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You Decide #54 & Which is True #3

We have a two-fer for you today. After tabling my most recent Which is True, I came across a hand ideal for a You Decide analysis. I'm looking for some discussion on these two topics, mostly because I feel that they are worthy of debate. So, let's get right to it by starting with

Which is True #3
This one will be slightly different than the past Which is True posts. We are going to have three options and its up to you to figure out which is accurate. Let's get right to it.

The greatest accomplishment out of the three options listed is (choose one):

(A) Winning (1st place) an online 50 person tournament with a $50 buy-in for a profit of $1200.
(B) Placing in 5th in a 1000 person online $10 tournament for a profit of $650.
(C) Making the final table of an online 9,000 person freeroll, winning $250.

I'm not quite sure what my vote is, but I'm curious to hear yours. The heart of the question is how you evaluate tournament winnings across a variety of circumstances.

And while you are chewing on that, lets examine a wacky and wild play from last night's Wall Street Game (where I incidentally lost the first tournament when I got T8o to call my all-in preflop with AA, and by the river, the T8o made an 8-high straight, and then chopped 1st and 2nd in the 2nd tournament). Here is

You Decide #54
You are in the second or third hand of a single table tournament, live, with a mix of players with varied experience against you. In the preceding hand, you limped along with 5 or so others, the BB raised to 250 (from the 50 BB), and everyone folded. In the BB, you are dealt AJd. By the time it gets to you, there are 5 limpers, none of which look like they are holding very good cards (its usually an aggressive table, so no raise reads as weakness). You raise to 250. First question: was this too little? too much? unnecessary with AJd out of position? My plan was to either push out most players and then outplay the remaining players depending on the flop, or get some more information while I am playing out of position with likely the best hand preflop. I only get one caller, a newbie to the game who I have read has having marginal cards.

The flop is KQ7, with two hearts and one diamond. Out of position, I decided to raise to 350, hoping to force the opponent to fold. The bet was sized so it didn't look like a blatant attempt to get him out of the pot AND it didn't overcommit me to the hand if he decides to raise back or even call. He calls after a brief hesitation.

The turn is a Qd, making me a nut diamond flush draw. I bet out 600, hoping that my opponent does not have a Queen. To my surprise, he pushes all-in, for 1200 more. This will put me all-in if I call. This is really the biggest question for you all. Up to this point, I'll admit that my overaggression was misplaced, and I was digging myself a deeper hole. I was slightly worried about KQ too, but he wasn't that confident in his cards. I thought for a long while until I ultimately called. He showed KJ, a surprisingly weak hand, given his play. The river was a Ten and I hit Broadway to take down the pot.

So, I think its safe to say that my overaggression was a bit unnecessary, even if I was ahead preflop and had good draws on the turn. But was that all-in call correct? I figured that it was so early in the tournament that I'd be willing to shake things up with a bold play. Still, I doubt that my play was stellar, and I am wondering how others would have played it. Is simply checking preflop the right move and folding on the flop. Perhaps.

Overall, I had a great time at the Wall Street Game last night. Its so freaking close to home that I even stopped off home for a few minutes between the games. I was in great shape in the first tournament, at a point where there were only 47.5 big blinds on the table (thanks to escalating blinds) and about 6 players left. I had been repeatedly stealing from the button until I conned a played into calling my all-in from the button with my AA vs. her T8, but you know the rest. After losing that way, I steamed quietly for a bit, went home to gather my senses, and then returned and had a great run in the second game. I was dealt some monster hands, AA at least twice, KK and QQ once as well, which is definitely something I don't get to say a lot. I joked with new player Lynette (who was on my immediate left for both games) that I always do better in second tournaments (true) because players recall my loose play from the first tournament (meant as a joke, but now in hindsight probably true).

Oddly, I've played tournaments twice at the Wall Street Game and won one tournament each time, but I lost in my cash game attempts there. I need to figure out what the hitch is, but it may just be card deadedness. After all, the sample size is small.

While talking to Lynette, we also mentioned how poker really does provide a high. That's when I outted my blog, since I appreciate fellow players that can acknowledge the euphoric state that poker can bring. Truthfully, if it wasn't for that adrenaline rush, I don't even know if I'd play the game. But really, that rush is intrinsic to gambling, so to imagine poker without the excitement is like imagining drinking booze without the concept of drunkedness. Its possible (non-alcoholic beer) but its stupid as fuck.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:26 AM,


At 11:44 AM, Blogger L'artiste said...

