Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Razz resteal

Here's a possibly interesting hand I played yesterday in a razz single-table sit-and-go. First the whole hand history, then the story.


(Razz Limit) - Level VIII (200/400)
Seat 3: azerplajin (3424 in chips)
Seat 4: Joliwhite (869 in chips)
Seat 7: Rakewell1 (5790 in chips)
Seat 8: mesothel (1917 in chips)
Rakewell1: posts the ante 40
mesothel: posts the ante 40
azerplajin: posts the ante 40
Joliwhite: posts the ante 40
*** 3rd STREET ***
Dealt to azerplajin [7d]
Dealt to Joliwhite [5d]
Dealt to Rakewell1 [8s 6c Kd]
Dealt to mesothel [Jh]
Rakewell1: brings in for 60
mesothel: folds
azerplajin: folds
Joliwhite: raises 140 to 200
Rakewell1: raises 200 to 400
Joliwhite: raises 200 to 600
Rakewell1: raises 200 to 800
Betting is capped
Joliwhite: calls 200
*** 4th STREET ***
Dealt to Joliwhite [5d] [3h]
Dealt to Rakewell1 [8s 6c Kd] [Td]
Joliwhite: bets 29 and is all-in
Rakewell1: calls 29
*** 5th STREET ***
Dealt to Joliwhite [5d 3h] [Ad]
Dealt to Rakewell1 [8s 6c Kd Td] [Qs]
*** 6th STREET ***
Dealt to Joliwhite [5d 3h Ad] [Jd]
Dealt to Rakewell1 [8s 6c Kd Td Qs] [2h]
*** RIVER ***
Dealt to Rakewell1 [8s 6c Kd Td Qs 2h] [4c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Rakewell1: shows [8s 6c Kd Td Qs 2h 4c] (Lo: T,8,6,4,2)
Joliwhite: shows [Qc 4d 5d 3h Ad Jd As] (Lo: J,5,4,3,A)
Rakewell1 collected 1818 from pot
Joliwhite finished the tournament in 4th place
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1818 | Rake 0
Seat 3: azerplajin folded on the 3rd Street (didn't bet)
Seat 4: Joliwhite showed [Qc 4d 5d 3h Ad Jd As] and lost with Lo: J,5,4,3,A
Seat 7: Rakewell1 showed [8s 6c Kd Td Qs 2h 4c] and won (1818) with Lo: T,8,6,4,2
Seat 8: mesothel folded on the 3rd Street (didn't bet)


We were on the money bubble with four players left. I was the big chip leader, with nearly half of the chips in play. On the bubble, nearly all of the hands had been short, with the low card raising and everybody else folding--especially if there was a low card to the right of the bring-in. It had been this sort of careful, boring stalemate for maybe ten minutes. Nobody with the bring-in had tried defending, except when everybody had a low card showing.

In this hand, I had the bring-in with (8-6) K. It was folded to Joliwhite, to my immediate right, showing a 5, who completed, as would be expected. Several factors made me decide to try the gambit of a resteal.

(1) I had never fought back in such a situation in this game, making Joliwhite's chance for success high, which I assume made it more likely that he would try to steal very light. (2) If I reraise, he will likely fold a lot of the hands he was stealing with, probably putting me on A-2 or A-3 in the hole, as he knows I haven't reraised a bring-in yet. (3) He was short stack on the bubble, so won't want to go to war light. (4) He took quite a bit longer than usual to put in the raise, making me think that he had contemplated just folding it, which I seen him do once before, giving me a walk (i.e., maybe he had something truly horrible in the hole, like QQ). All of this made me think that a reraise had a maybe 75% chance of ending the hand. And I could easily afford the risk.

So I fired in the raise, thinking it would win me the pot right there. To my surprise, he reraised. Well, now I had a decision to make. Fold and cut losses, or go for it? There was 1160 in the pot at that point. He can't actually go all in, but now he's pretty clearly pot-committed, so let's analyze it as if that reraise were an all-in, to simplify the math.

The pot is effectively 160 in antes + his 830 + my 400 already in = 1390. The all-in call costs me another 430, for pot odds of 3.2:1. Even if he has his best possible hand (A25), I'm 23% to win (I get that using the razz simulator here), which is 3.3:1, essentially a break-even proposition. For the reasons stated above, I thought he was actually not nearly that strong--probably at least one bad card, either a face card or a pair. As it turns out I was right about that guess; he had Q45. So in fact I was 44% to win, or 1.3:1.

Of course, I didn't know those exact numbers in the moment of decision, but I've played enough razz and read enough instructional material and run enough simulations to have a general sense of the ranges of probabilities, and I thought that with the stack sizes the way they were, I was doing the right thing to get it all in, once there had been the raise and reraise, even with my one bad card.

I got lucky and won it. But setting aside the outcome as it happened, was this a good move on my part? I have thought about it a lot since then, and I'm still not sure. I have presented my thoughts and reasoning here, but maybe I'm just making up a self-serving justification for having done something that in reality was foolish. I am definitely susceptible to the occasional case of Fancy Play Syndrome. Is that a legitimate diagnosis here? Should I have just let the bring-in go and wait for the next hand?

So to the serious razz players out there--what say you?


DP said...

I believe you may be thinking about this the wrong way. In general, you shouldn't be trying to kill the short stack just because you have the chips to put pressure on him. You would be better served playing against the middle stacks, who can't really afford to slip down and out of the payscale. The shortie wants to double up, your showdown value is small, and it gets worse as your live outs get fewer.

You are thinking in terms of razz strategy, but you must not forget tournament strategy. Punish the middle or lock it up, but never double up the short stack.

SirFWALGMan said...

A king door is the worst card possible. No matter what your opponent has baring like trips you are behind. Razz has small edges so you obviously are not far behind but I think you double up the small stack or have to fold 4th way to often for this to be profitable.

Listening said...

DP said everything I would: never double up the shortstack.

Another way to handle this situation is to flat them when they raise. You'll still convince them you have two primes in the hole. If 4th comes good for you and bad for them, bet. If they are bad in the hole as well, they still have enough of a stack to fold. If they call, you have a good read on their hand strength and can play perfectly. If you have to fold 5th, you haven't given them much. You discourage them from stealing light in future.