Thursday, November 30, 2006

What a Difference a Day Makes

Let me begin by saying thank you to all the many comments I have received here over the past couple of posts. As I mentioned yesterday, my nlh tournament game in all forms has been going through a bit of a rough spot, and of course the blog is my one and only avenue to vent about my troubles. Well, the blog and the girly chat. But I try not to abuse the latter too much lest you all remove me from your IM lists once and for all.

I want to mention a few items specially about the last couple of posts. First off, if you haven't seen Wes's comment to yesterday's follow-up rant post, go check it out now. Wes very well explains exactly his thought process in making the call against me in the Hoy this past Monday night. It is more or less right along the lines of what I and a few others were thinking in what we've written here over the past couple of days. Basically, Wes knew he had a strong hand in a position where he would look like a stealer (he did), and he knew that I am known to be a restealer of someone I believe to be stealing (I am). So, he figured he is fairly close to most of my range, I do not have AA or KK, so he went ahead and took the race, hoping to be ahead but figuring he is not likely far behind. So there you have it. Wes writes it a lot better than I just did, so it's worth reading the post, but I think it's pretty easy to see what he was thinking and exactly why he made the call. I still think that, if your plan is to win multi-table nlh tournaments, you have to give preflop reraisers the respect that they likely hold a hand when they put a move on you, or it becomes very difficult to hold on to your chips into the late stages of these events. As I've written about in the comments on Tuesday as well as in Wednesday's post, I still don't think calling was the right move given where we were at in the tournament at the time, but it is comforting to read Wes's analysis and not find someone making a move without thinking much like some other people have done to me (ahem ahem, you know who you are, no links needed).

And speaking of my opinion of Wes's call in that situation, Fuel has a nice, concise writeup on his blog which I think pretty well sums up why I don't think blind reliance on the pot odds for Wes's decision to call or not call my allin reraise is the right move there. It basically comes down to tournament equity, whereas in a cash game if you wanted to call my allin I think the pure pot odds play is more often the correct one (though I like to think I would have laid it down in a cash game too, knowing I was almost surely behind). So go check out Fuel's post, if you are of such a mind, and maybe it will make more sense to you. Or maybe you'll still think I'm an uberdonk, which is fine too.

Now back to yesterday. So after that cathartic rant on Tuesday and the followup on Wednesday, I can't actually say my mindset was any better heading into Wednesday night's poker action, but I certainly was psyched for the Mookie, which has quietly become easily the biggest blogger tournament every week it runs since the move to full tilt. Last night saw 65 runners hit the felt in the quest to become the latest Mookie champion and to get your champion profile posted over on Mookie's blog. I think 65 is a new record, though don't quote me on that -- either way, suffice it to say this shizz is big, in a very good way. All the cool kids are out to play in a field like this, and as the action started, along with my two-tabled attempt at the nightly 25k (that biatch), one thing was apparent to me very early on, something I hardly ever think or say about myself:

I was a mothereffing card rack.

I must have seen AA, KK or AK maybe 15 times during the Mookie last night. Throw in another 15 or so of these same hands in the 25k, and it should only be a little surprising that I made a strong run in both, each for the first time in what seems like weeks. I literally don't remember the last time I actually got good cards in an mtt of any size, and to be able to say that about two tournaments simultaneously yesterday is just a great feeling. You know, it's so dam easy to forget, but winning in nlh tournaments is so fucking easy when you're getting great cards, and last night I made the best of my opportunities in both the Mookie and the 25k.

For example, here is me doubling up very early in the Mookie, when my first of many KK hands flopped the top boat against what turned out to be pocket Aces by my opponent:

It's hard to do better than that to start off a big blogger tournament, and it's hard to get any luckier than being dealt KK when an opponent gets AA at the same time (that's been happening to me plenty, make no mistake) but then flopping a King and a pair on the board at the same time. And that's just the kind of night it was for me, as the cards kept coming as long as I was patient and waited for them. Truly guys, a phucking donkey could have final tabled the Mookie with the cards I received all through the tournament last night. And no one's ever accused me of not being a donkey, not recently anyways.

About 25 minutes later, I got to eliminate the Love Elf, who happens to be the girlfriend of another of our favorite blogger donkeys on the first hand where I was dealt pocket Aces. Normally I have to wait through 4 or 5 blogger tournaments to see Aces once, but not last night. I got good hands so often yesterday that I even slow-played several of them preflop, including the Aces in this hand which I just limped with from UTG. Long story short, eventually I was facing this bet from the Elf, who I swear donked played this just like Smokkee would have:

and I went ahead and made the ballsy allin reraise, putting her actually on AK. Turns out, I was wrong:

Now tell me that flop bet and call doesn't have Smokkee written all over it! I swear he was right there in the room telling her to take a chance to double up early, who cares if you might be behind, etc. Him and his blond hair. Hah! Anyways, sorry Tina, you can get me back next time. If you dare. But the pot-sized bets with nothing on the flop, you may not want to take Smokkee's advice next time is all I'm saying.

While I floundered between 1300 and 1700 chips in the 25k throughout the entire first hour (ending the first hour at precisely 1500 chips where I had started, in fact), I had another really fun hand in the Mookie as the first hour drew to a close. I did a favorite move of mine and open-raised with middle suited connectors here:

something I like to do to mix up my play, and because you never know how much action you can get if you hit the board hard and other players put you on a pair or two overs because of the preflop raise. So here, after making top pair on a raggy flop and checking, I then bet out around 2/3 the pot on the turn when I made unexpected trips:

which got a surprising call from Lucko, who is without a doubt one of the very best poker-playing bloggers there is. Hoping again that Lucko's move was more based on my preflop raise and flop check, both indicating I could have an AK/AQ type of hand and trying to steal the pot here, I did the unthinkable and checked my trips to Lucko on the river, hoping against hope that he might take one more stab at the pot and I could relieve him of his chips. After thinking for quite a while, Lucko did go ahead and move it all in:

which of course I called, and it turns out my move worked out great, as you can see what Lucko was betting with there at the end, and what that means he must have thought I had in my hand:

So this was a nice play by me, don't get me wrong, but again everything is so fucking easy when you're flopping top pair and then tripping up on the turn after open-raising with suited connectors before the flop. Any fucking donkey might have done the same exact thing there, but it was really working for me last night. And how.

