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critique this play please

critique this play please - Fri Nov 08, 2002, 12:37 PM
Deleted user
I was playing a NL holdem $30(real money) multi player online tourney. we start out with 131 players and are down to 34. I have 4880 in chips and in about 18th place..tourney pays 9 spots..I am in seat 9..hand is dealt i get Ac Kc..blinds are $100/$200 with a $25 ante seats 3-7 fold..seat 8 raises it to $600....been playing at table with seat 8 for awhile and he isnt really a bluffer but when he has a really good hand he isn't afraid to push em all in..so i am realatively sure he doesnt have a high pocket pair figuring low pair maybe 2 unsutied high cards maybe a buy from seat 8..he has $7000 in chips after making it $600..I am sure i dont want anyone else but him and I in ther eand would like to jsut take the blinds/antes and his bet down there..so i push all in...everyone folds to him..he debates a bit ..i pray he folds ..he calls..he has 7s7d..flop comes 10s Qs 5h..turn comes As leading now anything but Spade or 7 and i win..river Js gives him the flush..i bust out in 34th spot...I have ran this play over in my head many times and am wodering if i played it right and just got beat or if i could have played it differently.. I have a few ideas on how i could have maybe made this a winner but..would like to here other opinions before i share my thoughts..1st did I make a bad move? 2nd if so or even if not could i have made a better move? Thanks for the input
Fri Nov 08, 2002, 01:53 PM
Deleted user
You didn't make a bad move - you put him on an underpair correctly and forced him to a decision for all of his chips, which he took. I would rather be the aggressor than the caller anyday. There is certainly nothing wrong with the way you played it.

But then again, let's think about how you were feeling pre-flop. You were praying he would fold his hand - I have problems throwing all my chips in with Ace King pre-flop. I'll do it short stacked or against an aggressive player who I have a good read on, but in this situation I don't think I'd go all in.

With the read you had on him, I probably raise him another 600 to see how he reacts. If he flat calls, then fine, we see the flop and I can base my betting decisions then. If he reraises, then I have to decide whether I am willing to risk all my chips on what I feel is a 50-50 shot. With the Queen, Ten on the flop, he would be hard pressed to bet into you with two overcards and your raising. You can either bet after his check and try and take it down right there, or do as Cloutier advocates when you have AK and the flop misses you, take one off and hope you hit one of your two overcards. The ace on the turn - no question, I'm probably going to go all in, or be willing to go all in at that point.

Hope this rambling piece of info helps somewhat. I'm sure others will have much more insightful things to say.

Fri Nov 08, 2002, 04:02 PM
Deleted user
I think the balance in this play lies with how you think your opponent views you. If you feel that you have played tight aggresive and that you've been at the table long enough to ensure that your opponent would be aware of this then I think the play you made was the best in the circumstances. If you have been limping in a few times on some drawing hands or playing Ax, Kx then I would have taken the flop before committing the chips to the pot.

With having a good read, and if you had taken the above factors into account, I think your play would be fine. Although, I am of the school that AK is still a drawing hand albeit a very powerful one and play it accordingly.

Fri Nov 08, 2002, 07:42 PM
Deleted user
1st did I make a bad move? 2nd if so or even if not could i have made a better move? Thanks for the input
Without question, you made the correct move. Doing anything else in this spot is almost certainly a mistake.

When you re-raise all-in with AK, you either want a good probablity that you will win without showdown, or you want a good probability that you will be called by a worse ace. In this situation, I think there is a probability that either of them will happen. Even when you do get called and are against a pair, then you will be even money most of the time with money this shallow.

There are maybe some situations where a smaller re-raise may be best with these stack positions, though I wouldn't recommend it for the typical player. It is usually correct to re-raise all-in with AK the vast majority of the time, when it is over 10% of relevant stack sizes to call the initial raise.

If you also had over 6k then calling the 600 would become another option to consider.

As to your opponent calling with 77 getting less than 2-to-1, then whether this was a good call depends on what he thinks you will raise all-in with. This may depend on what he thinks you think he will make the initial raise with and what he thinks you think he will call/fold with.

I know that with 77 getting these odds, I will call against some opponents and fold against others. I would call if I thought my opponent could make this move with any pair, and that depends on the opponent characteristics, the situation, and the psychology of the moment. If I thought my opponent could only make this move with 2 overcards or a higher pair then I would fold.

In the cases where I call, I do so because, based on my read it is 'heads I am buried, tails my opponent is buried.'

In the cases where I fold, I do so because, based on my read it is 'heads I am buried, tails we take a race.' I only call in these situations preflop if I am getting 2-to-1 pot odds or better. But then, in those situations, my read would usually put them on a wider range of hands anyway, in general. So I would only be in that kind of situation when I have a really low pair.

