Before jumping into today’s hand we’d like to thank all of our readers for a great first year! Your support is very special to us. We expect big things in year two, including more tools (outside of the blog) to help implement The Poker Model into your game. Now let’s get back to work.
I’m on The Button holding 5s-5c with 4 players left in the tournament. I have about 22 big blinds and am the shortest stack at the table. The fact that I’m the shortest stack will not change my play. As always, my actions will be based on the number of big blinds in my stack and the variables presented to me in each unique situation.
The action is on me. With over 20 big blinds (a medium-sized stack) and with no previous raises in front of me, I should raise 2x the big blind into the Pot with any ace, any two cards over 8, suited connectors over 5, and any pocket pairs. 5-5 qualifies as a pocket pair and I have over 20 big blinds with no previous raises. I will raise 2x the big blind into the Pot.
The Small Blind folds and The Big Blind calls. The Flop comes 4d-Qh-6d and Player 273 checks to me. On this flop, a good hand would be Two Pair or better (4-6, 6-Q, 4-Q, 4-4, 6-6, Q-Q). A mediocre hand would be any open ended straight draw (3-5,5-7), flush draw (any two diamonds), second pair, top pair, or overpair (any 6, Queen, K-K, or A-A). See other posts for a review of this terminology. A bad hand is any hand that is worse than mediocre. 5-5 is a bad hand because it is not second pair or better. For this reason, I’ll make a small bet, keeping my stack as close to 20 big blinds as possible trying to get my opponent to fold. This is the best play because it gives me the opportunity to win the Pot without becoming a short stack if I’m unsuccessful.
I make the bet and the action is back on Player 273. Notice that I didn’t change my strategy because Player 273 is the biggest stack at the table, with over 1 million in chips. The Poker Model is built around focusing on ourselves and not getting intimidated by a bigger stacked opponent. I had a bad hand, so I made the bet in an effort to get him to fold as defined by the model’s strategy.
Player 273 folds and I win the Pot. This hand was very standard, even though at a Final Table with 4 players left and having the shortest stack at the table. It would be easy to see a big stack and give up on the hand, thinking that you will be bullied and forced to fold. Remember that every decision you make will have a calculated reason behind it. Do not assume that you’ll be bluffed off of a hand because of external variables that are not as relevant as your core strategy. Make your play and live with the result.