Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big MATH Results, and Interesting Flop Question

The first Battle of the Blogger Tournaments event went off without a hitch at last night's Mondays at the Hoy tournament, our first event on full tilt which as I discussed yesterday was really a long time coming. 47 bloggers and non-bloggers alike came out for the early chance to start off atop the BBT leaderboard, making this easily the largest MATH tournament ever and making me feel very positive about the move to what I already view as the best online poker site out there, as well as about the change of upping the buyin from $22 to $26 to make it a tier I token to play. These two changes and the size of the field also made this the first time the Hoy has sported a prize pool of over a thousand dollars, which made in the end for some great payouts for the top 6 finishers, including over $428 for the winner, who of all things ended up being a non-blogger who busted out with his first blogger tournament win of which I am aware, and that player was IslandBum1. IslandBum jumped out to a big chip lead with maybe 20 players left or so as I recall, and although things got a bit hairy when we got down to just three players left, in the end Island used a few big hands to regain his nice chip lead and then managed to hold on for the victory, his first MATH title and a very impressive performance. I would love to tell you about the last hand and how it all ended, but I have to say that I fell asleep before being able to see the bitter end of the Hoy, so all I can say is congratulations to Island for a job very well done and winning in a very tough field of mostly guys who know what they're doing. Edit: I understand that the top three finishers agreed to a 3-way chop for $282 apiece before playing things out to determine the winner, after nearly an hour of 3-handed play, so congratulations to everyone for a job well done.

As for me, I was I think 4th out when I reraised someone to 450 chips before the flop with my AK in late position, and then Bayne re-reraised me allin with what was obviously a pocket pair. Since I had an Ace and a King, I couldn't put him on AA or KK, and thus with already 450 chips and over a third of my stack in the pot, there was no way I could lay down what I was about 99% sure was a race situation. I went with the clear pot odds and made the call, Bayne showed pocket Tens, and his pair held up to send me to the rail early. Fortunately, neither Bayne nor Fuel, my two closest competitors atop the 2007 Hoy moneyboard, managed to cash in this event (did Fuel even play, come to think of it?), so it looks like I will hold on to my top spot for exactly one more week on the Hoy board, but that thing is going to change dramatically with the advent of the BBT and the influx of new players in the MATH tournament, in addition to the larger buyin which also helps add to the payouts for the event, which finished like this:

So congratulations to our six money finishers, with Easycure cashing in his first-ever MATH tournament for 6th place and $67 and change, trite April Fools Day joker Iakaris making his second Hoy cash for 5th place and $90, and Columbo rounding out the bottom three of the cash spots by ending in 4th place for $124 and a few pennies. Third place and $282 (on the 3-way chop) on Monday night went at long last to Wes the Big Pirate who finally managed to cash in the Hoy after paying bounty after bounty in recent weeks to anyone who knocked him out before landing a money spot in this tournament, with second place and also $282 going to ScottMc in what I also believe is his first Mondays at the Hoy event, and once again big ups to IslandBum1, last night's winner of $282 on the 3-way chop as well as the overall tournament title for the week, and the early leader in the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments after one event. Next stop, the Mookie on Wednesday night, so be there and make some noise!

As for the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard, as I mentioned the large size and bigger buyin of this week's event and probably future events as well will certainly be changing things in a big way. Here's the update after Monday's tournament on full tilt:

1. Hoyazo $580
2. Fuel55 $458
3. Bayne_s $410
4. Zeem $330
5. VinNay $310
6. Wigginx $288
7. IslandBum1 $282
7. ScottMc $282
7. Pirate Wes $282
10. Manik79 $252
11. Byron $234
12. Omega_man_99 $210
13. Columbo $204
14. Waffles $180
14. bartonfa $180
16. Santa Clauss $170
17. Iakaris $162
18. Smokkee $162
19. Chad $120
20. Ganton516 $114
21. NewinNov $90
22. Shag0103 $84
23. PhinCity $80
23. jeciimd $80
25. l.e.s.ter000 $72
26. Easycure $67
27. Julius Goat $60

27 players have now cashed in the MATH this year, with 13 players winning over $200 from the tournament over three months, 5 players winning over $300, 3 players winning over $400, and I think even one guy has won over $500 from this thing just since the beginning of the year. Can you imagine?

OK I wanted to ask a question of you all today about a poker situation that I find interesting, involving whether or not to give a free card to an opponent on the flop when you hold a marginal, but potentially the best, hand at that point in time. The setup is that you're playing no-limit holdem with decently deep stacks, you are heads-up in an unraised pot and the flop comes J73 rainbow. Your lone opponent checks the action to you on this flop.

You hold A7 in your hand. So you've got middle pair, top kicker on a fairly raggy board, and your heads-up opponent has checked to you. Do you bet here? Or do you opt to check, and give your opponent a free card that could potentially take the lead away from you? How do you want to play your hand on this flop?

