Sunday, October 15, 2006


Raymond Chandler's last completed novel, 'Playback' (1958)To commemorate President Bush having signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act into law on Friday, I decided to play some online poker.

I played a hundred hands or so of limit on PokerStars. Actually did pretty well for the day, though I ended up a little down for the week. Looking back over the last couple of weeks, it appears that I’m just a few bucks up since having banked most of what I had had out in the various sites and in Neteller. So I’m still sitting on modest balances in both Stars and FTP at present.

I was just about to sign off Stars Friday when I decided to try one of those 375 FPP satellites into the big Sunday Million tournament. This was a turbo tourney (no limit Hold ’em), so the blinds went up every five minutes. There were 36 entrants, and only the winner won a seat in the big one. No consolation prizes here.

Never in the tourney was I able to build up much of a stack, really. I had gotten lucky very early on (in Level 2) on a big blind hand where I’d flopped trips and slow played, then recklessly ended up all-in after an opponent had turned a flush. Fortunately I filled up on the river and survived. After that I mostly stayed out of trouble and hit just enough hands and flops to stay afloat. Then I made a couple of decent reads once we had gotten to the final table to accumulate a few more chips.

Before long we were down to six players. Then came a hand about which I’d like your opinion. Let me set the stage.

We had reached Level 11, with 600/1,200 blinds and 75 for the ante. I was sitting on exactly 6,035 chips -- putting me in fourth place ahead of a player with 3,618 and another with 610. The top three players had approx. 20,000, 13,000, and 11,000 respectively.

I was in the big blind -- after posting 1,200 I was suddenly down to 4,835 -- and was dealt 6s6c. With an “M” of not even three, I had all but decided that any pair would probably do, so as I awaited the action to come around to me, I had already mentally prepared to push. I watched as the super short stack went ahead and put his last 535 in the pot. Then I saw the fifth-place player push all-in with his remaining 3,543. Then I saw the button also push his entire stack -- around 11,000 -- in the middle.

What would you do here?

I thought about it, but went ahead and pushed. I know that it isn’t necessarily good form to call an all-in raise and an all-in reraise like this, but it made sense to me in this situation to go ahead and gamble. If I fold, I’ve barely got the chips to play a couple of rounds (and the blinds are going up up up). And, as it happened, I actually only had one opponent who could bust me here, as the other two had shorter stacks than I did. I clicked the button to go all-in and watched . . . .

Alas, the board came Ks2h8cThAs, and the button knocked out three of us at once having made aces up with big slick.

Did I do the right thing? Does it matter that I was eliminated there?

I hope not, because that’s not what happened.

Truth be told, I lied. I hit my set. The board actually was Ks6h8cThAs. The super short stack held 97 and so survived the hand, taking the small (3,125) main pot. Meanwhile, I took the rest -- almost 14,000. The other short stack was bounced (he had pocket queens). The button indeed had big slick, and so not only lost to my set but had to endure making two pair as well.

I ask again: Did I do the right thing? Does it matter that I won the hand?

It mattered to the button, who was a little miffed afterwards. Down to about 5,000 in chips for the next hand, he typed “what a clown 3 way allin calls with 66.” “Sure,” I responded ambiguously. A buddy of his from the rail described the play as “sick.”

I’d agree that if some of the circumstances were different -- for instance, if it weren’t the case that only first place carried any sort of prize -- the call might have been sketchy. But was it here? Never mind the result . . . you tell me. What would you have done?

Thanks largely to that hand, I ended up surviving until there were just two of us left. When heads-up began, my opponent had a 3-to-1 chip advantage. The first hand I had T7 and folded to his preflop raise. The second hand I had AJ and he folded to my preflop raise. Then on the third hand I was dealt KhTh and decided to push. He thought for a while and called with 9sQh. The flop looked terrific -- 8h4h4d. According to the CardPlayer calculator, I’m 81% to win from here. The turn was the Js. Still right at 81%. Unfortunately, the river was the Qd, and I found myself finishing second, winning exactly what the guy who finished thirty-sixth received. Nada.

I wish I were lying this time -- that I could play it back with a different ending. But I can't. Still, it was a fun hour of online poker. Think I’ll play again tomorrow. Can’t think of a reason why I shouldn’t.

Image: Playback, Raymond Chandler (1958), Amazon.

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Blogger derbywhite said...


I think that with an M of 3 any pair or two paint cards is a call.

I think it was the right decision.

You have to gamble right.

Commiserations on the 2nd place :-(

10/16/2006 3:20 AM  
Anonymous Yorkshire Pudding said...

With the amount of chips in the pot before your push I think you were getting good value if you hit your set, plus in a game like it's all or nothing. This time it paid off.

Out of interest would you have played in the Sunday Million or would you have cashed out the $T and used them for something else? I'm starting to think some of these satelittes could be quite lucrative.

10/16/2006 4:38 AM  
Anonymous Cadmunkey said...

OMFG! what a donkey you are!!

Ok not really, I reckon 99% of your readers are calling in that spot aswell with an M of 3.

10/16/2006 7:03 AM  
Blogger Cell 1919 said...

No problem with that at all.

You click all in, get down on your hands and knees and pray to the God of poker.

It's happened AGAINST you on more than one occasion I bet. Your turn for a bit of luck.

Tough luck on second. Still, a great achievement :)

10/16/2006 8:24 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Lol cadmunkey . . . . HEE HAW.

By the way everyone . . . I posted this one over on 2+2 to see what people would say. I don't think everyone is going to say to call here. Click here to follow the discussion.

Yorkie . . . yes, I almost asked that same question here -- would you play or cash (should you win)? $200 would be a nice payday for a short-stacked type like me. I'd probably hem and haw, then take my shot one Sunday, though.

10/16/2006 9:25 AM  

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