Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Going to War with Kournikova in a Short Skirt

As most of you know, last night was DADI 5, a WSOP satellite event. $28+2 entry, and a $1500 entry to a WSOP event for every 54 people entered. 78 people eventually entered, which meant 8 people got paid; $1500 for first, $100 for the next 6 and $80 (and change) for 8th... not to mention the various bounties up for grabs.

The event at PokerStars had double the normal starting stack (3k), and slightly longer levels of 20 minutes. I was pretty happy with that structure as I believe the deeper stacks and longer levels favour my style of play. Naturally I managed to bust in 76th of 78.

"How did that happen?" I hear you ask. I'm glad you did, because I'm going to tell you. I discussed the hand afterwards with SoxLover, but would also like to hear other people's opinions. I am also hoping I got most of the hand details correct.

First level of the tournament, 10/20 blinds. I'm in MP. With two limpers ahead of me I look down and see KQ of diamonds (or as I like to call it, Kournikova in a short skirt). Ooh, pretty! I decide to bump it to 5xBB. It's folded around to StB, the second limper, who calls.

At that point my network dropped out. Yay! I reconnect and see that the flop was Qh-Jd-3d. I really like this flop. StB has checked to me, and I bet out the pot, 250. StB re-raises to 750. My Spidey Sense tingles, and I am worried he has a set. I think for a little while, before deciding to push. StB calls and flips over a set of 3s. I curse, and hope a diamond shows up. No such luck, and in fact a Q falls making StB a full house. My tournament is done.

Here are some of my thoughts:

- I'm not folding KQ s00ted pre-flop there, though I could have just limped. I don't have a big problem with my raise.

- I hit the flop just about as hard as I would have liked.

- StB checked to me, which could have meant that a) he missed the flop and is planning to fold to a raise or will try and take the pot away from me later, b) he would like to see another card as cheaply as possible, or c) he hit the flop and is pretty sure I either didn't hit it as hard as he did, or that I am going to make a continuation bet, which he can either call or raise.

- I could have checked and seen another card on the turn, but with my hand I wanted to get more chips in the pot. If the bet took the pot down there I am fine with that.

- I interpreted StB's re-raise to mean either a) he had hit a monster b) he thought I might be trying to buy the pot with my action pre and post flop and wanted to see where he was at in the hand, or c) he was trying to buy the pot himself.

- Given StB's raise I felt I either had to raise or fold. I didn't feel that calling was an option. If I called and a diamond didn't hit I was probably going to face a big bet on the turn; I wanted to see both cards.

- On one hand it's still early in the tournament, I haven't committed too many chips, and one of the things I enjoy about these tournaments is playing against the competition. I can lay this hand down.

- On the other hand, I have a strong hand with a monster redraw. By raising (including pushing) I am putting maximum pressure on StB. And even if he calls me and is ahead on the flop I have a lot of outs... and this is a top heavy tournament payout structure. Gambling early is not necessarily a bad ploy.

So tell me... do you like my play? If so, why? If not, why not?


  • Meh. I donked out myself. Deep stacks means not having to make those moves.. however was it bad? Only thing I do not like is you not going with your gut read.

    By Blogger SirFWALGMan, at 11:03 AM  

  • It is so early, but if you win that hand you are early chip leader. As it were, STB was early chip leader. I don't hate it, but there are other ways to have played it. Not sure what I would do...tough decision...

    By Blogger TripJax, at 11:09 AM  

  • Agreed with Sir....go with your gut.

    In a case like that, I usually bet on the flop just like you did. I don't think there was anything wrong with that.

    The big check-raise might have scared me enough for me to just drop the hand at that point...

    Even though the pot-odds were barely in your favor to call the 500 raise into the 1000 pot for your flush draw, you are right in assuming that he pushes or bets big on the turn, therefore pricing you out of the hand.

    Go with your gut.......

    Sorry about busting early......

    By Blogger jjok, at 11:14 AM  

  • Tournaments are about surviving. Why put your tournament life at risk on a non nut draw when you have tons of chips and the blinds are so tiny? If you hit your flush, you might still lose since the Ad is still out there. You hit two pair and you might be dead to a set. If this was a cash game, then yes, by all means push all these tiny little edges cause that’s where your profits are gonna come from but you have to walk away from these barely +EV sitautions in tournaments and wait for a bigger edge to move your chips in the middle.

    I have a rule to keep myself out of trouble early in tournaments. Push only when you have the nuts. That’s it.

    By Blogger L'artiste, at 11:27 AM  

  • I wouldn't have raised with KQd and two limpers, especially with this bunch. Too much can go wrong with that hand, and though you have position, almost any flop that is good for you is also very dangerous.

    I'm with l'artiste in that I wouldn't push on a non-nut draw, especially in the face of a check raise. I probably would have called his raise on the flop, and if I didn't improve on the turn then just let it go.

    Of course, if the Q came on the turn, then you'd have probably ended with the same result anyway, so I don't see much that would have saved you unless you elected not to play the hand in the first place or just limped and folded to a raise pre-flop.

