Online Freeroll Tournament - Early Stages

Zr1

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Consensus seems to be a bet in the range of 300, which is exactly what I bet.

Blinds 15/30. First three players fold, HJ-1 calls. Hero is in HJ, looks down at dream :ac::as:. I raise 4x (120).

CO calls. BU, SB & BB fold, limping HJ-1 calls. Pot = 405

Flop comes :2h::3s::8d:. HJ-1 checks, action to Hero. Remaining stacks Hero = 3160, CO = 895, LJ = 3488

Action to this point is pretty standard, but here is where it gets a bit more interesting...

Hero bets 300. CO folds. LJ (HJ -1) check-raises to 1305. Action to hero...

Does he have pocket 2/3/8's for the dreaded set? Did he call the PF raise with something stupid like 2-3/2-8/3-8 for two pair? Does he have an overpair and thinks he's beating my AK? Is he just trying to push me off the pot with air?

WTF do I do here w/ AA?
Never folding. I dont see how if we are behind we dont lose it all. I like a stop and go here. If he has air hes not going To call a jam. I dont like checking the turn cause if he has part of the board he would get a free card. If we bet the turn he may call with worse hand. He may raise with a worse hand, he may raise with best hand but again we are not folding. If we check and he bets we are not folding and getting it in on the river.
 

LotsOfChips

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Was going to wait for more responses, but it seems to have slowed down, so I'll post the next segment and go to bed, then discuss it further tomorrow.

Blinds 15/30. First three players fold, HJ-1 calls. Hero is in HJ, looks down at dream :ac::as:. I raise 4x (120).

CO calls. BU, SB & BB fold, limping HJ-1 calls. Pot = 405

Flop comes :2h::3s::8d:. HJ-1 checks, action to Hero. Remaining stacks Hero = 3160, CO = 895, LJ = 3488

Hero bets 300. CO folds. LJ (HJ -1) check-raises to 1305.

Hero thinks for a moment, then decides to raise. Villain's line doesn't make a ton of sense - unless he slow played pocket pair PF, and then slow played the made set again post flop. As @grebe mentioned, seems more like he is trying to get a fold here.

Timer is expiring quickly as I move the slider, and I don't pay enough attention to my stack size. Hero 3 bets to 2400 (leaving 760 behind). Villain snap 4 bets all in (3488). By this time I'm pot committed, so I insta-call.

Villain show :5c::3h: for middle pair! WTF???? He check-raised, then 4-bet with a pair of threes????

Of course, as @grebe predicted, "by default it's probably a bad beat story." Sure enough, Turn/River comes :3c::ts: , and I'm gone from the tournament early.

My first thought - online poker is so rigged.
My second thought - the only way he calls my bet, let alone raises (not to mention 4 betting) is if he knows what's coming.
My third thought - Freerolls encourage stupid play, and while he only had around 15% equity PF and less than 20% on the flop, there really was no disincentive for him to fold, unless he actually cared whether he busted out or not.
My fourth thought - that's poker.
My fifth thought - did I screw up here by calling his check raise? Should I have folded AA in this position?
My sixth thought - how are you supposed to put a player on a range when they call raises with 53o?

Given he was raising with air, I think I played this correctly, Hopefully PCFers will weigh in on this and let me know if it wasn't the right move.

Results shouldn't affect whether this was the right play, but FFS, I have lost with >85% equity so many times that it it getting pretty annoying.

Some earlier comments questioned the point of playing a $25 Freeroll, given the long time commitment to possibly win a paltry few dollars. I'm fairly new to NLHE (playing for just over a year now), and especially new to tournament strategy, so I'm using it as a cheap training tool. But given the number of times my overwhelming advantage has been cracked by some idiot poker genius beating me with any two cards, I'm starting to wonder about the wisdom of that.
 

warma

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I'm using it as a cheap training tool.
As are others, as well as folks just having fun and pushing the limit, I suspect. V must have been feeling lucky, loves playing wild, or really “thought” (without too much thinking) that you had nothing.

