Friday, June 01, 2007

My Riverchasers Title Defense

Y'know, as I sit here this morning and reflect, it really is ironic that just yesterday I was writing about how almost everyone who's won one of these BBT tournaments so far has to attribute a lot of luck to each run (myself included with the last Riverchasers event two Thursdays ago, which I chopped with this week's Mookie winner, Zeem). It's ironic because...well, let's just say that Thursday night's Riverchasers event was won by somebody I'm not sure has ever played holdem before. Literally. I don't actually mean to slam the guy. His name was MysticJoe, and he was a nice guy. Really cool. He was as gracious when he got sucked out on as he was when he did the suckouting. It was fun playing for most of the tournament with him and I look forward to seeing him in a few weeks (hopefully at my starting table). But there were some plays last night that just...defied all logic. Throw in a healthy dose of our old friend the full tilt poker server, and you could not believe how some of this stuff happened if you didn't see it yourself. Luckily I was there for most of it, and I can show you the craziness now.

Things started off slow for me as usual with the BBT events, as a couple of failed preflop raises and a fold or two to c-bets had my 1500-chip starting stack down to just under 1300. I am dealt AQo on the button, and Garth in late-middle position opens for 120, 3x the big blind. This loose caller on my right that I've never seen before named MysticJoe, who had already doubled up in the first few hands with a big suckout as I recall, though I did not know at the time to be screenshotting that particular hand for you. But he's already made a bad preflop or flop call (I can't remember, it doesn't matter) and sucked out for the early double up. And now he calls the raise to 120 chips from the cutoff. I look at my 1270 chips left, and at the 300 chips already in the pot, and then at the action so far. Garth's 3x open-raise from late-middle position can mean just about anything. I'd say any two middle cards like JT or J9o I bet he even might make that raise, at least some of the time. Then looseyboy MysticJoe's call can't scare me too much either given what I've already seen him do so far. I decide I am probably ahead or at worst a 49% dog, and I bust out my pushin' stick, moving in 1270 chips to the middle of the table:

Garth is outta there pretty quick, but then Joe takes his time, letting his timer pop up before making a decision. Clearly he is weighing the odds, probably has either a medium pair or two high cards, right? He calls, and I'm thinking I must be racing. Yeah right:

Luckily, I paired my Queen on the turn and somehow managed to hold on for all my chips in the earlygoing of my Riverchasers title defense run last night. But are you kidding me? J9o? For half your stack against a preflop raiser, your smooth call and then an allin reraiser? What did he think I had? 66? 98s for the popular early-mtt sooted connectors allin reraise push? Wow. At least this got me started off to a nice stack with which I could try to make some plays.

I got up to nearly 3300 when I called pattakake's allin preflop raise from late position with my AK. She flipped up AQ and I held up again. I could not believe it. This amazing stroke of luck winning two hands where I was in big preflop as the favorite in the first hour of the tournament quickly put me in 10th place of 35 left just two hands before the first break. With 57 runners, the top 29 finishers would get BBT points, and the top 7 players would make the cash.

In the second hour, boneyardxxx was getting low. His stack at sunk to under 1000 chips near the end of the first hour, and the guy started getting real aggressive to me whenever the action was folded around to us (boneyard was immediately to my right). The first time I almost called him was here:

But I ended up electing to fold, since even though I was very sure that I was ahead, I was equally sure that I was only about 1% ahead and in what was basically going to amount to a cointoss for 1000 chips. I decided I had a nice stack to start the second hour and I didn't need to risk a third of it on a 50% chance. But then about 30 minutes in to Round 2 of the Riverchasers event, boneyard had the misfortune of open-pushing UTG with what turned out to be KJs into me sitting in MP with pocket Aces, and I added more to my stack.

Nearing the end of the second hour of play, I steal-raised from late-middle position with pocket 2s, and then this happened:

What do you do here? You fold you morons! How the eff could you not fold this hand early in a poker tournament? Wonka over there is allin so you know there is precisely zero fold equity involved in staying in. Since I have a pair of the literal lowest card in the deck and I'm facing an allin reraise, my only choice here is do I want to put in most of my nice-sized stack on another 50-50 shot? Of course not, not when there is absolute zero chance that I am anything other than a 51% favorite or a 20% dog. With pocket twos, wonka could have two shitcards like 86s or KTo and I'm still only a 51% favorite at best. No thanks, I fold. You have to make this play in a tournament. Do you see why?

