Friday, June 23, 2006

Excuse me, did Kahoutek just fly by?

Hoyazo spent some time breaking down a hand he played against me Thursday night in the WWdN Not. During the first orbit, I raised 4x the BB from early position with pocket kings. CC called and Hoyazo raised to 500. I weighed my options for a nanosecond and pushed, hoping to avoid aces. CC folded and Hoyazo pondered. Good -- no aces. He reluctantly called with ... A-Q.

Wow. That's as surprised as I've been at the poker table in a while. Hoyazo's got a ton of game and the big scores to prove it. (Think 10K worth from a recent Party $40K guaranteed.)Pocket kings became a set on the turn and Hoyazo was the first of 22 players gone.

"This bonehead play is a very important concept that all of the pros at least mention in their books and teachings. Often when contemplating a big call in a big spot in a hand, it is useful to figure out what hands your opponent is likely holding, and which you can beat. In this case, I failed to do this very basic step for any skilled poker player. I mean, Hacker is solid. He's just not in my experience the type of guy who re-reraises allin here with the Hammer."

I'm still trying to interpret what "solid" means, but I'm putting Hoyazo on: "I'm not afraid of this guy." And I'm sure he's not. He has no reason to be. Generally, the good players win these tournaments and Hoy has won his share. I've won nothing and am still struggling to make adjustments. I'm not intimidated by this uber-aggressive blogging crowd, but the playbook I'm using is still thin and callow. They're calling audibles while I'm scratching pass patterns in the dust.

I'll keep entering these things, contributing and hopefully absorbing enough information along the way that I'll eventually take one down. My learning style is best described as plodding. That's the way I stumble, baby. But I do love the competition that tournament poker represents. And these freakin' blogging tournaments are extremely competitive despite buy-ins that never exceed $22. I know money is how you are supposed to keep score in poker, but the need to win seems equally important (says yet another over-the-hill jock) when bloggers collide. And I'd really like to win one of these things.

I hope I'm not being too presumptuous, but I'm guessing that Hoyazo is still a bit puzzled as to why he called there. Never fear, for I have consulted with various medical professionals (Dr. Pauly, however, was not available) and have made the proper diagnosis. Hoyazo had a brain fart. A case of Donkus flatulosis. (Is that the correct medical term, Iak?) Even a player of Hoyazo's caliber is susceptible, but it's more likely the U.S. side will carry home the World Cup before it flares up (out?) in him again.

I'm still prone to making those kinds of mistakes, typically when I'm tired and should be doing anything but playing poker. I hate those moments. It feels as if you're having an out-of-body experience, your subconscious screaming, "Go to bed, asshole," when you click the call button knowing you have just employed poker's versions of the nuklier option and watching as the missile blows up in the silo. (How's that for mix-and-match metaphors?)

Here's an example: It's currently 2 a.m., I'm playing a $5.50 freezeout on Titan, writing and know full well I should be asleep after getting up at 6 a.m. Donkus flatulosis will surely set in any moment now.

Those chips I took off Hoy were eventually wasted, of course. Katitude called my all-in of around 2K after I hit two pair on a 10-7-x board. X, in this case, equaled jack, an ace on the turn gave her two pair and I was gone -- again. Sheeeeeit.

Consider it a loan, Kat. I'm going to need them back soon.


Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...


This isn't pithy, and I don't care. If you haven't figured me for a wordy fuck by're nuts.

Here's a primer for anyone with a good game (like yours) who is going to play the blogger tournaments. Not saying you need this or don't know this, but it may help to see it in print.

There is nothing to be gained in doubting your game. Nothing. It's important to be honest about it, but not too pessimistic or self-deprecatory. I say this having had to abandon that strategy recently myself. If you don't think you can go deep, why show up? My point is clearly you can.

Visualization of the goal must be foremost, because it trumps the doubts caused by the fact your competition are old friends and you are relatively new at the table.

But here's the key as I see it. None of these guys fear each other. Specifically, they've lost the fear of embarassing themselves with an early exit, because they know they're good players and they know the rest of the table knows it. This applies even more to Hoy and Waffles than the rest of the gang. Because they don't play scared they are free to try interesting things, like stacking you with 53o or getting into your head with an All-in -1 so they can joke/trash you into calling or folding.

Once I broke through mentally on that, I started analyzing why they were betting at me in a particular way - ie. what do they think I will do in response to this bet? Is that why they made it, or is there genuine strength behind it?

Hoy's play is almost opaque (same bet whether its Hammer or an Airline). But Hoy calls it like he sees it. My take on "solid" was he meant you're not an idiot, and a RAISE from EP like that meant you were holding, not fishing.

Once you lose the concern over making a "mistake" or "playing it wrong" you free yourself up to play bolder and entertain tricky ideas. So what if they blow up in your face? It's good experience, you're playing with friends and have something to joke about next post.

I doubt the me of 4 months ago would have called Waffles' push (see his latest post), but I knew I wasn't much of a dog and getting great pot odds to become chip leader - and that's the change in mentality I had to have: I want to win now, not just hang out and shoot the breeze.

Not sure if any of this applies to you, but I know you play better than you state here. And since I've gotten great advice from Hoy and Don since I started playing and blogging, I felt I should try to pass this along too.

1:22 PM  
Blogger drewspop said...

Well, that was short Iak. Anyway, I agree. Don't doubt your game. Play and keep learning.

11:32 AM  

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