Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tourney Success - Good or Lucky?

Multiple Table Tournies are great to play in... probably one of favorite things. Definitely, the thing that has won me the most money... so what I do... I play (or historically have played) mostly limit holdem... because... Yikes... I don't know why. Probably for the mere fact that I haven't been successful with them has made me keep playing to try and figure things out.

Anyway, tournies are where it is at for me lately. My question is really more of the rhetocial nature. Do you have to be good or lucky to be a successful tourney player? Obviously, since you see the same faces on Pocket Five Leader Board or any of the typical leader boards, you have to be good. You obviously have to have the skills. But there are too many of us (types like me) that probably don't play enough or just don't get it. As I have mentioned, by watching a few hand histories from 2+2 MTT Forum, you have to be lucky. Let me say that again... If you are going to deep into a MTT, you HAVE to be lucky. Of course, this is no surprise as poker is gambling; but the question I seek is how much skill and how much luck. Again, rhetorical as I don't think there is an answer.

So what is starting this thougth process. Dah.... Running Bad... I've recently taken a look at all of my all in hands in the past couple of weeks (not including hands where there were people that had 3 or less BBs) to see how I've been doing. I haven't finished the final tabulations as I am also including SNGs but the results aren't too encouraging. Basically, I am making 5 categories:

Way ahead... more than about a 70% favorite
Ahead... somewhere in the 60's% favorie
Coin Toss
Behind.. somewhere in the 40s%
Way behind... less then 40%

We'll see how it turns out.. just from a top down look.. I am winning about 40% overall in the last 2 weeks for all of my all ins... I would expect that number to be over 50% as I would like to think that most of the time that I get my chips in the middle, I am ahead... and no worse than a coin toss. I will be really interested to know how that turns out. One thing for sure as I am doing this, you certainly seem to remember the bad beats more than the times that you suckout or similarly, the coin tosses that you actually do win.

Here is what seems typical for me these days.

I am playing in a $7,500 gurantee $24 buyin on FTP the other day. I thought there was going to be a huge overlay in this tournament; but it as usual, it filled up quickly at the end and there was no overlay; but I still played. 380 or so people playing.. We get down to about 90 people and I finally get a good hand with two Red Aces. Blinds are 150/300 and I am in the SB. Folds to Cutoff who raises to 1055. (Nice!!!)... Button Calls (Nicer!!!!)... SB (our Hero) says no time to play around, let's shove our 4,200 chips in the middle. I happy to take it down here... BB folds and so does cutoff.... Button takes just a couple of seconds and calls.

What range do you put him on... he is getting around 2-1 to call. What kind of hands can you call with? Also, this call would put him all in (not me)... although it would leave me with only 200 chips. Well, he turned over 76s. In my mind, I was pretty shocked that he called the original raise with this hand... and even more shocked that he called my all in re-raise.

Well, the flop was all spades including a 6 (he had clubs)... but nobody had any spades.. however, the river did bring a 7 which gave him two pair to more or less kill me. Had I won this hand, I would have moved to the top 10. Two really sad notes here. He lost all of his (my) chips a few hands later.. And also a few hands later, I got AA again... but at that point it was too late. Went out around 83rd.

Can anybody explain this call on the first raise or on my All-in?

Now, let's move to the Mook last night. Not much is happening for me although I am staying a float with nothing more that stealing blinds with the hammer (3 times). I can't remember for sure; but I think there were about 73 people last night. We are nearing the 2nd break and I barely above water. I am in last place or around there as things moved around. This hand comes down where somebody (who I will not mention because it is besides the point... This is not a Hoyish type rant; but more about good vs luck) from the MP raises around 3 times the BB and I reraise for 1000 chips for more with AJs. He doesn't have to call as it would not cripple him if he lost; but it would sure leave a mark. Any way, his calling hand of choice was A7o. Am I feeling confident.... NOOOOOOO!!!.. and didn't take long to find out the bad news as the 7 came on the flop... and just to rub it in, a 7 came on the turn and a 7 came on the river to give him quads and IGNH in the low 20s.

Now, I realize a lot of this is just poker; but really how much is MTT success contigent on luck? Those 2+2 tournies, I watch, there are at least 2 or 3 hands that the guy has won that he shouldn't have. The Mook winner last night... same thing... Coin Tosses have to be won... Big hands need to hold up... That's the lucky part.. The skill is knowing when to bet and check... knowing when you can steal some chips.... reading players... etc, etc... and many, many people have this down.

