The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
We spend alot of time with programs like poker tracker and PAHUD trying to put a label on players at our tables. LAG, TAG, Nit, Maniach etc. Then hands like this one come up that makes me think that we're making things too difficult on ourselves. We only need 2 catagories. Good and bad with the majority falling into the later group.
Game #15850686256: Tournament #80237774, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/03/09 - 08:10:35 (ET)
Table '80237774 3' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: Zico007 (2565 in chips)
Seat 2: HEADSSUP (1290 in chips)
Seat 3: DeaDinaDitch (980 in chips)
Seat 4: wallace_17 (965 in chips)
Seat 6: rhino0623 (2260 in chips)
Seat 7: Raging_Bullz (910 in chips)
Seat 8: Siamgold (1180 in chips)
Seat 9: medidjel (3350 in chips)
Raging_Bullz: posts small blind 15
Siamgold: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DeaDinaDitch [Qd 4d]
medidjel: calls 30
DeaDinaDitch: calls 30
wallace_17: calls 30
rhino0623: calls 30
Raging_Bullz: calls 15
Siamgold: raises 1150 to 1180 and is all-in
medidjel: calls 1150
wallace_17: calls 935 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [Ah 9d 2c]
*** TURN *** [Ah 9d 2c] 6♠
*** RIVER *** [Ah 9d 2c 6s] 8♣
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Siamgold: shows [5s 8d] (a pair of Eights)
medidjel: shows [Ad Td] (a pair of Aces)
medidjel collected 430 from side pot
wallace_17: shows [As Th] (a pair of Aces)
medidjel collected 1493 from main pot
wallace_17 collected 1492 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3415 Main pot 2985. Side pot 430. | Rake 0
Board [Ah 9d 2c 6s 8c]
Seat 1: Zico007 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: HEADSSUP folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: DeaDinaDitch folded before Flop
Seat 4: wallace_17 showed [As Th] and won (1492) with a pair of Aces
Seat 6: rhino0623 (button) folded before Flop
Seat 7: Raging_Bullz (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: Siamgold (big blind) showed [5s 8d] and lost with a pair of Eights
Seat 9: medidjel showed [Ad Td] and won (1923) with a pair of Aces
This is a 45 seat SnG at Stars. It's the 2nd hand of the game and just about evryone is playing with full stacks.
In this hand we have 4 limpers and the SB completing.
The BB pushes all-in and 2/5 limpers decide that their hole cards, which were previously too weak to raise with, have been magically woven into gold. Amazingly enough, even though it's only the 2nd hand, both callers somehow picked up a fantastic read on the pusher because they both make the correct call as the pusher shows 58o to their matching AT.
It's too easy to shake our heads in wonder and move on, but each one of these players had a reason to act as they did which, in their own minds, made perfect sense, and understanding what's going on in their heads is important.
What was the Big Blind Thinking?
Wow. Pushing with 85o. Horrendous right? He was facing 5 limpers. Does he think for a moment about what hands limp in? No. He's incapable of that kind of thinking. Those of us who have played 100,000 hands know that there is going to be at least one opponent who calls with a pair or a couple of high cards that they were afraid to raise with. Knowing this we can push strong hands like AA-QQ knowing we'll get action.
Does he really want action? Certainly not. He's seen Gus Hansen or Sammy Farha push people off hands with air and thinks he can buy the pot. IMO, his push was the best of the bad. At least he had a plan, albeit a very bad one.
The Bad #2-
What was UTG thinking?
We've all heard the saying, "if it's not strong enough to raise, it's not strong enough to play", but most low limit hold'em players are too timid to raise with a hand as weak as ATs. They have a sense that it's a strong hand, and would like to get a cheap peak at the flop. However, they do not yet have a feel for the kind of hands that will raise them, or in this case push all-in, and are inherently suspicious of those who do so. I imagine this...
"What? You pushing me around? You think you can steal this pot from me?You must think that just because I limped I have a weak hand. HAH! I'll show you. You have no idea that my hand is as strong as ATo."
They feel like they're getting pushed around. Often they're right and a hand like this one does nothing but support their belief. Assuming they're just starting out I'm guessing that the damage done by winning a hand like this will set their education back a year.
He's also thinking or rather hoping that the pusher has a low pair. That's fine, and he's probably right (not in this case though). Even if he is, that pair is only part of a range of possible hands. There's just as good a chance that he's crushed by a sharper ace. For him it is at best a coin flip, but more likley he's behind by more than that.
- Now to the Cut-Off?
He is the worst of the lot. If you asked him to explain the Gap Concept he'd give you directions to the Mall.
This is his first day on the job and he really does think he's holding a monster. He has no idea of hand strength. He gives no thought to what anyone could be holding. He sees only what's in front of his eyes. He would have called this bet with any ace. He walked away congratulating himself on a world class call. There is no hope now or in the future for this man.
So what does this mean for all of us who like to think we're a notch or 2 above this sort of thing. Well, one thing you might do is go back to some of your early hands and see if you were ever guilty of anything like it. You might be surprised to find a few of these "WTF was I thinking" hands.
You might also use hands like this to sharpen your own calling ranges. Remember, at these limits, your not playing Phil Helmuth. You must loosen up a bit. This was a $10 SnG and was agregously bad even for this buy-in. But still, anyone can afford to play in these tournaments, and you are going to be facing a much broader range of skills than at a higher one.
Which brings me back to my opening statement. When you first sit down, spend some time sizing up the opposition. While you might need 1000's of hands trying to figure out someones post flop agression factor, it only takes one round (sometimes less) to sort out the good from the bad.
That's me of course, and anyone else who had the sense not to get involved in this nonesense. Sorry, I couldn't resist the catchy thread title.