Monday, May 07, 2007

MATH Recap, and Reading Hands in Cash Play

It's a sad day in Hammer Land. The end of an era, if you will. For today my reign of terror atop the 2007 MATH money leaderboard has come to a crashing halt, and done so in a big way as not one but two players have passed me in the same week. For shame. And who might these nappy headed scoundrels be, you might ask? Well, one of them is Columbo, who in a cruel twist of irony sucked out on me hard core in this week's MATH to knock me out very early and take my rightful spot at this week's final table, finishing in 4th place for I believe his 4th Hoy cash of the year -- very impressive stuff from the guy who is running the WPBT tournaments for the group this year. More on that hand with Columbo in a minute. But then this Monday night, along comes a certain angry dwarf who cashes in third place in the MATH and steals that spotlight away by taking over the newly updated Hoy moneyboard for 2007, as well as the top spot on the BBT leaderboard at the same time.

And speaking of stealing the spotlight, it came down to two first-time cashers in the MATH to battle it out heads-up at the final table this week, a week that saw a record 54 entrants in the battle for the $26 buyins at full tilt. As heads-up play began it was ChapelncHill, blogless brother of this guy, at his first Hoy final table after just a few tries and entering heads-up with a small chip advantage over mtnrider81, another un-blogger but someone who did come out of nowhere to win the Mookie just a few weeks back. After a back and forth battle that lasted several minutes, mtnrider81 finally emerged the winner, taking down his first MATH title and scoring the most BBT points for this week's MATH tournament.

Now back to how I went out. It went a little something like this, in my patented movie clip style:

Owch!! You know that sucks for me. And yet strangely, I felt no anger and no need to rant well up within me after that beat happened. As you all know it is very rare that I get bad beat like this and don't have much to say about it, so I spent some time with some beers trying to figure out what about this particular play didn't bother me so much. It reminds me of when Lucko called my allin on the flop with just an improved AQo a few weeks ago and then sucked out an Ace at the river to beat my pocket Kings -- even though it was a sick beat, for some reason it just didn't faze me, and I really want to know why. Well, after spending a few drunken hours thinking it over, I've come up with these answers. #1 and most importantly, Columbo I think made the right play. Sure he could have laid it down like many of you tightydonks out there, but I would not have laid that down and I don't expect him to either. With the way he played that hand, I had him on a high pocket pair or AK, and I was hoping with my allin move to get him to call with the big overpair, so I can't then be mad that he fell for it. What hand is he realistically putting me on that he folds there, especially on a bit of a short stack as he was? No way, Columbo made the right move as far as I'm concerned so I can't kill him for the play. Kill the full tilt server that continues to reward people for getting tricked for all their chips by me, maybe. But I can't kill Columbo for the play, he did what I woulda done and he lucked out big time, and ended up riding those chips all the way to the final table and a new perch in 2nd place on the 2007 Hoy moneyboard.

The second reason I don't feel ranty about Columbo hitting his 2-outer on the turn after I had gotten him to put in all his chips as a 92%-8% underdog to me early in the MATH on Monday night is that I seem to have a recollection of my Kings beating his Aces in much the same fashion, not too long ago even. Maybe even in the weekly MATH tournament sometime within the past couple of months. So, if my Kings made a set to best his Aces earlier, then how can I not say I have it coming back at me at some point in the future, right? Still it sucks when it happens, but what can I say. I've been playing great poker lately, and it continued last night up to this point where I got a 92% chance to nearly double up early in the Hoy, and I got recockusucked. It happens.

Anyways here are your cashers in this week's Mondays at the Hoy tournament:

6th place: $77.76 Mike_Maloney, who I first met in my days writing for CardSquad and who has now become somewhat of a fixture at the blogger games this year, making his first MATH cash of 2007.

5th place: $103.68 Waffles, knocked out in 5th when he pushed his short stack from EP with JTo (???), got called by his nemesis Iggy's A3s, and then Waffles' flopped Jack went to waste as Iggy went on to river the flush and send Waffles packing. So the latest installment of that duel to "Tilt the Other" goes to Iggy, and another very nice cash for Waffles whose game continues to soar ever since I motivated him by calling him donkey one too many times here on the blog. You're welcome big guy.

4th place: $142.56 Columbo who pushed in his short stack with T2o (the Doyle Brunson) and a 2 on the flop, getting called by Chapelhill's QQ and HGH in 4th place. A nice run for Columbo's second straight Hoy cash.