Meanwhile, the 20k is well into the first half of the second hour, and I make my first big pot -- making pocket Kings for the second time in that event -- against of all people Wes himself, who ironically was moved to my table a few minutes into Round 2 (How funny is that btw?):

After 11:30pm ET, I used another monster starting hand to jump up into a large chip lead in the Mookie after slow-raising my way to getting KrazyBangs allin preflop:

While literally simultaneous to this hand in the Mookie, I also was getting my first real double-up of the 25k when all of hands my greatest nemesis ended up holding up through the end:

Now let me just take a moment here. Is this level of luck and lack of suckouts against me starting to freak anyone else out here? I haven't seen this many total cards over the past month cumulatively, and now here I am tonight cake-walking
my way through the first few hours of two of the toughest-to-navigate fields around among nlh mtts. It's unreal. But I said it before and I'll say it again: This game is fucking balls easy when you've got AA, KK or AK dealt to you once every orbit or two over a three hour period. Take my word for it.

Oh by the way, the very next hand in the 25k? Bullets again, and another nearly 1000 chips to my stack (courtesy of Wes, sorry bud but good laydown there on the flop -- with your AQ or AK I presume):

Just before the second break in the 25k, I took down another grand or so with yet another monster starting hand:

Fucking Aces, Kings or Ace-King, coming in bunches, at least once every orbit or two in both tournaments. It feels so good.

And the best part about all those cards I kept seeing and showing: here's me being an asshole bully a short bit into Round 3, down to less than two full tables remaining in the Mookie:

He folded. He had to. I'd been showing down AK and KK all night long, with a few pocket Aces for good measure. He had to lay it down there. Again, the shizz is just so easy when you're a card rack. Eventually my card luck ran out as we made the final table in the Mook:

but I did manage to outlast Chilly (Good43) at the final table:

to get off the bubble and into the cash at the Mookie, where I promptly became the short stack due to an absolute lack of playable cards, and went out fighting but going down in 8th place out of 65. Believe me, the way I've been playing these things lately, I will so take it. And far be it from me to complain about the no cards at the final table, because obviously it was the mile of cards along the way that carried me there and did all the work. Last night I was just along for the ride.

A ride which just continued and continued in the 25k. First there was this monster starting hand which netted me over 4000 chips about 2 1/2 hours into the event, down to 175 players remaining, already well into the money:

Followed about 15 minutes later by this one:

where my opponent put me allin on a re-reraise on the flop with just the 9-high flush draw, and suddenly I was way over 20k in chips and well into the 100s of players remaining in the 25k out of its 1535 entrants.

Here's me winning a few large with another pocket Queens midway through the 3rd hour of the 25k, as the big starting hands just kept coming and coming, almost as if in repayment to me for all the wrongs bestowed upon me over the past few months in no-limit holdem tournament land:

And by the time I turned this preflop disaster:

into this glorious board for a huge Hoyasuck:

I was over 50k in chips and in the top 20 out of the 50 players remaining in the 25k, easily my best showing in this event since my last final table here in July of this year, back in the days of the pussy 17k guarantee before the partypoker rejects infested in the waters of mighty full tilt.

I held my own for the next 30 minutes or so, watching players drop out with fair regularity and watching my guaranteed payout slowly but surely climb -- $40 to $50 to $60, to $80, finally over $100 in the 20s, and then over $200 once we were below 18 players remaining (I was in 10th place at this time). Then I had my second huge suckout, where I got allin preflop with the highly questionable Q9o on a naked steal attempt, and got called by someone who eventually raised a third opponent out of the hand on the flop and we flipped this:

But then in yet another redickulous twist of poker gods' fate, the turn brought me another miralce:

and I lived on once again. This was all so foreign to me, and yet so familiar. I really do remember getting good cards sometimes, not having to push at every turn, and therefore finding the requisite patience to wait out the good hands. It's just a heckuva lot easier to wait out the good hands when you know they're coming, and when you don't know that your Aces, Kings and Queens are going to get cracked like lobster shells on a Saturday night in Boston.

Waffles, here's a final-two-tables screenshot from the 25k last night, just for you:

Yes folks, that is me taking down a pot with a stone bluff on the flop while I'm holding The Waffles -- 42o. Yes, the very hand that Waffles loves to say he loves to play, but which has cost him probably hundreds of clams because it is idiotic to play it in almost any situation. Except here.

Eventually, in 10th place out of 16 players remaining, I'm in the BB with a low to medium Ace, and the sb in front of me puts in what looks to be a blatant steal attempt, of which there are tons anywhere near this late in a large mtt:

As you can see, I go ahead and pop it allin here, and to my dismay he calls. Shit. But then he flips this:

Whew! Now I'll either tie, or hopefully win another dominated hand race.

But no.

The four on the turn does me in, and IGH in 16th place overall in the 25k:

for once again easily my best finish in the 25k in months. Just one day after writing all about how I have lost my appetite for this tourney, the poker gods reverse everything, and here I am. Unbelievable. But such is poker, and I always view my job as, at a minimum, being around and still being in the tournament whenever my lucky streak hits.

Is it possible that the recockulous ranting this week and cathartic explosion of comments from bloggers could have given the poker gods the sacrifice they've been demanding from me all this time? Could their seemingly insatiable thirst for my anger and my chips have finally been quenched by me letting loose like I basically never do on the blog earlier this week? Who knows. Let's hope so.

One last thing. I seem to say this on many if not most of my big nights on the virtual felt, but the Hammer Wife once again showed last night how incredibly supportive she is, even in her total distate for poker in general. Not only did my oldest daughter wake up for 2 full hours at midnight last night, but she woke up having thrown up all over herself, her clothes, the bed she is sleeping on, and various other parts of the room within a five-foot radius of her bed. While I helped with the initial cleaning and calming down of our daughter, the Hammer Wife did all the heavy lifting over the next couple hours, allowing me to do my thing in what is without a doubt the best performance I've had in a nlh tournament in many, many, many weeks and many attempts. While I know she was not enjoying herself out there, at least I can say here how much I appreciate her efforts as always, and how lucky I am to have someone who will let me do my thing and end up having a night that will without a doubt be a turning point for my holdem tournament game. You'll see. A, thank you as always, you are a perfect match for me and I'll never forget it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rant Follow-Up

You know those days when you read over the post you've just written, and you just know you've hit a goldmine? That was me yesterday. I must have read, reread and re-reread that post at least ten times during the morning and again in the evening. I absolutely love the fucking thing. With me this level of rant is so infrequent, you just have to sit back, enjoy and appreciate it for what it is. Even Waffles himself couldn't bring himself to comment on that rant, so you know I did something good.