Well, I will continue the fight and see where I end up. I'm around 30th in the Blogger Challenge leaderboard with no money earned. While, I'm not way disappointed with that, I just know that it could be much better if I were just a little bit more..... yep, you guessed it. Lucky.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

For All you MTT Experts out there.. Quick Question

A rare 2nd post of the day...

So as I mentioned earlier, I have been watching some MTT hand histories via PXF hand history tool. Again, these histories are available at 2+2 in the MTT forum . This particular hand was very, very interesting to me.. You don't have to be a PXF subscriber; but you do need a free login and password.

So let's set it up. We are watching a $109 6 man tourney on FTP. The guy we are watching is a guy that is up there on the pocketfives leaderboard. In other words, the boy can play and the buyin is high enough to have generally good play. We are at hand 152 of the tournament with blinds at 150 and 300. We are in the SB...

Stack Sizes go like this:

UTG: 11264
Hijack: 4693
Cutoff: 5650
Button: 1845
SB (us): 14275
BB : 26830

We get dealt Qh7c.

Obviously nothing to exciting and most likely will let it go; but UTG and HJ call so he makes the call and the BB checks so we are 4 handed. I don't have any reall problems there.

Flop comes: 9hJhTh

Not a bad flop giving us an open ended straigh flush draw. What is your move?

He checks. I certainly don't mind that as you want somebody to lead into you (or so I think). Well, the BB obliges and leads out 300 into a 1200 pot... HJ then bumps it to 800.

Now what do you do.. It's going to cost you 800 into 2300 pot.

Again, this player, is much, much better than me. Do you just call getting almost 3-1 or are you ready to get your chips in the middle as quick as possible.

Here is what I probably would have done... I would have re-bumped to 1800-2000. My feelings is that I can't get my chips in the middle fast enough and if my raise scares people off... so be it.

Well, he folded... which is the point of this post. As we all know, I am a documented donkey (and no I don't have a problem being called that... it is what it is )... How do you not at least call this?

Well, let's proceed on... remembering.. decisions not results... BB called the raise...

Turn cards came.... 6s

BB checked and HJ bet 1200 and got called by the BB.

River... 7h... BB now leads out 1200 into the 5200 pot and gets called. and the BB turns over Jc8h for the striaght flush.... so he obviously would have taken a bunch of our chips... although not all of them most likely as you would have probably just called with a Qh flush.. or even folded it then... not likely raising as it was definitley a call me type bet.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this hand..

BTW, this guy went on to win the thing... so obviously worked out for him.

Another Day... Same Result

Quick post..

Played the MATH... about 59 runners... late position raise/steal>>... I reraise with AQ... and get 3 bet... by now.. I have to call and I am all in... he turns over AJ... No Jack comes; but 4 spades do come and I don't have one... he does... IGHN around 56th..

Full Tilt had over 75000 people online last night... wow... but... still having problems. No SNGs were running last night... maybe that was good news.... I did see the Tier 2 token frenzy had 200 people in it... wow... I'm sure that there were a bunch of bloggers... It is very hard for me to get to the computer before 9PM Central... I actually missed the first 5 or so hands from the MATH... a couple of which would have been nice... including the hammer hitting a straight.

So, no poker... I watch a movie with Mrs Wonka... Little Miss Sunshine... DO NOT... and I repeat.. DO NOT waste your time with this movie.

That's it... enough said.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yet Another Forgettable Weekend

Poker is such fun....

I was going through the 2+2 forums Thursday night and came across something in there MTT Strategy forum.. It is people that have supplied their hand histories for the tournaments that they have been in. They are pretty cool to watch. You can find them here. It uses the Poker X Factory replayer. I only watched two of them and it more or less confirmed a few things. First and foremost.. You need to get lucky. and secondly.. you need to win the majority of your races. It was almost depressing to see so many races won and suckouts by these people. And alot of them playing the higher limit tourneys. Simply amazing. So is it true that it better to be lucky than good?

Friday night I played in our normal monthly 2nd Friday of the month game. We had 13 people show up. We are down to about 7 people and I get it all in with ATs for A6s... Of course he hit his 6 on the turn and takes me out. We played a second game and we are on the bubble and I get it all in with K9o... get called by 72s (say what you want). I don't have a problem with the call because he was the huge stack it was next to nothing for him to call. A 9 on the flop had me feeling good until I saw runner, runner diamonds to give him his flush. Some nights, it is just your night. A few hands prior to that, this same guy called an allin with 10 high (and this time it was not an automatic call) on the flop. Turns out the all in guy was on a flush draw with 65s and didn't hit and 10 high won it.

