Friday, December 08, 2006

Fun Friday Post

So the way I see it, today is a free blog day. With all the cool bloggers on their way to Las Vegas for the semiannual WPBT gathering, I figure many of the regulars here won't be reading today anyways, and that means I get to stray from my usual all-poker, all-the-time rantings.

As an aside, I met the WPBT this past summer when I went out to Vegas to meet the bloggers as well as to play in the WSOP, and had a beyond fabulous time. I highly encourage any of you out there who are not already on your way to Vegas this weekend to try to find the time to be at one of the future WPBT gatherings. There really is nothing like putting faces to names, and getting to shoot the shit live with the guy or gal whose thoughts you read every single day. And, of course, there are the indescribable things like meeting the angry dwarf live and in the flesh, 4am dinner/breakfast in between 2-5 no-limit holdem sessions with new friends, playing 1-2 HORSE next to an all-time favorite read, and winning a bounty t-shirt for eliminating the WPBT Player of the Year leader from the live WPBT tournament and sucking out on noted poker author Michael Craig's pocket Aces in the exact same hand. Last July is not a time that I plan to forget any time soon, and I can only hope I will make it back out there for another run in the WSOP next June, in addition to some good old-fashioned druken revelry when that time comes. So though I am not there in person this weekend, I am there in spirit. Everyone get sucked out of a $500 pot to a 2-outer on the river for me, willya?

So, today I'm thinking I'll talk a little fantasy football. I haven't updated you all in several weeks on this stuff, so here it comes. Duggle I know you will be most interested in this. As I've mentioned previously on the blog here, I am playing in three fantasy football leagues for 2006-07. One is my own league, which I have run now for 5 straight years, and is the league I take the most seriously every year. It's my friends who are playing, some from growing up, some from college, some family members, etc., and we have a great time with it. Anyways, here are the standings through 13 games in my league (I am StockLab):

As you can see, I have clinched a playoff spot (top 4 spots), which is always the goal in fantasy football. Despite not having nearly the energy level for fantasy football as I have had in previous years, I am really psyched to be back in the playoffs in the only league that really matters to me. And, a solid second place in the standings heading into the last matchup of the regular season, with the third-most points scored despite having neither LT nor Peyton Manning on my team, I have a lot to be proud of in that league IMO.

Similarly, my college buddy Brad runs his own fantasy football league every year, this now being the third year of his league, and here is the leaderboard for that league:

In this league you can see I am actually the clear leader, the first time I can say that about Brad's league since its inception a few years ago. While I have never failed to make the playoffs in three years of Brad's league, I have always been behind some luckdick who drafted a bunch of stiffs and rookies who then went on the luck their way into big huge years. So this is a nice, nice year for me in my #2 fantasy football league, with me clearly in first in both fantasy record as well as total fantasy points scored. As you can see, I'm the only team to have clinched a playoff berth even heading into the final week of the regular season, so this is a real standout performance for me. That team is anchored by LT, easily the #1 fantasy stallion of 2006-07, which has helped me to smooth over any number of minor weaknesses and to shine as the blatant #1 seed in my buddy Brad's league.

Now on to the fugliness...the blogger league. I will repeat what I've said several times before on the blog, that my draft in KJ's blogger league was just about the best one I've ever seen. Especially given that this was a 12-team league (my usual is 10 teams, which allows for a bit more concentration of talent among each team), my starting roster to begin the season was, IMO, far and away the best among the entier blogger league. But then some strange things happened. Larry Fitzgerald got hurt. Trent Green got hurt. Hurt Warner got hurt. Ben Roethlisberger got hurt. Hines Ward got hurt. Chris Brown never took off at all in Tennessee this year. Edge James ended up being the literal single greatest fantasy bust of the season, on whom I wasted my #1 pick overall despite him not even being worthy of a frigging start in any week since around halfway through the season. Marc Bulger got hot but then very, very cold. Tampa Bay's Chris Simms got hurt, killing my hopes for another huge season from Joey Galloway. Basically almost every one of my picks ended up with more problems than results, and the consequence of that has been that, for most of the latter two-third of the NFL season so far, I now play a team that fields Brandon Jacobs and Edge James at runningback (ugh), Jerricho Cotchery, Joey Galloway and Keyshawn Johnson at wide receiver (ugh) and Marc Bulger at quarterback (hmmmm), week in and week out. Occasionally like this past week against Don's team, things work out for the best, but more often than not I've been on the losing end of the stick. I just cannot consistently score in that league, and when you can't score in fantasy football, you can't win. Period. So here's the standings in this very humbling league for me, with just one game left to play this weekend in the regular season:

Yep, these's me, all the way down there. In 9th place out of 12 teams, with the 8th most total fantasy points scored. Blech. This is somewhat historic for me, in that, out of now 25 total fantasy football teams I have managed over the past seven years, I have failed to make the playoffs (winners' bracket) with only 3 of those teams -- two of which were the first two times I ever played fantasy football -- and now this year's blogger league will be just my 4th missed playoffs out of 25 leagues, and only my second since my 2nd year playing fantasy football. So, I'm embarrassed and I'm ashamed about my performance in this league, but what can I do. This season in the blogger league, I was just a victim of a whole array of crazy circumstances.

Lastly, I'd like to move on to my NFL Pick'em league, to which I actually invited my readers here, and which as a result as 35 players for what is easily the biggest pickem game I've ever had out of the last five years of running this league on Yahoo! Here are the updated standings in pickem as of the end of last week's games:

There is me down in 15th place. Not horrendous, but having won this league in each of the past two NFL seasons, it is obviously a bit of a letdown for me. Even more annoying for me is that my little brother, Aquaverse, is in 2nd place overall, and my brother in law Lobos is up in 4th. These are the guys that I've been competing against and beating in pickem every year for the last few, and succeeding at that, so being so far down below them in the standings is not sitting well with me. But I've had a few horrendous weeks this year -- such as last week when I literally got my #16, #15, #14, #11 and #9 games all wrong in the same week -- and when you're doing that on multiple occasions in the same year, then you can't complain too much when it comes to not being among the season leaders thus far.

