Make your eyes water

Once again a dog day is rescued by a good tournament result. Like a nosediving plane thundering towards the earth yesterday I whiffed SNG after SNG. Sit n Gos have not been going well last couple of weeks. I tried some cashgames, it did not go well.

I took a break and watched TV. I laughed at myself and how bovverrred I was about another four-figure losing session. Its amazing what you can get used to. Very character building. The key is to separate the money you play with from the money you use to live. Mentally in terms of it being just chips, and physically in terms of accounting.

My strength is to keep persisting when things are not going well and continue to play well. 

The session finished at 4.17 am with a second place in the 6max $33 rebuy on Stars.

The good structure meant lots of play at the final table. When I got heads up with SonnyRamone he had about 30 big blinds to my 110 big blinds. To his credit he managed to wriggle himself back to even. The heads up battle lasted 49 hands and 13 minutes but it felt like half an hour. Sonny made a weird call to win the tournament when I four-bet bluffed all-in with J-2 suited.

He’s been raising most buttons, I’ve been raising a lot of buttons. We had three bet each other several times during the battle, and each time the other guy would flat and play a flop or just fold. When Sonny 3-bet me again here I thought the stacks were great for a 4-bet shove. He doesn’t  have the pot odds to call with anything but a premium hand, and because this is the first time I have made this move he has to give me credit for a premium hand. On the down side I’m risking 244,000 tournament chips to win 38,500, but I just don’t think he’s calling enough to  make this unprofitable. If he wins every time he has a hand good enough to call then to break even he must call approximately one time in seven. However my J-2 suited wins about one in four of those times he calls.  Hmmmm this is close I’m going to do the sums.

He has three bet my button raise 24% of the time. I would expect him to call a shove no more than one-quarter of those times, or in other words with the top 6% of his hands. When he calls I have 28% equity with J-2 suited against his range. Could I expect to gain chips by shoving here?

Option i) – fold. I have 244k.

Option ii) – shove. 75% of the time he folds and I have 292.5k. 25% of the time he calls and I either win or lose the race. When I win I have 514k. When I lose I have zero.

.75(292.5) + .25(.28(514)+.72(0))

= .75(292.5) + .25(143.9+0)

= 219.4 + 36

=255.4k, more than 11k better than folding.

The figure that makes this shove profitable is his high three-bet frequency. It basically means that he knows I am raising my button light and is responding by re-raising with a wide range of hands. If that figure were lower, say 15%, he would have shove-calling hands more frequently, and my shove would be unprofitable as he calls and wins more often. When I first analysed this problem I used 15% and found I lose 4k in chips with the shove. I was surpised when I took a look at the Poker Tracker statistics to find that Sonny was three-betting once in every four opportunities.

The 24% figure is reliable in so far as it is real observed data from the heads-up match. Although because it is observed over a sample of 49 hands it comes with a high margin of error. It seems very high compared to other heads up matches i’ve played, and over a larger sample of thousands of hands SonnyRamone might be 3-betting me as little as 10-15% of the time. The 24% figure is all I have right now though, and I have to work with it. I also have to use my impressions of this player and past experiences to estimate that he will fold to the shove three-quarters of the time.

Whatever he thinks I’m shoving with here, its very difficult to put your tournament life on the line with anything less than a premium hand. You only get dealt a premium hand around 4-6% of the time.

Imagine my surprise when he thought for half a minute then decided to call with K-9 offsuit, a medium-poor strength hand. I could not have expected him to call with that piece of shit. Unfortunately that piece of shit was a 61% favourite over J-2 suited. Sonny won the hand and the tournament. His optimistic call flew in the face of my estimations and calculations. There was no way he could have guessed that I was making a move on him, the very first time I four-bet shoved him all-in.

Unless I’m missing something, or he could see my hole cards, I would strongly suggest that he had simply had enough of this furious heads-up battle. ‘No more pain’. I have seen that sort of capitulation many times, and its great when you have a dominating hand. Mental fatigue and negative emotions can lead a player to give up and gamble the tournament away with poor cards, calling the all-in raise when they are sure to be behind. Fortunately for Sonny he was in fact 61% to 39% ahead and won the race. He must have been as pleasantly surprised as I was dismayed to see the hole cards revealed.

http://www.pokerxfactor.com/SH195196/36150_20090625_081601

Oh well, a fair move that didn’t work out and a great result for the bankroll.

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