Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's the nutz? Sometimes it's a matter of perception

This will be my first in a series of HHHRs or Hoy Hot Hand Redux(es). Since I don't play that much it is better to just analyze the play of others as if I was an expert on MTTs. Below is the hand from yesterday's MATH that hoy ranted about, and smokkee posted about as well. It is a semi interesting hand from the angle that I will slice it, but there was really no donk play post flop by anyone. Hoys HHs are usually an equal mix of hoy is right the guy was a donk, hoy is wrong and he is the donk and the other guy played it right, or no donks to be found at all.

Full Tilt Poker Game #2227199071:Mondays at the Hoy (16395575), Table 1
- 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:16:37 ET - 2007/04/16
Seat 1: Unimpressed (9,483)
Seat 2: hoyazo (4,250)
Seat 3: BuddyDank (8,265)
Seat 4: SirFWALGMan (5,335)
Seat 6: summer_babe (3,897)
Seat 7: smokkee (3,640)
Seat 8: sellthekids (6,680)
Seat 9: bayne_s (3,000)
SirFWALGMan posts the small blind of 60
summer_babe posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #3

smokkee [Ad Jd] calls 120
Old Smokkee raises here, new smokkee limps. He has learned a lot.

bayne_s [AsKs] calls 120
A call here means at least 4 way action on the flop, prolly more. A raise here is +EV as look at the position it puts people like smokkee in, and you are narrowing down the field to 2-3 which is right for AKs. If you hit the flop big, you will extract more since it was raised preflop and the pot is bigger. You are also setting up a c-bet if you miss completely that will be a semi-bluff to some extent as you will have some nice overs. The call here in this situation with AKs is pretty donk IMO.

hoyazo [ThTd] calls 120
I really don't like this call at all, Hoy. I can see you just play the TT for a set, but it seems like the best move is to raise and take it down or at least set up a c-bet against one of the two of the EP limpers. You are looking at a 5-way flop at least, so you can only play TT for set value this way. I think the limp is +EV so I think Bayne_s play (-EV) was slightly worse.

BuddyDank folds
SirFWALGMan calls 60
summer_babe checks

5-way flop as could have been expected by any and all in the hand.

*** FLOP *** [Ts Ah Ac]

SirFWALGMan checks
summer_babe checks
SirFWALGMan checks

smokkee checks
Now for the angle. Smokkee has what is to him the 5th nutz. He is beat by AK, AQ, AT and TT. He can reasonable assume that no one has AK, AQ, or TT as nobody raised preflop, and by the line-up at the table, I would imagine a lot of pots were getting raised with much less than that. AT is really the scare hand here for everyone. In a 5-way limped pot, AT is a very possible hand. You could argue for a bet here as the board could get scary with another face card ruining future action. I don't think it is donk though to go for the slowplay here, with the intention of getting it in later.

bayne_s bets 600
Bayne is holding the third nutz. He can assume that TT is not out there, but once again AT is a legit worry. He must assume he is ahead and takes the lets start building a pot line which is great IMO.

hoyazo calls 600
Hoyazo is holding the third nutz. He is beat by AA, and AT. Holding TT gives Hoy the advantage of knowing that the AT is actually pretty unlikely as there is only one more T in the deck. AA is reasonable for an UTG limp from smokkee, or a super sneaky UTG+1 limp from Bayne_s after an UTG limp. Like the others Hoy needs to assume he is good and look to get his money in here. The others just need to worry about more paint showing up and their hand getting caught up with. Hoy also has this worry here a bit. If the pot gets huge he is surely up against an Ace. So he is behind AA, AT, and will also be behind a kicker or the board pairing or another ace falling, which is more likely than a gutshot paint hitting.
SirFWALGMan folds
summer_babe folds
smokkee calls 600
Slowplayin mofo

