Monday, April 14, 2008

Reining It In Late in Tournaments

Another Monday, another MATHday!



Tonight 10pm ET on full tilt, password as always is "hammer" for some 6-max donkery and another BBT3 Tournament of Champions seat to be awarded. For the second straight week, you guys are in luck because I will be starting the MATH late due to some plans I have. Tonight it is dinner at what I think is probably the best pure Chinese restaurant in Manhattan outside of Chinatown proper to celebrate a friend's birthday, and while I should be in the Hoy I'm not exactly going to rush home for the right to be instacalled down with 33 or J9s and take my donkout. But like I said last week, when I get home, I will be in it to win it, so see you tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt.

This was a good and yet frustrating weekend for me on the poker front. On Friday night I played in the $216 buyin Bracelet Race, which ended up awarding the 2k WSOP prize package seats to the top 6 finishers out of 60-some entrants. I was able to take my time early, and then I set some bitch up hardcore with a slowplay when I turned a straight and took his stack which I was able to ride along with about 50 blind steals down to the last couple of tables. Down to ten players remaining, I had nabbed the chip lead with a huge hand getting in allin ahead preflop with a higher pocket pair than my opponent, and that is when the bottom fell out. We had played ten-handed for some time, and the stacks were still fairly deep with even the 10th place player sitting on more than 15 big blinds, so there was still a lot of play left and a lot of hands to get through before true desperation struck anyone.

Then I was dealt JJ in the big blind. The tournament short stack raised from the button, which I called from the big blind, planning to take the pot with a c-bet on nearly any flop. The flop came Q95 with two of a suit. I led out for around the size of the pot, probably close to a third of the shorty's tournament stack, and he instantly raised me allin. I looked at the flop, decided I might be beat by some gheyass Queen, but figured that the pot odds were not sufficient for me to fold here. I just thought it was too likely that he was making a move from the very short stack at that point, and that is how these deeper tournaments tend to go for the last several eliminations. So I called begrudgingly, and he showed KQ or some shit and took close to half my stack.

I barely had time to internalize that I had just lost my chip lead and, frankly, a huge portion of my total chips, when I was dealt 99 maybe 5 or 6 hands later. I think I was back in the small blind, and this time when again one of the shorter stacks left in the tournament raised out of the button, I pushed with my 9s in the hopes of taking the pot down there and climbing back into the top 6 stacks left in the tournament who were ITM for a $2k WSOP seat. Instead I got insta-called by a genius with KQ, and a King on the flop and IGH in 10th place. So from 1st in chips out of 10 remaining with 6 winning 2k seats, to out of the tournament, in the span of maybe 5 minutes. It sawked.

And this caused me to realize, over the past week or so I have not been playing smart poker late in tournaments. I've made two blonkament final tables and now this Bracelet Race near-final table, and in all three cases I managed to lose a nice pile of chips near the end being more aggressive than I needed to be. Now, I'm not sure how I lay down JJ in a spot where I can easily eliminate the 10th place player in the Bracelet Race and all but assure myself of being able to fold to the seats (almost). But I surely didn't have to press with the 99, and that doesn't even get to the A6 I pushed with in I think a good spot in Riverchasers last Thursday and surely not to my infamous J5o push on LJ in the Mookie last week.

The bottom line is: I am pushing too hard in some ill-advised spots late in tournaments just lately. Of course it is good news that I am making that far to even be alive to face these tough late-game decisions, and in general I would say over the past week I played clearly much better tournament poker than in the few weeks before that, so that is all good. But I'm pushing too hard and giving up some nice chip stacks as a result. I need to get back to playing a little bit tighter game at the end of these things, at least where I have a solid chip stack relative to my competitors. That will be priority #1 this week in this ever-changing game I hate to love and love to hate.

Starting with tonight after 10pm ET as soon as I am back from my late start in Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt. See you then!

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8 Comments:

Blogger Blinders said...

