I went to the Horseshoe in Hammond yesterday to play in the WSOP Circuit Monster stack along with 618 other players, including Sailor Moe.  I start off at table 36 and Leon’s right behind me at table 25.

The first level is an interesting one, as I drop down to 19k from our starting stack of 20k by missing a couple opportunities setmining.  I then look down at 45 spades and see that the table wants to play a family pot.  Well, 45s in position with the odds to see a flop works for me, so I see the 7-way flop  of TT3 with two spades.  The SB leads out and before it gets to me, there are two others that call, so I smooth call and see a turn brick.  The SB bets out again, but this time, the bet is only about 1/4 pot and surprisingly the other two before me fold, so since I’ve got the odds, I’m happy to call.  The river is the As and when the SB checks, I make a value bet of 1100 (might have went a bit big but there was 2500 in the pot and right after making the bet, I knew I should have went about 800-900) and the opp mucks, so I take down a decent pot and get back above a starting stack.

Two hands later, I open AQ and get 5 callers and see a flop of AKQ.  Needless to say, I’m firing the flop and get two callers.  The turn is an offsuit brick and I fire again and take down another pot.  Now for a problem… I didn’t expect that this would be the last pot I win the rest of the first 2 hour session.  I had plenty of opportunities to see flops, which I did, I just couldn’t hit anything.  When we hit break, I’m at 20850, just happy to be above a starting stack and find that Leon’s at 23k.

The next two hour session starts and I’m totally card dead.  If J2o or T7o was a prop hand, I’d have been driving a Brinks truck home.  The good thing about this tourney being 20k starting stack is that we have plenty of time to wait out streaks like this and I’m basically folding pre or after I miss the flop the first 90 minutes of it and just about this time, Leon walks by me and tells me that he’s out.

At 200/400/50 is where the key hand of the night is for me and I’ll go thru all the numbers with it to show what we need to be thinking when we’re playing and reviewing a hand… that I ROYALLY screwed up by making a stupid mistake.

Due to the blinds and antes, we basically have 3bb already in the pot.  UTG, that is a limpy-looky player, instead of limping, opens to 4.5bb.  With the huge open, it totally polarizes them.  They either have a marginal hand that they don’t want to see a flop with (for example a small/mid pair) or a monster.  It folds to me in the cutoff and I look down at AKo.  I’m sitting on 45bb and instead of 3-betting, I decide to flat and then make a play postflop.  If I 3-bet, I could easily have UTG shove on me and also, there are two stacks behind me, that if I 3-bet and they shove, it wouldn’t be a legal raise, so I then couldn’t even try to isolate.

The button mucks and after tanking for a second, the SB squeeze shoves 20bb.  UTG now reshoves and has me covered by a couple thousand chips… so here’s the spot.

The SB while they could be lighter, they have only shown down decent hands, so I’m putting them on a pair or big ace.  UTG is still polarized but the bottom of their range should be taken out since they reshoved.

For the main pot, if I call, I’m putting 20bb into a pot worth 63bb (31.7%).  In the sidepot, there will be 50bb (50% pot equity).  Another consideration that I need to take into account, but mistakenly didn't, are the blinds, as they’re going up in 2 min, so in two minutes, if I would fold, I’m under 30bb and am going to be down to a resteal stack.

Playing the hand, I tanked and folded, which is a huge mistake and here are the rest of the numbers why.  I also needed to look at it as a 30bb stack instead of a 45bb stack and at 30bb and also that AK plays much better when I get to see all 5 board cards, both of which are other factors as to why I shouldn't be folding here.

The SB turns over 99, which is squarely in the range that I put him on (pairs and big aces).  UTG turns over KQs??????   Yes, I said at the start of the hand that the larger raise is either a marginal hand or a monster, well, KQs is within the marginal part.

For the main pot, when I put these ranges into pokerstove (and go down to include KQs for UTG), I have 31.8% equity there, so it’s a small positive (+.1%EV).  However, we then also need to run the equity for the sidepot.  If we give this opp a range of 22+,ATs+,KQs,AJo+ then I have 51.3% equity in the sidepot, which means I expect to gain 1.3%.  On average I gain .063bb from the main and I gain .65bb from the sidepot, so I expect to gain 285 chips every time. 

That may not sound like much, but if I muck, I’m down under 30bb in under two minutes, which totally handicaps my ability to make plays (and not being able to do so, cost me a 10k plus chip pot at the beginning of the next level, as I wasn’t deep enough to be able to play a hand that I wanted to).

While a gain of 285 chips doesn’t sound like much, it’s a spot that I need to be taking if I want to win a large MTT, even though I know that I’m behind in the hand as one of the two opps is going to have a pair here just about every time.  We can play hands if we know we’re behind, IF, we expect to gain chips on average.  If I play the hand and basically triple up, then I’m an overwhelming table chip leader and can then make more plays and put pressure on the opps at the table, so it keeps all the tools that I have, in play, which is not the case if I’m reduced to a resteal stack by folding, as then I can’t play marginal hands nor setmine.  This is a very common mistake that many players have and until they overcome this, they’re not going to be able to consistently run deep in MTT’s.  Yes, we would like to have our chips in when we’re ahead, but we cannot pass spots that are +EV if we want to win on a consistent basis.

I ended up going out in about 250th spot after playing a shove/fold game for another 2+ hours, but the entire complexion of the tourney would have been different if I hadn’t screwed up and folded the AK hand.

On a better note, I was a part of team UPTOPNOCHOP, that Dave was the captain of, in an online 5 game tournament series.  The prize for the winning team was a $109 ticket for everyone on the team for a $100k GTD this weekend and our team crushed it.  The team had nine final tables and two wins (Dave and Joss, HokyPokyToo) and I had the highest point total of any individual player with a second, third, fourth and a tenth and I had the longest run in the main event (third) that sealed it.  Hopefully we can get a few runs going in the $109 on Sunday, as PSO has 5 shots at it including Too2Coo and FireMedic815, as they are in it for being on the team too.

I've got the $109 this Sunday, then I'll be going to St. Louis for the HPT in two weeks, so I should have 5-7 shots to make up for it there too.