That hand was just spewage. Betting AJ oop with a king and a queen on the board? What range of hands did you put him on? And if he calls the flop bet, he’s obviously got a piece of it. Why are you putting in more chips on the turn?

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I agree 100%. You already know my feelings on the JackAce generally, but once you miss the flop and it contains two high cards, I think the cbet there is a bad move. And the bet out on the turn, imo that is basically chip suicide. And I would fold to the reraise, no matter how small. But that's just me.

I do love your Which is True question though. I do not at all measure "greatest accomplishment" by what has won me the most moeny. Thus, choice (A) is out. Winning a 50-person tournament is a solid performance but to me not a big deal in the overall scheme of things.

I think I'm going to go with choice (B). 5th out of 1000 players in a $10 online tournament is pretty incredible, IMO much moreso than just winning a 50-person mtt outright. And while 9th out of 9000 is all the more incredible, the fact that it's a freeroll just generally cheapens it somewhat because then you know that most of the first hour or so was pure unadulterated donkery. Choice (B) represents the best combination of strong performance against a real field playing real poker.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger AlCantHang said...

Vote Hoy! B is my answer.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger bayne_s said...

You decide #54
Pre-flop raise was too much. How many times have you seen every player limp fold on 2 consecutive hands. You are asking to play a weak hand out of position. I think limp is better. Chasing flushes and straights on a paired board where board is very consistent with limped hands is chip spewage.

You decide #53
A) Top 2%, B) Top .5% C) Top .1%
I'm sure something annoys me about not winning in B or C so have to choose A. Having played Midnight Madness and 50-50 can't conclude there is better play at one money level vs. other

At 12:39 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

great questions - both of them.

Which is true? as usual with poker it depends. There are a lot of other factors to think about.
ROI - 1-2,400%, 2-6,500%, 3-infinte
Time - 1 will probably be the fastest to get through at 2-3 hours, 2 will take a solid 6+ hours, 3 will take about 6+ hours as well.
And obviously you have to take into account the payout.
So I guess it is a combination of hourly rate and ROI.

My choice would be (A), because of the big payday (of which I have little) and amount of time it would take (of which I have little). Beating better competition is also a plus for me. I already managed to do (B) and felt great about it, so it would be a close call for sure.

As for "You Decide", you got lucky there but you had the right odds to call. You state it's early stages of the tournament so I assume your stacks are of similar sizes. By the time you have to make the decision to call or fold on the turn the pot is around 3600 and it costs you 600 to call which is 6-to-1. Even if he has a naked Queen, which is what I would put him on (he would never push with a made boat), then you are only a 3-to-1 dog and have to make this call. If he has KQ (semi-likely), KK (unlikely), 77 (unlikely) or Q7 (highly-unlikely) you are drawing to 1 card in the deck - but I doubt he pushes with a made boat.
So the crying call on the turn was correct pot-odds-wise. But the play that lead to it was all wrong.

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this hand because I find myself landing in this problem time and time again. Betting pre flop, then making the continuation bet and then getting slammed on the turn or river with a large re raise. That was quite a call on the river. Do you think you could have recovered in the match if you had folded?

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Dave said...

I'll take on the Which is True #3 question. This is a good question and each selection has it's own merit. For A) Winning a $50 entry tourney and getting $1200 is obviously the biggest reward. You'll see a lot more serious poker being played at this level. An accomplishment not to be ignored.

B) The field is certainly a lot bigger and getting to the final table in a a huge MTT like this is another great accomplishment. Even though the payout is less than A), option B) took much longer to accomplish. You certainly had to outlast a few more horse races to get that far and you had to have a bit more luck to last this long.

C) - this is something I've had personal experience with. Freeroll play is one big luckfest. However, outlasting all of the pushes and horseraces and getting to a final table is one piece of luck in my opinion. The time investment alone is just NOT worth the measly reward. A patient player can pick up a lot of chips to those LAG-tards who push on any draw or top pair. Certainly a lot less payout and the quality of poker is less than good. I finished a final table of a 10,000 player freeroll once but felt less than accomplished because the money just wasn't worth the time. Never the less, to get that far is in a field that large takes a bit of skill.

But the question remains, which is the biggest accomplishment? If I had to choose, I'd always prefer to win the most money, afterall money is why we play. But option A has a small field and on any given day, one lesser skilled player might be able to get away with winning this. B is definitely a worthy field and for $10 it is taken a bit more seriously than a freeroll. 5th place and $650 is well worth the effort. I'd like to say that final tabling a 9000 person field was the best accomplishment but not when it comes to a $/hour analysis. You could probably do better playing a few SNGs at the $50 level and have better chance to win the same amount of cash in less time. Still, beating out almost 9000 other players is saying something.