As you can tell, there is a lot of frustration surrounding my poker play these days, in particular nlh tournaments. I've done quite well in my non-holdem poker pursuits -- although even those have been a source of some frusrtating happenings of late -- but my no-limit holdem tournament game, for the second time in this calendar year, is in a prolonged slump. The three cashes in a week in the 25k guaranteed tournament on full tilt a month or two ago are now such a distant memory, that I barely even feel the drive to play that 25k anymore, after being determined along with some fellow bloggers to make that thing our biatch there for some time. Although I still make some final tables, the blogger tournament circuit has been kicking my ass lately, in situations where it seems far more often than not that I am going down despite being ahead to some varying degree when the chips go into the middle.

So yes, there has been a lot of frustration welling up within me for quite some time with respect to my nlh tournament game. All that frustration boiled over again yesterday with my fun rant about Wes when he called my allin reraise preflop with AQs, ran into my pocket Jacks and then naturally found a Queen as the first card on the flop to knock me out once again when I was ahead. I have a lot still to say about that issue, so I'll get to that shortly. But first let me say for the record, I'm fine if any of you, or all of you, don't think Wes's move was "donkey". Frankly I'm surprised at all the focus in the comments on the question of whether or not this was "donkey" or was not "donkey". My point is Who Cares if it's officially a donkey move or not? "Donkey" is just a word. It's no different from calling the move "bizzlebub" or "snaff". It's just a bunch of letters combined together to make a sound. If you don't think it's "donkey", then I'm fine with that. As I mentioned in yesterday's rant, I am pretty sure Wes called because he figured I was putting him on a naked steal and thus was restealing with nothing. And he did have AQs, not garbage, which he had reason was a better hand than what I would normally put him on when he steal-raises preflop from the cutoff.

So fine, I don't care, maybe what Wes did was not a donkey move. I don't care. As I mentioned a few times in yesterday's post, I wasn't just talking about Wes yesterday. I was more talking to all of you zobos who have made these kinds of allin-call-with-just-dominated-overcards moves against me, basically every single one of which has managed to spike the card they need to beat me out of blogger tournaments. I'm frustrated about it, and I'm pissed about it. Yesterday's rant was not really me talking specifically about what Wes did -- which I freely admit, was easily the least bad of all the silly stoopid allin calls I have suffered from of late -- but rather just the culmination of all that frustration about a large number of worse calls than that that are just plain hideotic.

Now I'd also like to address some of the comments to yesterday's post, of which there were many. First off, Pokerwolf and Tripjax both commented on how horrendous my general attitude towards nlh tournaments is. You're right. 100% absolutely positively correct. I agree that I probably need to change that before I can start winning these things again, though I suppose under the right circumstances I could see winning again even when I don't expect it. The thing is, I'm not changing my game at all because of that bad attitude and pessimism I have towards surviving in these things, so I don't think the attitude issue is that huge of a deal. For me, I've always known it's bad when you start actually changing your game -- overbetting the pot to chase out the drawing donkeys, not raising preflop with Aces since you already know they're going to get cracked, etc. -- because of what you "know" is going to happen. That's not me. Look at my play, I am still consistently getting in with the best hands, and when I don't, 9 times out of 10 it is just a pure donk play on my part, but not one that is motivated by my seeming knowledge that it's going to turn out badly. Anyways, I appreciate those comments, I mostly agree and I certainly acknowledge that it's true, my attitude towards nlh tournaments is despicable and not helpful these days. Guilty as charged.

I also want to address again this issue of the whole pot odds thing. I understand fully the argument made by people who say they always use pot odds, for every individual decision, and that is enough for them to always make the right call. I do not agree with this, but I can understand and accept that others view all decisions in that way. And it's not like I am disputing the math that says that, once Wes had already put the 450 chips into the pot and I was only raising him another 1400 or so, so that his pot odds are technically enough at that point to justify him calling my allin reraise, even when he knows (or should know) that he is behind any hand I am reasonably raising allin with at that point in time. But the thing is, I simply don't think that just blindly using pot odds for the second decision (whether or not to call my allin reraise) is necessarily the most correct (tournament-wise) way to make that decision under all circumstances. I will use the example I gave in the comments yesterday to make my point:

Let's say, for example, that Wes had been sitting on 2000 chips, and that he decided to kick it up to 750 in the cutoff when holding 73o. Just a blind steal attempt while holding pure trash cards. Now I go allin from the bb for my last 1700 chips. Wes now has to call 950 chips to win 2600. It's nearly 3 to 1 for him to call. Are you going to call there too then, since chances are that his 73o is somewhere close to 1 in 4 to win the hand? I can only hope the people in my nlh tournaments always say yes to call there because of the pot odds. The very same pot odds that are only even remotely close for him because of the 750 chips he bet with his shizz hand to begin with. So yes, you can choose to look at the second allin-call-or-fold decision as an independent event with independent pot odds which dictate a call or near-call here. As many of the commenters explained, I don't have much to argue with that decision if that's the way you want to look at it. But I will also say that I definitely do not look at it that way. Why would I ever call off my last 950 chips -- even with 750 chips already in the pot from my stack per my preflop steal attempt -- just because now, counting the 750 chips I foolishly put into the pot already in this hand, now I have the right pot odds to put in my last 950 chips. I'm telling you, I like to win nlh tournaments, and I would not make that call. I wouldn't make it even for one second. Period. I'm folding. I got busted, I got caught on a naked steal attempt with nothing, I got allin reraised, so why now would I compound the mistake of my original preflop raise by now using the pot odds that are so swayed by that original steal attempt that they now dictate I should call off the rest of my chips. This is not a cash game, it's a tournament, where I can't buy back in once I get busted. So why would I call of my last 950 chips with a 3-to-1-against hand, where if I lose I am eliminated from the tournament? I wouldn't. But that's just me, according to a lot of the comments, and I accept that. I just don't agree with the theory that following pot odds for each individual decision in a hand in a freezeout tournament is necessarily the best thing to do at all times. 'Nuff said me thinks.

Going through some more of the comments, I replied in a comment yesterday but I just want to say it again here. Several people pointed out that I "bring this action on myself" because I play such an aggressive game. I went out of my way to address this point in my rant yesterday, but I know I was pissy and obviously therefore did not get my point across sufficiently. So let me be clear -- I understand of course that when I play aggressively over time, I invite people to play aggressively against me because they put me on a wider range of hands, and therefore that they are justified in playing a wider range of hands against me. Nonetheless, and this is the point I tried so hard to make yesterday, I absolutely do not play so aggressively that I could be anything but ahead of Wes's AQ there, period. If you think I might be reraising allin there with no good starting cards, then I think you sound more like someone who is relying on other peoples' statement that I play very aggressively, rather than on actual experience of actually seeing me actually reraising allin with a crap hand like that preflop. So Yes I play aggressively, but No I do not regularly make allin reraises of preflop raisers with hands that are behind AQ.

