Bovada 100k Final Table Meltdown, hand 1

BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
edited August 2015 in Live Poker Hands
Let's set the stage:

I woke up yesterday, and looked through the Bovada Sunday MTT slate, planning my sunday session. I considered buying into their sunday major (100k guaranteed, 150$ buy-in) but decided against it, as it is still a bit out of my bankroll range. I decided on a slate of lower buy-in tourneys, and then at the last second I decided to buy into the last 100k satellite for 18$. I managed to win a seat (Jules, you will appreciate that I finished the tournament with literally 0.5 bblinds remaining in my stack, two hands from the big blind). Fast forward 8 hours or so, and I finished the 100k in 8th place for 3k. Great result right? Sadly, poker is too cruel for this to be a happy story. The reason it isn't happy?

I spent at least 2 full hours leading into the final table as a massive chip leader. Going into the final table, I honestly think I only lost 1 significant pot in the previous 2 or 3 hours. I was playing well and running like god. The final table bubble burst with the 2nd place player winning a massive pot, so I went into the final table basically tied for first. After that, things went horribly wrong, I spewed off my whole stack without winning a single pot, and I feel pretty devastated to be honest. I wanted to post the 3 big hands to see if I played them badly.

Hand 1: Literally first hand of final table. blinds 12.5k/25k/2.5k.
Hero in CO with 1.0 million chips (40 blinds)
Villain on button with 250k (10 blinds).

Villain has been on hero's direct left for last 2 hours. Hero has played his chip leading stack relatively aggressively but not like a maniac. Villain has very selectively attacked Hero's late position opens. A few hands before final table started, Hero had opened button, Villain shoved from SB for 10 blinds, and Hero folded.

Folds to Hero in CO, Hero has :As:Tc
Hero opens to 50k.
Villain shoves from Button for 250k. (there is 1 slightly shorter stack and 1 equal stack to Villain's remaining at final table).
My first instinct was to fold, but I ended up tank calling, thinking villain could be ripping all suited As, KQs, etc. Should I find a fold here?


  • HappySumoHappySumo Red Chipper Posts: 58
    Sorry to hear about your meltdown. I have been there.

    I think you should open for less here. I find in these tournaments that raising to 2.5X gets the same job done as raising to 4x.

    As for the hand. This is a close call here. When you call you will be behind. If the villain has not been a maniac, I probably fold here.
  • BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the nice words Sumo. Actually it was just a min raise, 25k blind so I raised to 50k total.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,867 -
    ICM considerations are important here.

    Without all the relevant stack sizes and payout structure, I can only go by chip EV, and that is far from the entire story.
    (more about ICM here from Gareth's full video on ICM in poker)


    Let's work with what we have.
    Assuming ten people at the final table, there is:
    2.5K * 10 antes
    25K BB
    12K SB
    50K Raise
    250K Shove
    362K is the prize.
    The cost is 200K

    You have a fighting stack if you lose.

    The final pot would be 562K and you are asked to put 200K into this party. From a pure chip standpoint, you need to walk away with the moniez 35% of the time. What kind of shoving range allows for that?

    By your own estimation and my extrapolation from that range:


    This range puts you at 40%, a little bit above the Chip EV of 35%. ICM with short stacks at the table pushes you towards making tighter calls, and this one is already marginal. You need to be able to put in a lot of hands that you dominate in his range to feel really good about this call.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for running these numbers Doug. I was willing to give villain a slightly wider range, down to ATo, QJs, KQo, and down to 55 perhaps. Against this range ATo is doing a little better, with 43% equity. But overall this makes me feel better that my initial instincts were correct, that this was incredibly close. My gut feel at first was to fold ATo but call ATs and AJo, then after thinking I talked myself into calling with ATo, but I definitely would have folded A9.

    A quick question about ICM: We have a big stack that won't be horrendously hurt if we lose and villain is risking his tournament life. So we need to take ICM into consideration when constructing his range, but once we feel good about his range, we are happy to call with any +EV spot right, since we have the opportunity to bust a player and get a pay jump?

