Monday, October 30, 2006

Poker Weekend

And what a weekend it was at the tables, both virtual and live. Starting things off, I played in a live home game at my boy drraz's place this weekend, as the man was back on the east coast for a few days since moving several months ago way out west, to a jurisdiction where among other things playing online poker was recently made explicitly illegal by power-hungry state legislators. We played two tournaments on Friday, with 7 players in each, and the players decided that 2nd place would win back his money, and everything else would go to first. In the first tournament (both were nlh, $20 buyin), I survived for a while without seeing a good starting hand the entire day of playing, but eventually I busted in 4th place when I moved allin with AJo, the literal best hand I saw all night, and got called by the sb who happened to have AK for the fifth time in that one tournament alone. Live poker is so effing rigged. In tournament #2, same setup as the first, I was a machine, starting off slow but then using a few big bluffs and one suckout of a 9 to win allin with my A9o (second best hand I saw all night) against my opponent's AJ to build a nice lead heading into the final 4 players. In the end I managed to knock out #3 and then outlast my opponent in a fairly long heads-up duel that lasted into the wee hours of the morning, winng the $120 first-prize and I think making my point to these hozers not to get mixed up with a serious internet player such as myself.

Best of all about the live tourneys this weekend, it was great to see drraz again in person -- those of you who play in Mondays at the Hoy with us will know he is an interesting person to say the least -- as well as meeting PhinCity for the first time, who always plays in MATH and has been on a very impressive tear of cashing there over the past couple of months. Dominating the field for the most part wasn't bad either, but these guys did not strike me as serious players so I can't take too much solace in that. But I will anyways.

Which reminds me, before I forget, it's that time of the week again...

That's right. Come one and come all tonight to Mondays at the Hoy, the first blogger tuneup of the week and your chance to battle it out for the $20 buyins as the cream of the bloggercrop go at it for what is always a nice-sized prize pool. The tournament has already been set up under the "Private" tournament tab on pokerstars, and the password as always is "hammer". One goal I've had that we've actually met each of the last several weeks is to get at least one first-time player to participate in Mondays at the Hoy every week, so I'd like to keep that streak going again tonight. The MATH event is always a great place to take on the bloggers for the first time, as the atmo is light, the tournament is open to anyone, and there is typically some good money at stake to whoever can prove their mettle against the best of the best. So I heartily encourage any first-timers out there to make your big stand tonight. Just log in to pokerstars and register for the event before 10:10pm ET, and you're in like Flynn.

OK so on to the rest of the weekend's poker action. So Friday night was my live poker night, and on Saturday I was too tired after driving all night on Friday to get back to the city, so I got some much-needed rest instead of firing up the virtual tables. Which left me Sunday to get my online poker fix, which I did as good of job at as I could, all things considered. First, at 9pm Sunday night Byron held his latest WPBT event, this one a 7-card stud high tournament, one of the first stud high tourneys I have ever played in. As you may recall, I was in 3rd place on Byron's WPBT Player of the Year standings heading into this tournament, with only Lucko and StB in between me and ultimate glory for 2006, and if you read this regularly then you know I've taken the POY race very seriously since I started playing in these events early on after Byron first put the WPBT poker series in place. So even though Stud High is probably my weakest game out of the HORSE variations, I joined in, intent on surviving at least to the top half to add some additional WPBT POY points, and with a specific aim as well to outlast both Lucko and StB to gain some ground on both of them heading into the late-season push on the WPBT leaderboard.

Things started off ok, although I did manage to draw at least one street too far on like 4 of the first 10 hands, leaving me a bit on the short side right from the earlygoing, and drawing some funny commentary from Heather and StB who were both seated at my starting table. Eventually I hit my first big hand here, when I raised aggressively with a 4-card flush early on, eventually buying a free card on 7th street where I made my Ace-high heart flush and ended up just barely beating out DoubleDave who had also made an AQ-high flush of his own here:

Needless to say, DoubleDave was pissed, and was even more pissed a few hands later when the luckbox eliminated him by playing the stud Hammer (722 first three cards) and eventually making two pairs on the river to take another hard-to-accept pot down from DoubleDave's perspective.

Now let me interject here with a real-time chronological hand from last night, as the 30k guaranteed tournament on full tilt began at 10pm ET, smack in the middle of the WPBT event at this point in time. We were just nearing the final table in the WPBT event, and then the 30k started, where I was overjoyed to find KK in middle position on my very first hand. Imagine my happiness when I put in a standard 5x preflop raise (bigger than my usual 3x-ish raise since there was already one EP limper into the pot):

only to see the player right after me move allin as a reraise. Making matters even funnier, a late position player then followed up by also calling the allin reraise, leaving the action to me with pocket Kings, and two allin reraises ahead of me after I had standrard-raised it up from MP. And again, all this on the very first hand of the 30k guaranteed tournament for me:

