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You Decide #20

Here we go with the twentieth installment of You Decide! This one is a doozy. Basically, the question it asks is whether a +EV move should still be avoided in the early portion of a 2-table SNG. Here's the basic set-up.

You Decide #20

I was playing in an 18-person SNG with GCox and TripJax. I had one player fairly read as desperate. He was likely to push crappy cards hoping to pick up chips where he may.

I was in the BB with AhQh. The blinds were 15/30, and I had 1300. My Opponent had 1000. The board folds to the Opponent in MP, about three off from the button. He limps for 30. Everyone else folds. The small blind called. I raised it from 30 to 120. Opponent goes over the top all-in. I know I have him beat. I KNOW this. Just take it as a given. My reads were good (I early called G's opponent's JJ exactly) so far and I could tell by his push that he DIDN'T want action. So I called. He had Ks6s and rivered a flush.

So here is the question. Facing such a large raise, assuming that you KNEW that your opponent had the worst of it going in but still had two live cards, was it a foolish move to call? Overall it's a +EV move (that is positive expectation value, for you non-poker speaking readers), but some may say that you do not want to play for that many chips so early in the tournament unless you have him completely dominated. I'm partial to that theory, but I also feel like there are times when you have to take advantage of situations like this.

Please leave your comments. I think this is one of the more interesting topics, since it is more about strategy and style than simply how to play a particular hand generally.

I'm going to do my best not to play at all tonight. It shouldn't be too hard with wifey Kim and my usual Thursday night television shows, Survivor and the utterly disappointing Apprentice. Thanks to our new DVR, I'm also looking forward to seeing Everybody Hates Chris. Hopefully these things will keep me off of the computer. A day away could be good for my game and for my girl.

Do you hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of pokerability.

posted by Jordan @ 9:46 AM,


At 10:39 AM, Blogger GaryC said...

I still like the move, like I said at the time. Once you read that he was weak, and you obviously did, because of the insta-call, I like the move. Just bad luck.

I hung on and won, by the way.

Matrix, this time?


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Nice win G! I was hoping you or Trip would take the thing. I plan on doing those 18 person SNGs a lot in the future. A $5 is nothing, but the 1st place prize must be nice.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger TraumaPoker said...

I think if you know you have him in a bad spot, regardless of if he even had 2 live cards, you need to call. You can’t really argue that you can wait for a better spot. You didn’t mentioned anything about the others at the table, but I will assume none of them were like this guy who was itching to get his chips taken. If you pass up this chance he may stack off to someone else and you will not have a shot at his chips again. Just a case of when good calls go bad that’s all.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Calling in this case may not have been a bad idea. Then again, in a tourney situation and especially early on, you may want to think about risking most of your stack to AQs without seeing a flop yet. Granted AQs is OK but can be an underdog to AA, KK, QQ or AKo and AKs. If it was not that players style to "trap" opponents then ya, a call was probably warranted, especially when you have his stacked covererd.

Don't know. Once it gets down to all the chips in, its usually a horse race to see who catches. Sometimes its the horse, and sometime its the donkey.

At 1:52 PM, Blogger total said...

I think if you take into consideration the "Value of Chips" theory (Number of chips vs the blind level" This call becomes much more dangerous and what would normally be a +EV play in either a Cash Game, or even at the Middle of the tournament becomes at best a crap shoot in the Early Stages where the value of your chips is at it's highest due to the low blinds. Had you folded (even if it was the best hand) a better situation may have arisen to further your tournament goals. Had his stack been only 500 or less then the call would have been fine, but I think this was a bit early to be butting heads on a coin flip situation.

I was lucky enough to catch the end of the tournament and was able to sweat Trip and G as they took out the last player or two, then went heads up. It was a blast.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger TraumaPoker said...

In this case Jordan was a 62/38 favorite, this is far from a coin flip. There is one thing about tournaments, both MTT and SNG’s, and that is you can’t just sit around waiting for a better spot. If you are passing up spots where you feel you have a 60/40 lead or better you are not going to win in the long run. Jordan had the correct read on his opponent and made the correct play. If you want to sit around and wait to get AA so you can look for a 80/20 edge for all you money feel free to do that, I just hope you get them before the blinds eat you alive. :)

At 2:25 PM, Blogger total said...

Also, shame on you for not heading my words of "Wisdom" from my post a few days ago entitled Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me! Had you paid any attention to it, you would have KNOWN that AQ is the DEVIL!

Joey Boucher: "Well I like AQ... and I like poker... and I'm gonna keep doin' 'em both because they make me feel good.

[Slams door, then comes back]

Joey Boucher: And by the way, Mama... SNG’s are not a waste of time and money!

[Slams door, then comes back]

Joey Boucher: And I like CC and she likes me back. And she showed me her boobies and I like them too!"

At 3:40 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

HaHa...that was a good one Joe. Jordan, you played it right. I was there to see it. Oh, and 2nd place beetches...

At 4:25 PM, Blogger WillWonka said...

In my humble opinion, I have no problem folding... maybe you had a good read on the guy.. maybe you didn't.. That early in the tourney, I don't want to really commit all my chips even for a 60-40 advantage.. I hate going all in with AQ.. even sooooted.. (or in this case calling an all in)

If he had 1000 to your 1300.. I don't see that as desperate.

Again, in my humble opinion.. especailly early in tournaments.. I want to win the small uncontested pots that will give me advantage later on.

Now, having said all of that... I do not have a problem with the call.. I just wouldn't have done it.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

OK, this is my self-analysis. Realistically, it wasn't a bad move. I had him beat, I knew I had him beat, I was correct, and I got my money in with the best of it.

HOWEVER, if I could do it again, I would have folded. There was no need to for me to gamble that early in the game. Some people suggested (rightly) that you can't wait for AA. That is true. But you also don't have to make your move in an early round with AQs.

Now, I tried to resolve this play with the Sklansky Theorem of Poker: You are playing optimally when you act as you would have acted if you could see your opponent's cards face up. This would suggest that calling was correct. BUT it can also imply that folding was correct, because while I was ahead, the same analysis as above applies.

Thanks for the comments. Keep em' coming.

At 3:19 AM, Blogger Yoyo (Poker Poison) said...

Getting a chip lead early in MTTs is very helpful. I like to pick a hand to move on where I think I can double. I figure you will need to win a race at some point..why wait for hours. The A Q in late position is not bad. But I usually prefer a pair of some kind. If it is gonna be a race, I like to go in with a made hand or AK sooooted.


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