Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tourney Chops

I'm continuing to work on my tournament chops.

Strengths: I'm getting better at reading on-line opponents through their betting patterns, paying close attention not just to show-downs, but also to betting frequency and the size of bets that don't get called, and taking copious notes on my opponents. Also, when I identify players who are not very good, I'm getting better at taking the situation seriously even when I don't take the player seriously. I won't call a raise from a clown unless the pot odds are right for a drawing hand, or I've got a hand.

Weakness: I've still got problems with the final table, when blinds are up. I get a little too anxious and push weaker hands farther than I should. That's a tricky balance to strike and something I need to work on. I've been playing lots of small (less than 100), cheap tourneys to work on this.

Here's an interesting hand in a 45 player tourney last night.

ME: Tc Js - I limp (early in the blind structure), the pot is raised to 3BB but there are five others so pot odds justify my calling the raise.

Flop: 9c Kc Qd

An ideal flop, wouldn't you say? Now if I can get rid of the flush chasers...

I bet 3/4 of the pot and get two callers

Turn: 2d

A great card! Unless somebody was staying for the runner runner flush with a King of Diamonds, that card helped nobody.

But what's this? The two other stacks (I had doubled up a few hands earlier) have both gone all-in on my 1/2 pot raise! I'm sure I've got the best hand right now, so I call them to see

P1: Kh Td
Me: Tc Js
P3: 7c 8c

And not only does player 3 (the smallest stack) hit their flush, P1 hits their miracle card to split the side pot with me:


Let's take a look at those percentages:
Pre flop
P1: 42.67%
ME: 21.83%
P3: 33.27%

I'm dominated. Glad I didn't know that.
P1: 2.66% (But a 7.42% for a tie)
ME: 59.25%
P3: 30.68%

I guess a pot-sized bet is better for chasing out the flush, huh?
P1: 4.76% chance for a tie only
ME: 76.19% to win, 4.76% for a tie.
P3: 19.05% to win.

You might question P3 going all-in on the turn, as did I. However, P3 tripled up after taking this chance, and I saw this one again at the final table. I finished third and that player was down to heads-up for taking the whole thing. I guess it was a calculated risk, as opposed to a donk move.