Another comment that popped up a couple of times yesterday, and which I also tried to address in my rant post, is that I am well aware that the real problem here is not the alleged "donkey calling" I've been facing. As Duggles very well explained in his comment, I love those donkey callers being out there. I want them out there calling my preflop allin reraises with their KQs and KJo and A9s. The real problem here is not those donkey calls. It's pokerstars consistently rewarding the donkey callers by spiking them just the card they need when the community board hits the felt. So yes, I agree with that sentiment. You would most certainly not be hearing this stuff from me if I had won 5 of my last 6 races when someone unthinkingly called with KJ against my allin preflop raise. As is often the case, pokerstars once again proves to be the root of all evil. Well, them and full tilt, meaning the only two sites I play any significant time at these days.

To Windbreak247, yes I'm quite sure you're right that maybe Wes "just wanted to gamble" when he made that call. See, here's the thing. I'm not about controlling the decisions that anyone but me makes when I'm playing poker. Not once, never. I want you to do whatever you want to do. You want to play the blogger tournaments and not take them seriously and just call the first time you know you're up against a race situation for all your chips, of course it's your right to do so, and I wouldn't possibly have a thing to say about it. If you play the blogger events and "just want to gamble", more power to you. But, please keep in mind the corollary to that very much correct idea: if I choose to rant about a bad play you made while you were in "let's gamble" mode, I can do that too. That's all I did here. A play was made that I do not believe is close to the best interests of the guy who wants to win the Hoy, so I come on the blog and point that out. I defend to the hilt Wes's and anyone else's right to play however they want to play it, of course.

It's funny to me as well -- this has come up in the comments a few times on my posts -- that people think of this blog as a place where I try to show how clever I am and all the great moves I put on people. To me it is impossible to believe that people could think this about the blog, given the largely nothing but bad beats and donk play on my part that are detailed here almost exclusively over the past 6 months plus, but I guess people remember what they want to remember from a blog, and those "strategy" and "clever" posts I guess are some of the more memorable moves. But I am certainly not trying to use my blog as a vehicle to make me look clever, to brag about my play or anything like that. I use the blog to detail my daily adventures in poker, and when I see something interesting in a hand, or more often later during my hand analysis and hand reviews of the big hands I've played, I will often post the hand itself here, or at least some discussion of it. That's all. I guess I need to be more cognizant of the light that my posts generally tend to place me in. I certainly don't think I'm all that clever, and I have never intended the blog to be a place where I show how clever I am to everyone else. Sucks to be misunderstood in that way but que sera sera, I don't really give a phuck if you couldn't have guessed that.

One other quick point about bad beat stories: I like them. If I'm the only one, then so be it. But I like to hear bad beat stories as long as they're truly bad beat stories and not beginning with things like "so I called a small raise preflop with K8o...." I'm not saying I would enjoy discussing nothing but bad beats for the next 20 years of my life. But I am saying that I enjoy hearing about bad beats, and I enjoy posting about them if there is a good story involved. You know the routine, it's my blog and I can post whatever I want, yada yada yada. People generally seem to like what I have to say here, so I plan to continue doing my thing as only I know how. So thank you to everyone for every time I've been told how lame it is to post bad beats, every time I've read how you should never talk about bad beats, and every time I hear how I owe someone money every time I mention a bad beat. I like that shit, I'm probably going to keep posting them as I feel like doing so, and unfortunately for some of you, that's that. I accept that I am apparently different from many poker bloggers and many readers of poker blogs, but so be it. I yam what I yam.

OK I think that is enough for today. I will definitely be in the Mookie tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt (password as always is "vegas1"). So should you! Hopefully Wes will be there and I hope he takes my ass down on the exact same play as the one from the Hoy. Wes is a great tournament poker player, and it would be an honor to be eliminated by him twice in one week from blogger tournaments. I'm the deadest money around these days, so please hope you're at my starting table, because I'm probably not lasting long!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Mondays at the Hoy Rant (Waffles This Is For You)

[Begin rant]

Goddammit people! I'm serious about this. This recockulous donkeycalling has got to stop. I mean, where did you fuggin people learn to play poker anyways? Not from my blog, you didn't. I've detailed here many times -- way, way too many times -- how I've been eliminated from a blogger tournament because I raised (or even re-raised) allin preflop, got called by some clown not only holding just two overcards, but holding two overcards that are not AK but which do have at least one Ace or King included, making them very much subject to domination by the exact kinds of hands that are going to be reraising them allin in the first place anyways. I don't know how many times I can say on my blog that calling allins preflop with easily-dominated hands (assuming no short stacks, tilting players, etc.) is bad tournament poker. It just is. It's a fact and there's nothing you or I or anyone out there can do to change that. If you go through life calling preflop allins with Aces that are not AK, with KQ and KJ, etc., you're not going to be a successful no-limit holdem tournament player over time, at least not while you're making a practice of making calls like this.

If you couldn't tell, it happened again to me last night in Mondays at the Hoy. I had done well, made a few great poker plays, fooled some people but good and had amassed a decent stack. I had just lost a decent sized pot, bringing my stack down to maybe 2/3 of average with 11 players remaining out of the 18 players who started the latest MATH tournament at 10pm ET on pokerstars. Blinds are 50-100, and I'm sitting on a little over 1800 chips, when I look down to find pocket Jacks in the small blind. I'm even happier when I see Wes the Big Pirate raise it up 4x from the cutoff in front of me:

This is great. Now the pot is already about a third the size of my current stack, and with an aggro guy like Wes raising it up from steal position, and me holding pocket Jacks in the blinds, this situation is just custom made for me to add nicely to my stack. Given all the overcards to my Jacks, I clearly want to take this pot down now while I'm sure I'm ahead, rather than watch an Ace fall on the flop and then be forced to fold to a continuation bet from aggroboy. So I move it allin, hoping and expecting a fold from the guy who is highly likely not to have anything allin-callable when he open-raises 4x from the cutoff position:

Wes immediately goes into the tank. He is clearly agonizing over this call, which makes it more obvious than ever that I am ahead. It is obvious he does not want to call, but as his time runs down near the end, he makes the crying call and just decides to take his chances with....

