Collusion or good strategy at final table?

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fundiver199

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This incidence happened yesterday on the final table of a MTT SnG on pokerstars. 4 players were left, in the money already but obviously payjumps at play. Stack sizes are 23BB, 10BB, 7BB, 3BB. Short stack open jam from CO, middling stacks fold, and chipleader decides to not defend his big blind getting better than two to one, since there is an ante. Next hand middling stacks fold and chipleader then gives short stack, who is now in big blind with a 5BB stack, a walk.

At the moment this made me a little angry, because to me it seemed like an obvious case of collusion, where the chip leader was trying to help the short stack to outlast the other two players at the table. Chip leader and short stack had the same nationality, so it could be possible, that they were buddies, or maybe he just felt sympaty for a country fellow in danger of busting next.

Its also possible, that the chip leader just had no clue about short stacked push/fold strategy on the final table. That seemed unlikely however, since his HUD-stats were very solid indicating, he is some kind of regular. But I am interested to hear, what other forum members think. Was this as a case of obvious collusion, or is it actually good strategy to give the short stack a walk, when you have around half the chips on the final table?
 
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300HPGOD

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It may or may not be collusion and would be tough to know without further information. On face value it seems as though it is collusion but if the "big" stack were to play a strategy where they keep the small stack around so they can attack the 10 BB stack who is more inclined to fold due to a shorter stack still being alive then it is probably a good strategy and then is not collusion but just a strategy. It would bother me too if I was at the table but it would bother me because it would be hurting me assuming Im the 10 BB stack. If it hurting me then it is helping someone else, in this case the big stack, since poker is for the most part a zero sum game where if one player loses, then one or other players are winning.
 
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fundiver199

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I have let my ICMizer subscription expire, so I was not able to run the two hands in ICMizer yesterday. However I now used my free daily calculation to similate the first one, and much to my surprice the NASH equilibrium actually has the big stack not defending the worst 25% of hands to this jam. The reason is, the short stack is only supposed to be jamming around 20% of hands, and the ante is fairly small at this point being only 75 chips with 1.600/800 blinds.

Personally I would have called any two cards, and I also think, thats the best play, because most people are jamming way more than 20% of hands, when they have 3 bigs and will be hit by the blinds next. But if optimal play is to only defend 75%, then folding is clearly not a sign of collusion. Then it just sucks for the middling stacks, that the chip leader woke up with some junky hand, he was unwilling to defend. I should probably have done this simulation before posting ;)
 
mariale_1990

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Sometimes it is difficult to know if it is collusion or not, I have also gone through something like that, it was a freeroll, the final table was 1 Venezuela (me), 1 brazil, 1 argentina, 6 canada, I was chip leader (but not by much difference), the blinds were quite high, and when the Canadian players played nothing happened, it was just check-fold, and the short stack happened, it was almost all in and they did not call, I had that same thought if it was collusion or not, because Come on, it may be a bit of a coincidence, I don't know, but I've also had cases at 888poker in omaha hi-lo tournaments, where Canadians themselves are more at the final table and they openly say we're just going to be left, let's eliminate the rest and things like that. , in that case it always motivates me more to win the tournaments
 
infonazar

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Powerful sites like PokerStars keep track of such cases, and if it really was a conspiracy, then in most cases you will get your money back. But at the same time, it could have been a banal coincidence.
 
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fundiver199

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Powerful sites like PokerStars keep track of such cases, and if it really was a conspiracy, then in most cases you will get your money back. But at the same time, it could have been a banal coincidence.

I agree, that PokerStars does a great job of cracking down on collusion. I have probably played a million hands on the site now, and I have seen very few cases, where I felt, something looked really fishy. Also to establish a case for collusion you need way more than just two hands, where a big stacks decided to fold against a short stack. Maybe he just had junky hands, and then he did not know, he was supposed to jam any two blind vs. blind. Or he failed to pay attention to stack sizes.

These kind of mistakes certainly happen without it being collusion. Yesterday someone, who I dont know at all, gave me a walk, when I had 3 blinds left. That was literally a gift, so in the long run these things will level out, and I certainly would never dream of reporting something like this to security.

Finally if someone really wants to collude in an organized way, they would probably choose to play either cash games or STTs, since in MTTs they cant be sure to end up at the same table. So in MTTs, the collusion, which might happen, is mostly softplay, that was not arranged in advance.

