Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Late-Stage Satellite Strategy Question

OK today I'd like to get eveyrone's thoughts about a situation that I was faced with near the end game of a multi-seat satellite tournament on full tilt. I want to know what you guys think of my play here, as well as what you think of the play of the others at my table. Let me set up the situation.

We're playing the 8:15pm ET $6 turbo satellite to the nightly 30k guaranteed tournament on full tilt. Like the 30k itself, the satellite is is a 6-max nlh tournament, and there were 93 entrants, with only the top 4 finishers receiving a seat in that night's 30k (top 7 got paid, but for purposes of this discussion, I only actually cared about winning the seat). At this point in time, there are just 7 players remaining, with 3 players at my table and 4 at the other table.

The rough stack sizes of the 7 remaining players are something like: 32k, 26k, 24k (this was the chip leader of the 3 people at my table), 20k, 17k (this was me), 16k and 11k (this was the low man at my table). So I'm at a table with 17k in chips, currently in 5th place of 7 players remaining, and needing to finish in the top 4 to win the seat I've been playing for for the last 90 minutes or so. And at my table, there is a larger stack than mine to my right, who is currently in 3rd place overall, and to my left is the short stack of the tournament, with only about half the chips of the current 4th place guy.

So I am the small blind for 1200, and the shorty to my left is the big blind for 2400 (ante was also 300 at this time), leaving the shorty with just around 8k behind heading into this hand. I look down to find pocket Queens, easily the best hand I saw all tournament. The big stack from my table, sitting on 24k in chips, minraises to 4800, and action is to me:

What should I do here? Remember, this is a multi-seat satellite, so my goal has absolutely nothing to do with winning this tournament in any way, shape or form. I only need to last to the final 4 players, and then I will autodonk out to get my seat to that night's 30k. But I do need to chip up some to make it into the top 4. So I'm asking all you guys who I know from your blogs like to play these kind of tournament satellites -- and everyone else who stops by here to read -- what's the play here?

Well, here's what I did:

Should I have just moved allin here? Thing is, I wanted a call. I needed a call (said in perfect Jack Nicholson Colonel Jessup voice). I mean, we're three-handed here. It's not like I'm supposed to be afraid of Kings or Aces. More than anything I was hoping that Mr. Big Stack had like pocket 4s, or ATo, something like that, and I was going to get the double up that I desperately needed. Then I could play smart and stay out of pots, and more or less fold my way to the 30k seat. But would you guys have just moved in here? For what purpose? Trying to get a call, or trying to pick up what was in the pot already? I kinda like my near-minraise in an attempt to double up here and basically win my way to the 30k seat, but I am very interested in everyone's thoughts.

I will put up the rest of this hand later, because I have some more questions about the way it played out as well, but I'd love to hear everyone's comments on my play here first. And yes, yes, I know, in retrospect, of course I had pocket Queens so I should have just figured right then and there that if I played them, I would go home empty-handed, but let's put that obvious truth aside for a minute and pretend this is you, or just some random non-hoyazo entity playing this hand. What what you do?


Blogger D said...

Enough chips are on the table that taking this hand down now is beneficial enough to push all in. If you take it preflop you will have approximately 25500 which added almost 50% of your starting stack to your chips. This moves you into 3rd. Also, I don’t think I am getting away from this hand on the flop. I’m a survivalist, so if somebody has better than QQ preflop, I can live with my decision to push. The 25500 gives you enough room to significantly increase your chances of winning the token.

11:09 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

If mommymarcy doesn't have a hand, she goes el foldo with two people already in the pot with seemingly good hands. Piratekiller probably is behind and won't risk going from third to last without an excellent hand. So ... I would push all in preflop, either inducing folds and winning 8,100 or getting called with a premium hand. The raise to 10,000 might get a call, but you know the flop will be A-K-rag ... and invariably give your opponent top pair or a set ...

Of course, I have sucked throughout January, so what the hell do I know?

11:24 PM  
Blogger jeciimd said...

Jessica Alba...ohwait...sorry wrong blog.
Assuming folding is not an option, the question becomes, "What breed of donkey are we dealing with in the min raiser, i.e. is he the type of guy that would gamble at this stage on a coinflip?" You almost certainly have the best hand here, so if the answer is "yes", you ought to consider calling and pushing the flop if no over cards come; if the answer is "no", then pushing is the right play here.

11:36 PM  
Blogger John G. Hartness said...