I was in a free tournament the other day and played really loose. Even in the second and third chance tables, just to have fun. It was an opportunity to ask “what if?” Spoiler- I went out early each round, but had fun doing it.

Someone smartly mentioned in another thread that not everyone is playing smart poker. Sometimes you can take advantage of that, sometimes the bonkers hole cards get you.

At least you didn’t lose $$$. :)
 

Easylife

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Early stages of a $25 freeroll I'm shoving there. More often than not you are getting at least one caller. Later stages I would start thinking more 3 or 4 x the pot as the game and players settle.
 

grebe

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A few notes to your last post and overall:

-obviously, you played the hand fine. You got it in good, and that's all you can ever do.

-everybody gets AA cracked. It's how you handle it that makes you a better player. If you start to get gun shy because you remember that last time, then you don't get value from your premium hands. Getting value when you are ahead is what winning poker is all about (especially as a beginner.)

-This is a straight up bad beat story (to be honest, it's not even that bad of a beat). When looking for strategy hands to post, look for hands where you are unsure if you played it correctly and are looking for ways to improve your line. You could have even won the hand, but maybe you could have squeezed more value from it. These are the strategy hands that will make you a better player. Bad beat stories are just looking for sympathy, which does not make you better.

-Online poker is not rigged. Variance is real, and it is a bitch. 80% favorite means you lose 20%. That's just the maths of it. Just wait until you get 1-outered.

-You do not have to validate the stakes you play to anyone. As I stated before...when somebody is complaining that your stakes are a joke, THEIR buyin is somebody else's big blind. It is your time and your money, spend both wisely.

Play on,

grebe
 

Zr1

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Hero thinks for a moment, then decides to raise. Villain's line doesn't make a ton of sense - unless he slow played pocket pair PF, and then slow played the made set again post flop. As @grebe mentioned, seems more like he is trying to get a fold here.
This is the reason i think its better to call. Raising generally will make him fold when he has nothing or a small pair. If he has tptk, a set etc you are getting them in anyways down the line. If you call and then bet the turn alot of times he will call if he has any piece of it.Having said that...you got the chips in as a favorite. In the end you were losing them all anyways and that is how it goes sometimes
 
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Poker Zombie

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I don't fault your playing for paltry stakes, but you must adjust to the game. In a freeroll with "real" money prizes, you will get a lot of players that I call "scratchers". People that buy scratch-off lottery tickets, even though that know mathematically that they are giving up 40% to the house.

These people don't play poker for the challenge, they play for the thrill. That 1:40,000,000 chance that they will win the big one. You can't play a scratcher the same way you would play against a poker pro.

However, once the game matures and players have actual time invested, you have to adjust your tactics. Same game, same player pool, but after an hour you wouldn't just shove with aces, because you are going to get more folds. It's not a freeroll at this point, people have spent time, which has its own value.

TL/DR: Open shove with AA, KK, QQ in a freeroll early. Your strategy was more appropriate for an hour in. It still doesn't mean the scratcher wont be there to bust you an hour later - but they may not be as willing to play :5c::3h:for stacks preflop anymore.
 

Poker Zombie

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"I put you on AK bro, I had to call!"
My favorite response to that is "Why would you put me on just AK?"

I feel so many players have seen Daniel Negreanu perfectly calling out a hand, that they all think they can also name just 2 cards that the opponent is on. What they miss are the hundreds of hands where DN names off cards that are not held by his opponent in an effort to get a read. They never think about "reads" or "ranges", they just think "I can name his exact 2-cards".
 
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legonick

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@LotsOfChips bit off-topic, but where do I play these freeroll tournaments? Sounds fun - I like playing poker, so to do so with an opportunity to win a little $$$ without any risk...that's a win/win!
 