Ace-Queen. Sooooooted. Once again, another blogger making an allin call before the flop with a hand that he absolutely, positively must believe he is behind with at this point in the hand. Naturally, the flop contained a Queen, and IGH in 11th place instead of moving on with a large stack into the final table:

Of course. Now I'm going to say something here, and it's going to be very direct. Normally I try to avoid slamming on specific individuals on either of my blogs, because I'm not that kind of guy, but in this case I am most definitely not directing my comments specifically at Wes. Readers here will note that I have complained about this exact sort of donkeycalling (and the concurrent overcard spiking on the flop, turn or river to reward the donkeycalling, which -- let's be honest -- is the real problem here) on several occasions in the past, and with several different bloggers I like. Wes was just the latest in a long line last night, and I want to be clear here that I am not commenting in the least bit on Wes's overall play or his poker playing abilities. Wes has made countless blogger final tables, he won the Party 40k as I myself did earlier this year, etc. So the guy obviously knows how to play nlh, and play it very, very well. I'm not trying to dispute that in any way. However, this play last night was utterly hideotic (yes I just made that word up, and yes it is a combination of hideous and idiotic. Enjoy.).

For the umpteenth time, but with a bit expanded of a discussion, I want to review this play that ended up eliminating me from Mondays at the Hoy last night. Or rather, that ended up letting pokerstars eliminate me from Mondays at the Hoy. Again. So Wes puts in a standard raise from the cutoff with AQs. This is clearly a good play. He's a known aggro guy preflop, especially from steal position, and he's put in his standard stealy-looking raise with a hand that is actually fairly good. I like the play, it's clearly the right move. But then I move in on him from the small blind, and Wes is put to the test.

Notice first my stack size. As I mentioned earlier, I was sitting on about 2/3 of the average stack size at the time, so I was short, but not very. I was nowhere near the desperate stage where I'm likely to push with anything. My M is well over 10 still at this point in the tournament, and in an online blogger event like this, nearing the final table, an M over 10 is actually quite fluffy. So I am not close to desperate here, and there's no reason to believe I'm pushing with nothing. So when I reraise a preflop raiser allin, let's try to put me on a range of hands here.

I've covered this several times here in the recent past, as I seem to be falling victim to these donkeycalls much more often than my fair share, but here goes. If you have sat and played with me any amount of time -- which Wes certainly has -- and you're paying any attention at all, then determining my range of hands here is actually fairly easy. I might be likely to reraise with 2/3 the average stack here with any pocket pair, or perhaps with AK. Possibly AQ, but not likely. If you've paid attention to my play, you know that there is no way I am pushing here with AJ or any worse Ace. NO Way. It is clearly either a pocket pair or AK. Period.

Let me repeat this point, because to me it is of utmost importance. If you have played a lot with me like most of the bloggers have, then you should know with a fair amount of certainty that I am not pushing here with AJ or worse. Period. Every time some donkeycaller donkeycalls me preflop and then donkeysucks me out of a tournament, I find myself writing here about their expectation on the hand, and I always seem to get the same response. It's time that I address that response here. First, the expectation point one more time. If you know how I play, then you know the odds of me having a pocket pair in this situation are probably, say, 90%. And the odds of me holding AK is maybe 10%. If you want to throw in a few percentage points for AQ, feel free. I would be very unlikely to make this move with AQ, but if you want to say I might, I'm not going to spend any time arguing it because the odds of that have got to be very low. And there is zero chance of me making this move with AJ, AT, or any Ax, KQ, KJ, etc. Zero chance, guys. I don't play that way, and I never play that way in any blogger event. So, the odds are about 90% that Wes is a 49% dog, and 10% that Wes is a 20% dog. Why the phuck would Wes ever call under those circumstances, with me nowhere near desperate, and with Wes's stack only a couple hundred higher than mine at this point in the tournament? If you know what you're doing, you know that you are at BEST a 49% underdog in this hand! Why are you calling with that? Is your self control in these blogger events really that poor?

This is the key point I'm trying to hit on here. Every time someone donkeycalls me out of one of these tournaments, I rant about it here, and they all say the same thing. "I've watched Hoy play", they say, "and this guy raises with anything." They all claim that they thought I might just be pushing soooted connectors, or just pure bluffing based on position, or just pure bluffing for no good reason at all, just to pick up some chips. "I've seen Hoy make this move many times before with nothing," they say.

Bullshit!! Please don't use me to justify your donkeycalls anymore, because that's just what it is. A justification. You're playing in a blogger tournament, and you want to act like a donkey and make a donkeycall, so you just did it, and got rewarded by futhermucking pokerstars, what else is new. I have a lot of respect for Mattazuma, who did this exact thing to me in last week's Hoy, I ranted about it, and he took responsibility for his play on his blog like a fucking man. Check it out for yourself. He admits it was a donkeyplay, he admits he didn't think much about it, and he admits that if he was really thinking about it properly, he would not have made the call of my allin preflop raise with just his KJo (my god I still can't believe that fucking call). All of which are true, btw.

To all you donkeys out there who like to justify your donkery by saying things like "Hoy could have been raising there with anything" -- you have the biggest problem of all, guys. Because I do not play that way. You're making that up. I'd love to see the last time I pushed allin preflop with nothing, when I was doing fine in chips and nearing a blogger final table. Show me please. Until then, accept this: If you play a lot with me, and you think I would allin reraise a guy who's already raised it up preflop, when I've got a hand worse than AQ, then you are not observing my play sufficiently. And that is a very dangerous thing. If you think this, then you are not paying sufficient attention to what's going on around you, and you will get burned by that over time, regardless of how pokerstars chooses to reward your donkery in any given instance.

Playing very good poker requires, among other things, a real precision of memory and extreme attention to how your opponents like to play the game of poker. If you want to play at a high level, you need to know how the guy three seats to your right likes to lead with AK when he does not make anything on the flop. You need to know that when the guy two seats to your left smooth calls on the flop, he usually has a monster hand. If you are not paying attention to this stuff at all, or -- worse yet -- if you are relying on incorrect assumptions as to how your opponents play certain hands -- then you are doomed to fail in tournament poker, and you will have no one to blame but yourself.

So one more time, because it bears repeating: If you believe I would reraise a preflop raiser when I am holding AJ or worse, then you definitely need to raise your level of attention to what's going on around the table when you're playing. Period. I suppose that Wes's motivation last night might be more based on the fact that he made his hand look like a steal attempt preflop, and since I am in fact known to reraise a blind stealer with nothing from the blinds on occasion, he might have thought his AQs was ahead here. I still say even with that justification it is a poor call given my likely hand range, but that probably had a lot to do with Wes's decision in particular last night, and if that is the case, then I will change my opinion of that particular call from "hideotic" to just "really bad". But in general, these guys who claim I could have had anything with my allin reraise, so they'll just call me with KJ or KQ or QTo and hope they win it, those are pure donkey moves. Plain and simple. You are playing like fucking donkeys!!!

