Monday, September 6, 2010

Tournament Poker: Do You Know This? I Didn't!

Odds Against TomorrowImage via WikipediaTournament Poker: Do You Know This? I Didn't!

Yesterday, I was playing in the Oaks tournament and my game plan was working very well.
We were down to 20 players, the blinds were $1,000-$1,500 with $200 antes, I had $30,000 and I was in a middle position.

With pocket 7's, I raised to $4,500. A tight player smooth called, and another tight player moved all-in for $12,000.

What should I do? What would you do?

The first thing I did was to put my opponents on a range of hands. I put the first player with a middle pocket pair like 8's, 9's or 10's or A-Q, A-J. The second player, I put on QQ, KK, AA or AK.

The second thing I did was look at the odds. It was going to cost me $7,500 to call. So if I called and the first player called, I was betting $7,500 to win the blinds (2500), the antes (3000), my bet (4500), the all-in bet (12000), and the first player's bet of (12000) for a total of $32,000. Therefore, it would cost me $7500 to $32000 or about 4+ to 1.

The final thing I did was look at how many chips the first caller had left. He had $10,000 more, so I thought I would probably have to call this amount as well. This reduced my odds a lot.

I figured my odds of winning this hand was now really poor, especially given the pot odds, so I folded.

What happened...

The first caller had pocket 10's, and the all-in player had pocket Kings. I felt like I made the right play. On the flop a 10 showed up, and I felt really smart. Of course, that changed when the turn and river revealed that I would have hit a runner-runner straight..Doh!

What I did not know....

I know that in a pair versus pair situation, the bigger pair is an 80% favorite. What I didn't know are the odds in a pair versus pair versus pair situation. I checked the Cardplayer hold'em calculator for the answer using the above situation:

KK: 66%
TT: 19%
77: 15%

My odds are 5-1...a lot higher than I thought.

Given this learning, do you think I made the right decision?

I did cash in the event, and my system is now 2 for 9, with one win.
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1 comment:

JamesDaBear said...

In a cash game, maybe you could call there taking the worst of it, but having a fixed and known amount you were risking.

In a tournament, you're correctly folding here for survival reasons.

You're still not guaranteed to win even when you hit a 5-1 shot for that many chips (even though you probably should, at that point).

You should ask yourself whether the $4500 raise was too big in the first place with no limpers before you. If you get callers with this hand, you're pretty much giving up unless you have an overpair (rarely and still scary) or flop a set. Save yourself the 500 since anything and everything you don't want to call is going to fold for 4000 as much as they will 4500. That 500 saved adds up over time, makes it easier to fold when you get significant pre-flop raises and keeps the pot smaller for when you have to c-bet/give up.

What's Your Poker IQ?