Two key hands from my live game last night: bad luck or bad play?

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Beriac

Beriac

Guest
So we played 2 live games last night, 7 players for each, total duration about 5 hours. My performance in each game was almost identical. I played very tight early, let my cards dictate my actions, but then played very aggressively when I was involved in a pot and did well. As the blinds rose and the number of players shrank down to about 4, I started to deviate from the cards and try a few moves, and in both games these moves sunk me. Oh, and prize money for these games was $50 for 1st and $20 for second in each game ($10 buy-in).

So... bad play or bad luck? You decide.

Game 1

7-handed through 5-handed, I just followed the cards. The only good hands I was dealt in almost two hours were TT and AQ. I won a nice pot with the TT on the flop with aggressive betting and a good read, and I lost some chips with AQ when I didn't hit anything and 1 continuation bet did not pan out. Between those 2 hands and the blinds, I'm left with the same chip stack that I started with.

Key hand: Okay, so this one's a little weird. We're down to 4-handed. Because this game has been running long and people are getting impatient to play a second one (normally we just allow re-buys but 3 people were eliminated at once), at the request of our hosts we accelerate the blind increases. A couple of orbits later I probably have 300 chips left (starting chip stack: 360). The blinds are an astronomical 50/100, leaving me with an M of around 2. But, the other M's at the table were 2, 2, and about 6 for the big stack. I'm to the left of the big stack, and I wait for him to fold then I make a steal attempt with :jd: :10d: . The big blind turns over :jc: :js: and I'm done in a flash.

Game 2

Basically the same events as the first game. I am playing tight, I allow my hands to dictate my actions, and I draw 2 strong hands, pocket 4's that become quads by the turn and pocket kings. In each case, I get little action so I'm up to maybe 400 chips from 360 including the effect of the blinds.

Key hand: This will seem familiar now. Down to 4-handed, the blinds are 30/60 and my M score is just over 4. Table average is ~6.5. I again decide I need to start making a move. In the cutoff, I'm dealt :ah: :8h: . I take a risk and move all-in, and am called not only by :qh: :qd: but by :ad: :as: as well. My hand does not flush or straighten and I am gonzo again.

As I look back at my play in these 2 games and I reflect on how I generally do in this live game, it seems to me that while the blinds are low (and to be fair, they're usually pretty low for like 2 hours and lots of hands), I'm playing solid poker: tight, very aggressive, good hand reading, disciplined, etc. When I get a run of cards, I usually have a big chip lead by the time we get down to few-handed, and when I don't, I'm still usually okay. But it's when the blinds get high and the M's (or my M) get low that I start to make my moves, and it seems to be these "moves" that are killing me.

Obviously, in this case, it has nothing to do with the other players, no one is folding to my all-in moves with pocket jacks, queens, or aces. That's bad luck. But for your information, in the past I'm not usually able to get away with much before the calling ranges drop pretty low.

So, bad play or bad luck? Should I be more patient for cards even while short stacked, knowing most of my opponents are also short stacked and so hope they'll knock each other out? Should I be calling and raising rather than moving all-in with such a low M?

I try not to judge myself on outcomes but rather decisions as they were made, but I think this is the part of the game where I sometimes struggle in the live game, whereas online I tend to do quite well short-handed / high-blinded.

What do you think?

Thanks!
 
Effexor

Effexor

Cardschat Elite
I think you are being a little results oriented here. I personally see NO problem with either of these plays.

Last night I was in a MTT, down to roughly 12 people. (6 on my table) Blinds are getting big but I had a good stack. I was dealt AQ on the button with one raiser who I cold called, with the intention of pulling the stop and go and stealing the PF raise + blinds. Well, he had AJ and hit his jack on the flop and called my all in, and I was out.

Sometimes you make a play and it backfires horribly. I'd rather go out swinging.
 
KerouacsDog

KerouacsDog

Legend
Effexor said:
Sometimes you make a play and it backfires horribly. I'd rather go out swinging.
I too would rather go out swinging, but my girlfriend says she doesnt want to get involved with other couples.........
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
Effexor said:
I think you are being a little results oriented here. I personally see NO problem with either of these plays.

Normally, I'd agree with you 100%. But yesterday I was posting about how I wasn't doing as well in my weekly friendly live game as I thought I ought to be, and did some chatting about why that might be. As part of that diagnostic/improvement process, I told myself I'd post my results for a few weeks to try to figure out what went right/wrong.

Since it's happened a few times in the past where I do a good job of weaving and bobbing and not blowing up when the blinds are low, and card-permitting building a chip-lead, but then blow it when I start to make aggressive plays later on with fewer chips and bigger blinds, I figured that might have something to do with it which is why I posted the question.

It's harder to see the bigger picture in a live game, cause we play once a week so I can't gather a 100-SNG sample set the same way I can online. IE, it takes a long time to see if improvements in your method are doing anything.

I ultimately just asked myself, "would I have made the same moves online?" and I think I would have.

BUT, I also can't help but think that a few times in my game, if I had relaxed and sat back, I might have made 2nd place and some cash.

Question: Let me put it this way -- if you are at the end of a SNG, 3-4 players left, high blinds and low Ms, prize distribution is something like 70%/30% 1st/2nd, what's your strategy?