It's probably the wrong answer, but I insta-push here. Three-handed, QQ is a favorite in almost all situations, and you're pot-committed with the dinky stack you've got left, so even if you miss the flop and fold, you're probably not getting your seat. So I push, and hope for a call.

12:28 AM  
Blogger FishyMcDonk said...

My first reaction was to say jam it allin. I'm not sure I want the call. The donk on the button probably has Asmallo and probably thinks this hand is golden. Upon further reflection, I still say jam. Now that everyone is in the money you can expect some donkilicious moves.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I agree with FishyMcDonk. Get all of the chips in the middle to see if you can take the pot down right there. I'd rather take it down and not have anyone call. If they do call, you have a good shot at winning the hand anyway.

1:33 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

So nobody agrees with my idea to make a bet that is designed to get some callers? I mean, I've got the third-best possible starting hand, and we're three-handed here, so I have got to figure I am a huge, huge favorite, no? Even taking down the blinds and the minraise from the big stack on my right, I will still probably need one or two more hand wins at least to get my seat, given how large the blinds are and the fact that we're down to three-handed at this point, so I'm paying nearly 4000 chips in blinds and antes for every three hands seen. Although I accept everyone's comments on this point -- that's exactly what I made the post today of course -- I'm surprised that there is no support for what I did with the min-reraise. And here I thought I was being highly clever with my min-reraise bet where I knew I had to be the favorite, and where I figured I had to be a big favorite as well over any hand that called my min-reraise here.

1:48 AM  
Blogger GrayCalx said...

Hoy - So you make a small raise, you get a caller. The flop comes A or K high. You might have a tough decision to make then. I guess you could still get away from it if they look trappy/strong but why put yourself in that position with a good number of chips on the table nad possibly enough to allow you some coasting into the final 4?

4:04 AM  
Blogger FishyMcDonk said...

Flops and callers scare me. End the hand pre-flop.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

To be clear, because a couple of people have mentioned how the flop is going to come with an Ace or a King on it since I have the pocket Queens here, I would be pushing on the flop regardless of what comes down. But this way, I get to win another 5k in chips (or more) from at least one opponent, instead of pushing here on the flop and getting just his 4800 in chips plus the big blind. So I am purposely not pushing here in an attempt to win an additional 5k in chips and then take this pot down on the flop. In my view, the odds that the flop comes with a card that makes a pair for my opponent(s) -- a pair that is higher than a Queen, btw -- are pretty dam low, so I am taking a risk at fairly high probability that I will be able to take this shizzy down on the flop. And then, with the now 10k in chips I've won from the big stack on this hand, I will be in a position to win my seat.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Obie said...

or enjoy 7th place

5:21 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yes Obie, although I actually ended up in 6th place, as you will get to see shortly. Way to anticipate, though.

5:56 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...


I think your minraise is correct when playing for 1st in tournament but pushing is correct when goal is top 4 in this satellite. Push here makes you table leader if other 2 parties fold without confrontation.

My play may be gunshy as only tournament I have cashed lately was FTP Silver Ironman that I slept through, otherwise last 13 tournies have seen me bust with KK (11 times), AK once and AA once

6:16 AM  
Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

I think this is a either your gonna push preflop hand....or I'm gonna say it fold preflop. There is no point(i understand ur reasoning for raising the 10k) but IMO disagree and say you should push. By pushing ur comfortable with either getting called as at least a 3-1 fav or taking down antes and blinds which are huge with the short stack at ur table in push mode with any two. Meaning he's next out. Or just fold thought thats a drastic play but would be correct if the stacks were a little different with two shorties instead of just 1

7:52 AM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

I think you should have shoved here. You don't mind a call, and if everyone else folds, you're up to 25k and 2nd-3rd in chips, with at least two stacks less than half of yours.

You're clearly ahead here, but you don't really want a call, what you want are enough chips to safely stay well above the 4th place bubble. Taking over 9000 here does just that, and minimizes the risk.

Of course, this opinion is only because it's a satellite.

8:11 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

I don't like it. It really just looks like FPS and asking for a beat to me. With your call there is almost 13,000 in the pot. Your mini raise means he is risking 5k to win 25.5k. You are giving him pretty good odds to put a beat on you.

There is a lot in the pot already, if you take it down, that is not a bad thing. You would now have the table chip lead and be able to steal some free chips and chip up for free.

I am jamming this.

12:08 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

Just read all the comments and this jumped out at me...

