April 21, 2011
In multi-way pots in deep stacked tournaments, many players drool at the prospect of having flush and straight draws to shoot for when given the chance to tag one of many players for a stack. But, when in these multi-way pots with non nut draws, like A7 on a 456 board or 45s on a 210Jss board, just how much value do these drawing hands actually have? Shockingly, the answer is pretty simple; not as much as you’d expect.
There are a few reasons for each of the situations, and we’ll start with the bare straight draw board. Let’s assume you’re playing at Bodog Poker (make sure to get a referral number for Bodog Poker if you’re not signed up yet) and you have three other opponents in the hand with you, and there’s a bet and a call, with you to act and a player (the preflop raiser) behind. If you call here, the original opener can pop it, pricing you out of your draw, which is already a bad result. But, what happens if you hit your straight? The board will read either 3456 or 4568, both boards making it blatantly obvious that one of the four of you made your straight. But, would hands like 97s or 87 have called a raise and/or bet/called this flop? You better believe it. That makes the actual value of your draw very little in comparison to the cost of playing the hand through. You may have the best hand if you do hit, but you can’t expect to make very much with the hand, and there’s a fair chance that someone either has a straight already or will make a better straight on you if you do call. This is one of those times I simply let the hand go.
The flush draw example is a bit trickier to go through, but we’ll approach it with a slightly different scenario; preflop raiser has led out, with you to call and two players to act behind you. On a J102ss board, the players involved in the hand can see how dangerous the board is initially, with KQ, Q9, 89, any two spades, and combo draws all out there and waiting to draw. With two players to act behind you, if they’ve made any reasonable hand at all on this flop, they’re probably going to raise, and if they do, it’s going to be an expensive raise, hoping to limit the players drawing at them. This makes it less enticing to call. Also, if you do make your flush on the turn, your hand is very vulnerable; 8 cards can come on the river to put a crippling four flush on the board, and assuming your flush card doesn’t pair the board, another 12 cards can come on the river to put a potential full house on board.
This means that, if you make on the turn, you have to be willing to protect your hand with a very large bet, which also means if someone else was in there with a flush draw, you’re going to be giving them your stack; it’s a high risk, moderate reward scenario, in case someone does elect to call off with something like AsJ or a set, but if they call with a bigger flush, you’re dead. This relies more on player feel than anything else; if your opponents play straightforwardly, call and evaluate after your opponents act and you get your option on the turn, if the flush does make.
April 19, 2011
In news that has sent shockwaves throughout the online poker industry, giants PokerStars and FullTiltPoker announced within hours of each other that they would be ceasing access to real money tables for players from the US.
At this point it is absolutely unclear whether or not this is a permanent state of affairs, although many have speculated that we are, in fact, seeing the end of the two companies, or at a minimum the end of their US incarnations.
The pullout was prompted by the unsealing of an indictment by the US DoJ against three major online poker operators and their payment processors. In addition to Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, Absolute / UB Poker (the rooms comprising the CEREUS Network) was also named in the filing.
The companies also face a civil complaint from the government seeking billions in damages on top of the multiple criminal complaints detailed in the filing. The timeline: This report emerges Friday, the FBI seize Pokerstars site on the same day, and the company pulls out of the US hours later.
Several rooms continue to serve the US market, although that list has diminished significantly with the exit of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. The amount, type and size of games that players from the US can take part in are also impacted dramatically by this news.
While their game servers were unaffected by the seizure, Pokerstars and Full Tilt were both forced to set up new websites to replace those taken down by the DoJ and the FBI. full tilt shifted over to a .co.uk address, while PokerStars changed over to pokerstars.eu. The seizures caused confusion on the part of many players who confused the main website of the poker room with the servers that actually host the games.
It is very difficult to predict any outcome of this situation, as the facts surrounding the news are hard to come by. Neither room has issued a detailed response yet, only cursory statements providing vague assurances regarding operations and player balances. Until more detailed responses are issued, or until some time passes, it will be next to impossible to fully imagine the ultimate impacts of these events on the community and the industry at large.