So if I had to pick, I'd choose B. It's a field size that you can be proud of and a payout that you are still proud of. But that payout in A always "sounds" better.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Great comments so far, and I encourage anyone else to add their two cents. I'm looking forward to the Which is True wrapup (aka "This is True #3") tomorrow, but for now, let me address a question posed by d., regarding the AJd hand.

This was maybe the third hand in the tournament, if not the second. That is one of the reasons why I figured I could get a fold. After all, who wants to go bust that early. Now, that said, you ask a very good question: could I have recovered if I folded to his all-in. I suppose that the truth is, I could've, but with 15 minute blind levels and a ruined table image, it would've been difficult. In the end, I liked my odds better with the call than with a big fold. It would've had the rest of the table eying me as the whipping boy, and I don't like that role.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

Personally anytime you win a tourney regardless of the money is one of the best feeling's in the world (Not sit and go's or 3 table tourneys) so I would go A. Though B is impressive but the 10$ buy makes the skill level weaker and the 9000 final table though in number value is unreal the fact that its a free roll shows utter disregard for skill....

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for which is true: I think it's almost a coinflip between (A) and (B). I'm under the opinion that freerolls are too big of crapshoots to feel too much pride about a victory, and eliminated (c) despite the more impressive ROI and number in the field. And my next thought was that I would favor (B) given the large field, but 5th place would leave me with a little bitter taste in my mouth for not wrapping it up. There's just something about WINNING a tourney, and (A) is a 1st place finish (not to mention the higher $ reward.) ... So, I think I'd go with A, but a GREAT question. ... Now, as for the "you decide," you were much braver than I with the continuation bet after missing the flop, AND I personally would've folded when brought all in on the turn too despite the pot odds (but that's because I'm a pansy.) Pretty overaggressive on ALL streets in my opinion, but hey, it's a home game with 15 minute blinds... and you won... can't fault you too much. ... Another great post... thanks HighOn...

At 10:07 PM, Blogger MHG said...

I'd have to go with option A, for the pure fact that it is the only one with a "winner" flag. I echo the sentiment that it is hard to match that feeling of being the last one standing. Even a 5th out of 1000 has me shaking my head, wondering what I could have done differently.

Add on the bigger payday, and it is a pretty easy decision for me to make. Final Tabling a 9k person freeroll would be great, but not worth the time unless you finish in the top two or three spots (if cash is paid out).

As for the You Decide, I like the size of your raise--it would probably push most of us off KJ. Anything less the 250 and you'll be facing more than one caller, most likely, and you'll be playing OOP. That wouldn't be terrible, if you pre-planned to fire at the flop regardless, but it could put you in a tight spot. I might raise to 300 or 350 to get those KJ hands out of there for sure.

I sort of doubt he was putting you on a hand, because he's either way behind, or a coin-flip. So he's probably just thinking his KJ is worth a flop. If the flop is J-T-3, you're probably getting all of his money. It would have been interesting to see what action he would take if you checked the turn--it might give him the impression you just hit your Q--and you'd get a free shot at rivering your flush. Also, if he then raised anything less than all-in, you'd have a chance to bully him out of the pot on a semi-bluff that looks a lot like you just hit your Q. That check-raise can be brutal!

Thanks for joining the rpg fun, nice write up!

At 10:43 PM, Blogger Matt said...


My vote is A. In line with other's comments, although A is a smaller field than B, it is a larger buyin so, presumably, the players may be less donkalicious. Plus it's the bigger score of the three and it's an actual victory.

In terms of the WSOP, I'd probably rather be victorious in a smaller $3k event than finish 5th in a larger, $1500. Not the best comparison, but it'll do.

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which is True #3: Answer (A) ... poker is about money.

I didn't get a chance to read the You Decide things, but I'll comment on those later.

At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Additional reasons for my answer to Which is True #3 - (A)

1) Obviously the goal when playing poker is to win money

2) The more players in a tournament, the more luck there is involved in winning said tournament. This is actually just an after thought, but something that is generally not given any consideration by most players.

3) I've won an 1800 person freeroll MTT. It feels like shit, it's a waste, and it's worthless.

I'm sure I left a lot out, but those are my thoughts at the moment.


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