Short Handed TV Play
I don't know how many
of you stayed up to watch my banana backed,
square eyed poker performance on last weeks
Sky Sports Poker Million - The Masters.
A few friends of mine did, and suggested
it wasn't so easy to follow what was happening.
So here's a few hints and explanations of
what was going on, or more accurately, why
it was going on. They also hold true for
one table competitions. (You can play one
table competitions at
any time during the day. 5 handed - similar
to the TV series and 9 handed tables are
What happened in my
TV Heat was quite typical of many TV Heats,
but probably not as likely to occur in normal
one table competitions. Just because it
is on TV, most players do not want to make
fools of themselves, and especially don't
want to be first out. So generally they
play very passively for the first three
or four levels. In my heat this resulted
in no-one being eliminated early.
Meanwhile the blinds
are obviously going up. When we reached
level 5 without any eliminations, the blinds
were very high (8000/16000) in relation
to the average chip stack (100,000). If
we had eliminated 3 of the 6 players the
average chips stack would have been 200,000
and the blinds v average chip stack ratio
would be more normal... So what?
Well, should you have
dropped below average, to say 72,000 - you
are now in dire need of a hand to play.
All your chips will whittle away in three
rounds of play. So that is why on TV you
suddenly see some of the professionals moving
all-in with K6, whereas earlier they had
passed A10. The pressure of the blinds is
beginning to take its toll.
Also should you have
gone another round and let your stack drop
to, say 40,000, another situation occurs.
Let's say you pick up 2 Kings and move all-in.
The big blind has already invested 16000
in this pot. When the action reaches him,
he has only 24,000 to call, whilst he can
see 64,000 on offer in the middle. Excellent
. So you will then see many of the
professionals calling with unlikely looking
hands such as 6,8 off-suit.
Conversely, if you have
allowed your stack to dwindle to 40,000,
you can expect to be called. So now it is
very difficult to make any semi-bluffs with
hands like 9,10. You know you are probably
going to get called, so it is only the right
move if you want to gamble.
| At the end of my heat, the
blinds were 30,000/60,000 and the average
chip stack was 300,000. Lets assume I always
make up the small blind, because the pot odds
are 3-1, and I have the button. Then I only
have 5 hands before all my chips are in the
middle. And I only have 2 hands before I can
expect a mandatory call from my opponent.
Thus, I end up in a situation where I try
and bluff move all-in with 9,3 off suit, while
my stack is big. Perhaps not quite as ridiculous
as it looks on TV?
| Many of the professional will
point out that Jimmy White was lucky to win
the first Poker Million - The Masters. The
other main reason he won, was because the
blinds v average stack ratio got to the stage
where the professionals were forced to gamble
in situations they would rather avoid. When
the ratio is high, the luck content in poker
is equally high. It could of course, be argued
that we professionals should play these TV
one tables much more aggressively, thus avoiding
this situation. Then Jessie May could really
| Confused, you soon will be.