Monday, March 26, 2007

WPT Reno 2007

The trip to Reno for the 2007 World Poker Challenge was an unsuccessful but reasonably satisfying one. I busted about an hour after the 1st dinner break.

Main event - Table 1, Seat 1
For the 2nd time in a row (for big buy in NLHE MTTs) I was stuck with a relatively tough starting table. This being table 1, the table was just not going to be broken on Day 1.
2nd and 3rd to my left were Hoyt Corkins and Mark Seif. Miami John was 2nd on my right. The big joke of the Bay 101 Shooting Stars, Ed "The Cajun Squeeze" Pellegrini, was on my immediate left. He was better than I expected though still fairly weak tight; however he was not giving away any chips. There were 3 average players including Tony Lee; not big Tony but little Tony from the 2003 Reno WPT final table. The one table donkey was seated to the immediate left of Seif. She announced multiple times to the whole table that her goal was not to be the first player eliminated. She made some poor river bluff bets and raises to donk off T$2-3k to Seif and Miami John. I was able to accumlate about T$1.5k chips from her, but the lion share of chips went to The Cajun Squeeze (~T$7k) and Seif (~T$6k) in almost back to back hands.
There certainly are lots of aspects of luck in MTTs, but getting a decent share of the "free" chips that are available in the early levels of the tournament are a big big deal.

The following hand was unquestionably the most interesting one I was involved with during the whole trip. The hand occurred in Level 3. Seif had already bluffed and shown a couple of times already, of which one of the bluffs was against myself. On hand #5 of Level 1, Seif CR'd the 569 rainbow flop headsup with me (after the SB mucked to my c-bet), lead when the 7 came on the turn, and showed QJ high when I mucked. The only point of mentioning this example is that because of this hand, I am 100% certain that Mark was aware that I knew he was capable of making moves.

hand #1
Level 3, T$100/T$200
Hero's stack ~T$10.5k, Villain's (Seif) stack ~T$6.3k
preflop: Hero open limps in 2nd position with ?h?d, mucked to Villain in hijack who limps, mucked to BB who checks (3 players, pot size T$700)
flop: AcQhTc, BB checks, Hero bets T$400, Villain calls, BB mucks (2 players, pot size T$1500)
turn: AcQhTc6d, check, check (2 players, pot size T$1500)
river: AcQhTc6d4c, Hero bets T$900, Villain moves in for T$5700 total, Hero?

I bet the flop to represent a weak A, 2nd or 3rd pair and/or a draw. I believe Villain will tend to raise me here with any decent draw and any equal or better hand (than I represent) and only occasionally flat call (almost certainly flat calling with a straight). I also believe a substantial percentage of the time the Villain will float me here with 2 napkins.

On the turn, I check to keep the pot size manageable. I don't think that the Villain checks too many of his better hands behind me on the turn.

If the Villain floated the flop with the intention of taking it away later, would he tend to check behind on the turn simply because I haven't weakly put in any more chips yet?

Anyways, on the river I elected to continue to represent the same hand that I did on the flop and make a defensive looking bet of a little more than half the pot. My intention at the time was to induce a bluff raise and to immediately call up to a pot size raise. When he moved in, I naturally threw up in my mouth. I tanked for what I would guess was about 90 seconds, although since the passage of time is relative to a person's point of view it could certainly have been longer (I honestly don't believe it would have been much longer than 2 minutes, and Seif did comment to me later that it was not a long time.). At that time, the a**hole Miami John calls the clock on me. I dally for about 15 seconds longer before mucking but not before checking with the dealer to see who called the clock.

I know that in general that these aggressive and successful tourney pros are not bluffing when ~they~ are the ones being put all in. However, I believed at the time (and still believe) that Seif was making a move. I just have such a hard time believing he has such a monster hand on the river that wasn't played more strongly before the river.

The primary problem was that I may have been beat by accident. Supposing that I come to this conclusion prior to my first action on the river should I have played it differently? e.g. CR all in

Although I did not have this information during the hand, a few minutes later, the player on my immediate right announced to the table that he had held Kc3c.

Btw, ?h?d is 2h2d.