Hazy, I think Cloutiers advice about AK is given with regard to deeper money. The characteristics of AK changes on money this shallow, so I doubt he would give that same advice facing this raise preflop. I doubt he would flat call when it was this much to call. In the unlikely event he did just call, I would assume he would bluff the flop when he misses and it is checked to him headsup. The money would be too shallow and the pot too big in relation to it. But then, that would also apply to the pot and money positions after the initial preflop raise which is why he would be unlikely to just call.
Fri Nov 08, 2002, 07:56 PM
Deleted user
Although, I am of the school that AK is still a drawing hand albeit a very powerful one and play it accordingly.
It is only a drawing hand on deep money. Do you think AK should be viewed this way when it can get all-in preflop against a worse ace, or where playing it aggressively preflop has a good chance of winning a significant pot in comparison to the stacks, by going uncalled?
Mon Nov 11, 2002, 06:50 PM
Deleted user
If you're planning on going all in anyway, hoping he would fold, would there be an advantage in raising an additional 1400 to 1600 preflop and then going all in after the flop regardless of what hits? This would give the guy 2 chances to fold. If he's got a PP there is little chance that the flop would help him and if (as in your case) over cards to his PP hit, it would be another tough decision on his part to call your all in after the flop. I usually make sure I take some time before I go all in after the flop as well. I don't want it to appear that I was committed to the all in bet prior to the flop. This may not be effective based on your stack size, it seems to work best when both your raise pre flop and your all in bet after the flop are big enough to make someone think.
Tue Nov 12, 2002, 05:49 PM
Deleted user
I actually understood everything Noodles said and agreed with him 100% here.

By going all in you give yourself two chances to win.

1) He folds preflop

2) He calls preflop and you hit on one of five cards

You hit and he drew back out on you.

I play in those tourneys from time to time and the money is so shallow that you have to hit a big hand or you will be blinded out or so crippled up that you have to get very lucky to win.

The problem with calling here is that you only give yourself the chance to see 3 cards. You want to see all 5.

BTW, very few players in these tournaments are going to fold to a $600 reraise.

Tue Nov 19, 2002, 04:47 PM
Deleted user
100/200 blinds & $25 ante = $550 in pot for 9 players.
Seats 3-7 fold and you're in seat 9 means you're on the buton, right?
Seat 8, the cut-off, raises $600 (~pot-size/3xBB). He could have any fair hand, or is stealing. He could also have a premium pair.

I would not re-raise(at this point in the tournament). You don't know enough about his hand.

1. If he had a premium pp, he'll call your all-in re-raise and re-raise all-in a smaller raise of yours. Calling his all-in re-raise is not something you'd like to do. AA or KK and you're in big trouble, and any other pp and your not the favorite - i.e. rolling the dice with all your chips on the line(I don't like to do that). If you just call and see the flop, you can get away from the hand only losing $600 of your $4880 if you don't get an Ace or King. With an Ace or King on the flop, you get what you can from him. If he has AA or KK(and King on flop) then you're toast, but you were anyway if you went all-in pre-flop. If he had something like QQ, JJ, TT and hits a set on the flop, he'd also have called your re-raise pre-flop and won(yes most do call re-raises with JJ and TT).

2. If he has two high cards or an Ace(semi-stealing), you're in great shape. He should fold to a re-raise, or he's in big trouble calling it.
If you just call pre-flop, he can hit the flop. I like the fit or fold strategy on the flop with AK(at this point in the tournament). If you get an Ace or King on the flop, you've got 1-pair beat. If he hit better then you're just unlucky. You don't let him go for a draw, so only if he flops a str8 or flush will he have you. You can still fold when you flop an Ace or King to such a scary board(i.e. 3-suited or 3 high cards to make a str8).

3. If he's on a pure steal. He'll fold to a re-raise, and you're happy. Just calling here is very dangerous, and the worst part of such strategy. Most of the time he will miss or just hit one small pair. You just hope he cannot bluff again on a flop that he misses. Without an Ace or King on the flop, you can still bet all-in to his shown weakness, and only 2-pair or a set(slow-played) gets you.

4. If he has a small pp he should fold to an all-in or large re-raise, but you cannot count on it. Just calling pre-flop will let him look for a flopped set rather cheap, but most of the time he will not improve. If he bets out the flop and you didn't hit an Ace or King, you can either get away from the hand only losing $600, or call his perceived bluff(you can read him that well).

I know that with a call you're only going to see the flop and not all 5 cards, but so is your opponent. With some chips left for a bet on the flop, you can stop him from seeing the rest and making a lucky suck-out.

