Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tournaments Part Deux

YTD: +$44122.93

On the subject of tournaments, or rather whilst other people have been discussing them and I have been mangling my numbers :-), I have played a few recently. Small losses in headsup; a 3rd place in a plo8b on Stars; and also some turbo satellites for the Sunday night $215 tourney. I quite like the fun fast pace of these things but the poorness of the play is truly incredible. It is very common to see people playing the dying stages of these things completely and utterly wrong. I am convinced that a good tourney player could make a nice ROI on these things, even assuming a 10% vig for selling on the entries. Here are some of the terrible plays I saw last time:

I’ve Got a Hand, So I Must Play

We were on the bubble and the big blind completely swallowed up my stack, bar a few hundred $. Everyone passed to the cutoff, who went allin for an amount less than the big blind with TT. This is insane play. There was a maybe a 1% chance he was going to be compelled to post a blind and he could have safely passed his way into the money. But instead he sees an ok hand and automaton like decides he must play it, even though he cannot make anyone pass and must win the hand to showdown.

I’m Table Captain, But I Don’t Know How

In the very same hand the small blind, he had enough chips to take us both out comfortably, decides this is a great spot to finish off the tourney and makes up the blinds. That’s right he doesn’t put me all-in! If he had raised there I probably have to call but it is by no means certain in this very unique situation. He gives me a free shot on the pot which I duly take. Although the TT takes the main pot.

I’m Table Captain Again, But I STILL Don’t Know How

It’s a few hands later and the running ante has taken my last few chips. On four tables there are at least 4 people who will have to go allin on this hand and break the bubble. What’s the correct play here for people who aren’t involved? Pass any hand. It’s that easy. AK – pass; KK – pass; AA – pass. If you are not being compelled to play by the blinds then with only one player to go there is no reason to play any hand. But the table captain from the hand described above sprang into life from late mid position. With players still to act behind him you would expect him to have a monster…but no…he had 87s! Which duly went on to knock out both me and the blind that was also all in. Truly terrible play.


Andy_Ward said...

I don't enjoy super-satellites very much, and this is one reason why. It's much more likely that someone's boneheaded, completely thoughtless play can affect you adversely. Naturally at other times it can help you just as much, but psychologically it's tremendously annoying when something like this happens.

For sure they can be profitable, but given any other game in which I can make even 75% as much, I'd rather play the other.


Big Dave D said...


Do you also think big fields are easy to beat than small ones and you would rather play better players than worse ones :-) Looks like my doh-ness from the last post is contagious!



Aksu said...

Supersatellites are so different that sometimes it feels like it's not poker at all.

Last turbo satellite in stars I passed KK from SB when no-one else was in. Yes, I just gave BB the pot, and it was not even a close decision.

The part I do not like in those turbo satellites is stalling. In later stages the time button is the only weapon left in players arsenal.


Big Dave D said...

Aksu, I think that the fact it is often not poker is why they are so potentially profitable. I must admit the stalling is annoying, but I must also confess to having done it too. Its part of the game and one that can also be used poorly as well.


Andy_Ward said...


While I am not a professional poker player then my enjoyment of the game I am playing remains a big factor in my game selection. IRRESPECTIVE of how profitable they are, I hate my entire fate being in the hands of others to such an extent, even though I am fully aware that the bad play of others can make me just as often as it breaks me.

I should have mentioned I hate the stalling too !

Hope this makes sense I've just arrived back home after a night out :-)


chaos said...

Now thats what value is all about...

I'm not done on the other thread yet! Where did everyone go? One more post and then a sabbatical for me. I've been posting too much lately. Mp coincidence I've hit a bad run the last fortnight.

EvilChristian said...

Man, I don't understand anything you say!

chaos said...

EP I don't know what Mp means either! If there is anything in particular you want me to comment on then please ask. There were probably four main points, I don't mind explaining them further. The one about an increase in standard deviation of chip stacks increasing EV's may need a little more explanation.
But I will comment on it again, though nothing new will be said.

Big Dave D said...


I've never really understood the "Hawkins Hypothesis". I stopped enjoying poker in most of its senses a long time ago. I play for the money and because I am good at it. Or used to be good at it :-) Each to their own I guess.



Pinkfloydfan said... is refreshing to hear such an honest statement although its content is somewhat sad. I think that Andy can comment much more significantly about the "fun" element of playing poker and I am very much in the same camp: its a hobby not a living so I will choose those games I enjoy not that I necessarily have the highest EV in. However, I personally feel that Hold'em, especially, played properly is totally boring but so much more so in a cash game than in a tournament...the obvious dichotomy this presents versus the massive growth of poker is perhaps something for a sociologist to study.

However, being honest with yourself will hopefully temper you from making stupid river calls, crazy bluffs or "value plays": I am certain that it is all too easy to convince ourselves either of our own perpetual superiority or of others consistent idiocy and much more so when we are playing a "game".

To be honest about your own ability and desire for playing probably means that you approach the game in quite a different manner to the vast majority of players (especially on the internet and I am sure even in the big bet games) and that should be to your advantage as long as you recognise those who are likeminded and those who are there "to have fun."

But I'm rambling again. While I still enjoy the game I will continue to play...and playing less, picking the games I enjoy the most and also including my wife means I am having a lot more essence my utility from poker has vastly increased.

Anonymous said...


Just looked in on the thread. These simulations of Seed seem to be saying that taking a 50-50 early on turns the best player at the table into a losing one overall. That can't be right can it?