Thursday, June 19, 2008

Early Tournament Hand Question

Congratulations to Instant Tragedy for winning this week's Mookie tournament. I donked it up and tried to suck out on people, leading to the inevitable early exit, but I had fun trying while I lasted. I love the sense of humor out there, as I saw someone played under the handle "ICrushBloggers". Very cool, definitely brought a smile to my face. Don't ask me who it was because I don't know. But I guess we can ask Mookie, right? I mean, after all, any host of an online poker tournament is automatically entitled to know the real-life identity of everyone who signs up, right? Right?

Seriously though. I counted at least three multi-accounting bloggers playing last night in the Mookie. And that's just the ones I know of. What's up with that? It's like, some people seem to have a really solid grasp of what "cheating" is, but then others do not. And even those who seem to have the good grasp on cheating when some people are involved, I guess they're just never there to see the multi-accounters, hmmm? Especially when it's their friends doing the multi accounting. Interesting.

Fucking bloggers. I dare you to find more unintentional comedy anywhere.

Anyways, today I wanted to discuss an early mtt situation and get some thoughts on how to best play a hand like this. It is a situation that tends to tempt me to lose some chips that I would not normally want to be risking this early in to an mtt on a drawing type of hand. Here's the setup:

I am playing in a $10 mtt with 360 entrants. We are about 15 minutes in, and I have already doubled against a donkey. I am sitting in 10th place of 333 players remaining, again very early in a small-field mtt. I am seated in the big blind with 85 of spades. Middle position open-minraises the big blind to 40 chips, and the hijack calls. Action folds back to me, where I am looking at calling 20 into 110 chips. Getting more than 5 to 1, and for a measly 20 chips out of my 3000+ stack, I don't want to fold the soooted 2-gapper. How could I, right? So I call.

The flop comes 75J with two spades, and I am first to act out of the big blind:

Here is where my question comes in. How do you like to play this kind of a hand? Assuming you're not a donkey and aren't just going to start betting or checking away on the flop without having some sort of a plan for how you're going to play this situation out, what is your optimal line here? Is this hand good enough to warrant some aggressive play (i.e., betting and raising)? Or are you looking to take this one as slow as possible, see if you hit your hand and then make sure it is not behind something like a higher two pair or higher flush before you start comitting chips? Does being under the gun after the flop affect your decision of what line to take at all? Are your chipstack and your opponent's chipstack factors? How about the $10 buyin of the tournament, does that weigh in the decision at all? Do you play it any different at the WSOP in a $2000 buyin event?

Love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and I will give mine as well.

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Blogger Fabio Ruini said...

As chip leader (or anyway with a good stack as you were) I'd definitely like to bet in this spot.

The flop contains two low cards and it's not likely to had helped your opponents. My favorite choice would be a quite strong bet (at least half of the pot, better 2/3), which could also clarify your position in the hand. You can win the hand right now (likely) or, if you get called, you will have a huge amount of outs to improve your hands (assuming that no-one call a half-pot or 2/3 pot bet if purely on a flush draw). If unfortunately you get raised, you'll probably have the right odds to see at least the turn.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Poker Brian said...

Well the problem is the 2nd player to act will probably come over over the top with a pair o Js if you make any kind of bet, but this probably relies on your read if the short stack is super-aggressive OR your table image is that of your normal aggressive style.

On the other hand, if you check, and its a check round, you could be blowing a huge opportunity to take this pot.

Since the pot is small, stick a half pot bet out there. If you get a call play it by your reads, if you get re-raised all-in (which would be an obvious OBFV) fold, otherwise everyone folds and you take down a small pot.

Id be concerned that someone has higher spades then you if you get a call.

9:41 PM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Who was multi-accounting in the Mookie? I don't know everyone's numerous names, so I'm utterly clueless, but for obvious reasons, it's something worth knowing.

9:46 PM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Bet it. Then you'll have two ways to go:
1. If you get raised, you'll have at least 10-12 outs, and maybe this is a chance you want to take, given that it's early and you've already doubled up, so you could come back. If you get another stack here. I'd probably call the raise, regardless, if this is the way I want to go.
2. If you get raised, fold. It's early and maybe you don't want to draw to a flush that could be beaten.
3. Smooth call, proceed with caution.

Given that the buy-in isn't that high, and you've got a chance to double up here yet again and maybe get a huge stack early, which I know you could exploit, I'd go for option one and get as many chips as I could in the pot.

10:07 PM  
Blogger heffmike said...

Enough with the coy hints.

If someone's clowny enough to multiaccount a 60-person 12+1 tourney, out them and be done with it. I'm sure they have a perfectly interesting reason for doing so, el-o-el.

If you're not sure about it, then don't spread FUD. That doesn't help anyone out and just creates more useless drama....

10:09 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Without reading previous comments, I like a nice check-raise here.

Min raises in MTT are popping up like sad little poison mushrooms in 2008, to the point where they almost seem like the standard raise. They used to mean a monster, now they mean exactly nothing.

Your check gives you a chance at a free card if it checks around (that's fine), or a chance to win some more chips if there is a raise out in front which folds to your aggression (also fine), or a chance to win even MORE chips if your CR gets called by nothing but overs or a naked Ace (also fine, and not unlikely).