All this is taking place at a time in the tournament where it is getting shallow, but I think it is still a time to be able to see the flop before committing your stack with a drawing hand like AK. A lot of strategy of raising or re-raising to win pots pre-flop works much better with good players who are reasonable and will fold when they should. However, you have to know what kind of opponents you're playing with, and in a $30 online tournament you'll get many players that will not play as reasonable as you'd like. You want to build a stack up early with post-flop highly favored situations to have enough to survive a bad break late in the tournament when you're playing mostly pre-flop. Of course, later in the tournament you'll play AK very strong pre-flop.

It's always tricky to play AK, and to know when you've got late enough in the tournament to push non-premiumPP hands hard pre-flop.

Yes, you'd like not to lay down to a small pp, flopped 1-pair(and no Ace or King for you), or bluff with AK. It's just a matter of how much risk you're willing to take of being knocked out. How many other AK hands will you get, and will turn out better for you. I like to play the multiple AK hands and commit little $ until it hits. If it doesn't hit I'm just out a little, and I'll try again when I get it again. A lot of players bust out on AK. Also, I like to be the first raiser in a hand like this. Otherwise, I'm going against a hand that has already indicated some strength. Is my AK strong enough to overcome the gap?

OK, so you say I'm vulnerable to a bluff on a missed flop by just calling pre-flop with AK. Just try it. I won't have AK all the time

Scott "DocH"
Tue Nov 19, 2002, 07:38 PM
Deleted user
All this is taking place at a time in the tournament where it is getting shallow, but I think it is still a time to be able to see the flop before committing your stack with a drawing hand like AK.
The whole point is that AK is not a drawing hand in that situation. At least, not in my mind.

In that situation:

Over 10% of relevant stacks to call the raise. Big pot that is worth winning now. A typical raiser in the cut-off could have a wide range of hands. Good chance of winning preflop. When called, could easily be against a worse ace. When called and behind, usually even money.

The nature of the game changes when the first raise is to a total of over 10% of stack sizes. A lot of good players in the cut-off would call your all-in with worse aces and lowish pairs. They would put a typical all-in player that moves-in over a cut-off raiser, on a wide range of hands. Any ace, any PP etc.

A lot of strategy of raising or re-raising to win pots pre-flop works much better with good players who are reasonable and will fold when they should. However, you have to know what kind of opponents you're playing with, and in a $30 online tournament you'll get many players that will not play as reasonable as you'd like.
And these same players are just as likely to call with hands that are behind AK.

You want to build a stack up early with post-flop highly favored situations to have enough to survive a bad break late in the tournament when you're playing mostly pre-flop.

OK, so you say I'm vulnerable to a bluff on a missed flop by just calling pre-flop with AK. Just try it. Just try it. I won't have AK all the time
Not only are you very vunerable to being bluffed on the flop, as it would be quite usual for the cut-off to go all-in regardless, but you will also be less likely to have your preflop all-in re-raises called by the better players. I said earlier that a typical good player would call a button all-in re-raise in this istuation with worse aces than AK and some lowish PPs. Not against a player that would just call with a hand as strong as AK.

Out of interest, what would you do if you had 66/88 instead of AK in that spot?

What about, JJ, QQ, KK, AA?

When you say you won't have AK all the time, what other hands would you have?
Wed Nov 20, 2002, 11:59 AM
Deleted user
I know that I will be in the minority on this, but please allow me to offer an alternative strategy that I have used that has been relatively successful. I am not disagreeing with the strategy of going all-in with the AK, but after going out of too many tourneys with that hand (walking back to Chicago lol), I tried to apply a little game theory to the situation.

Let us assume that we have elected to commit all of our chips to the pot -- because that is what we would do if we went all-in. The only thing we really want to happen here is that player 8 folds -- because we only have a drawing hand. Noodles says it is more than a drawing hand because player 8 may have a lower ace or some non-pair hand that is lower than our AK. I will concede that but, I think my strategy still has a decent chance of working.

I would simply raise Player 8 $1000. Let's see how that would play out. With antes and blinds the pot was $550. Player 8 throws in $600 to bring the pot to $1150. I reraise and throw in $1600, to bring the pot to $2750. Before calling my raise, this leaves Player 8 with $7000 (per Promos' post) and me with $3280.

I love the situation that this has established. Promos has already stated that Player 8 is a solid player, so we can assume that he/she will act rationally. What will Player 8 think and do?

