Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poker Quiz and Answer: One Hand of Tournament Poker

The countdown continues to the WSOP....

Here is an actual hand of poker played at the Bellagio. You decide what the best course of action is based on the information provided below.

This hand is taken from a past issue of CardPlayer with analysis from Roy Winston and Michael Binger. I don't know Roy Winston, but I have played against Michael Binger. If there is one player I'd like to talk poker with one day it is with Michael.

First place is over $1 million.
No limit MTT
$15,000 Buy-in
There are 74 players left.

The blinds are $4,000-$8,000 with a $1,000 ante.
You have $430,000 and are in early position.
The big blind has $440,000.

The player under the gun who is extremely tight and has $225,000, raises for $23,000. The next player folds. It is your turn and you have 10d-10h. You call. Everyone folds to the player in the big blind. He calls. The pot is $82,000 with three players taking the flop.

(Michael: Calling is the right play. A re-raise turns your hand into a bluff and puts you into a difficult decision if you are re-raised all-in.)

(Roy: Re-raise)

(My comment: If your read is that the player under the gun is extremely tight, I would just call the raise. Before the flop, I would be putting both my opponents on a range of hands. The raiser will have a big hand, such as A-K. While the caller will have a pair or suited connectors.)

The flop is Jd-10c-7d.

The big blind checks. The initial raiser checks. You have a set and bet $60,000. The big blind calls. The initial raiser folds. The pot is now $202,000. (You have $347,000 left.)

(Michael: Agrees with bet. Wants callers with a set.)

(Roy: Should have made a bigger raise to end the hand here.)

(My comment: I have a set, but I don't like this coordinated a flop. My opponent may have a straight or a flush draw. If I bet here and get called, I no longer like my hand unless I hit a boat. If I bet the pot, my opponent will call given the implied odds. If I bet a little less, the same things will happen. I lean towards agreeing with Michael, especially if I'm just destined to lose this hand.

When I get called by the big blind, if the wrong card hits the turn, I will have to ry to get to the river as cheaply as possible.)

The turn is 2d. A possible flush, but you do have the 10d.

The big blind bets $80,000. You call. The pot is now $362,000. (You have $267,000 left.)

(In the actual hand, the player with pocket 10's did not call. He moved all-in and lost all of his chips. However, to me, that line of thinking is not very instructive, so I changed the play to a call.)

(Michael: You are priced-in to make the call here.)

(Roy: Call or fold.)

(My comment: No way I can fold to such a small bet, with the chance of hitting a boat on the river.)

The river is the 3s.

If the big blind moves all in, what would you do? If the big blind bets $140,000, what would you do?

(It seems to me that Michael and Roy would fold to either sized bet absent any other information about the opponent. The reason for the fold is that they want to save their chips for a better situation. If a call is made, and the call is the wrong decision, it is over.)

What did the big blind actually have in this hand?

5d-4d. He hit the flush on the turn.

Finally, they asked the player who lost with the set of tens, what he should have done. He agreed with Roy Winston. He said he should have re-raised preflop, which would have gotten the big blind to fold. And given the flop texture, he would bet more on the flop.

My comment: Hindsight is 20/20. Overall, though, I found this to be an interesting situation and one that we all face playing poker.

You can read the entire column here.


GiJoeValdez said...

So even though its a tight player he said he would have bet more pre-flop. I take it he should have re-raised the 23k to something in the 60K? Is that a good number?

A player trying to steal will muck that and a call would say he's got JJ, QQ, KK, or AK?

Mitchell said...

A re-raise should generally be at least 3 times the original raise.

According to Binger, assume a re-raise to $70,000 pre-flop. The under the gun player will move all-in with JJ's to AA's and A-K. Now, you have to call $155,000 to win $316,000.

While the chip equity against this range is 34% is about the right price to call, the "tournament-chip expected value overestimates the real money expected value," so a fold is the correct play to this all-in move. Your 10's become a bluff.

As to the notion of a pre-flop re-raise by the player with the pocket 10's: Since the raiser is tight, assume his range is pocket 8's+, AJ, AQ, AQ and KQ. Given the math, the chip expected value is negative. And folding is better than re-raising. So calling is the best option.

He goes on to mention: When you call, you might pick off a short stack trying to make a move. And your re-raise makes you vulnerable to anyone behind you who wakes up with a big hand or the original raiser.

The link at the end of the post above provides the in=depth analysis.

What's Your Poker IQ?