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08/23/2005: "If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."

i think it is important that poker players (and humans in general) are honest in their mistakes; being able to admit an error, to expose it for all to see is an opportunity to (a) receive feedback, (b) recognize the issue and help mitigate further chances for repetition, (c) heal and move on.

last night i suffered two instances where i think it is important for me to shine the light of truth and reason on the circumstances, the motives and the results; neither is a shiney story of happiness.

read more after the jump!


it should be of no secret that i fully enjoy tournament poker. one might conclude that i am addicted, and i can truly say (in a non-life harming way), i am! i enjoy the skill involved in playing, and i certainly like the idea that in tournaments you can risk a little to win a lot - a much more positive EV situation than say the lottery.

last night i played in a super-satellite on Full Tilt for the Borgata WPT event. pretty standard $24+$2 NLHE tourney where so many places will win berths into the $200+$16 satellite. i figured i would try my hand at getting in cheap, but i have no fear in ponying up the full $216 to try and win. heck, i spend $100 each sunday at Northside just trying to win roughly $1200-$2000 for 1st place.

here is the hand that ended my tournament:

FullTiltPoker Game #193585652: $24 + $2 / Token Satellite (1141019), Table 1 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:45:04 ET - 2005/08/22
Seat 2: Blaster (4,065)
Seat 3: Quiksilvah (960)
Seat 4: sellthekids (1,815)
Seat 5: sheg20 (3,440)
Seat 6: jz630 (3,395)
Seat 7: DPWAT23 (3,230)
Seat 8: Danotmano (5,985)
Danotmano posts the small blind of 60
Blaster posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #7
Dealt to sellthekids [Ts Td]
Quiksilvah folds
sellthekids raises to 380
sheg20 folds
jz630 folds
DPWAT23 folds
Danotmano calls 320
Blaster folds
* FLOP * [8s 7s Qs]
Danotmano bets 120
sellthekids raises to 880
Danotmano calls 760
* TURN * [8s 7s Qs] [3c]
Danotmano bets 555
sellthekids calls 555, and is all in
Danotmano shows [Kd As]
sellthekids shows [Ts Td]
* RIVER * [8s 7s Qs 3c] [Ah]
Danotmano shows a pair of Aces
sellthekids shows a pair of Tens
Danotmano wins the pot (3,750) with a pair of Aces
sellthekids stands up
Total pot 3,750 | Rake 0
Board: [8s 7s Qs 3c Ah]
Seat 2: Blaster (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: Quiksilvah didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: sellthekids showed [Ts Td] and lost with a pair of Tens
Seat 5: sheg20 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: jz630 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: DPWAT23 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: Danotmano (small blind) showed [Kd As] and won (3,750) with a pair of Aces

when this hand arrives, i am pretty short-stacked in comparision to the field; i am in the bottom quarter - the average chip stack is about double mine. i have been playing pretty conservative poker: using position to my advantage, playing only quality starting hands, making the occasional steal/play to win the blinds. up until this hand i had only seen a few strong opening hands: aces twice that were folded to when i opened for 4xBB and AK, AQ a few times that either netted the blinds or small pots. i've had a few instances of small wired pairs where i saw the flop, but had not been able to hit a set.

our table is short-handed, with seven players. i am UTG+1 and wake up to 10s. this is the first wired pair i have had that i can raise with, but need to be careful about, since post-flop 10s are troublesome. rather than limp, which i see as an error in my situation, i raise a little more than 3xBB to 380. to be honest, i would have been plenty pleased just to win the blinds. the SB, our table big stack, calls the extra 320. since we are pre-flop his range in my estimation is pretty big from 88 to AA, AK to A8suited, and maybe some suited connectors such as 10-J or KQ.

