Sunday, May 4, 2008

An important lesson in tournament strategy

The setup:

This is a super-satellite tournament. We are 5 handed. 6th place was the bubble. 5th place gets a booby prize. 4th through 1st tie for the win.

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: Super Sat to FTOPS Event #16 (_), Table 2 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:09:21 ET - 2008/05/05
Seat 1: victim (910)
Seat 2: hero (11,925)

Heh. Nice stack, dude. :) I caught lucky once or twice, but for the most part, I played a good game and didn't get screwed.

Seat 3: (3,625)
Seat 4: (3,870)
Seat 5: villain (3,670)
hero posts the small blind of 60
Seat 3 posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to nsayer [Qd 8d]
Seat 4 calls 120
villain raises to 240
victim raises to 910, and is all in
hero calls 850

What?! With a suited queen?

Well, it hardly costs me anything to make the call, and tripling him up, if that's what happens, doesn't really change the table significantly from my point of view. On the other hand, if I catch, it's over. But the villain may have a better hand than me. It is in our joint interest that one of us have a better hand than the victim.

Seat 3 folds
Seat 4 folds
villain calls 670

Remember this moment carefully. I tip my hat retroactively to the villain here.

*** FLOP *** [4c 7s 4d]
hero checks
villain checks
*** TURN *** [4c 7s 4d] [Qs]


But what if the victim has pocket kings, the villain has ace high, and an ace is coming on the river? It is still better to simply check it down.

hero checks
villain checks
*** RIVER *** [4c 7s 4d Qs] [6d]
hero checks
villain checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
victim shows [Th Td] two pair, Tens and Fours
hero shows [Qd 8d] two pair, Queens and Fours
villain shows [Ad As] two pair, Aces and Fours

Oh ho!

The villain would normally have been perfectly justified in re-raising pre-flop to make me go away. I certainly would have folded. But my hat goes off to this villain - he recognized the situation perfectly. What if the victim had A4 and I had 58o? The villain would have had the 3rd best hand, the victim would have been chipped up, I would still have been a monster chip lead, but he would have been seriously wounded. By letting me draw all the way to the river, I might have won the pot instead of the victim, and it would have been over.

villain wins the pot (2,970) with two pair, Aces and Fours
victim stands up
villain stands up
hero stands up
Seat 4 stands up
Seat 3 stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,970 | Rake 0
Board: [4c 7s 4d Qs 6d]
Seat 1: victim (button) showed [Th Td] and lost with two pair, Tens and Fours
Seat 2: hero (small blind) showed [Qd 8d] and lost with two pair, Queens and Fours
Seat 3: (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: folded before the Flop
Seat 5: villain showed [Ad As] and won (2,970) with two pair, Aces and Fours

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