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Representing at the Hoy and Misrepresenting in the Hand

I got some great feedback from last post's You Decide #57 & 58. Thanks for all of the contributors, since posts like that go nowhere unless people are willing to share their thoughts intelligently. The general consensus is that in the first hand, I should have bet on the turn when I hit my fullhouse to build the pot. Acorn was kind enough to admit that he would've folded at that point, and I would've avoided the rivered suckout. The only person who seemed to agree with the logic behind my turn-check was Matty Ebs, but that's no surprise, since Matty and I have independently developed very similar playing styles. Of course, my second error in that hand was the river-call, and I think from the majority of the comments, its clear that this was a definite error. That's not to say that the turn-check isn't a definite error. I just think that the river-call was irrefutably wrong, whereas I could at least argue for the turn-check.

The second hand had a lot more dissension amongst the ranks. Some people thought I should push with AK to lessen my competitors, whereas others agree with my call because it allows me to control the pot, avoid situations where I am pushing into superior hands, and potentially allow me to build a side pot if I hit big. I have to admit that after all of the analysis, I'm calling this one a split decision. I think a call or a push are two acceptable plays, and to keep from being predictable, I'd probably advocate splitting your action between the two, leaning more toward the push. So let's go with 60% of the time, I'd push, and 40% of the time, I'd call. We all too often want a definitive answer to whether one should call, raise or fold in a given situation, but not all hands are like that. But hey, what do I know? Clearly, I didn't play either of those hands optimally, so we can all be wrong once or twice.

Last night, I sorta won the Hoy. Wifey Kim and I were in the bedroom watching one of her shows when I noticed she had passed out. I was not willing to watch Dance Wars alone. Shit, I only put up with it as long as I did because I love wifey Kim. I have to admit, though, that when I saw her asleep, I mentally thought, "SCORE!" It was 9:45 and I was thinking about playing the Hoy, but opted to skip it, since I wanted to spend time with wifey Kim even more. With her asleep, the decision was obvious. I ran into the living room, fired up the comp, and settled in to play.

Before the game started, I was chatting with some people when the Other Jordan sent me an IM that basically just said, "win it tonight." I responded simply enough, "okay," but in an odd way, I could sorta feel that my time was due. After the discussion of yesterday's hands, I was in the right mindset and I decided to play the entire game with purposeful actions. Every time I did something, I first thought to myself, "why am I doing this?" or "what should I bet/raise if I want x to happen?"

Things started off well enough. I chipped up relatively early and I didn't look back. I was getting some decent cards as well, but the key was that I was playing off of my image in order to maximize the values of my stronger hands. To some people, all they see are the good cards or the good flop, but they forget that you have to be able to get your opponent to pay you off in those situations. Whatever the case, I was simultaneously bullying the early tables while getting paid off when I actually had the goods. Nothing is more scary than a 'lucky' player, so I was trying to trade off that image as well.

A little while after moving from my first table, I saw a chat comment from PirateLawyer, "You have no excuse not to cash now." He made a couple of other encouraging statements, but all I could think was, "The pressure is on now." Still, I felt confident in my game, having come across no problems yet, so I continued plugging away, all the while doing my best not to put any undue pressure on myself.

About midway through, I suffered a two-outter suckout when my set turned into a fullhouse compared to my opponent's overpair. I got him all-in on the flop and the river was his set/fullhouse, causing me to recoil in horror. And then I went back to my tilt-control mode, where I mentally talk myself down from the feeling of anxious adrenaline coursing through my body. From there, I admittedly went a lot more tight/passive, but it was due in large part to the fact that, although I still had 10k in chips (down from probably 15k or so), there were a few players with similar sized stacks by that point in the game.

I was moved to a table of all bigstacks and tried to keep quiet. Finally, I was moved to the smaller-stack table and re-began my aggression. At the final table, I was actually in the bottom half, but was able to make it to the money with about 11k in chips. Two of my opponents, MiamiDon and Mike_Maloney, had about $19-20, and Astin, my last opponent, had about 15k. Suddenly, Don asks about a chop. After a previous debacle, I didn't want to do a chop online, but I couldn't turn down the opportunity, given my stack size, the escalating blinds, the good players left, and the fact that Don was on my immediate left, making things extra difficult.

So, I asked, "Even chop 4-ways?" Mike_Maloney agreed. I agreed. And then Astin agreed. Done and done, I pushed without thinking, mostly because that's what I'd do in most chopped situations. The reality is that I would've preferred to play it out for the top spot. Sadly, I only had Q5o, and was called by Don and Mike. They both had better hands (Mike had QJ), but I flopped my 5 and took down the pot. I guess I started a trend because everyone pushed on the next hand, which saw me with JJ. From there, I won the tournament, and sent Mike, who was out in 4th, his share of the winnings.

So, yeah, I "won" the Hoy, but so did Don, Mike and Astin. I just hope Hoy gets it right for his year-long stats.