Player 8 has watched me play a solid game ( we are through 2/3 of the field so there should have been plenty of play already). What can Player 8 put me on? 8 can see that I now certainly have pot odds to call any reraise. 8 should assume that I either have big ace, or more likely a pair. 8 is smart enough to know that he/she is only a coin flip favorite over two overcards, and that if i have a pair mathematics would say that it is 50-50 I have a higher pair than his/her 77. Player 8 has to presume that I am not going to walk away from this pot, because it is almost equal to my stack. So 8 has to worry about me tossing in my remaining $3280 after the flop. Will 8 want to commit $1000 more if he/she thinks/knows there is a very high probability that unless he/she hits a 7, he/she will have to toss? Maybe, maybe not. The extra $1000 is only getting 3-1, and the odds of flopping the set make that a bad bet. A decent player will lay down their hand if they have a low pair a certain percentage of the time (probably as great as 20-50% of the time -- depending on the gamble in the player). I base this analysis also on the fact that Player 8 has a decent stack, but will lose more than half of it if we both go all-in and he/she loses -- on shorter money, I agree that Player 8 will be infinitely more inclined to let it rip and go in.

So the question is, how much have we lost by not putting them to a decision for all of their chips? This is where reasonable minds can differ, but I would posit not much. I think we make it too easy on Player 8 by going all-in. Many players would call all-in in this situation. Player 8 is looking at a raise of $4000 if go all-in and a pot of about $6000. Player 8 will still have $3000 left even if he/she calls and loses. So Player 8 has to decide what I have... 8 knows that he/she dominates pp of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and is a favorite over any overs. Player 8 is only worried about pp 8-Aces. Player 8 knows that he/she has an almost 20% chance of winning even if I have an overpair by hitting a set. Player 8 knows that I am short-chipped and likely to try to take stand with any decent hand. I think the odds are very high -- probably greater than 75% that Player calls my all-in bet.

In a strange paradox, that I have seen play out many, many times I think the odds are much greater that Player 8 is actually more likely to call an all-in bet than a $1000 raise! The reason for this IMO is people are afraid of being outplayed after the flop, and would prefer to just get it in and then they do not have to blame themselves if they lose. No where is this phenomenon greater than with small pocket pairs, because everyone knows that there is a huge likelihood that an overcard or overcards will come on the flop, and definitely by the river. Few players want to have decide post-flop if after seeing the overcard(s) on the flop, and THEN faced with the all-in bet of deciding if the opposing player hit the hand or is bluffing.

So we use this against them!

Let's play out the $1000 raise and assume the player does call our raise and decide to see the flop. Game theory will tell us that 8 basic flops can come -- (1) We hit an Ace or King or more and Player 8 does not hit a 7, (2) We hit an Ace or King or more (but not more than Player 8's set of 7s) and Player 8 hits the seven for a set, (3) Player 8 hits the 7 for a set and we miss, (4) Player 8 hits the set, but we get lucky and also hit a set of Aces or Kings, (5) the flop comes ragged with all cards under 10, missing us both, (6) the flop misses us both but comes with at least one 10, J or Q, (7) some strange miracle flop comes that gives Player 8 a four-straight or four-flush (8) some miracle flop comes for us and we have straight and or flush draws.

We have already assumed that NO MATTER WHAT we are going all-in after the flop, so the only question is how do the chips get in there, or not. If Player 8 hits the set (which will happen only about 12% of the time), we are likely losers (unless that less than 1% of the time when we have set over set). But it doesn't matter! We would have lost anyway if we had gone all-in! Life goes on.

The interesting question comes up what happens the other 88% of the time. First off, we have an approximately 33% chance of hitting at least one Ace or one King so we are in pretty good shape there. Secondly, the odds of (7) miracle flop for Player 8 are extremely remote, probably less than 2% (although I am speculating based on interpolation of the charts I have seen). Third, there is an approximately 50% chance that at least one 10, J, or Q will hit ( I don't include 8 or 9 as a scare card because if Player discounted you having pp 8s or 9s, he will most likely not be frightened by the 8 or 9, but A-10, AJ and AQ are all likely hands). So the chances of the flop coming ragged with all cards under 10, is less than 20%.

What does this mean. This means that less than 33% of the time Player 8 can confidently go all-in (although it is likely Player 8 will check once, or make small bet to get us to commit). Once again, you are not any worse off, because you have already committed to go all the way -- don't back down now. I know some will say the odds are against you now, so throw it way. But this is the whole essence of my point -- we are employing this as an alternative strategy, not as a TJ wait and see strategy. I agree with Noodles that this short-chipped and this late in the tourney this is a hand you want to go all the way with. I am simply trying to increase the odds of my still having chips with the hand once it is done.

