Anatomy of a Sunday Grind: March 3
Sunday Grind: March 3, 2013
Since I couldn't bear to confess to more scorched scrambled eggs, like in my first "Anatomy of a Sunday Grind" article, I decided it was time to rethink my schedule. Being as I wouldn't recommend a hectic start for any tournament grinder, especially on a Sunday, it seemed -EV for me to start out the day crazier than a cat on catnip!
For this Sunday, I made a huge batch of eggs the night before, choosing somewhat rubbery ones reheated in the microwave over potentially scorched ones. I woke up earlier to allow myself time to down my first cup of coffee and get a healthy dose of "The Onion" to make me laugh and put me in a fun mood before I started playing. Also, I like to start playing earlier than I used to because the higher buy-in 180-mans ($60 and $35) fill earlier in the day.
Around 11:30am, I was grinding to "Madness" by Muse as the Women's Sunday and Sunday Million popped up, and I found myself to be the chipleader in a $60 180-man with a bit under half the field left. First place in those is $3K, so winning one would ensure a profit for the day. Since my last article, the payouts in the 180-mans changed from paying 18 to 27. Since the top two payout percentages weren't changed, I'm a big fan of this new payout structure that reduces variance.
Once we were in the money, I noticed a very familiar screen name at my table - that of my husband, Collin Moshman. We play in different rooms of our apartment. (I "sacrificed" the ocean-view bedroom to him because the glare makes it tough to see all my tables.) When he's at my table, he's just another opponent I have to beat in order to win the tournament, albeit an especially tough one!
With 20 left in a $60 180-man, Collin was the chipleader at my table and open-shoved for an effective stack of about 10 big blinds. Considering the fact that the cut-off was only about a blind, I thought his range was roughly any ace, any pocket pair, Broadways, and decent suited connectors (about 30 percent of hands). There was a small ICM tax for going broke in this spot because we were two away from a pay jump, and I was a mid-stack. All things considered, I would have called with a range of roughly 44+, A6s+, A8o+, and KJs+. So clearly, I was happy to get it in with this hand:
I lost the flip, but even though I was 20-tabling, I railed Collin when he final tabled, and was able to fully root for him since I no longer was in the tournament! Despite the numerous "GL" messages I typed into the chat box, he ended up taking third.
While singing along with Young the Giant's "My Body," I heard an unfamiliar buzzing sound and took a longer time than I'd care to admit to realize it was my doorbell. Being that I only know one other person that lives in our building, and he's an online grinder that was almost certain to be playing at the moment, I figured it was either management or a neighbor annoyed by my singing. I turned my music down, but realized it would be clear to the person ringing the doorbell that someone was inside. With Collin and myself both grinding, we were unable to answer the door, and I squirmed in my seat, feeling about as uncomfortable as possible, given that the person on the other side of the door couldn't see me.
One thing I've learned during my time in Mexico is that people are very persistent if they want to contact you. If a doorbell rings and no one answers, that doorbell is guaranteed to go on ringing for quite a while. By the third ring, I was considering sitting out at my tables for a few seconds in case the ringing was to alert us about a fire! Luckily the ringing eventually ceased, and I managed to squelch the fear of doom warnings from my head and focus on playing.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Million hadn't gotten off to the start I'd hoped for. The last time I played the tournament I had a pretty deep run, taking 154th, and was hoping for a top 100 finish to better that. After more than a hundred hands, my HUD displayed my stats as a VPIP/PFR of 5/4, meaning I had been extremely card dead (or had just transformed into the world's biggest nit). One of the best parts of this tournament is getting to see flops with a lot more speculative hands because of the deeper effective stack (relative to the other tournaments I play), but unfortunately, I wasn't getting hands of any value. The best hand I had in close to 200 hands was AJ; I guess I'm saving my Sunday Million luck for the next time I play!
Meanwhile, I kept cashing in 180-mans. I was chipleader three-handed in a $35 180, but I lost this 66 percent-favorite hand and couldn't recover:
It's a lot less frustrating for me when I lose hands deep that are just coolers or bad beats. If I was in my opponent's shoes, I would have played it the same way. And though it certainly would have been nice to win, in all likelihood, I had coolered someone earlier in the tournament in order to make it that far.
At this point in the day, the 180-mans put me up by around $500, with a lot of hours left in my grind. As for the bad news, unfortunately, my chances for an epic Sunday were dwindling, as I had busted most of the bigger tournaments on my schedule.
I had another shot at (relative) glory while at the final table of a $60 180-man. I had about 20 other tables up, and without even so much as displaying a red light, my mouse stopped working! Shrill beeps punctuated the air, indicating I was about to time out on a ton of tables. I ran to my closet looking for new batteries, when I stumbled upon a cheap USB mouse that I'd saved from my Vegas move for just this purpose. I plugged it in and managed to not time out at all, which felt kind of like winning a 45-man. The downside was that clicking the cheap mouse required a ridiculous amount of force. Later that night, using my index finger to scroll on my Kindle Fire just wasn't an option.