3rd: $194.40 Iggy, who was crippled when he ran his AQ allin preflop into mtnrider's AK. Talk about an effin setup 3-handed, sheesh! Still a great run for Iggy who, like Columbo, moved this week into the prime real estate on the 2007 Hoy moneyboard.

2nd: $285.12 is ChapelncHill, playing in probably only his fourth MATH tournament ever, and whom we hope to see again in the future at the Hoy.

And in first place this week, winning $492.48 for his efforts, was mtnrider81, in I believe his first Hoy cash just a couple of weeks after he stormed into the Mookie and took that thing down. Congratulations to all of our cashers in this week's MATH, and to the top 27 players who scored BBT points for the week, and especially to mtnrider81 for taking the whole thing down, and to Iggy for taking over the lead in the current BBT leaderboard. Way to go, dwarfie!

So here it is, the thing you've all been waiting for several months to see, the brand spanking newly-updated 2007 MATH moneyboard, inculding the results from this week's tournaments (rounded to the nearest dollar as always):

1. Iggy $641
2. Columbo $606
3. Hoyazo $580
4. Julius Goat $507
5. mtnrider81 $492
6. scots_chris $474
7. Fuel55 $458
8. Bayne_s $410
9. Chad $379
10. IslandBum1 $357
11. Zeem $330
12. Miami Don $312
12. cmitch $312
12 oossuuu754 $312
15. VinNay $310
16. Waffles $294
17. Wigginx $288
18. ChapelncHill $285
19. ScottMc $282
19. Pirate Wes $282
21. Blinders $275
22. Manik79 $252
23. Byron $234
24. Omega_man_99 $210
25. NewinNov $190
26. Astin $187
27. bartonfa $180
28. 23Skidoo $176
28. Tripjax $176
30. Santa Clauss $170
31. Iakaris $162
31. Smokkee $162
33. lester000 $147
34. DDionysus $137
34. lightning36 $137
36. Pushmonkey72 $129
36. InstantTragedy $129
38. Ganton516 $114
39. RecessRampage $100
40. Gracie $94
40. Scurvydog $94
42. Shag0103 $84
43. PhinCity $80
43. jeciimd $80
45. Mike_Maloney $78
46. Alceste $71
46. dbirider $71
48. Easycure $67

So yeah you can see it there, I have officially dropped to third place this week, as I think 1400 consecutive weeks of no MATH cashes for me has finally taken its toll on what used to be a huge dollar lead for me. Congrats again to Iggy for taking over the top spot in the 2007 Hoy standings, as well as to Columbo for his move up to 2nd place, and to mtnrider81 for entering the moneyboard at #5. Come and join us next week as we make another run at a new record turnout for Mondays at the Hoy!

Well, I am happy to report at least that after tilting right out of my other two tournaments at the time when Columbo recockusucked me out of the MATH, I did manage to post another profitable day at the online cash tables. At my 1-2 tables, I won a buyin at one table, and lost about a half a buyin spread over two other tables during the night for a profit of slightly over $100 on the night on that front. Meanwhile, Don and I also managed to start up a nice little blogger cash table as well while the MATH was still running and after, a $100 nl table as a compromise buyin that we hoped a number of guys would be willing to play in. And, as per usual in my blogger cash games these days, I left a winner, nabbing around half a buyin over maybe two hours of solid play and great reads. In fact, other than the redickulous two-outer from Butch Howard to go set-over-set against me, I haven't had a losing cash session with the bloggers in as long as I can remember. Pretty amazing for an mtt donk, huh? Ha.

Here was an interesting hand where I did quite a bit of hand reading to help secure a nice profit at the blogger cash table on Monday evening. I limped along with 5 other players to see a flop for $1 apiece with me holding ATs in my hand. Yes I could have raised with it, but I was already facing an EP limper when the action came to me, and I like to play a little cautious in this spot with a dominatable hand like AT, so I figured, especially since I was suited, that I would just try to nail a miracle flop -- top two, a made flush, something like that -- or probably would have gotten away from it for cheap almost no matter what else flopped.

Well, I hit a big flop, and the action was checked three times around to me in MP:

I elected to check it here, figuring that with 6 players in the pot right now and no one showing much interest yet, we were likely to see a turn card no matter what, and with all the possible draws out there on the board I didn't want to get too invested here and then have some raise-caller on the flop go and hit a big draw on the turn. Or, worse yet, just one of the draws hits on the turn, and then where am I? Do I lead out again? What if I get called or raised? There just seemed to be a lot of possibilities here, and I was 100% fine in losing out on this pot if my lack of aggression on this hand cost me the chance to take it down. I wanted to see a turn card cheap before committing too much to this pot in this spot.

