Out in one hand with the idiot end of a straight

9-seat SNG. Done in 1 hand. Dealt J8-hearts, limped. Flopped into middle pair, with a Queen-high straight draw, rainbow board, and make the straight on the Turn. The river is a brick.

Unfortunately, two other people made a King-high straight draw and I saw it coming but went all in just because by that point I was already 3/4 in and didn’t want to play a full tournament with a quarter stack.

As soon as MI7 bet the Turn, I should have thought, “It’s very likely someone has a king here, and I only have the bottom end of this.” and laid down, but yeah I’m a little slow. First game of the day. Just woke up.

A few lessons here:

  • When you have a pair with a straight draw, and the pair card is part of the straight, it’s making your straight weaker because what makes a straight strong is when you’re the only one who has it, and now one of your two cards making the straight is redundant because it’s already on the board.
  • Also, when you hold a straight by the low end, you’re in danger if someone holds a card on the high end.
  • Learn to read the table and recognize when you have the nut straight, and when you don’t.



A few more lessons:

  • Don’t limp hands in middle position. If someone who acts after you makes a big raise, you’ll probably have to fold. Either open - making it less likely for later positions to call and have position on you, and putting the blinds in a tough spot - or fold.
  • J8 suited is not worth playing from middle position. Fold it and get out of the way.
  • Any time you find yourself in a multi-way pot with more than one raiser, lay down your hand unless you can reasonably improve to a hand better than the current nuts. For example, if there is a flush and/or straight out there, but you have a set, you’ll have a bunch of outs to a boat/quads. However, if you have the low end of a straight, or a straight when there are three cards to a flush on the board, chances are someone has you beat.
  • It would’ve been interesting if you’d re-raised on the flop. You had middle pair, a gutshot, and backdoor flush draw, giving you a fair amount of equity. Maybe one of the other K8 hands would have called, but you might have gotten them to fold. Further aggression on later streets may have convinced them you had AK, and their king-high straight was beat. It’s moot now, but the hand would’ve played out much differently.

And my second tournament of the day. Again out in the first hand.

The MTT Bounty Brawl. Opening hand, I’m dealt A6. I flop trip Aces. Player in front of me bets big on the flop, and I just call. He goes on to hit a full house with a Jack on the river giving his JJ a boat to ruin my trips. He shoves, I call, it’s all over. Done in one.


I really should have shoved on the flop, but I wasn’t super confident that my 6-kicker would hold up when the player ahead of me bet. I guess that means I should have just folded the trip aces then. Those are two moves that would have been better than calling. I called thinking that by doing so, I’d get more value out of him, letting my opponent do the damage to himself. Sometimes that works too. How do you know when to do what?

So, looks like I’m on my way to another horrible day of losing. I like to think positive, and I’m positive I’m about to go on tilt.

Here’s how I start my slides. I get great cards, and get beaten sickly.

Then after a few of those, I go into a dead-card streak where I get nothing but rags for about 3-4 games, and slowly, slowly bleed away. It’s so boring to sit through the opening few orbits, wishing I could get into a hand, not being able to, watching the other players at the table build their stacks.

Then I finally do get a playable starting hand, and try to play it, only to have someone who’s doubled their starting stack shove when the blinds are about 75/150, and I’ve raised the recommended 3-4BB + 1 per limper ahead, and I’m forced to lay down a good half of my stack, putting me in “shove any to recover or die” territory, and then I either recover and hang on for a bit, or die.

Then I go through a phase where I have cards, but every time I do someone else has something better. Or I’ll go through a series of bingo tables where everyone is betting bigger than I’m comfortable with, with cards that I could play against if they weren’t being bet so aggressively.

Then, 20-30 games later, I’ll have a nice game where I get fantastic cards the whole time, don’t make any disaster plays, don’t lapse my focus for a second, and win.

Then I get overconfident and expect every game I play to be that easy, and get beat some more.

It’s going to be a great day, I can tell.

Those are all good lessons. I normally would not play J8 from middle position, but made an exception on the opening hand to limp with J8-suited because when the blinds are 15/30, it’s not really a great concern if someone behind me bets a lot and I have to give up the 30 chips. On the off chance I flop into a stragiht, flush, full house, trips, or two pair, I’ll play the hand if I can limp in, and dump it if I miss. Obviously this time, that proved out to be a sucker move, and I knew it a hair too late, just as soon as I called the first big bet.

Also, please note that I’m offering these comments in the spirit of helping you improve. I really appreciate your contributions to the forum, and I don’t want you to get discouraged when you’re on a downswing, particularly when there are targeted ways for you to get better.

In the meantime, the best advice I can give you is to drop down in the stakes. No sense in burning through your bankroll while you tinker with your strategies. When you resume winning at 5K and 10K buy-in tournaments, against easier competition, and are feeling in the zone again, then jump back up to 25K.


They’re good suggestions! And I’m so close to not being dumb, but man are these blow-ups not good for my poker ego.

