Thursday, May 31, 2007

BBT and Other Random Musings

Congratulations to Zeem and Dugglebogey who chopped the top two spots in the Mookie this week, marking Zeem's second large blogger tournament win in I think as many weeks. For guy who like me started off slow in the BBT race, Zeem is really turning it on lately and making a run at the top ten. Impressive. Hope I get to sit next to both of you guys at a poker table next week in L.V.

I made the points again in the Mookie myself this week, which is always fun. Kind of. I like making the BBT points and I definitely would like to do the best I can to make a run in the last month of the BBT series. I'm stuck firmly in the 30s right now, with just the one win (chopped with Zeem, in fact) from the last Riverchasers tournament and just that one cash and just that one final table. So, basically I've played like absolute and utter shizznot in the BBT, and I would surely like a strong June to help erase that fact. But the bottom line is, there is nothing actually fun to a guy like me about going out in 27th place out of 61 runners in the Mookie. Especially when I make great reads and get all my chips in ahead where I am almost exactly 2-to-1 chip up into the top 5 of the remaining players, but then lose to an undercard that pairs my opponent on the turn, run pocket pair into higher pocket pair two hands later in a setup hand and IGH just like that.

I've had horrendous luck overall over the entirety of the BBT tournaments. To be perfectly honest, most of the guys who have won the BBT tournaments have clearly done it largely by luck. I mean, there is no doubt that the guys in the top 10 or 15 of the BBT leaderboard are using their BBT-scoring-style poker tournament prowess to last until the points and then make good moves. You don't make the points in 80% of the blonkaments you play without very much knowing what you're doing. But I'm talking about the guys who've actually won these things. I've watched the final table, and many of the tables on the way to the final table, in more BBT tournaments than I can count, and in my experience I don't actually recall a single tournament winner who didn't make a bad play in a big spot and then suck out to survive at least one time during their BBT winning run. And this applies just as much to my own victory in the last Riverchasers tournament two weeks ago tonight, where you can read for yourself about my multiple luckshots along the way to chopping the top two spots with Zeem when I had a slight chip lead as heads-up play began. But in all seriousness, luck has played a huge factor in mostly ever win I've seen in these BBT blonkaments, and almost across the board -- basically with that one Riverchasers win aside -- I have been on the losing end of the luck thang in these tournaments. I have lost big pots in big spots as a 65%-95% favorite in probably more than 2/3 of the BBT events I have played in. That just ain't right.

I know I've written about this before, but the more BBT tournaments I play, the more I feel like the scoring system is just not the best one to use for this purpose. Maybe it works well for the pokerstars TLB since that takes into account such a large variety and scope of mtt's in a given week or a given month or something. But in a series like the BBT, I just can't help but wonder what the point is of a list that automatically awards points to everyone who finishes in the top half of the field. You make that just to everyone who final tables, or who top 10s, or who cashes or something, and that makes much more sense to me. IMO we should really not have a scoring system that actually encourages people to play tighter than they otherwise might, in most cases basically sacrificing any chance of actually winning or often even of running deep in these tournaments, just to reach 31st place out of 60 entrants, and then donk allin right after that. When I log in around BBT bubble time and I see the exact same names at the bottom of the leaderboard, clearly just hanging on to make the points, in almost every single tournament, I definitely ask myself questions. And make no mistake, that list of names at the bottom of the BBT points bubble leaderboard every week is growing, not shrinking, as the BBT wears on. More and more and more blonkeys just hanging on for the points, week in and week out, tournament in and tournament out. That also ain't right. I still prefer a system more like my 2007 moneyboard to track the MATH performances. Only awarding leaderboard points when people actually cash in the event -- i.e., finishing in the top 7 in the Mookie this week, or the top 6 of this week's MATH tournament, etc. -- is still to me a much preferable system for this exact reason. I solemnly guarantee you that there is aboslutely zero of the tightydonk hang-on-till-the-points mentality going on in the MATH. Why? Because it doesn't help you. Tightydonking your way to the midway point of the entrants in the MATH doesn't get you any closer to the cash in the event that you'll need to move up the leaderboard. In fact, it almost surely hurts you in that endeavor, since even if you do manage to final table by playing tightydonk, you're going to be short stacked and more likely than not, you're not going to make the top few spots. I just can't help but think "Lame! Lame!" every time I see those same names near the bottom of the leaderboard heading into the BBT points bubble in every one of these things.

