Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MATH postmorterm

I like to analyze big hands that I play in tournaments to see where I went wrong; constant improvement is the goal here at Pattern Recognition. The analysis below might seem simple to some but I honestly feel that simple lessons are the most powerful. This hand serves as another reminder that good situation selection is paramount in poker. If you deviate from it, you can get in all kinds of trouble. Poker is a cruel game, after all.

So, without further ado, let's look over my bustout hand from the MATH last night. The cash bubble has just burst and we're four-handed. Here are the chip counts:

Mondays at the Hoy - 400/800 Ante 100
Seat 1: PirateLawyer (13,310)
Seat 3: a104l9 (32,105)
Seat 5: cubanlinks (8,044)
Seat 6: columbo (21,541)
PirateLawyer antes 100
a104l9 antes 100
cubanlinks antes 100
columbo antes 100
PirateLawyer posts the small blind of 400
a104l9 posts the big blind of 800
The button is in seat #6

And as you can see I'm in the small blind with a marginal hand, a one-gapper. I am solidly in third place and have been selectively aggressive at the final table. I have made some laydowns when pressured postflop, but overall I have a solid table image.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to PirateLawyer [8h Tc]
cubanlinks folds
columbo folds
PirateLawyer has 15 seconds left to act
PirateLawyer raises to 1,900 -- This is a crucial decision point. Do I want to play here against the chipleader, who has nearly three times my stack, or do I passively fold? Arguments can be made for both courses of action, but I think most everyone would agree that I made a significant bet-sizing error in that my raise was too small. Wes can justify calling this size of raise with ATC and the advantage of position throughout the hand.
a104l9 calls 1,100
*** FLOP *** [7d 6s 4d] -- a fairly good flop for my hand. All undercards, and I have a double belly buster. I have two possible lines of play: make a c-bet, or check with the intention of raising (I should have just enough chips behind to have some fold equity) or flat-calling with the intention of jamming almost any turn card.
PirateLawyer bets 2,800 -- I opt for the c-bet
a104l9 raises to 12,600 -- Wes puts me all in! I have to figure he has 10-15% bluffs (which I sadly cannot beat), 50% one-pair hands (which I have a lot of equity against), 35% draws (where I'm in fairly rough shape)
PirateLawyer calls 8,510, and is all in -- I decide to gamble and play for a real shot at first place money if I can double up
a104l9 shows [7c 8s] -- Doh! it turns out I had Wes dominated preflop but he's ahead and one of my overcards is tainted; if a five comes off we would chop it up. I need a ten or a nine to come off.
PirateLawyer shows [8h Tc]
Uncalled bet of 1,290 returned to a104l9
*** TURN *** [7d 6s 4d] [Ad]
*** RIVER *** [7d 6s 4d Ad] [Qc]
a104l9 shows a pair of Sevens
PirateLawyer shows Ace Queen high
a104l9 wins the pot (26,820) with a pair of Sevens
PirateLawyer stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 26,820 | Rake 0
Board: [7d 6s 4d Ad Qc]
Seat 1: PirateLawyer (small blind) showed [8h Tc] and lost with Ace Queen high
Seat 3: a104l9 (big blind) showed [7c 8s] and won (26,820) with a pair of Sevens
Seat 5: cubanlinks folded before the Flop
Seat 6: columbo (button) folded before the Flop

Conclusion: I made several errors in this hand, I believe. I think this should have been a easy fold preflop as my hand doesn't play well postflop out of position, and I don't really want to tangle with the chipleader under those conditions. Secondly, if I opt to play the hand, I need to buckle down and make a sizeable raise to at least 3 times the blinds. Thirdly, my stack size was too awkward for a c-bet if I'm put to the test (which I was). I need to either check-raise to exert maximum pressure or check-fold and preserve my chipstack and wait for a better spot as I will be getting the button next and can try to recover some lost ground.

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