LotsOfChips

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@LotsOfChips bit off-topic, but where do I play these freeroll tournaments? Sounds fun - I like playing poker, so to do so with an opportunity to win a little $$$ without any risk...that's a win/win!
This particular game is on the provincial government run Playnow poker app (all legal gaming and lotteries in Canada are run by the provinces, but the bonus is that all winnings are tax free). This app is only open to residents of BC, Manitoba and I think Quebec (based on the number of francophones playing). They have hourly $10 freerolls with 100 seats (which fill within 30 seconds after registration opens, and have such a stupidly fast structure that they end within 15 minutes, and really aren't worth playing from a strategy perspective), daily $25 & $250 freerolls with usually 250-400 entries (the latter has unlimited 0.50 rebuys and a .50 10k chip add on at the 90 minute mark), and a weekly $400 Freeroll (never played in this one, it starts at the wrong time for me).

Not sure, but I think that PokerStars used to have Freerolls. I closed my account there when they demanded that I send them photos of my drivers license and passport (what could possibly go wrong?).
 
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Zr1

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I find game selection really terrible on play now. Friday or saturday night after people have a few drinks it can be ok for a few hours but after that its tough to find a decent game
 

LotsOfChips

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I don't fault your playing for paltry stakes, but you must adjust to the game. In a freeroll with "real" money prizes, you will get a lot of players that I call "scratchers". People that buy scratch-off lottery tickets, even though that know mathematically that they are giving up 40% to the house.

These people don't play poker for the challenge, they play for the thrill. That 1:40,000,000 chance that they will win the big one. You can't play a scratcher the same way you would play against a poker pro.

However, once the game matures and players have actual time invested, you have to adjust your tactics. Same game, same player pool, but after an hour you wouldn't just shove with aces, because you are going to get more folds. It's not a freeroll at this point, people have spent time, which has its own value.

TL/DR: Open shove with AA, KK, QQ in a freeroll early. Your strategy was more appropriate for an hour in. It still doesn't mean the scratcher wont be there to bust you an hour later - but they may not be as willing to play :5c::3h:for stacks preflop anymore.
This is so true. I usually fold or limp even good hands for the first orbit or two, because someone will invariably shove with only $30-$70 in the pot, and get 4-5 callers. At that point it usually seems to go to the lottery player with middle suited connectors or J7o (or worse), while the poor saps holding TT+, ATs+, KQs+ all bust out. I've learned the hard way that pocket pairs don't play well against 5-6 hands.

After about 15 minutes or so it seems to settle down a lot, and after an hour there is some good poker to be played.
 
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LotsOfChips

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-everybody gets AA cracked. It's how you handle it that makes you a better player. If you start to get gun shy because you remember that last time, then you don't get value from your premium hands. Getting value when you are ahead is what winning poker is all about (especially as a beginner.)
Yeah, I keep telling myself this, and I keep seeing the Villain hit their two outer. I'm still waiting for variance to work itself out and start paying me off when I'm way ahead. It has led me to be a bit more cautious about what my hand is really worth (I'll hold off jamming QQ preflop, and see if A or K comes on the flop, and how the Villains react, because someone will always call with Ax and usually hit). But I get your point.

-This is a straight up bad beat story (to be honest, it's not even that bad of a beat). When looking for strategy hands to post, look for hands where you are unsure if you played it correctly and are looking for ways to improve your line. You could have even won the hand, but maybe you could have squeezed more value from it. These are the strategy hands that will make you a better player. Bad beat stories are just looking for sympathy, which does not make you better.
Well, yes, it does admittedly and ultimately end as a bad beat story. But I was (still am) unsure if I played it correctly, especially regarding the check-raise. That was the part that I was hoping would generate some discussion. I probably could have framed the conversation better to highlight that aspect. I was also wondering (and asking) how to get value with premium hands, and also hopefully accomplish at least some of the following:
  1. Not end up multi-way with 5 other players
  2. Get at least one or two players to come along for the ride
  3. Have a chance to get away from the hand if it becomes glaringly obvious that I am suddenly behind post-flop
If I had jammed pre-flop (as some have suggested) I think that I risked getting zero value. Limping would probably end up with the multi-way scenario, unless someone else behind me decided to show aggression.

So no, not really looking for sympathy. I even thought about not posting the turn/river results, because it wasn't the results I was trying to generate discussion about, but the choices that got me there. And maybe a rant about poker geniuses that raise and 4 bet with a pair of threes (LOL).

But I'm pretty sure that someone would have asked what the end result was, so I threw it in there.

