Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's your line?

Above: The Starbucks at the Horseshoe Casino Tunica is a favorite watering hole of mine.

There were 100 of us who signed up to play in the $160 buy-in tournament at the Shoe yesterday -- a nice round number. We each received 12,000 chip to work with during 30-minute levels. This is an excellent tournament.

I built my stack early when a guy held A Q and saw a flop of 6 5 4 and checked. I bet a small amount and he only called. Slow-playing can get you in trouble. The turn was the 5, pairing the board. I bet 1600 and again he just called. The river was a blank and I bet 3200 and he called. I turned over 6 6 for the full house.

After that, I had to fold hand after hand. Three hours into the tournament the blinds were 1000/500/75 and my stack had dribbled from a high of 17,000 back to around 13,000. When I had a marginal hand (A-10, K-J, etc.) I was always in early position and had to fold. There were forty-some runners left.

A guy from early position raised to 3500. Does that bet sizing mean anything to you? It's hard to say without knowing his baseline. Some players limp, some bet small and some over-bet. For this guy, that was an average raise. A short-stacked player thought for a while and moved in for 3400. I peeked at my hole cards and saw 10 10, a good hand but a potential trouble hand.

What would you do?

I think fold is weak-tight. I could just call and see a flop. The problem is that that invites others into the hand because of the great pot odds. So, I moved all in. The raiser called and showed: A K. The short stack had K Q.

They say that 10-10 is in a race against big slick, but actually it's a favorite -- about 57% to win. Also, the short stack has one of his outs (the king). I went to the Card Player odds calculator. It says that I was 45.23% to win the pot, big slick was 34.29% and the short stack was 19.66%. It doesn't equal 100% because there can be ties.

The flop was 9-9-4 rainbow. The turn was a 5 and the river was an ace, ouch.

It turns out that if I had just called, after the low-card flop I could have then moved in and won a smaller yet significant pot. Instead, I was headed for the rail.

I'm still not sure I played it right. What would you do?


  1. My stomach is hurting for you right now - pocket tens Mojo, Pocket Tens... :( Just re-read and re-read my post - 10s are pure trouble... So many overs - I'm sorry it ended like that for you.

  2. It was one of those weird multiple choice test. I think I had two profs that played the game. Multiple answers were right but the credit was for the strongest choice.

    Preflop, I'd say the moves are a tossup. Not getting the fold make one look at the question and answer strength. Rough M would help in these various hand report for all behind. Computers could add to the testing by branching on how the preceding question was answered. Its a common thing in decision trees.

    OK, I have rambled. What do I think? The failure to isolate is the key. Would a better read apply? With several behind, did their M's make a caller more likely? So, you do that and choose.

    I done it right, wrong, and sideways. It ends being a "Yeah, nothing unusual." to what is causing the angst. I, and I'm sure everyone, has had the same process play out and play out again. Having had it happen umpty-seven times, I still can't say anything with authority.

    With him holding AK he was priced in. Bummer.

  3. With 13 bb's and the action of the raise and then the shortstack re-raise, I don't think there was any other way to play that hand more optimally. Calling is too passive. To do well in tournies, you must win your share of coin flips.


  4. You got in as the favorite to 2 callers; 45% favorite vs. 33% pot odds. You did nothing wrong... are you planning on check / folding a flop with at least one over (which has a 50% chance)? No. Never. Get it in and hope it holds up.

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