I'll leave you today with a fun hand between Surflexus and I. Interestingly enough, Surf called me on my cell phone in the afternoon today. It's rare I hear from him via phone, so I took the call and chatted briefly. He wanted to congratulate me on my win last night. Like the Other Jordan and PirateLawyer, Surf wished me luck in the tournament after I felted him. Surf is a great guy and a fantastic poker player, so his words of encouragement only added more pressure (of the positive variety). Today, after I explained the "win" situation, he mentioned the one hand where I felted him. Ironically, its the one hand I saved from the tournament. Withour further adieu:

We are in the Hoy, a shorthanded tournament with blinds of 30/60. We have 7255, more than twice our nearest competitor at the 6-person table. In the BB, we are dealt AQs.

Preflop, it folds to Surf on the button with 2910. Surf raises to 210, which I think is just a pot-sized raise if you use that handy "Pot" button on the slidebar. It folds to me and I opt to call. My call is for a couple of reasons. First, I am out of position, so I don't want to let this pot get too big too fast. Second, I'd been very aggressive and I normally have an aggressive image, so sometimes slowing down can be very profitable if the right situation arises. Third, AQs is a drawing hand, so I want to see a flop before I know my next move. Finally, I was playing against Surf, and I have too much respect for his game to try to get too fancy in this particular situation. So, I call the 150 more and we see a flop.

The flop came down 579, with two spades, giving me a draw to the nut flush. I check again. I considered betting here, but once again, I don't have a made hand just yet, so I check to the bettor and hope that he doesn't bet me out of the pot. With a 440 pot, Surf bet 240. That made my call 240 to win 680, not to mention the implied odds of if I hit. The board looks great for me, considering the low cards make two-pair unlikely and sets are generally unlikely so my two over-cards may still be in play if I can pair up. I opt for a call, once again hoping to keep the pot manageable. I could double up Surf here and still be healthy, but I don't need to bust Surf, so why even take that risk. I just need to keep the winning momentum.

The turn was a glorious 3 of spades, making me my nut-flush. At this point, I had to consider my next move. If I check, I give him a chance to check behind and don't add any more dough to the pot. I needed a bet that looked like I was intentionally representing the flush. In other words, I wanted my bet to scream FLUSH! so much that Surf would naturally think that I couldn't possibly have the flush. This works mostly because I know Surf is smart enough to understand the concept that a known LAG player like me would also have it in my arsenal to represent a flush once a scarecard comes off. Exploiting image is a recurring theme at HoP, mostly because I find it to be a very effective tool, especially since I have a very specific and fairly wide-known image. It's almost comical, because I write about my image and exploiting my image all the time here, but that doesn't make it any less effective. Of course, that's merely because my LAG image is largely correct. But like some more successful LAG players, I find value in knowing how to profit from that image. Conversely, my LAG image is a handicap when I lose that control and the blind aggression of LAG poker takes over entirely.

Wow, that's a long diatribe to say that I was intentionally misleading Surf by betting a bet that obviously represented a flush. I bet out 930, a pot-sized bet, which I have learned through DP always looks suspicious, and Surf called.

The river was a 4d, which made a four-card straight if Surf or I had a 6 (57934). By now, I had "represented" the flush and Surf called my bet, leading me to believe that he did not believe my representation. Perfect! If you had a shitty hand, tried to steal from out of position on a scare card on the turn, and got called, what would you do on the river? To me, the answer was obvious. By then, I would've given up on the hand and checked. So, that's what I did. I checked. Surf only had 1500 left, which was less than the pot, so I wanted to induce a desperation push. When a bully takes a swing, misses, and then checks, its only logical that you should bet because the bully likely has jack squat. Even if you have nothing, a bet might be tempting there, since you can't win the hand by checking AND you have every reason to believe that the bully has given up on the hand. Surf obliged by betting 600. I wanted to insta-raise, but I waited for the 15-second warning before re-Hoying. Surf couldn't take the hint and put his last $1 into the pot and I called. He showed 77 for middle set and I took down the pot.

On its face, its just another lucky hand. But the key was that I was able to get paid off for his entire stack. This is a bit of a Hoyism, but I am always looking to stack my opponents on major hands like this. It's the same thing I tried to do yesterday with the 22 hand. I checked the turn because I wanted to sell a weaker image. My opponent in that hand hit a 4-outter (any Ten or Queen would do), and I lost a small-ish amount. But if he didn't hit that river, I think I could've taken a lot more chips from Acorn.

That's all for today from HoP. Excuse the long posts, but my ideas are flowing. It's times like this that I want to play poker early and often. Once again, I feel tuned into the game. You can probably see it in my writing, and hopefully we'll see it somemore in my upcoming results. Tonight, I return to the Wall Street Game for a very special tournament in honor of 23Skidoo's monthly NYC trip. On Wednesday, I return to the Wall Street Game again for a 7pm tournament only. And on Thursday, I might even return to a different homegame that Matty Ebs got me into in the past. Last time, I won the tourney for $400+, so I hope it all comes together.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:34 PM,


At 5:32 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Nice post and well played. And congrats!

At 12:58 AM, Blogger surflexus said...

Very well played...congrats again.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nice job in the Hoy this week, Jordan.

I love the river check with the nuts in that hand with Surf. Especially when the straight card had hit the board like it did, that was ballz right there.


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