Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What Would YOU Do?

Below is a hand from the Venetian tournament I played in while in Vegas, which is still plaguing me slightly, as far as the correct play. There aren't too many situations I haven't yet run into at the tables, but this one was a bit unique. Any and all thoughts welcome.

I'm UTG and look down to find two red 10s. We just consolidated down to the final table about fifteen minutes earlier, and I have about 9.5K in chips, which is a bit above average. Blinds are 200-400. Only the top three spots pay and people so far are playing very conservatively with much folding around, except for the BB, who has a monster stack of about 35K and is playing nearly every hand.

I raise to 1800, not really thrilled at the prospect of playing my tens out of position and more than happy to just take down the blinds. It folds around to MP+1, who can't get his 3,500 or so chips into the pot fast enough. He seemed to know what he was doing but had been folding for forever, and I was 90% certain that he had a bigger pair, probably QQ-AA.

Action folds around to BB, who cold-calls the all-in bet of 3,500. This was par for the course, as BB had built his huge stack by calling with pretty much any two cards in big pots, then getting slapped silly by the deck when he did. He'd also sucked out in a couple of big pots by passively calling all the way to the river with third pair or a gutshot, only to hit on the river. He almost never raised or took the lead, but he also hadn't yet been bet off a draw or a hand of any sort, no matter how obviously beaten he appeared to be. I didn't think he was a very good player but I wasn't completely certain, as he had such a huge stack he was actually not playing that horribly by getting involved in so many pots.

So I'd raised to 1,800 with 1010 UTG, MP+1 pushed for 3,500 total, BB called, and I just called for 1,700 more. I didn't see any point in trying to isolate MP+1, as I was pretty certain I was behind him, there's no side pot to play for, yada yada yada.

Flop is 3s 4s 9c. BB pretty quickly bets out 2,000. I go into Tankville, population me.

I have about 6K left. If I fold, I'm playing a below average stack, but its workable (especially with how tight the table is playing in general) and blinds aren't due to escalate for another twenty minutes. This sounds arrogant, but I was better than most people at the table and completely comfotable soldiering on with a 6K stack if I folded.

It's nearly a 13K pot, but it's very likely that I'm actually only playing for a side pot of 2,000, if my read on MP+1 is correct. I have absolutely no fold equity, as BB has made it clear that he'll call 4,000 more if I shove.

BB's range is pretty much any two, and he just bet 2,000 into a dry pot, at a late stage where most players would be happy to check it down and try to knock out MP+1 and his big pair. Every other hand he's had a draw, he's passively checked behind, or check-called. But there's a good chance that he's simply a horrible player, too, and could have any number of hands that I'm ahead of, and more than happy to lump 4,000 more into the pot if I shove on the flop after he leads out.

If MP+1 had been looser, I'd shove in a heartbeat, but I couldn't see him playing even AKs that way, as he was pretty clearly in wait for a huge hand mode, and I'd already open-raised for what was a huge amount given the passive play so far at the final table.

I also considered the sacrilegious move of just calling the 2,000 bet from BB on the flop, instead of shoving. If I'm reasonably certain I have no fold equity versus BB, there's no effective difference in shoving all-in on the flop and having him call or simply calling the 2,000 bet, with full knowledge and intention that my remaining 4,000 chips will go into the pot on the turn. It's pretty much a wash, but I might gain a tiny amount of fold equity if another spade comes on the turn and he checks (fearing the flush), and then I shove for my last 4,000. But likely not, given BB's normal willingness to call anything down and the size of the pot. I also didn't want to tempt myself into backing out on the turn and convincing myself that a 4,000 stack was actually playable, after calling the flop bet, if something scary like an A or a spade came and BB bet out to put me all in.

After dwelling for forever, I finally folded. BB rolled over 25o for the OESD (?) and MP+1 had KK, which held up.

Question #1: Fold or shove on the flop?

Question #2:: Is there added value in shoving due to the fact that it guarantees that you see a turn and river card, giving you a shot at spiking a 10 to scoop the entire pot? How exactly do you account for a situation where you fully expect to be playing for only the side pot, but have a chance (albeit a slim one) at scooping the main pot as well?

Many thanks for any thoughts.


Mark said...

I would probably do the same thing you did and fold on the flop. But that also depends on your read. You said your opponent's hand range is any two cards, and if you really think you have him beat, I think pushing is the best plan. What do you think he has?
I don't think there is much value in playing for a two-outer on the turn or river. That chance is pretty unlikely.

Duck said...

I would to have liked to have gotten the rest of my chips in pre-flop as you should be about 99% sure you were ahead pre-flop for the side pot

ScurvyDog said...


Running it through PokerStove, I've got a 6% chance of scooping the entire pot, with that flop and our actual holdings. Very unlikely, true, but that's a pretty big pot that we're talking about scooping.

As far as putting BB on a hand, I'm honestly not sure it's possible. That was my biggest problem. He could have a junky two pair, a set, top pair, a flush draw, straight draw, basically anything.

Since I couldn't begin to put him on anything, I basically worked backwards, as far as what sort of advantage did I need over him to feel comfortable lumping it all in at this point and putting my tournament at risk, given that I had zero fold equity.

I just couldn't come up with many scenarios that I was more than a 60% or so favorite against a hand that he'd lead out on the flop with. Lots of scenarios where I have an edge, but not many where I have a big enough edge that I want to put my tournament at stake. (Keeping in mind, too, that this isn't top shelf competition and that the structure is slow and allows for lots of play, so I'm not under the same impetus to push edges as I'd be in many tournaments.)

But I was mainly guesstimating by the seat of my pants at the table, and was off by a wide shot on some of his holdings. I was in the general ballpark of edges versus straight draws and flush draws, but didn't realize I was nearly an 80% favorite versus hands like A9o.

I guess the heart of the question is what sort of edge do you look for in a spot like that, with all of the variables exactly as described. If he turned over his hand face-up with his OESD after raising 2,000 on the flop, and you knew you were a 65% favorite to win (and knew he would call your shove), do you put your tournament on the line and push there, playing for just the side pot 94% of the time?

Victor_Enriq said...

Preflop action may indicate that you are on the lead preflop according to your read. I may consider moving in if I think I'm worst than the field. Besides your stack has decreased to an M of 12, so you are running a bit low, regardless of the average in the table. As only three players get paid you need to acumulate chips somewhere, and with that stack is going to be soon.

Post flop you are almost being offered 2 to 1 on your money by moving in, so I think you should.

You have to write the shortstack off. Dont you think a tight player could move in there with AKs? Although here you read was correct, and he was holding one of the big pairs, you are still likely to double up and show a profit, even when losing the main pot.

The BB could be holding anything (which he was), so he could be betting top pair (lets say A9!) for value.

Move in!

Mark said...

If I knew I was a 65 percent favorite to win, I would push in. Tournaments are too short to wait for any better situations than that.

Boardet said...

Big mistake imo to fold on the flop. Against a player playing every pot i pooooosh every flop like this - knowing that the most times ill be getting my money back (the initial betting UTG)and if he cant throw his junk away - I take a big chunk of his stack too most of the times.

StudioGlyphic said...

I am a stack pushing donkey.