Thats very difficult to do anything about, and its also much more of an issue in high stakes live tournaments, where many players know each other personally or have bought pieces of each others action. In an online 45 man, like this was, its pretty much whatever, and we just move on and play the next one :)

 
Pokerpoet2

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It is a strategy most player's use when faced with going out at any moment, and I am just glad to have made it this far. I have on occasion made some really terrible calls, when faced with a player shoving all-in especially when I am chip leader, and my only task is to try and beat them with any two cards, once I called with a dreaded 7/2 and won the hand by pairing the 2 against an A/K or similar hand.
It really is all down to luck at this point in a game, because there is no skill in an all-in shove, that is why they also call it a coin toss, The skill is getting to the Final Table by beating hundreds or even thousands of other player's to get there.
I feel it is just as important to make the Final Table as it is in winning the Tournament, Sure it is nice to win, but even if you lose at this point in a game you are still winning something and it is right to feel a little pride in getting to the last 3 or 4 places, when there could be several thousand entrant's to the game.
Measure your own accomplishments, how you see them, not as others see them. That is what is most important, and if there is room for improvement, then that, becomes your next target to strive towards.

When the fun Stops, STOP!
 
Poker_Mike

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This incidence happened yesterday on the final table of a MTT SnG on Pokerstars. 4 players were left, in the money already but obviously payjumps at play. Stack sizes are 23BB, 10BB, 7BB, 3BB. Short stack open jam from CO, middling stacks fold, and chipleader decides to not defend his big blind getting better than two to one, since there is an ante. Next hand middling stacks fold and chipleader then gives short stack, who is now in big blind with a 5BB stack, a walk.

At the moment this made me a little angry, because to me it seemed like an obvious case of collusion, where the chip leader was trying to help the short stack to outlast the other two players at the table. Chip leader and short stack had the same nationality, so it could be possible, that they were buddies, or maybe he just felt sympaty for a country fellow in danger of busting next.

Its also possible, that the chip leader just had no clue about short stacked push/fold strategy on the final table. That seemed unlikely however, since his HUD-stats were very solid indicating, he is some kind of regular. But I am interested to hear, what other forum members think. Was this as a case of obvious collusion, or is it actually good strategy to give the short stack a walk, when you have around half the chips on the final table?


I don't think it was collusion.

I've been in this situation where I am the big stack and I am trying really hard to NOT triple up the short stack LOL

If the short stack is so short that stealing the blinds doubles them up - if I call as the big stack and lose then I have tripled up the short stack and he is now a "medium" stack at the table.

Poker is hard sometimes! LOL

Good luck !
 
terryk

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There are alot of players (i'm one,,,) that fold there,,,i won't call just because the #'s say i should,,, :deal: if i look down and see 7-2,,i'm folding,simple as a pimple,lol
 
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There are alot of players (i'm one,,,) that fold there,,,i won't call just because the #'s say i should,,, :deal: if i look down and see 7-2,,i'm folding,simple as a pimple,lol
But but 7-2 is the nuts Terry ;)
 
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As it was a four Hand, maybe CL had a very bad hand and didn't want to double Short, who would become second place and gain more strength.
Walk could have been that too.
In this tournament straight, you have to be a surgeon, avoid doubling your opponents, unless you have a chance of at least 70 to 30, and want to go all-in.
CL already has half the stack at the table, he doesn't need to expose himself and melt his stack, committing himself to the game.

Helping the patriot, which could be Collusion, is almost nil in my view.
 
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It's very hard to say in these cases if it's collusion between players some players prefer to fold in this kind of situations and don't want to double up a player when you know he's playing tight and your hand won't flop well against that kind of range...
 
blueskies

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Cmon. Players are free to play however they want. If something like this is viewed as collusion then you might as well ban everyone who doesn't play as the mathematics say they "should."

Look, if you know that the big stack had like JJ or even A3 and folded on purpose, then yes that's collusion, but he could have had 72 83 or that kind of garbage. I have certainly folded those hands. I don't care what the probabilities say. Yeah if I just had to call less than 1 BB I am calling ATC, but 2:1 ain't such a no brainer. I am not handing out free chips. It's not like he had 50+ BBs. It's only 23.

And like you said, keeping the short stack around to bully the medium stacks, that's smart! He's playing to help HIMSELF win, not to help YOU out.
 
Luvepoker

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This incidence happened yesterday on the final table of a MTT SnG on Pokerstars. 4 players were left, in the money already but obviously payjumps at play. Stack sizes are 23BB, 10BB, 7BB, 3BB. Short stack open jam from CO, middling stacks fold, and chipleader decides to not defend his big blind getting better than two to one, since there is an ante. Next hand middling stacks fold and chipleader then gives short stack, who is now in big blind with a 5BB stack, a walk.

