Thursday, May 20, 2010

How Horrible Was It? A Donktastic Blogger Risks Public Ridicule As He Attempts to Explain How a Ghastly Decision Made Sense to Him
A hand I played at last night's Mookie has received rave reviews from a few of our fellow bloggers. I'll save the blistering commentary for later in the post just so that those of you who would prefer to revel in my donkatude (at least two come to mind quickly!) might enjoy the appetizer and main course before the delicious dessert.

The background:

I won a TOC seat in Sunday's BBT5 Invitational so there is no BBT pressure here. It is a half hour into the Mookie. I have been playing poorly and whittled my chipstack down to 1885. Blinds are 30/60. I am in the small blind.

I have deleted comments made during the hand which were not relevant to this particular hand. The red writing is an approximation of my thinking at the time.

Full Tilt Poker Game #20976120284: The Mookie (160019403), Table 11 - 30/60 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:33:43 ET - 2010/05/19
Seat 1: Mike_Maloney (7,140)
Seat 2: TripJax (700)
Seat 3: lightning36 (1,885) (31 big blinds)
Seat 4: p1mpin (2,580)
Seat 5: sexymelissa (3,200)
Seat 6: lucko21 (2,205)
Seat 7: NYRambler (890)
Seat 8: Jestocost (4,920)
Seat 9: riggstad (2,090)
lightning36 posts the small blind of 30
p1mpin posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lightning36 [Js Jd] I'll be involved here with the always fun J-J
sexymelissa folds
lucko21 folds
NYRambler folds
Jestocost folds
riggstad raises to 180 Standard 3xBB raise. Riggs has been playing tight since losing some chips. He must have a good hand.
Mike_Maloney folds
TripJax raises to 700, and is all in This is where J-J sucks. I am guessing that I am ahead of TriJax's push with a small stack but still have Riggs behind. Since Riggs has tightened up and made a standard raise, I am unsure of what to do. I make a quick decision to call and see what Riggs will do.
p1mpin has been disconnected
lightning36 calls 670 Calling off 1/3 of my stack
p1mpin has reconnected
p1mpin folds
riggstad has 15 seconds left to act Hollywooding or really deciding?
riggstad raises to 2,090, and is all in Crap. Should have known. Boxed myself in.
p1mpin has been disconnected
p1mpin has reconnected
lightning36 has 15 seconds left to act
lightning36 has requested TIME In deep crap here. Riggs has been playing tight and went all in. He has me.
p1mpin has been disconnected
p1mpin has reconnected
lightning36: &%!!ing riggs Not meant to be a slur, btw. Said out of frustration and in jest. Lots of respect for Riggs. He has me by the short hairs. He has outplayed me and I am mad at myself.
riggstad: really?
lightning36 folds Knowing I am beat, I choose to not pray for a two-outer and live for a better chance to survive.
riggstad shows [As Ad] Does not surprise me
TripJax shows [6d 6s]
Uncalled bet of 1,390 returned to riggstad
*** FLOP *** [Ks Kh 4c]
riggstad: call off half and dont want to put the restin? No, you kicked my azz. I want a chance to get back in the game.
*** TURN *** [Ks Kh 4c] [2d]
*** RIVER *** [Ks Kh 4c 2d] [Ah]
riggstad shows a full house, Aces full of Kings
TripJax shows two pair, Kings and Sixes
riggstad wins the pot (2,160) with a full house, Aces full of Kings
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2,160 Rake 0
Board: [Ks Kh 4c 2d Ah]
Seat 1: Mike_Maloney didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: TripJax (button) showed [6d 6s] and lost with two pair, Kings and Sixes
Seat 3: lightning36 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: p1mpin (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: sexymelissa didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: lucko21 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: NYRambler didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: Jestocost didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: riggstad showed [As Ad] and won (2,160) with a full house, Aces full of Kings

Had a good laugh? Here is what I was thinking ...

I knew I was beat and did not want to go out pushing Jacks into Q-Q, K-K, or A-A. Lord knows that I have done this enough times. I instead chose an alternate, yet unconventional route. Some people might describe it as idiotic. I chose to fold, lick my wounds, and stay in the game with 1185 chips (almost 20 big blinds). So yes -- I donked off 1/3 of my stack and didn't take it to the wire because I was almost sure that I was beat.

By doing this, I gained the following:

1) I was still in the game and had 20 big blinds
2) Although I am capable of tremendously donkish plays and unconventional logic, I know that one of the strong parts of my game is the ability to play the short stack. I roach goot. My plan was to regroup and take my chances shoving with position and/or a good hand.

Some commentary I received was extremely critical, obviously, of what I did. For example:

"That really is beyond awful."
"When you've put in over one third of your stack pre and fold, terrible is a nice description. Its really much, much worse than terrible."
"i think what A is trying to say is you're in push or fold mode in that spot. calling a big raise then folding to a shove is the worst possible play."
"I'd claim it was a misclick. Its beyond awful. Its not close."
"What hand can you justify committing 11 BBs flatting and folding for 19 more? (This was before my J-J was revealed). Only hand I can see playing that way is KK. And this is one of those rare boards when KK would have won."

