Monday, June 08, 2009


The Donk Factor

A couple of very interesting hands came up last night in the Sunday specials. First of all the monthly Party Poker Million, $600+40 buyin, $1M guaranteed, lots of satellite winners. I have 25K (starting stack 20) playing 100-200 when a player in early position makes it 700 from a 60K stack. I have TT and make the standard call. Button calls, then one of the blinds makes it 2600 from a 15K stack.

This raise size is very telling. With 2400 already in there and 15K back, he could shove if he wanted to, and might well do with AK (I'd just call but a lot of players will shove). Instead he raises even less than the pot. In this spot, his range is hugely weighted towards AA/KK. I figure that if I call it's just for set value, and I won't have that against the guy with 15K, so I'm only calling if EP calls. He does, I do, and so does the button, 4 players to the flop with 10K in the pot.

It comes AJTcc and the original 3-bettor, first to speak, jams his 15K. EP folds. Sigh. It's Party and I has a set. But what's he going to show me other than AA ? AK doesn't fit the pre-flop action. Surely KK wouldn't open-jam there. He has to be either one of the 10% of players who might raise like that with AK pre-flop, or a complete nutcase, or making a "fuck this I'm bored" play, which you would think was unlikely an hour into the comp, but it's happened before. I can't find a pass and he has AA ldo.

It's at least a sign of progress that a year ago I would have been like ZOMG-instacall-oh bugger. It was just a ridiculous spot where you actually could fold a set with 10K in the pot and only 15K behind, but it's so hard to do in the heat of the moment.

Then again, check out this hand from the Warm-Up on Stars. It's 2500-5K plus antes and I have a nice 350-400K stack, somewhere around there. Middle position opens to 15K (he's pretty deep too), I call with AQs, and now the blind 3-bets to 35K. Once again we have this tricky small squeeze-like bet that sends out so many contradictory signals that it's very often a big hand that someone doesn't know what to do with. MP folds and I decide to take a flop in position, would probably fold if I wasn't suited. Also if the flop is A high, he's heavily weighted towards KK (or even QQ) as there's only one combo of AA left and I can try to get to showdown.

Flop comes KQQ, bink. If he has KK I'm going broke here with no qualms. So he bets I call, turn blank he bets I set him in and he goes into the tank. A friend watching the hand says on IM "looks like AA", I'm just about to agree when he calls and shows 88.

So there you go. However much you trust your read, there's always a chance that your opponent, if he's unknown anyway, is just doing something so ridiculously stupid that you could never work it out using logical analysis. In this case I quite like the play pre-flop as it's very deceptive but when I stick around even after he's representing a big hand on that flop he has to shut down. Trust your read but always allow for a bit of a donk factor !

PS In the end I finished 24th in the Warm-up, lost another 2M flip, balla. All you can do is put the volume in, get into these positions as often as you can, and hope to win your share from there.

Never trust your friend's reads!
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