At the moment this made me a little angry, because to me it seemed like an obvious case of collusion, where the chip leader was trying to help the short stack to outlast the other two players at the table. Chip leader and short stack had the same nationality, so it could be possible, that they were buddies, or maybe he just felt sympaty for a country fellow in danger of busting next.

Its also possible, that the chip leader just had no clue about short stacked push/fold strategy on the final table. That seemed unlikely however, since his HUD-stats were very solid indicating, he is some kind of regular. But I am interested to hear, what other forum members think. Was this as a case of obvious collusion, or is it actually good strategy to give the short stack a walk, when you have around half the chips on the final table?

Actually I would be impressed by this player and not so worried about collusion. Its actually a great stagey for this player and I have used and heard of this play. By keeping the short stack in, he can steal at will the middle sized stacks chips. They look at him and being knocked out before a 3BB stack would be a bad ICM play.
 
foran

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the soft game is collusion, it is only strategy if you give up the chips and then put pressure on others.
 
Alizona

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Sometimes a large stack will not want to bust the short stack, because having a short stack at the table means the two middle stacks will remain restricted due to ICM considerations, they can't freely open raise due to a fear of busting out before the short stack does.

I'm not saying this is what happened here, I'm just suggesting it as a possibility. You are wise to be on your guard against collusion, but at the same time, don't let it affect you in a significant way, don't let it bother you too much. As others have said, take comfort in the fact that poker stars is the best at protecting its players from colluders, they're obviously not perfect but they do seem to take their responsibility quite seriously.
 
mina271

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Whether people make collusion is hard to say but I assume that it wasn't. There are different people and different ways of playing. Some only play by their cards and others play by their stacks. When I sit at a table, I don't want to tell myself that people make collusion because this could affect my game or take away my fun. I honestly assume that pokerstars takes great care that this does not happen. And should it still happen then you get your money back at pokerstars and those who were caught get a lifetime ban from the site.
 
forrow10

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This incidence happened yesterday on the final table of a MTT SnG on Pokerstars. 4 players were left, in the money already but obviously payjumps at play. Stack sizes are 23BB, 10BB, 7BB, 3BB. Short stack open jam from CO, middling stacks fold, and chipleader decides to not defend his big blind getting better than two to one, since there is an ante. Next hand middling stacks fold and chipleader then gives short stack, who is now in big blind with a 5BB stack, a walk.

At the moment this made me a little angry, because to me it seemed like an obvious case of collusion, where the chip leader was trying to help the short stack to outlast the other two players at the table. Chip leader and short stack had the same nationality, so it could be possible, that they were buddies, or maybe he just felt sympaty for a country fellow in danger of busting next.

Its also possible, that the chip leader just had no clue about short stacked push/fold strategy on the final table. That seemed unlikely however, since his HUD-stats were very solid indicating, he is some kind of regular. But I am interested to hear, what other forum members think. Was this as a case of obvious collusion, or is it actually good strategy to give the short stack a walk, when you have around half the chips on the final table?

I dont think that was colusion. At big stacks every thing can happens.. Maybe is easier to push over the 10bb than force fighting against 3bb.
 
vnnby

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Usually these big stack strategies end up badly, in my case I would use their play, beat the big stack and then let them continue their play)
 
theANMATOR

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I have let my ICMizer subscription expire, so I was not able to run the two hands in ICMizer yesterday. However I now used my free daily calculation to similate the first one, and much to my surprice the NASH equilibrium actually has the big stack not defending the worst 25% of hands to this jam. The reason is, the short stack is only supposed to be jamming around 20% of hands, and the ante is fairly small at this point being only 75 chips with 1.600/800 blinds.

Personally I would have called any two cards, and I also think, thats the best play, because most people are jamming way more than 20% of hands, when they have 3 bigs and will be hit by the blinds next. But if optimal play is to only defend 75%, then folding is clearly not a sign of collusion. Then it just sucks for the middling stacks, that the chip leader woke up with some junky hand, he was unwilling to defend. I should probably have done this simulation before posting ;)

Yeah - I was gonna say big stack probably just had some junk hands and choose the optimal route to fold rather than double up the shortys.
Can't do much with 7/3 off and 8/2 off vs dem shortys. Better to fold and get advantage with better hands.
 
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fundiver199

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Yeah - I was gonna say big stack probably just had some junk hands and choose the optimal route to fold rather than double up the shortys. Can't do much with 7/3 off and 8/2 off vs dem shortys. Better to fold and get advantage with better hands.

