Friday, August 24, 2007

Tournament strategy

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $10 + $1 Sit & Go (_), Table 1 - 20/40 - No Limit Hold'em - 21:19:19 ET - 2007/08/24
Seat 1: (100)
Seat 2: hero (1,515)
Seat 3: (1,455)
Seat 4: (1,960)
Seat 5: (1,440)
Seat 6: (2,530)
Seat 1 posts the small blind of 20
hero posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Jc 4d]
Seat 3 calls 40
Seat 4 folds
Seat 5 folds
Seat 6 folds
Seat 1 raises to 100, and is all in
hero calls 60

What?! Calling a pre-flop raise out of position with jack-crap offsuit?!

Yes. Because he was extremely short and because I was partially invested. The goal of a tournament is to get rid of everybody else at the table. The more people who call a short stack all-in the more likely he will be beaten. The same reasoning leads to the other cardinal rule of tournament poker: Never, ever, ever bluff into a dry side pot. By bluffing into a dry side pot you could chase away a hand that has the all-in player beat. You can't bluff the all-in player. All you can do is lose to him. If you're going to lose the pot anyway, better to lose it to a big stack than chip up a small stack.

Seat 3 calls 60
*** FLOP *** [8s 3c Ac]
hero checks
Seat 3 checks
*** TURN *** [8s 3c Ac] [Kc]
hero checks
Seat 3 checks
*** RIVER *** [8s 3c Ac Kc] [Tc]

Nice. I've caught my flush, and it's the 2nd-to-nut flush. I said the rule was to never bluff into a dry side pot. Not never to bet into one.

hero bets 300

I suppose making it a pot-sized bet was potentially a mistake. Better to try and bet for value, but I really wanted to know if my neighbor in the side pot had the queen of clubs. Besides, it's clear that the goal here is to get rid of the short stack. Better to send the message that I'm not bluffing.

Seat 3 folds
Uncalled bet of 300 returned to hero
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hero shows [Jc 4d] a flush, Ace high
Seat 1 mucks
hero wins the pot (300) with a flush, Ace high
Seat 1 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 300 | Rake 0
Board: [8s 3c Ac Kc Tc]
Seat 1: (small blind) mucked [Ks 6h] - a pair of Kings

See? What would have happened if, say, Seat 1 had bluffed at the pot post-flop with, say, Qd 4h. He would have chased me away and lost the pot to the short stack. He'd have still lost his pre-flop call, so for him the outcome would not have changed, but we'd still have 6 players at the table instead of 5.

Seat 2: hero (big blind) showed [Jc 4d] and won (300) with a flush, Ace high
Seat 3: folded on the River
Seat 4: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: (button) didn't bet (folded)

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