Thursday, January 25, 2007

Late-Stage Satellite Question (Part II)

Today I'm going to post the rest of my inquiry that I started here yesterday regarding the end game of that 30k satellite I played this week on full tilt. If you recall from yesterday's post, I was in 5th of 7 players remaining in a 90-some person satellite, with just the top 4 spots receiving seats to the nightly 30k guaranteed 6-max tournament. I was the middle stack at my table of 3 players, with the current 3rd place stack to my right, and the current last place stack to my left. Already in for the 1200-chip small blind plus the 300 ante, the big stack to my right had min-raised UTG to 4800 chips, and I had QQ. I asked what you all would have done in this situation, as I elected to just min-reraise, in the hopes of attracting a caller with what was surely the best hand here before the flop.

I received a number of thoughtful comments to my post, and I have to admit I was, and still am, really shocked at the unanimousness of everyones' opinions on this question. Especially since I still think the unanimous opinion is not the correct one. Basically, every single commenter without exception said I should have just pushed allin here for my last 17000 chips or so, hopefully making everyone else fold and taking down the big blind, the antes and the 4800 chips bet by the UTG big stack. Now, I am man enough to accept that if everyone thinks I made the wrong move, then there is obviously some merit to that approach. I just can't help but think that people are unable to divorce themselves from the fact that I have this hand up on my blog, and therefore they are expecting the worst, thinking someone else must have an Ace or a King in their hand, and that since I have pocket Queens I am of course going to lose. In reality, in the heat of the battle, and not automatically assuming the worst, I am still liking my play of taking down an additional 5k in chips before the flop, just minraising here, and then pushing in and taking down the pot when I am almost surely ahead once the flop comes out, and someone like the big stack is unwilling to put the rest of his big stack at risk so close to the money seats.

Well, in any event, so you already know I basically minraised here:

and then a strange thing happened. The small stack up top called off basically the rest of his short stack here preflop:

and then to make things even more interesting, Mr. Big Stack responds by min-re-reraising again , raising it up to 15,200 chips.

So now what? Am I supposed to fold the third-best possible starting hand here, having already dropped around 60% of my stack into the pot so far? I would love to hear what you all think is my best response at this point.

For me, the choice was easy. I pushed:

IMO, how could I not push here? I simply refuse to assume that I am behind here, and even though I had to admit that as a realistic possibility -- at least that the big stack has AK, if not KK or AA -- there was just no way I was going to fold, leave myself the short stack remaining in the tournament out of 6 players left (with 4 getting seats, remember), when I held QQ at a 3-handed table.

Long story short, the short stack up top called off his last 1000 chips (of course), and the big stack went on to call my allin bet as well. Anybody want to guess what these two players had? Take your guesses, and I will post the screenshot below after some space so as not to ruin your guesses:

Woohooo! Right? Wrong:

The big stack takes down a huge pot, knocking out the rest of his entire table at once, in a very strange hand, mathematically speaking. Here we are at a 3-handed table, and in the exact same hand, I've got QQ, the shorty has 99, and the big stack has AK. Truly unusual to say the least.

Anyways, my last question here is, as I went home in 6th place, good for $24 and change but not the 30k seat I was really after that night, who played this hand the worst? Was it me? The short stack and his pocket 9s after all the calling and raising that went down? Or, was it the big stack who put his entire tournament at risk, when he was already in position to win his 30k seat, with just AK against two raisers and callers of raisers preflop? I'd love to hear your thoughts on how this hand eventually shook out.


Blogger crazdgamer said...

Given the size of the blinds and the relative strength of each of your hands, I see no other way of this playing out, as there was no way you'd fold QQ pre-flop 3-handed.

I didn't comment in your previous post, but I'd have pushed when the action first got to you. But, as we know now, that wouldn't have mattered, since the shorty and the big stack would probably call you anyway.

The short stack had to push because he had less than 3 BBs left, and I doubt he sees a better hand in the next 3 orbits. The big stack's actions are the most questionable, since, if I were in his shoes, I'd be scared of your raise and, I wouldn't want to jeopardize my top 4 spot. I guess he put one or both of you on weaker Aces. And, of the three, you have the best hand pre-flop and in need to chip up to top 4. How this hand played out was simply luck / fate.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

No matter how you played this, the money was going in.

Worst play? Probably the big stack, who had the worst hand PF and had to know that somebody had a big pair, but I don't think he played badly. Nobody did. This was a combination of hands and position almost guaranteed to cause a train wreck.

It's three-handed. It's THREE FREAKING HANDED. You don't go to war with nines with two raises at a full table? But with a low M at a three handed table? You have to consider it.

Let's see, piratekiller finds AK UTG. Three-handed, he HAS to think he's best. He raises.

You find queens. You HAVE to think you're best (you're actually right). Three-handed, his range could be Ace nothing and maybe even a naked King or suited connectors. Because you think you're likely SO far ahead, you only min. raise it.

