Tuesday, July 06, 2010

How DO people run so good?

I've been playing a lot of razz tournaments online lately. Well, I'm not sure what qualifies as "a lot" in the world of online poker, but for me two a day is "a lot," and that's about what I've been averaging. I don't know why, exactly. I get on kicks of one game or another and do a lot of it until I get bored and move on to something else.

With the majority of the razz tournaments, there has been a distinct pattern--not universal, but happening the majority of the times I play. The one I just finished was an absolutely typical example.

Phase 1: I start off slow, playing tight-aggressive. That keeps me sort of in the middle of the pack or a little below average.

Phase 2: Then there comes one or two big pots, in which I bet the best hand hard all the way, and get called all the way by an inferior hand or two. That pushes me to or near the top of the leaderboard. Here's that hand from today's tournament. As you can see by the pot size, it was being bet aggressively to the end:

And, as per the pattern, that took me to the front of the pack:

Phase 3: I go card dead, and fall somewhat in the rankings, but still stay in reasonably good shape.

Phase 4: The flame-out. There comes a series of two or three hands in which I again push with the best hand and either brick out or get some horrible suckout. Today's was a one-two punch, starting with this:

Remember, these are not shuffled as on Full Tilt's hand histories; you're seeing the cards as they were dealt. With my 7 on the river, my opponent could only win with a 4 or a 5, at least two of which were dead. He had at most six outs and made it.

Just a couple of hands later came this one:

I was ahead on every street until 7th. He could chop with a 3 (two of which were dead), or win with a 2. That's it. And he got it.

Phase 5: I fizzle out. Today, after being down as you see to just over one big bet, I got a double-up, but it all went in shortly thereafter and didn't survive. Most commonly I have been bubbling or nearly so. Today I didn't even quite make the final table. (Four places were paying.)

Sunday night I spent most of the middle part of the tourney not just as chip leader, but with more than double what the next guy had. Cruising, totally cruising. By the time we got to the final table of eight players, my lead had narrowed to just one or two big bets, but I was still on top, and had six or seven times what the short stacks had. Five were paid. I lost a rather spectacular series of three hands in a row, causing me to crash and burn in fifth, making the minimum cash, in exactly the same way as shown above.

I'm not looking for sympathy; I understand that if you play razz, you have to expect pain and suffering. But I'm genuinely astonished at the consistency with which this pattern has repeated itself over and over again for the past five or six days that I've been playing regularly. It's just plain baffling how the run-good kicks in with turbochargers, then abandons me just short of the finish line.

How DO people run so good?

I still LOL every time I watch this brilliant little movie (NSFW warning):


SirFWALGMan said...

I think the edge percentage wise in Razz is really low. Your never REALLY that far ahead. I was surprised looking at a few Razz odds calculators.

Ragged 8's are really bad too. Not sure you can fold them all the time but maybe you should.

JoshTov said...

Agree 100% with SirFWALGMan. I've often wondered the same thing when it comes to Razz and the edge percentage is definitely low. For my, it was exactly the same thing - it's one of those times when patience is a virtue!