Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

It has been some time since my last post. I had some serious block, and my real life has kept me very busy. I have been running well at cash, but felt like I was floundering in tournaments. However, just back from the Borgata Poker Open, and I am feeling real good about my tournament game again. This trip also seems to have cured me of the writer’s block.
I have written before about reasons why a person might make a questionable call, and also about the fact that some people may call for no reason at all. However, when you do decide to call, more than just looking at what you have, and what you perceive your opponent has, you have to think about what the ramifications (not just the results) of your call might be.
Let me explain.
In the $350+50 big stack tournament, I was moved to a table and had about $28,000 in chips. From the moment I arrived I was dealt absolute garbage. I was in a tough spot because I had a stack that would commit me if I three bet, and I could not find any hands to open. My $28,000 dwindled to about $11,500 without being able to play a hand. With blinds at $600-$1,200 it folded to me and I figured it was time to try and steal so I looked at my cards and moved all in with 9c2c. Keep in mind I had not played a hand since coming to the table. It folded to the BB who had a big stack.
I guess it was his stack that prompted him to call with Q 10 off suit. I do not know if his call was correct or not. He was getting only about 1.5-1 on his call so the odds were not there. On the other hand, the call was for only about 10% of his stack so he could clearly afford the call. Looking deeper though, the ramifications of his call should make this a fold. Based upon how tight I was, his Q 10 cannot be ahead of much of what I am shoving with. If he loses, he doubles a player up and puts him in a much more comfortable spot. In addition, although not a big hit, the BB still takes a hit to his stack which will hinder his inability to play better spots in later situations.
Another, better example.
I have had the pleasure of playing against Matt Burnitz a number of times. He is a terrific player and a nice guy as well. The first time I played against him I was in seat 1 and he was in seat 10, so I had position on him. This first time, I knew nothing about Matt, and he knew nothing about me, however, it did not take me long to figure out he was super aggressive player.
I do not remember the buy in amount, but each player had a $100 bounty on his head, a very important factor in this tale.
Matt started out of the chute fast. He raised a lot and took down a number of small pots. The rest of the table was extremely passive and let him run over them. I did not. Matt raised his button and I immediately 3 bet from the small blind with 9 little. Matt made the call. The flop came out 9 8 x. I bet and Matt called. The turn was a J. I bet and Matt shoved all in. I had to fold (Matt later confirmed he had J8 and turned 2 pair.)
With my stack reduced to about 10,000 from the $15,000 starting stack, I find QQ UTG. I limp in, as does UTG +1. I limped because I knew Matt was raising. Sure enough, it folded to Matt who did raise. I immediately popped it, and surprisingly, UTG + 1 shoved all in for $10,000. My read on UTG +1 was that he was not very good and I had every intention of calling.
The hand now gets interesting with the action back on Matt. He was at about $30,000 and he starts talking out loud about how his hand is garbage, but he can earn $200 in bounties. He then said one of the funnier things I’ve heard when he stated to me “I think you’re ahead.” With that comment Matt made the call as did I. UTG +1 rolled over Q 10. Matt showed 5d6d. (Really Matt? You THINK I’m ahead?”) I turned over my Qs. The dealer then put a 6 down on the flop and turn…good game me.
So why is this a better example? Matt saw the opportunity to pick up two bounties so he made the call, but what he did not see was that if my hand held I would triple up to $30,000 and he would be cut to $20,000. More importantly was that I had shown I was the only player willing to play back at him AND I had position on him. Matt’s call could have put him in a very tough spot going forward in that tournament. As it was, Matt went on to finish second in that event…he also finished second in the 2012 Borgata Poker Open main event…so what do I know?
I do know that if I am in a marginal spot against Matt, he is one player I do not want to needlessly give chips to. When you decide to make that call against me, ask yourself whether you want to deal with me and a stack. At least then you are thinking about more than the results. You are thinking beyond the hand and about the tournament.

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