Now here's marcymommy. She loved her hand when it was dealt, now there's all this action. She's worried, maybe, but is she going to find a better hand? She has to at least consider the possibility that she's the only pair against two hands that hopefully negate each other. KJ vs. AK, AQ vs AJ, etc.

So she pot-commits herself. Mistake not just shoving in, maybe, but it doesn't matter because . . .

Pirate has already committed a lot of chips into this, and he has a premium hand. And you are THREE HANDED.

He should know he's behind, but he's got the table covered. He might get you to fold if he shoves, and marcymommy's remaining chips can't scare him.

He shoves. That's probably the worst play in the hand.

Now, you aren't going anywhere. How can you? You call.

Marcymommy? Ditto. She's probably convinced she's way behind at this point, but she got pot committed before she got that news. Everybody got pot committed before they got the news that might have gotten them off the hand. Now it's up to the deck.

You could have played this five different ways, and all the money was getting in the middle.

Crazy hand.

4:42 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

If I am in any of those seats, I am not folding the hand in front of me.

4:53 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

I figured the short guy was gonna play the hand and I was right for a change. Him NOT shoving there was really the worst play of the hand, leaving himself but a mere pittance of a stack by flat calling your raise.

Never said you played the hand incorrectly, 'cause I know your style. Well, think I do anyway. But in the rare occassion that the big stack wasn't taking any chances, you might have gotten him to lay down his hand pf to your push and the shorties call in the BB. Not likely, but, I don't know his play. If he REALLY wanted his seat and was passive like myself, he may have folded.

Oh, and it was the Haiku you left on Waffles site I was referring to. It was KQ s00ted, not offsuit...all in good fun though as you said...I was kidding.

5:21 AM  
Blogger GrayCalx said...

I agree with everyone so far that as it turns out no matter what you did pre-flop the money was probably all going in.

I disagree with goat though that the AK didn't play poorly, in fact I think his play was horrible. In this tournament structure finishing 4th is just as good as finishing 1st. After the AK raised preflop (which was fine), Hoy reraised, and the short-stack pushed, the AK should've known he was up against at least 1 pair if not 2. He could fold and coast into the final 4 with the amount of chips he had left.

So sure, its 3-handed and he had to think he probably had overcards for outs, he had to have KNOWN he was AT BEST in a race-situation, when he's already guaranteed a seat. A clear fold in his position.

5:23 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

3-handed...nobody folds.

Thanks for playing last night.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Well, Derran, I DID say I thought that the big stack's all-in play was probably the worst in the hand.

But I'll reiterate: We are talking THREE HANDED here.

QQ and AK are premium hands, and 99 is a very playable one . . . on a full table.

In three-handed play, when the hand ranges open dramatically? I'm probably not getting away from either AK or QQ. The fact that we're near the bubble on a satellite is pertinant, so I think the big stack's play was questionable.

But I wouldn't go so far as to call it 'bad', any more than getting all-in with KK vs. AA preflop would be 'bad' in full table play.

5:31 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

FWIW, I do think the big stack should have folded his hand there once it was clear that both me and the real short stack were going at it for all our chips. Like darren says in his comment above, the AK should surely have known he was racing by the time he re-reraised, since the shorty was basically allin at that point, and since I had min-reraised the big stack's original raise to start the hand. And, given that we're talking about a multi-seat tournament here where the big stack was still basically in coast-to-his-seat territory even if he folded early in the hand, I think it was a mistake on his part to continue with the hand. Obviously, he did not consider that I was on a pocket pair or he would never have min-re-reraised there, and failing to consider me having a pair was a clear mistake on his part in my book.

I really showed this hand (1) to show how bad I got effed (what is a hoy blog post without a good dose of that?), (2) to discuss my minraise vs. push decision early on preflop, and (3) to show how crazy the hand ended up, and who we all think made the worst play. Again, the comments are great, I appreciate everyone's interest. Keep 'em coming if anyone has anything else to add.

5:49 AM  
Blogger FishyMcDonk said...

I'll tell you what I would have done, which is usually not the correct play. If I'm holding any of those hands 3-handed I'm thinking "How do I get it all in the centre?" I'm not really paying attention to what the other guy(s) are doing, I just want the other guys' chips all in. 3-handed, AK is a good hand. Wow! The others guys are jamming, sweet, I'm allin.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Wil Wheaton said...

The big stack is a complete idiot in this hand. He's virtually guaranteed a seat in the 30K, and he decides to race for it? I'd love to play against that guy!

I figured you were up against AK and an underpair, it was just a question of who had what -- and even then it's really just academic.

I think your play was fine; since all the money is going in on the flop (most likely) a min-raise sets you up for a stop-n-go (AK moron probably folds if the flop misses him and you jam, giving you a lot of dead money) so it's a more aggressive play.

However, once you get resistance to your min-raise, you have to decide when the money goes in, which isn't that important at this point because everyone is pot-committed.

