Tuesday, April 17, 2007


50 Rebuy Torture

0/16 in the $50 rebuy this year, culminating in a spectacular bubble performance tonight after being 6th/33 at one point. Here it is :

50 rebuy bubble argh (also starring The Camel)

And here's another one where I made the last 4 tables :

50 rebuy 34th last week

All comments welcome, especially general comments from regulars in these tournaments indicating whether I'm playing too tight or too loose at various stages. A specific question from the first one, hand 7, KK in early position - what's your line for getting paid off here ? I think what I did (3 BB raise) is about the worst option as it tips my hand while giving everyone massive implied odds.

Obv I could have cruised into the money on the bubble but I lost 3/3 hands at a combined probability of 15%, and that's after two people found big hands to call me with. This is the path I chose ...

Next morning : On review of these I think I play awesomely and am just unlucky :-). That bubble comp, I went from 12K (hand 175) to 70K (272) with only one showdown, Aces where I won 21K (253). Sometimes you live by the sword and you die by the sword (hand 278 onwards). If it wasn't for my aggressive play I'd never have had 70K to blow in the first place.


Quite brilliant play, without a shadow of doubt :). You've already talked about KK when you've done a Kill Phil and raised very high. Might you have done this here?

Hands from first tourney that I'd be interested in your hindsight view of would include:

47. You flat call with 97s and then bet out when you flop the nut straight, with a 2 flush on board. I'm not sure there is a way to get much money into the pot after the flop without doing as you did; leading at it and hoping that something happens. Does this cast any doubt on the original flat call? You flat called a few similar hands in late pos with quite high M and I think this might be an overall losing way to play them.

58. What a gift. The early table was fairly psychotic (dunno if this guy was). Would you normally limp and reraise all-in with AK?

96. Again a nice gift. Would you defend the way he played it?

136. I don't know if this is excellent play or skating on really thin ice but I tend to think the latter. Did you have a line on him? Because I'd think he might raise as he did, and then call your all-in, with a range that you just don't want to see. You only have 30%ish of his stack and I think you might not push out the AJ+, 88+, KQ hands that you want to push out.

137. Again a limp with suited connectors (T9) with a not bad M (12.5). You lead quite small when you flop a draw (with overcards) and fold to his min-reraise. There are various ways to play this but I don't think this can be the best line; particularly bearing in mind that you got one of the better flops you can hope for.

158. This is foreshadowing the hand that killed you (278). You've got roughly the same M in both cases in the sb and it's folded to you. In this hand you flat call with a good hand (QJ) and wait until you hit top pair before you make a move at the pot, in the other you go all-in with T7. I thought it might be because with QJ the bb covers you but I don't think that can be right. Is it because the bubble gives you extra protection in the second case?

269. Your running over the table was excellent but I think there was some "hidden luck" at times. This is one of the clearest examples; a preflop raiser gets 1.6ish-1 to call all-in and folds. I know that you say it's 15% to lose the three hands that killed you but if you add in the folds like this that you got I think you were sailing too close to the wind.

282. I don't get this at all. Were you hoping that the flat call would be read as strength? This seems like a very weak line to take.

And yes, it was Gigabet's essay. I was reminded of trying to get to grips with certain authors during my degree: I'd read and reread then lift my eyes to the ceiling and review everything very slowly, as though my mind was an overfull bowl of soup I was trying to set down on a table. And then a slight bump would make me spill the lot.
Thanks again for the comments,

7 : An over-raise with KK is probably better than what I did, so is just limping. On thinking about this I probably have to open up and play a bunch more hands for 3 BBs in the first couple of levels. Then if I get reraised I'll have a fairly clear fold or shove decision (or call a shove).

47/58 : I'm trying different things in the rebuy period here to see what works. I'm not sure what the best line is pre-flop with the 97s, you could make a case for folding, calling and raising 3x. With the AK I just tried the limp and this time it worked. His call of my allin with A8s really is a gift though.

96 : I hate the way he played this. Well, I liked getting all the free cards, but you know what I mean.

