Sunday, August 10, 2008

More Thoughts on "Cute" and Other Sunday Musings

Another lazy Sunday here around the house. Thought I'd jot down a few orders of business now since women's beach volleyball just ended and I'm not quite as entertained by men's water polo. Let's start with Deuce #2 results...

Sloppy Speed Deuce

I know this weekend was busy for a lot of people, and even I cut it a little close in getting to the computer for this week's Sloppy Deuce. The tournament ended up being a quick 15-hand heads-up slopfest between Criggles and I... we got into it pretty early with an A8s vs. 33 hand where he flopped the flush draw and I hit bottom set. That put me at about 10-1 in chips and I caught KK soon thereafter to fend off his 44 push. So another Sloppy Deuce down and thus far it's still just me in the $50 Sloppy Deuce Champions Challenge freeroll. Seriously people, if you want an easy shot at free money, now's the time to strike, as the field is thin.

Some Conclusions on "Getting Cute"

If you've had time to read through my previous post (Some Thoughts on "Getting Cute" with Starting Hand Selection) you may have noticed that I leave it kind of open ended... it's more so an analysis of a few specific hands and I don't really tie it into any broader sort of strategy. So I thought I'd just give my quick opinion on "getting cute" in general...

When it comes to standard SNG's, I generally try to stick to ABC poker as far as starting hand requirements are concerned. I will play marginal hands like suited connectors and small pairs when the conditions are right - in late position, at a loose-passive (greater implied odds) or tight-passive (positional "buy the pot" advantage) table, in a multi-way pot, and when it will cost me a very small percentage of my stack to see the flop (early stages, or as a big stack). For instance if blinds were at 60/120 and I had a stack of 1,500 on the cutoff, I would be unlikely to limp in behind 1-3 other players with a hand like 76s, and I would pretty much never call a small raise in the same situation. In either case I'm spending a significant portion of my chips that I would prefer saving for a better hand. With hands like suited connectors you're also going to find yourself in a lot more uncertain post-flop situations... for instance in a 4-way pot with 76s where the flop is 9-7-3 of mixed suits and it's checked around to you. Say you bet about 2/3rd the pot and get 2 callers. The turn card is a Jack and it's checked around to you again. See what I mean? Tough spots.

In some of the deep stack MTT's I will definitely try to play more pots where I have odds and position working in my favor, as long as the same conditions as above apply. Given that you can usually see cheaper flops in MTT's than you can in faster-paced and shorter-stacked SNG's, there are generally more opportunities to play your marginal hands in hopes of hitting a monster and racking in a giant pot. Just be able to realize what board texture you're really looking for and when you need to get away. Don't get carried away with weak top pairs, two-paired trash, idiot-end straights, and weak flushes when you're facing a lot of action.

Do note though, that the suggestions above refer primarily to playing at full tables in the early to middle stages of both SNG's and MTT's. The "cute" hands we're focusing primarily on here - suited connectors, small pairs, suited Aces, hands like J9s, T8s, etc., do fall into a category of hands that I am perfectly fine with open pushing with in low-M "red zone" situations, particularly when in later position. They generally encompass the lower end of the range of hands that I'm willing to take a chance with in hopes of picking up some blinds, while also knowing that a fair amount of the time I'll get called and will be in a coinflip situation or a 60/40 type of matchup. When you factor in the number of times that you'll simply take the blinds, it can make pushing with these holdings a +EV move in those big-blind small-stack situations. Obviously some reads on your opponents helps, but don't second guess this sort of move just because of the times that you push with a mediocre hand and get called by weak-tight player that has you dominated.

One more thing: one of the hands I included in the "getting cute" post was a slowplayed pocket Aces that worked out fine for me. Although this is technically a different sort of "cute" play that's fit for it's own separate conversation, I just thought that I'd mention real quick that for the most part, especially in SNG's, I play hands like AA and KK totally standard... probably at least 80% of the time. This was an exception given my early position and feel for the table's level of aggression. For the most part I'm really disgusted with the whole limp-reraise with AA play, or the super limp-call-call-call-call slowplay... it seems like it just became the "cool" thing to do, and now it's totally played out and it makes you want to groan when you see someone do it, successfully or not. I will admit though, it still makes me feel like a rock star when I pull it off :-)

FTP Points

Last order of business for the day. Being a 99% tournament player, I rack up FTP points a lot slower than cash game players, though I do have a fair amount of them now. Not enough for the motorcycle or my own custom avatar yet (maybe be the year 2068), but a decent amount that's just sitting there right now. I feel like the best thing to do with them would be to just play in some of the satellite or token tournaments, but for now they're just sitting there.

What do you all do with your Full Tilt Points? Any suggestions?

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