Now let me ask you think -- if it's a live game, getting late, everyone's had a few beers, and people are potentially turning into calling stations, how does that change your answer?
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
Beriac said:
What do you think?
I think you should stop playing a game with what seems like such a terrible blind structure. ;)

If it's a home game, suggest playing a standard cash game instead or something because with such a high blinds:stacks ratio you barely have a skill edge.

Both hands are played fine given the circumstances.

(Side note: If you must play this game again, I'd suggest a loose-aggressive stance early on, as accumulation of chips for when the blinds quickly get ridiculous is absolutely crucial)
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
Interesting comments Dorkus.

Dorkus Malorkus said:
I think you should stop playing a game with what seems like such a terrible blind structure. ;)

I think I make it sound worse than it is. By the time it gets to where I've described it, we've been playing for 2 hours and we've probably gone through at least 50 hands (7 ppl, we raise once per orbit [M for a starting stack size in brackets]: 1/2 [120], 2/4 [60], 4/8 [30], 5/10 [24], 10/20 [12], 15/30 [8], etc...). So my M doesn't drop below 10 until 50 hands in, and that's if I don't have anyone else's chips yet.

I hear ya about the skill edge, but I think that's partly my fault for making it sounds like we're blind crazy every time. This time, in the first game it was kind of a special exception and in the second one, there was lots of time to play.

And I assure you, everyone is fully in love with the SNG structure and I will never have any success changing it. ;) The cash makes no difference to me, it's a pittance within the context of my bankroll, I just want to do better for the sake of it.

Dorkus Malorkus said:
(Side note: If you must play this game again, I'd suggest a loose-aggressive stance early on, as accumulation of chips for when the blinds quickly get ridiculous is absolutely crucial)

I may try this. Depending on who plays in a given week, early on we get a lot of community pots but people fold to big best unless they have a monster. I may be able to take advantage of that.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Blind structure sounds insane; and like DM said, it turns into more of a crapshoot and skill plays little part in the game.
Next time use a watch or use the ultra-nerdy Home Game Organizer from pokerroom to keep a standard blind stucture. Another thing to think about is using the standard 1000 chips and standard blind structure. At our home games, we used to just split all the chips up (giving us either massive or tiny stack:blind ratios), which really made the games either really long or short. Convice your friends to standardize your game, and you'll actually have time to use your poker knowledge and skills.

I hate playing with fish who insist on upping the blinds every time someone busts or whenever the busted get impatient for the next game or for other random reasons :/

Regardless how drunk/callingstation-ish these guys were, there's nothing you can do when you have an M of 2 (!!!) when you're 3-handed.
You played the hands fine; there's not much you can do with 3BBs.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
I guess because the blinds start so low (M=120 at the beginning), I never really thought twice about the structure.

If we assume we're at maximum blinds (50/100), then when down to 3-handed, assuming everyone has equal stacks and we started with 7 players (I was a short stack in both cases last night), everyone would have 7 * 360 = 2520 / 3 = 840 chips, or an M of about 5.6. That's the lowest it could go for the average stack, 3-handed.

And usually, we're not at maximum blinds by the time we get 3-handed. Last night, the 1st game got accelerated excessively. The 2nd game, people just weren't doing anything for some reason so we stayed 4-handed way too long.

I dunno, did I just pick a bad example or is this structure really at fault?

1/2
2/4
4/8
5/10
10/20
15/30
20/40
25/50
30/60
40/80
50/100

- 7-8 hands per orbit, 1 blind change per orbit, starting stacks of 360 chips each for 7-8 players, about 2,500 chips total

I'm not sure if it seems that unreasonable. I say that unreasonable because ultimately, it is a low buy-in, "fun" game among friends. It may not offer all the edge or chance to play in the world, but people seem to like it and there's a fun factor to consider as well...

Thoughts?
 
frisellan

frisellan

Rock Star
Question: Let me put it this way -- if you are at the end of a SNG, 3-4 players left, high blinds and low Ms, prize distribution is something like 70%/30% 1st/2nd, what's your strategy?

Now let me ask you think -- if it's a live game, getting late, everyone's had a few beers, and people are potentially turning into calling stations, how does that change your answer?


1) Play for the money then gamble for first. ALL DAY

2) Nope that just means people will knock each other out quicker making it easier to play sold poker and get in the money IT IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, not, "I know I got knocked out but if I had doubled up in that spot I would have been in a good position to win it all." Get in the money then go for the kill. IMO ALLDAY

We have a family game once a month 9-20 players. I am the most experienced player there (ok the best) And all I have to do is play premium hands or fold and I make the money. almost everytime. Unless My aces get cracked or my two pair doesn't hold to a draw (they call bets with no respect to pot odds) I make the money. I could play more agressively and take first. I am usually out chipped 1:7 by the time I make the money but that is ok. Then I'll take risks and put my chips in on a race, ect.
 
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S

sw7104

Enthusiast
Bad luck not bad play. AA vs. QQ vs. A8 -- super bad luck.

Game 2 -- maybe a less aggressive raise; you are perceived tight, so a strong raise should win you the blinds or narrow the field and let you decide post-flop. But then, if you have to fold to big reraise, then you're even more vulnerable than before, and are you going to get a better hand than A8s with M =4?
 
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