Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fastest Bustout Out of a Tournament Ever--and It's Not Really A Bad Thing

"Progress" can be evaluated in many ways.  In poker, you could just look at won/lost results and make some judgement about progress, but that wouldn't be the whole story. For all the skill in poker, and it is considerable, there's also luck attached as well.  After all, the best starting hand in poker is Ace/Ace, but by the end of the hand it doesn't always win.  Similarly, what is considered the worst hand in poker, 7-2, can be a winner when, say for example, the flop comes 7-2-7.

So poker players try to evaluate the best play for a particular situation as either "+EV" or "-EV".The EV stands for "expected value."  To oversimplify it, if the move you make (raising, calling, folding, etc) is the "correct" move, it has a +EV, meaning that in the long run, if you made that exact same play in the exact same situation every time it came up, you would come out ahead.  Your expected value has increased, even if turns out the move didn't work because the cards didn't cooperate that particular time. Conversely, the move has a minus EV if, in the long run, you would lose money making that move, even if you got lucky that particular time.

Which means that to be a succesful poker player, you have to be prepared to risk a lot of your chips, even everyone that's in front of you at the moment, to make the right play, and while, more often than not it will work out, that particular time, you could lose.  Maybe even a lot.

One of the reasons it took so long for me to move over to No Limit poker from Low Limit poker was I wasn't ready to risk "a lot" of money for to make the right move, even if I was 100% sure it was the right move, when the gods of fortune could deal me a severe beat at that particular moment.  And if you are not prepared to risk a good amount of money (for however you yourself define "a good amount of money") to make the right move, you have no chance whatsever of being succesful at this crazy game.

Which brings us to yesterday at the Aria 1PM tournament.  Buy-in $125, 30 min levels, 10K in starting chips.  Third or fouth hand of the tournament, blinds are still $25-$50.  UTG I get pocket 9's.  Since I'm still getting comfy in my seat, have no idea about any of the other players and how they play, and I've got (hopefully) a full day of poker ahead of me, I just limp in to see what happens.

Guy on the cut-off seat raises to $200 after one other caller.  BB calls, other limper calls.  Flop was J-9-3, but two spades.  Yahtzee!  OK, I think about leading out, but then I figure that PF raiser is almost sure to bet if it's checked to him, and then I can unleash my check-raise.  I know I can't slow play it because of the flush draw but I really figured a bet was coming.

I was right, PF raiser bets $500.  BB folds.  I count out $1800 and raise.  Other guy folds.  PF raiser thinks for a few seconds and then.....

Shoves.

Shoves?

All in on the third hand of the tournament?  With what?  OK, he could have raised with pocket Jacks and have me crushed.  But you can't put a guy on only one hand there, and of course, I had no read on this guy.  He could have A/J, an overpair, or he could even be making a stonecold bluff thinking there's no way I call him with my entire starting stack this early in the tournament.

Of course, I knew that even if I had him crushed, which is what I assumed, I could still lose pending the last two cards to come.  And there goes my $125 in less than 10 minutes.

I will be totally honest with my readers.  A month ago, I don't even think much about it.  A month ago, I fold like a cheap suit, still have over 9k in chips and go on with my life and the rest of the tournament.

So this is where "progress" comes in.  I'm ready now to do the right thing, even if it may cost me my stack.  The right move here is to call, and I do.  So here I am--me, the very timid, former 2/4 player, risking his entire stack less than 10 minutes into a $125 tournament.  Progress.  I guess I'm ready to try become a better poker player.  Whether I succeed or not is another subject, but I'm ready to try.

Guy flips over pocket Ace's.  I will let my readers review and comment on whether they like his move or not.  If you want to try to tell me that move made sense from his standpoint--shoving all in with an overpair at this particular point of the tournament--be my guest.

But for a moment, I liked it a lot...until the turn produced a friggin' Ace!  Reduced to one out, the river was not the 9 I needed but a Jack, giving us both boats.  But he had the bigger boat.  I hope it gets eaten by sharks in the next Jaws remake.

He had lost a couple of chips in the hand before, so I was left with $225 in chips, which I shoved next hand with A/J and lost.

Oh, yeah, so the guy has the temerity say to me, when the Ace hit, and I groan, "Hey, you hit your two-outer, then I hit mine. So?"

Sir, I hit my set on the flop, you hit yours on the turn. That's a little different, isn't it, asshole?

Here's another thing I wouldn't have done last month.  Since it was that early in the tournament, I took advantage of my ability to re-enter one time and did so.  I've never re-entered a tournament after busting out before, and this is the highest price tournament I play.  Now I'm not saying that move had a +EV, it didn't, but it does show how I'm thinking about poker a little differently than I did even 6 weeks ago.

I wish I could tell you I went on to win the tournament--or at least cash--but I cannot.  I did have a long run, perhaps I'll describe it more fully when I have time.  But I busted out 17th, they only paid 9, and I spent the last hour totally card dead until I had no choice but to shove in early position with K-10.  A guy with a weak Ace called, nothing hit the board.

