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Thread: Mason gives 'em something to talk about

  1. #1
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Mason gives 'em something to talk about

    Interesting situation on 2+2 regarding Mason Malmuth, the 2+2 (online) Magazine, and limit holdem.

    First, read this article by Mason Malmuth in the November 2017 "2+2 Magazine" (an online publication), where he discusses a $20/$40 Limit Holdem hand he played: https://www.twoplustwo.com/magazine/...talk-about.php

    The title of the article was, "Hand to Talk About".

    You can read it yourself in the link above.

    It is unclear if the hand took place recently or a long time ago, as Mason has played limit holdem for decades.

    You may not be very familiar with limit holdem, so perhaps the strategy discussed there isn't very meaningful to you.

    However, as a longtime winning limit holdem player, I can confidently state that I disagree with most of Mason's play and analysis. While I think the hand was indeed discussion-worthy, I don't like the conclusions derived from it, nor do I feel he played the hand correctly.

    I will state that he did approach part of the hand with the correct concept -- to play in a fashion to force out opponents with an overpair to the board, rather than attempt to extract more money from them. However, there were several mistakes made in the way he played this hand (in my opinion, of course).

    This was just brought to my attention yesterday. Weeks ago, discussion of this hand came up on 2+2's Medium-High Stakes Limit Holdem forum, and just about everyone disagreed with Mason's play and analysis, including some longtime winning limit holdem players on the site.

    One of them, John_Locke (not sure of his real-life identity), was temporarily banned after a heated debate with Mason, where Mason felt that John had twisted his words in order to intentionally make him look bad. John is now back on the site.

    I won't get involved in the banning drama, since it doesn't really involve me, but I will discuss the limit holdem hand.

    In the hand under discussion, Mason was dealt TT in the SB, and a multiway pot was limped to him. He chose just to complete, rather than raise, with the belief that he didn't want to pump up the pot pre-flop just to get crushed immediately on the flop against many players. He decided to just limp and see what happens, but conceded that a raise there is also correct. Then an overaggressive player in the BB raised anyway, and Mason chose to just call.

    This was incorrect on two fronts.

    First, TT is a very strong hand, and it is almost surely the best one when the pot is limped around to you. Since you cannot charge your opponents much compared to the pot postflop, it is important to raise preflop whenever you feel you have the best hand, except in rare cases where it's for deception purposes (such as flatting AA from the BB against one opponent). Raising TT from the SB is super-standard here, and even Mason concedes that it's not incorrect.

    But then he was given a gift -- an aggromonkey in the BB popped it up anyway. Now Mason had the opportunity to make everyone behind his TT pay THREE bets, but oddly he chose to just call.

    The flop, incidentally, came a favorable 644.

    After not raising at any point pre, the standard play is to check-raise this flop. However, Mason bet out, and the aggromonkey in the BB raised him. Everyone else folded.

    Now, there actually is a good reason to fire out the flop if you believe the BB will raise, and that's to clear out anyone who might want to chase at that point. In limit holdem, people will chase the flop for 1 bet with lots of speculative hands, but they will typically fold when faced with 2 bets. At this point, the pot is big enough to where you just want to get opponents out and win with your TT. That was Mason's reasoning for his play.

    However, the problem with betting out is that your opponent in the BB isn't guaranteed to raise, so that's why you're still better off check-raising, unless he's such a maniac to where you know he's auto-raising your donk-bet on the flop.

    So everyone else folded, and it was back to Mason. Did he 3-bet? For reasons unknown, he did not.

    A queen hit the turn. At this point, Mason fired out again, and the BB just called.

    Mason stated that he didn't want to check-raise and give a free card, and at the same time, would be happy with a fold if he were to bet and not get called, given the vulnerability of his TT to overcards. That reasoning is correct.

    However, the problem here is that Mason could have done the exact same thing by 3-betting the flop and then firing any non-ace turn, yet derived one more small bet from it.

    River came 9. No straight or flush possible. Mason checked, hoping to induce a bluff. Indeed, the BB bluff-bet at him, Mason called, the BB showed KJ for king high, and Mason scooped the nice pot.

    This worked out perfectly, but in reality the river play was also incorrect. Most players, including over-aggro ones, will check-back any ace or king high at this point, given the way they play went down. At the same time, they will almost surely call with any ace or king high, given the pot size. Therefore, checking only induces bluffs from J high or worse, and that's much less likely than this overaggro fellow holding K high/A high/worse pair. In this case, the guy did bluff with KJ high, but that doesn't happen too often nowadays, whereas a call from KJ high is very common.

    Of course, the above is all my opinion. However, almost all winning players in the ensuing discussion thread agreed that Mason did not play this hand correctly.

    This hand actually is discussion-worthy, because it shows how even longtime players like Mason might play it vastly differently than you'd expect, and it touches upon various important modern limit holdem concepts:

    1) Pounding it with the best hand. This is important in limit holdem, as it's a game of value-betting, not a game of trapping. If you feel you have the best hand preflop, then it's important to make everyone put money in while behind. The one exception would be a hand like 77 in a multiway pot where you're in the SB or BB. You may be ahead, but there's such a high chance that you will be outflopped that it's reasonable to just complete. However, TT is strong enough to where it will still be the best hand on many flops.