Strictly speaking in the second hand, where it folds to big stack in small blind, the GTO strategy is to jam any two cards into the shorty. But obviously not everyone know that, and sometimes people dont pay attention to stack sizes also. I have seen people not defend their big blind to someone jamming for less than two bigs, when they were a middling stack and absolutely should have wanted to bust the shorty. So it was just me being a little tilted, when I made this post. If it was possible, I would have deleted it ;)
 
theANMATOR

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Strictly speaking in the second hand, where it folds to big stack in small blind, the GTO strategy is to jam any two cards into the shorty. But obviously not everyone know that, and sometimes people dont pay attention to stack sizes also. I have seen people not defend their big blind to someone jamming for less than two bigs, when they were a middling stack and absolutely should have wanted to bust the shorty. So it was just me being a little tilted, when I made this post. If it was possible, I would have deleted it ;)

GTO seems a little reckless if we are jamming any 2, however in this specific spot I see why with ICM implications for the other players.

I'm still not fully on board (do not agree) with the accepted push/fold charts which I assume (I dont know this as fact) have been solved and are GTO calculated to be "profitable" over a lifetime of playing.

But for me - and maybe this chip leader as well - I'm not jamming weak crap just because a solver or GTO expert says it's long term profitable.

I think its quite funny people following push fold charts - jamming marginal junk, you don't see pros (except online) following them. They will NIT it up and fold all the way down to 2 bb before shoving a reasonable hand, at minimum a suited ace.


Speaking of collusion/cheating though - I played some random freeroll last week and found something very peculiar while I was playing. I don't play many freerolls now-a-days - but maybe 2-3 per week to get the juices flowing, before my regular schedule begins.
Anyway - I joined in this freeroll and got a couple solid double ups from the aggro fishes jamming weak crap. Ended up ITM - and I will usually open up the lobby to see if I recognize any names - and what we are playing for.
I instantly say two names that were exactly identical, except one name ended in 007 and the other name ended in 777. I was like - WTF is this? And the "two" players were from the same country.
How likely is it that two completely different players choose the exact same obscure compound name, which was not a common compound word or name btw in any language, from the same country, and have the same "favorite" number (obviously the number 7 here) 007 & 777, and just happen to be in the same tourney that day.

Too much of a coincidence for me - and even though this was a small freeroll with very little prize pool - maybe something like $250 total, I decided to send a report to ACR to let them know about this oddity. My logic is first - I HATE cheaters - and second if we are going to be concerned with cheating - we need to be concerned with it at all levels and buyins - not just when it is for big stakes.
 
Poker_Mike

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GTO seems a little reckless if we are jamming any 2, however in this specific spot I see why with ICM implications for the other players.

I'm still not fully on board (do not agree) with the accepted push/fold charts which I assume (I dont know this as fact) have been solved and are GTO calculated to be "profitable" over a lifetime of playing.

But for me - and maybe this chip leader as well - I'm not jamming weak crap just because a solver or GTO expert says it's long term profitable.

I think its quite funny people following push fold charts - jamming marginal junk, you don't see pros (except online) following them. They will NIT it up and fold all the way down to 2 bb before shoving a reasonable hand, at minimum a suited ace.


Speaking of collusion/cheating though - I played some random freeroll last week and found something very peculiar while I was playing. I don't play many freerolls now-a-days - but maybe 2-3 per week to get the juices flowing, before my regular schedule begins.
Anyway - I joined in this freeroll and got a couple solid double ups from the aggro fishes jamming weak crap. Ended up ITM - and I will usually open up the lobby to see if I recognize any names - and what we are playing for.
I instantly say two names that were exactly identical, except one name ended in 007 and the other name ended in 777. I was like - WTF is this? And the "two" players were from the same country.
How likely is it that two completely different players choose the exact same obscure compound name, which was not a common compound word or name btw in any language, from the same country, and have the same "favorite" number (obviously the number 7 here) 007 & 777, and just happen to be in the same tourney that day.

Too much of a coincidence for me - and even though this was a small freeroll with very little prize pool - maybe something like $250 total, I decided to send a report to ACR to let them know about this oddity. My logic is first - I HATE cheaters - and second if we are going to be concerned with cheating - we need to be concerned with it at all levels and buyins - not just when it is for big stakes.


A player playing with two different WPN skins?

And then got lucky for them both to land on the same table in a tournament?

I've seen it before too.
 
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fundiver199

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A player playing with two different WPN skins?

And then got lucky for them both to land on the same table in a tournament?

I've seen it before too.

Seems likely, and since this is clearly not allowed, it was a good decision to report it. The intention here was probably not to collude against other players but to get two entries into the freeroll. For some people those freeroll pennies are apparently so important, they will do anything to get their hold on them. We see this also with the constant passwork leaks here on CC and people getting banned for it.
 
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