I got home and played an SNG and did get a win; but I continued to play and donked off $200 on AP Ring game..

I played in the Token Frenzy on Saturday night and won a token into the big game. Thanks Hoy for pointing those out. I will definitely give those another try. The Big Game was going pretty well through the first break as I was at least at Average stack most of the time. Every tourney has a critical hand that will either make or break you. I don't remember the the people involved other than they were both kind of short stacked (along with me). I have 88 and one of the shorties goes all in... Yep.. have to race so I am ready to call when somebody else pushes all in... I'm torn and fold and then both had Ace Something... and 8 comes on the flop and I would have more or less tripled up. No guts no glory... Does anybody else make that call?

Meanwhile, I go 0 for 6 in my Sunday SNGs... First 2 were bubbles where in both cases the short stacks caught their suckouts or got the right cards at the right time to survive; but I didn't have the same luck. One SNG was a pretty big leader with 6 people to go... I do a 3x raise with KK and somebody pushes me all in. Easy call of course and he turns over TT... Nice... except for the T on the flop.... 3 hands later I am out when my 99 lost to AT and then the next hand 99 lost to AQ. From riches to rags in about 4 or 5 hands... DOH!!!! At that point, I just called it quits. Very disappointing end to the weekend.

I do plan on playing the MATH tonight as I did win my token to that as well playing a 6 man SNG.

Hopefully, things will turn around.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More Good Times

It was a fun day yesterday reading and writing about my "donkiness". It is really quite hilarious about the whole idea of calling other players donkeys and burning them at the stake when they are donkeyish... but then again, they want to play with donkeys...

One final comment on the hand yesterday. I wonder if anybody (including myself) thought I was ahead when I made that call. I know I didn't think that I was. Do you think I would have made that call if I knew he had me dominated? Absolutely not. +EV or -EV.. who cares. If I have the chip stack to afford it and the implied odds justify the call along with any reads that I might have (right or wrong reads). Live with it. I truly do not know very many people that aren't going to call 200 chips with JTs when they will still have 63BB behind if they don't hit the flop. OK, there could have been some really bad flops with me such as T high... Do you really think I'm getting all in on that flop? Do you really think I'm raising that much with TPMK.. No.. I go into pot control mode and take it from there. Sure I would have lost some chips.. but most likely not all of them.

OK... there are many people that would not have limped in with that hand and I certainly respect that. At this early juncture of the tournament, I didn't feel the need to raise. Truthfully, I want people in the pot with JTs. I don't want to scare anybody off. I am confident enough in my post flop play to deal with any complications that might arise. Later in the tournament, I would be raising with that.

I have said again and again, that the only bad play in poker is when it doesn't work.. As a matter of fact, I wrote a whole entry on it once. I maintain that poker isn't always about having the best cards. You have to be willing to gamble a bit. Most of TAGy types don't gambool it up too much; but I really have no problems with people that do... except for when they outdraw me of course. If you want to raise me with 72o... great.... it is especially great if it gets me to fold. The fact that I don't fold and you lose does not make a difference. If it worked, it was a good move.. if it doesn't, it wasn't. Simple as that. One thing is for sure, that if you are going to make moves like that, you need to have a reason for it. For example (and it is a bad example)... Did you see where Brad Booth bluffed with 4 high against Phil Ivey's pocket Kings? Everybody was saying what a great move it was and you know it was.... Why???? Because it worked... Does it make it bad movie if it didn't... Yep.... So I hate it when commentators are berating bluffs before they find out if it worked. Let the action happen first before you give your ultimate comments.

OK.. A couple of other things... I say all of the above to say this... We are already know about the well documented exchange betweeen myself and some other notable blogger. No more to see or hear there. Let's move onto the Mook last night. Would you believe on the 12th hand, I got into another confrontation with suited connectors. In this case I was in the Big Blind with 98s and it was limped to me and I just checked. Hopefully everybody is ok with that. ha. Anyway, I flopped the flush. Unfortunately, my PokerTracker did not record this hand for some reason so I hope I have most of this right. I believe I put a 1/2 pot bet out there and the EP limper (I don't remember who it was and it isn't important) raised me a good bit. This raiser had a huge stack compared to me.. anyway back to me... what do you do?

You have to believe that your flush is good; but you have to believe that there are plenty of outs against you. If I push, I do have enough chips to make him think about it... and that's what I did. After a bit, he did call and turned over ATo with the Ace being the flush card and a Ten giving him a pair. I don't remember if was top pair or not. Anyway, I was surprised to find out that my hand is still about a 70% favorite... The turn card... Ace.... River Card... Ace... IGHN...

