11-18-05 [poker]Played a very fun $33 three-table this morning, and wound up with second place. I got short stacked early, but fought back and soon got a massive cheap lead and started to absolutely dominate, running up a massive chip lead by the time we got to the final four. Then I lost a few chips, and the 2nd place guy knocked out the 3rd and 4th place guys, which gave him a stack suddenly very close to min. This was "walla5", a very good player who I'd guessed would be my competition.
The heads up with walla5 was a great challenge. At first I was playing more aggressive, stealing more pots, and I ran up to a 2:1 chip lead, which is a nice spot to be in because I can put him allin to try to knock him out and still be in a decent spot if I lose. He suddenly turned on the gas and started stealing and restealing a lot more and we got back to almost exactly even stacks. The blinds were very low - 200/400 with our stacks around 15,000 - that's an M of 25, which is unusually high and meant we had a lot of play. When I was raising preflop I'd usually make it 1400 to go, a pretty standard 3.5x raise. walla5 was usually making it 3000 to go. This is a major overbet, and a mistake I was hoping to capitalize on, but I could never get good cards any of the many times he made this raise. The interesting thing about this raise is that it's a powerful inflection point that puts the pressure on me. When I would raise to 1400, he could come over the top to resteal for about 3500. I would usually fold then unless I had a good hand, and if I reraised there, he could just fold, because 3500 is not too much of his 15,000. On the other hand, when he would come in for 3000, in order for me to put a decent raise on that, I have to make it 9000 to go, which is over half my stack, and now I'm pot committed. So by making that size raise, he's forcing me to fold or go allin. Then if I go allin, he can choose to call or fold, calling with his monsters to bust me and folding and just losing 3000 with his steals. This is a powerful play in general - forcing your opponent to make the decision about whether they go allin or not, without actually putting too many of your chips in. This is DoubleA's theory of "pressure points". Of course he was overbetting, so the correct response is just for me to fold and wait for good hands and try to bust him. Finally I did get a hand that I thought was good enough to play back - AQ. I moved in and he turned over AK and he won (he had the chip lead at that point, 15100 to 14900 !).
My two and three table play continues to be very strong. I tabulated my results for the last two months. I've cashed in two & three tables 140% more than random. That is, in two tables 4 out of 20 play, you would cash 20% of the time randomly, I'm cashing 20%*1.4 = 28% of the time. In two tables I also have a very strong record for first places when I cash. 70% of my cashes are for 1st place, as opposed to 25% if it was random. In the three tables, my first places are much closer to random, 33% instead of the 20% it would be if random (5 cash in the three tables). It's possible to make decent money at these sit & gos but you can't make great money because the highest buyin you get regularly is $30. At a 140% return my EV for a $33 buyin is $42, or +$9 per go, which is not much. You have to play at 110% just to match the rake. This stretch has included some streaks of bad play by me, so I think 150% is certainly possible, and maybe with perfect play something like 200% might be possible.