Now let's change things up slightly and say that on that same flop, you hold 88 instead of A7. How does this change your decision of whether or not to bet after your opponent checks to you on the J73 flop? Now you have a pocket pair that beats any middle pair, instead of just the middle pair top kicker as in the above example. Are you more inclined to bet here with the pocket 8s, or less inclined to bet, than you would be as compared to when you hold the A7 as in the above situation?Does one situation make you more or less likely to give a free card to your opponent than the other situation, or do you treat both situations more or less the same, and if so, how are you handling the two examples on this flop?

I would love to get your thoughts on this question, and I will weigh in with my own perspective on things once I've had a chance to read you guys' comments and thoughts. I'm particularly interested in opinions from you cash gamers out there, but frankly I don't think this question changes much in a tournament context either so I'd love to know if anyone thinks the A7 vs. 88 holding changes significantly your willingness to give a free card to an opponent in this spot.

Thanks again to everyone who came out for the new and improved Mondays at the Hoy tonight. Can't wait for the Mook this week and we'll see if we can get that badboy up to 60 players again like the old days. Don't forget the WWdN tonight at 8:30pm ET on that "other" online poker site pokerstars (password is "monkey" as always), which I will try to play while I imagine I will also be satelling into the 30k on full tilt as is my usual Tuesday night routine. See you then!

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Blogger crazdgamer said...

I donked out of my first MATH last night. Thank you for moving it to FullTilt. I have no interest in using PokerStars or funding an account there.

As for the question: bet both. You may have the best hand and you're unlikely to improve; the turn and the river will do more harm than good. If he calls or raises, you're beat.

10:49 PM  
Blogger columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

Maybe you could combine the gemini columbos and move me up in the standings?
18. Columbo $124
23. Columbo $80

10:59 PM  
Blogger columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

OMG that is a complicated answer there...
If I hold MPTP (mid pair, top kick) and I am heads up, I play this hand almost entirely based on POSITION. In your example, since he checks, I assume I have that position. Next is tournament vs. cash. If I am playing a tournament, I have MP (or 88) and I am checked to, I am betting. Period. "You are never as far ahead as you think you are" -Phil Gordon.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Ha ok Columbo my bad. I will fix that now.

11:05 PM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

Great turnout last night ! I think the change to $24+2 is awesome...gives us low limit guys a shot to play with a token.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great event and turnout. Thanks for hosting.

I think in position HU and with the flop checked you bet out 90% of the time regardless of your holdings.

As for your examples both are clear bets and if you get check-raised its all about the read on your opponent. IMO lesser players will check-raise with the Jack or two pair where better players will check-raise with air.

If you get smooth called than it depends on the turn and the opponent as to how you play it further.

11:53 PM  
Blogger columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

Even further revalations. One of the reasons to bet the FLOP here, is that your opponent is forced to react TWICE. On the flop bet and then act first on the turn. With a marginal hand, he will very often call the flop bet and check again. If the turn card was "bad" for me, then I now can check behind, controlling the pot size. With a good hand, he will often make a value bet on the river, which can be very telling.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

I'm more of a grinder in the cash game that the home run hitter., i.e., I don't try to force a draw all in to see them suckout out on me 85%, I mean 36% of the time. So I bet both hands and take the small gain.

12:14 AM  
Blogger David Westbay said...

There are two pieces of information missing that I would want to have to make a good suggestion here.

1. If the pot is unraised, then the two of you limped in. Was your opponent in one of the blinds, or did he/she have to put in a full bet in earlier position than you? A limp from the BB (or even SB) could be any two cards, whereas a limp from some other position looks like a hand with potential (small to medium pocket pair, suited or connected cards). The check likely means that the flop missed whatever hand that player had, so you are probably ahead in either scenario, but a non-blind limper could have something like 99 or TT, and the J is a scare card (although you are behind at this point).

2. How has your opponent played up to now? This is the bigger factor IMO. Have there been any check-raises from this player before? Slow-plays of flopped sets? I'm still inclined to bet here, but having some kind of read will help a lot in determining what to make of the response to my bet.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Dave, let's assume for sake of argument that you both limped in from the blinds, and that you've only been at this table for a few minutes and haven't had the chance to formulate a read on anyone. I fully agree that those two criteria you mentioned have some relevance, but I'm really trying to isolate those two issues out of the question, to just get an answer based on the cards themselves that you're holding at the time. So the question is, all other things being equal, would you play the A7 any different than the 88 on the flop of J73 rainbow when your opponent checks to you on the flop?

12:44 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I'd bet in both of these. In a battle of the blinds, any card other than a 7 or an A is a scare card:

KQ: possible overpair now.
J: Not really a scare card, because I assume he would bet his top pair (unless he flopped two pair).
T,9, or 8: even though an 8 gives you trips, anyone of these cards can complete a straight
6,5, or 4: also complete a straight.
3 or 2: may give your opponent trips or two pair.