In comments on Riggs's blog:

lucko: "If you don't want to get it all in there, then just fold the first time. Once you stick in ~40% of your stack, you can't fold getting like 3 to 1 or something."
Bayne: "Because Riggs range includes AK you are priced in with ATC once you are getting 3:1"

However, I saw an interesting thought in today's post by Pirate Lawyer: "I'd have to say this is pretty frustrating for me, coming from a cash game background where the effective stacks are usually much deeper, and I don't have tournament survival as an overriding concern."

My points:

1) Yes -- you can fold getting 3:1 odds. I did. It may be a long-term redonkulous play, but my short-term goal was to stay in. I was confident that I could -- poker gods willing.

2) In my mind I did not see Riggs with A-K. I thought he had A-A or K-K. It is nothing I can explain rationally -- either a feeling or perhaps an unconscious formula perculating in the grey matter. But it was there pretty strongly. Sometimes my background in Clinical Psychology causes me to think about poker in different -- and possibly donktacular -- ways.

3) Pirate Lawyer mentioned tournament survival. That was where my mindset was at that particular time. It may not be the best way to have played at that time, but it was what it was.

So yeah -- I put myself in a terrible position by calling. Riggs wisely took advantage of it. The post is not about that. It is about the decision to let the chips go and regroup -- even though I had great odds to call. Was it, commentators said, "beyond awful," "much worse than terrible," and "the worst possible play.?"

My tournament results:

I got back up to over 6,000 chips and eventually finished 23/93 almost two hours after this hand. I finally went out when I lost a short stack coin flip of A-Q sooted vs 9-9 ( I hear Waffles jizzing in his shorts right now). If I had doubled up ... who knows? As for the play that is the focus of this post: In my mind, I made a tough choice to give myself another chance to get back in the game and win. I did not accomplish my goal of winning the tournament. I came up short, but at least I had my chance.

So -- here is your chance -- chime in!


Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I like the play. I thought you overcalled with like 6's then had to fold. Math guys can suck it. You made the right call for a change.

7:32 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

I am doomed ...

7:36 PM  
Blogger dbcooper said...

I love the fold. Who cares what the odds are. You knew (or thought ) you were beat so why risk your tournament life on hitting a 2 outer. Sure you put a lot of chips in. Does that mean you have to shove the rest because you are so (pot committed)? People who think that should be committed. Tournaments are about survival.

7:38 PM  
Blogger cmitch said...

"lightning36 calls 670 Calling off 1/3 of my stack" - first BIGGEST mistake. Should have shoved imo. Seriously, why would you just call here and allow others to overcall. What do yo do once you get calls behind you and the flop has 1,2, or 3 overs?

"riggstad raises to 2,090, and is all in Crap. Should have known. Boxed myself in." - 2nd mistake. You actually just said what you should do here. You pretty much have to call at this point.

If you were going to fold to a r/r you should have just folded pf.

You mention tournament survival, but you didn't weigh out the chances that you are ahead vs. the chances that you came come back from a short stack. You will most likely be involved in flips a lot quicker and in worse situations or have to shove in much worse spot a lot quicker.

Bottom line - you are looking at this in result oriented colored glasses. I seriously doubt you make this same post if he has 77-TT, AK, AQ. You would instead being having serious doubts about how you played it.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

Bad news lightning you have only polled 50% of the vote amongst nitty old men thus far.

Only reason not to iso-shove is if you want to look stronger. And in general Rigg's won't be paying that much attention to the situation.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

This is awesome.

8:54 PM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Point is, you're stuck in the middle facing a 1st raise and 3bet shove. You have some range but not a well defined range with Riggs to act. It's a crappy situation where you don't want to fold to TripJax's shove but you have no idea how riggs is going to react. Look - if you feel / know he has AA KK, then no matter the odds (unless you're getting 4:1 which gives you exact odds to set mine) you should be folding. Shitty situation but good fold. Everyone's saying AK is in the range there, but I've folded KK quite a few times (but not nearly enough) *KNOWING* that my villain has AA. The same people who are saying bad fold likely have never folded KK pre-flop and just accepted KK vs. AA as a cooler. Granted, you didn't have KK, but JJ gives you all the more reason.

8:54 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

HH of the month IMO

9:32 PM  
Blogger lucko said...

First two comments might be the funniest things I've ever read on a blog. Gold!

10:35 PM  
Blogger Mike Heffner said...

* Don't flat call a shorty shove in that spot unless you intend on calling a shove from the original raiser. *

Problem solved.

Seriously, this isn't live poker where you can get a Beth Shak read that Riggs has the ace and the ace. You should be call/folding like never.

But, if you're going to play your hunches and reads and ignore the math, then just do it and don't worry about the results.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Shrike said...