*** TURN *** [Ts Ah Ac] [*Jc*]

smokkee checks
Slowplayin mofo

bayne_s bets 2,280, and is all in
Needs to push and pray here, but should reasonable still think he is ahead

hoyazo calls 2,280
smokkee raises to 2,920, and is all in
hoyazo calls 640
All manditory moves at this point

smokkee shows [Ad Jd]
bayne_s shows [As Ks]
hoyazo shows [Th Td]

*** RIVER *** [Ts Ah Ac Jc] [Qd]
smokkee shows a full house, Aces full of Jacks
hoyazo shows a full house, Tens full of Aces
bayne_s shows a straight, Ace

smokkee wins the side pot (1,280) with a full house, Aces full of Jacks
smokkee wins the main pot (9,240) with a full house, Aces full of Jacks

So hoy had the best hand preflop and on the flop. A hand that was third nutz on the flop. He would need to dodge 6 outs on the turn and 9 outs on the river. The turn would be his downfall.

Smokkee had the worst hand preflop, and the worst hand on the flop, but to him it was the 5th nutz with just really AT to worry about much. So every indication he was ahead. He would turn the 1st nutz and triple through.

Bayne_s had the second best hand preflop, but it was statistically the favorite 5-way pot. He flops the third nutz, and plays it strong. He has no huge reason (much less than smokkee) to think he is behind. The turn is a scare card, so he pushes which is right for an MTT. He rivers the straight for the third best hand. I don't see how he does not get stacked here. He may have been able to get rid of smokkee through a raise followed by a hoy reraise preflop, but he does not lose hoy. Once you flop AAx with AK I think you are pot committed in a tourney.

Interesting hand if you look at it from what nutz people thought they had, what likelyhood it was not high enough nutz, and how exposed their nutz were to future higher nutz or thier own nutz being downgraded. Bayne_s third nutz is way behind Hoy's third nutz on the flop. Smokkee goes from fifth nutz to 1st nutz in one card. kinda sick, huh.

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At 1:55 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

ur right. if Hoy had raised preflop as he should, i call and Bayne reraised, i'm outta there.

i'm OOP with a marginal hand.

btw, i took out Hoy a couple hands later with K-5o vs his A-7o all in preflop and collected his $10 bounty.

ez money

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Lifesagrind said...

I'm glad to see someone is willing to take Hoy to task on some of his hands. I don't have the street cred to do it myself (or the motivation).

The beauty of this game is that there are so many different ways to approach each situation. In the end all that really matters is who has the chips.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger WillWonka said...

nicely done

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

You should not need any street cred to "take me to task", as I always enjoy hand analysis and in fact that is what I started my blog for in the first place a couplf of years ago. Also, I think the HHHRs are an awesome idea and I hope you will stick with it, and in fact I debated profiling this hand myself on my blog today but then figured it was so obviously played correctly by me that it wasn't worth the trouble.

Let's review. As I posted a bit in my comments and in Smokkee's blog yesterday, open-limping with AJ UTG is definitively a -EV move. It's shocking to me that anyone would debate this, but I guess that's why there's chocolate and vanilla as Lifesagrind suggests in his comment above. Bottom line though, if you open-limp UTG with AJ, and you get called at all, you're going to be behind and probably dominated. A6 isn't calling an UTG limp preflop if it knows what it's doing at all. Case in point, the hand in question in the MATH the other day, where Smoke limped UTG with AJ, and ended up seeing a flop against TT and AK. Ouch. And totally not uncommon for any action after an UTG limp with AJ. Open-raising with AJ in this spot is perfectly acceptable in a tournament, as is folding if you want to be a tighty donk, but open-limping UTG with a dominatable Ace like AJ is bad news. I recognize that that is an opinion and not fact, but this in particular is an opinion which I believe is as close to objectively correct as an opinion can be. Like, I bet if you got some experienced tournament pros on here they would surely agree with me. Open-limping UTG with AJ is bad poker, and again I point to what happened in the hand this week as Exhibit A.