In either case, you're probably ahead, but possibly by the slimmest of margins, so I try to take the pot down now. It's not to say that any card on the turn will help your opponent, but if you check, you don't have any idea if the turn card does help.

As far as the difference between hands, I would probably bet the 88 a little bit stronger than A7 because the 88 is more vulnerable; it's beat by the same hands that beat A7 (Jx, 73, 33) but you have less outs with 88 than you do with A7 (except in the case of 33).

2:21 AM  
Blogger wigginx said...

Whew! That was close.

It's a good thing they chopped to keep me in 6th place by $6. I'll have to start cashing again if I want to stay up there much longer.

3:41 AM  
Blogger wigginx said...

Oh yeah... Bet both.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Doog said...

My play would depend on the context. Since we’re heads-up on the flop, I’ll assume that there has been a preflop raise. How did we get there? Did I open the betting with my tourist on a button steal, only to get called by the big blind? Or did I call an EP/MP standard raise with a marginal (at best) hand? In other words, who has claimed early dominance of the action so far?

If I’m the opening raiser and this flop is checked to me, I bet for information, obviously angling for opponent to fold right there. If I called a preflop raise, I still bet for information, ready to drop the hand like it’s hot if I get check-raised by my opponent’s likely top pair, overpair, or set. Either way, my goal is to win the hand on the flop. I feel that giving free cards in any situation where I’m anything less than absolutely ahead is a risky proposition.

What if I get smooth called? This is a very raggy flop with no flush draws and a gutshot straight draw at best. Until shown otherwise, I can’t automatically assume that I’m up against a baby set, though it’s certainly possible. With a smooth call of my flop bet, my opponent is either very strong or very marginal. I probably opt for the latter and put my opponent on top pair with marginal kicker, 88 through TT, or a dangerously slow-played two pair. In any case, I think I can assume that I’m pretty much behind at this point.

I’ll still fire at a harmless turn card about half the time depending on my read on my opponent, being sure to size the bet appropriately to give myself correct implied odds to improve on the river – though that might seem a little bit spewey. Spewey is a good table image to have, and this might be a relatively cheap opportunity to develop such an image.

I probably play this hand with a very similar thought process with 88, except that I only have two cards that could improve my hand vs. the five improving cards with the A7 hand. For that reason I’ll almost certainly check behind on a rag turn with 88.

At any time during the hand, facing any sort of pressure I quickly muck and chastise myself for getting involved in a hand with the freaking tourist, of all hands!

4:00 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

AHEM! For the record that was my THIRD cash (I finished second last year), but just my second in a few weeks. Climbin tha laddah...now that she's on FT I am unstoppable.

Just ask Bayne.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

I hate calling on the flop, and hate even more checking behind in a heads-up position with a piece. I am betting in both cases. It's hard to imagine a reason not too. I am also betting with "air" 90% of the time as well. A7 or 88 make no difference.

I am so bummed, I can't compete for the title, but I plan on playing as many riverchasers and big games as I can. I will then prorate myself to see where I would have been had I played them all.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Ach! I go away a month or so and suddenly my favorite tourny up and moves.

But nearly 50! That's a freakin' tourn-out. How can I resist, if only to get myself off of the sad sad bottom of the leaderboard?

Hoy, you're going to make me reload at Tilt, aren't you?

4:39 AM  
Blogger Jordan Lows said...

I would like to join ur blogger tournament as i am starting a new 25,000 $$ in 100 days a la bill ivey style i hope u could mention me or a link as i enjoy reading ur blog


1:36 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I'm glad that the MATH is now on FTP. That is where I strictly play so I'll hopefully start playing in the MATH now.

As for the question, most likely I will bet. But it does depend on the opponent. Since you said that the premise here is blind vs blind in an unraised pot (or I limp and everyone except BB folds) and that you have no idea about your opponent, I would bet. If the opponent is a blind, he really could have anything but if he catches a piece of the board, since he doesn't have position, it would be surprising to me that he would check. So, my initial guess would be that he doesn't have anything. If he doesn't anything, I'd hate to give him a free card so I would clearly bet whether I have A7 or 88. In that sense, I don't think the two cards make too much of a difference. In other words, if you hold A7 and the opponent also has a mediocre hand (like the 7), then you have him outkicked. If you have 88, then you have him beat again but not by much. In other words, in both instances, if the blind only has a small piece of the board, you're probably in the same situation with both hands. I'd bet to find out where I am.

The thing that would change this would be the way the opponent plays. Now, if the premise changed and I knew he was an aggressive player, I would check... why? Because I like to keep the pot size small and since I have position, I'd rather have a small pot size and some room to maneuver around instead of having to make a very tough situation in a marginal situation with a lot of money in the middle.

8:57 PM  

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