11-12-05 [poker]Recently I've run into a lot of people late in tournaments who call my all-ins with too many hands. I've had QQ called by A8, 77 called by A4, A2 called by K9, and AT called by 97 (all losing of course - by definition, since they're the hands I go out on!). Now, the hands they call with might be okay move-in hands, but are not ok call hands because they're risking a lot of their tournament life (I'm actually short stack in these cases, but never was my stack so trivial that they could call without risking half or more than half of their stack). There's a nice article by Tysen Streib in the latest Two + Two online magazine about this. Basically what happens when they call too much is that BOTH of us badly lose EV, and the people who gain EV are everyone else who's not in the hand, since it greatly increases the chance of one of us going out, hence everyone else placing higher in the money. By calling here, they certainly hurt my EV, but they also hurt their own EV.
The fact that people are playing this way, especially near the end when the blinds are big, seems to put the lie to the gap concept and Harrington's end-game strategy. That all works when everyone is playing sensible and tight, but not when they're calling with these types of hands. The result is I have to tighten up and play more of a double-up game rather than blind-stealing. Which sucks for me too.