Short of outplaying another professional player, almost nothing thrills me more than having a stop-and-go work. In the Hotter $5.50, I made a non-all-in all-in with just over three big blinds by raising three times the big blind instead of just open-shoving. I'm a big fan of doing this, but it is very important for me to remember to completely balance my range. If I were to only do non-all-in all-ins with strong hands considering the situation (like the one I actually have here), it would be pretty exploitable, and the same would apply if I was only doing it with weak hands. It does increase the chance of a misclick for me later in the hand, and it does take slightly more time to process when I'm multi-tabling, but on balance, I think it is very worth it.
In this particular spot, it may appear that I actually wanted the additional action because I happened to flop top pair, but that was not the case. I was giving my opponents better than 12-to-1 to call the all-in, so it was actually a situation when I wanted a lot of better hands to fold. For example, K7 offsuit had 12 percent equity versus my hand, so with the extreme pot odds, I was rooting for a fold from that hand, too. Of course, in all likelihood my opponents folded overcards, and with QJ offsuit having better than 20 percent equity versus my hand, I was thrilled to pull off two folds!
As the day progressed I found myself in a lot of close spots post-flop. I rely on my HUD a lot when making hero calls and hero folds. This hand didn't occur on this Sunday, but I think it's relevant in the discussion of how much one can glean from their HUD:
In this hand, the under-the-gun limper had never limped in early position after over 500 hands, and he had solid, tight-aggressive (TAG) stats. Since he started with just about 10 big blinds, I found it very unlikely that he had worse than QQ+, and it was extremely likely he had aces. AK was also very unlikely, as TAG players would almost never attempt to trap with that hand at this stack depth. Given how weighted his range was to AA, I thought calling mainly to set-mine was my best play. Since I was in the SB, it cost me 3,000 to call, and I was deep enough for the 20-to-1 implied odds set-mining rule because of the big blind's stack, plus the big blind was tight passive and unlikely to raise.
While I was confident pre-flop that the UTG player had aces, when he flatted the 12K on the flop, I was nearly positive that he did. If he had queens or the only other combo of pocket kings, he would have raised to protect his hand from overcards coming on later streets, and because the player could expect to get it in versus the numerous possible overpairs to the board that were lower than him (which also could be scared off by a higher card on a later street). By flatting, I thought he was looking for an overcall by me, so at this point, the strong hand became a fold thanks to my HUD. As it turns out, with pocket kings on a 2-2-3 flop, I actually had the worst hand of the three of us.
Around 5:00pm, things took a turn for the worse. The discrepancy between my "Net Chips Won" and "$EV" on my tracking software widened considerably in an unlucky direction over a short amount of time. Thanks to 180-mans, there was no way I'd have a horrible day (which, for me, is a day where I lose over $1.5K). In quick succession, I busted a lot of tournaments. I lost AA to 32 offsuit all-in pre-flop, and while I'd of course prefer to win, I didn't really mind because my opponent made a big mistake by calling my roughly 10-big-blind shove.
My job as a poker player is to make profitable plays, and I can't control what happens after that. Any time my opponents make an error, I feel some sense of happiness, regardless of the result. My last shot of a vastly profitable day ended when I lost AK offsuit to AK offsuit all-in pre-flop for a top two-stack deep in another 180-man. The opponent that won that hand used the "Find a Player" function to locate me at my last table. He typed in that he was sorry about my unlucky loss. Personally, I have a policy of not apologizing for bad-beating someone (because it would be disingenuous coming from me, and the cold truth is that I am never sorry to win a hand), but I did find it almost touching that this player decided to reach out to me.
Aside from an income source, one way that poker has vastly improved my life is that it has made me a more even-keeled person in general. Playing percentages for a living makes me much more aware of how everything in life is some kind of a gamble, and some percent of the time, even a "sure thing" just doesn't pan out. Instead of breaking a keyboard or throwing a mouse, I'll always be the player that finds solace in studying more in a week where I didn't have stellar results, and the upside is that is that I often do my best critical thinking during those times.
Overall, for this Sunday, since I bought into the Sunday Million with FPPs, my Stars balance showed a profit of ~$30 plus FPPs after 153 games, which is both far from ideal and miles away from horrible. When things don't go great in the short term, I shift my focus to the long term. This year, I want to play at least 15,000 tournaments, and I crossed the 3,000 tournament mark on Sunday for 2013. Considering that I was in the US for quite a bit during the first two months (and thus didn't play any online poker during that time), I might be able to play more like 20,000 tournaments this year, now that I've moved to Mexico full time. Hopefully I'll bink a big tournament on a Sunday soon, so that I can write about those "best of times" moments I promised in my first article!
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