Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MATH Recap, Early Tournament Hand Question (Continued)

We had 13 runners last night for Mondays at the Hoy on full tilt, with once again the top 3 spots paying out. With the 6-max action in da house, the Gigli came early as per usual, and another common trend also held true almost right from the getgo on the night -- the one and only Hoy virgin in the tournament, a player named AGuda (if you have a blog let me know in the comments and I will link you), absolutely blew up. I think Guda recorded both of the first two eliminations, jumping out to more than 7500 chips before anyone else even had 4000. Guda held a large chip lead all the way through the first hour, and shortly into the second hour when I busted losing a race he was still the prohibitive leader with sometihng like 11k in chips to second place's 8k. Eventually I fell asleep so I can't comment on how it ended, but I will say that the final payouts is a who's who of blogger tournament crushing people:

1. twoblackaces $156
2. AGuda $93.60
3. surflexus $62.40

So there he is, Mr. AGuda coming in second place and winning nearly a fresh hundy in his very first appearance at Mondays at the Hoy. Will the mysterious man named after a misspelled kind of cheese make another appearance in other blogger tournaments anytime soon? Will he return to continue his dominance over the MATH field? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, there is tba winning yet another blonkament. This guy has been absolutely on fire in the blogger tournaments. I love another guy who takes playing with the bloggers seriously, but not so seriously that he gets pissed off in the chat box. Anyways this has got to be 4 or 5 top-2 finishes for tba in just the past few weeks of the blogger events, making himself a force to be reckoned with as we head into the typically slow summer months in the blogger tournaments.

OK, so back to the early tournament hand I had posted about last week. To refresh everyone's memory, I had already doubled up very early in a $10 buyin tournament, so I was sitting on a nice stack in the top 3 or 4% of the field with more than 300 players still remaining. I called a minraise from the big blind into a 3-handed pot at better than 5 to 1 odds with 85 of spades, and then the flop came 75J with two spades. I was first to act out of the big blind and I had asked for your opinions on how to best play this kind of a "drawing hand" from here:



I got a lot of well-thought-out responses as usual, but some of them were contradictory which I found very interesting and I thought I would weigh in with my thoughts. Basically some people advocated betting out some fraction of the pot size at this point, a slight majority it seems like the check-call line on the flop and then reevaluate on the turn, while a few commenters pushed for a check-raise in this spot. I think all three options have merit to them, so I thought I would focus on the factors that I was sifting through in my head as I contemplated my move.

The first thing I focus on is that the current pot size is small. It's small enough with just three players in for a minraise very early in an mtt, that I am just not too concerned about making sure I don't blow a chance to take this pot down now. There's barely anything in there right now, so I ended up not going with the line that involves betting out on the flop. If I had been the preflop aggressor, then a c-bet seems much more appopriate, as I want my opponents to understand and expect that I will be protecting my preflop raises with flop continuation bets in most situations. But given that no one showed any real strength preflop, I am honestly not concerned with the possibility of checking up front here even though it means I might miss a chance to steal the pot if it ends up getting checked around on the flop.

And this leads in to the other main consideration I have at this point: the nature of my hand. So yeah right now I have just a measly pair of 5s. But I have basically 14 outs to improve to a hand that I expect to win most pots (two pair, trips or a flush). It is a small hand now, but it has several outs to improve to a hand that I expect to be very strong. And yet, the pot is small enough and it's early enough in the tournament that, as a couple of the commenters pointed out, there is no real reason in my mind to build a huge pot at this point when I have just this very poor made hand at this point.

Whenever I have a hand with a large potential -- these 13, 14 outer type of hands -- but one that is not made right now, I am often looking to go for the check-raise on the flop. A few of the commenters suggested check-calling the flop and then check-raising the turn if I hit. I like this suggestion, and in some circumstances it is one that I definitely follow, but for my game I tend to do that more for hands that are already huge. For example, if I flop a set I might be very apt to check-call the flop and then assume the c-bettor will lead out on the turn as well, where I know I can put in a very large checkraise into a pot that, by the time the turn is out, will already be quite large. The check-call on the flop and then checkraise the turn line is one I use quite a bit, but again it tends to be a line I save for my big made hands mostly because it's a line that tends to create very large pots. Any time there is a raise preflop, a bet and a call on the flop and then a checkraise on the turn, that sounds like a very large pot to me, and I don't really like to start down that path with just a pair of 5s. That's why I don't like to checkraise the turn with this kind of a hand, at least not when I set about planning how I'm going to play out the whole hand right at the beginning.

If I can check-raise on the flop, however, I avoid the few significant weaknesses of the checkraise-the-turn line, which is that (1) if I don't hit on the turn, then I have a weak drawing hand with just one card to come, way less than 50% equity, and I often have to abandon my plan for the checkraise since my equity has dropped so much by the time the turn card is out and it has missed my hand, or (2) if I do hit my draw on the turn -- in particular if the board pairs my 5 or if a spade comes -- I am less likely to get paid off on that turn checkraise since my opponent will likely put me on the exact type of hand that I in fact just hit.

For me, in this kind of a hand in this small of a pot so far, checkraising on the flop is a superior line I believe for a few main reasons. Number one, it allows me to get some more chips in the pot now with my approximately 50% equity in the hand by not donk betting and instead allowing the preflop (min)raiser to bet out first before I make my move. Secondly, even if my checkraise does get called, I am not the least bit concerned for two reasons. First, my equity is strong, with around a 50% chance of having the best hand by the time the river is dealt. And second, by putting in my checkraise on the flop instead of waiting until the turn, the pot is still small. Even if I checkraise and my opponent reraises me allin, I can easily fold and still have lost just a fairly small portion of my overall stack here. And I like that, being that I have made only a pair of 5s so far in the hand.

