Friday, July 06, 2007

Trying This Again

Thanks for the comments to my last post, everyone. All ZERO of you. Eh, I guess it would help if I actually had regular readers, or interesting posts. Oh well, no hard feelings.

Seriously though, if you are reading this, I do have a much more serious poker question. This hand came up last night as I was playing a 90-player SNG. Here's the scenario.

Table is down to 8 players, about midway through the tournament. Your Hero is in the BB with about 2600, just under the starting stack. Biggest stack at the table is about 6500, sitting in MP. Blinds are at 50\100 so you still have time before you need to get desperate.

You pick up QQ in the big blind. UTG, who is the shortest stack at about 1700, raises it up to 350. Background on UTG player: was shortstacked to about 800 a couple of hands ago, doubled when he open pushed with JJ and got called by AT. Was open pushing nearly every UTG hand when his stack was 800.

Folds to bigstack in MP who repops to 1200. Folds to you in the BB. What do you do?

Here's the bigger question. Well, first, let me tell you what I did.

I folded.

The question I have is about my reasoning. First, I knew that UTG was going all in, and most likely had some kind of pair. Second, I knew that MP would call both my all in and UTGs all in. Third, I was about 98% sure that MP had AK. His bet sized seemed designed to force out any other callers, so it seemed unlikely he had anything lower than JJ. I put his range on AA-JJ, AK & AQ. Specifically though, what little I had seen from this player, he definitely seemed like the kind you see at these $5 tables; the kind that loves AK. It's the nuts to them.

I folded because, even though I felt I was a clear favorite (albeit a slight one) with a chance to nearly triple up, that I didn't want to risk my tournament life on a coin flip in a multiway pot, and additionally, there was something in my gut that told me I was going to lose. So I folded and waited for a better spot.

Would you do the same? The question isn't about folding QQ preflop to a bet and a raise. My question is more about: are there times when you would fold this hand, even though you're a clear favorite, because you want to wait for a better spot? Obviously, there's times where bubble play may dictate that even folding AA makes sense, but this wasn't anywhere near the bubble. This was fold made almost purely on instinct, and the fact that I didn't want to play this against two all ins. What's funny is that if the UTG hadn't raised, I probably would have pushed when it folded to me. So my opponents actions dictated that I was going to fold the hand, but only to the point that I knew I was getting callers if I pushed. If I could've taken the hand heads up, I would have made a different decision.

Perhaps I'm being too results based here as well, because here's what happened:

Flop: JhTd9d (AK was suited-diamonds)
Turn: Qh
River: 2c

I push that hand and I go home. I didn't expect that AK would have turned the nuts, but I had the feeling that AK was going to improve. In most cases, that's a bad way to play poker. Ideally, you want to get your chips all in with the best hand, but when you just have that feeling that it's not going to work out, how many of you would fold a premium hand like this just based on a gut feeling?

All feedback is welcome and appreciated.


At July 6, 2007 at 11:24 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

stop being a scardy cat idiot.. so he would have won, get your money in as a favorite and leave the cards to themselves..

At July 6, 2007 at 12:43 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

you folded the 3rd best hand in poker when it is very likely that the first bettor was trying to take down the pot right there and the re-raiser was just as easily in steal mode. On top of that, you might be looking at a shared Ace situation. And on top of that, we're talking about donkey online poker. If you get in the habit of folding QQ like that too often, I personally think you are costing yourself money. It's easy to say it worked this time after the fact, but in the long run you just aren't going to pick up huge hands like that at final tables often enough to justify folding them in certain situations. Now if 1st guy bets, and then there is a raise and re-raise, your QQ might shrivel up a little more. But more likely if you push there the original bettor folds and you are up against an inferior hand against the 1200 chip bettor.

Or he has KK or AA and you either go home or you suck out and are a massive chipleader. It happens...

Oh, and as for your previous post...just too much information to absorb. This post was just the right amount to reply to...

At July 6, 2007 at 12:45 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

waffles speaks... see Matt, you got the comment you wanted. ;)

Honestly, I woulda shoved. But as you can see in my post, I suck at tournaments. But you only get QQ a few times (if you're lucky) in a tournament so I would love to try to double up there. I really couldn't care less about what the shorty has or does. He's too short to be concerned. The big stack obviously has a hand where he wants to isolate the shorty so AK along with any ace with a better kicker than 10 is a safe assumption. Of course, he could have AA or KK there but if he does, so be it. I'd shove for a chance to double up and then some. If the big stack can't fold AK to a 3rd raise, then he's a fool and I'd love to have his money and be the big stack at the table.

If I lose, well, so be it. At least I struck out swinging and going for the fence rather than fouling out on a 3rd bunt attempt (not sure where this baseball analogy came from).

At July 6, 2007 at 2:42 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Thanks for the comments so far.

Waffles - perhaps there was a bit of fear behind my fold. If this were a bigger buyin game, I could see that becoming more of a factor, but I believe that there were bigger factors leading to my fold. I'll explain again below.

TripJax - I agree that getting in the habit of folding QQ is a bad habit to pick up, and certainly this isn't my normal play. 95 times out of 100, I'm pushing this hand. And in this case, the river could have paired the board, and I'm left cursing myself for not playing that hand. I even told myself "I can't believe I'm folding this".

Recess - you don't know anything about tournaments, so I don't care what you have to say! All kidding aside, you're in agreement with the first two, and I'm in agreement with them as well. Pushing with QQ, knowing that you're probably going to get two callers, is the best play here.

The underlying question here is how much risk one is willing to take. Yes, I had a feeling my QQ wouldn't hold up, but I'm no clairvoyant, and I'm just as likely to win the hand as I was to lose it. As I mentioned before, had this been heads up against either the shortstack or the big stack, I'm pushing my chips in 100% of the time. But putting chips in against two raises with QQ when I'm nowhere near in push or fold mode didn't sit well with me last night for some reason. And, the argument can be made that, because I make folds like that is the reason I haven't been deep in a MTT for some time now.

I think the sooner I start to improve my reading skills and not worry about gut feelings, the better I'll become. To paraphrase John Cusack from High Fidelity, "I've come to realize that my stomach has got shit for brains."

At September 10, 2007 at 6:48 AM, Anonymous sk8ram said...

I realise this is an old post so this may not be read, but I don't really mind the fold there.

In all honesty I'm happy in certain situations to give up a slight favourite thats verging on a flip/race scenario, in order to wait for a chance to outplay later on and accumualte chips in that fashion.

As you stated the blinds were still workable and you're not in desperate need of a triple up.


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