Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bubble Boy

I just got knocked out of a 2 table $50+5 Party SNG right on the bubble. Smallish stakes I know, but an interesting hand came up about 5 minutes before I got knocked out. Now for today's edition of "How would ~you~ play it?"

5 players remaining, avg stack 4000, blinds are 100/200, 10 minute levels, 3-4 minutes left in this level. "Phil give us a chip count."
UTG: 2700 chips
CO: 5100 chips
Hero on button: 6100 chips
SB: 2900 chips
BB: 3200 chips

hand #1
- preflop: UTG folds, CO limps, Hero looks down and finds QcQh.

What do you do?

SB has truly been playing survival poker; I have come over the top of his raises before while on the bubble as chip leader and he insta folded. BB is playing about average, but not going out of his way to survive - he would probably call an all in w JJ or better and AK, AQs.
CO is fairly loose. He is also a "trapper". He could limp reraise big with any pocket pair as low as 77, any A down to a T, and probably A9s. He will also call a lot of raises if he already limped with a wide range of hands including the above plus any big K, smaller As, QJs, etc.

The cardinal sin when chip leader is to get involved with 2nd chip leader in marginal situations. What is the best way to avoid that here?

He has a huge range of hands that I'm a big favorite over. I really don't want him to call a sizeable raise with an A, K or a suited connector. An A or K is going to flop more between 33-41% of the time (depending on if he has zero, one or both), and some kind of draw is going to flop the majority of the time (not that the draw connects with his hand, but it will worry me - since it will be very hard for me to get away from the hand with an overpair).

In the actual hand, I decided to push all in strongly preferring not to see a flop (and naturally hoping CO hadn't been trapping with AA or KK, although his hand range is so large, I would argue this is a very minor risk. Even if the blinds wake up with AA or KK, I won't be hurt too much)

The blinds insta folded, and CO insta called with AKo. 3 blanks come on the flop, but the dreaded A comes on the turn. I'm crippled.

I'm thinking this is a moderate-deep stack NL situation, and I severely misplayed the hand. CO still has 24.5 bb behind. I think I should have raised to something like 1500 (enough to let the blinds know they are being pot committed), and then pushed on a safe flop.

However, in practice, I think the result of the hand would have been the same. If I raise to 1500, I believe CO comes over the top all in anyways with a "monster" like AKo. However, if CO had a hand like AJ or ATs, he would have flat called and I can push him out on the flop.

Party pays out these 2 table SNGs in a 40%, 30%, 20%, 10% format.

Any different thoughts on how to play this hand?

I can just hear him thinking, "~Finally~, AK holds up!"


In yesterday's $100+$25 rebuy live tourney, I finished 20th out of 150 where the top 10 were paid. I liked the way I was playing until there were about 30 remaining. During those first 3 hours, my best starting hand was 44, but I believe I chose my spots well, and I never let myself get too short stacked.

When we got to 30 I was an average stack, but I believe I didn't put enough pressure on those who were trying to survive and importantly had a smaller chip stack. I should have stuck with what had been working so well.

I might have made a questionable play on my last hand.

I had 5x the big bind UTG at a 6 seated table when overall avg stack size is ~8.5bb. BB has only 2 bb total. I find KdJd and I push. CO has ~18 bb stack and very little respect for my raises. In this case, even that doesn't matter too much because he finds AKo and pushes all in behind me. I don't suck out.

I would say my defense for making this play was it was my first opportunity in 2 orbits to play a hand (someone had pushed in front of me or I'd have somelike like 24o), and I am playing to finish very high in the money, not just squeek into 10th. I don't want to go into my blind with only 4.5BB when I've picked up a reasonable starting hand. I have played often with BB, and I believe that even with 1/2 his stack already in the pot, he won't call an UTG push without a PP, any A, a K with 7 or better kicker, 2 broadways or 2 suited semi-connected cards higher than 7. I believe both button and SB's standards are substantially higher than this - 99 or better, AK or AQ.

However, I did know that CO would quickly call with any reasonable hand with his 18bb chip stack. We had some history. At about the 1.5 hour mark, I was down to only 5.5 bb when I was moved to his full table. 3 hands later, I open pushed w 58s in MP (yes quite loose aggressive, I know), and the CO (same guy, coincidentally in the same relative position) called after about 30 seconds with AJo. I flop a 5 and it holds up. First they have to call ya, then they have to beat ya. He has never see me play before. Personally, I don't like his call, but that's just me... everyone else at the table was praising him for his "great read". He was seriously upset about that "unbelievable beat". Uh huh, 60:40, what a suckout!

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