Note to self: Another thing for me to consider is what physical and betting tells did I give...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bay101 Shooting Stars $10k 2007

(updated with results at the bottom)

Out late on Day 1 again. Sigh...

Crappy table draw (relatively speaking) w Eric Seidel (bounty), Huck Seed, and James Van Alstyne, and just 1 retard who donked off his stack at the 13 minute mark to Huck Seed.

There were two interesting hands that I was involved in. Despite this being relatively early in a deep stack MTT, the peak decisions occur on the flop.

hand #1
Level 4 T$100/T$200/T$25, 10 handed NLHE
Villain #1 was semi-tight w/T$19k, Villain #2 was James Van Alstyne w/+T$40k, Hero has not been very active w/pfr ~5% w/T$27k.
preflop: UTG mucks, Hero raises to T$700 w/4c5c, muck, Villain #1 cold calls, muck, muck, muck, Villain #2 reraises to T$2500 on the button, blinds fold, Hero tanks for 15 seconds and calls, Villain #1 mucks (2 players, pot size T$6250)
flop: 2s4h5h, Hero checks, Villain #2 bets T$6k, Hero???

i) With 2.5:1 preflop and 13.5:1 postflop implied odds, should I be calling the reraise preflop vs a good opponent?
ii) Van Alstyne is ~not~ a bounty, although Eric Seidel (the bounty) is sitting two to my right with a T$40k stack. Should the fact that the table bounty has such a large stack cause me to make a decision which minimizes the risk to my stack? (since he is currently unlikely to be easily busted any time soon)
I can push on the flop where I know I'm at least a 60/40 favorite, or I can smooth call taking the risk that a bad card for me (an action killer card or a card that improves Van Alstyne's hand). How likely is Van Alstyne to check behind with his one pair on a safe turn after I call such a large flop bet? and if so, how much can I bet on the river (assuming a "safe" turn and river card)? (how much should I bet to justify my preflop call?)

hand #2
Level 6 T$200/T$400/T$50, 10 handed NLHE
Villain #1 is same as hand #1 w/same stack, Villain #3 is new to the table and appears to be a FTP qualifier who is not a donk w/T$17.4k, Hero has around to T$38k.
preflop: muck, Villain #1 raises to $T1100, muck, muck, Villain #3 cold calls, mucked to Hero in BB who calls w/KhTd (3 players, pot size T$3000)
flop: KdTh6s, Hero checks, Villain #1 bets T$1500, Villain #2 calls, Hero check raises to $T6000, Villain #1 disgustedly turbo mucks, Villain #3 tanks for 30 seconds and moves in for T$14.8k total, Hero??

i) What range can I put Villain #3 other than 66?


hand #1
I tanked for about 45 seconds while doing the standard - counting out the T$6k and showing how many chips I had left. I elected to push for ~T$18k more, and then bit my top lip and tried to look as nervous as I could without moving. Van Alstyne tanked for just over 4.5 minutes (I'm sure about the time because I had full view of my watch, and right from the time I pushed I had been considering how long I would wait before calling a clock. I had decided on 5 minutes with the hopes that calling the clock would provide even more reason for him to call.). Van Alstyne mucked, and Huck Seed immediately yelled out "I would have called you!" (which I was happy to hear).
My guess is that Van Alstyne had QQ (or maybe KK) and didn't want to gamble against his perceived best case that I had AhKh.
I was in fact trying to represent AhKh, but I would have been very interested to know his thought process. Would it be more likely for me to get action if I check raise the minimum?
Being out of position was, surprise surprise, a major disadvantage in this hand.

hand #2
I elected to call, and my worst nightmare came to pass. Villain had slow played KK requiring me to pull out my first even perfect perfect.

Well, I'm still waiting on my first perfect perfect.

In retrospect, I'm not sure how to model his range. The only hands I can beat are a terribly played AA or AK and a total gambler's QJ. My current thought is:
66 - 65% of the time (I have 16.7% pot equity)
TT, KK - 5% (4.4% pot equity)
KT - 10% (50% pot equity)
AA - 10% (73%)
QJ - 10% (69.5%)
Combining these numbers, my weighted pot equity is ~30%, so I'm reasoning that this wasn't a terrible call on my part when I was getting 3:1. Are these percentages realistic?