The turn brought an offsuit Jack. So the most obvious draw -- the diamonds -- did not fill. This was when the BB led out for $8 into a $5.70 pot, a bet that was called by UTG+1 to my immediate right:

Now I'll be honest here, when I see someone overbetting the pot, especially a pot that's already been checked-around once, that does not exactly scream of strength to me in a cash game, at least not in the typical situation. You have to be careful obviously not to talk yourself into calling the nuts here, but generally speaking this move did strike me as one that the guy holding, say, pocket 8s for a flopped set of 8s would make. He would want to bet it slower than that IMO, so I'm not putting the BB on anything big. Similarly, I'm the guy with the top two pairs, and I don't think a set or something else big is just smooth calling here from UTG+1. Similarly, I don't think Q9 or KQ for the turned straights are overbetting the pot, or smooth calling the overbet here either. So, this led me to the following read, which is my general default read in many situations where I have no reason to suspect any funny business -- that the first bettor was on some kind of a made hand, and the smooth caller was on a draw of some kind. So, the first guy I'm thinking either has a low Ace and didn't want to bet the flop but now wants to try to overbet everyone else out with what may be top pair best kicker right now, or he has a decent Ten or Jack and now thinks he may be best but again wants to price out the drawing hands with his overbet to the pot. And the second guy, I'm seeing him as still on maybe the diamond draw, or now some kind of a straight draw to go along with it. But I don't think either one of them bet or call the $8 here if they're actually ahead of my 1st and 3rd pairs, although there are an awful lot of draws out there now, some of which could have already hit and a number of others which could still fill at the river. As a result, I simply smooth called the two bets here, still not betraying anything about my hand and probably coming off as if I was on some kind of a drawing hand too at that point, and hoping to make a boat on the river:

With just two the bettors and myself left in the pot, the river brought a harmless offsuit 6. I still figured I was likely ahead. But while I'm thinking that over, the BB leads out for $30 into the $28.50 pot. UTG+1 thinks and then folds his cards:

So, here's my throught process here. First of all, betting the pot on the river is definitely a bigger bet than usual when you are looking for a call. So, when combined with his overbet on the turn and my read on that bet as described above, I still could not put this guy on a really big hand here. I just didn't see the straight from his overbetting on both streets, and I thought in particular by betting a little more than the pot even on the river, he was screaming out that he did not have the nuts. AJ was one realistic possibility, but in the end I just don't think he would have checked that hand from second position on the Ace-high flop -- with a dominatable hand like AJ in that spot, you want to bet that shiat out right away and starting finding out if you're ahead or behind while the bets are still cheap there on the flop.

So let's review the entire hand history here. The big blind check-limped his option as the 6th player in to the hand before the flop, so no reason to put him on any kind of strong cards at all at that point. Then he checked the AT8 two-suited flop from second position on the flop. Still no reason to put him on anything huge here. Then on the turn and now a board of AT8J with still no flush possible, he suddenly led out with an overbet to the pot. And then after the river ragged out, he overbet the pot again. What does all this mean to me? Well, after the big bet on the river, I'm willing to believe he does have something to be committing that much moolah to the hand at this point. But I still don't think it's a huge hand. #1 why overbet the turn and then again overbet the river with a huge hand? And #2, checking the flop but then overbetting the turn is a pattern I have recognized before, often in situations where someone hits some piece of the flop but not necessarily a huge piece, and then the turn helps them even more. Think about it. How's he going to bet an Ace-high flop with 6 players in the pot and without holding an Ace in his own hand? Realistically, he can't unless he's already got a made hand from that flop. So he didn't, and it ended up checking all around. Now on the turn when that Jack falls, you would still think he's not going to overbet the pot if he doesn't have an Ace. After all, with six players in at that point, you've still got to figure somebody has an Ace, and since as I described above I think he would have had to have bet the flop if he himself had an Ace, then it stands to reason to me that the turn card has now given the BB a hand that can beat a lone pair of Aces. I just don't see how else he leads out for more than a feeler bet (i.e., much less than the size of the pot) from up front there on the turn card.

