Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Valuable Lessons

Last night was another night spent honing my live poker skills at the local tavern. The numbers are down, but that only means the average skill level is higher. The fishes are few and far between.

I've been hitting my stride lately, in live poker any ways. I found my patient groove and the ability to pick spots better. I think I'm still missing a few spots now and then, but for the most part, I'm not getting my head chopped off for stealing something I shouldn't.

I played one hand particularly bad last night. This post is an effort to never forget it's valuable lesson. As Matthew Hilger talked about in Card Player, Vol 21, #20, "Stack Size is Everything in Tournaments". Funny thing, I had just read this column...d'oh!

When I'm on my game and making good decisions, one piece of information that is essential to include in that process is the stack sizes. Your stack, and the stacks at your table. I try not to worry too much about the stack sizes at other tables on any single hand decisions. Those chips aren't available.

We are on the last hand of the 100/200 blind level. It was announced that the next hand the blinds would move to 200/400. I'm sitting in the little blind with 4200 chips. Right now I have 20BB sitting in front of me, but on the very next I will suddenly have just 10. 

The action at the table folds to the button who just limps. The button is a good player. He understands position. After he's done I look at my cards and find A9o. With only 3 people potentially in the pot, it would be reasonable to guess that these are the best two cards on the table. I know the button would limp with almost any two cards. I decide I will raise it here. I chose 4 BBs to represent a very strong hand bringing the bet to 800. or ~20% of my stack.

The big blinds folds and action returns to the button. This is when I noticed I skipped a step. I never checked his stack size. A T$800 raise was about 60% of his stack. Why is this important? Well, know he needs to decide if just wants to shove it in here or wait for a better spot. So now I'm faced with calling his shove bringing the bet to T$1400. It would be hard to fold to a $600 raise, but now I've committed 33% of my stack with A9o. Son of Julius Goat!

This also means that if I lose this hand, I'm in some serious doodoo the very next hand when the blinds make it to 200/400.

To properly play that hand, I needed to consider whether or not I risked facing a bad situation by putting in a bet of that size. A smaller bet, he may have only called and seen the flop or I could have easily gotten away without much effort, but the size of this bet meant for him, he only had two choices, fold or shove and I'd have a tough time folding to the relatively small raise to the size of the pot. His KQd was too much to fold at this stage. He called and flopped two pair.

A few short hands later, I saw OhCountess stand up and I shoved it all in with an open ended straight draw and a back door flush draw...AA held. Of course, OhCountess wins her all-in moment and I'm relegated to the loser bar to lick my wounds and learn from my mistakes.

Buttoms up!


NewinNov said...

Sorry, no college fund for you.

lightning36 said...

Looks like you need a remedial course in being a lucksack.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Memphis MOJO said...

Nice post, thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Goatlady said...

I think you made the right move, after all it is gambling, and you did have BEST hand when you bet..Dam the 7 cards and may your Christmas be merry and PROFITABLE!!