You can see for yourself what I mean here with this screenshot when I in fact check-raised the flop:



For my game, with a nice stack early in an mtt, this is where I want to be. This way, if a large stack moves me allin or something, even with 50% equity in the hand I might call or not call depending on what I think he might has and how I am feeling at the time. But I have the freedom to fold to the reraise here on the flop and you can see I've only lost maybe 10% of my stack or so. No biggity. But if I wait for the turn after check-calling on the flop, then my turn check-raise, in order to be credible, would have to be a good thousand chips or so, representing a much bigger portion of my stack in a spot not as advantageous to me IMO as the checkraise on the flop, where my equity is high and no obvious draws have filled on the board.

In case you're wondering, in this case my opponent responded to my checkraise with very close a min-reraise of his own, which screamed out to me some kind of big pocket pair since he left so little of his own stack behind with this reraise:



At this point it becomes a simple math problem for me. I have to call 240 into 1090 with what I figure to be 14 outs twice, maybe discount it to 13 outs since my two-pair outs may not all be winners, but the point is this is the easiest call in the world. In fact, since his remaining stack is so small now that he will be forced to be or call any bet on the turn or river with what I am at this point quite sure is a strong pocket pair, I just went ahead and moved him allin. And again, if he had had enough chips to stack me, especially if this were a "real" buyin tournament instead of just a $10 one, and had reraised me allin on the flop, the idea would be to fold fold fold and move on to the next hand with a loss of only around 10% of my stack. But with this short stacked opponent, it's an easy call and really a matter of just common practice to re-reraise him allin for his last 290 chips into a pot of around 1400 chips by the time I call his reraise.

Or more accuately, I reverse hoyed him just to make a point since he felt it was so important to hold back those few chips even though it made his high pocket pair easy as ballz to read:



We got it all in, and he showed his hand:



Right on schedule. 13-14 outs or so for me here. And bloooom on the river:



And of course, my favorite part is the observer chat right after the hand:



Yeah it is pretty "sick" when those 14-outers on the flop fill by the river, huh? Man you have got to love the players at pokerstars.

Thanks again to everyone for the comments. I welcome any dissenting opinions now that you have seen how I like to play this hand. Oh and to the commenter last week who asked if I play this hand any different in cash or in a tournament, the answer for me is no. Either way with the small made hand that has a large draw to a winning hand, and with the pot small and my stack large, I am probably using the flop checkraise to find out when the checkraise is still cheap whether or not I am beat, and otherwise hopefully use my checkraise on the flop to get a free card on the turn even if I miss. Good question though.

So I guess there is no Skills event tonight? I'm actually liking the idea of some weeknights without blogger tournaments for a change -- it's funny but even though the BBT3 was obviously completely nailed by full tilt and Al this time around, the collective weariness and lack of interest in all the blonkaments right now belies the fact that people really want a break. Being in the middle of the typical summer doldrums doesn't help either. But I'll be curious to see if anyone steps in to fill the void over the summer here on Tuesday nights, as even the bodonkey is apparently on a hiatus. I should be on at some point tonight, playing the usual run of mtts in addition to dabbling in the turbo sngs that I have been playing more and more of lately.

Super turbo is calling me already, I can hear it even from a few miles away from my laptop at home. "Hoyyyyyyyy......Hoyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, come indulge yourself in me. Pillage and plunder my super turbo ways....You know you want it...." Foul temptress.

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6 Comments:

Blogger CEMfromMD said...

Hoy, I am actually talking to Miami Don about taking over as the Host for the Skills Game. Look for it again real soon.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Instant Tragedy said...

Super turbos are Crackfests.

and hitting 14 outers are very +EV.

12:27 AM  
Blogger PokahDave said...

Aguda had a golden horshoe up his ass ....every hand hit on the flop if it wasn't already a great hand...unbelievable.......
KK against Ad-10d for him....flops two diamonds and turns the flusheroo.....

2:50 AM  
Blogger AJG said...

It was nice playing with all of you. Lots of fun and i can see that you all have a good time playing.

During the start of the tourney and into the 1hr, i was catching many flops and being aggressive. I didn't want to have everybody think i was stealing all the time, so i was showing many of my hands.
I did have a couple of lucky cards come my way, but thats the way it happens sometimes.

I hope to see you agin.

By the way, good posts on your blog.

Aguda

to pokadave, i had some other sucks that were similar to yours. Sorry. I'm sure you will get me next time.

6:14 AM  
Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Yeah, it was a fitting blogger welcome to "aguda" for him to have knocked me out first last night in the way that he did. (By getting his chips in behind... post-turn! ... on a frickin' draw.!?!)

I think he'll fit in just great with this group! ;-)

Just givin' a hard time, the play wasn't TOO donkerrific I suppose. (His bottom pair + nut flush draw oop on the flop, vs. my TPDK, I just called his pot bet on the flop and he again bet pot on turn despite missing... I reraised all in, as the pot bet on turn seemed like he really wanted a fold, and he was pretty committed to go for the river suckout by then, so he called... and hit.)

It just felt real easy to read him for the flush draw, and it just felt real obnoxious to see my read was pointless when he hit the lucky river card. ... An incredibly fitting new blogger/player initiation it seemed!

6:45 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Can you really call 13 people a Tourney? Guess so my bad.

9:41 PM  

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