Thursday, August 11, 2005


Just Like In The Book

A couple of interesting hands came up yesterday. This one I liked because it was almost exactly the scenario that's always used in books when explaining the effect of proportional payouts in tournaments.

There were 3 of us left. I had 40K, the other two just over 50K each. Payouts were $1600, $1000 and $600. As you know I like to go for the win, but sometimes common sense does dictate holding back just a little. Here I'm happy to try to keep pots small, nip a few blinds and see if anyone does anything stupid because, as we will see, a major confrontation between two players is money in the bank for the third.

Blinds 1600-3200, I pick up AQ in the big blind. Just as I am rubbing my hands and saying "raise me now and you'll catch it", the button does make a 2xBB raise to 9600. The small blind then reraises the minimum ! Hmmm. Having been paying attention for once (only playing one table) I'm confident that if I pass there's a great chance all my opponents' chips will end up in the middle. On top of that, AQ isn't such a monster three-handed against a raise and a reraise. When an all-in pot is likely to be three-handed, pairs go up in value and big cards go down. This is because the big cards are much more likely to find one or even (disaster) two of their cards duplicated in other hands. Usually. Because after I fold, all the chips do indeed go in, only for both opponents to turn over Tens ! Damn, I should have called ! But the board comes all rags. Hooray, I was right to pass !

20-20 vision notwithstanding, I think I was right to pass. If it doesn't end up as a split pot, my equity jumps from about $1000 up to $1200. Enquire below if you don't know why, or just pick up a tournament book, it's bound to be in there. Having said all that though, it's surprising how rarely this actually does come up in real play. And even in this case people were making more normal raises than the book scenario "they both go all in". It pays to recognize this situation when it does happen. But it pays a lot more to ignore the survival factor when it doesn't apply, which is much more often.

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