And one more time -- if you want to donk it up, in a blogger tournament or otherwise, be my guest of course. But please, I beg you, don't use me as the justification for your donkeyplay. Be a man. Take responsibility for and ownership of your donkey play. Smokkee will admit when he's made a donkeycall. Mattazuma obviously as well, he knows where he's at in his game, and I respect that. Lord knows I take responsibility for my own bad play, and I rarely if ever try to blame someone else when I've made a donkeyplay, as evidenced all over this blog.

If you get only one thing out of this blog post, let it be this: Please, for everloving god, please stop calling preflop allins from non-short stacks with just two lousy, easily-dominated overcards. It's bad tournament poker, against me, or against anyone else I can literally think of among the entire blogging community. Think about this -- when was the last time you saw an awesome poker player like a Blood or DoubleAs or Iggy or CJ call a preflop allin with a nice stack against another nice stack when he was holding AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ, etc.? Anybody ever remember me making a call like this? Think about it, guys.

[End rant.]

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Power of the Min-Raise

Most of you who know me well already know how much I do not like the min-raise (raising just the minimum amount allowed for any raise in a poker game) for use in the situation it is most often used in -- where someone has a decent hand, but not a great hand, maybe wants to pay as little as possible to get some information, or try to chase out others with potentially better hands for as little as possible. To me, using a minraise in this way is a terrible idea, because it basically telegraphs to everyone else at the table the exact nature of your hand. And any time that I am basically screaming out to everyone else at the table that my hand is so-so, only somewhat strong, fairly weak, etc., then I am creating an opportunity for a strong opponent to make a play at me, one to which I am likely to be forced to lay down a potentially winning hand. So you will basically almost never see me put in a minraise in this kind of a situation, as I think, against solid opponents, it actually tends more often to backfire and cause me to lose more money in a pot, than it helps me to win a pot or to win more money from a pot I was going to win already anyways.

There is a situation, however, where I do try to make use of the minraise as a way to increase my expectation from a given hand, and that relates to deception. Because I know that most online poker players use the minraise in the ill-advised situation above, I also know that those same players will tend to view a minraise from someone else as meaning the same thing that it does for them. Thus, sometimes I will put in a minraise, typically on the flop, when I know I actually have a monster hand, in the hopes that someone relies on that minraise to get confident that my hand is not too strong, and that I can be pushed off of the hand. Often when I minraise in this situation, another player at the table will see my minraise, and go ahead and reraise me strongly right then and there, which of course I then call and go for the double-up with my monster.

At least as profitable as the flop-reraise scenario, however, are the times when my opponent does not reraise me then and there on the flop, but rather files away for use later in the hand the fact that they believe my hand was not actually that strong on the flop. Here I'm going to show one such example of when this exact scenario went down, in a way that ended up being very profitable for me. Again, I don't even tend to use the minraise in this way very frequently, but the few times that I do minraise, this has been the situation, and it has generally proven to be a very profitable move for me overall.

OK so this is back in FTOPS Event #6 (pot-limit holdem), near the end of the first hour. Blinds are at 30-60, and I'm in the big blind with AKs. UTG limps for 60, as does one player in middle position, and when action returns to me, I elect to just check my option, rather than raise here and give away the strength of my hand this early. We see a flop of AT3 rainbow. So I'm liking my chances here, and unless I'm up against TT, 33 or AT -- all highly unlikely given everything I know right now -- I should be well ahead here with just two cards left to come.

Continuing with my theme of weakness from the beginning of the hand, I elect to quickly check here. UTG checks as well, and then the player in MP bets out the size of the pot (210 chips):

I'm fairly sure I'm ahead here. In fact, given the preflop limp and then this pot-sized bet on the flop, I'm pretty sure this guy has some kind of Ace. And that means that I'm not just ahead, but I have him dominated most likely, with me having probably a 4-to-1 chance to win the hand with just two cards to come. So, I want to get more chips into this pot that I am highly likely to win. I also want to make sure this guy is making a bad decision to call if he is trying to draw at some kind of inside straight or something. So, there is every reason to be aggressive here, but at the same time, I think this guy is on a weakish Ace, and I certainly don't want to lose him on the flop if I might be able to win some more bets from him on future betting rounds in this hand. So this is where the minraise comes in:

So, by minraising here, I've done a couple of good things. As I mentioned, I've gotten more chips into the pot where I am almost surely ahead. I've made it unprofitable for him to draw to an inside straight, and yet at the same time, by just raising the absolute minimum, I am all but assured that my opponent will call my raise. This is right where I want to be, since I likely have him dominated with just two cards to come. And, the hopeful best part of this move is, now this guy just might think that I don't even have an Ace, or that I have a weaker Ace than he does, since I only minraised instead of raising more like 3 or 4 times his original bet on the flop. At least that's what I'm hoping here.

So my opponent calls my minraise, and the turn card brings the Queen♠. With my minraise on the flop, here is where I definitely want to take whatever action is going to remain consistent with my opponent's belief (that I have planted in his head by my minimum raise) that I am actually weak. So I check the turn to him:

and he checks it right back, because he's afraid of another check-minraise or something from me, and doesn't know exactly what I'm holding here.

When the river brings an offsuit 9, making a final board of 3ATQ9 with no flushes possible, the action begins with me, and this is where I find out how well my minraise move worked. I bet out the size of the pot, because I have no reason to believe I am behind with my TPTK, the action on the hand thus far does not indicate that my opponent has better than top pair, and because I know that my minraise will have created a significant doubt in my opponent's mind as to exactly what I am holding, and how strong it is:

My opponent thinks and thinks, taking up almost the entire time allotted for his decision, and he finally calls my bet, mucks his hand and I win a huge 3150-chip pot. I have to wonder for a few seconds what exactly he had, and whether my minraise move had anything to do with getting him to call me at the end with a not-so-good hand, but then I remember that handy-dandy bullshit feature that full tilt and most of the other online poker sites have where I can see this guy's hand since he mucked at the river. If you want to guess what he had, now's your time. Scroll down when you've made your guesses:

Wait for it...

So there it is. I got this guy to call a huge bet on the end, making me a huge pot in the process, with just top pair with a 6 kicker. The role of my flop minraise in this hand cannot be minimized here, as there had to be something I did to make this guy believe I did not hold an Ace of any value, especially given my pot-sized bet at the river. And that is how I use the minraise to my advantage in my game.

