Saturday, April 14, 2007


Play A Tournament With Me

OK, this rules. PokerXFactor is a website run by JohnnyBax and Sheets which allows you to view tournaments that subscribers have uploaded. You don't need to pay anything to play back public hand histories, which is what I was doing for a week or so. I found it helpful to play back some tournaments featuring the more successful online players, even if only to satisfy myself that they're not doing anything magic. Most of what they do is just sound stack-based play combined with making few (or no) obvious mistakes (as below, What You Don't Do When You Don't Have The Ball).

Having picked up a few pointers (especially from Annette_15 who is very good) I promptly won a $150 on Party (where I basically haven't won ever in MTTs) for $7900. So I have reinvested a small part of that in a subscription to PokerXFactor. This allows me to upload my own histories so you can see them, as follows :

Party $150 last week

You have to register with the site to see this, but that's free. Watching this will probably give you a better insight into how I play than reading this entire blog. Please do post any questions or comments (whether general or about specific hands) and I will try to answer as best I can.

Am I concerned that this is going to help my opponents to play better against me ? Not too much. It doesn't seem to bother Annette, Bax etc. for a start. Receiving and answering feedback should help me improve ; I will post a couple of rebuy tournaments where I haven't done so well to see if that helps me adjust to them. Another subtle point is that building a name for yourself online can be very beneficial. People are much less inclined to play back at online "names", so however far away that might be, it's still a potential benefit. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. Enjoy !

Interested to know what guided your "steal" moves when antes kicked in. They seem odd hands on face of it were the moves based on the idea you were unlikely to be dominated by a caller than if you pushed with A9 type of hands?

Do you ever open raise with 22? And do you ever get a customer with AA in your hand ? :)
Hi Simon,

First of all there's a difference between stealing with a raise I can get away from and stealing all-in. In the first case, cards aren't necessarily important, it's more position and who's in the blinds, for example hands 221 (84s) and 280 (T6o)

In the second case, it's the whole cards/stack/position equation, and basically I'll move in if that adds up to a profitable play. Position and stack are so important that some odd hands end up being playable. And if I drop to M4 or less I'll often shove at the first opportunity, for example 249 (73s).

22 is only an open-raise if I'm in top gear and trying to run the table over, because I can't stand a decent reraise and it plays so poorly on the flop. As for AA, not very often it seems !

It really does rule. Thanks for showing it and wd in the tourney.

A question from early on. On hand 71 a late pos player min raises and you fold T8s from bb with odds of 3.5 - 1 and an M of about 11. Is that always a fold for you? And if so is it because an M of 10 (after blinds) is very playable but a borderline stack: going just a little lower puts you into a danger zone. (e.g. you may slip to an uncomfortable M of 7ish after calling, say, a pot bet to a decent draw on the flop.)
On reflection it does look like I should have called that. Your points about the stack size are valid but probably not enough to justify folding T8s getting 7-2 immediately.


Thanks for that. I play far looser than you, and with less success (hmm...thinks...) and thought that that might be an example of where I'd often incorrectly call.

As the first question seemed to go so well:

A/ a few times you flat call in late pos with an ok hand and then give up: hand 247 is a particular example. With such a low M at that point, would you not normally go all-in in this position?

B/ In hand 313 is his fold utterly ridiculous?

C/ You seemed to blow them out of the water later - getting them to lay their hands down all the time. This was especially the case from 4 handed or so. In your experience was this a peculiarly passive table? Or did the stacks fall right so it suited everyone behind you to creep up the ladder?

D/ Any idea what this PUFF (tm) is? It seemed to me that you ran pretty well on races and only ok on hands dealt. Is Puff an attempt to aggregate the effects of these?

Hope this is fun for you - it is for me.
Sure, this is definitely fun for me too.

a) Good question. If you check these hands, you should (hopefully) see that these are all in late position with a half-decent hand and an M of around 8-10. In this spot, I have too much to raise allin but raising a "normal" amount opens me up to being reraised. I'd rather call and take a flop. It seems to freeze the blinds quite often because it's such an odd-looking move that they assume I have a monster, when in fact it's just a stack related play. I haven seen other players on PXF do this on occasion.

b) It surprised me at the time. I can only assume that his move was a total bluff with the intention of folding to a reraise. Even so, given that I can (and in fact do) have AK I would never fold in his position there.

