Making Laydowns...

I haven't talked poker strategy of any sort in quite a while here, and really, I was kinda looking to stear clear of it. Then again, I thought I'd be talking Oz much more than I have done so recently ("no worries" though - the Oz posts will still come).

Anyway... While calculating pot odds, preflop strategy, hand groupings, making reads, and position are all pretty damn important in one's poker game; I think knowing when to make a big laydown just might be the most important factor in one's poker game from a strategical standpoint.

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An example --- a few weeks ago, I'm playing a tourney. Clearly I am the chip leader. The player second in chips sitting to my immediate left and we're two off the bubble. Blinds are 2000-4000; 500 ante and we're seven handed. I have roughly 250K in chips. Second place has roughly 120K. Action folds to me on the button, where I pick up AcJd.

I raise it up to 17000, which I felt was a standard raise, had the short stacked big blind covered, and was enough to scare away the SB/second in chips --- UNLESS --- he has a hand of some sort. He reraises me another 25000 chips on top, leaving himself roughly 78k behind into a pot of roughly 60K, 90ish if I call.

I sit here and think the situation over. Dude's second in chips, thinks I am stealing, and really has not made many plays at me all game long; thus unlikely to be playin at me now, right? Still, tourney on the line, I have position and I've made a statement of some sortl he's only playing back at me with a suited ace, two paint or a PP of some sort.

So here I am, not sure if I'm ahead or behind... Leading in chips. In fact, leading from coast to coast in this tourney, truth be told. I think my options through. Reraise, call or fold, right? 90K pot if I call. Thinking further, I have position and the stack so I can afford to call, right? I mean, he may check to me and I can check behind or bet out, depending on the board... And if it looks scary, I can fold right?

And as a matter of fact... considering I have position, reraising to all-in is out of the question, because I really do not wish to waste the button, right? I mean --- I have it for a reason. I'd like to reraise him here, but I cannot pop him here without pushing him all-in, as he is committed for one penny more, pretty much. Though, he "could" be committed right here, right? I mean, can he really fold with 67K in the pot and 98K or so behind?

More importantly, I'm like chip leader damn near twice over here... Imagine how I can so coast to first place if only I take this hand down!!! Then again, I could just fold now - preflop ... nah, silly idea. I really want to see a flop, I'll just call.

Flop comes J-10-8. Surprise surprise, he pushes the rest in on the flop. I'm behind aces, kings, queens, jacks, tens and eights. He's drawin comfortablly with nines, and sevens and less so with sixes-twos. I'm ahead of AK, AQ, A10... and fighting with KQ, but beating KJ and K10. Does he think I can fold here? Does he think I will fold here?

I mean, I probably should fold here. But, wait... aren't I more than likely ahead? I'm thinking he's putting a play on me. He KNOWS that I "can" afford to fold here. In fact, I fold, I'm still leading in chips... We're near the bubble and he's below average if he loses this hand. He "needs" to push and for me to fold... I'm certain I'm ahead, though there's gotta be something I'm not looking at here. What is it?

Ah yes... I benefit little by winning this hand, but stand to lose a lot by losing. While I'm pretty sure I'm ahead preflop, I have top pair and best kicker on a dangerous draw happy board that is well within and/or around his hand range. I do have pot odds to sufficiently call this hand, however; is calling this all-in the correct move (preflop play aside)?

I fold pre, I am left with roughly 230K. I don't think I should have folded there. I call an additional 17 and am down to 215K or so on the flop. He moves allin for 95K into a pot of 90Kish... So, I have to risk 95K to win 180K. TPBK and getting odds... From a purely pot odds standpoint, I'm a call here. Though, I fold now, I forfeit the pot of 90K, but I remain chip leader... I remain above the average stack and am positioned well to go deep.

If I win, I'm already the leader. I lose, I'm below average now... Clearly, a call in this situation with the draws on the board based on my believed hand range was not the smartest/most appropriate move on the board. I stand to win little, lose lot... Based on where I was in the tourney, the fold is the best of all possible options.

Often bigtime players like to make a big fuss about making some sort of monsterous read where they are certain they're against exactly aces, and they lay down pocket kings... Or even when they lay down middle set on the flop. Many times, this is done not because they truly think they're beat, but instead because IF they're beat, they stand to lose more and gain minimally from a win. So next time you see someone on the tele lay down a monster, look where they are chipwise, where they are in the tourney and see if the fold makes sense on that level...

By the way, he hit his straight on the turn and I ended up bubbling - not that we're results oriented...
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