Saturday, September 1, 2012

no great option

Neighborhood tourney last night, 28 players on a $50 buy-in. 6 players left at the final table. I've got 7100 chips in the middle of the 400/800 blind level.

My image is terrible - I've been in shove or fold mode for the last hour. Fortunately I've been given enough half decent hands worth shoving - Ace-ten, Ace-Queen a couple times, a King-Queen, and pocket eights. The other players are frustrated with my play, which tells me I'm doing something right.

On this hand, I post my 800 chip big blind and everyone folds around to the small blind, who minraises to 1600. I check my cards and find a little 8-9, both diamonds.

I take a few seconds to decide what to do. All three options are reasonable, really. In fact, as I think about in some detail, all three options are so close in value to each other than none of them really stands out.

I could flat and play my hand in position. The downside to this is that I'm pretty short stacked and certainly don't have enough chips to call bets to the river trying to hit a draw.

I could shove my stack in. This player has minraised before, and it has always been a middling strength hand, not a monster. My issue with this play is that he is as short stacked as I am, and he may just decide it's time to "gamble" with a hand like king-jack, and he'll end up having the best hand. This is even more likely because my own image is bad right now. I have probably been all in at this table 6-7 times and not been called yet.

I could always fold. Then again, folding to a minraise in position seems pretty weak, especially against an opponent I feel I can read pretty well and know where I am in the hand.

I opt for calling the raise and seeing a flop. I don't love it, but I figure I'll still have 5 big blinds and late position coming soon to steal blinds and keep up with enough chips to stay alive in the tourney in case this hand doesn't work out.

We see a flop - and it's not a bad one for me. Jack high, and then a 2 and a 3. There are 2 diamonds. I have hit my flush draw. However, my opponent makes a solid 2400 chip bet into a 3200 chip pot. He has committed himself.

This tells me he has a jack. And it tells me he's not folding. Most players would just shove their stack in here. "Flush draw, short stacked, gotta gamble, all-in!". But if my opponent isn't folding, then what good is shoving a 9 out draw? I hit about a third of the time and miss two thirds. Getting all in as a guaranteed 2:1 underdog doesn't sound like good poker.

I don't think calling the bet is an option at all - nowhere near enough chips to try and hit my flush.

With shoving and calling as poor options, I choose the only option left. I fold.

I've been thinking about this hand for awhile now. If I have to fold after flopping a strong draw, then was it a mistake to call in the first place? I think the correct way to see the hand is that I flopped a flush draw, but my opponent also caught something he wasn't folding, and he committed himself. I think if he whiffs the flop, he either checks or makes an easy to read weak stab bet, and I can shove against either one and win the pot.

So the call was ok (maybe the best of three not-great options), I just hit a bad flop to make a move on. I probably win enough times between hitting hands and bluffing him off misses to easily justify the preflop call.

I was able to double up a few hands later, and then stay alive to the last three, where we arranged a chop so we all got second place money, then we left $100 aside and played winner take that. Our host likes this because he can name a single winner. I was the first out after chop (KJ called by A9), so I placed third but took home second place money - $300 for a $50 buy in.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

Well-thought out hand. Congrats on the chop.