End of Hour 2, I eliminated DDionysus when I called his allin push on a short stack from his SB into my BB, where I woke up with QJo. I figured I'm either ahead with two overs, as he could be pushing almost ATC on his small stack in an unopened pot from the small blind, or at worst I'm probably playing two middle connecting cards and have around a 40% chance of winning anyways. Turns out he flips up ATs, but then I nailed a Jack on the turn to take the hand. A nice break for me, but on what I think was the right call in that spot all things considered.

After a big bluff on an AQxx board after the Ace fell on the turn, I moved into 3rd place of 12 players remaining in the tournament. Two minutes later came the 2nd break, with me in 3rd of 11 left.

Maybe 15 minutes into Round 3, I soared into first place thanks to a large, chasey contribution from Waffles. I raised utg preflop with 98s (hearts), only Waffles calls and we see a flop of K76 with 2 spades. With 4050 chips in the pot, already representing about 2/3 of Waffles' stack and maybe 1/4 of my own, I opted to check the flop as a variation play (you know I don't always c-bet as I've discussed here recently) with my oesd, and Waffles checked behind. The turn card brought a 9, putting two diamonds on the board now as well, and this time I led out with my 2nd pair and oesd for 2700 chips into the 4050-chip pot:

Waffles thought for a while, and then called 2700 into the 6750-chip pot. The river came an offsuit 4, which could only fill the outside oesd which is definitely not what Waffles had given his call of my preflop raise, but I was a bit concerned about a lower King so I checked and he checked behind. I figured for sure I was beat, but when over 9000 chips slid my way I had to check the "Last Hand" screen and saw that Waffles was an AQs in diamonds. We had some discussion after the hand and Waffles let it be known that he had odds to make the call. Let's take a look.

Waffles had to call 2700 into a pot with 6750 in it with one card to come. He had 9 outs to a flush, and plus in his mind probably 3 other Aces as winners. I had raised preflop, so I probably didn't hit this board too hard and I think it's reasonable for him to assume a pair of Aces might have been good here. That makes 12 probable outs with one card to come, or a 25% chance to win the hand. 2700 into a 6750-chip pot? Uh uh. I love me some chasey opponents, so don't think I'm trying to convince anybody to stop playing like this, but Waffles was saying he had odds, he had 15 outs and I even heard him say 16 outs at one point. Maybe he saw that after the fact, but anybody can take a card that is lower than the top card on the board that your opponent has been betting at, and count three of those as outs. That don't make 'em outs to be calculated in your pot odds computations. I'm not saying it's the worst play ever. I'm just saying it was chasey, which it was, and this got me staked to a big chip lead that only grew bigger as the final table wore on. Like, check out this allin preflop hand:

Wow. The Jackace holding up for me to win a race from ever so slightly behind. That has not happened to me in months, in any tournament, guaranteed. At this point I am way out in front, in 1st of 10 players left with just over 20,000 chips vs. 2nd place's 14k in chips. The final table hit shortly thereafter, with me still way out in front:

I lost a little of my chip lead when I called a preflop allin on this hand:

where I was faced with calling a preflop allin from the 2nd shortest stack at the table with my ATs. ATs is shit. Complete and utter turd. But you know what I did, I looked at wonka's shortass stack, and I was especially moved by the fact that 1050 chips in blinds and antes were about to be taken from his stack over the very next two hands, nearly half his remaining stack, so I would say it is a fact that wonka would be likely to make a lot of desperate pushes in that situation. For example, you could probably justify pushing with just about any Ace from his spot there, even utg with those blinds coming at you, and certainly with any suited Ace I would do it myself in a heartbeat. Given all that, I thought I would take my suited AT and give him a run. Naturally he flipped up pocket Queens, and naturally nobody ever loses with Queens against me so that was about 3k in chips down the tubes. What do you think of my call there?

Then, on the very next hand, the same thing happens. Waffles is now utg, facing the same 1050 in blinds n antes over the succeeding two hands and sitting on the shortest stack left in the tournament, and there he open-pushes from utg. It folds around to me in the CO with another AT, this time offsuit:

You calling here? To me, an easy decision given Waffles aggro late-stage game and those advancing blinds:

Man I love eliminating Waffles from blonkaments. Or not:

Full tilt, you Waffles whore. Four hands later, Waffles had won a setup hand followed by his TT outlasting wonka's KJo and he was suddenly back over 10k in chips. Great!

