Sunday Grind: April 14, 2013
The night before my Sunday Grind, my favorite pastime is to go down to the hot tub in our complex that overlooks the ocean. Often, my husband and I will relay hands to each other from the jam-packed Saturday session, and I'll put my back close to the jets for a free massage. Secretly (well, until now), I often give myself a little pep talk in my head, like "I've been paying off too much with overpairs lately-- I should look to consider more pot-control-type lines with them tomorrow."
Sunday started with the usual cocktail of excitement and anticipation, and black Mexican coffee brought to me in bed by Collin. Everything's just a bit sexier on Sundays in the tournament poker world, and because I've been able to move up in stakes since my first Anatomy article, I'm happy to be able to play the tournaments with jazzier names and bigger guarantees. Any way you cut the deck, though, I'll always be a bankroll nit!
Pretty early into my session, I was able to give even more focus to the tables I had up because I wasn't yet at full capacity in terms of the number of games I had going. This means that I could take more advantage of playing exploitively and looking for weakness primarily through HUD stats, such as in this hand:
In this particular hand, my opponent looked to be tight passive. The pot was 920 after his limp, and by raising to 750, I was risking just 450 chips to win 920. This means the player only had to fold a fraction of the time for the play to show an immediate profit. Furthermore, if I didn't take it down immediately, it would be a lot easier to rep an ace, king, or queen should one flop, and set myself to take down the pot with a quick c-bet. With that effective stack size, I also thought it would look like I was trying to induce a shove by raising only 2.5 times the big blind.
My heart always beats a little faster when I'm involved in a big pot in the Sunday Million. In this hand, my opponent used all but three seconds of his time bank before calling my close-to-3x over-shove on the river.
My opponent in this hand had a VPIP/PFR of 10/8 over a limited sample that had yet to include a three-bet, so his call pre-flop suggested more strength than it would from a looser player. On the flop, I c-bet hoping to get overcards to fold. When he called, I think he mostly had flush draws and medium overpairs like 7-7. Of course, it was still possible (although a bit less likely now) that he had a high pair. My range to him should still look somewhat wide.
The nine on the turn gives me some interesting options. I could check/call and fake giving up with overcards, or I could go ahead and bet. I favored the latter because I want to charge him for drawing, but, also, a smallish bet could potentially block him from betting a larger amount if I checked to him.
When he called my bet on the turn, I thought his range was primarily flush draws, possibly a slow-played huge hand or overpair, or even less likely, a hand like 6-6 that wasn't a believer. The river brought the best card in the deck, giving me a full house and completing the flush. From his perspective, a full house was still a fairly unlikely holding for me. Considering that I wasn't going to get value from the few weak hands in his range, and that he was likely to have a fairly strong hand that was worse than mine, I decided to overbet shove the river. Fortunately, he decided to call!
At around 12:30, I was at the final table of a 180-man when my action froze and I saw something even worse than a KK < AA bad beat pop up on my screen. Cue those 'worst of times' moments I talked about as inevitable in my first article:
Collin was grinding also, and from the fact that he usually is calm while playing yet I could hear him making discontented sounds, I gathered that our Internet was, in fact, down, and that he was probably heads-up. Because he plays 9-man SNGs, disconnecting for him is generally even worse than for me. The moment the Internet came back on and I meticulously clicked "sit in" on all my tables, I unregistered for all the tournaments that had yet to start. When dealing with triage, the first step is to try to limit the bleeding!
Early in the week, I had a few issues with Internet and passed on playing until I was able to get the company out here to check on things. I made trips to replace the filters (which apparently is the little box that plugs into the wall) and the modem. The guy gave me his cell phone number and said it was working 100 percent perfectly; there was no way I'd have issues.
Needless to say, few things that people say are 100 percent actually are -- whether you're in a first world country or, in my case, a third world country.
Sure enough, our Internet flickered out again, right after I'd unregistered from the upcoming tournaments, but Collin hadn't had enough time to unregister the million types of SNGs he plays. Our backup Internet sticks were also failing, and there was nothing to do but wait. At that moment, I did the unthinkable: I started painting my nails with a color called "mellow yellow." I was helpless to all the equity I was losing at that moment, but at least I'd be able to end the day with a decent manicure!
Just when I'd naively think the Internet was fine again, it would peter out once more, and I had to make adjustments in my games to account for that. In general, I took on a more long-ball approach and didn't allow myself to do any of my trendy non-all-in all-ins (like min-raising with a 2.2 big blind stack instead of simply shoving). Finding the balance was a bit tough; I even considered making a massive three-bet shove in this spot because I was so afraid that my Internet would cut out again:
Instead, I decided to make a more normal-sized three-bet, considering that it was perhaps more likely that I would get four-bet shoved light since my opponents may have been aware that my Internet could let me down at any second! On the flop, I c-bet small to induce and managed to win a 216-big-blind pot.
It was also possible that my Internet issues helped me in terms of opponents being more likely to try to bluff me, such as in this hand from my favorite online tournament, the $55 Women's Sunday:
Eventually, and probably far too late, I decided that I would take Shaniac up on his kind offer to let me come down to his place to play out the rest of my session. I hadn't wanted to when I still had a ton of tables, in part because I don't like playing on my laptop with its smaller screen and lack of HUD stats. As I was plugging in my computer, I accidentally moved his surge protector in a way that caused his monitors to flicker. He was extremely nice about it, but if I had somehow turned off his power while he was playing, I would have felt incredibly bad about that. So at least there was one tragedy averted!
At that point I was still in The Bigger $55, the $55 Women's Sunday, and the Sunday Million. I couldn't help but think what an amazing story it would have been to make a super deep run in the Sunday Million, or finally win the Women's Sunday, but my dreams were starting to flicker out even more than my Internet connection had earlier. As I was bubbling the final two tables of the Women's $55, this hand crippled me in the Sunday Million:
And just like that, I went from multi-tabling to mono-tabling to zero-tabling.
Fortunately, the next day I woke up to the news that I'd been selected as one of the winners in the PokerStars Sickest Setup contest. And I'm working out how to have amazing Internet here, which might take more time than learning to beat super turbo SNGs. But when it comes to playing Internet poker for a living, having perfect Internet is like a veterinarian's mandatory love of animals -- just part of the job description. Currently, my elementary school teacher would grade me, "Needs Improvement" for that category, but by next week, my goal is to have it an "Outstanding"!