The other 2/3 of the time WE will go all-in and put Player 8 to a decision for his/her chips. (As stated above sometimes we will be walking into Player's 8 slow-play, but so what we are already committed, and that is taking into consideration in the 33% above). It will be very hard for Player 8 to call half of his/her chips when faced with a board of overcards. Half of the time (33% is half of this subset of 66% of the non-big card, non-set for Player 8 outcomes)we want them to call right now because we are way ahead. The other 1/2 of the time if Player 8 calls we are no worse off than if we went all-in at the beginning. I think Player 8 will fold at least 66% of the time in this 66% subset (overcards/no set for 8), and probably more.

So what we have gained? The hands we hate when we go all-in with AK are losing to the underpairs (which I will define as 22 through JJ). Most likely players are going all the way with QQ or better, maybe JJ. Yet we are still an underdog for all of our chips against these hands. 22 through JJ represents 70% of the likely pocket pairs against. Even if we presume that Player 8 will only lay down 99 and under, we can still get them to lay down over 50% of the hands post-flop. Although we lose equity by not winning the remainder of Player 8's chips those times we hit (or would have hit) an Ace or King sometime on the board, I think this is an excellent trade-off for tournament play where survival and steady chip increases gets you in the money. And this is the power of this play -- not losing to baby pairs that go unimproved -- a huge subset of the times AK loses in tourneys

I used this play three times at Foxwoods. I got luck and won all three times with it. Once, the opposing player laid down pocket 3s and showed them. Once, I hit an ace on flop, and player grumbled that he hated Queens. Finally, got really lucky and missed on flop (J97, that tough flop that has an overcard, but not enough to scare), went all-in, opposing player called with 88, and I caught an Ace on the river.

Not saying this works in all situations, but works best with position, 2 players, and opposing player without monster stack (because he will call no matter what flop).

Just my opinion

Fri Nov 22, 2002, 10:28 PM
Deleted user
Your ideas have merit. I'm not sure I agree with them, and my mind is in no fit shape to discuss the reasons why. However, I think the key to why we have differing thoughts on this is identified by the following quote.

I think this is an excellent trade-off for tournament play where survival and steady chip increases gets you in the money.
This sounds like it is the fundamental difference in the way we think about the game. I am never interested in getting in the money. My interest lies in getting in the big money, and if that costs me a number of busts outside the money when I could have survived into it, then so be it. I think playing with the first motivation not only decreases peoples chances of the big money in the short term, it also costs them money in the long term. Assuming, of course, a typical top heavy payout structure.

I wouldn't start letting the survival concept play too great a part in my thinking until we get to the top 5 or so, and then it would probably influence me the most in all-in situations with regards pot odds. Before that point, the survival concept only influences me slightly. Say, preflop in deciding whether to enter the pot, or very big stack against very big stack situations.
Fri Nov 22, 2002, 11:17 PM
Deleted user
Noodles, if you play as well as TKO does, then surviving often does more than just getting him into the money. TKO building his stack allows more opportunities to outplay his opponent, and may get him into the top 3.

I will try to have more to say about his entire post when I am able to digest it all.

Great thinking TKO.

more later....

Sat Nov 23, 2002, 12:11 AM
Deleted user
Originally Posted by rggator
Noodles, if you play as well as TKO does, then surviving often does more than just getting him into the money.
I'm don't really know if TKO does follow the first attitude that I have assumed from the quote. However, if he does, can you prove that he does better, from an EV point of view, than he would playing the other way. It isn't that big a change to make at the table, but I think it makes a big difference to money results.

TKO building his stack allows more opportunities to outplay his opponent, and may get him into the top 3.
Maybe we are on a different wavelength. I assume a player with the first consideration will give up opportunities to build their stack, for survival reasons. Maybe even more so near the bubble.

Another point Randall. Just how big an opportunity to outplay opponents actually exists on shallow money? The only real edge is preflop.
Sat Nov 23, 2002, 09:01 AM
Deleted user
Noodles said:

However, if he does, can you prove that he does better, from an EV point of view, than he would playing the other way.
Remember we are talking about an AK vs. a likely PP. A negative EV play on the surface. However, I assume you are referring to TKO's post on his play, which depends on psychology. So a tough one here. You can't say one is a positive EV or Negative EV; it all depends on what the other player is thinking. So I can't say.

Another point Randall. Just how big an opportunity to outplay opponents actually exists on shallow money? The only real edge is preflop.
Mostly true. The only outplay here is to play good starting hands. So very little edge unless you have a decent amount of chips vs a decent amount of chips. Still, there are some opportunites for outplaying an opponent at some point during the tourney.