Then this hand happened less than 5 minutes later. I have the offsuit Jackace on the button, where it folds around to me preflop. Of course I put in the raise, and only my old friend MysticJoe, who is now to my immediate left after doubling me up in the first 30 minutes of the tournament with that redickucall allin preflop with his J9o, smooth calls my raise. The flop comes KQJ with two spades (I have the Ace of spades btw). Not a good flop for me by any means against a guy who called my raise preflop, so when Joe checks that flop to me, I check it right back. The turn brings a seemingly harmless offsuit 5, and this time Joe leads out for a smallish-looking half the pot bet:

After much consideration, and counting my actual outs as the other two Jacks and probably the other three Aces, plus the four Tens, plus the fact that Joe's turn bets had consistently been larger than just under half the pot throughout the entire night, I concluded the chances that he was just trying to steal the pot were big enough to pay the price to see one more card, and maybe even try to steal this pot away from him depending on what card comes on the river. On the river, out came another harmless-looking offsuit card, and I decided to fire a big bet at the pot to take it down now and represent a slow-played strong hand:

Joe ended up calling my 7600-chip bet on the river here, and when I saw him call I figured I must be beat with the two overcards to my one pair on the board. Then I looked up and saw over 27,000 chips sliding into my pile, and again I had to see what he had not only bet the turn with, but also called a large bet on the river with, that could not even beat my lowly third pair:

Wow. So he was just stealing with that weak bet on the turn. That bet I can handle. It was at least an attempt to take down a big pot compared to his stack, with a bunch of big cards on the board that could scare most hands out of this pot unless they've hit something big or at least a big draw. But how the eff do you call on the river with just the pair of 6s? With KQJ on the flop and against a preflop raiser to boot! So I saw quickly that Joe was still up to his old tricks with that call, and I wondered for the third time tonight if Joe ever really even plays holdem much or understand basic pot odds calculations.

When the Riverchasers money bubble burst with wonka busting out in 8th place, here was me blowing everyone else away on the leaderboard:

With just six players remaining, bonehet raised enough utg to get MysticJoe allin preflop, and Joe inexplicably calls with soooted gold, and this time got rewarded for the play:

Wow. How much poker do you think this guy plays again?

A few hands later, here is Joe calling a preflop allin with pocket 2s -- the exact situation I mentioned above that almost never makes sense in a tournament context:

Another 51% crazyhand holds up for Mr. MysticJoe. 8 hands later, down to 4 players remaining in Riverchasers, Joe inexplicably doubled up FishyMcDonk by calling Fishy's allin on the flop with this gem of a hand:

You know, the ever-powerful one-overcard-one-undercard-backdoor-flush-draw allin flop call. And suddenly Fishy is the big chip leader thanks to this play from Joe that I'm still trying like mad to figure the F out. Why would you ever call on that flop there for most of your stack? Ever? Who knows.

After Waffles sucked out a double-up off of Fishy's big stack when Waffles' KQs runnerrunner flushed Fishy's AKs, I cleverly checked this hidden two pairs to Joe, knowing from his flop call that he had an Ace, and knowing from playing with him all night that he would clearly move at this pot here:

Joe did not disappoint:

I instacalled of course, and here's what we're looking at with just the one river card to come:

And Boooooooom!

Another 8-outer on the river to snatch another pot from me in the worst possible way. And you guys know how much I hate getting sucked out on after redickuduping somebody into giving me all their chips. But it had happened again. I win this pot, and I have a nice chip lead against a guy with "donkey" in his name and a guy named after a frigging breakfast food, to take down my second straight Riverchasers tournament. Instead, I'm smacked down by the riversuck to 4th place out of 4, with only 1/5 of the stack of even the third place player. What a disgusting end to my awesome run on the night.

I did manage to triple up from measly 2875 chips to over 9000 chips just two hands later with TT when a Ten hit the turn to give me a set over Joe's flopped 2 pairs with his A6 that he called my preflop allin with.

Then the hand of the night, you have got to check this out. First Waffles leads at a JT9 rainbow flop with well more than half his stack , obviously committing himself to the rest of his chips and probably (I thought, pretty obviously) hoping to get a call:

Then Joe just calls, putting in about 40% of his own stack to smooth call Waffles' big, pot-committing flop bet:

Then Fishy is suddenly allin over the top for not too much more:

Waffles and Joe both call, leaving Waffles with just a few hundy chips and basically setting up the 3-way allin showdown with just 4 players left in the tournament, and me sitting on the sidelines just hoping for 2 eliminations on the hand.

