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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Grow & Learn

You pretty much need to do this, even if your entire answer is "just try not to suck":

PokerStars is announcing ANOTHER contest within a contest. For all registrants of PokerStars Blogger Championship, we are giving out a cool PokerStars Fleece for the following contest:

In your own words (any length you think is appropriate), tell PokerStars what makes a good blog. If you have a poker blog or one that has this as a major topic, please add relevance to poker in your topic.

Email all entries to: I will announce the winner and post his answer and blog URL on our blog this upcoming Friday the 21st. Good Luck!

{source: PokerStars Blogger Championship Blog}


On the personal poker front, a modestly profitable but largely unsatisfying night last night. As a semi-professional-Titan-only-low-low-buyin MTT player (okay, not really), it bothers me when I do stupid things.

Case in point {oh, I know, you LOVE hand histories and bad analysis}:

Final table of a freezeout, 6 players left. I'm not the short stack, more like the middle, but I have only 5.5 to 6 BBs. I find 55 in the SB and it's folded around to me. I min-raise to try and steal the blind, opponent in the BB pushes all in over the top. He has me covered.

I think it through some. The BB is a complete monkey. He's been caught restealing a couple times, with very marginal hands. His whole M.O. is to push all in any chance he gets preflop -- he's just been very, very lucky. I figure he has any ace, or possibly any face (it turns out I was right, he had AQo, although that's probably more of a hand than I gave him credit for).

Despite my brain screaming at me to fold (COIN FLIP! COIN FLIP! YOU DON'T HAVE A DOMINATING HAND!) and play on with 4 BBs, I call, he flops an ace and I lose. So be it. I think, however, that the preflop decision (to minraise and call the push) was a critical mistake.

It seems to me in hindsight that, in order of desirability, my options at that point were to:

1. Minraise to try and steal (semi-steal?) and FOLD to a reraise
{if we end up seeing a flop, that's a whole different level of analysis}
2. Fold
3. Push preflop (and pray)
4. Minraise and CALL a reraise
5. Call/complete and FOLD to a reraise
6. Call/complete and CALL a reraise

{I'm discounting any raise other than a minraise or push, since I'm going to be pretty much pot committed for anything other than a minraise - no folding equity - and my opponent is not going to be intimidated or have his thinking changed by a more-than-min, less-than max raise. I'm also leaving a Stop 'n Go off the list, since I don't expect the BB to allow it and I have a pretty weak hand to try it with anyway.}

I don't really like, in hindsight, ANY of the last three options, all of which have significant potential for the loss of my remaining chips with very little upside. Just plain folding or pushing would have been better decisions than the one I made.
I do think the steal attempt is optimal (and certainly better than completing), given that the blinds are large compared to the stack sizes (biggest stacks were only 10-12 BBs at that point). I haven't seen many big hands, and can't really afford to wait and pick a perfect spot. The risk/reward ratio is favorable for a raise.

What it came down to, ultimately, is the pressure of the clock and of the blinds. Thirty seconds isn't a lot of time for analysis. I also felt I *needed* to double up to have a chance to WIN the tournament, and I really didn't believe I was way behind against Mr. Monkey. So I went with the gut play instead of the smart play, and it cost me.

Bah. More thinking at the time, less thinking after the fact. That's what I need.

1 comment:

GaryC said...

I think it's either fold or push at that point, but I'm just a donkey too. You are right that you need to double up and at that point I probably take a coin flip. You know he's calling (knowing that he had A-Q) but if he lays it down, then you've stolen the blinds, which is what you wanted.

I loved the graphics on the previous post. Funny stuff.