This has to be a call, right? I mean, in a large cash game against a table full of known ubertight players, I guess I could see laying pocket Kings down when I was more or less sure I was up against Aces. But as anyone who regularly plays in the large nightly guaranteed tournaments will second I'm sure, the 20k/30k guaranteed tournaments are not that. I can honestly say that I can almost not even imagine a scenario where I would lay down KK preflop in the first hour of the 20k or 30k nightly tourneys. And I didn't here either, and I was glad about my decision as soon as I saw the other players' cards:

As you can probably imagine, I was then disgusted when I saw the flop:

Yep. My "magnets" lived up to their name, attracting an Ace on the flop for what seems like the umpteenth time I've held pocket Kings, and IGH. On the very first hand. With pocket Kings. As a big-time favorite against two opponents who were basically drawing to five outs between them in the entire deck. 1476th place out of 1488 players. Did I mention I went out with pocket Kings? On the first hand? Fuck was that ever annoying, but par for the course with my holdem tournament luck of late.

Thankfully, I have games like razz, hilo and stud to keep me occupied while the poker gods are so definitively not smiling on me these days in holdem tournaments. And that's why I sit and play in things like these WPBT events, including the Stud tournament that went on the entire 30 seconds that I was enrolled in the 30k. When the tournament was down to 10 players remaining (final table would be the last 8 players in this event since this was a stud tournament), I took a screenshot of the leaderboard because I was in 3rd place -- a good thing no doubt -- and yet I was trailing only Lucko and StB, the very two people I was trying to catch and surpass the performance of in this event:

But those guys come to play every week in these WPBT events, and I like that about them, so I didn't mind them making it difficult for me to make up any points on them during the Stud tournament. A few hands later, we did reach the final table after Wes bubbled out in 9th when his high pair early failed to develop into anything more, and here was the final table makeup, a veritable who's-who of bloggers who play the game of poker well:

So the final table of the WPBT Stud event consisted of myself, Lucko, StB, Heather, our esteemed host Byron, CJ, Tony Soprano and Mattazuma, which again included here at the final table 4 of the top 6 runners in the current WPBT Player of the Year race, a fact which was really exciting given how much could be riding on this one game. Mattazuma was bounced on the very first hand of the final table, by Lucko's pocket Kings, and StB went on to suck out two pairs against Byron's higher pocket pair to knock our host out in 7th place. I eliminated my POY nemesis StB from the event just a few hands later as well, when my trips managed to beat out his two pairs through 5th street, and suddenly we were down to 6.

And that was when I took on the Luckbox. When I managed to pair my door card on 5th street, just one card before I made a King-high diamond flush on 6th street, I knew I was in good position to take CJ down because my paired door card would look so much like trips and would throw off the scent from my actual made flush. In the end, CJ was also sporting a well-hidden hand by 6th street, but unfortunately for him, his made hand was a straight, while mine was a flush, and lucky for me there wasn't a single card in the deck that CJ could have hit to suck out on me, or lord knows he would have:

And then there were four. Shortly before this time, Lucko, who once again had amassed a large stack, started doing his bully thing and literally raising or reraising Every. Single. Hand. once the action got to him. Every time, without hesitation or thought involved. Lucko has demonstrated time and time again how craftily he knows how to manage a big stack, and this time was no different as Lucko managed to push people off of tons of pots here at the final table, with what I can only assume was less than strong cards in many instances. But when he's been raising on every single street through 5th, and then on 6th street his doorcard pairs and he bets again, you have to fold it to his aggression unless you've already made trips or better. Similarly, when Lucko has bet strong throughout the hand, and then he makes an open pair on 5th or 6th, your pocket Queens suddenly don't look so playable anymore. And so this strategy worked well for Lucko at the final table, at least for a while. Unfortunately for him, however, Heather eventually started catching some big cards of her own, and Lucko went stone dead in the cards he received, and before I knew it, Lucko was out, failing to improve his 2 pair to be able to beat Heather's made straight on the river, and Lucko was out in 4th place. Another tremendous showing from the man -- and hey at least this time he didn't openly collude with other players at the table ;) -- but more importantly, I had outlasted both StB and Lucko, and would therefore gain some ground on both of them in the latest WPBT POY standings.

I was so happy to have reached my unofficial goal for the WPBT Stud tournament that I fairly quickly next pushed too hard on a short stack with a pocket pair that never improved, and Heather was all too happy to double up at my expense, knocking me out in 3rd place myself. But third place got me the $60 last cash payout spot, as well as a better finish than StB and Lucko, so I'm very pleased with that result. But I have to admit, as I watched Tony Soprano proceed to dismantle Heather and her over 5-to-1 chip lead to start heads-up play on Tony's way to taking down the WPBT Stud title, I couldn't help but think about what could have been, and how I could have been the one overcoming the big chip deficit to steal another WPBT title. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed myself once again in this tournament, and I cannot stress enough how much I love having a blogger tournament series that is nowhere near being all holdem all the time.