Sometimes outplaying someone is timing your steals--not talking about "guessing' an opponent's hand, but reading a table and deciding how much you can steal from it. That is skill. Or recognizing a certain betting pattern from an opponent, etc... That is skill.

OK, I'm reaching here, but there are some opportunities to outplay an opponent, besides outreading his hand vs. your hand postflop.

But you are correct, the shallower the money, the more stack size is the overriding factor in play.


PS My whole point in this repost was not to admit total defeat to your hammering logic.
Sat Nov 23, 2002, 11:00 AM
Deleted user
Originally Posted by rggator
Noodles said:

However, if he does, can you prove that he does better, from an EV point of view, than he would playing the other way.
Remember we are talking about an AK vs. a likely PP. A negative EV play on the surface.
Well, a pp that the opponent will go with preflop is far from likely in this situation being discussed. A lower ace, a pp they will fold to a re-raise, or complete trash is just as likely.

When called, you are just as likely to be against a worse ace as you are against a pp. I don't call a situation where you have a more than good chance to win a significant pot preflop, and are either around a 5-to-2 favourite or even money when called, to be a negative EV play. If he flipped his hand up and shown a pp then maybe you are right.

With regards outplaying an opponent. I agree, these are all part of our preflop edge. However, the edge isn't that great as there is no wiggle room.
Sat Nov 23, 2002, 01:12 PM
Deleted user
Noodles said:

When called, you are just as likely to be against a worse ace as you are against a pp.


Sun Nov 24, 2002, 10:58 AM
Deleted user
Noodles: I looked at our stats on PSO Detail and we are strikingly correlated! So either different styles lead to similar results, or you and I are talking about those cutting edge hands, that are so similar in EV, that either way, we will trend towards the same result.

I do believe we have a different fundamental opinion on pushing it in with small EV advantages. I look for bigger advantages. I might be missing something, but if I am putting all my chips at risk repeatedly with only even money expectation (or even 2-1), simple odds say that I might win a few of those, but I will also lose a few of those and be out of the tourney.

I will give you credit for my new approach to AK, Noodles. Our recent round of posts, really got me thinking, and I definitely thank you for that. I wanted to try to come up with a concept that would include putting a player to a decision for all of their chips, yet decrease the "coin toss" element of both players putting all of their chips in pre-flop.

I think that this approach can work! It eliminates hand post-flop that would have beaten us (baby pairs where we have not yet improved), and costs us nothing where we would have lost anyways if we both went in and the other player has us beat (except in the small subset of times where the player will take off a card, then hits the set, but would have folded pre-flop.

I have a finance background, and a love for numbers. I have probably read 100 books on game theory, odds, and chaos theory just because I love the arena. I only say that to show I love the field (considering getting a PhD). So, I love your anylitical approach to the game, Noodles. Give me your thought, please! I would love a patented item-by-item analysis of my comments, based on odds, EV, and percentages, based on your opinion.

I appreciate your response, as well Randy.

I must say, that I have been somewhat depressed that no one took the time to respond (favorably or unfavorably) to a post that I had hoped would engender a great deal of thought. I put one of my hardest thought secrets (that has worked in cash ring, and cash tourney games) on display, and didn't receive much feedback.

And, that is cool, if the idea is so basic, or so feeble, that it didn't warrant comment, but let me know.

I have been lucky to place in the money in a decent percentage of the tournaments and sats I have entered in real money, live games since joining the school. I put the time in and read as much as I can --- my wife, friends, and colleagues think I am obsessive.

But, I can honestly say, that the incredible "muscle memory" that I have received from the countless tourneys and sats here are the greatest contributors to my success. I have played against RGgator, Pspitalnic, Apryllshowers, Depraved, hukilau, jmuzzey, noodles, hitman, dreams, pokermats, jcemmons (the best O/8 player I have played against live tourneys or anywhere), pocketrocket, and wstwst (more times than my ranking cares to note), thehazyone (more times than a law student student should note lol), geezer, rosita, pokergoddess, newjane (kicks my butt everytime), rags007 and payshints just to name a few, and i can honestly say that I respect their game as much as anyone I have played in real tourneys -- and just in the past 6 months that includes Scotty Nyugen, Phil hellemuth, Paul darden, TJ cloutier, An Tran, David Pham, Daniel Negreaneau, Max and Maria Stern, Ron Rose, John Juanda, Chris Bjorin, Devilfish and countless others.

I mean it, I believe Mark's dream is becoming a reality -- we are puttin out winners from here at PSO.

The pros have their tricks and we need to develop ours. So please put some thought to my AK post as a favor to me. It comes up way too much in tourneys not to have a good plan for it.

I would really appreciate it.

