Monday, July 31, 2006

The bust out hand

One of the things I often comment on is the significance (or actually lack of significance) of the hand that busts you out of a tournament.

No matter what the hand you can't be busting out if you aren't short-stacked relative to the player that busts you. And, that means either that you did something wrong earlier to get yourself short-stacked or you just weren't paying attention to relative stack sizes this hand and got ourself into a risky situation no matter what your hand.

There was a thread on rgp a while back (I don't have the link handy) where someone bemoaned the fact that the hand they're most likely to bust out of a tournament on is AQ.

Here's wha the hero said about it.

> According to PT the pocket I'm most likely to end my tournament with is
> AQ. I HAVE TO be playing it wrong, as I'll end up beat with just about
> any flop except QQQ or AAQ (and no K comes).

My comment.

"If you're playing it wrong and busting out with it then you're probably playing even weaker hands wrong also, and losing enough chips in prior hands to be in a position to get busted. But, you probably are playing it wrong."

And he said.

> I'm thinking a big problem is in the preflop raise. I doubt I'd ever
> bet enough to get AK, AA, KK, QQ, JJ and probably TT to fold..

And I said.

"If you're picking a bet size in order to try to maximize the chances of people folding, then that's your mistake, and it's probably a mistake you make every hand, not just with AQ."

It's important to think in terms of what hands they'll call with, not in terms of what hands they'll fold.

Our hero needs to change the whole way he thinks about it, not just the way he plays AQ.

One thing I forgot to mention in that thread is that he also needs to pay attention to the stack sizes. If there are players behind you with stacks much larger than your stack, then you need to rethink whether you really want to put your stack at risk with AQ right now (or whatever your hand is). Position is very important, and when you're short-stacked in a touranment position relative to the big stacks is critical. Position isn't just about the button.


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