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Lemons, Limes, Cherries and WSOP Updates

I had a very weird couple of days of online poker. It's been mostly frustrating, replete with tons of suck outs. I didn't want to write about them, but since it's my current reality, I didn't want to ignore it either.

I've been multi-tabling lately, playing multiple small-to-mid field MTTs (45-180 players) along with Token SNGs to allow me to play a little higher. Because of this, I have reverted back to a very tight approach, playing mostly premium hands hard. If I accumulate chips I tend to loosen up, but that's in later stages in tournaments.

The obvious problem with this strategy is that when you eventually suffer a suckout, you'll likely not have accumulated enough chips to survive. For instance, I literally folded for several levels in a $10 45-person SNG, only to bust when my KK ran into QQ preflop. I try not to over-critique my opponents, but this is a spot where I may've folded my QQ if I were the other guy. Preflop, I raised UTG to 3x the BB. I got two callers before my eventualy executioner re-raised pot. I pushed all-in over the top and all parties folded to the re-raiser who called. Perhaps I'm not giving a complete enough picture, but as it played out, I thought it looked like I was pushing with AA. I was actually hoping for a fold, since the pot was pumped big enough and I didn't want to face AQ or some other Ace. When he insta-called, I thought he must have AA, but when QQ flipped I had a half-second of relief, followed by the feeling that I was going to be sucked out, followed by a flopped Queen and no help for Jordo. LEMON!

I suffered another suckout when I used the same fold-until-I-get-premium-hands strategy in a Token tourney. I held 99 when I raised to 350 (pot) with blinds of 50/100 and a stack of about 1250. The button called and everyone else folded. The flop was T73, so I pushed and he called...showing T9s. LIME! I still have no idea what he was doing there, but not everyone has to play the way I play.

I suffered some more beats after that, but I didn't take notes. While I was trying to process this all last night, though, I found a way to find a bit of inner piece. First, I reminded myself that I was only 80/20 to win, so this would happen 1 out of every five times I got all-in in that situation. 1/5 is not that small of a figure, especially when you compare it to other things, such as the chance that you flop a set (roughly 1/7.5). I am more likely to be sucked out on in that situation than I am to flop a set. Certainly, set flopping is not super common but its common enough to remind myself that, hey, suckouts are not just a part of the game, but a common part of the game.

I was still multitabling and working through this logic when I got 22 in one of my tournaments...and 22 in another tournament (one on FullTilt, one on Stars). I played both...and flopped a set in both, making money on both hands. Simultaneous pocket dueces and simultaneous sets. Wild! I took a screen shot to commemorate it, but I ask that you ignore the bottom tabs that display the excessive amount of porn I was researching at the time for my...sociology class. Sure, that's sounds logical. My sociology class.

I had a fun hand in a token SNG last night. It really takes a common belief and flips it on its head. It's very situation specific, but it happens enough to warrant discussion.

Generally, the rule of thumb in poker is that if you are willing to call a bet, you should make the bet. The reason is simple; it will give you two chances of winning (via fold or getting a call and winning at showdown) whereas calling only gives you once chance to win.

However, there are times when it makes more sense to check/call, rather than betting out. The key is to find instances where checking to your opponent will induce a bet from a wider range of hands, and where betting will only get a call from a very narrow, superior range of hands. Perhaps this example will help.

I was in a Tier 1 SNG of the $6.60 variety (top 4 get tokens), at the 25/50 level. I had 3,070 because I'm super awesome at poker. A player in EP called the 50 blind and the button, beavis with just under 1,400, min raised to 100 total. In the SB with KJs, I called. The BB folded. The EP player called as well.

The flop came down KTT, rainbow. I'll admit that I am always worried about KQ or AK in situations like this. KJ can be a dangerous hand to play if you are willing to overcommit to top pair.

Since I was first to act, I opted to check. I figured that any of the dominating hands would bet out; once I see the bet, then I will determine whether I am ahead or behind.

