I am getting a LOT of respect at this table, to the point that the last 3 of my BB saw everyone folding to me. This is likely due to the fact I have shown down only KK (and busted a short stack), plus I showed down 78s that I limped into the pot with, and turned 3 x 8's to win. Other than this, I have RAISED with AA from late position/First to act, and got no callers. I also have seen the table fold to my BB and I showed the QQ I held.
Keep in mind, one thing I have noticed about micro-limits and free rolls is that it takes MORE than just a tight start hand range to gain "respect" for your raises. This seems to be pretty true in live games like 1/2 NL and 3/6-4/8 LIMIT, as well as on line lower stakes and free rolls. It is almost like players who are not working to observe your "patterns" are almost subliminally "aware" that you are winning more often than not when you enter a pot. This awareness tends to lead to more "respect" for your raises...
As of the play of this hand, I have entered only 15% of the pots, and only 4% other than in the BB, and have never called in from the SB.
My "target" flops seen range is usually somewhere between 20% and 25% total, but as we are only about 60 or so hands into this, I cannot truly say I am playing especially tightly; but I have been catching some hands. The fact I have caught QQ/AA/KK within 60 hands is an aberration, and has "allowed" me to not go over board with more speculative holdings; hence the 15% flops overall and only 4% VPIP.
PokerStars Game #46512386535: Tournament #288862048, Freeroll Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2010/07/08 15:40:43 ET
Table '288862048 83' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: takeaction11 (1100 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 2: 17Mick17 (875 in chips)
Seat 3: doma218 (3850 in chips)
Seat 4: kvance1972 (1880 in chips)
Seat 5: 2Good2Fold#1 (1055 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 6: deadend59 (1200 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 7: DREAMCOAT (2140 in chips)
Seat 8: YanToy (3965 in chips)
Seat 9: Monarc2010 (3405 in chips)
2Good2Fold#1: posts small blind 75
deadend59: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to YanToy [Ad Kh]
Our Friend again!
YanToy: raises 450 to 600
Because I haven't truly "tested" the lack of callers for my raises, I want to fire out a bit MORE than my standard raise, which would have been to 450. Since I am not totally positive one of the similarly sized stacks won't come along to snap me off with something as weak as a 22/33 type hand, I want to be sure to either win now or have a pot worth fighting for.
#Note: Just picking up the blinds adds a bit under 10% to my stack (375 collected vs. a 3950 start stack). For me, this 10% addition marks the low end of when the occasional blind pick up becomes effective; below this (near) 10% amount and steals become more risk than the potential reward will allow. So if I can get this much from NOT seeing a flop, I am perfectly happy to do so.
Keep in mind...
I need to have a bit MORE return to actually attempt a blind STEAL with little or no "value" to my hand, and almost always wait for those attempts until my tourney "M" (ratio of my start stack to the Pre-flop pot. The pre-flop pot is, of course, blinds plus antes) is getting a bit critical. The concept of tournement "M" comes from Dan Harrington's books "Harrington on Hold 'Em" (vol 2, the Red volume). I note this not to go into a long digression on "M", but rather to illustrate that there are times when it is a good idea to "settle" for a decent pre-flop pot with a drawing hand, rather than trying to extract maximum value by encouraging a flop. Afterall, it does seem that a lot of "big stacks" at a table in these micro stakes/free rolls OVER USE the raise as a steal concept, often much to their detriment.
(Of course if the big stacks are getting frequent post-flop passive CALLERS of pre-flop raises, then the strategy can become much more lucrative...but the whole examination of THAT can be held off until another time!)
Harrington also cites a second "force" at work in your stack driven play decisions, and use of THAT force is more in keeping with why I raised slightly more than my standard raise here...
"Q" is this second "force" at work in your stack driven play decisions cited by Harrington in volume 2. He names this as a "weaker" force than "M", but it still has effacacy for inclusion in your play. You do NOT want to go to extremes using this thought, but I do tend to consider it when making small adjustments to my standard pre-flop raises for value (such as with AK), and when I consider whether or not I will enter a pot versus an extermely short stack in the SB/BB.
So before I go on to explain my thinking behind the use of "Q", let me explain it a bit...
