Friday, May 08, 2009

A Hand From a Commentor

I got three comments within 12 hours of my last post. I think that's a new record. One of the comments was a questions about a tournament hand. Here is the comment:

Here's a hand from a tourney I'd like to hear your thoughts about:

$33 buy-in, 60 make the money I have an average stack with 300 people left.

Blinds are 100/200 and I have about 4700 chips. I open raise to 600 from the cutoff with T9s and the button calls with a very big stack. I'm new to the table so no read on him.

Flop is JJ9 rainbow. I bet 800 and he calls. I think it's likely he's floating with overcards (or nothing) or has a smaller pocket pair, maybe a 9. Less chance he's slowplaying a jack or overpair, or maybe QT/T8.

Turn is a jack. I check thinking that I'm risking him checking behind with overcards, but since he's the big stack I'm hoping to induce a bluff where he could easily be drawing dead. He bets 1800 and I checkraise all-in.

What do you think of my play and thinking behind the play?


I'll start at the beginning. One of the pillars of successful no limit play is avoiding tough decisions. The problem with a hand like T9s is you often end up with tough decisions when you make a pair. Unless you make a straight or a flush (which will only happen about 6% of the time - I think - and that's if you go to the river) it's hard to tell where you stand. While it's not crazy to raise T9s from the cutoff in the scenario you mentioned, it's not crazy to just fold it.

Think about it this way; by far the most likely things to happen are everyone folds or someone reraises you. If everyone folds you win 300. If someone makes a standard reraise (or an all in reraise) you lose 600. That seems like a breakeven play at best. It's better when there are antes.

The big problem here is the size of your chip stack. I'd like this raise a whole lot more if you had 15,000 chips and the 600 wasn't such a big chunk of your stack. Then if someone makes it 1,600 or 1,400 you can call in position and see what happens.

I'm realizing that I could go on and on about blind stealing at this stage of a tournament, but let me quickly say that the stack sizes of they players behind you are much more important that what you have in your hand if you're not going to call a reraise (you want to blinds to be a little short stacked, but no so short they are likely to just go all in). Even if you're going to fold to a reraise, having an ace in your hand doesn't hurt because if people are going to play back at you they usually have a pair or an ace and if you have an ace that's one less for your opponents to have.

I guess that's not really what you were asking, but it occurred to me so I thought I'd mention it.

So once you raise and get called now your in a tough spot. My first thought is that it could be AA or KK trapping. The deeper you get into a tournament the more worried you should be about getting smooth called like this. Of course if it's not one of those two then it's almost certainly big cards.

You have to bet the flop. I would be very worried when I get smooth called again. Overcards are a possibility (I like betting a little more like maybe 1,200 to unload the overcard hands that will take one off for 800), but much more likely it's AA, KK or AJ, KJ or QJ. I think you can probably rule out QT or T8 since he'd probably fold those hands preflop and if he took it to the flop, given the stack sizes he'd probably just move all in. It's very dangerous to hope that someone is floating you. Whenever I think "This guy could be floating me" I always screw myself over.

When you get called on the flop you have to think "I'm beat. I'm done with this hand unless the turn is a 9, 8, Q or maybe a jack." Of course the turn was a jack which means they chances of your opponent having a jack just went way down.

This is a really tough spot. If I was playing my A+ game I would check fold the turn, but 90% of the time I'd do what you did. If you're going to go with it, I like checking to induce the bluff or the bet from a worst hand. Certainly this was a hand that had a lot to it. I welcome additional comments on it from anyone.

I'm guessing he showed you AA and that was the end of the tournament for you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point about the stack sizes preflop.

I'm mostly a sng player, and there it is very common for the big stack to float the flop the take the pot away on the turn if the raiser missed the flop since the stacks aren't deep enough to fire 2 bullets without committing to the hand. Perhaps I overestimated the chances of it happening here.

Also, since this was a small buy-in tournament I probably don't give the players enough credit.

You never mention the possibility of him having a smaller pocket pair. I thought this was a likely holding for him. He would just call before the flop hoping to hit a set, and call a c-bet hoping I missed with big cards. You also don't mention the possibility of him having a 9. When he calls the flop bet am I really beat almost every time here? I considered the fact that he was slowplaying but thought my hand was often good. I was more worried about him having a 9 with a higher kicker but when the Jack came on the turn we would chop.

If I check the turn and he bets, I think he's going to have a smaller pocket pair or a 9 a large % of the time so I don't see how I can fold. I agree that I should have had a lot more chips at the start of the hand then I could have still been alive by the time I realized I was beat.

Interesting that you didn't mention his actual hand. He had QQ.

Thanks for the feedback.