Secondly, as I mentioned in my comments the other day, IMO raising with a hand like TT after a UTG limp and another EP call is also bad poker in a tournament. In a cash game which is your specialty, Blinders, you raise with his hand (or fold it, if youre a tighty donk who I beat down on at the cash tables all night until you leave, broke), because you have to find out now if you're ahead and you don't mind folding out if you're not since there's no blinds, antes and no decreasing Ms to take into consideration getting into the middle-late stages of tournaments. But, and I believe that Smokkee does not understand my position here based on his comments and that's fine, I defiintely do not raise with TT in late position after the potentially scary UTG limp and another early position call. This tells me that my TT is either behind already, or at the least it is certainly facing two overcards which are surely not going to fold for any reasonable size raise I would put in here. Once UTG limps and EP calls the limp, they have already reduced by TT to a set-mining hand, no matter what I choose to do with it from here. So raising is the wrong move in this spot IMO -- right in a cash game, but -EV in the middle stages of a tournament.

After the flop came out, I think everyone played the hand just right, except for maybe Smokkee. If I'm Smokkee, having gotten two calls with my dominatable AJ because I surely misplayed my hand preflop and got no information on the other players in the hand, I think you need to bet out here with something somewhat significant, which will tell you basically for sure if you are ahead or behind. Anyone who calls a nice-sized bet is almost surely ahead of me given the preflop action, and then I can fold to a reraise or just fold to any further bets on future streets. Checking it here is just about the worst thing the AJ can do on the flop with two Aces given the EP and LP limps preflop. You're just setting yourself up to get stacked in you play it that way, which again I point to Exhibit A as exactly what Smoke was up against in this spot.

Bayne has to be here with his top trips top kicker. I don't agree with checking since two other players showed some interest preflop, and since Smokkee was in there Bayne should know he might have limped UTG with a weaker Ace (although I would not, which Bayne should also know). I think he has to bet, although I again would have bet a little more since there are two other players probably at least one of which is on a weaker ace than I.

My smooth call on the flop is think automatic, since I know I am as close to the nuts as can be expected here, and it would be downright foolish for me to fear being behind at this point in the hand (which of course I was not). I know for 100% certain that Smokkee has an Ace at this point and that he is going to call any bet I make, but I don't know for sure if Bayne is stealing, betting also with another Ace or what, and I want to keep him in here and hopefully he can make a straight or something later in the hand to pay me off big time (which he did make a straight on the end).

The Jack hits the turn, and at this point Smokkee's check is good in that he knows Bayne and I are going to bet here given the board and his boat now beats any straight we might have backed into somehow there, or any trips or boat we might have. Bayne's push I think was the right play given the board at this point, as it sounds like you agree with, and my call of that big bet is basically automatic as well, as I figured for sure I was ahead here.

Smokkee got painfully lucky with that turn card. He misplayed a very dangerous hand on every street IMO up to that point, and not surprisingly the full tilt server rewarded that play with the best turn card imaginable, and one that couldn't even reasonably lead either me or Bayne to fold what we were holding. But I do hope you will at least consider what I'm saying about the different way to play a middle pocket pair like TT from around back with two EP limpers already in the pot in the middle stages of a tournament, as opposed to in cash games. To me the way you play in the two scenarios is night and day different.

Nice post, I love this kind of thing and would love to participate in the analysis of any hands I describe on my blog.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

limping on the button with TT in a 3-way limped pot is a lot worse than limping with AJsooted in EP IMO. you've got a good pocket pair and position for the rest of the hand. why wouldn't u raise it up preflop? this makes no sense to me.

open raising with AJ UTG is a recipe for disaster.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

btw, the reason i think Hoy limped no the button with TT is because i limped with AA UTG a few hands earlier and dubbled up. i don't think his SOP is to limp on the button with TT. but, i spooked the table limping UTG again.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

And then you gave IGGY the idea to limp Aces, and he flops a set when I flop a flush and well that is the end of my night.. you trouble maker!