I guess another important fact to consider is how much difference does it make to me to have the following stacks T$20.5k (if I call and lose), T$31k stack (if I muck), T$58k (if I call and win). My table is not going to be broken on this day. Seidel has around T$55k at this point, and Seed has about T$45k.

Monday, March 05, 2007

3 LHE hands

I've been playing a huge amount of live hands in recent weeks and have actually been through a few hands that I wanted to record for posterity.

hand #1 - worst successful bluff ever

Live $20/$40 LHE 9 handed - villain #1 is a thinking player who highly values his ability to read other people's hands; however he has frequently paid off on the river where he calls out his opponents hand while putting the chips in. In particular, in the last hour he has correctly called out Hero's monster hand on the river 3 times (and paid off each time). villain #2 is a calling station who patiently waits for premium starting cards and then proceeds to go all the way to the river regardless of the board or the action. Hero has a tight table image.
preflop: mucked to Hero in MP, Hero raises with AhKd, mucked to villain #1 in CO, CO 3 bets, mucked to villain #2 in BB who cold calls, Hero calls (3 players, pot size 9 small bets)
flop: TdJcQc, BB bets, Hero calls, CO raises, BB 3 bets, Hero calls, CO calls (3 players, pot size 18 small bets)
turn: TdJcQcQs, BB checks, Hero bets, CO raises, BB cold calls 2, Hero tanks and calls (3 players, pot size 15 big bets)
river: TdJcQcQsTh, BB checks, Hero bets, CO curses and almost immediately mucks JJ face up on the table, BB chuckles and immediately calls and tables AKo. 17 big bet pot is chopped. Hilarity ensues.

On the turn, I made a crying call of the CO's raise with the intention of making a crying call of 1 bet if I closed the river action. When the river paired the T, my instinct was that I couldn't win the hand without betting and I put the chips in without giving any thought. I don't think this bluff works 1 time in 30 and recognized it was a negative expectation bet the instant the chips came out of my hand.
Amazingly it worked out, although regardless of the result there could also be some argument made that such a river bluff has positive metagame considerations.

hand #2 - this stuff doesn't happen online part 4
Live $20/$40 LHE 9 handed - can you believe this same !#@$ can happen twice in the same week of live play? UTG is a fairly tight player, the table is otherwise fairly loose.
preflop: UTG raises, Hero 3 bets UTG+1 with AcAs, mucked to CO who cold calls, button cold calls, SB mucks, BB calls, UTG calls (5 players, pot size 15 small bets)
flop: Jh4h6s UTG checks, Hero bets, all call (5 players, pot size 20 small bets)
turn: Jh4h6sQs UTG checks, Hero bets, 3 callers, while UTG is tanking the dealer burns and turns the Ah for the river. Per standard procedure, the card comes back. UTG check raises the field who all call. Ah is shuffled back into the deck. (5 players, pot size 20 big bets)
river: Jh4h6sQs5d UTG bets, all muck to BB who mucks his Kh3h face up and proceeds to curse at both the dealer and the floor for the next half hour.

hand #3 - even lagtards can hit
Live $20/$40 LHE 9 handed - this isn't a thought provoking hand, but it is the only time I have ever gone 4 bets on every street in a live LHE game. Hero has a tight table image and has not gotten out of line thus far in the lengthy session. Button is a loose player, SB is a passive player.
preflop: mucked to Hero in MP+2, Hero open raises w 6d4d, mucked to button who cold calls, SB 3 bets, BB mucks, Hero says "punish the button for tagging along!", Hero 4 bet caps, both call (3 players, pot size 13 small bets)
flop: Jd5d7s SB bets, Hero raises, button cold calls, SB 3 bets, Hero caps it, both call (3 players, pot size 25 small bets)
turn: Jd5d7s8s, SB bets, Hero raises, button tanks and mucks, SB immediately 3 bets, Hero 4 bets, SB shakes her head and says "JJ?" while calling (2 players, pot size 20.5 big bets)
river: Jd5d7s8sAs, SB immediately smiles and bets, Hero raises, SB 3 bets, Hero 4 bets, the BB (who is a friend of SB) murmurs some comment and SB only calls and throws her AA on the table. GODDAMMIT, one player to a hand!