Monday, October 23, 2006

OK in the 30k (Redux), and a PLO Final Table

Even though this is not in the title above, I'm sure many of you are wondering what ever came of my performance in Miami Don's inaugural Blogger Big Game last night on full tilt. Well, as I mentioned previously I won my Tier 2 token into this event on my third try, after winning about $60 in bubble money as well through my first two token sng attempts, so I was in there for free essentially, and I started off playing great. I made some great reads of a few of the players at my table, and managed to run a nice bluff on xkm and another on DefendTheBlinds, getting my stack up near 4000 early from its 3000 starting size. Then, just about 20 minutes into the event, I look down to find pocket Aces, my nemesis of late, on the button, and to make things better, DefendTheBlinds has already raised this one up 4x in front of me from middle position. I don't recognize DefendTheBlinds' name, so I don't mind doing my patented and often-posted slow-raise here, knowing I'm getting it allin and knowing I'm going to crush this guy:

Fast forward about 60 seconds, and here we are:

That's right. I can't win a phucking thing with Queens, not to save my effing life, and yet my Aces get cracked by other people's Queens like it's their job. Disgusting. Never fear, I got my chance about 10 minutes later to avenge my troubles with the Biatches, when I reraised xkm allin with pocket Queens of my own -- and a newly-small stack, thanks to my acecrackage above -- and then he flipped over these badboys:

and IGH in 34th place out of 38 entrants. And the problems continue for my nlh tournament game....

Or do they?

As you may recall, last Friday I posted about running fairly deep into the 20k the last time I was able to play it, busting just short of the money but making my deepest push into this event in more than a month. I played very solid poker in that event, waiting for my spots, and only went out when I pushed from steal position with AJ against a few limpers preflop, only to be called by AK out of the blinds and not catch a miracle for my dominated hand. I went into last night's 30k guranteed (the nightly 20k tournament on full tilt guarantees 30k on Sunday evenings) with this same mindset in my head -- to wait for my spots and not be crazy early in the tournament, and play good, solid, moderatedly aggressive poker. And that's just what I did. In fact, to help keep boredom from setting in, I also fired up my second-ever pot-limit omaha tournament as well on full tilt, this one with deep stacks as well. Having cashed in my only other PLO tournament a couple of weeks ago, and playing a lot of cash plo on full tilt recently as I work through that big reload bonus they owe me, I can honestly say that plo has quickly become my favorite poker game to play online. I imagine that if I can string together some consistently good finishes, nlh tournaments might come back to the forefront for me, but these days, I've been busting it at Razz and PLO at the virtual cash tables and making some decent scratch in so doing, so I looked forward to final-tabling both of these mtt's on the night.

I reached half of that goal, and at least I made my point loud and clear in the other. In the PLO tournament, I followed my usual strategy for early in mtts where I made a lot of cheap preflop calls with most of my double-suited starting hands, and most situations where I held any suited Ace. Not for two raises preflop, but for just a call of the BB, I find it to be highly profitable to play many of these nuts-catching hands early if I can get in there cheap, and have a chance to bilk someone out of their entire stack early on in these big tournaments.

I first got allin in the PLO tournament on this hand, where I held a pair of Aces, one of them suited, and thus I knew I was the mathematical favorite over any other hand that an opponent could show me preflop, so I happily called my way allin:

and my preflop favorite actually held up, against a guy playing two Kings, and a shorty sitting on just two pairs of double-suited middling cards:

Meanwhile, I had nothing doing in the 30k, as I raised and called a little bit in appropriate situations preflop, but failed to hit anything I could stay in with once the flops came out. I did make this big allin bluff-raise early on when I was sure my opponent was just making a weak lead with nothing but a big stack to back it up, and I correctly assumed that I still had enough in my 1080-chip stack to make this guy not want to call just for pot odds purposes.

And then, the usual. The Hammer Baby cried for the tenth time in the night, only this time it stuck, and she quickly woke up the older Hammer Girl as well, and within seconds both of them were screaming in their room. Since the Hammer Wife had already done most of the rockage earlier in the evening so that I could pay $75 for the privilege of having my junk booted 20 minutes into the Big Game, the late night was mine, and that means I got up, talked my older daughter back to sleep, and then proceeded to rock the baby in our glider out in the living room.

