Crazy Rules, Tight Frenchies and the “Float-donate” move
Friday, 29 June 2012
By Paul Jackson
Ben and I, along with Barny and Ross Boatman, were representing Genting Poker at the Dublin UKIPT. The Citywest Hotel is a bit out of the way but, situated on a golf course, it’s a pleasant location, and in any event where you get a lot of Irish poker players together, there will always be plenty of action and drinking and fun.
The UKIPT has a decent starting stack of 15,000 and a reasonable structure, so there is plenty of play, unless you want to make a habit of continually over-betting all hands. Early on I came to the conclusion that my table might get quite spicy when I raised in the cut-off to 125 (from a big blind of 50) and, when it was folded round to the big blind, he 3-bet me to 1050. Next, when the blinds were 100/200 a player raised to 600 and got one caller, before another player made an impressive squeeze to 14,000, which was successful.
There was an interesting hand which reinforced my long-held belief that the phrase “the action has changed” is a total load of bollox. The words make sense but bear no logical consistency to justify the decisions made by people using the sentence. So the cards are dealt and before, say, the player under the gun has acted, another player says raise or call. If the first player now raises, that has apparently “changed the action”. No, it hasn’t! In simple English, there has to be action before the action can change. As the player under the gun hasn’t done anything yet, there is no action, so the action can’t change.
Rulings in these cases can be completely contradictory: the player who bet out of turn is either penalised by being forced to continue with the bet he made (what a punishment that is!) or gets to take his chips back and continue as if he had done nothing wrong in the first place (justice?).
These may just be the pedantic rantings of a grumpy but very logical old bastard, but let’s look at the actual incident that occurred in the UKIPT so you can make up your own minds. We get to the river and the player in the small blind is thinking, while the only player left in the hand, who is on the button, bets 600 out of turn. The dealer points this out and confirms to the small blind that the bet stands, so the small blind puts out 600, thinking he is calling the 600 bet. Now, obviously, the dealer could have been a little clearer here but as the player in the small blind didn’t say check and has now “changed the action” by betting, the player on the button quite legitimately (but not, in my view, equitably) takes back his 600 and folds his hand.
In my opinion, that is not just and, moreover, a rule that gives players the opportunity to get away with betting out of turn increases the opportunity for players to pull strokes, which is the supposed reason for the rule in the first place. There may be a sensible and logical reason (beyond “that’s the rules”) for this rule, but in 30 years of playing poker I have never heard it. I think we’re getting all this rubbish from the Americans and it’s about time we realised that we should trust our own judgement in these matters.
So, getting back to the tournament, early on I make a flair raise with 7-8 double-suited and the flop comes 7-6-K. I bet and get called by a tight French player to my left (and yes, I am fully aware that’s a contradiction in terms). The turn is a seven. I bet quite small (pretty much to try to get to the river as cheaply as possible), he calls and the river is an eight to give me two pairs. I am pretty sure he has a king and also that he is unlikely to have any card with his king that makes a straight. It’s also pretty easy for him to think that I would slow down with a made hand on the flop now and so a bet might signify that I cant win the pot by checking, which means he may well make a bluff-catching call on the river. I bet three quarters of the pot and he calls. He shows K-J.
Later I raise to 250 with A-J and get three callers (two out of position and the Frenchman to my left). The flop is Jd9h4h. I bet 600 and the Frenchman min-raises to 1,365; the other two players fold and I call. I am not loving it but I think this is the type of move a tight player might make in this spot with a good draw, rather than, say, a set, as most tight players are too scared of having their set outdrawn to min-raise here and let me see the turn comparatively cheaply.
The turn is 4s and I check, waiting to see what the French lad does. He checks also, so now I’m pretty sure he either has a draw or maybe K-J or even A-J (he was very tight). The river is 3h, which I don’t like, as one of the hands I hoped he might have after checking behind the turn was a flush draw. I think it’s cheaper and better to bet-fold here, rather than to check-call a potentially bigger bet, and also if he does happen to have J-K he will call this bet, but probably check behind when I check. So it’s a combination of a value and a stopper. The French lad calls and shows QhTh. That’s how tight he was!
The most significant hand of the tournament occurred when a player under the gun threw in an oversized chip to raise (blinds 100/200) but failed to say raise in time and so his bet went as a call. Three other players called, as did I on the button with QdKd. Both blinds also called so we went to the flop seven-handed.
It comes 2-5-J rainbow, is checked around and I check also. That might be a weak play by me, but that’s me. The turn is Te to give me an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw as well as the two over-cards. An aggressive player in the blinds, who seemed to have a tendency to try to take advantage of any perceived weakness (like everyone checking the flop) bets outs 525 (into 1,400), Mark Mcluskey calls and everyone else folds.
Now, at this point, I was ready to re-raise the bettor and I was a bit surprised by Mark’s call, but I can’t think of a strong made-hand he would flat with here, given his check on the flop, and so I decide he likely has a draw. If it’s a straight draw, he’s in bad shape and if it’s a flush draw he is still probably in bad shape, unless it’s the nut flush draw. If you also factor in that Mark would be aware of this bettor’s aggressive tendency in similar circumstances, he may just have a marginal made hand that could not take heat from behind. So there’s a reasonable chance that my bet will win the pot there and then and I 3-bet to 2,100.
The initial bettor folds , as expected, and Mark now calls, which I think eliminates the made marginal hand, and, as I had already eliminated a made strong hand, he must also have a draw. But I have a big draw and position, so was in a good spot in the hand at this point. The river paired the ten so, in terms of draws, this was effectively a brick and Mark checked.
I figure he will fold all missed draws and I am likely beating all but the nut flush draw which he would also fold if I bet, so just to make sure, I bet a quite big, 4,000, and after a long dwell Mark makes a great call with Ad2d for bottom pair. He had correctly put me on a missed draw and I think that I made a mistake here. If I was truly value-betting, I would either have bet less to encourage the call or a lot more on the basis that he would either call everything or nothing. I bet the wrong amount and Mark made a very good call but I should have thought about it more and made a better bet-size on the river.
I got him back later after I limped with 8-T suited – cheaper than raise-folding to the serial 3-bettor to my left and I felt too deep to 4-bet bluff out of position, plus I'm inherently tight. Mark calls on the button and the flop is A-9-9 rainbow. The blinds check, I check and Mark bets 350. The blinds fold and I call, floating him, as he would normally raise an ace on the button and he ought to have missed that flop most of time. Also, it’s very easy for him to put me on a nine considering the way I’ve played it. The turn was an eight and I check now with some showdown value, expecting Mark to check behind with everything except a hand including a nine. He bets 1,050 and I fold. I call it the “float-donate” move and I executed it perfectly. I was quite short after my float-donate move and soon afterwards I got it in with two eights, running into kings.
The next tournament I played was the PLO event, and with about 20 players left I was very short-stacked but plodded nicely, nursing my short stack as I had been for most the event, and managed to ladder up to the top three.
I actually got it in against Barny with 4 left, with the nut-flush draw versus top set to go chip leader. I hit the flush on the turn and Barny filled up on the river, but I was pretty happy to have got that far without ever having a decent stack, until near the end, at least. Never mind – the cash games were very good and I ended up coming home with more money than I went with, which is always nice.
PokerStars run their events extremely well and we were all very well looked after, especially by Kirsty. Thanks to the team for running such a tight ship.