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HoP Fan Club Mail

I shall start by saying that if I were a smarter man, I would have made up Anonymous King a long time ago. He's the Poker Champ of his time! But I didn't make him up. He's just a reader who happens to moonlight as a prick. But for all of the acerbic comments, at least he's a fellow Devil's Advocate. Even better, he gets me to think and Jordan likes him some thinking.

Yesterday, Anonymous King was kind enough to ask this question:

Dear Jordan,

You call your play with a 7-2 a gamble???

Lets call a spade a spade....this was not gutsy, it was a gimmick. I allow you to pull the horseshoe out of your ass.

Anonymous King

Thank you for that fine question, A.K. The thing is, the hammer is at first glance, a gimmick. But it is really so much more. Set aside the obvious points that people make. Yes, it does help to put people on tilt when you show.

Yes, it builds a loose manic table image rather quickly which can be advantageous (although, this clearly works only when people are not in on the hammer play). Yes, its a sign that you are 'in on the joke,' someone with a deeper poker awareness beyond the WPT/WSOP.

What makes the hammer an actual legitimate play is that it serves as a bluffing randomizer. Without a doubt, you cannot be a fully competent poker player without utilizing the bluff at some point. It is often a situation-specific move. You see an opportunity and you bet. But it doesn't just have to be those situations.

There is money waiting there to be taken. The hammer is my way of keeping my bluffs random. When a hammer comes, play it like Aces. Why the hell not? If you have a good feel for the table, you know how to fold. But a lot of times, they just assume you have good cards. They fold when its late in the game giving up buckets of blinds and antes, or they call only to fold on the Ace-high flop. Either way, you can win a lot of pots if you are smart enough to know when you are cooked.

I do add this caveat: go all in with the hammer at your own risk. The bottom line is, the hammer is a great bluffing randomizer, but you don't want to bluff for your entire stack at random, no matter what the street or your read. Use caution. This is a hard learned lesson.

Also, there are those who think that the suited hammers are unhammerly. I am a fan of the suited hammers, but only because I play an aggressive game. So bluffing does not concern me. I should probably cut down, so reverting to the unsuited hammer requirement could significantly reduce your bluffing, which is a good thing more often than not.

Finally, it is okay to limp with the hammer (or lead out, which does not need to even be mentioned, really, does it), but it IS NOT alright to call a raise preflop unless you are stacked. Just because you are holding the hammer, it doesn't mean that every hand is a nail.

With that knowledge, try playing the hammer for the sole purpose stated above. And then show and get the reaction from the table. You'll see real quickly why the hammer is more than a gimmick.

Plus, its a great gimmick as gimmicks go.



posted by Jordan @ 8:17 PM,


At 10:03 PM, Blogger CJ said...

Jordan, you are right. I rarely bluff, and The Hammer forces me to do just that.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I'm suprised that some people think the suited hammer isn't worth using. If nothing else, the soooooted aspect gives you a semi-bluff opportunity instead of bluffing with air when the flop comes with two of a matching suit.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger slb159 said...

Hey A.K.,
Read the 2nd paragraph down and tell me what you

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous kipper said...


Do you play hammer only in 'blogger' events? Or do you play it all the time regardless of event?

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Drop the Hammer said...


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Poor Tom said...

Ok, but one thing I've always wondered - PokerTracker should be able to tell you whether or not playing the Hammer aggressively is actually +EV or not, relative to playing it by the book.

Obviously you would normally lose money with the Hammer over time due to the blinds.. so can anyone show they're losing less, or actually making money, by playing the Hammer as if it were aces?

I know this wouldn't take account of the possible image benefits (if in fact you want a loose image), but it would be interesting to know..

At 10:31 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

PokerTracker is a great idea, Poor Tom. Of course, I can't stand the thing (cue various people saying I'm crazy for not using PokerTracker). But, if anyone else is a hammer player and uses pokertracker, maybe you could be so kind as to leave your opinion.

At 4:15 AM, Blogger DP said...

Poker Tracker is about as useful as playing 72o like AA is profitable.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

The hammer introduced me to the bluff and forced me "open up" my game.

Now I'm just as likely to have a high PP or some suited trash when I raise.


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