Poker, novel-in-progress, and updates from rainy PDX.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Hey! I just noticed that IGGY over at Guinness and Poker has linked to my blog!

Awesome. Thanks, Iggy, it means a lot to me because your blog is one of the best.

I am now going to pimp Iggy's buy-in code for Empire Poker, which is IGGY1. You'll either get $25 for free, or a % of your buy-in for free, I forget which. Either way, it's a good deal.

And if you're considering Party Poker (and you should be), use the code FOZ for a free $25.

Okay, enough of that, let me tell you a quick anecdote about my play tonight. I checked in earlier today having played several hours of micro limit on Poker Stars, with the intent to fund some tournament action on that site. Well, I decided to test the waters with a single-table Sit 'n' Go. $5 + $.50. I decided against a two-table tournament, because it didn't seem to make sense. You have to wait for 14 players to bust instead of just 6, and you don't earn that much more money.

I sat down at around 6:30, knowing full well that I had to leave the house at 7:30. On Party, single table Sit 'n' Go tourneys never take this long. I figured I'd either bust or have the thing won in that time. In any case, play commences, and I find myself the early chip leader. One or two players bust, but then a funny thing happens: Everyone tightens up. As it gets closer to 7pm, I start to calculate the odds of making the money if I just posted and folded. I didn't think I'd make it.

Cut to 7:20. I'm changing clothes in front of the monitor, trying to play as long as I can before I have to leave the house. There are still 5 players.

A few minutes later, a short stack finally busts out, and puts me on the bubble. I've got a decent stack, but so does everyone else. And the blinds are only 50/100, which isn't too life-threatening at this point. I try calling my brother, the pro, to see if he'll play the rest of the tourney for me. No dice. I try my brother-in-law (also a pro), and he's not home. Looks like I'm posting and folding.

Then a great thing happens: One of the big stacks pushes in a huge raise before the flop, and the other stack re-raises him all-in. The first guy calls, and the two players turn over AA and KK. Outstanding.

The aces hold, and now that I'm in the money and in a hurry, I get super-aggressive and bust the shortest stack remaining out right away. When it's heads up, I put up a decent fight despite being outchipped 3 to 1, but at this point, I've really got one foot out the door. I go to the mat with a weak two pair, and he out-kicks me for the top spot.

This reminds me of a scenario in Sklansky's book on tournament hold 'em. He says he's been asked again and again if there is ever a situation in which someone should lay down AA preflop. Well, there is, not that any of us are likely to ever be in this sort of spot.

Suppose you're playing in the World Series of Poker and have made it to the final table. Unfortunately, you've only got 30,000 chips and are going up against people with millions sitting in front of them. At this stage of the tournament, the blinds are gigantic, and you're only going to survive one more orbit. Let's say there are 6 players left, and you're on the button. You look down and see AA in the hole. But then one of the big stacks pushes in, and two of the other stacks call him in front of you!

The correct move in this situation, Sklansky says, is to lay down AA.

It may seem obvious, but, barring a split pot (which is unlikely), you have just moved up two spots! Sklansky estimates that in this situation, laying down AA will earn you around $400,000.

If you were to call, it's true that you would have a good shot at winning the pot, but AA is much less potent against 3 other players. Further, you would only win 90,000 more chips, which isn't going to keep you in the game at this point. Still further, if you bust, you're only getting money for 6th, even if two others bust at the same time. That's because according to the tournament rules, among players that bust on the same hand, the player who started the hand with more chips gets the higher spot.

I asked my brother the other day whether he could conceive of a scenario in which he would lay down AA. Not having read this book yet, he said it didn't exist, and that he would never lay down AA preflop.

Needless to say, Sklansky and I convinced him.


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