Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Grow Up

I am inspired to write some good Poker content I thought of while in the shower. It combines some things I have read and listened to lately. It is about MTT play and I think it is decent. Of course as always you are allowed to ridicule me if you think I am wrong. First off I am going to borrow part of an Article sent to me by Full Tilt. It is by Rafe Furst and it talks about playing AK s00ted. Please do not sue me, and if anyone wants me to take it down it is gone. If someone would like me to forward it to them just let me know.

"Recently, a player on Full Tilt Poker lamented that he'd gone broke with A-K in his last several tourneys, and he suspected that he was doing something wrong. A few questions revealed that he was getting knocked out fairly early in these tournaments when he put his A-K up against pocket pairs for all his chips. It's a familiar lament"

"So why is A-K considered such a great starting hand? Folding equity. Under the right conditions, you can increase your pot equity to well over 50% by getting your opponents to fold in situations where they shouldn't. Here's a scenario: Blinds are $200-$400 and Jen Harman (who has $12,000 in front of her) raises to $1,200 from middle position with pocket tens. You re-raise all-in for $6,000 with A-K from the button. It is difficult for Jen to call here because, even though she suspects you might have A-K, she knows you could also make that play with A-A, K-K, Q-Q or
J-J. "

"Here are three keys to getting the most out of A-K pre-flop:

1) Jam with A-K, but don't call all-in with it.

2) Raise enough when you have A-K to give your opponents a chance to fold.

3) Don't raise so much that the only hands that are willing to call you are the hands that have you dominated (A-A and K-K).

Ok. So here is a situation I am in last night. I am ITM. I am about 100 players away from the good money. I have 9K in chips and see the Hilton sisters. The blinds are 600 so they do not bother me yet. I push and get called by the 20K big stack who has AKo. I think we both made a huge mistake and here is why. Like Rafe said, AK is a great DRAWING hand. It is not meant to call all in bets EXCEPT, in my opinion, against SMALL DESPERATE STACKS. Why risk 1/2 your stack and your tourney on a hand that your only going to win 50% of the time?

I must be glowing with pride because I played so fantastic, got all the chips in while I was ahead. HELL NO! Same thing applies. If I get called I am at best probably a 50% favorite. Why risk everything on that? Here is the good part. The grow up part. Why do I not trust that I can outplay the average player AFTER the flop? Joanne once said to me about a different move I made "Why act with incomplete information?". If I raise 1800 in that situation, get a caller, and the board falls Kxx (like it did) it is very easy to get away from, right? Obviously I open myself up to bluff steals. However if I GROW UP and TRUST MY PLAY post flop I remain in the tourney and give the Pocket Rockets a chance to come my way. Here is an even better situation. Let us say that the flop is all low cards. Now I can bet the pot. I have reduced AK's odds of sucking out on me by three cards. He has to be feeling nervous now as he did not hit anything and he only has two cards left to kill me with. Once it progresses beyond this point I obviously become pot committed and have to go to the river.. but I have given myself the most information, possibly gotten away from a bad flop, and could still make a ton of money without risking my entire tourney.

None of this applies if your are really short stacked, or by calling the All-in you are only going to lose a small amount of chips in my opinion. Those are different situations and I am talking about situations that REALLY effect your tourney either by knocking you out when you have enough chips left to play, or by cutting your stack in half when you are doing really well.

SO I will say it again, if you beleive you are a good player then do not be afraid to see a flop. Outplay your opponents there. Do not allow them to get a free flop, instead, make them pay every step of the way, and give yourself a chance to NOT be out-donkeyed. Every card you see gives you more information and allows you to make better decisions. It reduces your opponents odds or clarifies your situation. So GROW UP you donkeys and stop playing like fish.


Blogger Nick Christy said...

I agree with you 100%. In fact I posted a discussion about this on my blog. Here is a wrap up of my thoughts:

1) Your advantage over fish is your ability, do not take that away and limit your game to luck against these players
2) It is Ok to get to a race up with a good player when it is a neccessity (because often this is how you are going to take the most money from them) but remember that they know this too. And unless they think of you as a fish they know they better have a premium hand to enter a pot where you just bet 15 times the big blind.

6:27 AM

Blogger katitude said...

SirF; please don't educate the fish....they're the only chance I have of winning cash these days *grin!

7:16 AM

Blogger Drizztdj said...


This hits my playing AK issues in tournaments square in the sac.

Nice post!

7:27 AM

Blogger TraumaPoker said...

Thanks for the post SIRF, they did try to rain on my parade!! You don't think AA3K one suit, and AA44 double suited are good starting hands? I got both of those in preflop where I had the advantage and they held up. I see you talked about Mustafa....he is a bastard....he disconnected in a big 3 handed hand where one player was close to being allin and we still had betting to do. He ended up with half the pot when he rivered his only half out. I should have had the entire pot but he knew he couldn't call any bets from me!!!

8:07 AM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I think your right, they are good starting hands. I did not realize you were all in pre-flop. The boards really did not match up well with those hands though..

8:23 AM

Blogger Wes said...

Of course calling all-ins with AKs against a good player is a mistake, but when was the last time online tournament fields were only filled with good players? All things in poker are situational. The last time I checked, most donkeys push range is about...


Facing this range, AKs is a 62-38 favorite. Those numbers are good enough for me.

9:45 AM

Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

You shoulld listen to this advice the most Mr. 20K to Zero in 60 seconds.. I hope your not that loose in most of your MTTs.

10:14 AM

Blogger April said...

I actually like this post. Not sure what that says about me...

4:37 PM

Blogger Veneno said...

Wow..Sirf growing up? Who knew..lol

I totally agree with you. Its all about the survival in MTTs. Risking your whole game on AK preflop doesn't seem worth it.

Isn't great when you wake up thinking about poker and blogging?

12:37 AM

Blogger Wes said...

That comment sort of hurt, except I do suck that bad.

12:43 AM


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