Thursday, April 1, 2010

An interesting hand from the Mookie

It's been a long time since I have played a blogger tourney, but I found myself playing the Mookie for the first time in many months last night. I got tangled up with the mean man from Philly himself, Riggstad, in a couple of large pots and he came out on top in both of them to eliminate me from the tournament. Our first hand is somewhat interesting so I thought I'd throw it up here to ask how others would have played it.

Here's the situation for. It's early in the tournament, level three with 30/60 blinds, and I've chipped up to nearly 4K in chips from the starting 3K since I won a nice pot with crubs vs. their biggest fan. I am in the big blind and am dealt a premium hand, AhKs.

The UTG player, who has me comfortably covered, opens to 180. My notes say he is extremely active from that position and could have a wide range of hands here. Two other players, Katitude (who also has me covered) and Riggstad (short-stacked with just over 1700 in chips) also call. I think it is quite likely that I currently have the best hand, but there's a chance the UTG raiser actually has a hand from the top of his range and I'd have to fold if he puts in a 4bet. Having that prospect firmly in mind, and cognizant of the virtues of controlling the pot size and slow-playing a hand that no-one will put me on, I opt to smooth call and see a flop.

The flop comes down 3d 7h Kd. This is obviously a pretty good one for my hand, so I decide to go with my original plan and I check, waiting to see what will happen. It gets checked around to Riggs, who jams his remaining 1500 chips into a pot of 750 in the middle and I snap-shove to isolate, figuring that he's much more likely to make this move with a flush draw than a made hand that already has me beat. Sure enough he flips over QdJd; I'm momentarily pleased that my reasoning was spot-on, but then I'm saddened when the draw manages to get there on the turn, sending the very nice pot of 3,840 over to Riggs. I'm left with about 2200 chips and the tournament continues on.

Comments on how I played the hand are welcome. I'm particularly interested to hear opinions about the preflop decision-making process. Which of you would rank the optimal decision tree as Raise > Call > Fold? As played, would you lead out on the flop, and if so, why? Would you play for all your chips if one of the big stacks raised on the flop?


Fuel55 said...

I'd shove preflop and pick up t600 before I'd stack off postflop in a 4-way with TPTK.

Shrike said...

Fuel: so, you're prepared to get in over 100BBs in potentially drawing nearly dead if someone is trapping with AA or KK? What about raising preflop to ~1200, giving us the option to fold to a 4bet?

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I've written about this many times before, but I almost always raise preflop with AK, or re-raise if it's already been raised in front of me. In this case I would have put in a solid reraise of probably 4-5 times the current bet to chase out the preflop raiser and all the callers.

I don't see the need to shove preflop. But I would certainly call against these donkeys once I flopped TPTK on this flop and expect to see a hand like QQ or the flush draw.

Memphis MOJO said...

I'm not crazy about the check on the flop (although you played it well after that).

When I flop TPTK, I usually lead out. If I don't, I never know if the big bet (all in this time) has something, or is trying to steal because I checked. I almost always lead out if I flop a set, as well. Different reason -- trying to build the pot. I might also lead if I am the one on the draw. Because I lead in all three cases, they have a harder time figuring out what I have, and I have a better idea where I stand in the hand. Obviously, I'll also check some percentage, but that's on the low end.

MHG said...

I like the way you present hands, Shrike. This hand is an interesting one because if you answer it truthfully, it gives something away about how you view and play poker.

I agree with Fuel and Hoy on this one that a raise preflop is necessary, although my reasoning is to protect my hand. Calling a shove on a flop with TPTK is not protecting your hand, even if you know you're a slight favorite. Do you still make the call? Of course.

In this case, the probability that someone is trapping us with AA or KK is just not likely enough to avoid raising (or pushing) preflop. Pushing preflop and winning 600 without any confrontation is a much better route than getting a lot of your stack in as a slight favorite, as Fuel says.

One question I have for you is, what would have happened if Riggs shows AA or KK instead of his flush draw? I can see him pushing with AA on this flop. KK he'll likely play differently.

