The three hand theory

If you don’t want to read about poker, please ignore this post.

I have now developed a theory about playing hold ’em at a single table sit and go: Whether you win or lose will be decided by exactly three hands. The only hard part is knowing which three hands they are. As I have been winning sit and go’s I have noticed that I really can single it out to about three hands that really made the difference between a win and a loss. I will recount the last one here. Unfortunately I didn’t take any screenshots so it will just be a lot of text.

I am in the tourney and it is already down to seven people. Chip leader has 5,000, small stack has 1950, I an just above that with 2015 -thanks mostly to not having a decent hand to play thus far.

I am on the button when I get dealt a monster Kc Kh. The first two guys fold outright, the third wants to limp in with 100, but the guy next to me raises it to 250, which will eventually knock both of the blinds out of it. I am really happy with my hand, but the guy who raised hasn’t made a raise the whole game. I don’t want to raise it only to find out that he has aces, so I just call it. The flop brings up 5s 2s 3h, which really shouldn’t help him considering the amount he went in for pre-flop, unless of course he is holding aces, in which case I am probably screwed. He bets into it with 277, which is just a bit more than a quarter of his stack. I am still worried about the ace, but I want to see if he is just trying to bluff me out of it, so I double his bet. He calls. I am actually worried now that he does have the aces, until I get the Ks on the turn. He checks it to me. If he does have the aces, he has just been beat and I want him to know it. I got in 500, I now have almost three quarters of my stack in this pot and wholly expect him to give it up, but he calls. Now I am worried that he might be in it with an A-4 suited, not something I would expect someone to raise so high pre-flop, but you do get all kinds at the sit and go table. The river came up Kd, thus giving me the nuts and I went all in. At this point I went from fearing that he had an A-4 to actively hoping that he did. Instead, his timer ran down to zero, at which point I said in chat “I got the nuts here”. Little did I know that it was going to give him a time bank extension (I though he was already on one), after which he quickly folded. Note to self; Don’t talk about the hand until the next one is dealt.

The game went on for a few more hands with everyone just basically trading blinds; the cards were horrible for everyone and the winning pocket cards weren’t even faces. Then I get another playable hand. Timmy is chipleader with just over 4,800, myself and another guy are about 1,000 behind.

I am in the big blind here when I get dealt Kc Ad, how I do love to have a good hand in that position. UTG folds, the next guy raises 625 in a heartbeat. It folds around to me and I call the 425 to get into the pot. The flop is 7d 7h Ad which gives me top pair and high kicker, time to see if this guy is going to lay down his queens; I bet 25% of my stack to see if he was going to drop his queens, or hopefully he had an ace with a lower kicker. He went all in. This guy hadn’t made an all in move in the game, although he had called a couple. This was also probably only the second pre-flop raise he had made the whole game; he was extremely confident with his hand. There is no way he is going all in with anything other than an ace, but he has to know that I also have an ace or I wouldn’t have bet big, unless he puts me on 7’s, but he has to know that I wouldn’t have called his 3x preflop with a low pair. My pointer hovered over the call button as the timer ticked down then went to time bank. He isn’t bluffing, he has the aces. I have almost half my stack in the pot, but I layed it down. He said “good fold” and showed the aces. I went from second to fifth place on the hand, but I am still alive. Good fold indeed.

The absolute worst place to finish in a SNG is one place out of the money, and everybody knows it. Once we were down to four guys at the table it went back and forth for a good twenty hands with no one really improving their position. Eventually, someone got down to the short stack once the blinds were up to 400/800. He had just under 2,000 while I had 4,000 and was going to be on the blinds for the next two hands. He went all in and I called. I had A-10 to his Q-J. That one really could have gone either way, but I came out on top. In the money now, we all started playing a bit more aggressively.

I am short-stacked with about 2,700 while second place has 4,000 and the leader is running away with over 10,000. I am on the button with a Q-10 offsuit, with the blinds up to 400/800. I am going to have to move or go home. This is far from my ideal hand, but I limp into it. At this point I am pretty committed to the pot and barring some outlandish flop I am going to live or die by this hand. The flop is a 3d 8d Jc, giving me a gutshot draw that I am not at all happy about, but it is checked around to me so I get to see the turn for free. It is the 9 that I needed, but it is the 9 of diamonds, meaning someone could already have the flush. While I am busy worrying about whether or not someone has the flush, the big blind goes all in. I am thinking to myself “Oh fuck, this guy has the flush”, but at the same time knowing that he is the big blind and that he is not in much better shape than me as far as chips. I go all in with a silent prayer. He flips over a Kd-2c, so he doesn’t have the flush yet, and thankfully the river is a garbage heart. He isn’t out of the game, but he is crippled and I would knock him out on the next hand when he went all in on a 35 offsuit.

There were obviously a lot of other hands in the game, but those are the three that really stick out in my mind as being absolutely crucial. While I actually finished second place in that tourney, it is only because we went all-in after about a half an hour in the heads-up play just to end it. My A-J lost his Q-2, which I would call a bad beat were it not for our prearranged all-in call.

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