by SeabrookNutz | Published Jun 06, 2012
All was quiet this weekend in my poker life. I went up to Seabrook on Friday to play my usual 6:30 $90 tournament. I played well but ran my 10BB stack into aces at the final table. For a while I thought I was going to have two big score weekends in a row, but after running into aces and making an incorrect hero call, I came up empty. The hero call went as follows: An MP raiser opens to 3X with ~25BB and I called from the cutoff, also ~25BB with AJo. I had thought about 3-betting, but I decided that it would be awkward sizing and 3-bet shoving would be too big. I decided to play the strength of my hand in position and keep the pot as small as possible. My opponent was a standard seabrook player, who I honestly can’t remember much about. Heads up, we see a flop of K 2 4 rainbow. He C-bets and I decided to float. The turn comes a K and he checks. At this point I think my hand is ahead and I check planning on getting to the river to show down my hand. The river comes an off suit 5 and my opponent bets ~1/3 of the pot. I call and he tables KQ for trip kings. In retrospect this was a bad play by me. I don’t really see my hand beating much of his range. I have the third best ace. His raising range has to have a lot of smaller aces in it for my hero call to work, and he wouldn’t have bet his ace high on the river, he would have checked it down for value. He has plenty of kings in his range, AK, KQ, KJ, and maybe even K10. He also has all pairs. This means that the only hands I am beating are complete bluffs, and I can’t think of any in his range. I don’t even really like my float on the flop. If I am going to float the flop, I need to know when to bluff the river and when to fold to his value bets with almost perfect accuracy to make this play profitable. In the end, this hand could have cost me the chance to chip up and take a dominating lead into the FT.
After I was knocked out 6th, I signed up for a sitngo with Joe and my dad. Joe got knocked out relatively early (surprise!). My dad and I made it to the bubble. There were some interesting hands and I want to take some time to analyze them. Before I get into any specifics, I want to give some background information on sitngos and my general strategy that I employ when playing them. Keep in mind that sitngos are a completely different game than MTTs (multi-table tournaments) and so a lot of my reasoning will only apply to sitngos. Seabrook’s sitngos start with 10 players each with 5K in chips with blinds starting at 100/100 and increase (BB=2,4,6,8,1K,2K,4K) every 10 minutes. The top three players get $240, $140, $100. The most important rule in sitngos is to get in the money. If you live by this rule, you will show a profit. When Joe and I were just starting our poker playing at Seabrook we only played sitngos and I managed to have a cash rate of over 50%. I had such a high success rate because I always made sure to lock up 3rd place while my opponents didn’t understand 3rd place’s significance. This strategy is contrary to MTT strategy where you should always play for first place. Look at the payouts for any sitngo and compare them to any MTT payouts. The first person to make money (the first prize after the bubble is broken) in a sitngo makes ~2/5 the money that first place does. In an MTT the first payout can make 1/10 or less of the money that 1st place makes. For this reason, avoiding the bubble at all costs in sitngos pays off in the long run, while avoiding it in MTTs will cost you a lot of money. Once I understood this I could ask myself, “Which choice helps me get at least third place?” before each difficult decision that I had to make.
The worst place to come in in these sitngoes is 4th. I am going to do everything possible, sometimes folding great hands or ignoring great odds, to not come in 4th. Because of this, the most pivotal point in the sitngo is the bubble, 4 people left in most cases. The bubble is where the rule I described above most influences my decisions. The reason for this is simple. When early in the tournament, I need to be going after chips so that I can make it to the point where I have enough chips to make it to the bubble. I don’t want to play loose, but I don’t want to miss opportunities to make chips. I need chips so that when I go all-in (in the later blind levels), I have fold equity against my opponents. I need chips so that I can make moves to get to 3rd. Once the sitngo gets to 5 handed, I can start to make tighter folds. Throughout the tournament, but especially in 4 and 5 handed play, I want to be pushing all-in much more than calling all-in. A great deal of my range contains hands that I will easily know to push all-in, but calling all-in is not an option. There comes a point in the sitngo when the blinds get very large. Seabrook’s $60 sitngo’s blinds jump from 500/1K to 1K/2K. If there is 50K in play and 4 people left, the average stack only has 6 BBs. If I find my self with 4BB or less AND IN 4TH place, I am going to shove ATC! The more you play these sitngos the more you will understand when to shove and when to fold. If I am playing as the chip leader, I may shove ATC on second or third place. This is purely because they should be folding