When I'm playing poker I try to make the other people make tough decisions. Now, if someone is trapping us and insta-calls our preflop push with AA or KK, that isn't a very difficult decision. But again, I think the chance to pick up chips vs. the probability of being trapped is worth a push here.

Shrike said...

@Hoy: sensible reasons to be sure for re-raising preflop. Thanks.

@Mojo: you've articulated a nice balance of hands to lead out with, but I felt trapping here was the best play. That was my plan from the beginning once I decided to smooth call with AK closing the action in the blinds.

Shrike said...

MHG: I'm philosophically skeptical about raising to "protecting my hand" in this situation but I can see the arguments for doing so. And obviously I blogged this hand to see what arguments people would present for that school of thought.

Riggs and I have a lot of history and have talked a lot of poker away from the tables. My familiarity with his play led me to severely discount the possibility that he had AA or KK. Given his stack size to start the hand I reasoned he would have put in a raise preflop with the intentions of stacking off vs. the UTG raiser who rates to have a good second-best hand.

SirFWALGMan said...

@Hoy: Fucking arrogant scumbag, you really think that Kat and Riggs are so much beneath you. Fuck yourself.

@Shrike: re-raise pre.

@MHG: Good reasoning but I do not see any situation where Riggs flat calls AA 4 ways with 1500 behind in that hand. I admit I could be wrong but it just does not seem to be riggs style.

Personally I am raising to 4-5x more and if EP jams me DEPENDING on my read of the player I consider folding.

Bayne_S said...

re raise pre-flop to thin the herd.

If iaatg has the monster that you were afraid of pre-flop is calling riggs shove a good play with iaagt still to act?

Shrike said...

Bayne: I figure I have to go with my hand on this particular flop. Which is why I put myself all-in with the hope I might have some fold equity. But I was prepared to felt if iaatg had AA in these circumstances and didn't believe I had a set. That being said, I'll put another mark in the ledger on the side of playing my AK face-up preflop.

Fuel55 said...

Since you've proven you are staking off with TPTK it doesnt matter if UTG has KK or AA you'd still stack off postflop vs preflop. SO i still shove PF

Shrike said...

Fuel: glad to see you are in the April Fool's spirit. There is a big difference between getting over 100 BBs in preflop with AKo hoping UTG villain doesn't have AA or KK vs. stacking off vs. Riggs postflop.

Fuel55 said...

but if riggs has AA and shoves you still call. so it doesnt matter when you put it in

Bayne_S said...

My point was you didn't reraise pre-flop out of concern that iaagt had AA or KK.

I can see iaagt checking KK or AdA on that flop and he and kat are still to act when you make decision on what to do in response to Riggs jam.

Re-raising pre would have given you a better idea if iaagt really was ahead and might have left you heads up.

If you put 1200 in pre-flop are you really going to fold for ~2800 more if jammed getting ~2:1 on money with AKo.

2nd or 3rd level of Aussie Millions TMay420 got it all in with AK on K42 two diamond flop. He certainly has more tourney success than other commenters so I am not willing to say there is an issue with your post flop play.

Riggstad said...

If you notice the stacks before hand I am sitting on 1700.

With two limpers, I decide to limp with a suited QJ, and PL checks from the bb.

When they check to me my decision to shove is an easy one.

Hoy referring to me as a donkey for doing so makes me laugh. Hard.

I can't see AK there anywhere. Who slow plays tptk with 4 people in a hand? Secondly, Why isn't AA betting there either (in a 4 way hand?)

If I get called, Of course I'm behind... DUH. But with three checks and any hand other than a set, I am either ahead or 60/40 at worse, and don't expect one pair to call anyway.

PL showing AK shocked me as well. We discussed afterward and I asked him how he just flatted pre. I wouldn't have, and agree with Fuel. I would have shoved without even thinking about it.

If he raises pre, I'm obviously out of the hand. Unfortunately for him he checks the flop, and it checks around to me. If anyone led out there, I fold almost without thinking about it.