Waffles obviously pushes in his last few hundy chips into the over 62,000-chip pot, which Joe calls, and then the players flip this:

So let's review. Waffles bet big on the JT9 rainbow flop, because he had flopped a straight with his Q8. Nice move. A little obvious with leaving just 8k chips behind with his flop bet, but he made a strong move with a strong hand. Fishy moving allin over the top also makes some sense, in that he had flopped two pairs and I guess figured he was either ahead or at least had two cards to draw to a boat that will beat any straight or other likely hand out there. But look at Joe in the middle there. He called Waffles' big bet on the flop with what? K3s on a JT9 rainbow board? That my friends is what we call just a good old-fashioned inside straight draw. Not a play you see much at the final table of even the blonkaments, and that is really saying something let me tell you.

Well, just lookey what happened for Joe on the turn and river cards in the end:

Wow. That's about all I have to say about it. I was now heads-up in my second straight Riverchasers tournament, but unlike last time where I took out #3 and entered hu play with Zeem with a slight (5k or so) chip lead, this time around I was starting off down 68k - 17k and at a significant disadvantage against a player who again I will say -- with no insult intended, just an observation -- obviously does not really understand (or care about) the finer points of winning holdem strategy, if he even plays the game with any regularity at all.

Despite my benefitting from a huge river suckout to give me a slight chip lead maybe 7 or 8 minutes into heads-up play, I failed to hit a draw just two hands later and it ended up that I was just way too short to be able to get anything going. Eventually I got in with K6 against Joe's 77, and I could not suck out, and MysticJoe took down the Riverchasers tournament for the week, with me having to settle for second place:

Edit: Al tells me this morning that allegedly the hands for MysticJoe, who is some kind of Riverchasers employee guy, were actually being played by his 12-year-old son and not even by himself. As redonkulous as that sounds, it actually fits with most of what I saw and what I've shown here on the blog today, so I actually believe it. Sick. A 12-year-old kid wins a 57-person blonkament with suckout after suckout and suckout and bad call after bad call after bad call. Good stuff right there.

So again I mention how ironic it is that just yesterday I was writing about how most of the BBT tournaments have been won with tremendous amounts of luck, even by the good players. And to be clear, again I am not suggesting that the entire BBT all comes down to luck or anything like that -- much the opposite, the guys in the top ten who have multiple final tables and multiple BBT cashes obviously have solid, consistent winning mtt strategies to be performing that well over this many events. But what happened on Thursday night with MysticJoe winning this entire tournament after how many times he tried his best to bust, it's a fucking perfect example of the exact point I was trying to make. Nonetheless, I will take my second straight top-two Riverchasers finish, and I will say for the record that I really do think all of the cash games I have been playing recently are having a great effect on my overall mtt play as well. That is the topic of a later post I'm sure, but the whole "re-learning proper respect for chips" thing that basically comes by definition with any attempt to play winning 6-max cash nlh poker appears to be helping my mtt game significantly as well. When I think about my last 5 weeks or so of tournament play, I've been making the BBT points -- definitely not playing a pussy style of poker, thank you very little -- with much regularity, I've final tabled two big BBT tournaments and chopped one of them for a victory, and of course I had several nice large mtt runs in the recent FTOPS as well. I definitely see a correlation between my play in cash games and this recent upswing in mtts, and hopefully that will continue into next week as I prepare to play my 2nd and 3rd ever WSOP events in Vegas next Thursday and Saturday.

Thanks again to Al for hosting last night's Riverchasers tournament, it was a great time as always despite Al being knocked out early in typically horrifying fashion. And don't forget the Donkament tonight on full tilt, which I assume will go down today as it has on recent Friday nights, which is Kat's $1 rebuy tournament at 9pm ET on full tilt, with a password almost always of "donkarama". See you then!

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Blogger Chad C said...

I watched this disaster known as "riverchasers" when it was 4 handed. I din't even play the tournament and I went on tilt just from watching!

12:17 AM  
Blogger I Like Cake said...

"...a guy with "donkey" in his name and a guy named after a frigging breakfast food."

Now that is some funny chit.