Should I rant about losing to a 30% shot. Nope... That's poker. He made the decision to draw out and that is what he did. That is the way it goes. So... No name calling here.. I'll just move on. I'll just keep trying to put my chips in with the best of it.

One final thing... Where do I find those Tier-Two Token Frenzies... I would like to give one of them a shot. I did win a Tier-One token last night that will be my entry into the Hoy next week; but I couldn't find Tier-Two.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Busto and Am I Donk?

2nd part first... oh never mind... We'll find out if I'm a donk a little later in the post...

Wow, has it really been over 2 months since I have posted? That is truly amazing as something I so thouroughly enjoyed just kind of fell by the way side. It's probably not so hard to figure out why. Going Bust!!!!! Let me tell that it sucks!!!!

Now, did I literally go busto and lose every cent that I had on poker.. nah... because as I have mentioned before, I took my original $60 that I first deposited on Poker Stars and turned into $14K by more less grinding my way up. I few big tourney scores of over 1.4K each helped. Probably the game that I enjoy the most is Limit Hold'em and not so surprisingly, it is probably the game I am the worst at as it rather astonishing to see the amounts of money that I have lost playing this game.

This year and the last half of last year is and was just utterly demorilizing. I also found something even worse... BlackJack... Why anybody would play online blackjack (other than the bonus chasing with a structured plan)... I found that you can go on even bigger tilt playing blackjack... Last week during one of infamous melt downs, I played blackjack. The good thing is that I hit 4 blackjacks... the bad thing is that the dealer also hit blackjacks on those exact hands... Add that up with many other things and you go bust..

So Am I bust... not really.. however, I've taken my bankroll from 14,000 to 2,500 which more or less feels like busto. I'm not looking for any pity. Actually, it may be a blessing in disguise as originally, I was playing this just as a hobby and the pure joy of playing. I can remember sitting down at the 10c/25c no limit tables with $5 and having a grand old time. Then the worst thing happened, I had success and had it early.

So anyway, I'm back to low stakes and will have to re-learn to enjoy poker for the game of it and not the money of it as it was never about the money. I never withdrew anything. For a real quick chuckle, head out to Sharkscope and punch it willwonka at Fulltilt and you will see a rather amusing graph.

Now onto the reason that I brought myself out of semi blog retirement...

Am I a Donk? The short of it is... yes, of course; but that is besides the point.

One of the truly enjoyable things that a like is playing in the weekly blogger tourney. This was at first only the Mook as I never did have any money over at Stars to play the MATH. Anyway, the battle of the blogs started and Hoy-man moved his tourney over to FullTilt.. Nice... now I can play in both... and so far have really enjoyed both the MATH and the MOOK. I sometimes don't chat it up as I have multiple tables going on; but I usually enjoy reading.

Speaking of Hoy, he is truly one of the truly gifted writers/bloggers and I really enjoy reading his stuff.... Especially when it comes to his rants... You know you have made it in the poker world when you become the subject of one of his rants and are called a donkey. Today, that was me.. WoooHoooo.. Not that I feel a need to defend myself; but what the heck.

He continues to berate the play of the poker bloggers as compared to the alleged much more sophisticated play of the normal MTT player. Of course, I whole-heartedly disagree with him; but whatever...

Let's get to the hand at question.... first as published on his blog.

"Yours truly managed to donk out early once again, thanks to a highly questionable call by another donkey blogger of my preflop raise, coupled with a flop that not only hit my hand very well, but miraculously hit the donkey's hand even better, creating the perfect storm of rediculousness"......

......"Similarly, last night in the Hoy, when I raised preflop very early in the event with my AJs and the flop came JT5, I just wasn't in a mindset to put the donkey blogger who played back at me on the flop on a hand like JTo. He called my preflop raise into a heads-up pot with that hand! The realization is really starting to sink in finally that if I expect to do well in these blogger tournaments, I need to adjust my play from the kind of play I am used to seeing in the larger events. Bloggers do call preflop raises heads-up with 5-high ("but it was sOOOOOooooted!" Ha!). They do it all the time. Bloggers do call preflop raises heads-up with easily and often dominatable hands like JTo (a hand which I in fact was dominating last night before the flop came down). Many bloggers' play is such that they would even defend these moves after the fact. These fuckers actually think this is the way to play the game. "

OK... I then replied and thought he might need to check his facts... he promptly said that he had screen shots... OK... I've now come back and looked at the hand history... Let's walk through the hand...

