Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Should you play from behind?

Okay, it has been too long. I have a few posts coming, so keep your eye on this space (if any of you are still out there).

Today's discussion revolves around a leak that I think that I have in my game. I have heard different opinions as to whether this is a leak or not, so I would like to get your opinions, dear readers.

The topic is "playing from behind". This is where you get your money in, knowing that you don't have the best hand. Some believe that this is the "correct" play when it is mathematically correct to make the play. Others are of the opinion that you should never play from behind.

I think that my leak is that I will do this sometimes, making the correct mathematical play. Other times I will muck without thought. Here's an example: Game 1, $10+1 NLHE SnG on Full Tilt. I am in the SB, 5 players left. The UTG player, who has been a loose cannon raises 4X the BB. Folds around to me, and I have 55. I am 2nd in chips, and the UTG raiser is the CL. In this case, I fold, trying to get into a better position prior to pushing the CL around. Game 2, $5.50 MTT with 630+ players. I have hit some good hands early and have over 5500 in chips. The blinds are 50/100. Three players limp to me, and I have 66 on the Button. I raise to 800 to try to end the hand right here and now. Folds around to the last limper who goes all-in with 1300, so it is 500 more for me to call. There is 2600 in the pot and it costs me 500, or 6-1 odds. I make the call and he shows AA.

So which is the correct play? I know that they are all situation dependent moves, but in the first case I mucked a race (I'm guessing he had 2 overs to my 55), which is the wrong call, mathematically. The second case I use the Pot Odds, and the fact that I'm HU to take a shot on a 5-1 with 6-1 odds. I think that my biggest leak is NOT sticking with the correct mathematical play all the time. I try to make reads and plays against players in these small buy-in or micro-limit cash games.

So what do you do, dear readers? Do you ALWAYS make the correct mathematical play? Or is yours "read-dependent". Which way makes more money in the long run? I'm interested to hear your opinions. Or crickets, if no one is around anymore.

I'll cya at the tables.


At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice questions. My opinion is that you did the right thing in both instances.

The sit and go is near the bubble -- you're second in chips. Chips you win are much less valuable to you (in a very real quantifiable mathematical sense) than chips you lose. A push is possible if you think CL will mostly fold to a push -- but if he doesn't you're at best in a race. And if you simply call, there are very few flops that allow you to continue. It's not so much a matter of waiting for a better opportunity to push CL around, as waiting for an opportunity to push the short/medium stacks around or have them bust. Google "independent chip model", or waste an enormous amount of time reading the 2+2 forums to learn all about this in excruciating detail.

In the MTT it's still very early days. So every chip has roughly equal value (i.e., we can pretend we're playing for cash). You've got a clear cut pot odds decision (and while the limp reraise strongly suggests a big pair, you still have the odds to call). I might not agree with your initial raise, but that's a matter of playing style.

I'm generally a "math" player, but that has to be tempered with reads, as otherwise one becomes very vulnerable to players who simply represent big hands all the time. So I don't think the question: which way makes more money in the long run? is actually very sensible (sorry). Neither way by itself will (for most players) make any money in the long run.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think both plays were correct. The 55 hand you were OOP and even tho the call may be mathmatically correct, you have to play this hand after the flop. Unlike the next hand where you call the AA. Also, the person who pushes w the AA is a short stack, you have a lot of chips, etc etc completely different situation.

As for me I hardly ever make the right mathmatical play, cause that's not how I play. I use the "math" mainly when I'm faced with a decent hand IN POSITION or when calling a short stacks all in... So, my final analysis would be, sometimes it is right to use the correct math to make your decisions and sometimes you play the player, the table, your position and your stack.

Either way, the real question is... do you do the same thing w 72o?? :P

At 12:40 PM, Blogger chipper said...

Just found your sight from a shout out from GCox. I'll add you to my blog list as a fellow poker blogger. Always good to read others experiences!

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the first case I agree with the lay down as it is silly to go up against the only player at the table that can knock you out. Picking your spots is a better idea, especially when you are at best 55/45 and quite likely to be in big trouble.

I disagree with the second play in its entirety. You may have been mathematically correct in the call after making the raise. However you really need to understand the mistake and where exactly it was. The mistake came when you made a raise to 8 times the BB. Unerstandably you want to end the hand there, a raise of 3 to 4 times would be called for. If you raise to 8 times the BB the only hands that will call have you smoked from the get go and then you are pot committed as you described. The call of the reraise is not mathematically incorrect, but only because you made it so.

Thank you for putting an honest example out for criticism.


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