It checks to Beavis and he bets 400. To me, this was a green flag. If Beavis had a Ten, a better King, or Aces (the only hands that beat me here), he probably would be afraid to push checking players out of the pot with his oversized 400 bet into the 350 pot. A bet of 200 or even 100 would be a lot more scary. Still, I don't know what the EP guy has and I don't want to overbuild the pot, so I call.

The turn is an utterly useless 4c, creating a club flush draw but otherwise an insignificant card. I sincerely felt like I was ahead here, but I chose to check again. My opponent only had about 850 behind and the pot was over 1000. I ran through the scenarios in my head. If I push all-in, my opponents' calling range mostly includes hands that have me beat. If I check, my opponent will probably bet out with a much wider range, hoping to push me off of the pot. His flop bet showed that pushing people off of the hand was his M.O., so checking was the best move...even though I would be willing to call if he pushed all-in. Put another way, his betting range was wider than his calling range, so I wanted to let him bet rather than give him an opportunity to call with a better hand or fold a loser.

To my surprise, Beavis bet only 500, leaving him 350 or so behind. I raised him all-in and he folded. Terrible play by Beavis, but if I bet out that river, he folds instantly and I don't get that extra 500. Cherry!

* * *

I thought I was off to a good start in my WSOP Prop Bets, but then chip leader Phil Ivey in the Event 5, the $1000 rebuy, failed to cash and Bill Chen near-bubbled in, I believe, Event #4. I wish I could say the same for my competitors' picks.

Fuel has already made the board for the most cash won (total), when Sorel Mizzi placed 68th out of 72 players for $8,103 in Event 5, the $1000 rebuy.

Ingoal has also made the board in the same event when Daniel Negreanu placed 22nd for $ 16,496.

UWannaBet also made the board in our final table/bracelet race. Michael Binger has final tabled the same event, now redubbed the $1000 Win Jordan's Money Rebuy. He is sitting in second to last place via chipcount, but if he can pull it off, UWanna will get $10 instead of the $3 he gets for Binger's final table appearance.

With only 24 spots paying, I am hoping that some of my guys can pull out a win in the $10,000 Mixed Game Championship, a mix of 2-7 Triple Draw, all five HORSE games, NLHE and PLO. Gus Hansen sits in second place with half of the field gone (now down to under 100 players), but as Ivey has taught us in the Rebuy Debacle of '08, being the chip leader going into Day 2 does not guarantee even a cash. And to win anything with Hansen, I need him to win the whole shebang in my Most Bracelets bet with Ingoal. Another horse of mine, Johnny Chan, is in 4th place right now in the same event. He'd help my Most Cash bet with Fuel if he cashes, but he'll cost me more money to Ingoal if he wins the damn thing. Stupid unintentional hedging. Let's hope its Hansen over Chan in the end. Oh, and if that weren't enough, Ivey is in 11th place and Bill Chen is somewhere in the top 30. Raymer, Ingoal's pick for most Bracelets, is still in the event as well, under Chen, as is Erik Seidel (UWanna's Final Table/Bracelet pick). I can't wait for this one to pick up again at 3pm PST and can be followed via PokerNews HERE.

While reading the PokerNews coverage, I came across what I consider the funniest passage yet. This one is from reporter TassieDevil:

Things Going Wong for Van Alstyne

James van Alstyne has just split another pot, this time his opponent was Wing Wong.

On a board of {4-Clubs}{2-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{J-Hearts} van Alstyne held {A-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}{A-Spades}{6-Hearts} for a low hand against Wong's nut flush holding {A-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}.

Wong is travelling well with about 40,000 but overnight chip leader van Alstyne has slipped in recent times to now sit with only around 5,000 in chips.


Get it? WONG? Not Wrong, but WONG!!!

Well, I thought it was funny.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:18 PM,


At 2:39 PM, Blogger Ingoal said...

Teehee...consider yourself lucky so far, imagine what the score would look like if the bet counted from event #1 (or #2 for that matter), Jesus 3rd place 388.287$...that almost got me on prop-tilt ;-)

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

You're giving players in $10 MTTs too much credit, Jordan.


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