Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mildly entertaining session last night. Cashed in a $10+1 HORSE (still ITM roughly 75% of the time in these) while kibbutzing the DP in the $17K on FTP. * I just wanted to see how many acronyms I could squeeze into that sentence. *

Followed that up with a win in an 18-seater at PokerStars for $100+. I played shortstacked for most of that one, but managed to get my money in with the best of it every time by simply playing basic solid tight poker. I think that’s where most people fall apart in tournaments. When shortstacked, there’s a tendency to push on any face card or any baby pair without considering the table dynamic or the blind situation. However, if you map out the blinds/antes, and you have more than ONE circuit left, there’s no reason to push simply because you see King-rag UTG. Sure, you’ll have to put in ¼ of your stack when you’re the BB, but you can see 5 or 6 more hands before you’re in a blind push mode. The great thing is that when you do push, you’ll probably get more than one caller meaning a lucky flop lets you triple up or quad up.

Pros keep talking about anything less than 10x the BB should be pushing on any playable hand. Well, if you’re playing against other pros who know how to abuse and push around a shortstack, that might be right. Not many pros are playing the $10-20 SnGs, so that philosophy isn’t optimal for most of us. Rather than get looser, it’s better to play tighter when your stack shrinks. Loose-aggressive play tends to win a lot of small pots, which you don’t have time or capital for. Weak-tight play is intended to double you up.

It’s not so much that I’m a great shortstack player, I just think that others are crappy big stack players. Either that, or their play is assuming that I’m a terrible shortstack player. OK, look at it this way, if there are six players left with four cashing, and 27,000 chips in play. Usually there are two players with 7-9K and four players with 2-4K each. Blinds are usually up in the 200/400/25 or 300/600/25 range, so the shortstacks are playing with 4-5 BB at the most. I’m in the BB and I put up my 625, leaving me 2000. One of the big stacks wakes up with a decent hand and bets enough to put me all-in. That’s a good move against many, a bad move against me. I don’t believe in the “any two cards” mantra at these levels. The big stack probably has one face card, maybe Ace-rag and is trying to push his advantage.

  • If I have crap (say, queen-rag), I’ll lay it down. The big stack wins a little bit, and pushes me closer to the edge. Whoop-de-doo.
  • If I have a fair hand (Ax, Kx sooted, QT) and think I have a coinflip against a bully, I might take the offer getting about 3-2 on my coinflip.
  • If I have a very good hand (Ace-face, two faces, pockets), I’m calling in a shot and getting paid 3-2 when I might have a better hand. So I’m allowing myself to get pushed when I have a reasonable chance of winning.

If I fold, I put 325 chips into the next pot in SB with 1600+ behind it, and I get two fresh cards, probably better than my last two. If not, I fold them and can see two MORE fresh cards for only 25 chips! Even if the blinds go up during the circuit, I’m guaranteed another full round of deals, plenty of time to pick up a good hand. Granted, if I pick up six consecutive 8-3s, I’m gonna lose, but the odds are that at least one of those hands will be playable. Much better than rushing to get my chips in the middle as a distinct underdog. This way, the other shortstacks might impatiently push and I might move up the food chain by default.

I’ve seen bloggers get shortstacked in tournaments claiming “pot odds” and pushing (or getting pushed) when they had a 25% shot of winning a pot and getting 3-1 odds. Well, yeah, you’re getting fair odds, but they’re not GOOD odds, especially when it means that you’re busted 75% of the time. That’s like saying “Well, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are getting 500-1 odds on winning the World Series, those are fair odds”. But they’re not GOOD odds and your chances of winning are very very slim. It may not be your life on the line, but it’s your tournament life. When you’re a shortstack more than ever, you need to get your money in the middle with GOOD odds, not fair ones.


At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing you're forgetting about is Fold Equity. A push that steals the blinds is a victory. It will usually add 25% or even more to your stack which allows you to hand on for another orbit. The less chips you have, the less chance you have of taking down those blinds. While tripling or quadrupling up is always nice, it's better to put your $1000 in as a 40% favorite to double up than it is to put your $250 in as a 25% favorite to quadruple up and the less money you have, the more callers will check down your demise.


Post a Comment

<< Home