Since in a tournement you are basically JUST playing against 1 table of opponents at a time, there is actually your Tourney "Q" and your Table "Q". As stated, tourney Q is your overall standing in relation to the average stack, so TABLE Q is your standing in relation to the average stack at your own table
I have 3950 here, and I am the biggest stack at my table.
There are 19470 chips in play at the table, and with 9 players the average stack at the table is about 2163.
3950/2163 = 1.8 Q for my stack, meaning I have 1.8 times the average stack at the table.
So while I am just slightly above the average tourney stack (at Q = 1.2), I am nearly at 2 times the average stack for my table. Justing knowing my table Q isn't enough, as I also must know how the chips at my table are distributed. Consider...
I have stated that I tend to use Q is for configuring how I enter pots against short stacks. What this means is that if an extremely short stack is not likely to severely "damage" my ability to play my hands against the REST of the table should I get him all-in pre-flop and he wins, I am much more apt to enter a pot versus that short stack.
Let's say 17Mick17 is the BB, with his stack of 875, and TakeAction11 (a sit out) is in the SB.
This means Mick will have 150 up in the BB, and 725 "behind".
All players fold to me in the cut-off seat.
While winning his 875 would be nice, since that would only raise my Q to around 2.2 and that doesn't materially effect the way I can use my stack to pressure the rest of the table, AND since losing the pot to double up Mick would give him new life (raising his Q from .4 to an almost average stack with a Q of about .85), I surely do want to be "careful" here.
Before I enter any pot with Mick, I MUST be aware that there is the possibility that I will be forced to play for his entire stack.
I say this because if I raise to my Standard amount (450 to go), Mick may well put his remaining 725 in, leaving me with a decision to call "just" 325 more for the chance to win a 1525 pot.
A WIDE range of hands would be "good enough" to risk this kind of overlay for the chance that Mick may fold his BB, but I must back up and consider that the only reason I am getting the pot odds to call Mick would be because I raised in the first place. This means putting not 325 at risk to win 1525, but rather putting 875 at risk to win 1525!
The 325 to win 1525 lays you about 4.7 to 1 to call, and any hand is "good enough" to take this risk with roughly a 21% chance to win in a hand vs hand situation.
This would mean that AQ vs AK (or any "dominated" hand) would be "ok" at roughly a 23% chance to win.
This also means that an over pair vs under pair (like 88 vs 99), is very CLOSE to "ok", with about a 18%-19% chance to win.
2 under cards vs 2 over cards (JT vs KQ) would give a rather "robust" 35% chance to win, and something like A3 versus QJ would give about a 40% chance to win.
Both of these situations would clearly be worth playing
Only 2 under cards vs an over pair (roughly 10% chance to win) would be clearly out of bounds of playability.
By contrast, the actuality of 875 to win 1525 only lays you about 1.75 to 1 to call.
This means you really need more like a 43% chance to win to fall into the realm of playability, or slightly more than DOUBLE the win chance!
That removes all the hands you are likely to be "behind" with, except the overcard/under card vs 2 unpaired cards middle cards, from your list of raising hands versus the short stack.
Back to Q...
The above is a list of the basic poker odds of an all-in heads up situation, and from this you can see that an all-in stand by a short stack will quite often have at least a 35 to 40% chance to win, except versus very tight Blind pressure standards. For me, this means even if I restrict my entry to the pot against short stacks to just broadway cards, pocket pairs, and A8+, I will still lose a good portion of the time. I say this mainly because a short stack around this size still can almost "afford" to fold to a raise, and wait for a situation where he can make the first aggressive move at the pot. That means I'm likely to win nothing but the blinds when I am a BIG favorite, and will lay the 35 to 40% chance for him to win if he does shove...see?
All that means I must "assume" I will lose, and account for the effect of that loss to my Q and to the Q of the all-in winner.
Let's take a look...
If I lose, I fall to 3090 chips. While I am no longer the Table leader, I still carry a stack that is able to bring significant "pressure" on any of the large stacks. This means a loss is not really "significant" to my stack.
But a loss here takes a stack that starts at a .4 Q size, and brings him up to a stack that becomes a .85 Q! That means a guy goes from haivng basically an all-in or fold decision, to one who is just short of the AVERAGE for our table! Now that is significant! Consider...