Well-played, Hoy. Shitty results, but we all know better than to be results-oriented, right? =]

6:07 AM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

The only misplay here was big stack, for reasons Wil and others have said. This guy was just about a mortal lock for the seat. Final table in a non-satellite with big changes in pay structure, sure, but not here.

Hoy and the short stack...neither played badly per se, though there was no point in SS not shoving on the re-re-raise, and Hoy *might* have induced a fold from the big stack. (probably very unlikely but possible)

6:21 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

I think some people who are commenting on the hand either didnt read both posts or misread them.

Saying the big stack can coast into a seat is just flat out wrong. Did you guys look at the other stacks? If he folds here after raising he isn't even in the top 4 in chips anymore but somehow he is going to magically coast into a seat? Huh?

Look at the stacks again and I think you might change your opinions.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

Nice couple of posts Hoy. Sorry I got to them late. FWIW, this kind of situation is a benchmark for my play in late stage MTTs (yeah even satellites).

I know from prior times when I finished 11th and 10th in the 20k back at the beginning of the summer, I was looking at shorthanded situations with Jacks or Queens and regretting a push when I lost a race or to a better pair.

Now I can live with going broke with queens, nines or AK with those blinds three-handed. Which is to say it's going in pre-flop, despite understanding why it is you want more chips around.

Nice post.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

Wait a minute... Three-handed play and the cards dealt are pocket 9's, pocket Queens and and big slick? When did pokerstars start offering the full tilt skin?

My guess on the result of the hand was way off, but given the cards you were all looking at I don't think there is any way that any of you can lay them down. But given that it was a contest to place in the top 4, I think the big stack probably played the hand the worst. If he elects to fold after your re-reraise and the short stack's smooth call, one of you is going to bust on that hand. He will then be at the final still in third or so in chips. That said, regardless of the action in front of me, in 3 handed play I don't think I can get away from AK.

4:05 PM  
Blogger GrayCalx said...

lucko does make a good point that if the AK folds after the shorty is almost all-in, he falls to 4th or maybe 5th. So he's definitely going to have to make a play to guarantee his seat. So I was wrong in saying that he could coast in... still though risking being a short-stack with what is at best a race is still a poor play in my book. But maybe i was too harsh saying it was a horrible play.

10:43 PM  
Blogger bayne_s said...


Mommymarcy made the worst play her absolute best case scenario is she is up against 2 players with AK, but more likely has to fade 3-4 overcards or overpair given the betting history.

Don't like the min raise UTG with AK by big stack or subsequent min raise (this one is pointless, either re-raise putting everyone all in or call to see if you connect with flop).

At satellite buyins big stack was not likely to fold to all in push but calling with AK is certainly a worse play than pushing with AK.

1:21 AM  
Blogger iamhoff said...

IMHO, Goat's (repeated) point is key: you were THREE HANDED!!! Shorty was dumb in not jamming your raise, but biggie took care of that. If you weren't 3 handed, then I'd say biggie's move with AK was dumb, calling your raise and shorty's call. But 3 handed, who doesn't like AK?

The one thing I didn't recall seeing was a discussion of the players. You in particular, Sir Hoy. How long had you been at that table, particularly with biggie? what was biggie's impression of your table image? Would he have put you on a premium hand with your raise, or on a lesser hand/steal attempt? If his image of you was that you were trying a steal, then jamming AK was a good way to try and push you and your (supposed lesser hand) out of the pot.

You were just bound to lose this hand, and there was nothing you could've done. 3 handed, shorty is unlikely to give up 99, even with a raise and reraise preflop. 3 handed, you're not going to give up the 3rd best starting hand. And 3 handed, anybody is going to think that AK is g000t. That's why it's a race. Doesn't change the fact that a kick to teh junk is far from enjoyable, but das poker.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Blinders said...

Big stack played it best, you played it worst, but it would not have mattered as it was all going in anyway. I don't see how you can justify minraising there if you will auto-call the action when it gets back to you. If your preflop raise pot commits you then you pooosh. I like the big stacks play, because he is keeping some folding equity if he gets called and misses the flop. Of course he will go to war as required which he did, and BTW he was the favorite preflop in that 3 handded situation.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Blinders you must have had too much vodka tonight or something. #1 I've said a million times I minraised because I desperately wanted a call, so knowing I would autocall any other raises after mine there fints exactly with my plan. It's literally a necessary part of my plan. Your argument is like saying, hey if I'm actually just slow-raising pocket Aces, since I'm clearly going to autocall any reraise, then I made the wrong play by just minraising. Makes no sense. At all.

Also, unless the Internets aren't working, I am in fact the favorite preflop. 46%-36%-18% according to cardplayer's odds calculator.

In that spot, I'll take odds that appear to put me well in the lead, and only by random, dumb, recockulous luck, end up with me "only" as a 46% favorite, nearly 4-to-3 ahead of 2nd place and nearly 3-to-1 ahead of 3rd.

7:18 PM  

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