And no btw, I'm not talking about jeciimd, who amazingly still has not cashed in a single BBT tournament despite being in the top 5 overall on the BBT leaderboard. For the most part I'm talking about some of you other people, because half the time jec is in the top 10 or 15 when bubble time comes around, despite the lack of eventual cashes in these tournaments. There's no need to name names as is my way (this year), but you know who you are. I am just so not into folding to the points. But then I'm not in the top 10 in the BBT leaderboard either, and nowhere near it as my non-folding strategy has led me to miss the BBT points far more than my tightydonk colleagues. Who knows what's right.

And speaking of which, I think Waffles might be right -- my post (whatever post that was) probably did curse jeciimd. Curse him to not only consistently beat you in the BBT race but also curse his bankroll to outlast yours overall. Again. By a mile. Dam you for going busto in the middle of the BBT man. Hopefully you can find some poor sap to pay you just to rant a lot and then bust again in another few weeks, hopefully with a little bit left over to play some live poker with me in Vegas next week. But tell me man, how do you make such a big deal of the BBT and then go busto in the middle of the series? I thought you had some kind of $800 bankroll just like two weeks ago? What happened? Fucking razz cash finally get you like it does all of us? I don't know my lifetime stats in razz cash on full tilt, but what I do know is that at first for a long while my overall stats were way in the positive, and then at some point that turned around and by the end I had lost consistently enough that I knew it was time to quit. I still donk around in the 8-16 or 5-10 razz cash games once in a while on full tilt, and I'm probably the greatest razz cash player who's ever lived -- don't get me wrong -- but I'm not living off of those games like I was last summer during one of the worst downswings I've endured as an online poker player.

What I am living off of lately continues to be the cash games. I've lost about $500 from my highs earlier this week at $400 nl 6-max, which is directly attributable to losing an $600 pot when my pc somehow timed out in about 3 seconds after I had flopped trips and gotten my opponent to call a large bet from me on the flop and then bet big into me as well on the turn, and now the three (count them, three!) $800 suckouts I have been nailed with on the river over the past two days. These were two 8-outers on the river, each about a 5.5-to-1 shot in my favor, and one 2-outer, or a 19-to-1 shot with one card to come. With those few favorites and that set hand not timing out, I would be up more than 4k; as it stands I am back down around 2k on my Poker Tracker, plus another $1500 or so before I got PT up and running. I am still finding the cash tables fun, challenging and yet consistently profitable, in particular since I started using PT for table selection. The bottom line is that there are a few players out there who have lost upwards of 4k in the evenings over just the past few weeks since I started data mining with PT, who are just spewing their money all over the place at a rapid pace, and last night again I went and searched out a few of those players and took advantage. Although the suckouts left me slightly negative once again in my play on Wednesday night, aside from those two big river losses my play was once again top notch overall. I continue to believe cash nlh games are where it's at online, and I look forward to copntinuing to build my roll from them every night I play.

Am I the only one who loves it when Irongirl wishes us "Good Cardma"? It's just so clever or something. I love it and desperately wish I had thought of it myself.

Go Ducks!! (That is for you, big guy!) Two more wins to go.

