Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Rebuy Madness....Rebuy VICTORY!!

The subtitle to this post shall be "Jacks are OK!" You'll see why soon.

The content of this post was supposed to include how I embarrassed myself by going out friggin second (not in second place, but the second one out) in the WWdN last night, when my AKs preflop put itself allin (I had nothing to do with the decision) against Weak Player's pocket Kings preflop, and I got no help. Then it was going to go on to describe in excruciating detail how I donked out of the full tilt 20k guaranteed tournament early, again, this time on a move certainly no better than my 20k donkey from yesterday's post. I mean, I remember, about a hundred hours of poker ago, sitting there and feeling beside myself that I was going to have to post my latest 20k donkery. I really need to work on that, as it is obvious why I'm not cashing in this thing more often. I'm just not playing it right, and I'm playing far too liberally with my chips far too early in the event.

But then a funny thing happened last night. I was already long out of the WWdN, and even the 20k was already looking somewhat bleak by 10:13, just 13 minutes in, when I pulled up the pokerstars lobby and saw that redonkulous $11 Rebuy Madness tournament that runs nightly on pokerstars at 10:15pm ET. With just seconds to spare and on a complete whim, I joined it. I say on a whim, because my readers know that in general I am not a rebuy guy. Rebuy tournaments reward donkeys and their donkey play, and the Stars nightly Rebuy Madness tournaments ($3 at 8:15pm and $11 at 10:15pm ET every night) definitely exhibit this to an extreme. As a result, I've probably only ever played the pokerstars Rebuy Madness tournaments maybe ten times total, and the $11 flavor maybe only three or four times in the year-plus I've been playing poker online. But I saw it there, I was pissed at my WWdN and 20k performances, and was probably steaming pretty good already as it was.

And then the donkery began. It's been several months at least since I played a rebuy mtt like this, and it is amazing how quickly it comes back to you just how donkorific the play during the first hour of these things is. You'll have five allins per hand during the first several hands, and then again nearing the end of the one-hour rebuy period people will start getting crazy again, hoping to either double up or willing to rebuy one last time before the first hour is up. Last night, I bought into the tournament for $11, and then I did the automatic rebuy as the tournament began, so I was in for $22 and had 3000 chips to play with. During the first hour, I pushed too hard with just middle pair early on and then had to check-fold the river for about a quarter of my stack, but otherwise I just sat and waited with my 2300 chips or so, stealing just enough blinds where I could to remain fairly constant at that level until I could hopefully nail a big hand while the donks were still out in force. And hit that hand I did, with about 2 minutes left to play in the first hour when rebuys are still allowed, and strangely enough it was a huge suckout on a four-way allin preflop pot that got me started off in this thing:

Two minutes later, I took the optional addon, bringing my total investment into this tournament to $32, and I was around 30th percentile of the remaining players heading into Round 2, when this thing starts to become a "real" poker tournament again:

After sitting patiently for the better part of 40 minutes or so, I finally started to accumulate a nice pile of chips in Round 2, when my top two pair here:

won big against a guy who was raising with top and bottom pair:

and just like that, I had 30,000 chips, a number I am satisfied with for the second hour of Rebuy Madness, $11 style. About ten minutes later, I made the nut flush on the turn, and did my patented slow-raise move:

which eventually enabled me to elicit a call of this nice-sized bet on the river as well:

before my opponent mucked what I imagine was another face-card flush:

These two hands comprise the total highlights of Round 2 of Rebuy Madness for me, as I went into the second break in very good shape with just over 44,000 chips:

Unfortunately, the third hour of this tournament did not bring me much love. I received no pocket pairs above 6's, and very few strong Aces, so I had to resort to blind stealing, and just pot stealing in general, to make my way through the level. The end result was me losing more than half of my beginning stack from Round 3 by the time the third break came around. This was around 1:30am New York time, by the way:

So I headed into Round 4 with just over 18,000 chips, now well below the average and knowing that I would need to make a move at some point if I wanted to be in a position to make a serious run. I was focused on not giving up where I had gotten thus far, as we approached the money payouts (only top 180 places paid), and given how conservatively I had approached this tournament thus far. Yes I had moved allin preflop with pocket Tens during Donkey Time, but otherwise, I made several of the biggest laydowns of my life during this event. I laid down AQ three or four times. I laid down pocket 7's or 6's a couple of times. I laid down KTs, KJo and similar hands on a number of occasions as well.

