Saturday, January 26, 2013

It Can All Be Over In An Instant

End stage tournament life is fragile.

This evening's 7:00 pm at Del Park drew 105 runners.  At 1:40 am, I stood outside in the 17 degree evening, getting some air during the break.  We were nearly 7 hours into the tournament.  When we returned to the tables, blinds would be $6,000/$12,000.  Average chip stack was $112,000.  I was sitting on $123,000, and feeling fairly good about my play.  But, with 13 players left, and only 10 spots paid, a cash was far from a good bet.

This year, I've vowed to stay aggressive in these spots.  No folding for a min-cash.  I want to be chopping.

First hand back from the break, I look down at QQ.  I open from the cutoff to $34,000.  The small blind calls.  The flop comes out Ace-high.  Of course.  Small blind shoves for ~ $100,000 or so.  I fold.

Two hands later, I'm sitting on the button with $90,000.  It folds around, and I look down at AT spades.  I raise to $32,000.  Small blind shoves  and has me covered.  I know I'm likely behind, and quite possibly dominated.  But I have to call.  Big blind flips KK and I don't catch my three outer.

To the rail in less than 5 minutes . . .


  1. Such is why I have gotten away from playing in tournaments when I am in Las Vegas. With the decline of online poker, spending all those hours playing in a tournament just does not appeal to me anymore. Maybe if I had a casino nearby I would feel differently.

  2. Frankly, a day removed from it, I question whether I would play this structure again. Normally, these "daily" tournaments become a late-stage crap shoot. But this just seemed a bit absurd. it really did become bingo.

    It seems like, quite often, people start open shoving when the blinds get high. I've been trying to avoid this, if possible. I don;t think I should have open-shoved the QQ. But, perhaps the AT should have been a shove. I was basically committed to the hand after my 3x preflop raise. It just seems like such a bad situation, though, when you are average stacked and, yet, forced to consider open-shoving.

  3. P Cube,

    Hand 1:

    I think QQ should be a shove. Why would I invest a quarter of my stack and fold when a scare card comes on the flop.

    If that is my plan then I would rather limp and fold and save some chips.

    It is only rare that I would run into the two hands that beat me here. In most other cases a person holding an Ace-Rag is not willing to call 100K preflop.

    Hand 2:

    The same scenario with the second hand as well, what is our plan?
    Raise 1/3 of our stack and stick it in if someone reraises or fold if there is a reraise and wait for a better spot.

    If it is first, then go AI preflop (in this case the hand would have played the same way).

    If there is a reraise and we know the player is tight, then fold and wait for a better spot.


  4. Thanks GolfPro. With respect to hand two, as I mentioned above, after thinking about it, the next morning, I entirely agree. I should have shoved, even though it was folded to me on the button, and, worse case, been happy picking up the blinds. [Had there been a limp before the action hit me, I would have shoved for sure; and had there been a raise, I'm folding AT every day of the week in that spot].

    But I'm still not sure about the QQ hand. Part of me feels like it's "too strong a hand" to open shove there, particularly given the blind structure, and stack sizes (I started the hand with a slightly above average stack. So, basically, if shoving QQ in an un-opened pot is correct, every one is just shoving everything. That just seems to weak to me). In addition to stealing some blinds with decent hands, I think you need to maximize value when you do get a "big hand," like QQ, in that spot. I think it's the kind of hand I want to get heads up with, especially against Ax. it was just unfortunate that the Ace hit the board and Villain shoved it.

    Nevertheless, I can see your point in the hand.

    1. P Cube, a shove from cutoff looks like blind stealing attempt, hence, would be a good move, if someone wants to check us out with Ace rag.

      The otherway, limp, if there is a raise from (Button, SB or BB) then reraise all in.

      If the other three limp then fold if the flop comes up with a scare card.


    2. Thanks for the analysis, GP. Always appreciated!