    Villain ended up having AJo, not good for my hand but it did make me feel better that I wasn't completely off-base regarding his range.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,867 -
    I think of ICM in this very simplified way:

    You know when you are at the final table and you see two stacks get it in on a coin flip? Everyone not in the coin flip is happy. Why? Doubling your stack does not double the money you expect to win in the tourney. The rest of that equity is given to everyone else at the table.

    A coin flip is a slightly +cEv proposition because of the antes and blinds. Everyone else at the table loves it. It is hard to find a range where this call is more than a longshot coin flip (winning a third of the time, getting slightly more than that in chips) So, everyone is cheering again, for the same reason.

    If they are cheering, and you are marginal at best, that value is coming from somewhere: You and Villain.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
    Hmm maybe I'm thinking about it wrong. It seems like in this situation (when we get all in with a comfortable stack) we are in the same situation as the rest of the table: If we win, we get the same payjump that everyone else gets. If we lose, we still have a top 3 stack so our equity is not crushed. Perhaps in this case, going down to 21bb from 29bb does hurt our playability enough that we should take it into consideration. But if we are going from 39bb to 31bb (for example), it feels like almost all the value is coming from villain risking his tournament life rather than from us (again, assuming we have properly accounted for his tighter shoving range).
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,867 -
    It all depends on the payouts and other stacks.

    Just like you do cEv by looking at the two outcomes and the probabilities, for ICM your stack has a $ value. This $ value depends on the payout and other stacks at the table. When you are making this call, you have two end states and a certain probability in being in either one of them.

    Get the payouts, the other chip stacks and throw them in an ICM calculator. This will tell you the payouts and you will know the right answer.

    My guess is because the cEv is so close that the ICM will be a fold. The chips you win are not worth as much as the chips you lose.

    Do you have those numbers to try?
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
    Bovada makes you wait 24 hours before making hand histories available, so I won't have them until tomorrow. I'll post them them. Thanks for that answer though, that makes sense for sure. Villain will obviously be losing the most value (because he is at risk of being immediately eliminated) but we are also losing value since our lost chips are more valuable.
  • SaintsTigersSaintsTigers Red Chipper Posts: 238 ✭✭
    Good run, Nick. And don't worry too much if you didn't play optimally at the ft. Mistakes are just opportunities for improvement. You'll be better for the experience and have more ev the next time you're in a similar spot or one with even more upside.

    I saw an interview Doc Sands gave when he was crushing super high rollers. Basically, his perspective was that an advantage to being a big stack at the final table is you can afford to gamble and give yourself a chance to accumulate chips more than the other players since even if you lose a big pot you'll still have a workable stack.
  • BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the nice words Saints.

    Doug, if you are still willing to throw these numbers in the ICMizer here is the hand history:

    I actually had even more chips to start than I thought, I guess I was trying to block out just how big a punt this FT really was :(

