Sunday, 10 June 2012

Rio Challenge Strategy 3: Bubble Trouble

One of the hardest things to do in poker is fold when you are confident you have the best hand. Another really tough thing to do is shove a poor hand knowing that you will probably be called by a better hand. On the bubble in a sit n go is these situations are commonplace and important to master. Weakness in this area is a significant leak for many players, including me.
In Hand A we will look at the situation from the perspective of a player with 1000 chips on the big blind with the blinds at 100-200. The other shorter stacks fold and unsurprisingly the dominant chip leader shoves. What hands are worth calling with here? According to ICM the answer is strong pairs only, says nines or better. I would probably only call with Jacks or better. Ace King has to be folded here unless you are playing specifically for first or first and second as part of a jackpot sequence.

500 Fold
1000 Fold
3500 All In
1000 ?

This situation becomes even more complex in the very next hand when the big stack does not push and our player is left with a decision. This is an area I myself struggle with. In Hand B what hands should be shoved in this spot?
1000 Fold
3700 Fold (Would expect a shove here around 75% of the time)
800 ?

ICM suggests the small blind pushes with 80% of hands and the big blind calls with around 90% of hands. A key clash is imminent. It is the pushing range of the player with 800 chips that interests me here as you can understand the very likely call from the big blind. The math says you shove hands like 84 suited or 75 offsuit here. I think I am only shoving maybe 60% of my hands in this spot, folding these weaker hands to a likely caller. This is a mistake it would seam and something I need to work on and understand more fully. I will try to analyse post game some real examples in the weeks to come and maybe post about the most interesting one.
Some poker players have suggested that sit n gos are easy, robotic with few tricky spots and not a true form of poker. But could they fold AK in hand A and push 75 in hand B. I doubt it.

Anyway, meanwhile my Rio Challenge position is as follows after 190 games with 60 games to play. I have fought back somewhat over the last couple of weeks and come close to another consolation bonus.

Direct Profit-25150
Freeroll Wins14150

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