Saturday, June 30, 2007

Event 49

I got stuck in the outside tent for event 49. First time I've been there this month.

It was kind of hot but why should I mention the heat when I can also talk about the smell?

I drank water and folded most of the first hour.

I played king queen twice. Once defending my blind. Once from the button as the preflop raiser.

Neither time worked out for me and I was down to 2275.

Then the following key hand occurred:

Guy under gun pushes all in. He only has 125. Two guys in middle position call. I look down to see the ace and king of spades. It's probably correct to raise here. To put in a big bet and try to get heads up with the guy who pushed under the gun. Turn all the other money dead.

If the blinds were bigger I'd absolutely play more aggressively. But with blinds at 50/100 I talk myself out of it. I decide to disguise my hand and call from the button. I like having position. And maybe I can win a big pot from an ace suited kind of guy if an ace hits. Sure I can lose if (when ) his low kicker pairs. But that's poker.

And who knows? Maybe one of the blinds behind me will put in a big reraise to try to take down the pot and I'll gamble with them.

So I'm not in love with my call here. But I did it. I've been feeling good about post flop play lately and I don't mind seeing the flop 6 handed.

And of course when I make a weak play like this I am completely willing to let it go if I miss.

Problem was I didn't exactly miss.

No. The flop was an intriguing jack and 10 of spades, along with a red 9.

One of the blinds leads out for 300.

Older guy to my right makes it 700.

It's my turn to act.

Damn. The older guy has a straight. That's the hand that reraises here.

He doesn't want the board to pair. Doesn't want the 3rd spade to come.

I stare at the table. There is 1750 out there. I need to call 700 to see the turn.

Before I act I have 2150 in front of me.

I can reraise all in but the older guy is going to call me with his straight. I'm not getting him to fold what is the best hand right now. If I raise all I'll do is get the first guy to fold. But as long as the board doesn't pair I'm not scared to keep him around.

A call feels right. The initial raiser folds. And we go to the turn with my Ace King suited 42.73% against my opponent's king queen off. At least I think that's my worse case scenario.

But just doing our homework: If he has two pair I win 44.75%.

I'm also an underdog versus queen jack. 49.7 vs 50.30%.

I know it's only .3 but that .3 will get you every time.

So no matter how you slice it I'm a dog.

Yet my pot odds were still strongly encouraging a call.

I need to be getting 58 chips for every 42 I put into the pot. (1.38 to 1.)

And in reality I got 1750 for the 700 chips I put in. That my friend is (2.5 to 1.)

An easy call. The older guy with the king queen is actually severely under betting here. He thinks he's trapping the initial bettor but with my flush and straight outs he's giving me a nice discounted look at the turn.

And have I mentioned that I have a royal flush draw? Remember that time I hit a royal flush in tourney 49 at the World Series of Poker? Shouldn't we be getting the ESPN8 cameras to my table? Immediately?

Turn comes and I miss. No spade. No queen.

He pushes all in for his last 1200. And that specific number is gonna get alot of laughs at the math conventions this fall. Because when you add it to what's in the middle, it means I gotta call 1200 to win 3650. Which is roughly my odds of winning the pot.

(Insert laughter, applause and then more laughter.)

If I call and win this hand I will have 5100 chips.

If I call and lose this hand I will have 250 chips.

And I'm getting slightly better than 3 to 1 to call with a hand that is also a 3 to 1 dog.

So mathematically this is a borderline call or fold.

I sat and thought about it. If I fold I would have 1450 remaining. Which is plenty.

But if I call I might be about to jump to 5100 total chips.

I'm not here to win a last longer bet. I am here to acquire chips.

And there is a huge pile of them in the middle of the table.

I also felt like since I had him covered I would sort of receive a "get out of jail free" card. In other words I'd still be sitting at the table if I lost this hand. I wouldn't have alot of chips. But with 250 I'd find a good spot to push and have the chance to double up and so on.

If you know me well you know I do not fear the small stack.

So I called.

I really was so sure I would hit on the river. However according to the 10 witnesses I missed.

20/20 hindsight says that if I had just put in a big raise preflop, the king queen guy probably folds and I battle the all in guy for a 750 chip pot.

So "20/20 Robert" says shame on you "Saturday afternoon Robert" for just calling.

(Of course "Tequilla Robert" wants to point out that if the spade hits then "Saturday afternoon Robert" was a genius for just calling preflop since it allowed him to play a big pot with a royal flush draw.)

I can't fold a royal flush draw. What can I say? I think I saw Phil Ivey push all in with it once on television. Yeah. That's probably where I learned it.

Speaking of Phil, you always see guys like Ivey walking out of these tournaments like get me the hell out of here and to a cash table immediately.