These were all situations where I had led at the pot preflop with a raise, in position, and with no one else yet in the pot, but then faced a substantial reraise from another player during that round of betting. This is exactly the kind of spot where I have chosen to donk time and again in the 20k guaranteed tournament as I've been playing it recently, and since I had remained stoically against any such maneuvers this time around, I was determined heading into Round 4 that I would not just donk away my last 18k in chips. I needed to make some aggressive moves, but smart moves where I had a reliable read and was not likely to get pushed off my hand. Luckily, early in Round 4, I managed to grow my stack by about 2/3 by getting a player to fold to my allin reraise on the flop when I was sure he was bluffing. By the middle of the round, I had used several similar aggressive pushes to bring my stack back above the 60,000-chip mark, including a number of positional plays similar to this one:

where I was sure a relatively short stack from the SB was just stealing from my BB, and where I actually had a playable hand containing an Ace:

I was around a 2-to-1 favorite going in to this board, and it held up:

This was a theme that I encountered throughout my time in the $11 Rebuy Madness last night -- I won most of my races. Believe me, I lost several races, some in extremely frustrating fashion, but overall I managed to amass a sufficient chip stack early on that I could absorb these beats when they inevitably occurred. And then as the tournament wore one, I probably only lost one race out of my last 7 or 8, as far as I can recall. I've said this before and I'll say it again -- when people say they got lucky in a large mtt, typically that isn't about them managing to pick up pocket Aces 7 times in the last hour. Getting lucky in an mtt is as much about winning your key races as it is about any single other factor of the game IMO. And last night, when it counted, I was mostly on with the races for a change.

I still was not getting good cards at all -- in fact I really could not believe how card dead I was for basically the middle three hours or so of this event -- and by the fourth break (unchartered territory for me with the pokerstars Rebuy Madness tournaments), I was in 56th place of 80 players remaining:

already well into the money positions, and at 80th place the payout was already slightly over $100 per person for those eliminated during this particular window. In 56th place and still having received largely poor cards for about as long as I could remember at that point, I knew again I would need to be careful and be aggressive early in the fifth hour of this tournament if I was going to give myself a chance to make a truly deep run.

Just a few minutes into Round 5, this is where Jacks are OK comes in, as I got that chance I needed to play for a big pot with a potentially big hand with pocket Jacks. Middle position moves allin preflop with a decent-sized stack of 64k, and I mulled it over and decided I had to push it, so I reraised allin for my nearly 83,000 chips from the cutoff:

To my dismay and really my abject horror, the player on the button, immediately after me, called my allin bet, so now I was taking my Jacks up against two large allins preflop. Not good. But then they flipped their cards:

and I knew I had a fighting chance. Miraculously, once again my preflop favorite held up thanks to those sweet, sweet diamonds falling all over the board on this hand:

and Boom! I was sitting on over 246,000 chips, and in the top 10 remaining players. Then, during that same round of blinds just a few minutes later, I faced another UTG preflop raise from early-middle position, once again holding pocket Jacks, and once again I read this guy for a weaker hand than mine, and went ahead and reraised:

He called, building a nice pot, and then when the flop came fairly ragged and he quickly checked it to me, I went for it:

and he laid his hand down:

with what I can only assume had to be Big Slick (and a good laydown by him). Over the span of about five minutes of real time, I had grown my stack from under 100,000 to over 323,000 chips, with nearly back-to-back hands of pocket Jacks, that both held up not only to win, but to win huge pots for me. Meh indeed!

Nearing the end of Round 5, with blinds up to 10k/20k with a $1000 ante, I went with my gut instinct and raised a guy allin on the flop where I had top pair decent kicker:

and once again my dominating hand held up to pop me well over 500,000 chips for the first time in this tournament:

and then just a few hands later I had the fortune of watching a short stack push allin preflop from the cutoff on an apparent steal, when I happened to be holding AKs and was more than willing to take that action:

Once again, my more than 2-to-1 favorite hand held up:

and suddenly I was over 660,000 in chips, up to 3rd place with just 23 players remaining out of the 1535 who had started this event, now some 5 1/2 hours earlier. And then, just before Round 5 came to a close, I had what was definitely my (Re)Suckout Of The Tournament, even bigger than the one where I won my 10k starting stack during Donkey Time with the pocket Tens. Here, a somewhat reckless player moved in a short stack from early position, and I felt compelled to call with pocket 4's from late position, knowing I was on a race but being happy to take that chance on in the hopes of eliminating someone and getting ever closer to that elusive Rebuy Madness final table. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised odds-wise when he flipped over his hand which actually included an undercard to my pocket 4's:

but that pleasant surprise was immediately replaced by filthy disgust when this flop hit the board:

And in a humble blog I cannot even adequately relate to you the shock everyone experienced -- almost a delayed reaction, really -- when this river card slammed the door on my opponent and his little A2o allin push:

Gotta love the Almighty Resuck! Can you say 780,000+ chips? Can you say 5th out of 21 players remaining at the fifth break?