So what hands could the turn card have helped to improve beyond a pair of Aces? Well, the turn card was an offsuit Jack here. I've discussed already that I didn't think he held an Ace in this spot due to his flop check, and that I didn't seem him on a straight either due to his overbet on the turn (and river), but what about two pairs of his own? JT or J8 were both equal possibilities in my mind since the big blind simply checked his option before the flop with five other players already in the action. I also figured he might be holding a 9 along with an 8, Ten or Jack which would then give him a pair and an oesd with the Jack on the turn, and might just be enough to get him betting on that turn card. But in general, I just could not get away that the size of this player's bet on the turn was indiciative of him wanting to get rid of the other players. Wanting to chase out the draws. And all that smacked of a guy who has two pairs on the board with a lone Ace out there as well, which means that a lower board pair on the river along with any diamond or any other high card would make the two middle pairs hand pretty much worthless if it faces any river action. And this guy to me clearly did not want to deal with losing that hand for free. So he overbet the turn, and overbet again on the river. This was the substance of my read as I decided slowly to call off $30 with just 1st and 3rd pair. I didn't think he had 1st pair at all, and I simply did not have him on a stronger hand given the sizing of his bets. Two pairs was my instinctual verdict, and at the cash tables I have done well so far by listening and obeying those instincts. I made the call:

Bingo. Almost a half a buyin pot sliding over my way. And it's a great example of the way I read hands in the spur of the moment at the poker tables (virtual or real). The way I play, you can't just fold your hand every time someone shows some strength, or you'll get folded out repeatedly by an aggressive player or players in your game who can quickly identify this leak in your game and exploit it. This is all the more true in particular when you actually have a read of some weakness from your opponent. Live by your instincts and die by your instincts, that's my modus operandi at the cash and tournament tables. And I believe what all the pros say in their books and interviews -- the more you trust your instincts at the poker table, the better they will become.

Anyways it was so much fun once again making money from the bloggers, that I'm thinking I might even play that donk-fest and observer chat-fest that is known as the WWdN tonight. As always, the WWdN will go off at 8:30pm ET on pokerstars, and the password as always is "monkey". But even if I don't get back from the gym in time for the Wheatie tonight, you should be able to find me on full tilt later in the evening, still trying to satellite my way in to FTOPS Event #6 (6-max nlh, which I feel like I have to play one way or the other) and Event #7 in O8. And, I'm starting to focus once again on that nightly tier 2 token frenzy, as Don's next Big Game is coming up in just a few weekends, actually I believe the exact same night as the FTOPS Main Event just like last FTOPS when the Big Game also went down on the same night of the ME. So come and find me if you want to chat on the virtual felt tonight, either in an FTOPS satellite or in my old friend the token frenzy at 9:45pm ET on full tilt.


Blogger TraumaPoker said...

I wouldn’t be surprised either to see him turn over 9x with 2 diamonds in that spot. Knowing what he has you can see his bet on the turn was meant to make people pay who were going to chase the straight or flush draws that were out there.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

Hoy- personally one of the golden rules is to not slow play the flop on a draw heavy board in that situation especially 6 way action. If you had bet say 3 dollars into a 5.7 pot u probably would have gotten the two players behind you to fold, the first player to call and the EP UNG player to call on his draw. When that turn card hit I would have once again fired and u actually would have gotten two more calls. On the river both players would have checked to you and you could have value bet the river for an even bigger pot.

I think you played this hand a little scared. IMO you should fire at flops like this to protect your hand, not give a free draw card.

The end result worked out but I think u lost a little EV in the long run...just a thought from someone who hasnt played cards in a while...

3:08 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Thanks, Rav. And I agree for the most part, as I reviewed the screen shots today I could tell I had played this hand very softly. I would not say "scared" FWIW, as I never thought I was behind, but I did play it purposefully cautiously because I knew from the nature of the flop that there were a ton of cards that could fall on the turn and/or the river that would essentially paralyze my action.

In any event, despite the slower than necessary play, I thought the hand is a nice example of the kind of stuff I'm analyzing when I try to read an opponent's hand. Hopefully my soft play doesn't get in the way of that in this post.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

yea nah by scared I meant what you said in too many cards falling to hurt your hand not scared in the sense of the actual meaning of the word. But your post shows a situation that does arise alot and its good that you brought it to the forefront

5:16 AM  
Blogger TripJax said...

mntrider has a blog and even posted about his win...

you're right, my bro doesn't have a blog, but I might just have to put the pressure on him to get one so he can officially donk it up as a blogger...

2:26 AM  

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