Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Made A Mistake In Poker That Cost Me

The Countdown Continues....

Full Tilt-Rebuy/Add on Event

I entered a Full Tilt Tournament the other night. There were over 200 players. It was a rebuy and add-on event.

One of the things about online poker tournaments is that most players are too tight. Playing tight is not right! I know the books say to play tight aggressive poker, but really the books are wrong. The reason is that when you play tight aggressive you are simply telling your opponents what you have when you raise so infrequently; a premium hand.

I like to play loose aggressive pre-flop. I will open with a raise pre-flop with a wide range of hands, and make a continuation bet about 80-90% of the time. In fact, I am opening with just a 2 times big blind raise when my opponents are so quick to fold.

Of course, you can't mindlessly take this plan of action into the final stages of an event because your better opponents will beat you up. That happened to me.

I was building and building a nice chip stack, when two of my opponents (to my left) realized my game plan, and re-raised my min raises. It is difficult to call off a big percentage of your chips with 7-5 suited when someone re-raises you pre-flop.

As a result, I had to slow down and tighten up. I also wanted to set a trap since I knew what they were doing. In fact, I won a big pot when I made my standard min raise with K-K and one of these players re-raised me. I just called. The flop came Q high, and I check raised my opponent. He folded and I won a big pot.

My Mistake

The game continued and I went totally card dead. I wanted to put in those min raises but while I slowed one opponent down, the other player kept it up. My chip stack was down to $12,000 and the blinds were $250-$500. We were two players away from the money (27 got paid).

I hate when I make a mistake playing poker. I don't mind if I lay down the winning hand, but I don't like when I make the wrong play. Here is the hand....

I get dealt pocket 6's in middle position. The player under the gun raises to $1,500. Another opponent calls. I call. The big blind re-raises to $4,500.

What should I do?

I have $10,500 left, and I know I am beat, so I hit the fold button since I don't want to risk another 30% of my stack as a dog. And there are only two places to go before the money. To my surprise, the other two players insta-call. And before I can think through this situation, I am folded.

I hated my fold for three reasons:
1. The pot now had over $15,000 and I had great implied odds if I hit my set.
2. I selected to auto-fold without waiting for my turn because I was close to the money. Who wants to play 3 hours and not get paid off? But, the most important thing in poker is to play to win, not to cash!!!!
3. The 6 hit the flop and two players went all-in on the flop. I would have won a huge pot and given myself a great opportunity to wn.

The End Result

I was able to build my stack up to about $30,000 and we were down to 15 players. I was dealt pocket Aces and made a min raise. I got called in two places. The flop was
Q-8-4 with two clubs. I had the Ace of clubs. I bet the pot, and my opponent raised me. I moved all-in, and he turned over 8-8....doh!

I win $40 for 4 hours of play....awful!

The moral of the story: Play to win and not just to cash!


Kevin Olsta said...

I feel like perhaps this is a "hindsight is 20/20" situation. Would you still be upset with the play if the 6 didn't hit the flop? Because of the small size of your stack, you aren't even getting great odds to flop your set. Also, do you really want to get it in behind knowing that you will most likely need to hit a set regardless of the pot odds? Poker chips are worth so much more when bet aggressively. When I am this short I definitely want to be the one opening the pot all-in so I could either win by getting everyone to fold or double up by getting called and winning.

Mitchell said...

Here are the numbers:

It will cost me $3,000 more. There is already about $15,000 in the pot. 5-1 pot odds and excellent implied odds.

If I miss my set on the flop, I still have $7,500 with the blinds at $250-$500.

Rather than hitting the fold button right away, I should have waited for the action to get back to me and given myself that 15 seconds to decide.

So while it looks like a hindsight 20/20 situation, I see it as a missed opportunity where if I get lucky I could win the event. And I believe strongly you must give yourself an opportunity to get lucky to win a tournament.

Dale Clark said...

depending on what the big blind dude has been doing before his big raise, i would have folded as well. pocket sixes are hard to defend. there are so many over cards

Twitchy67 said...

You have 2 outs. TWO! By no means is that a good call in any position if you're 'playing to win'. There are 32 overcards in the deck; the unders are such that if you hit three unders you're still not likely to win with a raise and two callers. So you have 2 chances out of 52 to win this pot. 4%. You need 25 to 1 pot odds for this to make sense, regardless of the implied odds (which still won't make 25-1 from 5-1). The only case where playing 66 makes the least amount of sense (and even then it's questionable to me) is if you're gonna be blinded out and there's only one person you're up against; then at least you have a coin flip. Against 2 or 3 others, you have virtually no chance.

AmericanTrinity (psvoltz) said...

You only have an 11% chance to improve against callers who probably already have something better. They probably wouldn't be aggressive unless they had a stronger hand at that stage in the tournament. I like the laydown. I think the mistake was in not being aggressive with your AA with 15 left. Most of the mistakes I see or make myself are from not being aggressive enough. Thoughts?

Dodge Taylor said...

I agree with the above, I'm not sure if I would even call in that position (chip stack, stage in the tournament section, etc) with the pocket 6's just to set-mine.

Also agree about playing the aces stronger. Saying that tho, depending on the quality of the players, pocket 8's guy would've likely have come with you anyway. Unlucky, not meant to be.

What's Your Poker IQ?