Thursday, October 4, 2007

Avoiding Bad Situations in Tournament Play, Part 1

Slowly but surely I've been growing my online bankroll at FTP. Consequently, I like to fool around with the regular blogger tournaments on weeknights as my schedule permits. Monday night, I participated in the MATH, which is hosted by the inestimable Hoy. A few early hands didn't go my way so I found myself at a little under 1800 tournament chips, about half the size of my opponent's stack in this particular hand (3642).

Here's how it went down (names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike):

I'm in the SB with QhTd. It's folded around to me and I complete. Villain in the BB raises up to 140, and I put him on a simple blind steal with a likely holding of Ax. I'm not prepared to surrender my blind so easily, so I call an additional 90.

*** FLOP *** [Ts 3s 8d]

This is about as good a flop as I could hope for. I'm positive I've outflopped my opponent with top pair and a good kicker, so it's time to extract some value from this situation. I opt to go for the check-raise. Villain obliges by firing out a 250-sized bet, which is just under the pot size of 280. I execute my plan by raising to a suspicious 888, juicing up the pot and leaving me with only 757 chips behind. Any thinking opponent should have alarm bells going off in their head, as I'm not about to give up this hand. I've announced I'm committed to playing this pot for all my chips. The villain calls!

*** TURN *** [Ts 3s 8d] [4s]

This completes a possible flush draw, but there's no way all my chips aren't going into the middle. I figure to be a prohibitive favourite and frankly I'm begging for a call from a backdoor flush draw and/or an unimproved ace. I would prefer a fold, obviously, as then I'd take down a very nice pot without having to reach showdown.

Hero bets 757, and is all in
Villain calls 757
Hero shows [Qh Td]
Villain shows [Js Ah]

Incredible! Villain played this hand about as poorly as possible. He had no business calling my C/R on the flop with an unimproved jackace, much less putting in half of his stack at risk with such a marginal holding. All he can beat on the flop is a naked bluff. He has to hit one of his overcards or go runner-runner for a flush or straight. Even then, he might be drawing thin to a flopped set.

*** RIVER *** [Ts 3s 8d 4s] [5s]
Hero shows a pair of Tens
Villain shows a flush, Jack high
Villain wins the pot (3,570) with a flush, Jack high
Hero stands up

Thank you FTP for the suckout!

Strategy lesson: conserve your tournament chips! In the early stages of a tournament, do not voluntarily get involved in marginal situations.
The villain in this hand played this about as poorly as possible, but got away with it in this instance.


Schaubs said...

I think you said it all right there.

Next time.

Shrike said...

Yes, I would have avoided busting out by folding preflop. And that is a point I was (silently) trying to make in my post.

But I also couldn't resist skewering the poor play of my opponent in this particular instance. My point applies to him as much or moreso as it applied to me.