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If Winning Was Only So Easy

I've been playing a lot better than I was a mere week ago. The major difference is that I am back to paying attention and I've renewed my commitment to folding when I am behind (in other words, I'm willing to fold in difficult situations). Still, my results have been less than stellar. I'm up to $70 or so on FullTilt, still at around $20 on Stars and down to under $10 on Poker.com. The main problem is that I am focusing on MTTs on Stars and Poker.com, so results are slow going. I am consistently making into the top 20% of tournaments, including my run to 11th out of 51 in the Big Game last night (technically just over the 20% mark), but I have yet to seal the deal. I think the next major leak to adjust is my short-handed game. I moved away from the style I advocated in my post, Short-Stack Specialist. Now, I find myself taking too many chances pushing all-in for a steal. Last night, for instance, with blinds of 600-1200 and antes of 100+, I pushed in the SB with QJ when everyone folded. I was called by, I believe, CMitch of O-Poker in the BB with AKo. Truthfully, I don't hate the play, since CMitch and I were both at around 8,500, but I probably should have just folded and waited for a great spot.

Then again, this really isn't the best example of haphazard pushing in the late stages of a tournament. When pushing in that situation, you need to consider what your opponent might possibly have. The vast majority of the time, he will have a weak hand and will fold. Now let's examine his calling range. He will probably call with a pair. Any pair up to TT is okay with me, since I have two overcards, for a virtual cointoss. I don't love a cointoss, but when you add the fold-equity, it makes a possible cointoss more palatable. JJ and QQ would dominate me, but are unlikely, since I have one of each. KK and AA would also suck, but the likelihood of having those hands is less than 1%. Then we have the unpaired cards that might call. I presume that a lot of the weak Aces (A2-A6) would probably fold, fearing that they will be dominated. Even AK, which is what CMitch actually had, isn't that bad. In that situation, I still have a 35% chance to win. It's not ideal, but given the range of cards possible (literally 72o to AA), I wasn't too concerned with one particular hand like AK (or the aforementioned AA and KK). AQ, KQ, AJ, and KJ were also ugly possibilities that might call, but overall, I felt confident that pushing was the right move. Now, I am not so sure, and I am curious to see if anyone else has an opinion they would like to share. It all brings me back to something I believe Gavin Smith or Joe Sebok said on their PokerRoad.com podcast, nee Cardplayer's The Circuit, nee PokerNews.com's podcast. Basically, one of them said that there comes a point in a tournament when you are happy to see a cointoss. I don't know if I 100% agree, but it is nice to get a professional's opinion.

All of this is to say that while I feel better about my play, my results have been lacking. Still, when you go deep in tournaments and fail to cash, it is not a complete loss. At the very least, I am putting myself in striking distance, and when I hit, it will hopefully pay for the losses before it. And really, online poker is just a silly videogame anyway (or so I keep trying to convince myself).

Wifey Kim and I are watching my parents' cat again. He's mellowed out from his kitten craziness from past visits. Amazingly, its actually kinda nice having the furball around. Just last night, he laid next to me as I played the Big Game. It's oddly soothing to pet a cat while playing poker. Now I just need to find a way to bring the cat to Vegas for the WPBT tournament.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:22 AM,

5 Comments:

At 4:32 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

The only time I want to see a coinflip is against a short stack when I can afford it. If you're going to play for 4 hours and then start flipping coins, why play in the first place?

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

I agree in principle, Kaja, but I wonder if, practically speaking, there comes a time where it is okay to hope for a coinflip. I think, though, that this only occurs when the blinds are high enough or your stack is short enough.

 
At 8:05 PM, Blogger DP said...

I skimmed this post -- I'll get back to it; in regards to the comments above: in order to win a MTT, you need to win coin flips. That means getting into coin flip situations when it's warranted such as when the blinds are high, as Jordan said.

So basically, I completely disagree with what Kaja said above.

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger CzechRazor said...

QJ push is fine. Folding is both too weak and incorrect.

Coinflips are necessary in later stages online since the blinds are raised so quickly.

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger Bobby Crosby said...

Insta-push the QJ hand and a lot of weaker hands in that spot. It's a no-brainer.

 

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