Lastly, why does Dan Harrington say all through his Harrington on Holdem volumes that standard continuation bets should be roughly half the pot? Half the pot? Does this guy actually play any no-limit holdem tournaments anymore? Half-pot bets don't chase anybody off of any hands. You all said yourselves in a comment to a flop bet-sizing post I put up a couple of months back that even full-pot bets don't get anyone to fold hands with primary draws, middle pairs with Ace kickers, and most top pair hands. So how the eff is a half-pot bet going to get that accomplished? To me this is like the dirty little secret nobody wants to ever talk about -- everybody knows that half the pot is simply not enough for a continuation bet. It all but screams weakness, it probably invites many players who might not otherwise have stayed in to just be tempted to float against you because you're clearly weak, and worst of all it basically requires your opponents to stay in and chase their draws if they have any kind of a primary draw and probably many other 4-outers or more as well. Half-pot continuation bets is a recipe for failure in no-limit holdem in my view, either in cash games or in tournaments. Certainly as the quality of play goes up I cannot see this move as being anything but negative over time. And the dumbest part about it is, it would require only a very small increase in the bet sizing from half the pot to make your c-bets about ten times more effective IMO. You bet between 2/3 and the full size of the pot for your c-bets and your bets with good hands alike, and you're all good. People with second pair will fold far more often to a slightly larger bet like this, and you've made your oesd's and flush draws pay measurably more to chase you when they were probably going to chase anyways against a reasonably-sized flop bet from you and where they are significantly under 50% to win the hand with you. Half the pot is practically begging them to chase, or to float and then bet you out of the pot. That's bad strategy right there IMO, bad strategy from the guy who wrote what is still the greatest pure tournament poker book ever written in Volume 2 of his 3-part series.

OK enough poker randomness for today. Don't forget tonight is the latest BBT tournament, Al's Riverchasers Event #11. This event will go off as usual at 9pm ET on full tilt, and the password is back to the original for this week, just plain old "riverchasers" according to Al's blog. I definitely plan to be there to defend my co-title from the last RC tournament two weeks ago, and you should be too. I didn't get to pay my bounty out last night because it was a setup and not a suckout that eventually did me in in the Mookie, even though it had been a suckout and not a setup that stole away most of my chips in the tournament, but no bounty tonight since I want to focus that attention on the Mookie tournaments right now as this remains the one major long-running blogger event that I have yet to win. I think maybe I came in 3rd place once or twice last year sometime, but otherwise I have had absolutely no love and no luck whatsoever in the Mookie over the past 6 months or more. Gross. Better luck for me tonight in my co-title defense in Riverchasers.

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Blogger Chad C said...

In all reality though don't you expect bad play at these final tables? Really, from all my blogger tournaments history (not much) I have concluded that everyone just likes to "outplay" each other and put their money in with ridiculous hands to try and suck out. I think that you may be confusing blogaments with real poker tournaments, when real money is on the line. I think its cool that people play them and have fun and all, but I have concluded that they are just not for me. Ever since I stopped playing them I have had great success without being tilted by a stupid $10 mookie. Just watching those things puts me on tilt I swear! Moral of the story, its a blogament, there is no such thing as a bad play or suck out! Its all relative.....

10:38 PM  
Blogger Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

yeah, my favorite part is when you get someone to put all there chips in as a 30% dog pre-flop, that drops to a 13% dog after the turn, they hit their magic, and comment how well they play in these.

As for harrington, 40 to 50% CC bets have more impact in live action, where you see less hands per hour and have a tighter blind structure. Frikin internet poker, should be called another thing entirely, cause the games are so different since you can play 60+ hands an hour and 10 tables at once.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah Eric maybe the difference between live vs. online play is relevant here, that's a good point. Online, I have yet to see anyone I think in history ever fold to a halfpot c-bet on the flop, certainly not a flop with anything but garbage in it.

11:26 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i luv me sum tighty mcdonks.


12:40 AM  
Blogger KajaPoker said...

I think what Harrington was trying to say was that if you bet 1/2 the pot you need to win 1 out of 3 hands to break even. I could be getting it wrong, though. This does not take into account what the blinds are in relation to the stacks, what the pre-flop action was, etc. so I don't really like it either.

I am actually in the midst of vol.3 and I am seriously thinking of not even finishing it because some of the advice makes absolutely no sense and looks like extreme weak-passive play.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

50-60% pot c-bets work fine in bigger cash games and tournaments where most opponents understand the math of chasing crap.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Kaja, I 100% agree with you, Volume 3 was a major disappointment. Over the next few weeks I plan to cover some of the shitty Harrington commentary from Volume 3 here on the blog (that's where today's c-bet comment comes from in fact), so you will probably enjoy flaming him like I am going to. I liked V1 and loved V2, but V3 is pretty much terrible as I recall. This will be just my second re-read of V3 that I'm starting this week, so I look forward to learning again why I was so down on this book after it came out.

