Hand of The Week – Week 130

Last week we looked at a bizarre hand where we could actually justify shoving all in with a pathetic 3-2 suited given that we would only expect to get called around 25% of the time.

We used the Independent Chip Model to compare 1 – our expected prize money if we just folded with 2 – our expected prize money if we pushed all in. The conclusion was that it was absolutely borderline between shoving all in and folding, albeit we had a very slightly positive expected value (EV) in favour of shoving all in.

Tournament poker can throw up some funny situations, situations that just don’t apply to cash games.   Last week I played a hand that was the polar opposite to our 3-2 suited example. I had pocket aces in the big blind. Better still, someone had pushed all in ahead of me. Yet you could actually justify a fold! I kid you not. This was the situation:

There were four players left at the end of a $30 six seater “Double or Nothing” tournament. The “Nothing” is the key word to bear in mind here. With just four players left we were on the bubble: the next player out would get nothing. The other three would collect $60 each (ie double their $30 buy in), regardless of their finishing chip stacks. Blinds were 200-400 with a 50 ante.

Player 1 – 4575 – ALL IN

Player 2 – 1094 – FOLD

Player 3 (small blind) – 1125 – FOLD

Player 4 – Me – (big blind) – 2006 – AA….so what do I do?

1-2 Cant fold ACES 24-07-2014 14-26-17

We’ve talked about it being correct to fold aces in this column before so it did actually occur to me that folding was an option. Ha ha, yeah right, as if I’m ever folding aces here. There’s no way I folded of course. But honestly, it did cross my mind that it could be the correct thing to do. My thought process was something like this:

“Wooo hoooo! Aces and an all in – I’ll call this and double up.

But the all in is from Mr Giant Haystacks so I’m dead if I lose. Hang on a minute, don’t I need to be huge percentage to win here?

Well I’ve got AA, I AM a huge percentage to win, he could be shoving anything. Can’t fold this. Going to really hate my life if I fold aces and then go on to lose.

Just call and then it’s me who will be Mr Giant Haystacks.”

So I called. Well you know what happened then. It’s obvious! :)

2-2 Cant fold ACES 24-07-2014 14-36-56

So, forgetting whether or not I lost the hand, was it right to call?

Well let’s look at the maths like we did last week, using the Independent Chip Model. ICM assigns a prize value to your chip stack.  There’s an excellent explanation of ICM I found online at the end of last week’s piece so I won’t repeat it here.

ICM has its limits – the main one being the assumption players are equally skilled – but when you are down to 2 or 3 or 5 big blinds it’s hard to see how your skill can really help you. There is no post flop play in these end game situations and you are basically all in or all out. So I like what ICM does, namely assigning a cash value to your chip stack.

Before the hand began our chip stacks, converted into prize money, looked like this:

Player 1 – $57.57

Player 2 – $36.23

Player 3 – $36.97

Player 4 – $49.23

Which adds up nicely to $180. It should do too, because that is the total prize pool.

Without knowing anything about his hand (or even my hand for that matter) the ICM tells us the following, which we work out just by feeding in the chip stacks into an ICM calculator:

If I fold I would have an equity of $47.09. That’s because I will be down to 1606 chips

If I call and lose the hand my equity is zero. That is pretty obvious because I am dead!

If I call and win I have an equity of $56.81, which corresponds to 4162 chips.

So the question is, knowing the potential before and after situations, should we call with AA?

Well what happens when we call? Most of the time we call and our aces will hold up. In that case we are up to $56.81. (Notice we still haven’t actually won though.) But sometimes we call and lose and get knocked all the way down to zero. What we do know for sure is that if we fold we are certain our equity will be $47.09.

So we need to know the answer to the question “how often do we need aces to hold up to make calling (either $56.81 or $0) the better option than folding ($47.09)?”

We can set up an equation which tells is this exactly. We need a probability of “winning” the hand to satisfy the equation:

(Probability WINNING * $56.81) + (Probability LOSING * $0)  > $47.09

We know that anything multiplied by $0 is zero and we also know that the probability of losing = 1-probability of winning. So we basically have $47.09/$56.81 which = 82.88%

If we think we have a better than 82.88% of winning the hand then we call. That is our answer.