"In my view, the odds that the flop comes with a card that makes a pair for my opponent(s) -- a pair that is higher than a Queen, btw -- are pretty dam low, so I am taking a risk at fairly high probability that I will be able to take this shizzy down on the flop."

I don't think you have done the math behind his. Even if he has only 1 over card, you have given him the right price to try to hit it on the flop. Its not as dam low as you think.

It is why poker is such a sick game, hands are rarely as big of favorites as people think they are.

12:14 AM  
Blogger slb159 said...

I getcher point about "wanting" a call, 'cause that's your always want to get the most chips out of your opponent as possible...even though it's screwed you lately. But no reason to change your style of's definetly been successful.

But like has already been referred to, you're raise leaves you 7K behind and the pot is already large enough to want to take it down right there.

I think the question for me is what to do if called and you see a flop with an A,K or both? I'd take the chips pf and run with it since you're pretty much committed anyway. Typical scared poker on my part, but pushing is what I would have done.

Your goal is to accumulate chips at that point no matter how you get them (as is any part of a tournament...duh me)...but judging from the BB getting short, he might take a push as a sign to triple up or at least take a bunch of chips by calling your push. Unless he had total air.

Pirate guy? No clue as to what he could be minraise-stealing with.

Just my idiotic attempt at a slb strategy.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

I think you needed to push there preflop.

Your raise could be seen as an attempt to isolate the short(er) stack. If I was the pirate, I wouldn't be giving you credit with that great of a hand, maybe two face cards.

If his raise was a steal attempt, he could even be sitting on a 7-10o and feel like he has to make the call since the pot is so big, and the last thing you want is for that 2-7-10 rainbow flop to beat you.

If you had pushed it would have either taken down the pot or gotten you heads up with hands that you were dominating -pairs through, say, weak aces- I know that your goal was to double up, but I think you probably forced him to call with a couple of raggy cards that could outflop you.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Bottom line guys is this -- with his minraise UTG, I put the big stack on a hand like A9, A8, or maybe a medium pocket pair. Any of those hands, I don't just want a call -- I desperately want a call. How could I be happier than a guy giving me over 10k in chips to draw to either a dominated pocket pair, or realistically at most one of just three Aces left in the deck? Seriously, I read comments like Donnie's and Lucko's there, and I could not agree more. This move by me is going to elicit a call. It is designed to dupe my opponents into calling. One of them called with a dominated hand, and the other called with a racing hand. I still like my play, and I think it's really simple actually -- the big stack had the one and only possible hand I actually feared a little bit, the only possible hand with two overcards to my pocket Queens, the only hand that gives him 6 outs.

6 outs guys. I was allin preflop against two opponents with 2 outs, and 6 outs. Basically if I dodge a 9, Ace or King, I'm golden here, and even some of the times when a 9, Ace or King hits the board, a Queen will hit it as well.

If it makes anyone feel any better, I think everyone was getting it allin here regardless, given what it turned out everybody had. If you're expecting to see hands like 99, QQ and AK all at the same time on a 3-handed table, I'm going to be stealing your blinds and bets All Night Long, as Lionel Ritchie would say.

Thanks for the comments as always. I guess I needed to push here, but like I said I don't think it would have mattered in the end. With pocket Queens, I was bound to lose this one regardless, yknow?

4:01 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

Have to agree with Lucko on the odds (but not the money, your min raise is giving him 18,100 to win with his 5,200). You're giving him around 3.5:1 on his money, and even if he only has K2o he's got better than 3:1 against. Any lower pocket pair, or even suited connectors is around 4:1.

So the pot odds you're giving will definitely induce a call, because they're about right for him. That said, if the flop misses whatever he has, then you're a huge favourite.

Tough call in this situation, but I think you made the wrong move. Your stated goal is to outplay him on the flop unless something scary comes. If you just called, you'd have more ammo to do that (dropping the pot odds to 2:1 on the flop if you go all-in), whereas now even an all-in on the flop will give him better than 4:1 (which could be fine for him depending what he's playing with, especially at this stage). Plus, if an overcard comes, you could be screwed and crippled. An all-in takes a good-sized pot and gets you comfortable now.

And all of this is assuming mommymarcy doesn't call (which is why I favour the all-in, better chance of scaring her out too).

I think your move makes sense with a deeper stack than you have, but an M < 4 isn't the time to get cute.

Or maybe my math is all wrong... I never really trust my odds calculations :).

4:08 AM  

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