Assessing Suckouts in tournament poker from a mental aspect
Suckouts happen in every format of poker. But in tournaments they can be the brutal difference between a late stage double up to run ITM and a sudden end to your run with nothing to show for it.
This is more just me putting words down to assess my own processing of the insane suckouts we see. But as someone who also is studying clinical psychology, as I've grown and matured in the game, I've become more focused on the mental aspect of the game as well as the math.
I have some free time the next few weeks so i can play multiple tournaments online a day most days for the next month or so. Usually I only have time for some cash games.
Today for example alone I played about 6-7 small tournaments in varying degrees. Excluding the solid draws (more than 10 outs) I missed here's some of the gems I ran in to in just a short 7 hours session of various tournaments in no particular order. Nearly every one busted me out of the tournament or was the hand that crippled my stack and left me out the next hand:
AKs against 44 to a 3bet on my part. Flop TPTK, nothing good on board for villian, i raise, he shoves all in, i call: Turn is blank for both, River is a 4. I'm out.
KK all in late position/bout 10 bb left , slightly larger stack calls me all in pre and shows KJo. Flop is a beautiful rainbow giving him only a pair of Jacks. I'm ahead by a mile. Two spades on flop, one is his hand. Another spade on turn. And finally for fun another spade on river...runner runner flush draw when he was behind by a mile the whole time.
AKo all in preflop - villian calls with J3o. Gets a flop of 2 4 K rainbow. Turn is a 6, and hey for fun river is a 5 giving him a straight. And it wasn't a cheap call or low stack move, he went all in ahead of me.
Obviously these things happen. I flopped a lower full house all in to someone with a higher full house and got runner runner higher board full house to split the pot. We're always going to have times on the good side of suckouts and the bad side.
I was raging briefly because these plays by the villians were terrible. Even if they were desperate late stage tournament double up attempts they just sucked out over and over. It happens.
But like many players will say, take a step back. Did you play the hand correctly? Did you get the money in good? I felt that I did. AK is always a risk but when you flip and see they're horribly behind or you get to a flop or turn and get money in and they call from behind only to win on river, did you make the right move?
From a mental and mindfulness aspect, these suckouts are going to happen. Bad runs suck. Bad suckouts in tourneys are especially brutal. But I couldn't control what happened after the money was in.
As they say we want these players to keep making terrible plays. To keep calling with terrible hands that have very little outs to speak of. In the first example the guy had 2 outs on the river to win. On the third example, 2 outs. Both got rewarded for their gamble. We want that in poker. We want those bad calls, bad draws, and bad odds
happening for the villians.
And once I committed to making a small but bankroll worthy deposit to play with instead of little amounts here and there, I've locked down my BRM and that makes the suckouts less of a problem. They still suck but they won't keep you out of the game if you keep a roll and play good poker.
End rant/thoughts on suckouts. Thank you.