Time To Stop Dropping The Hammer?
I am taking a huge risk with this post. The bad karma associated with disrespecting the hammer can be devastating. At last winters blogger gathering, during the Caesars tournament I disrespected the hammer. I was starting to get short with about 1/3 of the field remaining. I picked up AQs in the BB, and Mattazuma raised it up from the cutoff enough to put me all-in. I called and said "show me the hammer". He did, and sent me to the rail when he out flopped me.
The concept of dropping the hammer in theory is sound though slightly flawed. It is a way to prove to yourself that the cards do not always matter. It is typically played for a raise as the worst possible starting hand. When you play it for a raise though it is not really the worst starting hand. 72o is the worst possible hand in a multiway pot. The worst heads-up hand is 32o. When you raise preflop you are looking to reduce the competition. So if you are trying to get heads up with the worst possible hand you should be raising with 32o. If you want to play the worst multiway hand (72o), you really should limp it to get the pot multiway.
The hammer and bloggers go back a ways. The hammer has been dropped for a few years now. If the concept of dropping the hammer, is to show yourself that you can win with ATC, and that hand strength does not always matter, I would imagine most of us hammer droppers have learned this by now. But lets face the facts. Raising preflop with 72o is -EV for even the tightest players like me. For the looser bloggers, it is even more -EV. I thought the point of this community was to collectively improve are games. Is this not correct? Is the point to look cool in front of your cyber freinds at the cyber tables? If that is why the hammer continues to get dropped, and if you are honest with yourself you know this is true, then why still do it?
I stopped dropping the hammer a while ago, and you know what. My game is better as a result. In the blogger MTTs it is like free money when the hammer gets overplayed. It has fattened up my stack on many an occasions, and is probably one of the reasons a cash game player like myself can hold my own against a bunch of MTT specialists. So the next time you get ready to drop the hammer, ask yourself a question. Are you doing it to look cool or fit in, or are you honestly doing it as a way to expand and improve your game. If your motivation is to be cool, then don't do it! Fold the hammer. Focus on improving your game. Playing -EV hands to be cool it a great way to make your game worse.
It is like the whole weak/tight vs. maniac argument. The weak/tight (or tight-aggressive) is the easiest way to make money at the tables based on your skill level. There are some highly skilled individuals who can make the maniac style work for them, but most just do it because it makes you look cool, and is funner then the tighty whitey style. Use dollars earned per hour as your metric, then you will know if your play is getting better or worse, and play the style that maximizes this. This is how people improve there games. It is not by doing something that long ago stopped playing dividends.
Am I wrong here???? Poker Gods please spare me on this one. I am writing this for an important reason