    2) Pounding it out of position on the flop when you think you have the best hand, including against overaggro players. This is especially true because overaggro players won't give you credit on the flop, assuming you would wait til the turn to check-raise a strong hand, so they will give you more action.

    3) Wanting people to fold when you have a good but vulnerable hand. This is different than NL, where you are happy to get action from inferior hands. In limit holdem, you can't bet big enough to price people out in many cases, so using an overaggro player to force others out is actually smart -- but only if you know he's so aggressive that he will indeed raise your unusual donk bet on the flop. In this case, Mason did not describe the payer as a maniac (just loose-aggro), so I would not have donk bet that flop, even though Mason's thinking regarding getting other players out was correct.

    4) Value betting even when an overcard hits against one opponent. You will lose too much value if you don't do this, and you will end up a net loser in limit holdem.

    5) Betting for value on the river against a likely A high or K high hand, and only attempting to induce a bluff from what you believe to be a non-showdownable hand. So if you think your opponent has K high or better, you're far better value betting than attempting to make him bluff.

    I am not as hard on Mason here as others, as I do understand his thinking. He tried to use an over-aggro player to clear out a multiway field postflop, and it worked. Many limit holdem players don't think of that. I have done this before myself, but again, this only works with a maniac to your left, not just a loose-aggro guy. But okay... since you gain a lot from the aggro guy raising, perhaps this was worth a shot. I wouldn't do it, but I can see the merit in that play.

    However, I feel that he did mess up the rest of the hand pretty badly,. Not raising preflop was a mistake. Not 3-betting preflop was a mistake. Not 3-betting postflop was a mistake. Attempting to get a river bluff from a hand likely to call a value bet (but often check back) was a mistake.

    If anyone cares, here are the relevant posts on 2+2 where the arguing took place: https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/5...9/index54.html

    Start reading from post #1344, and go from there.

    Here's another thread where a poster named dead..money got banned for discussing the same thing: https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/5...about-1694503/

    Mason claims in another thread that john_locke and dead..money are the same person, which is probably true.

    BTW, I am not posting this to bash or insult Mason. I think the hand itself (and the ensuing controversy) are interesting, and felt it was worth reporting out here.

  2. #2
    In before Mason's lawyers

     
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      AhoosierA: Beat me to it.

  3. #3
    Gold Jayjami's Avatar
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    I would not raise w/ TT from the BB in a pot with 4 or more players at the 20/40 tables and below. They all end up calling, and now you will get players chasing the whole way because of the size of the pot on the flop. In many cases they are getting the right price to draw to all kinds of hands. Just my two cents.

  4. #4
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayjami View Post
    I would not raise w/ TT from the BB in a pot with 4 or more players at the 20/40 tables and below. They all end up calling, and now you will get players chasing the whole way because of the size of the pot on the flop. In many cases they are getting the right price to draw to all kinds of hands. Just my two cents.
    They are chasing anyway if they have overcards to the flop or any semblance of a draw.

    The only time people aren't chasing for one flop bet multiway at 20/40 live is when they either miss horribly or when it's not worth doing against just 1 or 2 opponents.

    Very few opponents will think to themselves, "That's a low flop and I have overcards to it, but I'm folding because the pot odds aren't big enough for one flop bet."

    Those extra preflop bets you get from people become important to extract in the long run.

    With that said, as I mentioned in my post, I am just completing with 77 in the SB, because the chance of that holding up multiway on the flop against many opponents isn't very high. TT is strong enough to where it will still be ahead a fair percentage of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockey Guy
    I'd say good luck in the freeroll but I'm pretty sure you'll go on a bender to self-sabotage yourself & miss it completely or use it as the excuse of why you didn't cash.

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    Gold duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    RIP Kilowatt

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    So Mason runs a first tier for profit poker site and makes a post that generates enough noise to spillover to a 5th tier site that is run at a loss. The owner of the loser site criticizes the move. Good stuff.

  8. #8
    Gold Jayjami's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayjami View Post
    I would not raise w/ TT from the BB in a pot with 4 or more players at the 20/40 tables and below. They all end up calling, and now you will get players chasing the whole way because of the size of the pot on the flop. In many cases they are getting the right price to draw to all kinds of hands. Just my two cents.
    They are chasing anyway if they have overcards to the flop or any semblance of a draw.

    The only time people aren't chasing for one flop bet multiway at 20/40 live is when they either miss horribly or when it's not worth doing against just 1 or 2 opponents.

    Very few opponents will think to themselves, "That's a low flop and I have overcards to it, but I'm folding because the pot odds aren't big enough for one flop bet."

    Those extra preflop bets you get from people become important to extract in the long run.

