Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Mookie--I winz it!

Last week I came in second in the Mookie. Thus inspired, when on Tuesday night my pal Cardgrrl told me she didn't have any particular plans for tonight, I suggested we try playing the Mookie again. She agreed. Much to my surprise, I won the thing! To make it even better, Cardgrrl came in second!

And yes, it genuinely was a surprise. I was short stack on the bubble and was just sure that I was going to wind up busto with nothing to show for it. At that point, Cardgrrl and one other player had such dominating chip stacks that I despaired of being able to end the tournament well. (It would be embarrassing, I'm afraid, to reveal the gloomy, fatalistic--and, well, let's face it, grumpy--comments that I was sending Cardgrrl via our IM chat while we played.) But I got lucky in a few key spots and ended up not only surviving the bubble, but knocking out both the 4th- and 3rd-place finishers, thus entering heads-up play with Cardgrrl with a big (just over 3:1) chip lead on her.

Actually, Cardgrrl was chip leader through most of the entire tournament, starting just a few hands into it when she doubled up with QQ versus AK. I think that after that point she was never out of either first or second spots on the leaderboard for the entire tournament (except very briefly when we were down to three), which is a pretty impressive accomplishment.

There's not a lot to report on. It's not like I played so phenomenally well that I want you all to pore over my amazing, brilliant play. But there were a few highlights.

I lost this hand to the deuce-four. I was drawing dead from the time the cards were dealt, obviously.

This may have been the most satisfying hand of the tournament, because I knocked out one of the two rude jerks from last week. He bet, I raised, he called. On the flop he check-raised me all-in. Easy call. What's that they say about revenge being a dish best served cold?

Then late in the game I lost yet another hand to the deuce-four, this time its power being compounded by being in crubs, which got there, naturally. This was all-in on the flop. I flopped two pair, which usually in three-handed play would be practically a guaranteed winner. But deuce-four looks at two pair and just laughs at its puniness. The hand is so powerful that sometimes it works even for those troglodytes and heathens who refuse to believe in it.

Embedded below is an animated replay of the final hand of three-way action, followed by the short (14 hands) heads-up portion of the match, for your viewing enjoyment. Nothing too exciting, though, I'll warn you.

Once again, anybody who suspected that Cardgrrl and I would soft-play each other because of our friendship need only review the hand histories from the bubble play on. I was short-stacked and she was trying to knock me out when any sort of opportunity arose for it. It was scratch and claw. A critical moment, in fact, was when I shoved from the big blind with A-5 offsuit after she raised from the small blind with what she later told me had been 8-8. She folded after a long think. Had she called, she probably would have won and knocked me out on the bubble. [Edit: I got this wrong. See comments.]

This probably sounds peculiar to people not in the poker world, but I'm proud to have as a close friend somebody who has enough integrity to take her best shots at me every time. I wouldn't want it any other way. I was fortunate to come out on top tonight, though that's not usually the case.


Heffmike said...

Nicely done... but this...

I was short-stacked and she was trying to knock me out when any sort of opportunity arose for it. A critical moment, in fact, was when I shoved from the big blind with A-5 offsuit after she raised from the small blind with what she later told me had been 8-8. She folded after a long think.

I hope she doesn't make raise/folding a pair BvB three handed a habit. She let you off the hook and you took advantage of it.

Rakewell said...

Well, Heffmike, she was definitely kicking herself afterward for not calling. But your comment prompted me to go review the hand history, which I had not done before. It goes to show that I shouldn't rely on my memory too much. We were not on the bubble; we were down to three-handed already when this hand occurred. (Four were paid.) Also, it was not blind versus blind; she was the button, I the small blind. Finally, this was at a point when I had slightly more chips than she did. So about what I wrote above? Uh, never mind.