One last thing:

Tonight is Mondays at the Hoy night again on pokerstars, 10pm ET as always. This as usual is your first chance to tune up for the week in blogger tournaments. Be there or be square!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

Just a quick post this morning to say Happy Thanksgiving to all you degenerate gamblers people out there who read this blog and have made it such a fun thing for me to focus on over the past year or so. As most of you know, I am nearing my first "official" year of blogging here, and I coud not be happier with the way the blogging, or the poker, have gone this year. Obviously we all have truly great things to be thankful for -- the Hammer Wife and Hammer Girls most of all for me for sure -- but since this is a poker blog, I thought I'd also mention how much I've enjoyed getting to know so many of you this year, and all the great poker successes we've gotten to share and enjoy together. I'm especially thankful just lately that the Hammer Wife and I have reached a major milestone over the past couple of weeks, one that has basically resulted in us not having to worry about the Hammer Girls sleep schedules anymore, at least for the time being, which is good for so, so many reasons as you can imagine.

In all, it's been one heckuva year, and I have a ton to be thankful for. Hope you all have a great holiday, and I'll be back on Friday with more glorious poker content.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MATH and Other Suckouts

Mondays at the Hoy was a huge success for me last night. Huge, that is, until Mattazuma cc'd me, insta-calling my preflop allin reraise when fairly shortstacked with my pocket 6s. So, you're thinking, he insta-called my allin preflop reraise, so he must have had, what? Pocket Jacks or better? Maybe AK? AQ sooted?


King-Jack. Offsoooot. Gotta love it. No time at all taken to consider this move, just another insta-call with a hand that is just about as easily dominated as any hand imaginable in that situation. As I've covered before, if you know my play then you know I'm not reraising an EP raiser with less than a pocket pair, or at least a strong Ace. So, therefore my opponent had to know he was behind when he made the call, and yet, the call was made instantly. Interesting play. Less interesting was the highly predictable Jack falling on the turn. So, I went home in 10th place out of 20 players, leaving the tourney just before the final table which I was forced to watch from the rail.

In the end, it was Wes taking down I believe his second Hoy tournament, outlasting Iggy (click link for the super-secret NEW dwarf blog) and the aforementioned Mattazuma, who I will credit with playing a great game after that redonkucockulous call against me -- never once at the final table did Mattazuma fall out of the top 3 or 4 positions, and he played a smart, solid final table game, pushing aggressively when appropriate and making enough smart plays to get to the cash. So congrats to Wes, Iggy and Mattazuma, and I look forward to seeing everyone next week at Mondays at the Hoy:

Also, special thanks to Saradawg, who played in her first ever MATH tournament last night, as well as to Maudie who may not have been in her first Hoy, but definitely has not been a regular, which we always welcome.

Second, just thought I'd show you this screenshot from last night's 25k guaranteed tournament:

Gorgeous, isn't it?

I really only include this to illustrate the fact that I am so still in the poker gods' doghouse, you would not even believe it. I mean, last night I played in 6 tournaments, and I got bad beat out of 4 of them. Of the two that were not traditional "bad beats", one was the KK vs. AA hand above, and the other was just a horrible set-over-set on the flop that busted me from the nightly 4k guaranteed HORSE tournament during one of the O8 portions of play. Disgusting. Luckily my razz and PLO cash games have been working early and often for me, and I've managed to make a profit on the night in each of my last several nights of play. I'm having so much fun playing things like the nightly 4k guaranteed HORSE tourney on full tilt, and these PLO and O8 cash games, that I have been kicking around the idea of running a weekly private multi-game poker game, if there might be interest in that sort of thing. I don't really care about attracting a huge crowd per se, and the buyin would probably be similar to the $20 buyin for the weekly Hoy tournaments, but it's just something I've been kicking around lately. I just think it'd be fun to get some of the really good multi-game specialists out there together for a regular game of HORSE or something like that. Let me know if anyone has any thoughts.

Ok that's all for now. Tomorrow I have a post ready where I'll be discussing the min-raise, and when I tend to use it and when I think it is not as effective, all of which was spurned by some good discussion going on in response to my latest Cardsquad post on how I played flopped quad against a bunch of bloggers in Miami Don's latest Big Game.

Monday, November 20, 2006

FTOPS Razz Recap, and MATH Pimp

First things first:

That's right, it's Mondays at the Hoy time again on pokerstars. Tonight at 10pm, be there or be square.

Now, today I want to review my run in the FTOPS Razz event this past Friday. As you know from reading here, I viewed the razz event as my best chance to make a serious run at the FTOPS, due to the combination of razz being among my best games and being among the worst games of the average players I run into in the online poker world. Now, while this morning I don't really feel like this is all that germane anymore -- especially after so many of our blogging friends made great runs in the FTOPS Main Event this past Sunday, most notably Lucko and Smizmiatch both ending in the 100s out of a nearly 2500-player field and each making over a Large apiece -- but I think I want to get this all up on the blog, just for closure's sake if nothing else.

Why do I need closure on the razz FTOPS event last Friday? Because I got mother effing screwed, that's why. And I want everyone to know it.

Now I'm warning you. What you're about to see is not going to be pretty. And you know what, I'm not trying to suggest that I played every single hand you're about to see perfectly. As I review the hands and the screenshots, I am plenty aware that I made a couple of questionable calls in there. But only a couple. For the most part, FTOPS razz dicked me like only online poker can. And I'm going to prove it to you right now.

First, early on in the event, I bet out on 6th street on this hand when I knew from the earlier hand action that I was ahead:

By all rights, this clown should have folded here to my bet. Instead, he inexplicably raised, due to his strong draw, but with one card to come, that's a great bet for me so I called. Here was his river card:

and I lost 300-some chips out of my 3000 starting stack. No big deal, right? A few hands later, my fishponent called this bet from me, clearly behind on 4th street:

but ended up taking another 180 chips from me when he hit an Ace on the river, to go along with my King on the river although I had already made an 8-low before that point:

Still not such a big deal, each on their own. But when you look at what happened to me on 6th and 7th streets in multiple hands overall, this was one of the most painful hours of poker I can recall. Here is me about 12 hands later, losing another 400 of my chips when I made a pair on 6th and then two pairs on 7th, in typical razz fashion, after being ahead by definition on 5th street:

So that's three riverings for me in the first 20 minutes or so of this tournament. And then of course here is one of my all-time favorites, when I am so full of hot draws on 4th street that I basically know I have to stick around through the end:

but one Queen and two low pairs later, I'm out another 500 chips at the river:

Disgusting. Three hands later, here is me raising on 5th street with a draw that is at least two cards better than the board my opponent is showing:

but then one Jack and one pair later, I'm out another phucking 450 chips:

By this point I am starting to get really frustrated. I'm not chatting in the poker site chat, but I have a couple of friends on my girly chat, and let me tell you I was really laying into them on the IM. I was pissed. Absolutely nothing went my way in this tournament, and everything went my opponents' way to a degree that I simply don't recall seeing anytime in recent memory.