    With that said, as I mentioned in my post, I am just completing with 77 in the SB, because the chance of that holding up multiway on the flop against many opponents isn't very high. TT is strong enough to where it will still be ahead a fair percentage of the time.
    Nice thoughts on the matter. You may well be correct. I’ have no problem actually 3 betting if the BB raised. I just hate playing TT out of position with 4 players, but I sure as heck ain’t folding. It’s usually best, but is vulnerable.
    Last edited by Jayjami; 11-16-2017 at 03:20 PM.

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    Gold ftpjesus's Avatar
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    This just proves my point regarding Mason Malmutt.. The dude is a clueless old fuck who has no legit idea how to play poker.. Id dare say almost any random on this site is a better player then Mason.. Still amazes me how he rode Pedo Sklansky's coattails to fame that he has running 2+2.. Anybody whos played against Mason claims hes a miserable SOB at the tables and a fish in most regards.. By now people should know his opinions and thoughts on Poker even LHE which is probably the closest to being 'solved' is a damn joke..
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  10. #10
    What is closer to death -- Mason Malmuth or Limit Holdem?

  11. #11
    Gold duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlunderMaker View Post
    What is closer to death -- Mason Malmuth or Limit Holdem?
    Both closer than tehcollector

  12. #12
    Master of Props Daly's Avatar
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    "However, as a longtime winning limit holdem player, I can confidently state that I disagree with most of Mason's play and analysis. While I think the hand was indeed discussion-worthy, I don't like the conclusions derived from it, nor do I feel he played the hand correctly0

  13. #13
    Haven't read all of this yet but the state "Mason hasn't played limit hold em in decades" is wrong. Probably hasn't played winning limit hold em in decades, but I played LHE with him this decade.

  14. #14
    He was a semi-regular in the 20-40 lhe at bellagio last time i was semi-regular there. Back in 2011. I remember once after he left a reg who wasn't very good said about Mason "hes a good author, but not a very good player"

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by SetofKs View Post
    He was a semi-regular in the 20-40 lhe at bellagio last time i was semi-regular there. Back in 2011. I remember once after he left a reg who wasn't very good said about Mason "hes a good author, but not a very good player"
    Not even sure how good an author Mason is.. From what I understand he basically co-oped stuff from Skalansky for the most part and agreed.. Mason is a shitty player how anybody could take him seriously as a player is kind of funny.. When do we get to start putting Mason in a deathpool as hes gotta be one cheeseburger away from a heart attack.

  16. #16
    Diamond Hockey Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuppyMonkeyBaby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SetofKs View Post
    He was a semi-regular in the 20-40 lhe at bellagio last time i was semi-regular there. Back in 2011. I remember once after he left a reg who wasn't very good said about Mason "hes a good author, but not a very good player"
    Not even sure how good an author Mason is.. From what I understand he basically co-oped stuff from Skalansky for the most part and agreed.. Mason is a shitty player how anybody could take him seriously as a player is kind of funny.. When do we get to start putting Mason in a deathpool as hes gotta be one cheeseburger away from a heart attack.
    Very soon. Dec 31st 2017 to be exact.

    Sign up here: https://pokerfraudalert.com/forum/sh...ight=death+poo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hockey Guy
    I'd say good luck in the freeroll but I'm pretty sure you'll go on a bender to self-sabotage yourself & miss it completely or use it as the excuse of why you didn't cash.

  17. #17
    King of Lost Wages LarryLaffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlunderMaker View Post
    What is closer to death -- Mason Malmuth or Limit Holdem?

    LOL

    Fucking mason. he was in the Bell the entire time i was there in july. what a gross human being. None of the dealers had a good thing to say about him and he never had a smile.

    does he just not win?

    Also, he was sitting on a nice stack of $300. well known he short buys that game there. what a nit.


    as played, fold pre, and play more limit hold em
    "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next."

    George Steinbrenner

  18. #18
    I am probably way late to the party on this one.

    I read Druff's OP. Seems fine. I disagree with one assertion he made, that is the agro-monkey would call down the river with an A or K high. In my experience in live games agro monkeys probably wouldn't call river with a weak ace or K high against a player that is playing very snug, like I am sure Mason was. In live games even the agro monkeys realize when their garbage hand is dead when they are getting bet into by a very tight player on the river, but they still might take a shot with nothing if checked into.

    Given the way the rest of the hand went I think a check-call on river against a player that will fire with nothing is fine.

  19. #19
    Also, to those who say Mason isn't a good LHE player, I have never played with him, but in live LHE game selecting and not tilting are probably more important skills than having a great A game. I don't even know if this speaks to Mason, but I have been around a lot of grinder types who game select very well and don't tilt, and at the end of the day I would not be surprised if their results weren't better than the flashy guys that can run over the table when things are going good, but tilt and chase too much when it isn't.

  20. #20
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Game selection by far most important in mid-stakes limit holdem.

    If you play in good games, don't tilt, and don't chase, you will win in the long run.

    However, you will struggle in shorthanded games if you play too tight and straightforward.

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