First the facts... We are playing the HOY where it is a double stacked tournament meaning that we are starting with 3,000 chips. A very fine addition to the tournament by the way...

On the 22nd hand of the tourny... in other words.. very, very early.. my table looked like this... (sorry no screen shots)...

FullTiltPoker Game #2175700494: Mondays at the Hoy (16336999),
Table 1 - 20/40 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:17:45 ET - 2007/04/09
Seat 1: HighOnPoker (4,564)
Seat 2: katitude (2,680)
Seat 3: willwonka (2,775)
Seat 4: wwonka69 (3,070)
Seat 5: hoyazo (2,510)
Seat 6: Zeem (2,675)
Seat 7: Wippy1313 (2,696)
Seat 8: lucko21 (3,030)
Wippy1313 posts the small blind of 20
lucko21 posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #6

Very nice table... don't you think...

I'm sitting at T 2,755 and Hoy is at T2,510 as The Devil's Advocate is running over the table early on as chronicled on his blog..

I look down and have JTs (yes they were indeed suited and yes they were indeed hearts)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to willwonka [Th Jh]

Jorden and Kat both fold.. OK.. yes, I'm in early position; but I'd love to see a flop with JTs for cheap so I call the 40... yes... early on... blinds are small.. I have over 68BBs

Anything out of the oridinary yet? Anything donkified yet?

The wannabe wonka folds and Hoy raises it up to 240 from the cutoff spot. Everybody else folds including the blinds leaving me with a decision to call T200 into a T340 pot. What do you do?

Obviously, if you are Hoy, you fold; but let's think about it a bit more... Now, I'm not even getting 2-1 (about 1.7 to 1) but it is close. JTs is not really a hand that you want to see heads up. On the other hand, what is Hoy have in his bag of tricks... Do I put him on big hand... Not really but could be, as I have seen him make moves with less (perhaps not so early in a tourney.. who knows).. Put it all together and a 200 chip call is not out of the question with JTs... even heads up and out of position... although not ideal. If I miss the flop and have to fold, I still have over 63BB.

So, let's recap with the hand history up to this point..

Dealt to willwonka [Th Jh]
HighOnPoker folds
katitude folds
willwonka calls 40
wwonka69 folds
hoyazo raises to 240
Zeem folds
Wippy1313 folds
lucko21 folds
willwonka calls 200

Now for the all important flop...

*** FLOP *** [Td Jc 7c]

Nice.... Of course, I'm checking to the raiser... who gladly puts out a pot sized bet:

willwonka checks
hoyazo bets 540

What does a donkey do next? Slowplay... Raise... or fold...

hmmmm... not folding... at this stage... no need to slow play... I'm happy to show my strength and call it a day...

willwonka raises to 1,440

OK... I get to take home a nice pot... I'm telling Hoy that I have him beat... so what does he do?

hoyazo raises to 2,270, and is all in

oops.... let's think back... he showed strength preflop.... followed it up on the flop... and now is re-raising me...

What do you do?

Well... only 830 to call so it really is a no brainer... but what do you put him on??? Does he have over cards or over pair... did he hit a set?

As it turns out:

willwonka calls 830
hoyazo shows [Ts As]

Wow... 2nd pair with really no draws...

willwonka shows [Th Jh]
*** TURN *** [Td Jc 7c] [2d]
*** RIVER *** [Td Jc 7c 2d] [9h]
hoyazo shows a pair of Tens
willwonka shows two pair, Jacks and Tens
willwonka wins the pot (5,080) with two pair, Jacks and Tens
wwonka69: boom
hoyazo stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5,080 Rake 0Board: [Td Jc 7c 2d 9h]
Seat 3: willwonka showed [Th Jh] and won (5,080) with two pair, Jacks and Tens
Seat 5: hoyazo showed [Ts As] and lost with a pair of Tens

Now, for the record, who is the donkey..... Not only was his play post flop questionable (which he admits), his documented recap of the hand was way off.

He said that I had JTo.... Obviously I had JTs
He said that he had AJs... He obviously had ATs

So for what it is worth... after looking back at the hand, I wouldn't have played any differently... Does that make me a Donkey... probably...

Anyway, I look forward to continue to playing in these blogger tourneys and look forward to continuing to read the Hoy man's blog which are among the best out there in poker blog land. I just hope he checks the facts before he posts again on something like this. It sucks to lose when you hold a dominating hand... but my guess is that he is not the first player to lose with this...

I could tell you about.... oh never mind... you get the point... maybe another day...

Hopefully, I can post more often...
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