-Online poker is not rigged. Variance is real, and it is a bitch. 80% favorite means you lose 20%. That's just the maths of it. Just wait until you get 1-outered.
Oh, believe me, been there, done that with the one outers! (LOL).

Yeah, my first two thoughts were about how this seems to happen way more often than you would expect from variance, and that Villains choices made no sense, but then my next two thoughts were exactly the opposite, that Villain had SOME equity, and unless V is drawing dead, anything can happen.

No, online poker is not rigged (I'll write it out on the blackboard 100 times like the opening to The Simpsons). I accept that. Variance is a bitch. I accept that too. Not happy about it, but I accept it.

-You do not have to validate the stakes you play to anyone. As I stated before...when somebody is complaining that your stakes are a joke, THEIR buyin is somebody else's big blind. It is your time and your money, spend both wisely.

Not so much trying to validate playing Freerolls, more just explaining my rationale for doing so, and questioning the validity of that rationale based on the motivation and skill level of the player pool (with so many "scratchers" willing to dump their stacks with any two cards).

@grebe, thanks for your comments in this thread. Truly. Good points, and lots to think about.

And thanks to all of the other contributors.
 

legonick

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This particular game is on the provincial government run Playnow poker app (all legal gaming and lotteries in Canada are run by the provinces, but the bonus is that all winnings are tax free). This app is only open to residents of BC, Manitoba and I think Quebec (based on the number of francophones playing). They have hourly $10 freerolls with 100 seats (which fill within 30 seconds after registration opens, and have such a stupidly fast structure that they end within 15 minutes, and really aren't worth playing from a strategy perspective), daily $25 & $250 freerolls with usually 250-400 entries (the latter has unlimited 0.50 rebuys and a .50 10k chip add on at the 90 minute mark), and a weekly $400 Freeroll (never played in this one, it starts at the wrong time for me).

Not sure, but I think that PokerStars used to have Freerolls. I closed my account there when they demanded that I send them photos of my drivers license and passport (what could possibly go wrong?)

Any way to play in these from the US using VPNs? Or is that too sketch to be asking about here? :D
 

LotsOfChips

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Any way to play in these from the US using VPNs? Or is that too sketch to be asking about here? :D
Maybe (the VPN part, not the sketchy part). They do ask for an address when registering your account, and I don't know if you can deposit or withdraw using a US based credit card or not. But I'm sure that there is a work-around for the determined poker degen! :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 

LotsOfChips

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I find game selection really terrible on play now. Friday or saturday night after people have a few drinks it can be ok for a few hours but after that its tough to find a decent game
What exactly do you mean by terrible game selection and tough to find a decent game.? Not enough tables? Players too good, or too bad? All grinders and no fish? Not enough different types of games spread?

I pretty much play the freeroll tournaments exclusively, and haven't really experienced the cash games or paid tournies, so I'm curious to hear from others what their thoughts on the site are...

Cheers!
 

Zr1

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What exactly do you mean by terrible game selection and tough to find a decent game.? Not enough tables? Players too good, or too bad? All grinders and no fish? Not enough different types of games spread?

I pretty much play the freeroll tournaments exclusively, and haven't really experienced the cash games or paid tournies, so I'm curious to hear from others what their thoughts on the site are...

Cheers!
For cash games they dont spread many different games, not many players, the regulars are decent. Tournaments are ok.
 

Zr1

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If you were making a habit of jamming QQ preflop that would be spew. The hand above a good majority of time i check the flop for pot control. I know CO is still to act but we are not worried about him.
 

moose

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With all due respect how can you ignore the stakes? A lot of freeroll players Like to get a big stack or bust out. The totality of the information we were given has to be considered. Im not saying My shove theory is the right way to play it if were generally talking. this is half a step up from play money. No one has anything invested. If i was playing i would be calling a shove with a big range. Any 2 cards over 10, any pairs, probably even most suited connectors...maybe even any 2 if something better came up. People in play money games might want to play like it was real money but as soon as someone jams you know theres usually at least one that comes for the ride. Id even say this is true in most Micro stakes Games
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