Two hands from an MTT

Two hands from last night’s league MTT.

Hand 1:

I’m running real good, #3 on the leaderboard, with 18273 chips, up over 3x from my starting stack of 6000.

Blinds are up to 300/600, plus 60 ante. We’re at 9-seat tables, and by this point in the game about half of the starting field of 37 players has been eliminated.

I’m at a table with 3 empty seats, UTG limps, table folds around to me, I’m in the BB holding Th9h, and I, and check my option.

Flop is 9dTd5s, great flop for me, I have Top Two Pair. I’m only worried about straight and flush draws and sets.

I check to V, and they put in a pot-size bet. V could be holding: air bluff trying to steal a pot I didn’t show interest in, a pair of TTens, a set of 555s, 999s, or TTTs, or an overpair. With Top Two pair, though, I am partially blocking two of the three possible sets that could be made here, and I’m not worried about pairs or overpairs with my two pair. I don’t want V to draw to a straight or flush, so I raise to 7200.

V calls. Turn card is an 8, so figuring my night is about to be ruined, because V is holding QJ and just made a straight, or he called with a set of 555s, I put V all-in. V calls, flips up 9cAh for middle pair, nut kicker.

My odds calculator here tells me I’m 93% to win this hand, but the river has other ideas. Ad, and V hits his 3-out draw to a higher two pair, and I’m left with 2800 chips, V pulls down 32774 chips.

I’m knocked down to 2800 chips, which is about 4.5BB, and it’s looking like my night’s not going to last much longer. But I don’t give up, I manage to win some chips over the next orbit, including a lucky double-up that came when I shoved J2o to defend the BB when it was about 1/3 of my chips, and caught a pair of Jacks on the flop to win a pot from A2s, bringing my stack back up to 7650.

Drain back down, but I take a further 3400 chips shoving ATo from the BB, stealing the pot preflop, which brings me back up to 7400.

Hand #2:

I’m in middle position with 6400, blinds have crept up to 500/1000, with 100 antes, and I wake up with TT in the lojack seat. The player two seats ahead of me, UTG, opens to 2100, with a stick of 15500, which raises an eyebrow, but I’m not here to fold pocket pairs in the face of strong bets with a short stack, so I shove it.

Table folds around, V calls, flips up 77. I’m in great shape, 81% favorite to win here. There’s no strategy from this point as I’m all-in, it’s just a ride to the river, which is… a 7d, and V sucks out on their 2-outer, and knocks me out of the tournament, in 15th place.

By my hand calculator, on the Turn I’m 96% to win the hand.

I didn’t do anything wrong, I got it in good, and I got creamed, twice.

The only thing I could think of to do differently in the first hand is to assume V has a much stronger hand than they do when they called the raise on the flop, and then check-folded to the river to keep more of my stack. Is that a better play, though? What kind of play is it to call a pot-size re-raise with only middle pair?

In the second hand, I have no problem being beaten, I’d love to run that hand 100 times.

In both hands opponents played badly and got lucky. On final tables you cannot win without a bit of luck at some point.

In the first hand, you have to wonder why opponent didn’t raise preflop. With A9 and a one-on-one situation he is probably favorite to take the blinds over most random hands. Limping there was just asking for trouble.

Having said that, two pairs on the flop when the pairs are medium cards is always a dangerous situation and on this hand you had both possible flush and straight draws against you.

But unlucky. It happens all the time though, where players call large bets on the flop with a pair that is not a top pair, and then get lucky on later streets.

On the second hand it is always better to have a higher pair versus a smaller pair, and again you were unlucky, but it happens all the time.

Just yesterday I was on the bubble in a half million buy-in tournament, made two pairs on the flop, shoved and a player who had A3 and had paired his 3 on the flop called my shove and rivered an Ace. Puke.

Moral of the story is that the more often you are all-in, the more often you will be knocked out by a fluke when a rational opponent would have folded.

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People say only in online poker cry, cry, cry. It happens a lot more online bc players are continuously & often willing to put money in so badly. In higher stakes or Live games with better players you wont very often see bad play rewarded bc you wont see a lot of gambling & bad play.

Yes, precisely. And if luck ran according to what probability dictated, it wouldn’t be a problem. I’d take the 60-75 of these pots, and lose the 25-30% of them, like is supposed to happen. I wouldn’t complain at all about it if that happened!

You want opponents to make blunders and capitalize on them; I have such terrible showdown results that at times I feel like the only way I can possibly take a pot is to get the table to fold on the flop, or preflop.

That means I have to bet pretty aggressively, and of course, then the odds that people calling are only going to have hands that beat me goes up. But even when they don’t, they just suck out.

It’s enough to drive ya mad, I tells ya!

If you are supposed to win 60% to 75%, you will lose 25% to 40%, not 30%. If you are a 3/2 favorite, you will lose 2 in a row 16% of the time. A sample size of “2” is meaningless, as you know.

Here’s what you should do: copy/paste the hand numbers of 100 hands where you went all the way to showdown. Then review these hands, calculate the odds, and tabulate the results. Do this for at least 10 days. If 50 hands for 20 days is easier, do that, or 10 hands for 100 days, or whatever.

Then look at the actual numbers. Put this to bed one way or the other with actual data.

As you know, I took 6 weeks to collect data on flopping sets where I had a pocket pair, collected 1,023 instances over a 6 week period, and discovered the results were within 0.02% of statistical expectation.

There is only one way you can be convinced… do the work and prove it to yourself, one way or the other. Do the work and you may never tilt again, yes? Wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

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That’s a great suggestion.

And thanks for correcting the math, I meant 25-40%.

And yes, a sample size of two is meaningless; but I’m speaking from the experiences I’ve had over thousands of hands, of which those two that I highlighted in this thread happened to be recent, costly, and vexing.

I do think it’ll be worthwhile to track numbers over a significant number of hands, and see what’s really going on.

Completely coincidentally, I just started tracking my hole cards in a spreadsheet, mainly just to have a set of data that I can run stupid spreadsheet tricks on. To keep the scope small enough that I wouldn’t find it tedious, I am only recording the hole cards, and nothing else, for this. I have about 425 hands recorded in it so far, which doesn’t seem like enough. So that’s one side-project that I have going on right now; I’ll probably post something to talk about my findings when I have a lot more hands recorded. Hopefully it’ll be worthwhile.

Now that I have thought a little more about it, what I suggested wouldn’t work.

The only way to calculate preflop equity is the see your opponent’s hole cards, so you have to look at hands that get to showdown, but not all hands get to showdown.

Many of the hands where you would win at showdown will be folded by your opponent before you get there, so if you do as I suggested, you will under-count the times you were ahead. It would also over-count the hands where you started ahead but your opponent got lucky, because these are the times they will be more willing to get to showdown. This would skew the data, and do it in a direction that makes it look like the RNG is rigged against you.

Actually, this is already happening, so maybe that’s why it looks like things aren’t on the up-and-up.

Since the betting influences how many hands make it to showdown, you would have to eliminate betting’s influence in order to get clean data. One way to do this is to only track hands where one of you you is allin preflop.

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