And Fuel, good point about the halfpot c-bet working better in high-stakes games. But the bottom line is that books like Harrington on Holdem are not really being written for high-stakes players. Much the opposite, if anything. So I still say that is some dam bad advice from Harrington there for the vast, vast majority of his audience.

1:29 AM  
Blogger DuggleBogey said...

Zeem and I actually chopped 1st Place at the Mookie. After we agreed to the chop we just pushed all in.

I will agree there's not much poker in the final tables of these blogger events, but a lot of tournaments just turn into push fests after the blinds reach a certain level.

And just because someone gets lucky in a hand doesn't mean they made a bad play.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Hoy, do you have any of those IM accts and if so, what's your screenname?

2:09 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

First: All my wins were with solid play and no suckouts. I am always ahead. I can dodge bullets baby! Just not KJo.

Second: Make up your fucking skitzo mind.. is making the BPT points a "Excellent thing to be revered" as you said before.. or is it a piece of crap ruining the contest.

Third: I am destined to fly high and burn bright.. I should have taken the Iakaris name! ha! Basically played a little high on tilt and got some massive bad beats. Happens. Thats why you can not play high. I know. So what.

Fourth: I am bringing enough cash to Vegas to have fun. It has nothing to do with online bankroll.. I just go to the wallet and take the cash out. Simple. Where I really do not feel the need to buyin for any amounts of money online (at this point in time) I have no problem taking any amount to have fun with live. I look forward to seeing you again! Your so pretty. Ha!

2:59 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Alan, I don't actually know my screenname on AOL or yahoo msgr, but I am always logged on. Can you tell me your name and I will add you to whichever girly chat you like to use?

And Dugs, I did correct the Mookie winner to include both you and Zeem, sorry for the misstatement earlier today. I had just logged in this morning and saw who won on the final leaderboard.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

"And just because someone gets lucky in a hand doesn't mean they made a bad play."

Really? Getting your money in behind is solid strategy I guess.

3:37 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Think the Final Table Play in BBT Events has started to look like WPT Events. Chipleader usually has decent M but rest of players have such low Ms that it is push or fold decision.

I have also humbly posted my Guide to BBT play today.

Key to yesterday's Tourney can be summarised as:

1) PokerPeaker failed to fire 3rd bullet with air after his button raise. My pair of 3s 7 kicker busted flush draw took down hand.

2) Drizz put me on button steal when I had AA.

3) My AJ sucked out against QQ (of course)

4) AJ sucked out against my QQ but I resucked a wheel on board chop. should be made aware of this one. This was my 1st all-in momment.

5) I dared take on a coinflip against setmaster Zeem IGH 7th

3:45 AM  
Blogger Patch said...

Concerning the points formula, I played in another league that last year awarded points by reverse finish position. It became more a matter of longevity and attendance than of good play. This year they changed the formula so only the final table got points. That corrected one problem, but created another in that it's very depressing to play in several events and do decent but not great, and still see a big goose egg next to your name on the league standings.

I would suggest a formula that awards points to the top half of the field, but is more heavily weighted toward the top. This way skill/luck is rewarded with lots of points, yet those who consistently make it past the halfway point at least get to see their name on the leaderboard.

5:12 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Hoy, I think my screenname on Yahoo Messenger is RecessRampage. Please try that and if that doesn't work... well, please let me know. Thanks.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I tried to connect to Yahoo ID Hoyazo but got turned down and I'm not even sure it was you or not.

My email is atachikawa at gmail dot com. Whenever you get a chance, please shoot me an email because I want to discuss what you think of my tournament play.

Eg. "For the most part I'm talking about some of you other people, because half the time jec is in the top 10 or 15 when bubble time comes around, despite the lack of eventual cashes in these tournaments. There's no need to name names as is my way (this year), but you know who you are. I am just so not into folding to the points."

I don't personally think I'm trying to play extra tight in order to last till the points (since I didn't even know there was a prize for the top 3 until last week) but I feel that I play way too tight in tournaments... So, I wanted to get your honest feedback (I won't take offense to anything you say) because I really want to become a better tournament player. And "opening up" my game has been something I've been struggling with for a long time.

Thanks in advance.

10:42 AM  

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