Dropping to lower stakes might help me lose less chips as I continue to suck at poker, but will it really lead me to improve my play? Is the quality of the play just as good at 10K buy-in as it is at 25K? If it is, then maybe that’s something I should do. If not, learning to beat them isn’t really going to help me get good at higher stakes play.

Took 3rd in this 9-hand SNG. A mix of OK play and some dumb mistakes.

Went out with Q9o, I tried to defend the BB, but I was so short stacked that I knew I’d need to go all-in to play this hand most likely anyway. I could have dumped it but 880 chips is about 1/3 of my stack, so I had to play it for all or nothing. Not a mistake, just circumstances. My opponent the big stack had JT, and of course he hit the T and then the J on the river to seal it.


Semi-bluffing middle pair into a flush, which is generally regarded as poor play. Lost half my stack trying to bluff the pot away, and it could have been worse:


There were a couple of hands that I folded, and should have folded, but would have won. Holding 22, the player in front of me shoves his small stack, and I think about calling as it’s only +2.5BB to call, but decide against it, and what do you know, the flop brings up a 2 and I would have filled up with 6s by the river to take this pot. The small stack triples up, and ends up knocking me out in the end, and probably will go on to win it, and I could have had him here if I wasn’t afraid of playing 22 against a small shove.


Here I make a good call, with top pair on a rainbow board, doubling up through the big stack. He’s holding 33, and I made trip 8s by the river, but had him beat from the flop. This somewhat colored my opinion of going up against an all-in shove holding 22 sometime later in the game (see previous hand).


A good fold, K8-diamonds, the flop is AdTc2s, not enough diamonds for me to continue; AsKs shoves, I get out of the way, AQo calls and gives it to him.


One of my disaster hands. Q6o, I pair the Q, and have 567 for a runner-runner straight draw at the flop. I try to buy the pot, one opponent to beat, he shoves at me with 88, and I call, decimating his stack for a great pot.


But a few orbits previously, I’d gotten wasted in a very similar hand with this same player… This time I have Q7o, bet the top pair, and get raised all-in by KQ. I made the mistake of calling here, and paid for it with about half of my chips.


Here I successfully take a pot by betting bottom pair like I have top pair. I don’t recommend doing this too often, but in the right situation it can be profitable. It’s best to do it when you have one to beat, and have raised preflop, so you can represent a strong hand with a continuation bet, and your opponent isn’t so far in that they’re committed to the pot.


Here, I take a big beating holding AdJd, playing middle pair with KdJh8s on the flop, and a 2d to give me a possible flush if I stay in it, but sadly I don’t get a 5th diamond, and lose to QQ. This could have been worse, I suppose.


Knocked out a player with a flush. It’s nice when you play high card with rag suited kicker and actually make the flush. My opponent shoved nothing here, but if I don’t hit my diamonds I’m losing to their overcard.


So overall in this game I was up and down a lot, sometimes winning big, and then giving away about half of it a few hands later, but staying healthy enough that I could continue playing, until we got down to 3, at which point I really missed all those chips I’d blown through. But if you like to have a lot of action and don’t care so much about actually winning, it was an enjoyable game.

IMO, the level of play at 5K, 10K. 25K or 100K is basically the same. I posted on another thread that I’d suggest getting away from these games altogether for a while. Get into a low-stakes full ring game and work on 1 thing at a time. Too much going on in a tournament structure - changing blinds, changing relative stacks and so on. Eliminate all of that and get back to the basics. It won’t be fun but I think it will help you. When too much is going wrong, get back to the basics. Slow everything down and then you’ll be able to see what parts of your game really need work and what part of what’s going on is between your ears :slight_smile:

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Here’s my latest. Out 7th in a 9-seat SNG.

My out hand. AdTd beat by two pair AA77. Nobody folds when you tell them to. Sigh.


Just wanted to pass along my personal thoughts on a few things. Please do not take any offense, as I hate commenting to people I deem better players than myself; it seems out of place.

Personally, I wouldn’t have called with A6o in that spot. It’s likely you’ll see the whole table come to the flop in that hand, and A6o is in very bad shape in that situation. I know you’re getting a good price to call and see a flop, but the odds of getting something useful in a multi-way flop are poor, and you likely won’t have the fold/bluff equity to continue.

Ok, so you hit trip aces on the flop. I don’t understand UTG leading out with a min-bet; he/she may be just seeing where they’re at, feeling compelled to c-bet in some form, due to opening pre-flop, or trying to trick the table, but to me it does not indicate them holding an ace. That, combined with main villain’s 3-bet. That’s why I think one could perhaps give a bit of credibility to this route: I think UTG and the main villain gave you an opportunity to 4-bet the flop light without risking your stack with a shove. I think it would have given you a good indication of where you stood. If he comes over the top with a shove, and you don’t feel good about holding up with a call, you could back out and still have a large enough stack to continue making a run at it. If he calls, it gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate and (very unlikely, but perhaps) catch up on the turn, and still play for a large pot or have the ability to back out and still be comfortable. It might also have him put you on AQ+, and induce a fold, or if he has an ace, a tough spot with a hand that’s hard to get rid of and therefore good EV. The best hand he can have is simply you outkicked. I don’t have him on A10s + or AQo +, because despite (other than AK) maybe not being a great idea, those hands could 3-bet pre-flop against a min-raise. He could have A2-9s, or A2-A5, any other Ax shouldn’t even be playing IMO, but here it is always hard to tell, no doubt. And the other option is he folds and you get to take down a nice pot to start, gaining a comfortable lead.

