Studying Tournaments and Recognizing Leaks

What’s going on readers? My apologies for not being able to get a post out last week. It was pretty slow poker-wise and I just didn’t have much to talk about so decided to take the week off from writing. This past week went pretty poorly results wise. Fortunately, I did pretty well with my regular weekly goals and was able to complete three of the four. I played for 35 hours, studied for five, ran three times, but mediated only once. I was a little lazy with regard to the other two goals (eating well and getting out of bed as soon as I wake up) and basically failed at both of them, but there’s always next week.

WSOP 2017

As mentioned in my last post, I'm hopefully going to be playing a few of the $1500 events at this years WSOP. Specifically, I'd like to play Colossus, The Giant, the Monster Stack, and events 58 and 66, both of which are $1500 NLH's. Whether or not this will actually come to fruition is going to depend on how much action I'm able to sell, so I'm going to open up the staking doors to you all! I posted a package on Tasty Stakes which can be viewed here. Any and all support is greatly appreciated!

Tournament Studying

In preparation for my first WSOP, I’ve been hitting the tournament study grind pretty hard. So far, my main study material has consisted of some stuff off of the Run It Once MTT curriculum. Specifically, I have been watching Brian Yoon’s series on his 2014 WSOP, in which he goes over some hand histories from a variety of NLH events he played. I like this series a lot as it’s the only one I’ve come across that covers live MTT’s and some of the nuances that come up in them that you just don’t see online.

Additionally, I purchased an app called SnapShove that teaches and trains players to determine proper shoving ranges when short-stacked. The app allows users to input virtually any short-stacked tournament scenario and adjust variables like stack size, position, size of ante, number of players, and whether or not hero is facing a shove himself or deciding whether or not to open-shove. Once all of the variables have been input, the app spits out what a Nash-equilibrium shoving or calling range looks like in that specific spot. The app also features a training mode in which users are put to the test in randomly generated shove or fold scenarios. It really is a cool app and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to sharpen their short-stack tournament play.

Must Plug Leaks

The following hand took place in a 2-5 game at the Jack and exemplifies one of my biggest leaks: hero calling in spots where I should be exploitatively folding.

Game: 2-5 NL, 9 handed

Villain: (900) on BB. Villain is 30-35 year old recreational player who played professionally for a couple years post-poker boom. That said, he clearly hasn’t put much work into his game since then. He plays somewhat nitty/TAG and is generally way unbalanced towards value hands. Tonight, however, he has been drinking and is definitely playing on the looser side. He has been caught double barreling with an OESD once in the couple hours we’ve played together.  

Hero: (800) OTB with 6h4h. Viewed as aggressive professional who villain has seemingly avoided in prior sessions.

Preflop: (7) Fish limps in HJ, folds to hero who raises to 25, villain calls, fish calls.

This is a little loose but given the limp from the fish I think I can profitably ISO him very wide in position. I also rarely expect to be 3bet by the BB (and likely felt the same way about the SB as well, although I can’t recall the player type of the SB at this point). This is close to the bottom of my raising range in this spot.

Flop: (70) Ah4s6s. Checks to hero who bets 50, villain calls, fish folds.

I’m going to be c-betting this board pretty frequently as I think I’ve got a nice range advantage vs. my opponents. Because of this, my standard sizing would be slightly smaller, but I elected to size up to begin building a pot and potentially setting up stacks to go in vs. the fish. Things don’t necessarily go according to plan however when I’m called by villain and the fish gets out of the way. At this point in the hand, villain’s range is likely exclusively Ax, flush draws, and occasionally slow played 2p+. Villain likely doesn’t have all Ax here given our positions and the preflop action, so let’s say he has all ATo+ and all suited Ax (note that villain has never been caught making a light 3bet).

Turn: (170) Td.

Villain checks, hero bets 125, villain thinks for 30-45 seconds and calls.

Villain’s range still looks similar to how it looked on the flop. Some of the flush draws could (and should) be folded here, but given villain’s level of intoxication I expect him to be more willing to chase than he ought to be. A handful of villain’s FD’s are now combos draws (KsQs, KsJs, QsJs) and 7s8s picked up additional outs as well, so those hands would definitely be continuing in this spot (although I’d like them to be played as check/raises at least some portion of the time).

River: (420) 2c. Villain checks, hero bets 225, villain tanks for about a minute and shoves for 600 effective in total, hero eventually makes a crying call.

On the river, I elected to choose a smaller, exploitative sizing to target villain’s Ax’s. Once villain jams I think this should be a snap-exploitative fold. It’s just a spot where they (and this villain specifically) are super value-heavy and basically always have it.

In game, however, my thoughts were a little different. I’m getting about 3.3:1 so if villain is bluffing just 23% of the time I have a break-even call. I also felt that my hand was a possibly my best candidate to use bluff-catcher as I’m blocking 66 and 44. This limits villain’s value range to 9 combos of AT and just 2 combos of 66/44. As for bluffs villain could have here, there are obviously a bunch of busted FD’s from which he can select. I think the best ones for him to choose would be his Tsxs combos as they block my AT’s. All that said, villain just is so rarely pulling the trigger here with any his bluffs that I should be folding. I couldn’t find the fold button, however, and was showed 66 by villain. NH, sir.

As I stated in one of my first posts, I too often find myself paying off value-heavy opponents in spots like this and it’s costing me tons of EV. I’m going to revert back to keeping track of my hero calling record, as was recommended by podcast guest Brent Jenkins. I only kept up with it for a little while last time, but when I stopped I was 2-8, lol. Make that 2-9 I guess. Anyways, that’s all for now, guys and girls. I’ll talk to you all next week. Until then, peace, much love, and happy grinding.