Friday, January 21, 2005


At least I wasn't up till 3 am (Part 2 and counting)

Tonight's tournament makes two weeks ago look like a marathon slog. I was eliminated on the first hand. Thank you, yes, thank you very much, you're very kind. But what an interesting hand it was !

I sit down and don't recognise anyone at all until the last three seats are filled by Barny Boatman, Joe Beevers and, on my immediate left, Frederick Richardson, Lord and Master. Now, it's a rebuy comp, so there's good news and bad news here. Joe and Barny are obviously in a position to gamble during the rebuy period, because of their sponsorship deal. I have questioned the value to sponsors in some instances but I know that Joe and Barny work very hard and I don't begrudge them it for a second. We just have to bear it in mind with the play of the hands. Erm, hand.

So anyway, I'm on the button, there are a few limpers and I call with 6h5h. Richardson raises the pot(300) from the small blind. 3 or 4 callers including Joe, and I call to close the betting. Flop comes down 643 with two spades. Aha ! Now, Richardson eyes up the pot and bets the maximum, rather forcefully. Joe calls. The others pass. This hand is simply too much to pass, even with the spades on board. There is a possibility I can make Richardson pass a medium pair or even a very aggressively played AK. Joe's unlikely to drop but I can't put him on a hand I really don't like, a set or a straight, or even two pair. Surely he would have to raise even with the straight, given the flush draw is out. And Richardson's vibes are all "I have a big hand but one I need to protect", i.e. an overpair. Let's rock then, all in. Richardson doesn't like it much but gives it the old "oh well it's a rebuy comp" and calls. Joe calls fairly quickly. Richardson KK (including Ks), Joe Ts9s.

So there you have it, and the scores on the doors once they're on their backs is KK 37%, T9s 33%, 65 30%. With the extra pre-flop money this is smack on break-even for me. Everything misses, Richardson rakes it in, Joe goes into his pocket and I go home.

Let's have a look at it from each player's POV. I'm happy with the play and I'd do it again. If there's any chance I can knock one of them out that's a big plus - I would have been 55% against KK and 62% against T9s one-on-one. If they should both have an over-pair, I'm a huge 55% to treble up. It's a possibility but would Joe just call with an over pair ? I wouldn't have thought so but in the event I'm quite surprised he just called with the hand he had. Given my correct read that neither player could have better than a pair, what actually happened was worst case and that was break even.

You can't question Richardson's play until the final call. Maybe 1200 would have been enough to bet on the flop, but pot is ok. What's interesting is that I can't put either opponent on a made hand, but there's no reason why I can't have one myself, from their POV. I'd play a straight or a set just the same, and so would most people. So they both have a nasty possibility that they're calling their money almost dead (Joe could be up against a higher flush draw). Nonetheless I think Richardson does have a call here.

Joe, well the real question is would he play the hand that way with his own money ? Interesting. I'll have to ask him if I can. He pretty much has to make the last call too, but what about 1600 on the flop, with players to act behind him ? With a ten high flush draw, for a third of his chips, and a virtual certainty that Richardson will put the rest in on a blank turn ?

But it doesn't end there ! What I find even more interesting is that there is a very high probability that my opponents would have played differently in a freezeout. But why ? At this stage of the tournament more than any, 5000 chips = £250 and that's that. The risk/reward ratio is exactly the same rebuy or freezeout. It is completely irrelevant whether, if you lose, your next buyin is made right now, tomorrow or next week. I know everyone disagrees, but it is. And this is why you are not at a disadvantage playing rebuy tournaments with one bullet (as I did today) provided you play correctly. If I had thought "well I should raise but it's the first hand and I don't want to be knocked out" and dogged this +EV situation, that would have been wrong, but the disadvantage would be self-imposed because of bad play, not because of the rebuy situation per se.

So there you have it. Just in time for the $10 rebuy on Stars. Now it's really time to gamble :-)

22/1/05 In the cold light of day. The above isn't quite the worst case scenario - Joe could have something like As5s or Ks5s, the same kind of hand I had two weeks ago. I did overlook this, but he does need 2 specific cards to have this holding. In general, I really did mean to play a little more carefully this time, but you have to play the hand you're dealt, and you can't dog these +EV situations. I will win my share, and when I do I'll have a big stack. All the same, we'll stick to Friday night £100s until I bring my game up to where I want it to be. I have 3 months to work on it before Bellagio in April.

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