OK well lastly, I thought I'd leave you with a nice poker hand to enjoy for the weekend, for those of you like me who are not luxuriating out in Vegas in the comfort of a hundred other bloggers. This hand is a great example of how I like to basically "make my own luck" by convincing someone else to pay off my strong hand with their so-so hand. Here, I'm in the small blind with AQo, and I just limp in for 40 total chips preflop rather than raise it up, something I like to do with a hand like AQ, for which my best opportunity to profit is typically a weak Ace played by someone who does not realize that I am holding a stronger Ace in my hand:

The flop comes Queen-high, but with some possible draws, so I bet the pot here to try to take it down right now with my TPTK, or at least make it unprofitable for my opponents to draw at this point in the hand:

Just the player in late position calls my potbet on the flop, and the turn card comes a raggy, offsuit 3. Highly unlikely to have changed anything about the respective strength of either my opponent's or my hand. And this is where the whole hand is won or lost by me here. After betting the pot on the flop, and getting a caller, I still have got to figure my TPTK is ahead here. But how do I convince an opponent to put any more money into this pot in that situation? Is he really going to call any substantial bet with something like 2nd pair, an Ace with another wheel card kicker, or a draw here? To me, there's only one way to be aggressive in trying to convince an opponent that his hand is worth losing some more money with. I check it here:

I call this move the reverse delayed steal -- I want to make my opponent think that I was just trying a c-bet type of move on the flop, trying to take down the pot with nothing, but that now that I found a caller of that pot-sized bet on the flop, I am shutting down since I have nothing. So I check it to him, and in this case, he checks it right back to me so we both see a free river card. Not a bad outcome for me -- and just because my opponent did not bet out after my check on the turn, don't think for a second that this means my turn check has not had the desired effect.

The river brings a 10♥. While this does complete a possible straight, it would be an inside straight only, and thus not likely something that I would have bet the pot with or that he would have called my potbet with on the flop, so I'm not too worried about that possibility. So here, with the action on me to start the river betting round, I know I have TPTK, I know it is almost surely best, and I know that my opponent now saw me bet the pot on the flop, get called, and shut down on the turn. So here, I want to just complete the picture of weakness -- but I'm not checking it to him again, because then he almost surely won't bet given the action thus far in the hand, and I won't be able to profit from my check on the turn. So, instead, I'm going to do the next best thing, something that continues with the weakish impression I'm trying to give off, but at the same time gets some kind of chippage into the middle here:

A bet of 2/3 the pot. Following up on a full pot-sized bet on the flop, this 2/3 potbet on the river seems downright small, and weak if I ever saw a weak river bet. In general, with this setup of potbet the flop, check the turn and then 2/3 potbet the river, it is not realistic for my opponent to actually put me on a hand as good as TPTK. And, if done correctly, the 260 chips I've pushed in on the river is an amount that is easily callable by a lot of the inferior hands that I am hoping my opponent might have here.

He calls:

and I win 880 chips from a hand that I could have easily made only a couple hundy on.

And, just to see how well my check on the turn worked to get him to call me down without even a top pair kind of hand (even despite my betting the flop when it first came down), let's use that handy "Last Hand" button up in the top left corner of the screen to see what hand he had when he called me down on the river:

Second pair, second kicker. Easily playable if you have reason to believe your opponent is weak, but also easily foldable if you believe your opponent has made some kind of top pair or better hand. So there you have it -- how I use the reverse delayed steal to make opponents think their second-tier type of hands are actually best, and then get them to call decently large bets from me at the river to pay me off based on my trickery.

To the lucky WPBTers, have a great weekend in Vegas. Somebody please knock out StB and Lucko early from the live tournament on Saturday so they can't further pad their WPBT POY standings in the last event of the year. Thanks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not lucky enough to be in Vega$ this weekend either... ah well, hopefully I'll make it to the Summer Classic.

Good job in the FF leagues. And, I was right with you on that hand analysis... I pull that play out of the bag regularly, and it works more often than not. One thing I like about this play is that it keeps the pot size relatively small when I have a good chance of being ahead, but I'm not a lock. Sometimes I'm not best hand, and this play helps me not lose as much. Most often, though, I end up confusing the opponent enough that he calls the river bet with a very marginal hand, such as in this example, and I scoop more chips than I would otherwise.

Love the brog - keep up the good work!

5:27 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

nice play Hoy.

i already let Lucko know i was going to try and eff up his shot at WPBT player of the year in the Caesar tourney on Saturday.

if memory serves me right, he responded with something like "ya, i'm glad you're playing. we need more dead money".

it's on LUCKOOOOoooooo

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edge isn't even close to being the fantasy bust of the year. Ever hear of Lamont Jordan? Granted, Edge probably was taken ahead in most drafts within the first round, but if you compare their numbers, you will see that Jordan did NOTHING this year. Reggie Bush probably follows a close second since he was over-hyped in the preseason, therefore, he's the second-biggest bust of the year. Edge is a close third though.


3:27 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

jebus...can't believe it's been a week since I've been able to stop by here!

I missed Vegas, but in the last minute, cost-ineffective way. Congrats on the Big Game, and the 35k dominance! I've just caught up on all the posts STR and am duly impressed.

Still have no internet access yet, but hopefully will have in time for the next Mookie. Cya out there.

2:47 AM  

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