Even if you're behind, you have mad outs, and your tournament life is not at stake if you get all the money in.

Thus, check raise.

On the other hand, you're Hoy, so the other guy has higher spades. You want to consider that.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Instant Tragedy said...

Thanks Hoy. I appreciate the thoughts on the win.

My thoughts on the hand is a check steal.

Using a check raise you have the ability to steal a pot away from a lesser player.

The question is do you really want to put your hard earned chips in with less than premium odds?

Are you looking to play aggressive, build your table image or are you trying just to screw with people?

But that's just me.


11:00 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Heffmike, let me clarify.

I am 100% sure about what I said, it is known fact.

I am not saying the same person was playing on two accounts at once. Rather, that one person was playing on an account that they do not usually play on, but that is a second account that such person uses on occasion for various reasons.

I only mention it because I personally think it is lame that some bloggers break the rules and create multiple accounts with full tilt or any poker site.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Luckbox said...

Yeah, I fall in line with the last two commenters. This is definitely a check-raise situation. If you check and it's checked around, you get a free look to see if you hit your card. If you check-raise, you may win the pot right there... if not, you can reevaluate on the turn.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unintentional comedy is right on.

Double standards is right on.

Dripping sarcasm is right on.

I play this hand slow hoping to get to the turn where if I hit the right card I stack someone. My line then is to check call the flop and peel off another card.

I'm not a fan of donk betting into the min raiser so I don't lead out.

No way I check raise at this point because I don't want to face a reraise by some QQ-AA or AJ donkey and I don't want to win the pot with hardly any chips in it when if I wait and can improve I have a chance to stack someone.

My line on the turn will be based on flop action and the turn card.

A five, an eight, or a spade on the turn then I check raise assuming I'm confident min raiser will fire the 2nd bullet.

With a brick on the turn then it's a tough choice. I could lead out on a scare card, I could check call the C-bet, or I can check raise with air hoping they fold, or I can check fold that shit if the math doesn't work.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

In the interest of disclosure I have one account per site BUT sometimes instaead of being bayne_s I am BayneS in an attempt to hide my identity.

It is purely coincidence that "_" is not allowed as username character on sites where it does not appear.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

I guess the best defense is a strong offense. I think there is a slight degree of difference between someone opening a second account to get rakeback or a bonus, vs. someone that is doing it for deceptive purposes.

I think you are calling some people out for the wrong reasons here, to justify your blog crusher thing, which to me was just a bizarre thing to do, for all the wrong reasons.

12:34 AM  
Blogger heffmike said...

Well, the solution's easy. If it's a known fact, just say who the players were. I don't keep track of everyone's quests for rakeback, bonuses, or simply playing anonymously.

If it gets someone in trouble or an account closed, well, that's an known occupational hazard for anyone with multiple screennames/accounts. Tough.

Either call it out all the way, or let it ride and don't say anything to begin with, because dropping halfway hints is plain silly and only serves to stir the pot.

Oh, and the 85 hand. No one is folding a flush draw or J at this level (tournament or buyin) if you donk the flop. You're OOP, the pot is small, you have a sneaky hand that can get juicy on the turn... check the flop, evaluate the action behind you, peel and see a turn if the price is right... but there's no reason to build a pot in this spot just yet - there's only T120 at stake here. Don's line seems best at this point.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

It is $10 tournament so I check call flop and bet out when I hit the turn.

At higher buyins I check raise the flop.

3:47 AM  
Blogger Easycure said...

"I counted at least three multi-accounting bloggers playing last night in the Mookie. And that's just the ones I know of."


If you don't say exactly who it is and say exactly how you know, then you're just as wrong as they are.

You really shouldn't just throw accusations out there without backing your shit up.

5:27 AM  
Blogger sootedshit said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:44 AM  
Blogger boandaro said...


I do not play in your blogger tourneys but read your blog often. Long time listener, first time caller.

As for the tournament hand, I think you should of also asked "how did Hoy play this hand?", as I think the answers would be far more interesting. Yet fairly consistent.

I play at lower limits than you often play and this fits right into that category. I see this minraise play far too often and it does not define the hand so far. Often a check here is best to see if you opponent will min bet this flop or shove allin.

If he/she shoves all in, you always have odds to call, unless you can put your opponent on exactly 2 higher flush cards. If we put his/her range tight here at JJ+ you have odds to call. If they min bet, up to pot sized bet, on the flop you still have odds to call. Now if you miss on the turn and they shove it makes our decision much harder to continue in the hand.

Back to "what did hoy do?". I would be willing to bet you checkraised or called this person allin on the flop with your stack. You can afford to race here and not be hurt too bad if you dont win.

You have equity here even against a very tight range. It is early in the tournament but I do not see folding as an option. Your equity in this tourney does not drop much at all with 3K or 2K in chips at this point.

I would also like to say that if you bet this flop you are not giving your opponent a chance to bluff a worse hand that he/she would fold to your flop bet.

Can't wait to see what "Hoy" did!

One other question. Do you play this hand differently in a cash game than a tourney?

10:33 PM  

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