Tuesday, February 03, 2009


When Reads Go Wrong

There was a very interesting hand in the recent coverage of the WSOP-E main event. It was about 3 places off the money, and I think all the relevant players in the hand had about 25-30 BBs. What happens is, French guy limps in EP, then it's passed around to a Finnish player on the button [1]. He finds the Kings and limps behind.

I think this is a great play because he has just the perfect players in the blinds to do this to : Devilfish and Matusow. Devilfish swallows it H, L and S by raising to 8BB with AJo. Matusow and Frenchman pass, Finn moves in and now Devilfish realises what's happened but (more or less) correctly calls, given the spot he's in now with 1/3 of his chips already in the pot.

This is the thing with players like Devilfish IMO. He's a great reader of hands in live poker, one of the best, especially when picking up tells and indications of strength/weakness. The problem is, I think, that he is so confident in his reads he doesn't seem to consider the potential cost of being wrong. In this case, he's backed his read that a limper behind can't have anything, and so making it 8 BBs to win about 4 BBs in the pot is clearly a winning proposition. Which it would be, if he hadn't inadvertently committed himself, and so was really risking 25 BBs to win 4.

So when you're playing against this kind of player, it can be worth making an unorthodox play to give them a false read, because they're so confident in their own reads that they tend to over-commit to them. And it's not as though the hero is risking all that much here. If the blinds just complete/check he's playing a 4BB pot with 25BB behind. He still has no problem committing on a non-Ace flop and if the EP limper hits a set or a blind catches two pair, that's still unlikely enough to just take it on the chin. NH WP IMO, and to be fair Devilfish, not always the best loser, compliments him on the play on his way out.

[1] Mustn't say Scandi because Finland isn't part of Scandinavia LDO !

A similar play from Sklansky in the WSOP a few years ago.

200-400 blinds, 4 or so limpers, he limps on the button with AA, because 2 very aggressive players we on the blinds.

When neither raised, he simply folded for one bet on the flop.

very cute imo.
Would you say, with hindsight, the best play there for DevilFish would have been to limp behind and see a flop, with him having superior hand reading skills?
Impossible for Sklansky to be "cute" imo.
Yeah, either that or at least make a raise that doesn't commit his whole stack.

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