I respect the conviction behind the fold. I particularly like the rationale of folding down to a 20-ish BB stack which still lets you play in the tournament with room to maneuver. However, I also see the points cmitch raised as having a good deal of persuasiveness. Not to be results-oriented but folding to the shove by shorty is best if you strongly suspect Riggs has QQ+, AQ+ as a huge part of his range here. Which he did, in fact. Sure you fold JJ but you have nothing invested in the pot.


11:43 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Well, we all know that I got myself in a jam by initially calling. Once there, I couldn't change it. The post was meant to present another prospective on what to do afterwards -- with the added incentive of a TOC seat as the true prize.

12:05 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Ya you screwed the hand up early. Sucko is right either jam or fold there. HOWEVER. At the point in the hand your asking about I like the fold.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Dude, it amazes me how people react to hands.

Frankly, you had a reason for your action that makes perfect sense, so I like the play. YES, you could've played it differently, but you don't have to play JJ the same way every time in a given situation.

I don't see why Riggs took you to task for the fold. Let's say you really did make a bad call when calling vs. Trip. Why would it be better for you to compound that by calling all-in?

Similarly, why is it wrong to make the initial call. You figured your JJ was ahead of Trip (a good guestimation, given the circumstances), but you were unsure of how you stood compared to Riggs. So, you just call to get information on Riggs. If you push blind, you are only going to get called by a superior hand from Riggs or a hand that can draw out on you (AK, AQ) and maybe, just maybe, TT. If you flat call, he flat calls with any hand that you have beat and raises all-in with any monster hand with the hope tha the can get you to bite or end up heads-up with his AA or KK. So, when he raised all-in, you had to fold.

Anyone who thinks differently is not considering your strategy. They are considering how they would play the hand, regardless of whether their line makes sense.

Folding preflop with JJ would be too weak preflop. Raising all-in would be too aggressive preflop and could force you to take a coin toss for your tournament life or worse. So calling was the right play there.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

Well well well... I don't know if I actually "took him to task" with that remark. I was more surprised that he called 765 and folded his remaining 1080 or so after my shove when I saw him call off 40 bb's with AQ and the like.

Waffles was in IM and insisted he held 66-88. I scoffed at that said it was specifically JJ. Fuck you Waffles.

I tanked not hollywooding but trying to figure out if flatting was correct to try to get him on the flop. I figured with only 1k behind and my stack being equally as short AND with a 3rd short all-in, there was no point in flatting. My remark was more out of frustration than anything else.

I'm not one to judge the play of another player. I usually am sleeping. But Bayne is correct. Since my range includes AK it's right to call there everytime.

Now, if you insist on saying that you made a call/ soul read/ tank fold based on that, so be it. But the numbers tell a different story. Right up until the point I actually show QQ-AA.

10:24 AM  
Blogger lucko said...

<3 bloggers.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

Let me be clear... the comment was out of frustration because I contemplated flatting knowing that you might fold to a shove. I decided the numbers wouldn't allow you to... you did anyway. So... Fuck you! :) (and hence the comment)

10:28 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Thanks for posting, Riggs.

So much of poker is situational, imo. Loretta8 expressed surprise that I called down Waffles with A-Q in the invitational because of my tight rep. The situation there was that I wanted a stack and thought that calling Waffles push was a good way to get it, albeit very risky. I was willing to take big risks that tournament. And it worked out.

This time the sense of urgency was not there. I might have lucked out in feeling that I was crushed, but I'll accept it. So obviously I don't go solely with the numbers. I work in a non-numbers oriented profession.

I think you probably owed me as least one butt kicking anyway. : o )

10:40 AM  
Blogger Fred aka TwoBlackAces said...

Mistakes in poker come in mainly 2 flavors. Big and small. The funny thing is that in tournament poker, either one is survivable. And although there is a "correct" play, that doesn't guarantee you anything at all. You can both make mistakes, and still win, and also make correct decisions and still lose.

Good luck in the TOC, your there, and most of the rest of us are not.

And to boot, you now have Waffles as a groupie! lol!!!

6:33 PM  
Blogger The Neophyte said...

To agree with a number of others here, I think you made the right fold there. Two things were in your favor, first you felt you had a good read on Riggs at that point. Trust your read. Second, to some extent pot odds go out the window when it's your entire stack at risk. There is no rebuy so you have to take that into account before you call off all of your chips.
Having said all this, I don't think you should have made the first call. It's understandable, you have a strong hand with JJ, but you're trapped in the middle. And since you already know Riggs is playing tight and that he probably has a big hand, an all in reraise is a strong possibility from him. But compounding that mistake by calling the all in just gets you out of the tourney faster. "Chip and a chair" is a hackneyed phrase at the poker table, but it is true. You never know when the cards will turn in your favor and as long as you have chips you can take advantage and come back.
I was a little surprised Riggs shoved with the AA at that point but he explained it himself. In that sense you foiled him and kept another grand out of his chipstack. That alone should make you happy.

8:40 PM  
Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

You have a TOC seat and others do not.

The beauty of poker is that you can play how you want no matter how many professionals tell you that you are playing horribly.

You dont have to apologize or answer for any of your actions.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Schaubs said...


1:48 PM  

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