April 12th, 2010
Here are some hands I wrote up for the Cardplayer article Final Table Takedown. These were some of my more interesting hand from the final 2 and final tables of the tournament.
Hand 1: A5s is so pretty, how could you fold?
So right now there are 12 people left in the tournament and both tables are playing 6-handed. We have 4 more people to go until play ends for the night and things have been pretty tame. My opponent in this hand is Alan Sternberg, who I don’t know much about except that he had amassed a very large stack of chips at the other table, which typically means he was playing a lot of hands. So far at this table he has played a good number as well, and has never failed to fire multiple barrels. He has been to showdown twice, once as a bluff, and once with a monster. Basically, he reminds me a lot of me before I became a more disciplined player (i.e. not firing on every street). So this is my read, for good or bad, after not very long with him. Onto the hand:
With blinds at 20k/40k, Alan raises the CO to 95k, which he has done on about 70% of cutoffs that have folded to him. I 3-bet in the small blind with A5hh to 280k. Alan has about 1.7M total, which is 42 big blinds and right around average chips. I have about 5M in my stack here and am the chip leader by quite a bit. I have been 3betting a good number of pots where I think people are opening light. Anyway, I stick out the 280k and Alan looks upset and then within 3 seconds, he announces “all-in.” So I’m trying to figure out what he has… if he has a very big hand, I think he’s much more likely to 4bet small to induce me to shove. So I heavily discounted big pairs and AK. I DO think he might shove a hand like a small-medium pocket pair or AQ-AT or something, but I thought he would take a lot longer to do it. First, you have to work up the nerve, but besides that… calling with those stacks in position was a very viable option for those hands, and I think he’d need to take the time to think about whether calling was better than shoving or not. So based on that, I just really thought he was bluffing. And since he reminded me of me a couple years ago, I figured it was some suited connectors thinking he DIDN’T want me to 5-bet shove on him light since he knew I was capable, and “well, if she DOES have AK or something, my suited connectors are very live.” Plus, A5s is pretty. So I called. To my great delight, he turned over 65s, and I raked in a very large pot. That hand was also a huge confidence boost for me heading into the final table, which always helps.
Hand 2: Flush draw!
Ok we’re down to 3 handed at the final table. I’ve been hitting some pretty big hands and have managed to win most of them, and am up to about 10.5M chips. Mike Beasley has a little over 4M in chips, maybe 4.3M, and Mike Woods has 5.5M or so. Mike Beasley limps on the button, which is something he had not done yet, I don’t think. Just from my limited experience seeing people limp buttons 3-handed, I find that rarely if ever is the first limp a monster. I mean, there’s no reason to limp a monster the first time if you’ve been raising, because the first time you just rarely get played back at. So anyway, the blinds are 50k/100k at this point, so everyone still has over 40BB. Mike Woods completes in the small blind, and I check my option with Q6hh.
The flop comes K33hh. Mike Woods checks and I check, knowing that on this type of board texture Mike Beasley is very likely to take a stab with whatever T high he happened to limp in with. He bets 200k into a pot of about 330k. SB folds, and I raise to 550k. I didn’t make a huge raise because I wanted to represent strength as I could very easily have a 3 since I checked the big blind. Mike then 3bets me to about 1.2M. At this point, it’s possible that he has a 3 and plays it this way, but I don’t think there are that many 3’s in his limping range – A3, Q3s, 34s, etc. but it’s definitely a small part of that range. I do not think he would play a K like this unless it’s a very big king like AK or KQ, and once again, I didn’t think he was limping those hands preflop right now. Any other K, it’s better for him just to call and let me bluff, since his 4bet would often fold out all worse hands, especially bluffs, which should make up a decent part of my range on this board texture. Like, if he has K6, then he only really beats a bluff since he loses to a 3 and most kings, so if he is going to continue, it should be by calling and letting me bluff. So I didn’t think he had a king. Given he knows the board texture is one which neither of us hit that often and I have been check-raising and raising at every opportunity, I thought there was a good chance he was just playing back at me.
Now, if I go all-in, I risk 4.3M and worse yet, if I lose, I’m down to about 6M and instead of having a commanding chip lead, I actually find myself in 2nd place. I really didn’t want this to happen, but at the same time, there was 2M in the pot and I thought he would fold his hand a large percent of the time. Basically I had to risk 3.8M to win 2M, and I thought he would fold about 3/4 of the time, making the shove itself +EV without counting my equity if called. When you add to that the fact that when called (usually by a 3), I still have around 25% equity to win 6M (so 1.5M more), and it was a very easy shove for me. So shove is what I did, Mike folded, and I took down another decent pot.
Hand 3: Pair mining
This last hand is more standard I guess, but I thought that it’s a good illustration of how preflop bet sizing can help make a read. This was HU when I had a massive chip lead… I had entered HU with 18.8M to Mike’s 2.7M, and this was just after we began (I guess all the HU was just after we began, since it lasted 7 hands!). Mike had 2.6M here. I limped the button with K7o since I like to see a flop and make a good pair with that hand since I can value bet it and make some chips postflop, but when I get shoved on pre I can’t call 26BBs. So I limp (still at 50k/100k). Mike raises OOP to 450k, which was an extremely large raise for a tournament.
His large raise got me to thinking – I didn’t think he had a monster ever – HU those are too precious and you can’t risk me folding. This was a bet that screamed “I have the best hand right now, I swear, but please don’t call me as this will be extremely tough to play OOP.” To me, that means some sort of Ace or a small pocket pair. With that in mind, the only hand I’m in trouble against is A7 and otherwise, making a pair will likely be very profitable, as he will c-bet the flop and I will jam and sometimes get a fold and sometimes a call depending on board texture. Basically, I will be in a really good spot postflop except in the unlikely scenario where he hits top pair and my 7 makes middle pair (but I was folding if an A came); you have to allow for the occasional bad luck when putting yourself in certain situations. So here, I put myself in a situation to make a pair in position and probably win the tournament right there if I did so.
Anyway, it worked out as planned – the flop came K83r and Mike bet out 1M into a pot of 900k. I went all in pretty quickly… I was trying not to seem super strong so he might put me on an 8 and call with two overcards. In any event, with that board texture there’s not much I could do to get a call with worse, since he couldn’t even put me on a flush draw. He folded for 1.1M more and I took down a 3M chip pot. At that point, I had 20M and Mike had 1M and we got it all in preflop the next hand, and I won the tournament!
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