One thing I have to disagree with in your post is the perception that nobody would limp [x] in these blogger games.. you get such a wide variety of play that anything limped would not surprise me. Even if Hoy or Bayne raised I think we see 3 to that flop.. I think someone could have let this hand go. The only reason I say this is because with that much action AAA had to be beat somewhere. It is just too obvious of a board.

However I think it is a very difficult laydown and maybe not a good one. I am pretty sure I have trouble getting away from AK there.. and for sure I go broke with TT.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger bayne_s said...

This is a fascinating hand.

My limping with AK pre-flop in that position is dangerous. My thinking was with group at the table someone behind me would raise and give me a chance to re-raise to isolate. It's only a bad play if I can't get away from hand later. In this hand raising with AK suited probably ends with me standing up as well.

I think my betting flop is required. It is not unreasonable to think I'm ahead.

If I have adequate respect for Hoy and Smokkee's game I know one of them has the other Ace. What can other person possibly be holding to justify calling pot sized bet on flop?

Reason I am down on my play is before the cards came up I decided someone had to have TT but I had acted too quickly on turn.

Post-flop Hoy has to lose this hand and Smokkee's "Slo-play equal no pay" quote is funny in light of the other sentiment that no way is he folding AJ after this flop.

Every blogger says that I have to go broke with this hand but my question is since one of callers has to have the other Ace what can 3rd player in hand possibly have?

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

FWIW I completely agree that Bayne should not have slow-played the AK preflop with just a check. Bottom line here is that, if he had raised it up significantly enough, I would definitely have considered folding my Tens (I've folded much better than that preflop in tournaments, more times than I can count). Not sure if I actually would have folded there, but I would definitely have considered it. And if UTG was anyone other than Smokkee, folding the AJ to an EP raise and an LP call of that raise would be almost automatic. Smokkee of course would have called with the JackAce anyways so in this particular case there was probably nothing Bayne could reasonably have done to stop himself from getting stacked.

Smokkee also said a couple of other interesting things in his comment above. He said:

"limping on the button with TT in a 3-way limped pot is a lot worse than limping with AJsooted in EP IMO. you've got a good pocket pair and position for the rest of the hand. why wouldn't u raise it up preflop? this makes no sense to me."

My answer (and I fully acknowledge that this is subject to difference of opinions): (1) I have position. That is a reason to not raise here. OOP I am much more apt to raise it up with a medium pocket because I want to end the hand early. In position I am more than happy to just check it here and let myself take advantage of my favorable position. (2) Also, I mentioned this in my earlier comment, but thousands of hours in tournaments has taught me that when UTG limps and another EP player calls that limp, I am likely up againt at least one hand that is ahead of me, and probably another set of overcards that is basically even with me heading into the flop. Maybe a raise sounds attractive to some people under those circumstances, but to me I think it is hugely -EV over time to get more money into the pot in a situation where I am fairly certain both of the EP raisers and callers are just going to call my raise anyways. TT plays horribly going into a flop against two players who I believe both have some form of overcards to my Tens, and one of whom I am thinking might be ahead of me already with a higher pocket pair. It's one thing if I think my raise will push the other players off of their hands. With two EP raisers and raise-callers here, that is just not the case.

Smokkee also said that "open raising with AJ UTG is a recipe for disaster." Now this really makes no sense to me. Limping UTG is a recipe for disaster since it gets you no information and has no chance (by definition) of taking down the pot before the flop. Case in point, look at this hand where Smokkee ended up seeing a flop up against AK and TT. Perfectly terrible outcome for the limped AJ UTG, and sadly, perfectly common if anyone stays in to see the flop with you in that scenario. Playing AJ for a raise UTG, while a bit more aggro than the also-acceptable fold preflop with AJ, gives you a chance to take down the blinds and antes, and also gets information from whoever is willing to call your preflop raise, and it also enables you to immediately muck your cards to any reraise. If played properly in this way, there is almost no way that the open-raise UTG with AJ is a recipe for anything bad. The limp, though, and suddenly you're seeing a 5-way flop with AJ with at least two of the five players in there already ahead of you, and one of them dominating you. As I said, not that I'm trying to say that poker books are gold or anything, but I would challenge anybody to find me a single poker book or text of any kind written by anyone with any mtt success who suggests open-limping UTG with AJ. You won't find it because it's definitely the worst play out of open-raising, folding or open-limping UTG with this hand.