If I can complain for just a minute, I look at the WPBT POY standings this morning, and it looks to me like I actually somehow lost ground against both Lucko and StB, even though I outlasted both of them in the tournament last night, so I don't know what happened there. I guess still being in 3rd place overall will have to suffice for me -- I think we already covered this this past summer, but I don't know or really understand in the least the script Byron uses to compute these WPBT point totals. In fact, I don't even really know what a "script" is -- and I don't want to konw, either btw -- but let's just say that I don't think I would be scoring these events in exactly the same way that Byron does. But, I love what Byron has done with the WPBT poker events overall, and I certainly defend his right to score these things however he sees fit. I just don't remember being more than 300 points behind second-place Lucko before this event, so I can't believe I'm still that far away from him now, and the same is true for StB in relation to me on the POY leaderboard. Nonetheless, since this was a fairly small tournament (15 players total), I suppose that has something to do with why I don't seem to have gained at all against Lucko or StB in the standings. I don't know. It's frustrating not knowing the scoring system for the WPBT, but at the same time it helps me focus on the only thing I can control -- doing as well as possible in the events themselves. Which I plan to continue to do two weeks from now, when the next WPBT event goes down, and that one is in Stud Hi-Lo, one of my favorite games and one that I feel I am very proficient in. In fact I'm already looking forward to taking that badboy down and actually gaining some ground on the top two in the WPBT standings.

In any event, this weekend overall was fairly full of poker, and also of poker successes. I made some more money in hilo, razz and even low-limit NLH cash games over the weekend as well in short stints of availability for me, and, when combined with my final table in the turbo mtt on pokerstars from last Thursday, I go into the new week with a nice sense of optimism and of control over my own poker fate. Which will be the perfect backdrop for me to get sucked out on in the first hand tonight in the MATH tournament.

See you tonight for Mondays at the Hoy!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will have a chance in two weeks. I won't be able to play the next event.

3:24 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

I thought you were in 4th coming into last night in the POY, behind StatikKling. I could be wrong though.

And that was such a frustrating bubble for me. People were playing back at me at all the wrong times. It should have been sweet, but I kept getting drawn out on. If my rolled up deuces hold up, I would have had a monster stack 3 handed. But its a card catching game, heh!

It definitely was a tough final table though. The POY race should be fun down the stretch.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Lucko, you are correct that I was 4th in total wpbt points before last night. But I haven't played as many events as some of the others, and on the "average points per event" list, I was already up to 3rd. And, since I'm higher up in the Average list than in the Total Points list, I long since decided that the Average list is the one I actually care about.

And yeah man, your luck really ran down in a hurry last night. With as draw-heavy as they are, Stud games can be like that as I'm sure you know. Another nice job defending your top-2 seed still in the wpbt standings.

4:43 AM  
Blogger biggestron said...

Hi Hoy -

'script' is just another word for a program. I wrote a short program to pull in the data from the tournies and convert it into points based on # entrants, buyin, and placement. All raw data is stored on a server, and results are duplicated over at

Lucko is correct - you were behind statikkling before last night. Because StB, lucko, and you all made the final table, you would not have gained too many points on them.

# entrants is definitely the largest factor (after placement, of course) in determining points. The buyin factor is fairly damped out in the formula I use. btw - I use the the pokerstars tourney leader board formula to compute the points for everyone (with the exception that I use ln rather than log, but this is only a minor thing I include it here in case you want to calculate points by hand).

So if you would do it differently, what would you change??? Once I had the program tuned, it is nearly impossible to make mistakes in the scoring. Also, I figured the pokerstars formula is a tried and true way to keep a leaderboard (they've been at it for quite a while..).

Anyhoo - if you really think that your score wasn't done properly, I can look through the archives and show you how the points were added. I've done this before for other people - my scores have not been wrong yet. Because it is computer based, mistakes are unlikely at this point. My own score was done correctly (I was watching as it was computed), since I knew CJ (upforpoker) would pass me (he finished one slot ahead) - he was behind 5 points before but gained 6 points more than me last night.

Btw - with a small turnout as we saw, I think the most points that could be gained were ~180. As it turns out, the live events are big deciders, awarding up to 400 points for the winner because of the field size (125+ last summer). The effect of the slightly higher buyin is small, but magnified by the larger field.

5:00 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...


I got a question. Should DoubleDave have proceeded past 5th? He had a pair of aces which is a very vulnerable hand I always play and usually regret. Does he need the 4th Diamond or two pair to continue here or did he play it alright?

5:48 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Waffs, with me showing only two hearts on my board through 5th street, and just a Q27 otherwise, there's almost no way I would lay that down, especially in a limit tournament. Best guess is I have a pair of Queens, or maybe two pairs which DD can easily beat with any pair to any of his cards. By the time folding was probably his best move, he had made an AQ-high flush against a guy showing only two of a suit. He was doomed in this one in my view.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

And Byron, please don't mistake me -- I don't even think for a second that my scores are actually wrong. I just like to vent and it really hit me this morning just how far ahead of me this other two clowns are. I'm not really going to be able to catch them, and that sucked for me to actually realize. I've accepted it by now.

1:33 PM  

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