Now of course when our opponent shoves all in we don’t know what he has, but let’s pretend for a minute it was a live game and he exposed his cards to you. Well let’s look at those hand match ups again: KdQd vs Ad Ac

That’s 83.56% vs 16.44% according to any hand calculator.

You need to be 82.88% sure of winning to make the call +EV and you are actually 83.56%.  So although it is a call, that’s unbelievably close. Yet it seems like such an instant call.  If you could see your opponent’s K-Qs and have AA with those chip stacks I don’t know a man alive who would fold AA, not a single one. Yet there is only the tiniest smidgeon of value in calling.

That’s tournament poker for you. It can throw up some of the strangest and non intuitive hands that you can almost justify shoving all in with 3-2s one week and folding AA the next.

Posted in Freddie Mays | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Poll of The Week

We have a simple yes or no question for this week’s poll.

In this year’s WSOP main event there was some controversy over the reporting of statistics while the event was being played.  To recap what happened, when the action got down to just a few tables (I believe the number was three tables), PokerNews reporters started to record HUD like statistics on each player and then broadcast them at the end of each break.

I suppose you could like it to a football where they flash up “shots on target” “fouls conceded” and “distance covered” on your screen.  But instead it would be “Pre flop raise %”, “Hands played %”, “Folded in Blinds %” and other similar stats about the remaining players’ games.

This development has really divided opinion. Some people were up in arms, saying it spoils the purity of the game and shouldn’t be allowed. Others found it helpful, some of the players being in that camp themselves I imagine. But the issue was certainly a controversial one and I am sure this will be debated by the WSOP organisers before next year’s event.

This week we’re far more interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments section than your actual yes/no answer.  So answer this week’s poll and leave a comment with your Twitter username to be in with a chance of winning a token for my Bounty competition.

Congratulations to @ironnutzpoker for winning last week’s poll.

Posted in Freddie Mays | 2 Comments

Friday’s Caption Competition

It’s caption competition time again.  But before that, the password for the Freddie Mays Bounty tournament at 9pm tonight is:


That’s the effect looking at this photo can have on you. It might be 90 degress out in sun today but when you consider this picture probably hasn’t been photoshopped?  Chilling stuff indeed. What do you reckon these two could be saying to one another? Submit your caption on Facebook for your chance to win a token to my bounty tourney next week.


Congratulations to Kevin Mealy for winning last week’s competition with: This is just a sideshow, wait till I captain against Germany… pakifani”

Sideshow bob

Posted in Freddie Mays | Leave a comment

Hand of The Week – Week 129

I saw this hand last April and it really caught my attention. After being knocked out of a tournament I’d left the screen open on my PC and happened to look over just as the final hand was played.  This are the scenes that unfolded. I took a screen print of the hand history and saved it as a word document. I gave it the title “Funny shove – Funny call” and I resolved to look at it in more detail later on.

FUNNY SHOVE FUNNY CALL 17-07-2014 14-27-47

Being as it was the final hand there were naturally just two players left. One had 25k and the other had 65k. The 25k stack shoved and the 65k stack called in an instant, with absolutely no thought whatsoever. Showdown!

25k stack: 3-2s….whoopsie.

65k stack: J-8o.…..!!!!???

No-one made anything, the jolly old J-8 offsuit won with Jack high and he took first place.

It’s that age old problem. It’s fine to move all in with a filthy hand…..unless you get called! I’m joking of course. The play is either fine or it isn’t fine.  It doesn’t become good or bad depending on the result but you know what I mean. When they fold you get away with it but when you are called you’ve been exposed. Hand in the cookie jar, trousers down and all that.

Anyway, I did look at the hand in further detail and what I found really surprised me even though I’ve been playing poker for seven thousand years. The shove itself is not a bad play!

Not a bad play – how so? How silly do you end up looking when your pathetic 3-2s gets called? This really is not intuitive stuff and it requires an explanation. There’s a bit of maths here but stick with it because I can actually prove the point to you. Basically I asked myself the following question: “If I was in the shoes of the player with 3-2s, how often would I expect this all in move to be called?”

I came up with a figure of 25%. He could expect to get called one time in four and the other three times his opponent would fold. And this is the conclusion that surprised me: if that assumption is true – ie if your opponent will call you 25% of the time – then it is not a bad decision to shove all in.

