Thursday, April 06, 2006

Draw is a Draw is a Draw

I'm playing the PSO League tournament last night and I managed to take an early chip lead at my table. Then in late position I'm dealt pocket 10's. Two limpers to me and I raise it up to a standard 5x the BB. Fold around and a middle position player (second in chips) calls me. The flop gives me "Thirty Miles of Bad Road" and I'm eccstatic. Checked to me, I bet, player raises, I push. Now the player barely thinks about it and calls. I'm ahead but my opponent has a Q high flush draw that completes on the river.

In a previous post I reviewed the power of an all in with a flush draw and when it might be the right move. This was not it in my opinion. Now every player plays a different game and my opponent may have been looking to gamble. You have to weigh the pro's and con's of every decision at the table. It was early, and he was risking his tournament on a draw when he had a ton of play left in his chips. It is also one thing to be the aggressor and push all in with a draw, but it is almost never correct to call off all your chips with a draw.


So I'm playing in the Stars Deep Stack tourney and I double up within the first 10 hands. I build up to a top ten chip stack within the first 30 minutes, then give it all away and spend the next 4 1/2 hours stuck at my starting stack size. That's right... 4 1/2 hours. I float between 4,500 and 7,000 but never amass any kind of run.

No fears though as this is a deep stack tournament and the blinds are not forcing me into any decisions. Were finally down to about 40 players from the money when I get a nice mini run and build up to 17,000. This whole time I've been planted at the same table, with the same players. We have two open spots that others rotate in and out of until they are busted, and then a new player is rotated in. Through it all most of us have played together for a very long time and I'm feeling very comfortable. I have some tough and successful players sitting next to me but I've garnered enough respect to take a blind every now and then even though I'm getting crap cards. The way things were going I thought for sure I'd make the final table with only my original 5,000. But the run came and I started building.

The inevitable happens and I'm unceremoniously moved to a new table. I'm the short stack but I only need to take a moderate pot to assure myself a coast to the money. Fisrt hand at the new table and I'm dealt AQo. Two limpers so I make a raise and it folds around to my immediate right who has me well covered. He calls. The flop comes 10 high, but all hearts. My opponent checks and I bet the pot wanting to take it down right then.

My opponent has other plans and pushes all in. I really have nothing, but my Q is a heart. I make the call and leave my fate up to a draw.


Two draws...two all in calls...why is one right and the other not?

Although these plays have the same result of calling off all your chips on a draw, the situations were completely different. The original call was made while the player was left with a ton of options. With so much play left with his chips there was no need to make the play. A flold still leaves him with about his starting stack size. With it being so early in the tournament there would be plenty of opportunities to double up when you have better possibilities. Remember the player wasn't even drawing to the nut flush, just a flush.

The second situation differs greatly in that the pot size was already bloated. If I make the fold I will be forced to go all in within the next several hands. I wouldn't be left with enough to survive the blinds and antes for more than a round. We were still 20 players from the money so my best opportunity to survive was now. By making the pot size bet at the flop I had, for all intents and purposes, commited myself. I still had what I believe to be the best draw as well. My opponent could have very well called me preflop with a J 10 and now hit his top pair. He saw me as a short stack and wanted to run the chance to eliminate me. I also felt I had the draw to either a heart, or Ace for the win.

The turn would bring my heart but my opponent was already there with a flopped K high flush. I made my hand and still lost. That's poker and I had no read on the players. I'm convinced it was the right move, just the wrong time.

Any thoughts?