Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Ladies in the Hunt, Part I

With the action down to 2 tables at the WPT Championships at Bellagio, two women are still alive and sporting healthy stacks in what remains of a staggeringly elite field. MIT Blackjack whiz-turned poker pro Erica Schoenberg started Day 6 (which commenced about an hour ago) with over $1.7 million in chips, while Miami law student Vanessa Rousso held close to $1.6 million. I'm always happy when the girls do well, so I'll be watching this one closely. No doubt both of them should emerge from this tournament with some sort of sponsorship anyway, no matter how much deeper they go. Neither player is completely new to the poker scene. Rousso has four cashes to her credit including the Ladies Event at the 2005 WSOP and a WSOP Circuit event final table. Though this is Schoenberg's first major finish, she is already a member of Marcel Luske's "Circle of Outlaws" and is rumored to be dating a young pro player. You may also remember her from GSN's "Poker Royale: Young Bloods" that aired last year.

That particular installment of Poker Royale was won by David Williams. Who is, no doubt, having one of the worst days of his life now that his starring role in Young Black Ass-Worship Slaves has been revealed for all to watch on the internet. Look, I don't have a problem with guys going to hookers. It happens. But freaky old ones with bad dye jobs who like having their feet licked? As Summer Roberts of The O.C. would say, "ewwwwww!"

My bad run at cash games just compounded upon itself late last week. Four days in a row where I hit my daily stop-loss and one where I surpassed it. I was starting to get seriously worried, but instead just quit Friday afternoon and did some writing and took my mind off poker. Saturday morning I was up early and checked out the tournament calendars on Stars and Full Tilt and decided to see what I could do on the $15 cash and one token I had left on Full Tilt. It was also my second to last weekend as a Silver VIP on Stars, and there was pretty much no chance I'd be repeating the points feat this month, so I signed up for the $2500 VIP Freeroll as well as the $14+1 Last Chance Turbo Super Satellite to the $40K Guaranteed on Full Tilt.

The turbo super was like a giant turbo MPS. Same lunatics, just more of them and all in one place. I doubled through twice in the first four levels and pretty much cruised to a seat by stealing blinds. So that was a nice way to start the day and it put a smile on my face.

As I continued to grind away in the Stars Freeroll (wow, a third of the field is gone in 19 minutes?) I grabbed my last token and signed up for the weekly Ladies' Bracelet Race. This would be my fourth attempt in as many weeks, all on tokens. I saw that Maudie was also playing and popped in the window to wish her luck.

I was second in chips through the majority of the tournament. I doubled with top two vs. top pair crap kicker when she pushed at me on the turn and I called. I also remember flopping a straight. Then there was that defining hand.

Blinds are 60-120 and I have around 7000 going into the hand. And before I write another word, let me tell you this is NOT a bad beat story, but an interesting mathematical quandry that I'd love opinions on. OK, so it's a four way limped pot and I limp along with 55 in the CO. I'm not looking to play a huge pot with 55 against that many opponents unless I flop a set. And that's what I did. Flop comes Qh Td 5d. The first two limpers check, and the third limper, a loose, fishy player in MP bets the size of the pot, 480. I raise to 1200, both limpers fold and the MP player calls. The turn is the 3d. Not good news for me, since a flush draw is a distinct possibilty. I feel like I have to bet here not only to see where I am, but to not allow her a free card. She was playing very passively up until now, rarely raised preflop at all, and the bet on the flop there could easily mean top pair with something like KQ or QJ, two pair with QT, a draw like KJ, or even middle pair along with the flush draw. I bet 1200, about 1/3 of the pot and she instantly raises all-in.

Now I know she has the flush. But I still have ten outs against a flush so it's time for some math. The 1699 left for me to call comes out to 4.5-1 on my money, though it's half of what I have left. If she has what I think she has, then I'm slightly worse than a 3-1 dog with one card to come. The math tells me to call and I call. If I hit, I'm a significant chipleader and can do some damage. If I fold, I'm left with a starving M and a steep climb.

The river is a 2c. That was a hard one.

Now it's time for push and pray poker. A lady whom I've literally only seen play preflop poker the entire tournament pushes in. I have 33 in the BB and figure it's a good a time as any to take a race. Her KJs flops a K and I'm bounced in 21st place.

Maudie went on to finish 4th! She put up a helluva fight and won herself some cash. Around the same time, I busted from the Stars Freeroll in 151st place of 1316 runners for the price of a Starbucks latte.

I had bigger mountains left to climb, however. The $40K was starting and on my very first hand, I was dealt A-A.

To be continued...


StB said...

Tough spot. With the limpers acting before you enter preflop, I would have popped it with pocket fives to take it down right there. You can eliminate those playing their suited cards with a pot size raise.

After flop, I like representing the flush. But when the 4th diamond hits, I fold. I don't like trying to get lucky with one card. I will save my chips for when I can enter the pot with the best hand. Just my conservative way to play that hand.

CC said...

Let me start by saying I'm no poker math whiz. Having said that, my guess is that your turn bet was the problem here, pretty much commiting you to the pot (how ironic). The other part you have to add to your math, I assume, is the % of time you were ahead on the turn (where she had TPTK, straight draw, or two-pair). I think you've not included that, which just add fuel to your reasoning to call. But I'll let the more sound math folks tell us more.

Garthmeister J. said...

First of all, I don't mind the action pre-flop. I like to try and flop a set, and get someone to get jiggy, which is what happened. You made a good bet on the flop, allowing somone to make a bad decision, which they did. The problem was they hit their card. I probably check/fold once the third diamond hits on the turn. If the passive player bets out, I'm pretty sure I'm beat, and can let it go. Weak maybe, but it means I don't have to make tough decisions for more chips than I want to.

And a cliff hanger ending?! Aaiyah!

StB said...

Oops. Missed that there was a heart on the flop. Thought it was all diamonds.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Ok Change I've thought about this hand for a couple of days, and I don't like your call on the turn, especially since you say you knew she had the flush once she had raised your turn bet. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't think your math is exactly right.

You had 55 and the board read QT53, and after her raise you had to call 1700 more to win a pot of 7700. So I agree, the pot was laying you 4.5-to-1 odds on calling the bet.

But you said your odds to win with 1 card to come were just under 3-to-1, so you made the call. I don't get that part. There was 1 more five that you would win with, in addition to any of the three other Queens, Tens or Threes. That's a total of 10 outs, and with one card to come, that translates to roughly 21% odds, or more like 5 to 1 (and in any event slightly worse than the 4.5-to-1 odds beind laid by the pot).

So I'm not understanding where the 3 to 1 odds you speak of came from. And, if we assume that your true odds with 1 card to come were around the same 4.5-to-1 as the pot was laying you, I still wouldn't make that call because (1) you say you were "sure" she had the flush, which I agree with given the way you described the hand play, and (2) this is not a cash game where you can just reach back into your pocket for more cashish if you get busted on this call. In a tournament, this is basically a bet for your tournament life, and given that, I would not have made this call against someone I knew to be ahead of me and where I have just one card left to suck on them.

What am I missing about the situation that gives you 3-to-1 odds of winning the hand? Quads or a boat, what else can you make to beat the made flush you knew was there?

Anyways great post as always, looking forward to part two.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Correction to my last post -- the 21% odds is more like 4 to 1, not 5 to 1. Still, I think this was close enough on the pot odds front for you to be folding since you felt *sure* that your opponent had the made flush.