For ninety minutes. All while the 30k and my PLO mtt blazed on. But it wasn't all that bad. I went in and logged out on my bedroom PC, and fired up the old 1999 486 megahertz Dell laptop in the living room, situated it next to the rocker, and went on to play somewhat uncomfortable, not always welcomed by the baby, poker on that pc. I wasn't able to focus anywhere near as much as I would have liked (nor to take any screenshots, fortunately for you all!), but I was able to play to survive in both tournaments while I was out there doing my fatherly duties. Thus, when the Hammer Baby finally went down at around 12:30am ET, I was able to return to my normal poker computer and I had just about the same number of chips in each tournament as I had had an hour and a half earlier when I had left. That translated into around 6000 chips in the PLO tournament, and around 1300 chips in the 30k where I simply could not get a card to save my life, but where I was determined not to donk out with a lesser-than-advisable hand prematurely.

Shortly after returning to my usual poker station, my luck turned and I doubled up quickly in the PLO tournament when my opponent made this ill-advised potbet at the river with what turned out to be his AQ:

And around this same time, I also suddenly starting hitting some cards (finally!) in the 30k as well. I won a big pot with AK when I raised it big preflop and then bet the King-high flop as well, getting my opponent to fold a big pot to me. Then I doubled up a few hands later with 99 against 66. Then AK again over AQ on an Ace-high flop. And before I knew it, I was up over 15000 chips in the 30k, and suddenly this flashed up on the screen:

and I had made the cash in the 30k, first time in nearly 6 weeks for that. Top 153 spots paid, and I was actually above average thanks to my spate of double-ups as I prepared to make the run to the top 100, the final 50 and eventually, hopefully, to the real money in this thing at the final table. I helped my cause significantly in making a real push in the 30k in this hand, when lazyj, the fish up on top of the screen, pulled the cardinal Hoyazo sin of calling my allin raise preflop with just AJs.

My 7's held up, albeit with a four-flush, but that's what that fidiot gets for playing that kind of donkeypoker late in a big tournament like this. It's always nice, at least once in a long while, and as long as it's not CC playing against me in a blogger tournament, when the guy who makes a questionable call with just two weak overcards against what he has to know represents a bigger hand than his preflop actually gets his comeuppance for their questionable play, instead of the rewards that have tended to be bestowed upon such players recently in my nlh tournament history. Anyways this pot brought me up over 27,500 chips, easily my high for the tournament thus far last night, and easily propelled me into the final 100 remaining players in the tournament just a short while later. In fact, I pushed this stack to over 37,000 chips a few minutes later when I flopped my first and only trips of the tournament and took down a big pot with a medium-sized flop bet after three significant-sized preflop calls:

Not too long after this, I find pocket Aces, my first time in this tournament, but my second time on the night if you count my earlier phuckage in the Big Game. Again I manage to get someone allin against me preflop, and again they flip over pocket Queens:

Now I know what you're thinking: No way it happens again, right? That would be too coincidental to have Aces cracked by Queens on the flop twice in one night. So what if Hoy has lost 5 of his last 6 times he's been dealt pocket Aces, there is just no way that could happen again here. Well, I gotta tell just look at it for yourself:

That is just fucking disgusting. That's 5 of 6 losses now with pocket Aces. And counting. 3 of the 5 have come at the hands of my opponent's pocket Queens too. I think of all the sickery involved in this Aces streak, that is the absolute sickest part of it all. Fucking Queens. The bane of my existence.

Speaking of the bane of my existence, my friend lazyj, the preflop-raise-caller-with-nothing-but-two-crappy-high-cards-preflop from earlier, raised again a few hands later from up front, this time with me holding pocket Jacks, which I reraised with appropriately:

Bonehead called again, this time getting himself allin preflop with AQ against a preflop reraiser -- the ultimate donkey move as we know -- but alas the poker gods had already really turned on me in this event:

and just like that, around 2/3 of my stack had disappeared in the span of 3 hands, one with my AA losing to QQ allin preflop, and then with my JJ losing to AQ allin preflop. What a fucking cruel and unusual punishment to watch 3 hours of work evaporate like that to that level of donkery and redonkulous luck. I'm still seething about it this morning as I write this. Fuck!

Meanwhile, back to PLO. After a long drought of card-death I went ahead and called my opponent's bet on this flop to get allin with my flopped trips, against a guy who moved me in with nothing but a bunch of draws and one card to come:

These draws amazingly failed to fill at the river, popping my stack over 40,000 in that tournament for the first time in the evening, and for the first time really getting me thinking about maybe actually final-tabling that event, which was down to just 24 players left, and 18 getting the cash.