Thanks to everyone (and no disrespect to names that I left off the list of players here, just typing away, and listed players I happen to run up against a lot)

Mon Nov 25, 2002, 05:51 PM
Deleted user
OK TKO, I'll continue this discussion(just don't get too good a read on me from this info ).

The choice of strategy to use in these types of situations is not IMO absolute. I like to mix it up and use what I think is best at the time based on past play(mine and my opponents). What is the character of the table, the character of my opponent(s), and what do they think of me and my play. I try to keep a history of what each player has seen from me, and take advantage of it whether it is pushing aggressively or preceeding cautiously.

Here is a non-comprehensive set of history to remember and use:

1. Stealing(or perceived stealing)
Have they seen me fold times that were ripe for stealing?
Could they be suspicious because I've raised a few times lately in stealing position(whether I was stealing or had a strong hand)?
Did I show a strong hand after raising in such a position?
Did I fold to a re-raise pre-flop? Call one? Raise all-in?
Did I fold to a bet on the post-flop, when if I had what I was representing pre-flop I likely should not have folded?
Did I showdown a steal?

2. Big Ace
Did I limp, raise, re-raise pre-flop from similar position first/second/etc. to act?
Did I Bet/Raise post-flop after missing? Hitting?
Did I trap with 2-pair or bet out(and how much was the bet)?
What have I shown(i.e. what did others see of how I played when they saw my cards)?

3. Premium pp (AA, KK, QQ)
Did I raise from early, middle, late position?
Was I first in? Did I raise/re-raise limper(s)/raiser?
Could have what I did have been perceived as stealing/bluffing?
What have I shown?

4. Medium pp (JJ, TT, 99, 88 )
5. Small pp
6. High cards(non-Ace)

You want to remember as much of the context of what you've revealed, including stack sizes(relative to your opponents as well as relative to the stakes) and stage of the tournament.

OK, let's talk about that AK again.

*** TKO strategy ***

Re-raise a 3xBB raise by 5xBB with around 1/3 of your chips.
If called bet all-in on flop. If re-raised pre-flop go all-in.
The logic stated assumes your opponent holds medium-small pp.

You are hoping he folds. A call or re-raise and you're in trouble, either big trouble(AA, KK) or coin-toss trouble(any other pp). I don't think a non-AK Ace or less non-pair would call. However, even if a non-ace non-pp calls, he could still hit one of his two cards to get you(even though you are the favorite and like your odds of winning). You would much prefer to have him fold. Since his stack is sufficiently high(for some players), he could call or re-raise all-in.
So, will he fold to $1000 raise? All-in $4800 raise? Yes, there is some validity to the theory that the $1000 raise is more threatening than the ratio of bet sizes, but that is more due to the fact that an all-in raise is perceived to be more-likely a bluff not a real hand that $1000 raise implies. It is not really due to the fear of being out-played post-flop, although seeing all 5 board cards is valued over just seeing the flop and folding when missed. You'd still like to mix it up so that your all-in pre-flop re-raises with a premium pp do get some action(i.e. you'd like the situations to look similar to your opponents so $1000 raise could be AA,KK,QQ or could be AK, and all-in raise could also be AA,KK,QQ as well as AK).

OK, back to the play:

1. Yes, if your opponent had 77, he should fold to your re-raise($1000 or not) and you're happy. With a good-sized stack and a loose opponent, he could call with 77. No set on flop(~84%) and you've extracted $1000 more from him(than just his $600), or set=you're busted(-$4800). He could still call your all-in bet on the flop, but not as likely as folding(he could pick up a str8 or flush draw on the flop and me more likely to call).

2. Opponent: QQ, JJ, TT. He is more likely to either call your $1000 re-raise or more-likely re-raise all-in. You're committed to calling his pre-flop all-in re-raise, and committed to putting all your chips in post-flop also. Even if they miss the flop, a lot of players are in to the river with these hands(esp. if no overcard on board). Their stack has you covered, so that's another factor for them to go all the way. So, If he re-raises all-in pre-flop or goes all the way you are still in that coin-toss situation(where you're not the favorite). Do we want to risk all our chips on that? No, we don't like it.

3. Opponent: AA, KK. Can you say Re-raise all-in. Can you tell the difference between this and any pp re-raise? AK also re-raise? You're committed to calling any pre-flop re-raise anyway. We definitely don't like this one :x

4. Opponent: Non-AK, non-pp, "fair hand". OK, we like this one. What was he doing raising? AQ, AJ, Ax? 2 paints?
What will he do? He should fold, and were happy with that.
He could check-call any we're happy with that most of the time. However, he could hit the flop and we miss. We're committing all whether we hit or not, so he busts us in that case(if we don't re-draw). What if we both miss? Some players would guess/read that you missed(or could have missed), and bet all-in on the flop. You're the favorite, and you like it, but could still lose if he gets lucky. You'd still much prefer that he check-fold. What if you both hit? Pair vs. pair and you way ahead However, a hit for him is not just a pair, but could be a str8, flush, or a draw.