Were I to lose the same 875 to Monarc2010 (another "large stack" at the table), I would go from a 1.8 Q down to a 1.43 Q. Monarc would go from a 1.57 Q to a 1.98 Q, and we would just "switch spots" in the chip stack hierarchy at the table, with little real effect on either players' ability to put pressure on the other.
So while I am not worried about losing the pot to Mick's all-in, I am concerned about doubling him, and giving him new "life" at the table. This means I am almost certainly restricting my start hand standards to include just AJ+, and pp 77+, since winning 875 isn't going to make my tournement, and it could add another threat to the table.
(BTW: I have taken limping totally out of the equation here. To my way of thinking, limping the BB of a short stack is worse by far than raising one lightly. By limping you invite him to shove on any flop should he check his option, and if he does shove pre-flop you are all too likely to have just given him 1 BB amount for free. The only ahnds I would consider limping might be AA/KK and possibly QQ; hands I am surely calling a shove on, and that have a solid chance of being ahead on most flops.)
That is the first way I use Q to help clarify my decisions...
The second use I have for Q is in configuring my standard raise amount.
Looking through the chips stacks, you see that there are 3 stacks between 3400 and 4000, 1 stack right at the 2163 Q of 1, another stack just under a Q of 1 with 1880, and a shortie with 875. There are also 3 x sit outs. This means that there are 5 of the active chip stacks which can radically effect the chip position of each other should they win an all in confrontation.
What this means for my pre-flop decisions is that the fact my raises are getitng an amount of "respect" is hardly surprising. No one here can "win" the tournement yet, but just about anyone can lose it here with this chip distribution. If allowed to do so, this table can easily devolve into "small ball/limp and look" type play, with a lot of small pots changing hands back and forth, and the current chip dynamic likely to remain the same for a good while. This means I will seek to break the set pattern, or at least shake it up a bit.
As we saw earlier, a raise by me, with no callers, still adds roughly 10% to my stack; that is "enough" reason to raise for value and settle for the blinds. The thing I want to do though to break the pattern is make sure MY raises are slightly above those my opponets are making. By doing that I am not necessarily incurring a lot of additional "risk" (as I am still restricting my raises to raises for value when I'm likely to have the best hand), and if I am called and manage to win a pot on the flop, the pots I win will average aobut 300 more than any my opponents win the same way. So I am essentially "leveraging" the balanced chip distribution to increase my stack at a faster rate than my opponents.
Things which could change my thinking would be:
1) Someone begins to enter pots for a raise at too great a frequency.
I would then go back to a sandard raise size with value hands, and attempt to play more hands against the loose raiser, from position. This will tend to net me the same "extra chip up" chances to keep me ahead of my opponents.
2) Someone behind me begins to re-raise me.
(Usually this would have to be done three or more times before I adjust.)
At this point I'd also back down to a 450 "standard" raise, and tighten my start hand standards a bit. The hope of this will be that I pick up a monster hand, and can get in a good solid 3 raise. It would also be my hope that the reduction back to a 450 raise would be viewed as "weak", and even my 3-raise may gets a call, or induces a shove.
3) Someone behind me begins to CALL with greater frequency.
I would likely continue with a rather tight start hand standard, and could either increase my raise even more (to 5x the BB to go), OR possibly go to limps with big card drawing hands, and smaller raises with big paired hands. I tend to use both and will mix these up.
Uncalled bet (450) returned to YanToy
So as we see, my bigger raise "worked", and I picked up a nice little pot without the hand even seeing a flop. While this is hardly an "exciting" hand, it does illustrate certain thoughts about making adjustments...
YanToy collected 375 from pot
YanToy: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 375 | Rake 0
Seat 1: takeaction11 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: 17Mick17 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: doma218 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: kvance1972 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: 2Good2Fold#1 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: deadend59 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: DREAMCOAT folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: YanToy collected (375)
Seat 9: Monarc2010 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
I have digressed GREATLY from the point I made in my introduction, and table image against palyers who may, or may not be "aware" of your tightness or looseness.
To "fix" that, I will include a special "bonus hand"...
Same tourney, not a whole lot later. Please note, I have lost a mess load of my stack.
