Saturday, October 09, 2010

PokerStars Big Game - tourney hand analysis

As many of you probably know, PokerStars presents a TV show called “The Big Game” in which amateurs who qualified in freeroll tournaments on PokerStars get staked $100,000 to play in a high-stakes cash game with professional poker players. I have watched the show and found it rather entertaining and educational. I will have more to say about the Big Game in another post that I am formulating. But this post is about a hand that I played in one of their qualifying tournaments. After it was over, the player who came out on the losing end had some comments about the way I played the hand. I am certainly willing to learn from my mistakes, so I thought it would be worth looking more closely at this hand to see what mistakes I may have made, and what I could have done better.

A little background: in the Round 1 freerolls like this one, the top 300 finishers move on to the next round. Each of the nine players at the table starts with $10,000 in chips. The blinds start at $200/$400 with a $100 ante. So, before any cards are dealt, each player has an M of about 7. This has two effects: (1) you have to start accumulating chips early, and (2) just about every pot is worth contesting. Another thing that happens is that there is a lot of limping, because everyone wants to hit a draw and take down a big pot.

So, here is the hand in question, with my comments added along the way.

*********** # 109 **************
PokerStars Game #50429242296: Tournament #308745183, Freeroll  Hold'em No Limit - Level VIII (1200/2400) - 2010/09/30 22:30:29 CT [2010/09/30 23:30:29 ET]
Table '308745183 11' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Rivit36 (19050 in chips)
Seat 2: iam99930301 (105650 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 3: ResinSystems (77700 in chips)
Seat 4: bunny'sTiger (48450 in chips)
Seat 5: Alley Cat 7 (210175 in chips)
Seat 6: BAPMAN55 (138500 in chips)
Seat 7: yestbay1 (203600 in chips)

I am second in chips at my table, and in the cutoff seat. My M is around 23, so I am in decent shape and have some room to maneuver.

Seat 8: kowalabear69 (106050 in chips)
Seat 9: Framkie B (87250 in chips)
Rivit36: posts the ante 600
iam99930301: posts the ante 600
ResinSystems: posts the ante 600
bunny'sTiger: posts the ante 600
Alley Cat 7: posts the ante 600
BAPMAN55: posts the ante 600
yestbay1: posts the ante 600
kowalabear69: posts the ante 600
Framkie B: posts the ante 600
Framkie B: posts small blind 1200
Rivit36: posts big blind 2400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to yestbay1 [Qd Ad]

A nice hand to play, especially in late position.

iam99930301: folds
ResinSystems: calls 2400
bunny'sTiger: calls 2400
Alley Cat 7: calls 2400
BAPMAN55: folds
yestbay1: calls 2400

Three limpers, so a nice pot is building. If I can hit a big hand, I can add a nice chunk to my stack, so I decide to limp along. I can stand to call a raise, but I don’t expect to see one.

kowalabear69: calls 2400
Framkie B: calls 1200
Rivit36 is disconnected
Rivit36 is connected
Rivit36 has timed out
Rivit36: checks

Pot is now 25,800. I would love to take this one, even on the flop.

*** FLOP *** [6c 4d Kc]

That doesn’t help me at all, but did it hit anyone else? I am ready to fold to a decent-sized bet.

Framkie B: checks
Rivit36: checks
ResinSystems: checks
bunny'sTiger: checks
Alley Cat 7: bets 4800

A bet of less than 1/5 the pot? Hard to tell what kind of hand Alley Cat would bet that amount with. My best guess would be a flush draw, because one or two pair or a set should bet larger to discourage others from drawing. I can certainly afford a call, and might catch an Ace and/or Queen or running cards that could win this pot. Of course, I don’t want to see a club. If someone behind me raises, I am done, with minimal damage to my stack.

yestbay1: calls 4800
kowalabear69: calls 4800
Framkie B: calls 4800
Rivit36 is disconnected
Rivit36 has timed out while disconnected
Rivit36: folds
Rivit36 is sitting out
ResinSystems: folds
bunny'sTiger: folds

Two more callers, so the pot is definitely getting fat; now up to 45K.

*** TURN *** [6c 4d Kc] [Jd]

I love that card, giving me straight and flush draws. I would probably fold to a big bet, though, to guard my stack. I don’t have to finish first, just 300th or better.

Framkie B: checks
Rivit36 is connected
Rivit36 has returned
Alley Cat 7: bets 9600

OK, what is this cat up to? This time it’s just a little more than 1/5 the pot, giving me the odds to draw, especially since Alley Cat has a big stack for me to aim at. Even if someone has a set and would fill up on the river if the board pairs, I still have 7 diamonds as outs (discounting the 6d and Kd) plus 3 Tens for a straight (discounting the Tc which might give someone a crub frush). That’s ten outs, and the Rule of Two says that gives me about a 20% chance of catching a winning card. With the bet of slightly more than 1/5 the pot, I’m getting pretty much the right pot odds up front to call, especially if the players behind me call, plus some implied odds if I can get paid off. I can’t see much reason to fold here, and also no reason to raise since I haven’t made a hand yet.

yestbay1: calls 9600
kowalabear69: calls 9600
Framkie B: calls 9600

And yet more chasers, sweetening the pot even more: 83,400.

*** RIVER *** [6c 4d Kc Jd] [8d]

Gin! How do I get some chips out of these suckers, er, worthy opponents? I hope someone has a lower flush and bets into me…

Framkie B: checks
Alley Cat 7: checks

Well, looks like Alley Cat either missed his draw or got scared by the diamond. Might as well bet a decent amount which I hope can be called by at least one person. How about roughly half the pot?

yestbay1: bets 42400
kowalabear69: folds
Framkie B: folds
Alley Cat 7: calls 42400

Suckered in one, anyway.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
yestbay1: shows [Qd Ad] (a flush, Ace high)
Alley Cat 7: shows [Kh Kd] (three of a kind, Kings)
yestbay1 collected 164600 from pot

Whaddya know. Alley Cat flopped a set of Kings and played them so slow that they got away from him (or her; I will guess “him” for simplicity’s sake). Then comes the commentary….

Alley Cat 7 said, "great very bad playing"

Normally I don’t respond to derogatory chat comments, but I thought I would toss one back.

yestbay1 said, "if you say so"
Alley Cat 7 said, "    u had nothing      and got really lucky for runner runner"
Alley Cat 7 said, "i say so      i guess"

In the interests of poker education, I decided to let out a little secret of my playing strategy.

yestbay1 said, "you gave me the pot odds"

Which got me the snappy rejoinder:

Alley Cat 7 said, "yeah    sure greg"

I have no clue who Greg is. In any event, I have to wonder if Alley Cat realized that he could have prevented getting drawn out on, just by betting more to deny me (or others who were drawing) the right odds to keep trying to get there. Maybe he will learn a lesson from this hand. I did, and it is: don’t slowplay your flopped sets in multi-way pots when there are draws on the board. Then again, I think I learned that lesson a while ago. Nevertheless, an occasional reminder is always a good thing.

Epilogue: I did finish in the top 300 and went on to the next round. More about that in a future post….