25% of hands means something like: 66+,A2s+,K6s+,Q8s+,J8s+,T8s+,A7o+,K9o+,QTo+,JTo

Do we think this is fair?  I reckon so.  Our 3-2 suited man probably wouldn’t expect to get called by the likes of T8s or JTo but then again he might expect to get called by some hands which aren’t in the list, particularly any pair or any ace. We only go as far as A-7o but A-2o through to A-6o could also call.  So take a few out hands and put a few in and 25% is roughly OK.

Now our 3-2s man wasn’t to know he was going to get called by a hand as weak as J-8o (which would amount to a calling range of at least 43%) but my point is that he was entitled to think 25% was all he would get called with and on that basis, his shove was absolutely fine.

To prove this we get into the realms of the ICM, or the “Independent Chip Model”.

ICM puts a monetary value on your chip stack which is important because as we all know, poker chips and money are not the same thing. If we know what our chip stack is worth right now – and we also know what it will be worth after a hand has played out, we are in a position to compare the two scenarios and answer that vital question “will this play show me a profit?”

If you really want to understand exactly how ICM works I’ve added the best explanation of ICM I ever found on the internet at the end of this piece*.  That explains it beautifully but you don’t have to read it. You could just take it on trust that ICM assigns pretty accurate monetary values to chip stacks.

OK – back to our “ridiculous” hand with the 3-2s and J-8o. There were 61 players in the tournament and we were down to the last two. 1st place paid $192 and 2nd place paid $132.  The exact chip stacks and monetary values assigned by ICM were:

25,832 (ICM = $148.94)

65, 668 (ICM =$175.06)

Now let’s look at it from the point of view of 3-2s man. We are only looking at shoving or folding here to make things simple – ie we won’t consider small raises. That being the case, these are his options.

He can FOLD and move on. If he does this he’ll have 1000 less chips, ie 24, 832 (ICM = $148.28).  So folding gives us a monetary value, calculated with the ICM, of $148.28. Remember this figure because it is the figure we will use as a comparison to shoving all in.

Folding = $148.28

Or he can SHOVE all in. When he does this one of three things will happen.

1 – his opponent will fold and he will win the blinds (stack is 27 832 and his ICM = $150.25)

2 – his opponent will call and he will win the hand (stack is 51664 and his ICM = $165.88)

3 – his opponent will call he will lose the hand  (stack = 0, he comes 2nd and gets $132 no need for ICM)

So we know what the potential results are. What we now need to know is what are the chances of each outcome occurring should he decide to shove. This boils down to one question: how often will he get called if he does shove?

We’ve already agreed on 25% but the longer answer is that we just don’t know. Of course we don’t know because we don’t know what our opponent is holding and even if we did we still couldn’t guarantee he would call with those cards. But we can always estimate. The ability to estimate well is what makes the good players good. They will ask themselves “Is he loose or tight? What’s he been doing so far? Have I tested his patience lately and is he itching to call?”

With a calling frequency of 25% let’s get back to those three things that can happen:

1 – opponent will fold 75% of the time and he will win the blinds (ICM of $150.25)

25% of the time his opponent will call. Of this 25%……..

We feed into a hand calculator

2 – opponent will call and 3-2s will win! 33.43% of the time 3-2s will have an ICM of $165.88

3 – opponent will call and 3-2s will lose. 66.57% of the time 3-2s will be eliminated with $132

We now have all the information we need to work out the expected value of shoving. When we’ve done that we’ll compare it to the EV of calling and see what the better option was. For each shoving outcome we multiply the probability times the result.

Our EV is shoving is the sum of: (0.75*$150.25) + (0.25*0.6657*$132) + (0.25*0.3343*$165.88)

112.6875+ 21.968+13.863 = $148.52

Shoving all in = $148.52

If we shove we can expect a monetary value of $148.52

If we fold we will have a monetary value of $148.28

The numbers are almost identical, but shoving 3-2s all in is ever so slightly preferable. So there you have it: shoving all in is as good an option as folding, assuming our man will fold 25% of the time. That’s nuts. I reckon 90% of players, if not more, would just fold the 3-2s in that spot even though that option is indistinguishable from shoving all in.

OK, you’re probably thinking “but his opponent called with J-8o. That’s not 25% of hands”

And you’d be right.  But in some respects, calling with J-8o is every bit as ludicrous as shoving with 3-2s. Would you call with J-8o? I wouldn’t.

