Poker advice and news from Dave Colcough of Bet365 Poker
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Short Handed TV Tables
Written by: Dave Colclough (2004-06-25 01:19:39)
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 on bet365poker.com at
any time during the day. 5 handed - similar to the TV series and 9 handed tables
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...
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 pot odds. 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
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 get excited.
Confused, you soon will be.