c) It was a sweet final table :-). I think it's partly the players. I doubt I would get away with this on Stars where the player pool is a bit tougher. The stacks are good too. Have a look around hand 400. We're six-handed, I have 200K+ and everyone else has between 50-80K. Some of them must be thinking "I can fold my way to 3rd and then gamble" and so on. Now have a look at hand 417. We're 4-handed, I have 340K and from my left it's 140-27-53. I just couldn't set this up any better if I tried. The player on my immediate left has his eye on second place, and the other two have their eyes on third. I didn't realise I won 8 hands in a row at this point. In fact if AJ had held up on hand 425 I would have won the last 9 hands from 4-handed to winner.

d) Apparently it's "Preflop Unadjusted Fortune Factor ... essentially, how good, statistically speaking, were your hole cards during a tournament. It's "unadjusted" because we don't take into account position, chips, bubble situations, number of players, etc." To be honest I don't think this means a lot. You can pick up Aces five times but it's no good if you never get any action, while picking up QQ against JJ at just the right time can be a crucial double-up.

Hi again.

a/ that seems like a good move that makes a lot of sense. Do you also play this way with AA/KK once in a while? Do you ever continuation bet when you miss the flop and are checked to (on a hand like this)? If you get the turn checked to you as well do you take a stab?

b/ yeah thought so.

c/ makes sense. A very broad (possibly unanswerably so) question...Is it worth taking extra risks to get to this sort of position (I think Harrington talks about an almost dead stack at a table leading to a similar result)? I read an essay (rather difficult to understand) from someone on 2+2 that seemed to indicate that he didn't only think of stack sizes but of stacks as multiples of each other, this might be related. (I think he said that, for example, if you have 2000 and other stacks are, say, 800 / 800 / 700 then 400 of your stack (excess over 2 times the modal stack of 800) really doesn't matter and can be flung around with impunity. But it was fairly impenetrable.)

d/ yep, not worth too much. But maybe you can say "look, I won the tourney even with a low puff" and see how that goes down.
a) I should do now you mention it. But I wonder if I give opponents too much credit for noticing what I'm doing. Last night I pushed for M6 with Aces and The Camel was quite surprised when I told him my hand. I said I had been pushing allin a lot so I should push this too but now I'm not sure. Half the table is probably oblivious to previous actions that don't involve them individually (eg on their big blind)

c) Is it worth taking extra risks to get here ? That's the opposite question to "should you wait for a better spot later". Possibly, but I think you wouldn't need to push that too far into the -EV zone for it to outweigh any future gains. I think it's close enough to just play each individual hand on a chip EV basis and let everything else take care of itself. It's certainly easier :-).

Was the essay by Gigabet (Darrell Dicken) ? If it was, I know the one you mean, and I couldn't make head nor tail of it.


Missed part of your question in a). For sure I will c-bet flop or turn, just not all the time, and when the flop comes all one suit and I have none of it whatsoever that's a good time to shut down in my experience. If the fourth flush card comes then it's more worth a bluff.

Hi Andy,
Thanks for the play through very interesting.
on hand #330 you fold 88 on the button, the cutoff a short stack having raised (effectively all-in).
I would have called this. Were you worried about the blinds behind you? I'd have thought with the blinds this is a profitable call but I'd like to hear otherwise

Hi Adrian,

The basic rationale behind this is explained in the comments under the post "What Not To Do When You Don't Have The Ball" below.

A further consideration here is that I don't particularly want the bubble to end, which it will if I knock this guy out. I want to keep stealing off these guys instead. I don't want to overdo this but it can swing a close decision, like here. Say this had been 5-handed in the final I would probably just move in here.

Thanks for the comment,

Read and understood. An excellent example of "commonsense" leading me to the wrong answer... now I just need to remember it.
Thanks for the insight

Hi Andy

In hand 53 you are in SB with Q9o. You flop top pair, but then check it. Why not a bet here? Are you worried about your kicker? Do you consider this situation to be marginal? If so, I think this may be a part of my game that I need to improve.


4-handed this is marginal. A bet isn't a bad play but I just prefer the check, if someone calls me I won't know what's going on and I'll be out of position.

I was calling pre-flop getting 7-1 immediate odds to either flop something really good or maybe pinch it later if no one seemed to want it.

Hope this helps,

Hi Andy (again)

Could you explain the reasoning behind your all-in re-raise in hand 253? I can see that you'd want to defend your blinds and your stack, but K3 seems a bit weak for an all-in, or are you playing the situation rather than the cards?


Definitely a situational play. Kx has some value because it has one live card against everything except KK/AA, but the basic idea is that the combination of the chances of him folding + me winning anyway if I get called should make this +EV.

It's a play that's losing its power though as more people are both doing it and catching on to it. This one's probably pretty thin and a bit of a gamble. Obviously I felt it was time to gamble :-)

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?