Is it Sometimes Correct to Take a Chance in Tournament Poker?
This is a live $210 buy-in deep stack tournament at my local casino with 30 minute levels and $30K to start. I was a little late and didn’t actually start playing until the end of the 2nd level. The following hand takes place about halfway through level 3.
Blinds are $100/$200/$25 and I had about $29K and everyone was pretty even around the table, $25K to $35K. The player that was UTG already stuck out in my mind for not knowing what he was doing, this was very clearly one of his first live tournaments; maybe his first tournament period. He is an older man, probably close to 60 years old; I say that for no reason other than to help paint the picture.
From UTG he tries to raise to $300, the dealer immediately corrects him and makes him throw out an additional $100 chip; thereby minimum raising from UTG. I was UTG +1 and flat called with
This sets off a wave of calls as 5 additional players on the 9 handed table also call. It’s a pretty easy read, in my opinion, and I immediately put UTG on a hand. I had only been playing for a little over 30 minutes but he had only limped and had done so into 80% of the pots with no regard for position; a raise from this player was a clear message and what better hand to have than suited connectors; I like this spot.
Pot - ~$2800
Obviously this flop hit my hand well; it could be better but this is a nice flop for my hand. The UTG player then places a single $1,000 chip in the middle and very forcefully says “1 Thousand” as he firmly places the chip down on the felt. I was already suspicious, but I now know this player has Aces, or maybe Kings.
Now I really like this spot, I know exactly what my opponent has and even have position on him. On top of that he doesn’t know what he is doing and will nearly certainly pay me off should my plan work out. The only thing I don’t like are the 5 other hands to act after me; with that in mind I put in a raise to $2500 and every one folds to UTG just as I was hoped would happen.
The UTG player acted like he was going to fold for a solid minute (which further solidified my Aces read), then slid a black $10,000 chip out while saying “raise”, thereby making the bet $11,000.
Now, I didn’t expect that move and that sucks; I was nearly sure that he would flat call.
So let’s run the numbers:
I know I need to improve to win and count 9 flush outs, one 10, and three 9’s for a total of 13 outs – I’m going to assume that my opponent also has the Ace or King of diamonds and further adjust that number to 12. If he does have the diamond that also gives him re-draw outs as well, which I don’t like either. Yet 12 outs on the flop should yield a 40% to 50% chance of improving to the winning hand.
The pot is now over $16K giving me better than 2:1 on a call; however my hand falls right on the edge here. Even with that in mind, I’m not going to call for over 1/3 of my stack; so a re-shove or fold are my only options; I also know that he will call should I shove so I have no fold equity.
1. It’s early in the tournament and I’m sure I can find a better spot.
2. This player is not good and it’s only a matter of time before I could get his chips anyway.
1. I’m getting close to the right price; if it’s not right outright.
2. I could double up early.
3. This is a re-entry event, (re-entry, not re-buy).
I folded, like I think the correct play is. In hindsight I wish I would have just smooth called his flop bet, but hindsight is 20/20 and I did what I did for a reason. After I folded he showed
as the dealer was pushing him the pot.
Even though I think folding is the correct play; is taking a chance here condoned by tournament poker strategy