Keep in mind, I am in New York City, so this was around 3:45am ET at this point. I have to be up for work today at around 6am. Just keep that in mind. I'm trying to create an ambience here, portray for you the atmosphere and perspective I was experiencing, just a few short hours ago.

The race winning continued into Round 6 of Rebuy Madness for me, as early on I eliminated a player on this hand where I called his allin preflop with my pocket 7's:

Then I proceeded to move way over a million chips here for the first time when I won this preflop allin race as well to eliminate the 15th player remaining in the tournament:

I won another 400k or so by calling a decent-sized river bet with 2nd pair where I felt it was good:

And finally, mercifully, after about 6 1/2 hours of play, we made the final table in this event, with 9th place paying just under $1000, and everything else at least a grand a more:

Now bear with me here, as the details get kinda fuzzy as we head into the wee, wee, wee hours of the morning, but I know I was able to eliminate one or two of the final table players, and a few other went out fairly quickly as well, such that as the 6th break came upon us at right around 5am ET, it was just four players left. And this was where I finally succeeded in convincing everyone to do a deal:

At this point in time, I was sitting on 1.6 million in chips. Playlikedonk had around 1.3 million. Morphius had around 3.5 million, and the chip leader NotYetBust had around 4.5 million. With me at nearly a third of the leader's stack, and in a distant third place, we got pokerstars support to the table, and from the chip spreads we were offered a deal where I would take home $6870-something as part of a 4-way chop. I loved the deal since it basically paid me the average of 2nd place and 3rd place money, in a situation where I was a distant third in chips, with two much larger stacks I would have to beat in order to capture the $8900 slotted for second place. The only hard nut to convince to take the deal offered was the chip leader. NotYetBust was offered $11,100, and typed in the chat that he would do the deal for $11,500. When no one stepped up to offer him his piddling extra $400, we called his bluff and said fine let's just play it out, and that's when he quickly caved and said he would do the deal. So here were the final chop figures that were agreed to and administered by pokerstars support:

$6,851 and change into my pokerstars account. Just like that. Yes it took me over 7 hours of play to get there, but in the end, I had made around $1000 an hour for my time, to the tune of my second-biggest cash ever in an online poker tournament, second only to my $9737 and change for winning the partypoker 40k guaranteed event earlier this year. I was thrilled, and then the four of us choppers could move on to just playing it out, for the glory and for the TLB points (as if I give a cripe about that, whatever they're even worth). With the money settled, I decided to have some fun with my play through the end of the tournament:

Final table Hammers. Three of them (yes, two were sooted I know), all spaced within maybe 8 or 9 minutes of each other. All raised and won with preflop, and all shown proudly for good measure. Eventually, I sucked out a huge pot on a preflop allin where I was dominated:

giving me a huge chip lead, my first of the entire tournament despite my solid play throughout. Then #2 eliminated #3 on his short stack, and a few minutes later this hand went down during heads-up play for the right to say you won the $11 Rebuy Madness:

He moved in and I called him preflop with my KQo. Then this flop came:

and I took it down!

And there it is, the rest is history. I won the $11 Rebuy Madness tournament on pokerstars last night, cashing in a 4-way deal for nearly $7000 for about 7 1/2 hours of work. And I have to say, no recap of this tournament would be even close to complete without mentioning Joanne1111, who railed me closely in this event for I think the last 6 hours or so straight. I don't know what else Jo was doing all this time, but she was IMing dilligently with me, giving advice, being a sounding board for my ideas, looking up the tournament payouts, scrambling to compute what my likely chop deal was going to be. Joanne was even nice enough to be the one to email pokerstars support for the four of us when we decided we were ready to do a deal at the final table. Joanne was completely there with me all throughout almost the entire tournament, even though it feels like I was playing for days and days on end. Anyways, Joanne, I could not thank you enough for all of your help and support last night, and honestly I doubt I would have gotten where I did without her being there. And damn the woman can play her some holdem too, can she not?

OK that's it for now. And no posts today showing how donkingly I went out of the 20k last night. F that tournament, I have bigger fish to fry! Had bigger fish to fry anyways. I can already tell that this big win will just make me want to take down that damned 20k guaranteed on full tilt all the more. I haven't cashed in that event in what feels like months, but me thinks that's going to have to change one of these days soon.

See you tonight at the Mookie tournament, which has officially moved to full tilt as of last week's charity event. 10pm ET every Wednesday night, full tilt "Private" tab, password is "vegas1" as always. See you there!


Blogger jeciimd said...

