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  • Final Table Flub

    Posted by black_spruce on March 28, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    In an online $21 PKO tournament last night with 388 entrants, I got down to the final five and won $340.

    That’s the glass half-full version of the story. That glass half-empty version is that I had at least second place locked up and threw it away.

    • Chip leader: 7.4 million chips (37 BB)

    • Hero: 4.6 million (23 BB)

    • Small stack #1: 1.7 million (8.5 BB)

    • Small stack #2: 875K (4 BB)

    • Small stack #3: 864K (4 BB)

    I don’t remember the exact payouts, but 1st and 2nd place paid the same, around $700. Then, something like 3rd: $550; 4th: $400; 5th: $250. I had a bounty on my head of around $130, the chip leader had a bounty of around $260, and the short stacks’ bounties were something like $70, $60, and $5.

    With three shorts stacks, I was essentially guaranteed to lock up at least second place (which paid as much as first), and maybe collect a bounty along the way. So, with the bounties I had already captured, I pretty much could fold my way to $900. Instead, I shoved heads-up against the chip leader – literally thinking as the hand began that the one thing I should not do is get in a heads-up battle with the chip leader – and went out in 5th place for a total $340.

    How bad was my play on this hand?

    black_spruce replied 6 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • fivebyfive

    March 28, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    Far be it for me to criticize someone with this hand, but yes, honestly, this is a fairly catastrophic play in terms of EV and ICM. Especially in a PKO when we’re exposing our bounty to the only player that can take it and we have no room to capture one by risking this many chips.

    But don’t beat yourself up. You got yourself in a great spot and you are learning from it. This is how we improve! So what can we learn from this so we don’t repeat it? Well, let’s forget about bounties and even ICM for a second and just talk about the hand to start. This is a fairly common mistake that I see from players and it has to do with valuing overall hand strength rather than relative hand strength. When there are three of a kind on the board, we need to stop ourselves thinking about our great hand. A full house on this board is meaningless. Don’t even mention the phrase to yourself because it will get you in trouble. ANYONE who continues on this board has a full house (or better) and we have one of the worst ones possible.

    Can our opponent have a 4? Yes, a few. A4 is the most relevant. Possibly K4s and 45s too. Okay, that’s not great. Can they have much Kx? Whoa, yes, a ton. As chip leader on the button, they are probably opening down to KTo and most every Kxs. They can also have AA btw. That is a ton of combos that will snap call this shove.

    So when they barrel twice on the flop and turn here, and we check shove, what are we doing? What is our intention? To get a better hand to fold or to get a worse hand to call? I can’t quite imagine a worse hand calling. Does AQ ever get curious and call our shove? Very unlikely. And doesn’t that also check back the turn a lot too?

    Okay, so villain doesn’t have much in the way of air here and we’re bluffing and trying to get a better hand to fold. Which hands are those? It’s the frisky pocket pair combos (66-QQ) that didn’t check back the turn. So now we’re attacking a pretty thin sliver of their range (since a lot of those will check back). They have way more Kx and 4x than they do 66-QQ by the time they bet this turn.

    Even at ChipEV, I would prefer a fold first, a call second, and a shove as absolute last. But given the ICM implications, we have to take that reasoning and push it even further. We have the most to lose as the player with the second most chips and we gain little from putting our stack in the middle. We can comfortably fold here and still be in a great spot. We need to find it.

  • black_spruce

    March 30, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks 🙂

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