Thursday, April 17, 2008

When The Blinds Are Sitting Out...

Back to Poker-related things to think about! Actually had this post 3/4ths finished in draft and was going to put it up tomorrow... but I got 'outed' for putting up 20 room reviews and started to feel a little bad... (quick explanation to follow - actual post to start below the stars)

Have spent a lot of time (like 10 hours a day) writing over the last few days - some content for the sites, but mostly reviews and 'factual' type articles for a new project. I am aiming to become the number #1 source of 'poker-related PLR' (private label rights) material as well as a hub for poker writers and those who buy articles... over a 4 to 6 month timeframe - the trouble with this project is that it is a chicken / egg situation - I need a product to kick it off.

So, the articles are in my blog to get indexed by the search engines... rather than be read - once they are indexed I can start to package them up as PLR material without the first purchaser getting an unfair advantage over the rest.

Funny how writing 10 hours a day (and those are pretty solid hours too!) makes you not feel like writing blog posts... ah well, once the latest project gets going it will run itself!


When the blinds are sitting out.

Tournaments, reasonably big blinds compared to stacks (well, ok, even smaller ones) with the big blind disconnected or otherwise about to insta-fold to any bet creates an interesting dynamic at the table.

Anyone who raises, especially from late position, is assumed to be attempting to steal the 'dead blind'.

Anyone who re-raises, especially over the bet of a late position raiser, is presumed to be presuming that the original raise is a steal and '3-betting light' to steal both the raise and the blind.

There are 2 things to think about in these situations, the first is how we might adjust our play depending on the opponents yet to act and their capacity (courage!) to 3-bet us light (or just call). The second thing is a meta-game thought - but one that I find interesting, it concerns the dead blind dynamic being quantitively different from standard play... but actually not qualititively different (will explain below).

So, we could easily get mathematical here, but that is not my aim.

Imagine we are in the hyjack seat (2 away from the button) the big blind is dead... has been sitting out for over an hour and is not expected back. We would like to steal this blind but know that our 3 'live' opponents suspect this... what are the factors we need to take into account in making our decision?

- Stack-sizes: Could we easily raise-fold, if we get re-raised do we have enough chips to re-re-raise all in and still have fold equity?

- Opponent Tendencies: Are the 3 live players tight? aggressive? what hands are they going to re-raise with? what percentage of hands that they might re-raise with will they fold to a 4-bet all-in? Will we be flat called?

- Our image: Have we raised and folded to a 3-bet before in this situation, are we seen as tight? what hands do our opponents think we would bet / 4-bet here?

- Situation: Are we about to hit the bubble or are there 100's still to go? Is the chip leader about to exploit the situation in the tournament by raising with air? are these satellite qualifiers looking at their biggest ever payday?!?

- Our Cards (deliberately last): The strength of our actual cards are polarized here into 2 groups. Those we can 4-bet all-in with and those we can not. The other scenarios (calling a 3-bet or getting flat called) get a little more complex... for the purposes of this 'thought excercise' we are assuming that if we would not call a 3-bet all in (shallow stacks) or be prepaired to 4-bet with (for example) 9-9 then we might as well raise with 7-2 off suit.

Ah well, my return post is getting long... and I have much writing still to do today!

The second thought, the 'dead blind' gives an 'exaggerated' dynamic. But wait a second, think through the short list of 'things to think about', position, stacks, tendencies, cards, situation in the game and image... are these not what poker decisions are based on anyway?

Well, if we can not make those decisions in the exaggerated dead blind scenario - how can we make them outside of it??

GL at the tables, Mark


Nick said...

If we're only concerning ourselves with being 3-bet, then yes, 27o is the same as 99 if we're not going to go all the way with it. But in reality, a much more typical situation would be for one or more of the other players to flat call you, hoping to exploit their position after the flop. For that reason, I'd say it's advisable to narrow your range to hands that are at least somewhat playable after the flop.

Mark said...

Excellent point Nick... flat calls are horrible in many MTT situations (and well overused by most players at the smaller buy-ins... usually for the wrong reasons!). In this situation it could indeed effect your decision making.

Cheers, Mark