One more thing though.  At the first break, I just had to tell Veronica about how I busted out.  While she agreed that it was an "insta-call" for me to call his shove on the flop, she did give me some very thoughtful insight on the hand prior to the shove.  She said I should have raised pre-flop (which I knew, but I just wanted to get a little more comfortable with knowing the players before raising early with such a "weak/good" hand) and then thrown the 9's away if the PF raiser 3 bet me.  She also told me I shouldn't have risked the check-raise, and believe me, if you've read my previous post below, you know I'm aware of that.  Just felt pretty sure I would get a chance to check-raise.  At least I was right about that.

Who is this "Veronica" I mentioned in the above paragraph?  You don't recall my mentioning a lady with this name before?  You are right, this is the first I've talked about her.  You will have to be patient, my friends.  My next post will be all about this intriguing woman.  Stay tuned.  ((Edited to add....OK, it wasn't my next post, it took longer than I thought.  But the story of Veronica is now posted and can be found here.))

21 comments:

  1. I once saw a blogger bust out of a deep stack tournament in Las Vegas on the first orbit -- perhaps the second hand of the tournament. He was so embarrassed that he had never mentioned it publicly ...

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    1. Hmmm, I wonder if that person reads my blog? Perhaps he'll fess up here.

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  2. You put in a small amount preflop as an 80-20 dog, with serious implied odds. Aces yahoo put in his whole stack, and put his tourney life at risk, as a 90-10 dog, where he mostly gets called by hands that beat him. I approve of one of these two plays.

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    1. Thanks for the comment and the support, Grange, appreciate it. I was fairly sure the guy was an idiot, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

      A lucky idiot, though.

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  3. You played it totally and completely correctly. You lost. That is poker. Have fun next time. Unless you had a dead-on read he had the higher set you can never fold there.

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    1. Thanks, Waffle-man. I had no read at all, other than assuming he would follow his preflop raise with a flop raise. He seemed to know the dealers, so I guess he plays in the room a lot, but I know that doesn't make him a good player. And unless he had pocket Jacks, I couldn't see his move as a smart play.

      Maybe he'd just assumed I was a weak, timid player who would fold my set because I'm not the young, handsome, dashing kid I used to be (back in the JFK administration).

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  4. Cash game, no question that's the right move there. For a tournament, it's a bit of a grey area, especially with two spades on the board. You could be up against a donkey shove with a draw. Yes, your hand was pretty powerful, though vulnerable to set over set as you mentioned, but my much bigger concern would have been the spades. In tournaments, you have to sometimes lay down the best hand; I don't know if I could have right there, but that's why I play cash games almost exclusively now. Besides, advice is much easier to give than to take.

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    1. Gary, you're the only one so far that wasn't 100% behind my call, so it's interesting to see some contrarian views. To me, it depends n the size and scope of the tournament. I think I would have folded if it had been a $10k event! Two months ago I would have folded at this same tournament. I made a couple of posts on AVP about this, and to me, in this context, I do think about the entry fee.

      I wonder if your pal Josie would agree with you on this being a grey area, she's pretty aggresive at the poker table, isn't she?

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    2. it's not a grey area. There are some times in tourneys where you want to avoid flips (especially with a middle size stack) and should pass up maybe even a big potential edge (like on the bubble of a tourney that has evenly proportional payouts).

      However, in this spot if VIllain shows you a flush draw you should be shoving all your chips in your best Phil Helmuthian manner as quickly as possible. Even without seeing his cards this is a snap shove/call/etc.

      You played it fine except for the part about getting unlucky!

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    3. Thanks, Vook. Perhaps you and Gary can fight it out!

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  5. That hand is just gross. Villain's shove is atrocious in that spot. Perhaps he thought you were betting your draw aggressively (str8t or flush); but even so, the shove is horrible. No question you played it right (which I'm sure you realize . . .). I would have been humiliated if I were him !

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    1. Thanks for posting, Pete, appreciate your thoughts. At the time, the guy showed no signs of humiliation, I assure you.

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  6. Call the shove and don't even think twice. Cash game, tournament, tiddlywinks, whatever, easy call.

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  7. Shove? Somehow that sounds sexual.....sorry!

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    1. Many poker terms sound dirty. "All in", "big stacks", "huge pair" "suck out" etc.

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    2. Same for the finance world, I.e., naked shorts, spreads, etc.

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  8. Your checkraise tells my aces I am behind. You have a set or flopped top two. The only hand you might hold that I'm ahead of Q-10 or 10-8 of spades which puts me still at only 50/50 to win. I might call your check raise and be very thankful when the 3rd ace falls on the turn but shove? Thats just crazy. Bet you outlasted him in that tourney

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    1. You're right. When I got to one of the last 2 tables, he was nowhere to be seen. Thanks.

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  9. as everyone else said (except Gary) you played the hand great.
    Even if he was on a flush draw he still has to HIT in order to win and even if he hits you have Boat outs, or you could have gotten there already before he hit (or at the same time he hit).
    You are a huge favorite to most every hand there - sometimes they get there.

    Glad you played it the way you did, your transition into a NL player is coming along nicely.
    Next we get you into PLO so that you know what true variance really is :)

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