the flop is not that encouraging: 3 spades, queen-high. the pot is 880 and i have 1435 left. Danotmano bets 120 into an 880 pot: less than 15% of the pot size - he is either holding the nuts and planning on milking it, probing for information, or trying to control my actions by acting on a dangerous board. my decsion here will seal my fate. something about his bet made me think he was drawing to the flush. i often employ this tactic (i am not sure how smart or effective it is, but that is another story) where you bet out so that your opponent thinks you are value betting the pot. the goal is to either take the pot down or limit your opponent's actions - maybe he'll just call essentially giving you an almost free card. i like to put 20-30% into the pot in these instances, but it just 'felt" like that was what Danotmano was doing. if my read is right, i need to raise.

in chosing my raise size i consider the following: (a) i have the non-nut flush draw, maybe good for a 10% chance to win; (b) i have runner-runner straight draw maybe good for a 10% chance to win; (c) it is possible that my tens are still best for a 25% chance to win. a little less than 50/50 i am thinking. i decide to represent hitting the queen but fearing the flush draw, so i bet the pot and at the same time commit myself to the hand - on the turn, i am all-in regardless of the card. i bet 880, leaving me with 555. Danotmano uses a fair amount of his time to call my 880 bet. the pot is 2640.

when the turn dinks a club, Danotmano puts me all-in. i am not sure if he put me on the flush draw or sensed weakness - he could have just decided that he had enough outs and a big enough stack to push - probably what i would have done.

here's the math on the turn.

in hindsight, i don't know what to fully think about this hand. i personally feel i played it correctly, that my read was right and the outcome should have no bearing on the decision. BUT i can see where some might look at this hand and think i was really playing loose. my only answer to that is this was a time to push - not only in the hand but in the tournament. the argument will be that i could have held out, avoided confrontation with the table big-stack and waited for a more 'quality' hand. and i could have. hindsight is 20/20. still, i welcome the opinions and other criticisms - i would like to know how others would have played it.

there is a far more serious hand to talk about, one where the error is common and evident. i'll be back in a few hours to discuss that one!

hasta luego!

Replies: 2 Comments

A couple of thoughts.

You have to hate that board when it comes out after being smooth-called by the big stack. Obviously you made a good read on his bet, but in my opinion and from some quick math, if he has the A or K of spades he's either way ahead of you (flush) or drawing pretty even, as he was in this case. Given that, I think you are looking for a card to improve your hand, or at the very least, one that clearly doesn't improve his, on the turn. Because it's probably close to 50/50 on the flop (if you're not already beaten), I think you should happily accept his offer to continue cheaply and just call. Let's see how he likes his flush draw and two overs with one to come when you shove 1300 chips in the pot when the blank falls on the turn. Given your raise, you were obviously willing to play this hand all the way, but I think strategically, the free card is just as valuable to you as it is to him so take it.

I just don't think you're far enough ahead of his reasonable range to be comitting all your chips on that flop. If you had a huge stack, on the other hand, I think it's a very reasonable play because you can ratchet up the pressure again on the turn. In this case, you have only one shell to fire, and given your read on what he's holding, I think it's more effectively fired on the turn.

I think his shove on the turn was a pretty savvy move. When you raised the flop, he was ready to match anything you put in. But instead of just putting them all in at that time, he saves the last 550 and gave himself a small chance to push you off the hand on the turn.

Bad luck for sure, and I don't blame you for pushing the 10s hard pre-flop or for the turn call, but I think it would have been prudent not to commit on an ugly flop like that given you were unlikely to be far ahead of anything he'd be holding unless you could read the tiny bet as a pure bluff - unlikely.

Just my .02, and I'm off my tourney game lately, so I could be way off base here. But it is something to think about.

Mourn said @ 08/23/2005 01:46 PM CST

i love having Mourn as a reader/poster!

i did in fact hate that board. and i barely even thought about just calling his 120 - which now is a glaring option, probably a better one than potting it.

looking back it is easy to see the desperation in my play here - i had folded for so long and was watching the blinds creep up that 10s looked huge! heh - they're not that big, as we can see.

also, i think you are correct that instead of making a large bet and committing, waiting and jamming the pot might have had more effect on his read. my play looks pretty transparent to me now.

thanks for the advice! i hope you break 'em off in Kinder!

bcd said @ 08/23/2005 02:12 PM CST

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