If you ranked all 169 starting hands against a random hand, J-8o would be the 79th best.  43.9% of all hands are better than J-8o. So the chap calling was pretty darned wide – a good bit wider than 25%. Like I say, I saved the document as “Funny shove – Funny call” so my initial reaction was that it was a perverse call.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying 3-2s is an automatic push here. All I’m saying is that it’s as good as folding if we assume you’re only getting called 25% of the time and I maintain that this is a decent assumption.

What if we assumed differently? Say we expected to get called 20%, 30%, 40%, or even 50% of the time? Well let’s have a look. Using the same method of above, here are the results:

20% (67.85% to beat 3-2s) – shoving has EV $148.83 vs EV of folding = $148.28.

30% (66.34% vs 3-2s) – shoving has EV $148.19 vs EV of folding $148.28.

40% (65.97% vs 3-2s) – shoving has EV $147.56 vs EV of folding = $148.28

50% (65.67% vs 3-2s) – shoving has EV $146.94 vs EV of folding = $148.28

As you can see from these results, you are actually marginally better of shoving 3-2s unless you are getting called 30% or more of the time.

Although shoving 3-2s looks pretty awful on the face of it, it leads to elimination a lot less than you’d think. If you get called 25% of the time, you get eliminated less than 17% of the time because you still win one in three of those times you do get called.

In this case I think the guy shoving 3-2s was actually unlucky to run into a player who was prepared to call with J-8o. Calling with J-8o is the riskier play in my opinion. So is there a moral to this story?

Well if there is, it’s that perhaps we ought to be sticking our stack in a bit more readily than we do! So go forth and start spewing (I mean shoving) those chips around !




*Appendix: ICM Explained (source unknown):

ICM stands for Independent Chip Model…don’t worry about the name, it’s not worth it. It’s one of many attempts to try to equate tournament chips to cash. Like the rest of them, it’s not perfect…there’s way too many factors involved to get an exact answer to what your stack is worth – player skill, style matchup, desperation by very short stacks, tilt…stuff like that is just too arbitrary and complicated to put into a model. So…assuming equal skill, enough skill that straight style isn’t much of an effect, no-one’s very short stacked (like 3xBB) or tilting, ICM does pretty well at equating tourney stacks to cash.

The idea behind the model is that every chip is a ticket to a lottery. To figure out who gets first place, you pick a ticket at random and that person wins. Take their tickets out and draw again for 2nd, and repeat that for 3rd, etc ’til you’re out of the money. Now, we all know that’s now how poker works, but remember, this is a model…a guess. Let’s look at an example.

3 players, stack sizes: 5k 4k 1k
Each person’s chance of winning 1st is their stack/10k, their chance of getting picked in the first lottery. To figure out who’d come in second given who comes in 1st, their chance is stack/(sum of remaining stacks). We end up with our estimated equities.

1/2 – chance of 5k winning
2/5 – chance of 4k winning
1/10 – chance of 1k winning

If 5k wins:
4/5 – chance of 4k in 2nd
1/5 – chance of 1k in 2nd

If 4k wins:
5/6 – chance of 5k in 2nd
1/6 – chance of 1k in 2nd

If 1k wins:
5/9 – chance of 5k in 2nd
4/9 – chance of 4k in 2nd

Let’s go with a $100 pot, to make things easy on me, with standard payout of 50/30/20

Equity of the 5k stack:

(Chance of 1st) + (Equity if 4k wins) + (Equity if 1k wins)

(1/2 * 50) + 2/5 * (5/6 * 30 + 1/6 * 20) + 1/10 * (5/9 * 30 + 4/9 * 20)

(1/2 * 50) + 2/5 * (25 + 10/3) + 1/10 * (50/3 + 80/9)

25 + 2/5 * 28 1/3 + 1/10 * 25 5/9

25 + 11 1/3 + 2 5/9


Equity of the 4k stack:

(Chance of 1st) + (Equity if 5k wins) + (Equity if 1k wins)

(2/5 * 50) + .5 * (4/5 * 30 + 1/5 * 20) + 1/10 * (4/9 * 30 + 5/9 * 20)

