Flap Broke
I played a 50+5 90 man SnG on Stars tonight and here is the hand I went out on in 31st place.
Poker Stars
No Limit Holdem Tournament
Blinds: t100/t200
(Ante: t25)
7 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: t1590
UTG+1: t12250
MP1: t3525
CO: t12848
Button: t6710
SB: t3035
Bill Sparks: t2545

Pre-flop: (7 players) Bill Sparks is BB with
4 folds, Button raises to t600, SB folds, Bill Sparks raises all-in t2520, Button calls t1920 (pot was t3395).

Flop: (t5315, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: t5315)

Turn: (t5315, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: t5315)

River: (t5315, 1 player + 1 all-in - Main pot: t5315)

Final pot: t5315
Bill Sparks showed
Button showed

I couldn't believe I got called in that spot with A4 suited. I was thrilled that my read was bang on and that I was a favourite to double through and get back in the race to take this puppy down. When the ace hit the flop and I didn't improve, I was so mad I wanted to throw my monitor out the window. My first reaction was to blame the donkey for calling me with ace rag, then I realized I like the call. If people only called my pushes with premium hands, I'd have a hard time doubling up in a tournament when I need to. Then I got mad at the cards for coming out the way they did and causing me to lose. Then I took a moment to appreciate how we are always willing to blame everything and everyone but ourseleves when we fail. Blaming my opponent or the cards really isn't going to help me improve my game and if that's the goal then I need to do some objective analysis, so here goes:

In general I don't like to be all-in preflop with pocket Jacks. Often times that leads to a race situation and I belive anytime your tournament life hinges on a 50/50 proposition you remove the edge that superior skill should provide you in this game. Having said that, given the circumstances, I believe pushing here was the correct play. My "M" was just over 8 so I really had no choice. In other words, I feel that this last play was correct. So, I need to look beyond this play in order find where I might have gone wrong.

Greg Raymer said that a poker tournament is a great example of "The Butterfly Effect" which is a concept that is part of a branch of physics known as Chaos Theory (which actually originated in meteorology for those of you who care). If you're not familiar with the butterfly effect here is how Wikipedia describes it:

... a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. Small variations of the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system...

The phrase refers to the idea that [the flap of] a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or, for that matter, prevent a tornado from appearing).

So, where is "the flap" that caused my eventual demise. I searched through my memory and the hand history and I believe this is it:
Poker Stars
No Limit Holdem Tournament
Blinds: t75/t150
8 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: t3815
UTG+1: t1375
MP1: t4480
MP2: t2675
CO: t2280
Button: t2860
SB: t5315
Bill Sparks: t5200

Pre-flop: (8 players) Bill Sparks is BB with
4 folds, CO raises to t450, 2 folds, Bill Sparks raises all-in t5200, CO calls all-in t1830.
Uncalled bets: t2920 returned to Bill Sparks.

Flop: (t2430, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: t4635)

Turn: (t2430, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: t4635)

River: (t2430, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: t4635)

Final pot: t4635
CO showed
Bill Sparks showed

At the time when this hand occurred I had a decent amount of chips and there was really no need for me to push. I should have called and then folded when I missed my set on the flop. That would have left me with t4750 which is still a reasonable stack that allows me to play some poker. Instead, I was left with under 3k in chips which lead to my eventual push with JJ.

So, my conclusion is that just because the cards don't go your way on the last hand of a tourney, you may still be responsible for the loss. Learn from your mistakes instead of blaming them on others.

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Blogger RikyRicardo said...


I agree, that often times the final play in your tourny is a good one, and that we do need to look deeper, why did we get short stacked? Why did I loose this particular touny is the better question then why did I loose this hand...

9:04 AM  
Blogger RikyRicardo said...

sorry I got cut off in the middle of my babble... anyways... I find personally, that I often get to attached to small pocket pairs, and right now... that is my biggest leak... when should I lay them down... well I am currently writting a blog on this one...

9:11 AM  
Blogger Krissy said...

Hey Bill,
I think the push with 55 there is 100% correct. The cut off has such a wide range of hands he is raising, and you have good fold equity... its an insta push for me. In these tournaments, you cant just wait for a better time, you gotta take any chips when you can get them .

8:55 PM  

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