Here's the hand history:

Full Tilt Poker Game #15194480191: The Mookie (110330420), Table 2 - 400/800 Ante 100 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:31:06 ET - 2009/10/08
Seat 1: Rakewell (24,651)
Seat 2: Bone_Daddy84 (38,698)
Seat 9: cardgrrl (23,651)
Rakewell antes 100
Bone_Daddy84 antes 100
cardgrrl antes 100
Rakewell posts the small blind of 400
Bone_Daddy84 posts the big blind of 800
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Rakewell [As 5d]
cardgrrl raises to 3,200
Rakewell raises to 24,551, and is all in
Bone_Daddy84 folds
cardgrrl has 15 seconds left to act
cardgrrl has timed out
cardgrrl folds
cardgrrl is sitting out
Uncalled bet of 21,351 returned to Rakewell
Rakewell mucks
Rakewell wins the pot (7,500)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 7,500 | Rake 0
Seat 1: Rakewell (small blind) collected (7,500), mucked
Seat 2: Bone_Daddy84 (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 9: cardgrrl (button) folded before the Flop

Should she have called there? I don't think that's clear. She had put in about 15% of her stack with the raise, so she definitely wasn't pot-committed. She risked going out in 3rd place because I had her covered. What range should she put me on to shove there? Well, I think the broadest possible range would include any ace, any pair, and any two Broadway cards. Against that range, PokerStove says her 8-8 is about 58%/42%. If my range is only pocket pairs, she's exactly 50%/50%. If it's any pair and any ace, she's about 59%/41%. If my range is, say, only pocket pairs of 5-5 and better plus any ace with a 7 or better kicker, then she's about 52%/48%.

So yeah, a call is probably the right move there if all you consider is the numbers. This might be especially so because of thinking that I might be reading her for a blind steal from the button and thus defensively shoving with an even wider range than listed above. And she knows I have a tendency to (1) blow up and go crazy at critical moments in tournaments, (2) believe opponents don't have anything and are making moves--both of which should widen my expected range here.

On the other hand, I had been playing fairly conservatively, not shoving lightly. In fact, I had been letting go of lots of stuff, trying to creep up the money ladder like a little rat (to quote Daniel Negreanu). She had certainly noticed this, so had decent recent to take my shove with some caution. Also, she presumably realized that my decision to shove was made knowing that I had the big blind behind me yet to act. That would have the effect of making her credit me for more strength than would otherwise be the case.

All in all, I think it's a really tough spot and not clear whether it's best to be brave with the 8s or reliquish 15% of the chips and wait for a spot where the equity is more heavily weighted her way.

You can see from the history that she timed out. She was so focused on figuring out what to do that she failed to request more time.

In any event, the one thing she was most definitely NOT doing was donating chips my way out of the goodness of her heart. It was a genuinely difficult position to be in, without a single clearly best solution, IMHO.

Heffmike said...

Yeah, this makes a lot more sense given actual hand history.

It's actually an interesting spot that would make for a decent post in and of itself.

Cardgrrl said...

@Heffmike: I was getting close to the decision to call, in fact, when I timed out. D'oh! FWIW, if Rakewell hadn't had me covered, it would have been much more of a snapcall.

BWoP said...

Congrats on the win!

Barry said...

Not casting any doubts on your integrity by any means, as a reader of both of your blogs, BUT I've always felt an open IM exchange while in a tourney together is kind of shady. I could be wrong, but couldn't it be viewed similar to "English only at the table" standards, where you could be carrying on conversation the other opponents should be privy to?

Rakewell said...

Barry: It certainly could be used nefariously. But (1) it's not against the rules of any online site as far as I know (at least so long as no collusion is going on), and (2) there isn't any collusion. If we're at the same table, I might tell her my cards while I'm in a hand, but only if she is out of the hand, and vice-versa.

She will tell you that on several occasions I have scolded her for thinking out loud (sometimes it's a video chat instead of just text) and thus inadvertantly providing me some extra help. I don't think it has ever made any difference in how I played a hand, and, furthermore, that's not against the rules (there is no one-player-to-a-hand rule online; you can have somebody stand over your shoulder and advise you how to play whenever you like). But we both still prefer not to have any of that going on.

There's no way to be sure that any two players at a table are not communicating privately, by IM, telephone, or whatever. I have no doubt that some do it for purposes of collusion. Cardgrrl and I simply don't. I have 100% certainty that if any online site were to review our hand histories, they would find no evidence in our play to suggest that we were either soft-playing each other or were conspiring against a third player in some way. It just isn't happening.

Still, I think you're right to have some degree of concern about the problem in general, even if not for me and Cardgrrl specifically.

Lucypher said...

Congrats on the Mookie win!