Limit Poker Tournament Hand Broke Down...

On Sunday one of our players, Judith, posted a hand in the Shark Forum that she had just played out in a Limit Poker Tournament at River Belle Poker. The actual thread can be found here. In any event, I discussed this hand with several of my friends, who's skill level and understanding of poker vary greatly. I admit I had become fascinated with this discussion and with this hand. The hand went as follows, and as I replay the hand, I will enter the commentary during each part as appropriate.


$200 Freeroll at River Belle Poker. 12 people remain, top ten get paid (read: bubble). Tables are six seated at this point. Judith, our hero is fourth in chip count with a bit over 60K sitting in front of her. The villian ("boooooooo!") has roughly 80K in chips and sits directly to her right. Blinds are 3000/6000. Judith's actual M is 6, with her "effective M" (M adjuststed for shorthanded tables - something I've not yet discussed in the endgame series) is under 4. Villian's actual M is 8 and effective M of 5. Observe that both players are "short stacked" relative to the blinds. Both players actual M is in the "orange zone" and their effective M places them into the Red Zone.

Preflop Position and cards and play:

Villian sits in the small blind with 7c-5c. Judith sits in the big blind with Ad-Qs. Action folds to villian. Villain completes the blind, calling 3000. Judith raises, making it 12,000, villian completes.

Preflop analysis:

Me: (on villian) with an M of eight and effective M of five, especially being a limit tournament, this hand is not really "playable" from the orange zone. I'd be equally comfortable with a steal attempt here, being heads up, as I would be with folding this hand. However, I'm not wanting to commit my chips with this hand and would probably fold to any pressure. If my M was not so low, I'd be inclined to raise heads up and on a short table with this hand to "protect" the value of my raises with hands more monsterous in value.

Other players through conversation on villians hand: 5 people out of the ten surveyed said that seven five suited, heads up was "a good hand" and would call. Two people "surveyed" would have raised, "because the hand was suited." One person would have called, praying for Judith to raise, and then reraised her. Surprisingly, two people would have folded this hand.

So preflop survey: 5 call, two raise, two folds, one call/raise/reraise. Mike would be almost equally likely to fold as he would to try to steal, and would be inclined to back off to any pressure under unfavorable circumstances (i.e. a reraise and/or unfavorable flop).

Me (on Judith - and not "knowing" what this guy has): Sitting in the big blind in a limit tournament with this hand, heads up and against the chip leader, I'm inclined to want to slowplay this hand. The hand is ideal to stand up unimproved if the board misses the both of us, it has top pair capability, and is capable of producing a straight (thus connectivity). I'd be inclined to want to naturally raise with this hand, as it is somewhat of a monster. But, I'd think that I could both disguise and extract more value from this hand by checking it through, given that I am heads up and have position relative to the small blind. Furthermore, by checking, I'm able to look at the flop and cut down his odds to draw on me, causing him to make a mistake by calling anything after the flop. A raise here would sweeten the pot, however, it would potentially give him the odds to call down and draw somewhat correctly. For these reasons, I check.

Others (on Judith's hand and not knowing what the other guy has): Eight of ten surveyed raise preflop with this hand, because "its a strong hand." One out of ten checks because "AK and AQ ALWAYS lose." The remaining one likes the idea of slowplaying this hand, citing nothing about pot odds.

Actual Play: SB completes, Judith raises, SB calls...

Flop: 7s Qh 3d

...To be continued tommorrow, along with the mailbag.