    By Blogger Matt Silverthorn, at 11:40 AM  

  • The hand is not an easy one to back away from. I got lucky in not only hitting a set, but avoiding the outs as well. I would have raised that flop as well but with 2 limpers and big stacks, maybe a bit higher. I probably would still call because of the deep stacks unless you bump it to 200. When you re-raised the flop, I thought I was running into set over set. It was a good raise that had me thinking. I myself, would not have re-raised though. I try not to get myself into trouble early in a tournament and short stacked. My read on you then changed from set over set to A K or A Q. I pushed feeling I had the best hand. Gambling early can be profitable though. Yes, I took the gamble by playing and getting lucky.

    BTW, my poker blog is at www.beercitypoker.blogspot.com. Nice playing with you last night. See you at next weeks WWdN

    By Blogger StB, at 12:48 PM  

  • Thanks for your comments guys. Looks like the general consensus is that I should have listened to the little voice.

    StB, I'll update your link and put you in my blog roll. Thanks for dropping in.

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 1:09 PM  

  • Two issues. First, I echo Waffles and JJ in your decision to ignore your gut feeling. I'm plenty guilty of it, but the gut read seems to generally be a solid one. Second, I'm totally with artiste and Matt: always ask yourself, do you want to risk your tournament life with these cards? Deep stacks and that early, I would've called his reraise, and if nothing hit on the turn, folded depending on the bet. But I'm a total donkfish, so what do I know?

    By Blogger iamhoff, at 3:31 PM  

  • Hmmm. I missed the detail that he had check raised you. That might have made it marginal to play on.

    On the other hand, with top pair and a flush draw, you can only be so far behind, even to a set.

    Two relevant questions: is there another hand he could play that aggressively? Assuming he has that hand, or one like it, is this a good time to gamble?

    QJ is a hand he might have limped with I think, but less likely given your queen. Against this hand, you've got odds provided you see two cards.

    Don't see J3 or Q3.

    Over pair, AK or AQ. I'm doubting it, he's aggressive and would have bet these preflop. Though if he did have AQ, AA or KK, the check raise he made is one way to play against a potential flush draw. Against those 3 hands, you are clearly justified.

    JJ or 33. First hand, very unlikely since he did not raise it up preflop.

    Second hand, well it's consistent and of course what he had--all in all, if he's not bluffing. Against this hand you're a seventeen to eight dog, betting 2250 to win 3785. This is not enough odds to make this move. However, against a range like (JJ,33,AQs,AQo--I exclude other possibles and include JJ because I agree the most likely line is that he has the 33), you are only a 4:6 dog per PokerStove. Toss in a small possiblity he's bluffing (STB?!) and you're not that far off from justified.

    Last factor why I like your call--and it's a biggie--even if you trust your read to be 80% correct. It's a great spot to gamble. This tourney only pays off at the top, and believe me, you'd rather go out with bang than bubble with a whimper. You just need to make a play like this some time in the tourney, and getting a big stack early will put you in a position to accumulate chips. It's not like a 180 push fest where it's impossible to use a big stack to intimidate push monkeys and where there is a bozo on every table willing to pay you off as you patiently wait for your monster.

    You were 8:17 to being chip leader, and that wudn't bad.

    By Blogger SoxLover, at 7:19 AM  

  • Garth, I'm kinda surprised that I'm the only one saying this in the comments, but I don't think you should have played the KQs right from the getgo with 2 limpers in front of you. I agree that if you do play it, you raise with it, so that part was good, but it's just the two limpers that concerns me. Even though it's sOOted, the way I see it, the odds are fairly good that one of the two front limpers already has an Ace or a pocket pair, in either case making you an underdog from the beginning. Why put in 5x the BB into a situation where you figure to be a dog before the flop is even out (and especially since one of those limpers could have had AK or AQ in which case you were really cooked). And doubly especially since there were still a bunch of guys left to play ahead of you.

    If I had a dollar for every time I've lost with KQ or KJ in a hand I should have never played preflop to begin with, I could buy into the Mookie tournament tonight for free. And then some.

    If you're going to bust out if a big blogger event early, at least be like me and bust with 94o. God what a donkey I am.

    By Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo, at 10:02 AM  

  • Hoyazo, part of the reason I played the hand I did was because I could not see A-K or A-Q limping like that. If I am a dog to a pocket pair, I am a (slight) dog... but we're not pushing all-in there. If I put in 5xBB and someone behind me comes over the top, I can let it go.

    I like playing suited connectors (especially big ones) because when they hit the flop they can pay off huge... and I did hit the flop pretty hard.

    At the end of the day, I don't like the fact that I chose to gamble so early, especially when I had a gut read that I was facing a set. I also think it is one of those things... if a diamond hits, or if StB folds, it looks like I made a gutsy decision that was vindicated. That's poker.

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 10:44 AM  

  • Since I'm an Omaha player and LOVE draws, I would have pushed but known I was behind either a set or AQ.

    By Blogger Drizztdj, at 11:02 AM  

  • I think you're over-thinking it, and had you won, you wouldn't be discussing it (or would you?).

    I was torn at the time, but I really don't think you played it bad. I think you could make a case that you played it well.

    That's a big hand to laydown, and I think it may be -EV to fold fearing a set (you said you didn't fear AK) since even in that unlikely case, you still have a lot of outs.

    By Blogger DP, at 11:03 PM  

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