136 : It's pretty thin but my stack size is right for the reraise and this isn't a bad hand to have a go with. If he calls me with AQ/AJ/99/88, no big deal, let's race. He needs AA/KK to absolutely kill me and being suited helps more than you might think. This play (and 269) really depends on your style. Looking through other HHs, some big winners make this kind of move a lot and some hardly ever.

137 : I knew this would get picked up. I had been so active recently (and they don't know I had KK in 133) I thought a raise would have very likely been reraised (stacks are good for someone to reraise = bad for me to raise) and I wanted to play the hand. In hindsight I should have resisted temptation and just passed. I butchered it on the flop too but the pre-flop call got me in trouble in the first place. This is a better play on the button where I'm guaranteed flop postion.

158 : It's not the same as 278. Here I have M11 and the big blind has me covered. In 278 the key point is that he only has M5, and yes the bubble should give me extra protection. Going back to 158, pre-flop raise would have been good too, there's little between calling and raising IMO.

269 : For sure I had my share of "hidden luck" which unfortunately ran out in the end, but 1.6-1 isn't a great price for a lot of people to call on the bubble. It's a high-risk play but I have him covered by 17K so it's not a total disaster if I lose.

282 : Are we on the same hand here ? I raise to 7700. Perhaps I should have just let it go ; I said to Keith after the CL reraised me "I thought he might do that". But I had just enough to make one raise/fold play before going back to all-in mode so I gave it a shot.

Regarding that Gigabet essay, I'm a great believer in keeping it simple. The chip EV decision on a single hand in isolation is so often the correct tournament decision, and when it isn't it's so close, that it saves a lot of mental energy just to play one hand at a time for chips. When you're playing a 12-hour day live, or 4-tabling for 3 or 4 hours online, trying to think at the level of that essay would just burn me out, and for little benefit IMO.

I know there's a high level of risk in some of these plays. The thing is, when they work, you accumulate a massive stack. If I make a final and I'm 7th or 8th in chips then there'd better be a good reason (like I lost a key hand around the bubble without being eliminated) or I'll be disappointed. You hear so many people say "I make the final but I hardly ever win" and they think it's because they play the final wrong somehow. It's not. It's usually because they haven't pressed the issue on the various bubbles when you are much less reliant on picking up hands. The final is so much easier when you go in top 3 in chips. When it doesn't work, like here, it looks rash and at the time it's quite annoying. But when it works :


136: Fair enough. I think you shouldn't welcome a race against his calling range but I guess the fold equity compensates.

158 & 278: I think these are the most important. Doesn't the fact that villain only has M5 (278) make it more likely that he will call? He's bleeding badly and he's getting better odds on the all-in. By contrast, in 158 villain is down to the felt (M of about 2) if you go all-in and he loses but has an M of over 10 if he folds to strength.

The bubble could be such an important factor (in practice if not in theory) that the all-in in 278 might be the right line but if it really is close between calling and raising in 158 then surely that points towards a flat call in 278.

This has made me think about the wisdom of the argument that you should lean towards taking on medium stacks, because they have that much more to lose. In 158 villain's comfortable but losing a confrontation with you would hurt him really badly. In 278 he is a low stack (albeit one of many) and has that much less to lose.

(I realise that if it doesn't work you're still in (in 278) but I don't think you'd be a great fan of that argument - you talk about preferring to go for chip EV at all times.)

282. Yep, my bad. Although you had just gone all-in to win (with a legit hand), which probably makes it that much more likely that your raise will be attacked.

(I hasten to say that I play quite low, my biggest tourney win is about 5k and I'm very happy to be corrected. Until recently I did exactly what you inveigh (?) against: far too loose / careless to try and get a stack in the first hour then far too tight to scrape into the money without really challenging. I have won far more consistently recently by playing tighter early and more aggressively later and I'm looking forward to my 82k win soon.)
158/278, I see what you're saying but the fact that there's only M5 in play in 278 compared to M10 in 158 means that the cost of running into a hand and being called is less.

I do think you have to consider each hand in isolation, they're just not the same. In 158 I don't think moving in can ever be right. In 278 moving in is pretty much the only option other than folding.

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