Two more hands later, here's another one I enjoyed. My opponent fishcalls me badly on 5th street, with the board I was showing sitting significantly ahead of whatever he could possibly be holding (even if he were perfect underneath at that point):

but then not one but a pair of Jacks later, once again I'm out 400 more chips:

At this point my stack was getting pretty low, in that although I did win several pots that are not going to be described here, those were all small pots won early in the betting rounds. Every single hand that went beyond 5th street with me still in it, I lost. No exceptions. Just think about that stat for a minute. Imagine trying to succeed or even last just a little while in a nlh tournament where every time you go past the flop, you lose the hand. Recockulous. So anyways, as you can see above I'm now down below 1000 chips remaining from my starting stack of 3000 chips.

Four hands later, here is another horrendous fishcall by an assponent who simply cannot lay down a pure drawing hand in razz, despite my board clearly indicating that his donkeyass is beaten. I'm showing a Ten-six low on my board, I've bet most of the way here, and he's got a Ten and a Queen showing. But still, heehaw just can't lay it down:

A 7th street Ace for him and a Queen for me, however, and the guy is just perfect enough underneath in the end to deplete me of half of my remaining (paltry) stack:

Although this was a terrible fishcall by a horrific razz opponent, I will say that at this point in the chat, several of the players around the table had started talking about the redickulous luck I had been experiencing, both in failing to catch my own cards as well as watching my opponents repeatedly catch perfect on 7th, if not on 6th and 7th, to outdraw me. One of the players around the table had recently suggested in the chat that the poker gods just had it in for me tonight and that I wasn't going to win a single big hand in the rest of the entire tournament with the way things had been falling for me. And people were literally talking about calling me or betting at me from behind, based on that foreknowledge. So, as moronic as that is, I imagine this guy had taken that all into account when calling me with a Ten-low against my board here of Ten-64A with just one card to come. He knew for a fact that he was behind there, but went ahead and fishcalled anyways just to try and see if the poker gods would bail him out again. He was not disappointed.

And then, with me sitting on just under 600 chips remaining came the Hand of the Tournament for me. The one that just exemplifies everything that went wrong for me in the FTOPS razz event on Friday. After the previous hand above (this next one occurred just 2 hands after the preceding screenshots above), the entire table was chatting about how I couldn't win a hand to save my life in the tournament, regardless of the cards that were showing. Then one player decided to take this little theory to the extreme to try to eliminate me from the tournament once and for all, and the results are downright funny.

So here's me raising it up when I'm clearly way ahead on 3rd street:

The assfish to my right calls me with his Queen-up, just to test the theory out that the poker gods aren't going to let me win no matter what. Then, on 4th street and with me still way ahead, I bet out clearly in the lead again:

and this time, just being an anus and trying to see if he can double up against the guy who the gods aren't going to let win, he raises me. With a Queen up by 4th street:

So I figure, this guy doesn't even know how strong my 3-card draw underneath is, plus I have the Jack which is lower than the assman's exposed Queen, so, with so few chips left and me way, way in front, I reraised him right back:

To be a clown, he just went ahead and capped it on me right there, which I of course called:

Now on 5th street is where this gets downright comical. I pick up another low card, this one a 3, and he meanwhile catches a Ten. Now he's so laughably behind that I have to bet out again:

and then, with everyone around the table goading him on to staying in and busting me through the power of the poker gods, he does the unthinkable and raises me again, which I of course call, way in the lead now, after getting my last 37 chips in the pot as well:

All I could keep typing into the chat at this point was "thank you" to the guy, who I just knew was going to put me out of my misery after what was without a doubt one of the most frustrating hours I've ever spent playing poker online. At this point in the hand it was very difficult to see how I could possibly lose this one, but I just knew it was coming, as did everyone else around the table. So my opponent made not just fishcalls, but two abjectly recockulous fishraises on me on 4th and 5th streets, with more or less no chance of possibly winning the hand.

Well, make that "less no chance" rather than "more no chance". A Ten and a Queen for me, and a 3 on 7th street for him, and once again I had had defeat snatched from the jaws of victory for me:

and mercifully, IGH. I was among the first 100 players eliminated from the tournament, and frankly it wasn't even that close as I was given absolutely no chance whatsoever to do anything in this event despite my best efforts to the contrary. Time and time and time and time again, with the best hand currently, I missed everything and my opponents hit to beat me. With the best draw, I played aggressively and made two pairs or better (worse). When behind, well I don't know about when I was behind, because I was barely behind at all in this tournament until at least 6th street, and in most cases not until 7th, at which point for the most part I was already priced in to staying in for one more bet to see what happens.

In all it was a true case of why everyone says razz can be the most frustrating of all the poker variations. And thus I completed my run through four FTOPS events, cashing in only one of them -- pot limit holdem for a $362 and change score -- and overall I am clearly disappointed with those results. I was so golden in the 6-max event until my pocket Aces got cracked at the river by the recockulous trips Queens against the moron I duped into doubling me up there, so I can't kill myself for that, and in HORSE and razz it ended up like I was simply just not supposed to get there on those days, be it fate, the poker gods, just random luck, you name it. I'll take my one cash, and that one event more or less paid almost all of the buyin fees I spent to get into the four FTOPS events I played in, but I would very much have liked to have done something more with myself in this, the only round of high-guarantee tournaments I am likely to be able to play in due to the timing of things. Oh well. There's always next year. At least I probably won't have to deal with nearly as much of the non-razz-understanding, fishcalling moron playing, American riffraff asshats by the time the next FTOPS comes around, if U.S. lawmakers continue to have their way anyways.

OK so on to bigger and better things for this week. Come check out the Hoy tonight, and let's try to continue our recent streak of at least one first-time player in this tournament every week. If you've never played this tournament before, or even never played with the bloggers in general before, come out tonight to pokerstars, pony up the $20, and make it happen for yourself among a truly great crowd of poker players and poker writers. And, I'm laying the same bounty on myself tonight in the Hoy as I did in last week's MATH tournament -- knock me out from the tournament on a suckout (where I have at least a 2-to-1 advantage when the last of my chips go into the middle), and I'll send you $10 cold hard cash to your pokerstars account in addition to the chips you'll already win from me on the suckout. Now if that's not taking advantage of a bad thing, then I don't know what is.

One other quick item -- New post today on Cardsquad analyzing how I played a hand where I flopped quads against a bunch of blogger donks in Don's Big Game on Sunday night. Please go check it out and weigh in with your opinions and suggestions, and I'll post the follow-up early on Tuesday for your viewing and analyzing pleasure.

See you tonight for Mondays at the Hoy!!