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You Decide #26

First, let me say how deeply disappointed I am that I will be unable to play in the HORSE tournament tonight at 10pm on Full Tilt. Weekends are for wifey Kim, and I'm looking forward to spending some time with my girl. But you can all have a great time playing NL Hold'em, Omaha H/L, Razz, Stud, and Stud H/L with ThisIsNotApril and other bloggers and readers. When you win, dedicate it to HighOnPoker!

This You Decide is a demonstration in Donkosity by yours truly. I don't like the play I made, but I do think it may have had some redeeming qualities, regardless of the results. The set up is easy. Here we go:

I am in the BB in the first hand of a $5 18-person NLHE SNG on PokerStars. I am dealt AA. Four players limp in. The SB completes. I have AA. I push all-in. Everyone folds.

There you have it. On one hand, pushing all-in nets me 100 profit (1500 starting chips, 10/20 blinds) without fear of KJ hitting two-pair of A9 hitting a 992 flop. On the other hand, I could have thinned the herd, potentially, with a lower raise and been more profitable while minimizing (but not removing) the chance of a suckout.

Discuss. I'll be here waiting.

This You Decide is brought to you by the letters STR and the number 8!

posted by Jordan @ 11:03 PM,

15 Comments:

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Fat Dan said...

I say that you should have gone with a raise to about 350. Enough to scare some folks out, but not so much that they are a sure thing to fold.

 
At 10:02 AM, Anonymous TripJax said...

As I mentioned earlier, I don't hate the play. The way people play those sng's, there is a good chance you'll get one, possibly two, callers who want to try and double up quick.

You make a small or medium raise and probably get called by most of the players. At that point you are up against an array of hands that can beat your aces by the time all the cards hit the board.

If I had to do it over, I'd say raise 250-300 which would be around 3X what is in the pot at the time it gets to you. That lets people know you are not kidding about your hand and also probably gets you some respect the rest of the game when your BB comes around...

The key, in the end, is you did not lose the hand and did not get bad beat so it is no sweat...

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous kaellinn18 said...

I dunno, I kind of like this play. This is the first hand of an SNG, so I see a few outcomes.

1) You are called by someone and you lose to a suckout. Well, you had AA so no one can really fault you for it. The winner obviously cheated.

2) You are called and you win. You immediately double/triple/xTuple up. You have a massive stack and instant respect to push people around the rest of the game.

3) What actually happened. Everyone folds. Now, unless you showed your AA, you have built yourself a questionable table rep. People don't know what you have (they will probably figure you for KK or AA), but you're going to be looked at as kind of an unstable player since you're willing to risk all of your chips so early, even with AA. (This is provided any of the people you were playing with actually know what they're doing.) If you can make a few more bets early on that don't make sense, you might be able to tilt some players into giving you action later on when you have good cards again.

Just my two cents. Don't spend it all in one place.

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous willwonka said...

While I understand why you did what you did as $5 SNGs are notorious for people going and calling all-ins on the first hand; but if you ask me (which you are), I don't like it. How often do you get AA... OK, OK.. about 1 out of ever 220 hands... Given that fact, why waste it.

On the one hand, you definitely do not really want 5 total players in it so it does deserve a pretty big raise; but on the other hand, you really don't want to just take down the limpers. Having said that, I would go all-in... just kidding. In my humble opinion, I would raise to around 4x the pot... 400ish.

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous April said...

While I understand why you'd made a play like that (people in those SnGs don't fold for nuthin!), I'd still probably go with the standard raise and take my chances. On the other-hand, by going all-in first hand, you likely set a table image of "crazy donkey guy" which can sometimes come in handy.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Jestocost said...

The only concern I have with the play is that risking all of your stack on the first hand has limited upside and could end your tournament.

First, getting all of the players to fold and winning the entire pot is of marginal benefit and very well could have been obtained with less risk. I don't know that you've increased your fold equity by too much from going all in vs. a raise to 300 or 500.

Second, with all of the donkeys playing in $5 SNGs, a call of your all in from something like KJo or A9s isn't all that rare. Even if you win, as you should more than 85 percent of the time against KJo or A9s, doubling your stack this early doesn't make a huge difference in your chances for winning. The all in is at best a slightly positive move than a raise to 350 (and I even did some math, if you can believe it). If you get called and lose, however, your tournament is done.

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Jordan from HighOnPoker said...

Thank you all for your comments. The consensus thus far is that a moderate raise of about 300 would be optimal. I agree generally. I really like what Jestocost mentioned. Even if I do double up, in an 18-person SNG, it doesn't make a huge difference in my chances of winning. This seems to make sense. After all, the first chipleader isnt always (usually) the last.

On another note, table image is also something that got a lot of attention in responses. After making the play, I really thought about showing, but I wanted action later on. Unfortunately, I didn't get dealt any cards to warrant wanting action. So maybe the AA was wasted. It sure felt that way at the time.

As a side note, after that hand, I played relatively tight. I eventually lost with KK all-in preflop against AA. I was one of the shorter stacks at the table and was facing a 3x raise from MP. I decided it was all or nothing. Turned out it was nothing.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous David said...

Did you show your aces afterwards?

I don't think that it is a bad strategic play. If I were going to shove on the very first hand of a $5 SNG to take the temperature of the table, I would like to have aces to back me up.

You want to get full value out of your good hands, but what is the full value of your bullets so early?

My gut was to bet in the $400-$500 range and get heads up, but then you are just gambling. You might get an extra $400, but I think that you are more likely to have to make a hard decision when donkey kong makes a pot sized bet for all of his chips on a medium, coordinated board. Getting 2:1 on his money, might have as bad as an OESD, or he might have two pair, or a set.

Regardless of the flop, unless you flop an A, when he pushes, with just about any hand that he calls your raise with, you are going to win and say, "Phew," or lose and say, "I'm a donkey that can't lay aces down." He makes the pressure bet, and you have to make the decision. Doubleas would not approve.

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous SoxLover said...

I was in a very similar same situation, first hand with AA same as you except I was in middle position and it was a 20+2 18 person. Unraised to me, I made it 100 to go (5x BB) and got called by BB. Flop was J22 and I lost my stack to A2 suited.

If results guided, I like your play better. I might still have gotten called since idiots often suspect other idiots on the first hand and I can see a call here, but at least I would have felt better (I think).

 
At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Garthmeister J. said...

I actually like the play. Looks like you are stealing the pot, you have a monster, and have yourself in good position to double up. And while I agree that doubling up doesn't mean that you are automatically going to be in the money it a) gives you a great foundation, and b) removes one of your competition. These are both very good things.

And I also have to disagree with one of Jestocost's points, about it not being worth the risk as you might lose. I am always prepared to throw all my chips in pre-flop when I have AA. In fact every time they are dealt to me I am praying I am able to get someone to let me do it to them. Sure some times you are going to lose, but the vast majority of the time you're going to win. You have to push when you have an edge, especially a huge edge.

My 2 cents, anyway.

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Jordan from HighOnPoker said...

Garthmeister offers some great points in his analysis. In SNGs, I have brought myself around to the frame of mind that I do not want to get all-in and take a chance of losing to a suckout. BUT, if I continually made the same play ad infinitum and continually got the other player to call, I would double up (1:1 odds) more often than 1:1. So, maybe I should have just went for it. Of course, one error or bad luck hand is all that it takes to lose a whole tourney, so that's why generally, for me, caution wins out (at least in my head, in practice who know what I'll do!)

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Jestocost said...

I'm new to tournament $EV analysis, but I think the math supports my point. By pushing you gain nothing and risk everything. Put a raise (and even better a couple of calls) in ahead of you and it's a different story.

Your table image is an intangible, but I'm not so sure that inviting more action during level I of a $5 SNG is the best approach. Nothing makes your AK more worthless than getting five callers.

I'll bet the Poker Nerd could answer this in a heartbeat. For me, my head is starting to get too hot to continue.

 
At 10:01 AM, Anonymous DP said...

I personally like to see a lot of flops which is often the case because I'll almost always make bets that my opponents can call with weaker hands.

I would have raised to 200 preflop and then most likely check-raised all in on a good flop (if they bet a lot) or just lead if the flop is dangerous.

You definitely want action with AA...

 
At 11:11 AM, Anonymous surflexus said...

I would bet 572. This should eliminate the majority of the crowd and create enough curiosity for a caller. Whatever happens after this make sure they see the aces. Then later in the game when you want to buy a hand just make sure and throw 72 on the end of your bet.

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Jordan from High On Poker said...

Damn, Surf. It's a pretty simple idea, betting an obscure number and then using that same number later to trick players. I plan on using that. Thanks.

 

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