Sunday, March 22, 2009

a new leak found - pot commitment issues

In the past week I've had 2 hands (both described in previous posts) that highlight the fact that I need work in medium stack situations on pot commitment.

In the first hand, I had two queens and made a standard raise, and got two callers. An Ace hit the flop and I checked - not liking to C-Bet into two players. When the turn bricked, I fired my bet into the pot and got checkraised to a point where I had to call. (I wrote, "his checkraise gave me like 3-1 odds to call with my small stack, almost forcing a call").

This is actually true - I was "forced" to call with 3-1 odds and a small stack - but being forced to call doesn't mean that I never made a bad decision. The poor
decision was to bet the turn in the first place - I had now put 2/3 of my stack into the middle of the pot, and wasn't 100% sure if I was ahead or not. Clearly, I should have had a plan for continuing before making that turn bet. Basically - a turn is the same as a shove with that type of stack.

Last night, I discussed an isolation play that backfired when the small blind woke up with Aces. I mentioned briefly "I was committed", but after reviewing the hand this turns out not to be true.

When playing live, I remember seeing that I had 900 back after raising the original limper to 320. In my weak mathematical mind, I thought "well, I just put 1/3 of my stack in, so I'm committed, and threw the rest in". This is horrible. In truth - I had 900 back AFTER putting the 320 in, meaning I started with 1200-something. There was plenty of time to fold the AJ and be left with a small but still playable 9 big blinds. Putting the rest in there is an awful play - just awful.

These two hands focus on that middle time of the tourney where you haven't been able to accumulate your stack and find yourself at 12-15 big blinds. It's not shovey-shovey ICM time yet, and many of your "moves" aren't going to work unless you're willing to put a big chuck of your stack in to attempt them, so many times you feel locked down, praying for a big hand.

I clearly need work on this phase of the game. In general, it looks like I need to keep better track of my commitment during the hand.

I'm making another change to my game starting immediately - my standard preflop raise is going from 3 BB to 2.5 BB. I've seen enough professional players suggest this that I think it's time to try it out. The only part the worries me a bit is the math of the big blind - if the blinds are 50-100, and I make it 250 - he now has to call 150 to win 400, making his pot odds 2.67-1. It seems like he can defend with a very wide range now, since he only has to be able to win 27% of the time. (two-three offsuit will beat AK more than that).

I guess that playing out of position nullifies that seemingly correct pot-odds call.

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