Also, Bayne you make a very good point about the TT having to be out since the other Ace was already accounted for in one of our other two hands. Nonetheless, I think playing that smart in a blogger tournament would have you folding plenty of hands you should not be folding, given the donkish level of play in a lot of these things, and, while I think most of the successful mtt guys in our crew would not have played the AJ like Smokkee played it either preflop or on the flop, I say again I do not know a single person we play with regularly whom I believe would have found a way to get away from this one with your AK holding in middle position of us three players.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger bayne_s said...

Nice work with creating the HHHR series. I look forward to seeing future hands discussed/dissected.

The interesting aspect of this hand was that all 3 of us had relatively big hands and we all three chose to play this hand in a way to hide strength of hand in order to take down a big pot rather than a small pot.

I raise with AKs far more than I limp but feel it is important to mix up play, of the pre-flop play my limp was most open to debate but at this table with the 5 people left to act behind me I was expecting a raise.

Have no proof but would suspect that Hoy has raised TT in similar position in the past week and that Smokkee has raised AJ suited UTG in the past week.

Since Waffles is the only one who would remotely consider folding AK in a blogger tournament on turn I must be wrong.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

FWIW you'd have to go back many months to when I would ever raise a middle pair like TT in this spot. Makes no sense and just gets me deeper into a 3-handed pot with at best a coinflip and probably a loser already. It's an easy call in this spot, but not a raise the way I play. I figured this out about a year ago and I say with confidence there will be precisely zero examples of me raising in this spot in this situation before the flop. Nowadays I prefer the +EV moves over the -EV ones. Maybe that's just me.

At 12:37 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

TT is not a middle pair. raisin on the button with TT after two limpers is a +EV move IMO.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Blinders said...


When you first described this hand on your blog, you said that you had raised it preflop. I find it hard to beleive your memory would have been raising TT preflop if that's something you normally never do. TT is just to strong of a hand to play this way in the middle of an MTT. Early, fine, play for the set, but it just does not seem to be your style to limp hands like TT in MTTs

At 11:15 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

like i said, i think he was spooked cuz he saw me limp UTG and dubble with with AA earlier. that play probably effected his action in this hand.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Btw Smoke, I've let you make the "AA UTG limp" statement a bunch of times without correcting it because I want you to enjoy your credit for that move with the others at the table. But, I had just moved to your table when this hand went down, and I wasn't even there to see the AA UTG limp that you refer to. So maybe that's why Bayne made the dubious move of the overlimp with AK, but it didn't play in to my decision at all.

Also Blinders, when I first put up this hand on my blog, I thought I was in early position with it, which of course I would have raised with TT (how could you not?). Remember, I had thought that Smokkee had called my preflop raise with his AJ, right? In LP after two EP limpers though, no way I'm raising TT. Maybe it's just me, for some reason I like winning poker tournaments.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Blinders said...


It's hard to argue with success, so I won't. I put the statement at the beginning that I would be analyzing the hand "as if" I was an expert on MTTs, and I clearly am not based on results. But, I also don't play too many for time reasons. If I put as much effort into my MTT game as my cash game and played several a night, I would have lots of big scores to post about. To me though cash games give me the biggest bang for my buck.

I hope you know when I do stuff like this I am looking to learn from the best, yourself included, but I amagine you already know this.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah man I'm just joking around with all this stuff. Despite my pompassity I learn more from this kind of analysis than any other study or even practice can teach.

Even if you guys are wrong about limping the AJ utg. Yeeesh.


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