Live Tournament Hand #5

by Mantis
Submitted on Sun, 11/11/2007 - 11:28pm

This week, I posted the following hand on the blonde poker 'Poker Hand Analysis' board:

The Tournament

I played in the APAT in Walsall on Saturday and this hand cropped up.

I have increased my 10,000 starting chips up to 18,500. I have been playing safe and solid.

This hand occurs after the first break when the blinds were 200/400. I have just had my starting table broken and find myself in the cut-off position at my new table ready to be dealt my first hand.

The Hand

A player from middle position enters the pot with a limp, he has a stack of around 20,000 but seems a bit unsure and tentative. When the action reaches us we look down in the cut-off to see...


I decide to call the 400 and see what develops. The button and the sb fold and the bb checks his option so we go to the flop with 1,400 chips in the pot.

The Flop


The bb checks... the mid position limper then fires in an aggressive 1,500 chip bet. 

Flop Response

LuckyLloyd: "Preflop is ok. Effective stacks are deep enough to limp behind. I think I would make it 1,400 myself as I'd prefer to isolate the bad player - but limping is ok. On the flop - raise the overbet. Bottom two is not something to be slowplayed on this type of board. I don't think mp limper is on a draw because players who limp preflop with 50BB stacks generally prefer to checkcall or block bet their draws. But you will surely get it in here against A-K/K-Q/K-J and there is no reason to want the BB to tag along - so I would make it 5,000 and snapcall a shove."

TightEnd: "triple his bet to 4,500. If he shoves then you are calling, I think."

George2Loose: I would raise in position preflop, I like mixing up my play preflop. I'd put him on hand range K-Q, K-J, J-T and maybe even Q-J or K-T. Being in position I'd take a card off. Sounds a bit cautious but I like to see a turn card on a board like this for two reasons. (i) Pot control - I don't want to build a huge pot unless I'm sure I have the best hand. (ii) I don't want to race - if he has a flush draw and re-shoves my raise I probably have to call and race. By taking a card off I can re-evaluate on the turn if a 'safe' card hits and if he checks I can out price him with a strong turn bet."

Alex Martin: "This is a truly marginal spot i think. I raise preflop in this spot most of the time. No strength has been shown and I'm happy to outplay mid pos limper if he comes for the ride. I dont want 2 random hands to compete with. With 2+ limpers I limp too. Flop is actually pretty horrible, bottom 2 on this kind of connected board is a hand you could well be going broke with. His overbet I am reading as a protective bet and put matey on A-K/K-Q. Deffo read dependant this one. More than likely I'm jamming to stop a scare card shutting down my action. I want K-Q and -AK in now. I dont want to gamble on a club, 8,J,Q,K or A coming and putting me in a really tough spot. Versus a strong solid player I deffo raise pre to find his hand strength."

Part II

The action gets to me after the 1,500 bet. I think the amount here is a little excessive and my worry is that if I just call the bet I allow the bb to get involved either by calling or raising and in addition I think the turn card could complicate matters. So I decide to act now on the flop and re-pop the mp player to the tune of 4,500.

He looks surprised by this... thinks... is unsure... then calls the extra 3,000.

So we go to the turn with 10,400 chips in the pot...

The Turn


and this makes a board of


My opponent considers his options and then bets a surprising 4,000

In my mind this has turned into a bit of a puzzle. After this strange small bet on the turn there is now 14,400 chips in the pot and we have 13,600 remaining chips.

Turn Response

Longy: "Well firstly clearly villain is an idiot and his actions are quite hard to figure out, on the basis he probably hasn't got a clue what he is doing himself and why. I think I'm going to shove, the turn is a total blank and changes nothing. I believe we were ahead on the flop and while the action is frankly bizarre, given my views on villan I still think we are. I see this alot from bad players and they rarely have a super strong hand here.  My range for villan is any K-Q, K-J, K-x of diamonds, some bizarre combo draw and of course some hands that beat us, K-T/K-9 being the most likely, it is less likely but of course possible that he has Q-J, 9-9, T-T and even A-A (yes i really do see ppl play A-A like this). Also this may well be the same hand. I'm shoving for value and to give draws the wrong price."

Jezza777: "Pushing here makes his decision really easy doesn't it? He pases all one pair hands and only calls with hands that are ahead. He has played this so strangely I have no idea where we are."

Paulie_D: "Whatever, we are behind to so much here (any better 2 pair, trips, str8, etc) but we're not dead yet, with 3:1+ on offer, I'm inclined just to call and see what the river brings and see what he does then."

Silo Graham: "Trouble with calling is that he's going to push all-in on the river then it's down to us again to make a decision.  I agree with Longy, and would push all-in. I'd put him on A-K here. As I mentioned in my post about the flop, he's regretted not raising preflop with a big hand and now fears what he's let in and is overplaying his hand."

Part III

This week there isn't a Part III because all the action happened on the turn.

After my opponent bets 4,000 on the turn I try to put everything together. Limp pre-flop, over-bet on the flop, calling the raise and now a piddly little bet on the turn. Inconsistency abounds here and my inclination is that my opponent is trying to control the size of the pot and wants a river card for 4,000 but I'm not going to let that happen and push.

My opponent does call the all-in.

The Reveal







Throughout the hand this week there has been a variety of opinion regarding our opponent's ability, the range of hands he could possibly hold, and the best way to play the hand.

Is our opponent a donkey?

An infinitely more important question is... How would we know?

The truth of the matter is I was the donkey. Because as we progress in the game there are certain facts that are so obvious we can sometimes subconsciously discount them as unworthy of immediate consideration.

In this hand the fact that is worthy of our complete attention is this.....

This hand occurs after the first break when the blinds were 200/400. I have just had my starting table broken and find myself in the cut-off position at my new table ready to be dealt my first hand

I made the mistake on the night of not giving this obvious fact my due attention and it cost me the tournament. However, if you read the responses in the thread there wasn't a single post that said STOP! This is your first hand at a new table and any judgements that are made at this point are just pure and utter speculation.

I said my opponent appeared 'nervous' but I wouldn't know what that means because I don't know this guy from Adam. He might only get nervous when he has the nuts, he might only bet when he is strong. The point is I am playing this hand and risking my tournament completely in the dark. And this is a completely unnecessary position to put yourself in.

I have been playing poker for 3 years and by my reckoning have played in excess of 1,000 MTT's. Twice before (both in my first year) I have been knocked out during the first hand at a new table. The stupidity of it stung like a b*tch... but I learnt from it... didn't I?

During this, my first APAT event, I didn't give the tournament my full attention. At my first table I was focused and confident I was the best player by a street, winning pots for fun. Then I moved tables and took this attitude with me rather than stopping to consider the implications of this incredibly significant but very obvious change in circumstances. 

So I still had outs, but part of me didn't want to hit, pretty much because I didn't deserve to. The river was indeed the blank I so richly deserved and I was gone. Yes my opponent played the hand out in a pretty unorthodox way and it worked because I had some semblance of a hand and a misplaced cocky attitude. The truth of the matter is I should never have been in the hand.

In reality though a little refresher course in how not to donk off your chips in this smaller tournament is something I'm grateful for. It shows quite clearly how a brief lapse in concentration can signal the end of your tournament in the blink of an eye. A good lesson to learn....again.

TIP: If you use card protectors use two in a tournament and when you move tables switch them. This will give you a visual reminder that you are starting afresh!

Thanks for all the contributions this week.