I started thinking about their numbers. If guys like Phil play cash games normally with $4000/$8000 blinds and a tournament like today costs $1500...well then it just must be so hard for them to take it seriously.

The buy in is almost silly. It's less than half of what Phil usually pays for a small blind.

Compare that to me. I've been playing the $2/5 no limit these days.

So using the same proportions as Phil Ivey, the $ equivalent for me would be if I played a WSOP tournament that cost 75 cents to enter. Then I could know what $1500 feels like to Phil Ivey.

Thus these WSOP tournaments turn into turbos for these well funded pros. They may as well try to get alot of chips or else get out of there and use their time in a better way.

And yes for 75 cents I ain't folding a royal flush draw either.

So down to 250 chips I finally feel comfortable. For the first time all day. No one loves the small stack like I do.

I immediately doubled up to 550 with ace queen suited. Boom. See that's all it took to win a hand.

I then stole 150 pushing all in from under the gun. My favorite small stack spot.

I picked up 9,10 suited in the big blind with 600 chips behind the line after paying the 100 blind. A guy limped in from middle position. I checked my option and out came a 2,7,8 flop.

Sure looks good to me. If he's hit something like top pair (with say a hand like ace 8 suited) I'm actually a 53-47% favorite with my over cards and open ended flush draw.

So while my pushing all in might seem a little drastic I'm actually in great shape if he calls.

And I'm plenty happy to take it down with just a draw.

He does call and shows an 8. However I hit one of my many many outs on the turn to double up to 1450. Boom. Just like that.

I'm back.

And best of all I had my fearless on. I was ready to keep attacking. And suddenly my table image was the guy playing too many pots. This kind of recovery gives me the freedom to trust myself and play looser.

I always feel like I have a chance when I'm short stacked. It's my secret weapon.

I like to think of it like the 1970's Oakland Raiders having punter Ray Guy. The Raiders could throw 3 straight incompletions deep in their own territory because they knew on 4th down that Ray Guy was going to come in to punt it deep to protect their field position.

My version of Ray Guy is surviving with the short stack. I've seen so many comebacks that it always seems possible. Coming back from 250 was going to be a great story.

I got involved in a few more pots. Anytime I had anything at all that was playable. Pocket 3's Ace 8 suited. Rather than tightening up I was looking for my next spot to double up.

And in this rush of playing alot of hands I suddenly picked up ace king in early position.

Now that I had some chips in front of me there was no need to push all in.

I thought that if I push all in I'll probably just win the blinds. But now that I started this hand with 1450 chips I am ready to go back to playing smaller ball poker. So I raise the 50/100 up to 300.

The guy one seat over to my left reraises to 1300. Basically putting me all in.

My initial reaction was to fear his big pair. If I am paying attention he did make a pretty big raise from early position. Obviously he wants to get heads up with me.

I think about how he has watched me play alot of hands in the past orbit or two and that I appear pretty loose. I did call afterall chasing a flush draw. He also saw me push with the 9,10 suited draw. And play ace crappy kicker (8). I'm not a guy who usually plays ace 8. And I think showing it down will be of value to me.

So with my image in mind perhaps when he raises here he's coming over the top with a much wider range of hands than just aces or kings.

What if it's something like pocket 8's or pocket 9's?

In that case I'd be a 45% to 55% underdog. I'd need at least (1.2167 to 1) odds to call.

I had 1450 when the hand started. So I'd be putting my remaining 1150 out there to potentially win 1800. That means I'm getting 1.565 to 1. So as long as he doesn't have kings or aces here then I can feel good about the call.

I push my chips in and tell the dude that "I'm sure I'm trailing you but I gotta call."

And he says "I'm not so certain."

And turns over Ace queen.

He he.

This is awesome.

Here I was getting the correct odds to actually race a pair and this guy turns over a hand that I dominate?

Instead of my winning only 45% of the time versus a pair, his holding ace queen means I'm suddenly close to 75% to win the hand.

I'm 3 to 1 to get back to 2850 chips. And I'm feeling real good about this table.

And then the dealer burns a card, deals out 3, and turns them over.

This particular flop brings two queens and suddenly makes him 98% to win.

A jack appears on the turn giving me a straight draw and jumping my odds up to 9%.

I really still believed here.

But the river wasn't one of the four remaining tens.

The gentleman with ace queen told me "sorry" as he raked in the chips.

I was happy to comeback from 250 chips.

I was happy to race ace king versus ace queen for the opportunity to get back up to 2850 chips.

I was not happy to be out the do'.

If he has a big pair at the end there at least I can blame myself for making the call.

But when ace king loses to ace queen there isn't anyone to blame.

And what fun is that?

No comments: