Saturday, June 27, 2009

This May Be My Most Important Post About Winning Tournament Poker Strategy

This may be my most important post because it should help you in 2 areas:
1. How to make a critical decision during a poker tournament based on the math.
2. How raising or re-raising pre-flop is better than calling or limping.
This winning approach is based on Gus Hansen's 2nd day at the Aussie Millions, which he won.


1. You Will Make Better Decisions If You Know The Math!

Hand 42
Blinds: 500/1000/100
Position: SB
Hand: 7h-7d
Chips: 68k

Button raises to 4000, and Gus re-raises to 12600. His opponent moves all-in for $45.3k.

Decision:
Step 1. What is Gus' winning chance?
He has to put in 33k to win 60k which is 1 to 1.8.
That means his opponent has a 1.8/2.8=64% winning chance,
A 36% winning chance for Gus.

Step 2: What is his chance of winning given common hand matchups?
Against an overpair he has an 18% chance
Against a hand like AQ or AK he has a 55% chance

Step 3: Which hand does your opponent have?
A raise and re-raise looks like an overpair, so Gus needs
more than a 36% chance of winning but it seems like he
only has an 18% chance.

Decision: Fold.

Hand 60
Blinds: 600/1200/200
Position: BB
Hand: Ah-7s
Chips: 143.4k

The player under the gun moves all-in for 11700. Everyone folds to Gus.

Decision:
Step 1. What is Gus' winning chance?
He has to put in 10.1k to win 15.7k which is 1 to 1.6.
That means his opponent has a 1.6/2.6=61% winning chance,
A 39% winning chance for Gus.

Step 2: What is his chance of winning given common hand matchups?
Gus isn't sure how strong his opponent is, since he
may be desperate.
If his opponent has a pair higher than 7's, he has only a
29% chance of winning.

Step 3: Which hand does your opponent have?
Since he isn't sure, he likes the 39% winning chance.

Decision: Call. He loses as his opponent wins with JJ.

Hand 63
Blinds: 800/1600/200
Position: 2nd
Hand: Ac-Qc
Chips: 133.5k

The player under the gun raises to 6100, Gus calls, the SB calls, but the BB moves all-in for 37600 more. It is folded to Gus. He knows the SB will fold.

Decision:
Step 1. What is Gus' winning chance?
He has to put in 37k to win 57k which is 1 to 1.6.
That means his opponent has a 1.6/2.6=61% winning chance,
A 39% winning chance for Gus.

Step 2: What is his chance of winning given common hand matchups?
As before, Gus isn't sure of his opponent's hand.

Step 3: Which hand does your opponent have?
But he thinks his hand is strong here.

Decision: Call. He wins as his opponent has AJ.

2. Raising versus Calling: This Time I'll Do The Math for Gus' Day 2 Play:

He raised or re-raised: 53 times
Number of times he won: 41 times
% Win Rate: 77%

He limped or called a bet: 19 times
Number of times he won: 10 times
% Win Rate: 53%

If a hand is good enough to call--especially those medium pairs--it may good enough to raise or even re-raise.

To get inside the mind of Gus Hansen, get his book Every Hand Revealed here. The above analysis is from reviewing his book.

3 comments:

JakeGint said...

Hey Mitch, forgive me, but I'm not following the math on your "opponent's odds." I mean, I get the calculation, just not how you get the inputs... can you go over that?

Mitchell said...

Jake: Maybe this will make it easier:

The first question is what are your pot odds.

If it costs you $1 to win the pot which has $2, you are getting 1 to 2. 1 to 2 is actually 1 divided by 3 (1+2), which is 33%.

This means the pot odds or the winning chance is 33%.

Your opponent is simply this percentage minus 100% or 67%.

The next step is to see if the hand you are holding compared to the hand you think your opponent is holding is giving you as much, if not more of a winning chance.

For example, if you have a pocket pair and you put your opponent on A-K, you are slight favorite. So, if youe pot odds are 33%, you should call.

However, if you have a pocket pair and you know your opponent has a higher pocket pair, you only have an 18% winning chance--which is lower than your pot odds of 33%--so you should fold.

Of course, you never know for sure! That is why these decisions are so difficult.

Now, take a look at Hand 42. Gus has pot odds of 1 to 1.8. This is 1 divided by 2.8 or 36% But, he feels his opponent has an overpair, giving him just an 18% of winning the hand, so he folds.

Does this help?

Thanks,
Mitchell

JakeGint said...

Yes, very much, thanks!

What's Your Poker IQ?