it’s bubbleicious

Posted on November 27th, 2008 by whinger. Filed under Poker.

Howard Lederer’s post on full-tilt yesterday talks about S&G bubble play.

You’re second in chips with 3,000, the blinds are 100/200, and you’re dealt Ad-7d in the big blind. The chip leader is on the button and raises to 600; the small blind folds and you call the extra 400. The flop comes Q-8-3 with two diamonds, which is a pretty attractive flop for your hand. You check, and your opponent does exactly what you didn’t want him to do: put you all in for about double the size of the pot. You’re getting slightly better than 3-to-2 pot odds on a call for your tournament life.

Is it just me or is the correct thing to do with the nut draw there never ever ever ever to check??? Move all-in yourself and put the decision on your opponent.

Admittedly we don’t have a lot of information about the relative chip-stacks; if your 3000 is a decent proportion of the chips on the table and the fourth-place guy is short then clearly you can pick a better spot, but if everyone has 2000 or more then I don’t see the value in folding there.

The only way your opponent can call is if he has AQ, AA, KK or QQ, which is possible given the preflop raise but four-handed a button-raise could have a much wider range of hands than that; otherwise I don’t see how he can possibly call and – even if he does – you’re about 45% (?) to the nuts and pairing your ace may still be good.

Of course the real mistake Howard hasn’t talked about is much earlier on in the hand: if you’re planning on checking that flop you should have folded to the 400 bet in the first place – what on earth were you hoping for – AA7? Did you really expect the chip leader not to lead out and bet at any flop on which you’d checked?



6 Responses to “it’s bubbleicious”

  1. Chris Says:

    Fold that shit pre-flop.

    As played check/fold flop. 3-2 pot odds on a flush draw only? He thinks it’s about 50/50 to win? And calling on a 50/50 is a good move any other time than on the bubble?

    If Lederer actually wrote this himself (seems doubtful, as he does actually understand this stuff) he should be ashamed.

  2. whinger Says:

    I don’t think I go for the check-fold as-played comment. With 1300 in the pot and 2400 remaining I don’t see the value in the check; there’s no way the button is going to check behind and you’ll have trouble justifying calling an all-in.

    What’s wrong with going all-in there? Unless he has AA or trips I’m in with a decent chance (and even if he has the chance of a diamond is what, 33%?) even if he has a big enough hand to call and I don’t see that he can, unless the stack is _so_ big that another 2400 is irrelevant to him.

  3. Chris Says:

    I just don’t like the weak-looking donk push for twice the pot size.

    It’s much better than calling all in but for the small pot you can win it’s an unnecessary risk on the bubble to make a hero play against the only player who covers you.

    I just crunched some ICM numbers assuming a $10 SNG with 10 x 1000 chip stacks to start and that the 4 players remaining are 4000, 3000, 2000, 1000. I don’t know how close this is, but it’s an indication.

    EV before hand: $29.50
    EV if you fold: $26.70
    EV push and not called: $32.50
    EV push called and win: $40.70
    EV push called and lose: $ 0.00

    Let’s say you have a 33% chance of winning if called (discount your A overcard to offet the times he has you dominated or has trips) that makes the overall EV of push/called $13.57.

    To be a zero EV play:

    26.70 = (p x 13.57) + ((1-p) x 32.50)

    Where p is the probability of being called.

    I’m not going to show working (check if if you like!) : p ~= 0.3.

    So that’s the decision you have to make: will he call more than 30% of the time? If you think yes – or if you’re just not keen on a very thin high-variance play – it’s a fold.

  4. whinger Says:

    I still think I would make the play against most players: four-handed a button-raise on the bubble from the chip leader could represent a wide variety of hands so I think pairing the ace is more likely than not to be good. Even if he does have a hand which dominates your ace I think he’s only calling your all-in with four hands (AQ, QQ, 88 or 33), because he can see the two diamonds and probably assume that he could well have the best hand and still lose, which (IMO) makes 30% look fairly good.

    You’re also forgetting that you take the chip lead if you push and he folds. That’s a psychological advantage that shouldn’t be underestimated.

    It does, of course, depend on how he’s been playing: if he’s folded the last ten hands then I might change my mind… but then I’d assume Howard would have folded preflop anyway.

    I guess that’s the problem with any judgement of this kind; so much is variable that saying “the right play is x” is just silly. But I definitely think recommending the call-check-fold play is just _insane_.

  5. Chris Says:

    Oh no, I don’t call in order to be able to check/fold without a monster. I just fold pre 🙂

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