AK Sooted Revisited, Plus Some Game Theory
Sorry about the lack of poker posts lately. Things have been real busy over at fantasysportslive.com, and I simply have not played much poker in the last few weeks. I did want to go over a couple hands at the latest Orange County Poker Tour event last weekend. One hand will delve a bit into game theory, while on the other I will go back and revisit the AK Sooted hand I posted about a few months ago.
So the situation is we are at the end of the rebuy period, and I have less than a double stack. I take the T200 add-on and have about T420 in chips. Things have not really been going my way to this point, and I made one pretty big mistake earlier by exposing my hand when I could have picked up an additional T150. Even without that mistake, I would still be pretty short with the blinds at 10/20.
AK Hand #1
So about 15 minute in after the break, I pick up AKo on the button. There are a bunch of limpers, and I pop it up to T100 to take it down right there, or get heads-up. A bunch of folds, but a call from the big stack at the table. The flop drops all low and there is a check to me. With about T300 in the pot, and T300 behind, I am in a pretty tough spot here. Any reasonable C-Bet pot commits me. I decide to check behind and see what happens on the turn. The turn is another low blank, and it is checked to me again. I decide to go for a small delayed C-bet and bet out T100. I figure, I will take it down right there or fold to a reraise. Big stack just calls. The river drops yet another blank, and this time big stack bets $100 into me, and I fold giving up 1/2 of my stack on the hand. So the question is, should I have pushed the flop instead? Can the delayed C-bet work in that case? Game theory tells me the delayed c-bet is OK there. The key is that your delayed c-bets need to be a mix of made hands and bluffs. Now lets say that I have AA or KK in the same situation. Flop comes low, and I have T300 behind and T300 in the pot. I really need to maximize what I win on this hand. Since I am against the big stack, and in position it is not a bad idea to show weakness on the flop when you are in fact strong. The second check on the river tells me that I am ahead or against a sophisticated trap. I tend to discount sophisticated plays in a live tourney like this, so I figured I was ahead. I was actually called by bottom pair there, and bottom pair bet into me on the river. So my opponent was pretty convinced that I was bluffing there, or at least very weak. So it does not work out on this hand, but you can see how the same betting sequence with AA, KK or a set would have been paid off by bottom pair. The betting sequence appears weak, so that's why it works when you are strong. If you can show that betting sequence when you are strong, you can delayed c-bet bluff later and it will get respected. The big key is playing wildly different hands in exactly the same way so that you give up no information.
AK Hand #2
So now I am down to T200 in chips, and the blinds are 15/30. Even Harrington is desperate here, and I try to emulate Harrington as best possible. I wake up in the SB with the mighty AKo. There are a bunch of limpers before the button pops it up the T90. I insta jam, and it folds back to the initial raiser who insta calls and flips up AA. IGHN. So in the previous AKs hand I learned that it it usually incorrect to fold AKs preflop in the middle to late stages of a MTT. In the previous case, I was deeper stacked, which gives you the possibility of folding, and the raiser was on the button, which should push you towards calling. This time I am short and you just have to push AK there. So the previous hand I fold, and it was a mistake in my thought process, and a mistake based on the actual holdings. This time the thought process was good, but the result bad. I think I am still going to always play AK aggressive late. AK is ahead of all hands but pairs. As long as you can expand your opponents range to include some non-pair hands you should be good to go to war. If they are stealing from the button or an aggressive preflop player that is probably all the info you need to go to war. Alternatively, all you need to know is that your stack is short which was the case last weekend.