I do think shoving the flop would have been the best option, though. It would have put a tremendous amount of pressure on him if he held an ace, as at that point, he’s gotta think he’s outkicked without AK, and two pair might tempt him to call, despite being behind. Being the first hand, you’re not invested, and doubling up on the first hand would be huge, and missing would just give you an opportunity to come to a new tournament, as the buy-in was not a lot. Just my two cents.

*EDIT TO ADD WHERE BOLD and grammatically in some spots

ADD 2: Him checking the turn might be another spot to consider firing the shove. A check-raise is possible, but it seems he would have gone for some value in the first hand of the tournament, and that the check on the turn more likely indicated some gold digging. You shoving the turn might back him off check-raising, although a plan to check-raise should include your opponent to perhaps shove on you. All hard to tell for sure. Just in a ‘thinking out loud’ mood at the moment, I guess.


I have to agree with @lad44 about the A6o hand in general - Dump A6o without a 2nd thought. Plays terribly multiway. Avoid hands that are often dominated like this one. The only thing worse than not making strong hands is making strong hands that are almost never best. People lose more money playing dry aces than just about with any other type of hand. In that spot, if you didn’t have a pocket pair or a hand strong enough to 3-bet, fold.


Your analysis is completely right.

I will sometimes play ragged Aces, but more often than not I’ve been folding them lately, so I am with you that I shouldn’t have played them this time. Of course if I hadn’t, I would have seen that AA on the flop and wanted to be in the hand. Mistake #1.

If my villain hadn’t bet before me, I would have bet the pot and probably taken it. That would have been OK. But sometimes I’ll slow-play Trips and hope that someone else bets, so I can trap them. Not this time, since with a rag kicker, I’m not inclined to want to slow play it.

Since he did call, I had to think: Is my Ace good here? With a 6 kicker, probably not. I’m putting the villain on Ax here, and odds are his “x” card is going to beat my 6.

So, in respond to that bet, either folding or raising would have been better than calling.

If I fold, I get away from the hand, and consider myself lucky for not playing the Ace-rag further, while thinking that I can sometimes play Face-rag hands profitably.

If I raise, maybe I can get my opponent to fold here, but if he’s really on an Ace, the odds that he’s ever going to fold trip aces are next to none, so I have to be confident in my kicker. In my experience, though, the way people play on this site, that would have more likely gotten him to shove back at me, assuming he really did have the Ace.

Of course there’s also the possibility that he’s bluffing with that bet, and I gave that possibility some weight. Which is why I called. I figured, there’s only one other Ace out there, and if he does’t have it, I’m good, and I can just let him bet into me and take him all the way to the river, then put him all-in and take everything.

When he didn’t bet on the Turn, I thought again, two possibilities: He wants me to think he doesn’t have an Ace, so I’ll feel safe to continue the hand and put in more chips. Or he doesn’t have an Ace, and the bet at the flop was a failed attempt to steal the pot, and now he’s just weak and hoping not to put any more chips in, in which case he folds to any bet and I don’t get any more value. So I let him check, and didn’t bet the Turn either. The turn didn’t hit me, either, and I’m thinking if he does have a higher Ace than me, maybe if I can find another 6, I’ll be able to play out the showdown with greater confidence. Since I’m still not sure if he’s bluffing or slow playing me, I’m better off if I bet. Even just a min-bet feeler would have been a good way to get some information out of him. By calling, I don’t get any new information, just a chance to see another street for free. But I agree with you, shoving the Turn might have been better, since he has yet to make his Jacks full, and would have been harder pressed to continue the hand if I bet here.

And then of course he hit his out on the River, instead of me. And I have no reason to suspect that he’s on JJ, so I’m fine with it when he shoves, because Hey I have the nuttiest trips ever, right? Lol, nope. But by this time I’m so committed that laying down at the river would have left me in a poor position. Better to lose it and start over on a new table, if I’m going to lose it. And if I win it, I just doubled up through the first hand, which is a great way to start it.

So that’s how I was thinking in this hand.

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would it been fun to had won? where is your worst to first? well ok you don’t want to be a all in donkey sound like good advies. play on

Reading the table is my “mountain to climb”, get done like that to. A sort of “poker dyslexia” if there is such a term.

I did it again! How long til I learn?


This time at least I didn’t call the river bet. But again I bet first, then read the board.

I’d just won an excellent hand with JT making a straight 7-J the hand before, nearly doubling up, too.


Typical replay