I did this pretty stupidly, by calling a raise from the button with a KTo. On the flop of JJJ, I tried to float when my opponent bet out about 1/3rd the pot. I still failed to pair the turn, and called about a 2/3rds pot bet; that was the REALLY dumb move since it took the opponent past what was a reasonable threshold of committment. On the river, doma218 then bet about 2/3rds of his remaining chips, and there was absolutely no way I could call, as even a bluff was likely to contain an Ace, and I was pretty solidly aware he had some kind of PP; I jsut couldn't "afford" another 950 or so off my already depleted stack, even if I did go this far. End Result: I lost about 45% of my stack totally stupidly, but then I never claimed to be perfect :-)
The important thing to note about that hand is I have probably shot any sort of "credibility" I had built up. The donk hand by me came as the next hand I entered the pot (after AK #1 here), and was maybe 15 or 20 hands after that AK hand above. Remember my start stement, that it takes not only solid hand standards to be accorded "respect", but also a lot of showdown wins? Well, even though I did not show down the KT, I also did not "win"; BOOM! That was the sound of my credibility exploding!
I didn't see any more flops (voluntarily put chips in) until this, about another 15 or so hands later...
PokerStars Game #46513018533: Tournament #288862048, Freeroll Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2010/07/08 15:53:44 ET
Table '288862048 83' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: takeaction11 (350 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 2: 17Mick17 (1825 in chips)
Seat 3: doma218 (5325 in chips)
Seat 4: kvance1972 (4180 in chips)
Seat 5: 2Good2Fold#1 (530 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 6: deadend59 (500 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 7: DREAMCOAT (2215 in chips)
Seat 8: YanToy (1815 in chips)
Seat 9: Monarc2010 (2730 in chips) is sitting out
kvance1972: posts small blind 100
2Good2Fold#1: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to YanToy [Kd Ac]
Here he is, Mr. Slick, come to visit again!
DREAMCOAT: calls 200
YanToy: raises 600 to 800
1 limper, means with credibility gone, and me now at a Q point (Slightly under 1) that can USE some action, I raise my standard amount. The standard amount would be making it 600 to go to open, but with the limper ahead, I ADD an additional 200, making it 800 to go.
I am not happy about this to be honest. I had a hand that was worth a raise, and this "standard" raise almost 45% of the way in. I probably should have just shipped all my chips here.
Sure, the "benefit" of AK lies in the fact that if you flop a pair, it will always be top pair/top kicker. This is usually enough to win.
The drawback of AK is that it will miss the flop about 2/3rds the time.
So had I acted on this info, instead of raising 45% of my chips into the pot and maybe having to fold 1/3rd of the time for a BIG hit to my chips, I could have shipped them all in and guarenteed myself the chance to see all 5 cards.
I am not happy with my decision here.
kvance1972: calls 700
Small blind calls, so I am in deep poo poo with a drawing hand. FECK.
*** FLOP *** [4h 5h 5s]
kvance1972: bets 3380 and is all-in
Ok, we are heads up. I have almost 45% of my stack in, and the flop totally misses me. SB ships on this flop.
He most likely has a pair, but leaving myself crippled with barely 1000 left with a fold is pretty dumb with the blinds now at 100/200.
So about the best I can hope for is that he called my raise with a suited A (in hearts), but this is pretty far fetched. KVance1972 hasn't been playing like a typical free roll moron, and his game is quite solid indeed. But as long as he oesn't hold AA/KK, I still have roughly a 25% chance to run him down, and if I do, I'm right back in this one.
YanToy: calls 1015 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (2365) returned to kvance1972
*** TURN *** [4h 5h 5s] [5d]
*** RIVER *** [4h 5h 5s 5d] [2d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kvance1972: shows [Jc Js] (a full house, Fives full of Jacks)
YanToy: shows [Kd Ac] (three of a kind, Fives)
YanToy said, "gh"
Sure it was a race, and sure, in a free roll I doubt a guy who has me covered by 2 times will lay down a JJ hand preflop for half his chips no matter WHAT my "image" is. The thing is I blew it totally by not giving him a chance to lay down JJ, by shoving in pre-flop.
The initial limper definately bloated the pot enough so that is was well beyond my 10% thresold to make a pick up of the dead money blinds, and weak money limps, worthwhile to my stack; Had I shoved, and everyone folded, I would have added 500 to my 1815 stack, and put myself right back at table average.
So I totally and completely failed to keep my stack size completely integrated into my play decisions, and THAT was a big mistake you should try to avoid making.
so with this sad result, I leave you until next time!