Friday, July 20, 2007

Too Early to Push?

Thanks to everyone for their comments on yesterday's Too Early to Push? post. To recap, in that situation you were down to 860 chips from a starting stack of 1500, just about 12 minutes in to the nightly Midnight Madness mtt on full tilt, after folding the flop with pocket 3s and losing a medium-sized pot with pocket Kings on an Ace-high board. A player in early position raises the 40 blinds to 160, and you look down from MP to find pocket 7s. I asked how you would handle this situation, and is it too early to push allin here in this spot.

Some of the commenters suggested the push here. I do not agree. I think generally speaking there are times when I would make that exact move here, and frankly if my stack was a bit smaller -- say something like 500 instead of 860 -- then that significantly increases the likelihood of me pushing in this instance. But the bottom line is that 860 chips is not nothing, not when the blinds have just changed to 20-40 and when there won't be any antes to speak of for another hour or more in this thing. As many of the commenters pointed out, at 860 chips you have about 22 big blinds and an M of over 14. That's not where you want to be at the beginning of the second round of an online mtt, don't get me wrong, but with an M over 14 this early on, factually speaking you have more than enough time to make a comeback. Of all the mtt's I have cashed in in my life, I bet I was down to 60% of my starting stack in a good 25-35% of those. Think about those numbers. I was down this far early in the tournament in probably a good third of the times I've ever cashed in an mtt in my life. That right there is why I don't like the push-raise with 77. The bottom line is, for the early position guy to be raising preflop from up front like he did, it is fairly certain that he either has a higher pocket pair than 7s (in which case you are a 20% dog) or at least two overcards (in which case you are only a 51 or 52% favorite). The odds that he has a pair of 6s or below, or two cards below your 7s, I would suggest are miniscule at best. So being that (1) you're so short already, making calling your allin push fairly easy here, (2) you are almost surely either a 20% dog or just a 51% favorite, and (3) you have 22 big blinds and an M of 14 still, this is not a good place to push in my opinion.

So what is the right move then in this spot? Some of the commenters suggested a fold here with the pocket 7s. Now that's a ballzy move right there, and I respect the players who would really lay this hand down here. On some level I like the arguments, but at the end of the day I find it difficult to believe that laying down a hand like 7s on a semi-short stack is properly aggressive enough. Hot and cold it is one of the top 10 hands in nlh, and your opponent is much more likely -- purely mathematically speaking here -- to have just two overcards than he is to have a high pocket pair in this spot. So I like the fold here in theory, but in practice I just don't think I want to be the guy who lays down the pocket 7s to a simple early position raise from a big stack very early in an mtt. Let me put it this way -- I have sufficient ability in my postflop play that I am willing to take a cheap flop here, even with a short stack, and see what I can do on the flop. Maybe I flop a set with a 7 on the flop. Maybe I flop an overpair with a 632 rainbow flop. Maybe I flop top or middle pair on a raggish board. Or maybe the board comes something like Q64, my opponent checks to me with a likely Ace-high hand, and I can take the pot down with an allin move. My point is, a lot of things can happen on the flop in this hand that can give me the impetus to move in with my pocket 7s on the flop and maybe get the guy to lay down, or maybe win a bit pot. Pocket 7s is, to me, just barely too good to lay down in this spot.

And this gets me to my last point about this situation -- with 860 chips and facing 120 chips to call, that is an amount I am willing to call off and still go on even if I end up folding to overcards on the flop. In the overall scheme of things, just 11 or 12 minutes in to a large mtt, 740 chips or 860 chips from a starting stack of 1500 is just not much of a difference. I disagree with any of the commenters who said that with just 860 chips left, you are pot-committed once you put up 120 chips with the pocket 7s. I laugh at that notion. Yes 120 chips is nearly 14% of your current chip stack, but that is just not enough for me to consider this "pot committed". If I have 10,000 chips and I reraise some 1400 chips with pocket Jacks preflop very early in the WSOP Main Event, and they re-reraise me allin, am I pot-committed with 14% of my stack in the pot there? No way. Same thing here to me. While it is always tempting to try to double up quick when you get short early in an mtt, in my view with 860 chips left and blinds of 20-40 and no antes for the foreseeable future, you're not only doing fine right now but you even have enough IMO to make a 120-chip call and then evaluate how likely you are to be best from there once the flop is out.

OK everyone that's all for today. I am hoping to be in the donkament tonight at 9pm ET on full tilt, which is the fantabulous $1 rebuy tournament that Katitude has set up on Friday evenings, although I likely won't know for sure if I can play at that hour until just a few minutes beforehand. Either way I plan to hit up the FTOPS satellites this weekend after last night's final table of the 10pm ET $8 buyin O8 sat, as well as the cash tables, where I have recently gotten back on the horse to a good result at the 2-4 6-max nlh tables, while also extending my unbeaten pocket Aces streak to 34 wins out of 34 times dealt AA in cash, now averaging over $85 won per time I am dealt the best starting hand in holdem. Come check me out if you're around this weekend, and maybe I'll even accept some challenges for some heads-up low-limit sngs if anybody out there wants to learn a lesson first-hand. Just say the word and I'll see what I can do.

And don't forget this coming Sunday night at 9pm ET is the latest WPBT tournament, hosted by Columbo. This tournament is in HORSE, and unlike most of our private events, this one is for bloggers only. Feel free to hit me up on the girly chat if you need to know the password. I plan to be at the WPBT tournament on Sunday night, and you should too. Even if you're not an avid HORSE player, you will not find a better environment to get your HORSE on and start figuring out how some of these other games work. See you then if not before!

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Blogger WildDuces234 said...

what is the girly chat? I am playing a bit tonight. later Hoy

3:33 AM  

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