I woke up this morning and my first thought was: "No way, I must still be drunk from last night."
My second thought was "Wait a minute, I didn't drink last night"
Congratulations on a well-deserved victory

8:08 PM  
Blogger L'artiste said...

Damn, well done! That thing finished at 5 in the morning!! Are you at work today?

8:50 PM  
Blogger jjok said...


um, well done and stuff.

Congrats a thousand times over!!!!!

9:16 PM  
Blogger BadBlood said...

nh sir!


9:43 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

You are a machine...

...and I don't mean an ATM machine. You are a reverse ATM machine.

Congrats yo.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

wow. Even with a 4 way split, that is a pretty nice chunk of change to take down. But 7 hours? Dear God. I am barely able to keep focused for three hours, then only if I am really lucky.

Hell of a thing man. Good job!

10:08 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Outstanding sir. First you bribe Randy Moss to suck ass on Monday night so you can beat me in Fantasy Football and now you take this down. Those are two fine accomplishments. Well done.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Blinders said...

Wow! Great finish. Just getting to the point where you can start talking about a chop in the rebuy madness tourney is impressive.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Ha thanks everyone. And yes, I am at work today. The amount of sleep I got last night was....insufficient to say the least. Let's just say it's in the double-digits in minutes, not hours, and leave it at that. But I'll make it up at some point.

And thanks again everyone. The well wishes mean a lot to me coming from such a great bunch of poker players as you all.

10:55 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

nice score Hoy'! you were due.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job bro!

11:23 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Damn nice job!!! Enjoy the profits of your labor!

11:27 PM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

Great job ! Nice chunk a change too...

11:43 PM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

beautiful. 20k next no doubt.

11:43 PM  
Blogger drewspop said...

Congrats....again. Well done.

12:11 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Well done Hoy.

1:14 AM  
Blogger NewinNov said...

Double sweet. From Donkey on one day to hero the next. Well done.

1:47 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

Since I've already given congrats earlier, let me ask a question this time around.

I know in the bigger guarantees (that one was big, but I'm talking 250k and up), when it gets to chop time, don't they usually leave a portion out of the mix so that there will still be incentive to play it out accordingly (beyond tlp points). Was that ever mentioned during the deal making? Just wondering so that when I make a final table in 2009 I'll be ready...I keed, I keed.

With 4 people, if everyones payout was brought down 250, that would have left 1000 for the eventual winner. Just a thought...not necessarily one you would have agreed to, but I thought it would be standard for that size tourney...

Kudos again man...

3:55 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Trip, you are correct that many of the larger tournaments suggest and in fact even require that a certain percentage of the prize pool be left on the table for the players to fight it out for. However, in this case, when I was offered $1100 more than even the 3rd place money, and yet was sitting at a nearly 3-to-1 chip disadvantage in the tournament, I jumped at the chance without wanting to mention leaving some cash on the table. Personally I would have been happy doing the chop that way also, but no one else ever brought it up, and I was not about to when I had just been offered almost 7 grand for something that my reasonable expectation was probably something closer to 5 or 6 grand in cash.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well done Hoy!!! Congrats!

4:37 AM  
Blogger Poker Jones said...

Inspirational stuff. Well-deserved.

6:25 AM  
Blogger 23skidoo said...

Way to go HOY!

Looks like you're rollin again!

9:36 AM  
Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

thats awesome man....i bet you weren't tierd for work in the morning after that rush....great job man keep it up

10:30 AM  
Blogger Joanada said...

Since I witnessed the entire event, less maybe an hour when I had to run out of the house, I can assure you all that Hoy is being modest in his recap.

Rarely have I seen a tournament played with such panache, verve, guts, balls - pick your word here. He just simply got it.

I doubt that I could have pushed all my chips in where he (often) did in this event, throwing caution to the wind because it was the right play at the right time. That is why he won - fearlessness and skill, plus trusting his instincts. If you have ever watched it happen, you know exactly what I am speaking of - that is what true poker is all about.

Congrats, Hoy :) So glad I could witness that.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Well done, Hoy! Congrats!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Yep, definitely a Poker Role Model. Nice job, Hoy.

11:04 PM  
Blogger change100 said...

Nice work! I hope one day I know what it's like to win 6 grand... ;)

11:38 PM  
Blogger Wes said...


1:34 AM  
Blogger Matt Silverthorn said...

Holy shit. Nice job, man!

I think it's about time I played another rebuy madness. I've made it to the final table before, but never got a huge score. I think it's about time to try again.

2:54 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

Congrats again man and thanks for somehow staying awake long enough to play in The Mookie last night. You're a machine.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It is an amazing position. Something that I would love to have in the tournaments that per head service does.

12:55 PM  

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