On the last Card Player Magazine, there was an article by Craig Tapscott on the Inside Straight Authors section (well, at least looking at the online version, since I don't have the magazine with me), about a hand I played in a $1000 buy in online tournament. Craig made very good questions and I think the article is pretty good.
This is the link, there are some other pretty good articles in that section, like the one by Dani Stern (a must read), a 2+2 friend and a very successful online player.
Sirio11 Plays Back at the Bubble Abuser
By Craig Tapscott
Want to study real poker hands with the Internet's most successful players? In this series, Card Player offers hand analysis with online poker's leading talent.
Event: PokerStars $1,000 no-limit hold'em tournament
First Place: $70,425
Stacks: sirio11 - 19,494; Villain - 56,984
Craig Tapscott: Set up the scenario at the beginning of this hand.
David "sirio11" Cossio: This hand happened on the bubble with about 47 players left. It shows a way to play versus bubble abusers, like the Villain was in this hand. He was the chip leader at the table and was raising a lot, since 46th paid nada and 45th, $1,700. His activity had increased proportionally as we approached the bubble. I knew his range was huge, and decided to take advantage of his play, based on his image, my image, and the stage we were at.
CT: What was your image at the table previous to this hand?
DC: I was involved in very few pots, so my image was solid/tight.
Villain raises to 1,800 from the cutoff. Everyone folds to sirio11 in the big blind, holding the Jd 9d.
CT: Do you reraise him now or wait to see what the flop brings?
DC: One option here is to reraise, but with my stack, I don't like the play. I think that by just calling, I can win the pot most of the time when we both don't flop anything, and I can win even more when I flop something. Even when my play backfires, I'm not afraid to lose half of my stack, since I play pretty well when short-stacked.
Flop: Kh 8s 8c (4,000 pot)
DC: Perfect flop, as he most probably doesn't have anything.
CT: Why perfect? You missed. What are you going to try to represent?
DC: There are no draws at all, and no coordinated board. So for him, if I play back, I "must have" the 8 or the king at the very least (I can't be drawing), and he may fold a hand like 9-9.
Villain bets 3,400.
CT: I'm sure you were expecting the continuation-bet. What's the right bet size here to take it down and why?
DC: Yeah, I was expecting it. My bet size of 8,000 will look like I want to take the pot now. I would be check-raising almost any continuation-bet versus this player.
Sirio11 check-raises to 8,000.
DC: I had a good image, and that helped me with the check-raise. With my image, he'll think I can't be bluffing, since we're on the bubble. And he can't bluff me back, because it looks like I'm committed.
CT: Some people will call with medium pocket pairs here. When do you know that someone is a thinking player and "knows" from your bets that you're committed?
DC: Given the flop, my image, and my action, I think it is pretty hard to call me with a medium pocket pair, even if you're a bad player. This was a $1,000 tourney and we were at the final stages, so chances were that he was a good player.
Villain folds. Sirio11 wins the pot of 11,360.
DC: I showed my hand. I wanted to send him a message, and most importantly, a message to the table. I had some walks after that.
David Cossio lives in El Paso, Texas. He has a master's degree in mathematics. He has been playing poker since 1997, and has eight World Series of Poker cashes, including a third-place finish in 2005 for $79,450. He also has multiple tournament wins online and is a solid threat in any cash game.