Thursday, October 26, 2006

Two-Outer Magnet

Managed to dig quite a deep hole for myself last night and then clawed my way back, down just -$100 on the night. I'm still living dangerously by mostly playing the $119 SnGs, which is pretty dumb as I'm not really bankrolled for that at the moment, and should be smart and just drop down and grind away at the $60s. Especially since my ROI is higher at that level anyway, as I ain't quite up to speed on all the intricacies of the SnG world yet.

It's actually been kind of fun poking around in the STT forum at 2+2. Not a ton of lightbulb moments but definitely some valuable stuff, as far as playing a big stack on the bubble, and correct bubble play in general. I've been playing like a donk in more than a few situations, especially as far as not constantly pushing with any two with a big stack on the bubble, when the other stacks are evenly distributed.

Last night was an odd one as far as the extremes, with opponents constantly rivering two outers to knock me out on the negative side, but then nearly every single coinflip with my pocket pairs holding up for me versus overcards, on the positive side of the spectrum. Including a fairly bizarre hand where it was still six handed and I was the shorty with 1400 or so, 200/400 blinds, and I shoved with 44 from UTG. The button shoving over the top of me dashed any hopes that I might pick up the blinds, then the SB pushing over the top of him, and the BB shoving as well pretty much torpedoed any excitement I had in my wee pocket pair.

Until the button, SB, and BB all turned over AKo, and despair turned to joy. The two-outer gods still tried to screw me with the case K on the river, but I flopped a set so I still quadrupled up.

That hand does (sort of) illustrate one of the concepts I still wrestle with when holding hands like that, but usually when I'm not quite so short. Lacking the vocabulary here, but I still flail around when there's 5-6 players left, stacks are reasonably evenly distributed, and no one is painfully short. Let's pretend the following SnG scenario:

I'm UTG with 7h7d, blinds are 100/200, and remaining players have the following stacks:

Hero: 2,000
CO: 2,000
Button: 3,000
SB: 3,500
BB: 3,000

I'm pretty much reduced to folding/shoving, as I have to fold if someone pushes over any raise I make. I guess I could try to limp, but that's just encouraging someone to shove behind me, which they can do profitably with any two as I'm folding nearly everything but a huge hand.

There's a lot to be said for shoving. Picking up the blinds adds a non-trivial boost to my stack and I don't necessarily hate getting called by hands like AK, AQ, etc., as I have to win some coin flips somewhere to pick up serious chips. On the flip side, since the stacks are relatively distributed, more often than not I'm only getting called by a bigger pair and in bad shape. Since I'm only picking up 300 chips a majority of the time, my gut rebels against pushing hands like these, as the utility of those chips seems diminished since picking up the blinds doesn't really clarify the roles each player is playing.

Ugh, that's a clunky way of describing what I'm trying to get at. With all the stacks fairly evenly distributed, should I tend to avoid shoving in situations like the above, when I can afford to donate my blinds and still have a workable stack with position when I get the button? Or does the fact that stacks are evenly distributed add value to pushing, due to the tendency for everyone else to fold? I feel like I have a decent grasp on playing these situations when everyone's role is clearly defined by their stack size and position, but am a bit lost when that's not so clear and everyone is still in wait-and-see mode, largely waiting for a clear chip leader and short stack to emerge.

Fuck me, this is like three posts in a row with real actual poker content. Here's a picture of the coolest rat in the world to counteract that:

All your peanuts are belong to me


Pokerwolf said...

I'm shoving in that situation. I have a made hand and I can still cripple anyone who calls me due to my stack size. If I win the blinds, I get an extra orbit. If someone calls, then my decision has been made and I'll see how things turn out.

Anonymous said...

generally when in situations like that, where blinds are high and there are more than 5 people remaining, I get into the mindset of double up or busto. Essentially you are going to have to get lucky to make the money, you aren't going to be folding your way there, especially with 2000 chips.

I usually open up my pushing and calling ranges to the point where I'm inviting coinflip situations. The dead money in the blinds adds enough extra equity to make the play profitable. Its not a fun situation but its a necessary evil if you want to cash.

Just gotta ride those variance waves when they come.

Anonymous said...

You absolutely have to push that. With the stacks so even, people are either going broke or nearly broke to call you, so your all-in vigorish plays a BIG part in their decision. If you get called, you're equal parts dead or dominating (if callers hold a PP) or you're racing. If you don't get called, you've got a free orbit. But regardless, you absolutely have to push there.

OZchump said...

'ello ScurvyDog and Crew. Long time reader 1st time commenter. (yeah I know, I know! :)

How does this one change from ScurvyDogs:
27 seater...last 3: Chipleader = 21000, Me = 11500, Shorty = 7000.
Blinds 300/600 50ant

I'm in the sb with 66, shorty is the bb, which leaves chippy on the button.
pf = chippy calls, i raise to 2400, shorty bails, then chippy goes shooove. Now, he's 8/10 vp from the button, he'd raised all-in the hand b4, but i've still got 9000 odd if i lay it down.

Is this one of those 1st or 3rd/4th thangs? Should I have shoved straight away? Or should I have just laid it down after the reraise and waited for better? Or was it a clear cut call and hope for a race?
More info on chippy: vp48%/47h, pfr22, w$sd75...

Anyways, keep bloggin' bloke. You and Grinder make for a good read over a morning coffee....mmmm, speaking of coffeeee, catchya. :)

ScurvyDog said...


For me, that's a pretty classic play for 1st situation, and I think it's definitely a call. Big stacks will shove liberally there with a really wide range due to the presence of the shorty, as the assumption is that you can't call unless you have the highly unlikely mega-premium hand. The limp probably means that he's not shoving any two but you're still likely ahead.

I'd probably just shove originally instead of raising 4xbb, as that puts you in the awkward spot you were in if he comes over the top of you. You need to pick up chips somewhere and if he calls and has a better hand, so be it. If the shorty were shorter I might wait until he was forced to make a move first but you're close enough in chips that you can't wait around and fold hands like 66 waiting for him to bust/double.

kurokitty said...

Yay! ScurvyRat lives!

kurokitty said...

He may be the coolest rat in the world, but he's ten times less charming than a poker cat.

ScurvyDog said...


Dude, the obvious hierarchy is poker rats > poker dogs > poker cats.

Poker cats aren't even top two. I mean, I'm sorry to break it to you like that, but you have to learn sometime.