Actually Joe's play to me smacks of "learning" how to "play" "poker" by watching heads-up matches on TV. It was just crazy loose, but typical of high blind HU play on TV. As I said on my blog I don't think I've ever seen such a crazy combo of questionable play and suckouts. And I'm certainly not excluding myself from either of those. But Joe took it to new heights last night.

12:18 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I think I misplayed the hand entirely but not the way you think.. I was too indecisive in the hand. I KNEW you were full of shit with your raise and I should have just jammed it on the flop and let the cards fall where they will.. I am not sure but I do not think you call off your whole stack there with 89h. Again on the flop I should have just taken it down. I had the feeling I was ahead but would not commit to the action. that was my worst play.

2700 chips into 6700 pot 2.5:1 on a 34% hand.. not exactly the odds I wanted but not bad. I really should have jammed you somewhere in this hand. My bad.

I KNEW in my soul that you did not hit that king.. and just misplayed the hand badly.

Good job in the Riverchasers. I am still stunned. I would have loved to beat you HU again. If you had done your job and taken Joe out earlier we would be all set. lol. Oh well. Another time.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah I don't see how Joe could have more than just a very little bit of experience with holdem with the way he played last night. It wasn't even so much the looseness preflop as it was the number of ridiculous recockulous calls for big bets with absolutely nothing in his hand. Pure craziness, but only probably a small bit worse than par for the course with these BBT events.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Waffles, I think it's fair to say that I did everything I could in multiple spots to take Joe down in Riverchasers. And yeah I would have loved to beat you hu again too. Maybe next time. If you can get funded that is.

And no, obviously I'm not even considering calling off my stack with 98s. But I think reraising big preflop with AQ against an utg raiser is bad poker and will lead you well into -EV land if you practice that as a rule. That's why I like your preflop non-raise but think you should have just folded on the turn. I would have anyways. But yeah, I specifically said it's not the worst move ever. Just not the right odds to chase with one card to come.

12:29 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Nice work capturing the Hand of the Night.

MysticJoe is that rare player that can but a beat on Waffles that is so spectacular that it can leve him rantless.

12:52 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I am not so sure pushing there was wrong Hoy and not because of just the cards.. but you were raising enough hands and always from the same spot that I probably needed to do something..

The only cards I am deathly afraid of are AK/AA/KK and QQ.. Anything else I am a coinflip at best.. and if you decide that your AT is the nutz or something I could make some money..

I considered re-raising you another 2400 or so pre-flop but then I am going to be short.. I also considered c-betting on the flop.. but if you were slow playing something then I was again screwed.. so I chose all the wrong answers.. Next time I push you in and take my chances.

Anyway.. I totally agree I fucked that hand up.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

I think Full Tilt has turned on the screw factor to a new level in celebration of the start of the WSOP.
So frikin crazy.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

That is so unreal it is almost funny. Actually, it was funny. Kh3h made me laugh. As the hand progressed, I thought maybe he had AK for a gut shot nut straight draw (like that makes it ok) but K3 of hearts... and runner runner flush? What's not to laugh about?

2:13 AM  
Blogger KajaPoker said...

Hoy, I think you have to delete this post quickly. If anyone in support of the UIGEA reads it they will have proven beyond reasonable doubt that poker is all about luck and not skill.

But seriosuly, the really sad part is that a guy like LuckyJoe can make it through a field with some great players and come up on top. How is that even possible? Is there a single hand he played right?

And the sadder thing is you see this all the time. This donkament had about 60 players - What happens when you play a 600 or 1600 tourney and it is full of these players? How can you make it alive out of a minefield like that?

2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You donkeys lost to a twelve-year old.


3:21 AM  
Blogger Buddy Dank said...

Laugh it up fuzzball!

3:43 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nice Empire reference, Buddy. Just don't want you to think it went by unnoticed.

4:04 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

if i had even 10% of Mystic's luck, i'd take down the 400k at least once a month.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

In defense of Wafuls (and I have no idea why I am doing this), his call was not as bad as you make it look. First he is calling 2700 for a 9000 pot. About 3.5-1 pot odds. With 12 outs he is about 4-1, but there is another betting round (a concept called implied odds). With the 15 outs he had the call was way +EV, and +EV at 12 outs as well. How does he put you on the K when you checked the flop?

5:24 AM  
Blogger CEMfromMD said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Chad C said...


4:42 PM  

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