Why not just jam JJ preflop? Were you afraid of others behind you joining in. You possibly get him to fold, and if not at least you will feel better about getting it in ahead vs. way behind. Also. lets face the facts. If you put the guy on a Q you are not priced in. You have 2 outs in that situation. Thats why I like to overplay big pairs preflop late. Give the guy a chance to fold, and try not to see a flop where an A, K or Q puts you into big trouble.

11:22 PM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

I hate when I find myself agreeing with Blinders. I may have to join Nits Anonymous.

JJ is almost certainly ahead pre-flop and a pain in ass to play postflop. You just needed top 6 so would have to agree with jam pre-sentiment.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

The obvious reason not to jam JJ is that my opponent is likely to fold to that jam. Whereas, if I just stop n go his ass, I will probably get him to commit his entire stack on the flop when my JJ will likely be ahead.

It's a brilliant play and would be recognized as such if this guy doesn't luck out flopping a hand that hits one of his two cards and not one of mine, and that did not include a K or an A so there is just not realistic way to put him on a Queen here when I bet out or called on the flop.

Instead I get the two biggest lucksacks in all of poker commenting here having already seen the results. You two just push preflop because you're probably against AA and you know you will suck out the set to win.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Ive learned a couple things about end game play. If Im big stack, I make the others work and come to me and I want to keep the shorties around and pressure the mid stack guys..you know the ones hoping to win the seat and not get blinded out..

That being said.. You either fold or raise there.. I dont like the call. I know you can play post flop but I agree with Bayne and Blinders here....

Also the stop and go is usually used as the shortstack out of the blind not as the chip leader..

I know I suck online but I am running really hot live now and intend to keep it that way...

1:27 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

I love how wanting to Jam all-in preflop makes me a nit. The results are not very important here. What is important is that you smooth called a raise preflop with JJ and paid off the other guy when an over flopped. I can't think of very many situations where is is correct to smooth call with JJ preflop, unless you are planning to set mine or hoping your JJ will be an overpair on the flop. Both are longshots. What you did while trying to maximize your winnings was maximize your losses on the hand. I hate hands like JJ in MTTs, because it is so difficult to play post flop. 98% chance you are ahead of a button open raise there, so you just jam, and move on to the next hand.

BTW, I was very impressed with your riverchasers run the other day. After aquiring all those chips, you played it just like I would have, safe and steady. This got you to the final table where your late game skill advantage had a chance to come into play. Did not work out, but a solid approach.

1:58 AM  
Blogger $mokkee said...

why slo play JJ pf? i hate the smooth call with JJ OOP. you're almost always gonna see an overcard on the flop and have no idea where you stand without committing a bunch more chips post flop.

with that said, why bet out a pot sized bet into a shorty on the flop pricing yourself in to call his jam? if you really had Q-GK would you bet that much normally?

the whole play just seems whack.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Luckbox said...

Gotta agree... the smooth call with JJ is questionable. That's just a medium pair, at best. How many flops do you think will get your opponent all in while still giving you the best hand?

There's a 57% chance of an overcard on the flop and a 3 to 1 chance of an overcard by the river.

An early position raise by a shorter stack should suggest some kind of strength. Even if it's two overcards, it's tough to play after the flop.

Not putting him to a decision preflop was a weak play. Re-raise him and force him to make a decision. I don't quite know the stack sizes, but I'd imagine you'd still have enough to lay it down if he came over top of you for a big pre-flop reraise.

Otherwise he lays his hand down and you take his raise, or he calls you and we see the flop with the overcard. You HAVE to be prepared to lay down JJ there. It's just not that strong of a hand with overcards on the board. I can't imagine how JJ is a post-flop trapping hand. It, frankly, can only be improved on the flop by two cards.

And, as you seem to suggest, the pushing with pocket 9s play was pretty bad as well.

3:06 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

10 players left, 6 seats, you are already chipleader. You don't have to finish 1st, you don't have to eliminate the 7th-10th players yourself.

Everyone's M was high enough that there was still a lot of poker to be played. I would prefer to take down the pot without confrontation rather than risk the big confrontation as I am not trying to finish 1st in this as it is satellite.

If you recheck hand history you called with 99. KQ jammed from button.

3:55 AM  

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