    Bovada Hand #3246592539: HOLDEM Tournament #10213248 TBL#65, No Limit- Level 29 (12500/25000) - 2015-08-16 23:49:21
    Seat 1: UTG+2 (441,637 in chips)
    Seat 2: UTG+3 (1,426,517 in chips)
    Seat 3: UTG+4 (193,787 in chips)
    Seat 4: UTG+5 [ME] (1,266,452 in chips)
    Seat 5: Dealer (261,281 in chips)
    Seat 6: Small Blind (309,928 in chips)
    Seat 7: Big Blind (437,609 in chips)
    Seat 8: UTG (631,903 in chips)
    Seat 9: UTG+1 (660,886 in chips)
    Dealer : Set dealer/Bring in spot [5]
    UTG+2 : Ante chip 2500
    UTG+3 : Ante chip 2500
    UTG+4 : Ante chip 2500
    UTG+5 [ME] : Ante chip 2500
    Dealer : Ante chip 2500
    Small Blind : Ante chip 2500
    Big Blind : Ante chip 2500
    UTG : Ante chip 2500
    UTG+1 : Ante chip 2500
    Small Blind : Ante/Small blind 12500
    Big Blind : Big blind/Bring in 25000
    *** HOLE CARDS ***
    UTG+2 : Card dealt to a spot [3d 3c]
    UTG+3 : Card dealt to a spot [6h Td]
    UTG+4 : Card dealt to a spot [9h 5d]
    UTG+5 [ME] : Card dealt to a spot [Tc Ah]
    Dealer : Card dealt to a spot [Ac Js]
    Small Blind : Card dealt to a spot [Kh Jh]
    Big Blind : Card dealt to a spot [3s 3h]
    UTG : Card dealt to a spot [8h Ts]
    UTG+1 : Card dealt to a spot [7c 8c]
    UTG : Folds
    UTG+1 : Folds
    UTG+2 : Folds
    UTG+3 : Folds
    UTG+4 : Folds
    UTG+5 [ME] : Raises 50000 to 50000
    Dealer : All-in(raise) 258781 to 258781
    Small Blind : Folds
    Big Blind : Folds
    UTG+5 [ME] : Call 208781
    *** FLOP *** [Jd 4c 9c]
    *** TURN *** [Jd 4c 9c] [2s]
    *** RIVER *** [Jd 4c 9c 2s] [2c]
    UTG+5 [ME] : Showdown [2s 2c Ah Jd Tc] (One pair)
    Dealer : Showdown [Js Jd 2s 2c Ac] (Two pair)
    Dealer : Hand Result 577562
    *** SUMMARY ***
    Total Pot(577562)
    Board [Jd 4c 9c 2s 2c]
    Seat+1: UTG+2 Folded before the FLOP
    Seat+2: UTG+3 Folded before the FLOP
    Seat+3: UTG+4 Folded before the FLOP
    Seat+4: UTG+5 lose with One pair [Tc Ah-2s 2c Ah Jd Tc]
    Seat+5: Dealer 577562 with Two pair [Ac Js-Js Jd 2s 2c Ac]
    Seat+6: Small Blind Folded before the FLOP
    Seat+7: Big Blind Folded before the FLOP
    Seat+8: UTG Folded before the FLOP
    Seat+9: UTG+1 Folded before the FLOP
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,867 -
    We need payouts also.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • BotswanaNickBotswanaNick Red Chipper Posts: 696 ✭✭✭
    6- 6250
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,867 -
    TLDW: Good call. You made $370 (on average, just not today) with the assumptions you gave.

    ICMizer can be found here for ICM poker math.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • JulesJules Red Chipper Posts: 441 ✭✭✭
    Nick what a fabulous run! And way to go in the satty! So glad we had that post earlier so we can learn from it. Sometimes we have to hang in there "like hair in a biscuit" as the saying goes. I know it feels weird to wait it out but look at the result!!

    So I don't think you did anything wrong in re to the first hand. Calling another 8 bigs is conceivable with your stack. Going from 50 bigs to 40 isn't going to impact your stack or play. But like you said. It was close. And one thing I've been finding in tournies, when its that close, that deep in a tourney, its ok to lay down and wait for a more profitable spot. I had a very similar situation happen to me live at the Aria during a tourney. I talked to one of my more experienced friends that was there afterwards and he said I could of gotten away. Not that the call was that bad. But it was close. That hand haunted me for the rest of the FT and kinda screwed up my play. I couldn't recover from it. I came in as chip leader and left in 6th. That being said I would of made the same call as you.

    One thing I want to ask. Were you feeling like maybe you were getting ahead of yourself and just wanted to close the deal and get the win? This would be in re to punting off your stack as you said you did. A little winners tilt maybe? You only posted the one hand. Obviously more happened after that. I tend to do this a lot! Get a little anxious and forget to stay in the moment and play one hand at a time one level at a time. Part of my mental game I'm trying to improve.

    Just a few thoughts. I think you did awesome! What a nice chunk of change. I know it's bittersweet, but.... there is always more poker and we learn and move on. You got through a tough field. So cheers to that!!

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