Shortly into the 4th hour of the 30k, we crossed under 70 players remaining, and I won another nice pot with pocket Aces (5 out of 7 now!) to move over 50k in chips and into solid position for a run at the final table there, leaving me thinking maybe I hadn't yet been entirely written off by the poker gods for this one:

But that proved to be short-lived, as the gods and godesses were merely setting me up for the fall, which occurred mostly on this hand. MP open-minraises from the 2400 BB to 4800, and I call on the button with KQo. Here's the flop:

As you can see, when this guy minbet again on the flop, I didn't know quite what to make of the preflop and postflop minbetting, but I did know that I wanted the third opponent, just behind me, to get out so I had a fighting chance with my oesd, so I minraised that bet, and the third opponent folded, with the original guy upstairs calling my minraise. So I had gotten us to heads-up, and as long as my opponent wasn't holding an Ace, I was actually in fairly good shape to add significantly to my stack. When the turn card paired the 10 on the board, I figured I had to make my move now, with all the weakness my opponent had shown thus far in the hand, and while I still had over 20k in chips to make a serious enough bet to induce a fold. I went for it:

and he called, eventually showing nothing other than....pocket Aces:

That's fitting. The number of tournaments I have been eliminated from by running into pocket Aces is just astounding. And while I don't love my play on this hand, keep in mind -- especially for those of you who have never been late ITM in one of these large online nlh tournaments -- the blinds are just SO large, and the antes just so significant by this point in these big online tournaments, you more or less have to take some chances, or you won't have any realistic shot of making the final table, hitting the big prize money, or winning the whole tournament. So I know why I pushed when I did, I thought I had a good read and was just flat-out wrong. The guy minraised preflop with Aces, and then minbet on the flop as well. Maybe I should have sensed that for what it was, but at the time I read it as more of an honest bet than a slowplay, in that I had him on a middle pair, something below the highest card on the flop, but something worthy of seeing a flop with and maybe even sticking around for a small bet in the hopes of catching a monster turn card. Well, I like that I stuck with my read, and certainly playing by my reads of my opponents has served me incredibly well over my poker career. But not on this hand. I went out 2 hands later when my A5 ran into pocket Jacks, and in the end IGH in 42nd place overall out of 1545 players:

And speaking of which, check that number out: 1545 players in the 30k. That is, by far, the largest 20k/30k event I've ever seen on full tilt. When I first started playing in this tournament earlier this past spring, the nightly 20k typically drew maybe 700, maybe 800 players per tournament. That number has slowly crept up to 900, 1000 and just a few weeks ago it was not uncommon to see 1100 or even the occasional 1200 entrants into the nightly guaranteed tournament here. But since the passage of the UIGEA a couple of weeks back, and the resulting closure of partypoker to all U.S.-based players, full tilt is really reaping the rewards with increased traffic, and the 20k is no exception. So I won around $100 for my efforts, and ended in 42nd place, again easily my best finish since this summer's 5th place and 11th place runs. So that all was good. And yet, I can't help but think what could have been, and should have been, if not for the repeated horrific beats I am suffering at the hands of the poker gods.

While I contemplated how large of an animal I would need to sacrifice to the poker gods in order to appease them (and how, if at all, I would even be able to kill such an animal), I made the final table of the PLO tournament as well:

After outlasting three of the shorter-stacked players at the final table, I found myself in this situation, with the strongest possible starting hand of two Aces, and facing already four limps to my 3000-chip big blind when the action got back around to me:

I did the obvious move here, which is to raise the size of the pot. I'll take all those free chips please, and if anyone wants to call me for a large pot when I'm taking way the best of it with my AA at the final table, I'd love some of that as well:

Just one person called my pot-sized raise preflop, and we saw a raggy flop where my Aces were fairly sure to still be best. So I did what I had to do, hoping for a donkey call of some kind:

And a donkey call I got:

So he calls me allin with no part of the flush draw on the board, no trips, nothing. If you look, he didn't even have a straight draw working here -- no matter what, he was going to need two runner-runner cards to make a straight out of this board. I don't know if he was just tired of playing or what (it was close to 3am ET by this time), but this clown called me with just top pair and not even an Ace kicker. But as you know, Donkeys Always Draw, and the river card set this asshat up for good:

Unbelievable. All that work in both tournaments, only to get phucked recockulously by the cards in both. Oh well. I was out of the PLO event in 6th place overall out of 193 entrants:

netting myself another $70 or so in the process. So in all it was a very profitable night at the virtual tables for me, including over $130 from just the 30k and this PLO event, plus some nice wins in razz and plo cash games as well. I'm still definitely perturbed by the run of luck I've been having in mtt's recently (or lack thereof), in particular my problems winning with Aces, and my problems losing to Queens, and my problems ever winning with Queens of my own regardless of the circumstances. I will be in Mondays at the Hoy tonight as I try to work out some of these issues -- who am I kidding, I'll be donating my $20 buyin tonight to the first donk who calls my allin reraise preflop with their QJo vs. my pocket Tens -- but the MATH tournament is always a good time by all as well as a nice practice event for the weekly Tuesday night WWdN tournament, so come on by and have it out in the weekly battle for the $20 buyins:

See you tonight at Mondays at the Hoy!


Blogger smokkee said...

damn dude, thatz sum serious bad luck you're running into. it'll turn around and soon you'll be crackin' AA with QQ.

1:39 AM  
Blogger L'artiste said...

Jesus. That's alot of losing with aces. It's obviously gonna turn around, maybe they'll hold up a year straight.

Good Luck!

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're turning into a PLO expert hoy. I was seriously surprised to see you were out so soon of the Big Game last night. But now I understand what happened.

3:48 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I appreciate the comments, guys. I've been through worse streaks before, so I'm sure I'll pull through this one too. I'm actually really psyched at how well I've been able to do tournament-wise just lately given the shitecards I've been pretty consistently receiving. Hopefully one of these nights it will all come together and I'll be 6 or 7 grand richer.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Hoy, congrats on the wins. I am a bit confused though about how you played the KQ hand, when you flopped the OESD. You said that you raised on the flop because you wanted to knock out the player after you. I would have called and tried to keep him in the hand because (a) you want to see the next card(s) for cheap and raising will cost you and (b) if you hit, you want more players in the hand so hopefully one of them hits two-pair or otherwise will be willing to pay you off. I suppose the one reason to run that other player out was to allow you to bluff off the original bettor post-turn, but that seems to be semi-shakey logic to me. Your thoughts?

4:25 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Hoy you said you "more or less have to take some chances, or you won't have any realistic shot of making the final table, hitting the big prize money, or winning the whole tournament."

It's very true and the problem is when it works it seems easy - when it blows up it makes trying it again that much harder, despite the necessity.

At least you've prepaid for the suckouts you're due.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Hey FTP twin. I can relate with the AA vs QQ scenario. Happened to me two weeks ago on FTP, happened all the time when I played on Absolute and lets not even go there with riverstars. Yet I always lose with QQ. I know online poker is rigged.

7:02 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

DefendTheBlinds commented on Jordan's post here:

Not that it helps any 'cause it doesn't give any info about his play as he doesn't seem to have a blog.

Just wanted to let you know.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

You know what Jordan, you do make a good point about my comment about getting the third guy out of the pot. The simple answer is that (1) I thought guy #1 could be on a draw that I might be able to beat, and more importantly, (2) I was definitely thinking about bluffing here with one card to come and a decent number of outs, I did not know if my opponent even had an Ace, and I knew that option would not be open to me with the third guy also in the pot. I guess the chips were just getting so high up there that I was thinking about the bluff as soon as I saw the oesd on the flop. I debated doing it right there but then as I said the minbet confused me.

Don't get me wrong man, I am not happy with my play on that hand, no doubt. I effed it up. What else is new. Still didn't have to be up against Aces again, did I?

Thanks for the analysis as always and for keeping me honest here.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Blogger Big Game

The range I put Hoyazo on was AA-JJ, AKs/AKo.

Since it was only 300 more chips to call here and only two hands have me crushed, I'm wlling to call OOP.

Perfect flop. I let him c-bet and flat call.

Turn is a brick. I lead out for half Hoy's remaining chips because now he can only push or fold. If he has the over pair, he's probably pushing. If not, I still win a good pot.

That's about it. I thought it was very standard. Too bad I lost my ability to concentrate and made bad decisions after the break, because I thought the table I got moved to was kind of easy. No cards + 2 bad decisions = busto.

9:34 PM  

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