5. Opponent: < 2 paints/junk (i.e. "he was stealing from the cutoff"). He folds to your re-raise and you're happy.

So, how good is this strategy?
Pros: A good player should fold with < TT, you collect $1150.
Calling likely wins you more.
Is favorable against a good/reasonable player.

Cons: You let a loose player see the flop at a discount, get
away losing just $1600 not $4800, or bust you if he hits
(pair vs. your miss; >pair vs. your Ace or King hit; or
pair or draw sucking out on you).
You have committed all your chips to someone with AA,KK.
Will someone with QQ,JJ,TT fold to your all-in re-raise but
call/re-raise your $1000 re-raise?
Doesn't like to see a call/re-raise from a loose/bad player.

As stated above, this strategy looks much better against good/tough players, and therefore you could be more inclined to use it if you've got such a handle on your opponents. The better players will know you've committed all even though only re-raising $1000, and will correctly lay down the small pp or less. They will care more about putting a dent in their stack. Others could be unaware and think a re-raise could push you off the hand(and if they lose they still have chips). This puts us in that coin-toss situation we don't want(when I flat call pre-flop would avoid this). I think this strategy would work a little better if you're stack was at least $6000. It is not as small compared to the stakes, and his doesn't have you covered by much. Also, it would be even better if you had him covered by enough and he was not short-stacked(even though you'd lose that "I'm definitely committed to this hand" appearance).

Whether you're up against a big pp or smaller one, re-raising $1000 pre-flop puts all our stack at risk. We're committed to winning this hand or busting out. I'd like to make it more profitable to take this risk by re-raiseing all-in, or just flat calling and losing $600 of my $4800 if re-raised or I missed the flop. I'd much rather be the first raiser to (eventually)make an all-in commitment with AK. If my first-in 3xBB pre-flop raise is called, I like the position of hitting an Ace or King on the flop before committing all my chips.

The situation I much more looking for mid-late in a tournament to commit all my chips pre-flop is a premium pp (AA,KK,QQ). This is especially if I'm not first in and am re-raising. So, I may miss a few opportunities with the riskier AK, and maybe leak some chips. In no-limit you can stand the leaks or blind/ante bleeds when you hit it big with the big pp.

Like I said before, you have to mix it up. So, I think employing different strategies is fine. TKO's strategy(not that he is the first to do it) can be used effectively.

How's that?

Scott "DocH"
Mon Nov 25, 2002, 07:12 PM
Deleted user
Thanks Doc H! Great stuff. I really, really appreciate your reply -- in depth, multi-leveled and solid.

I am referring to playing against top players, in $300 plus buy-in tourneys, so I am looking for edges against the likes of the biggies.

I play tight-aggressive in tourneys, so my raise should be respected. Love the comment about $6000 chips preferable -- appreciate that you captured my intention of directing the discussion to a particular time in the tourney with a particular stack size against a particular opponent -- really matters.

I want to take the night to digest this and respond.

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond (you gave a lot), and invite others to comment.

Agree that it is preferable to wait for the really big pairs, but card gods don't always cooperate!

Hope to see more comments, because let's face it -- AK leads to more heads-up all in situations than any other hand in tourneys!

Thanks again DocH

P.S congrats on Orleans finish... my first final table was there! Love that tourney -- good competition, reasonable buy-ins and nice people!
Re: critique this play please - Mon Nov 25, 2002, 07:46 PM
Deleted user
Originally Posted by Promos
I am in seat 9..hand is dealt i get Ac Kc..blinds are $100/$200 with a $25 ante seats 3-7 fold..seat 8 raises it to $600...he has $7000 in chips after making it $600..
This is a classic steal-resteal situation, and it's quite likely that Ac-Kc is pretty far ahead of whatever the cutoff seat was raising with. I'd think about reraising anywhere between $600 and $1,000. If your opponent was on a steal, he should now fold any sort of trash hand without reservation. If he calls, I'd be prepared to fire in $1,000 or more on the flop for two reasons: (1) to give him a chance to release his hand in the event the flop missed him, (2) to take away his drawing odds.

Even if you knew your opponent held a pair of sevens, a bet on your part if two or more overcards fell ought to make him to release his hand, unless he was close to all-in -- which he was not.

Once he decides to play with you and backdoors a flush draw there really wasn't much more you could do.

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