.

As for the AK hand, I don't see any other option but to fold. Based on the action you're prolly up against a set and/or a straight - WAY behind. Fold & live for another day.

Hopefully see ya tonight.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, StB. I did consider reraising preflop, but as I mentioned I was concerned that at least one of these guys already had a pair as it is. If I know someone has a pair, I don't really know how strong it is or even which one of them has it, that makes me a bit leery of reraising too much preflop. Especially given the (lack of) luck I've been having lately with race situations, I wasn't too keen on reraising preflop and possibly facing a re-reraise for all my chips with 4 players in the pot already.

4:10 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

That question doesn't even require thought. Fold.

5:00 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Great post Hoy...but thought it was your AJ against 55 when a flop of Ax5 hit. Might not have been your go-out hand, but it was one that you lost a lot of chips. Just one I remember a bit.

6:55 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

In the 20K I bad for not clarifying.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

slb, I play the 20k basically every night I can, so one of those nights this was definitely the story. The AJ vs. 55 hand just blends in with all the other lost races for me of late.

So help me godz I plan to win the Hoy this evening!

7:01 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Gotcha...just me being the usual nit-picking ass anyway...didn't really matter much now that I think about it...anyway, hope to make it tonight and I gave the Mondays at the Hoy a shout out for all the newer bloggers earlier today.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

It may just be me, but with three people already in the hand, and two left to act, I probably wouldn't have called that preflop bet at all. If it was me, and if I had a decent stack, I wouldn't want to get into it only to see that someone already had aces or kings.

That being said, if you made the decision to call it preflop, why would you be questioning it now? You made the call preflop hoping to hit top pair, you hit it. The 2/3 bet size seems like a feeler bet of the type I would expect from someone with pocket kings or queens, he is probably going to lay it down regardless of your action. I am thinking the same about the guy in second position; if he had a made hand, I think he would have pushed to the opening bet instead of just calling it. It is entirely possible that just calling the all-in will isolate him anyway, since in my mind it is unlikely that the first two are going to call it.

It is also worth noting that the blind levels are still low, so it is entirely possible that there is still an uberdonk (like me) in the hand with a pair of 7s. I think you are realistically looking at a pair of queens (likely to fold anyway), a K-J, and an A-x. You are in it this far, I say push. I am assuming the guy who just went all-in has the A-x, the first guy is going to fold his queens, but you want to get the guy with the K-J out of it in case the Queen hits; you don't want to split the pot. Granted, that whole scenario is unlikely.

If you make the call preflop, I don't see how you can fold it now. If you do fold it now, what would it have taken to keep you in it? An A-A-K flop? And that is why I can never do well at this game: I would push right here. If he does have two pair, I got about six outs (I am assuming the K-J and Q-Q hands are in play), if one of his two pairs is an ace, make it 4 outs. Odds be damned, I would push.

So, either push or build a time machine, go back to before the hand started and lay them down.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

My next prediction: By the end of the year, Hoy will be playing PLO8 semi-regularly. Just wait and see...

11:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You're behind probably dead to a split.

Fold and feel good about it.

12:07 AM  

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