(2/5 * 50) + .5 * (24 + 4) + 1/10 * (13 1/3 + 11 1/9)

20 + .5 * 28 + 1/10 * 24 4/9

20 + 14 + 2 4/9


Equity of the 1k stack:

(Chance of 1st) + (Equity if 5k wins) + (Equity if 4k wins)

(1/10 * 50) + 1/2 * (1/5 * 30 + 4/5 * 20) + 2/5 * (1/6 * 30 + 5/6 * 20)

(1/10 * 50) + 1/2 * (6 + 16) + 2/5 * (5 + 16 2/3)

5 + 1/2 * 22 + 2/5 * 21 2/3

5 + 11 + 8 2/3


So what we got is:
5k: $38.89
4k: $36.44
1k: $24.66

Which makes some sense – everyone’s got at least $20 equity because they’re in the money now, and the 5k is slightly better off than the 4k, and both are way better off than 1k.

Posted in Freddie Mays | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Poll of The Week

The 2014 November Nine is set!

On Sunday night the last three tables eventually dwindled into one and the unlikeliest story to emerge is that of the nine remaining contestants we have a player who made the final table last year! What are the odds on that happening I wonder?

Mark Newhouse finished ninth last year but will surely do even better this time around with his stack of 26m, third in chips behind 38m chip leader Jorryt van Hoof (who you’ve guessed it, is Dutch.) Scandanavia is very well represented at this year’s final table with a Swede and a Norwegian as well. We also have a Brazilian and a Spanish player in the final nine for a really international flavour - a proper “World” Series if you will.

Spare a thought for poor bubble boy Luis Velador. With a 900k raise from the Brazilian Bruno Politano and a Mark Newhouse call in front of him he went for the old squeeze manoeuvre, moving all in for 6.15m with pocket 4s. Bruno Politano thought for two minutes and folded. Newhouse also thought for a while - no doubt agonising for Luis Velador who was sitting there with his puny pocket 4s desperately hoping he folded. When Newhouse called it was the worst news of all for Velador: Newhouse had pocket fives and Velador literally had two hopes. He must have been sick to see that hand, wondering how Newhouse couldn’t find a fold.

I have to admit I would fold pocket 5s in a heart beat if I were Mark Newhouse. I know you gotta be in it to win it, you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take and he who dares wins etc etc. But I confess, I’m a gutless coward and those pocket 5s would be binned in a trice.

Newhouse’s options are these: 1 – FOLD and move on with 20m chips in mid division, 2 - CALL and win – you’re 3rd in chips with 26m or, 3 – CALL and lose and be knocked right down to the bottom of the pack with 14m (which is 35 big blinds).

This weeks’ question is: In Mark Newhouse’s shoes, what strength hand do you need to call?  Answer this week’s poll and leave a comment with your Twitter username to be in with a chance of winning a token for my Bounty competition.

Congratulations to @pcbunter for winning last week’s poll.

Posted in Freddie Mays | 3 Comments

Friday’s Caption Competition

It’s caption competition time again.  But before that, here’s the password for the Freddie Mays Bounty tournament at 9pm tonight:


I’m still getting to grips with that Germany 7 Brazil 1 scoreline.  Has such a colossal beating ever been administered in such a high profile game where the two teams were neck and neck in the betting? I can’t think of anything like it.  Bayern dealt with Barcelona 7-0 a couple of seasons ago but that was over two legs. Wednesday’s game was just surreal.

Poor old David Luiz. Or should I say poor old Paris Saint-Germain! They were warned by the big wigs of FIFA Financial Fair play committee not to carry on spending and stuck two fingers up at them by weighing out 50m on this…. “defender”.  Surely has to be a contender for the worst piece of transfer business since Fernando Carroll? Anyway, on with today’s caption competition and what could Sideshow Bob-Luiz be saying here?  Submit your caption on Facebook for your chance to win a token to my bounty tourney next week.

Sideshow bob

Congratulations to David O’Connor (celtic3x) for winning last week’s competition with Tim Howard can save the Garth Brooks shows”

Tim howard kick foot lesson

Posted in Freddie Mays | Leave a comment

 Hand of The Week – Week 128

Here’s an example of a good, solid disciplined fold…..one that leaves you kicking yourself! I was seriously itching to call with this hand but I decided to let it go.

In front of me was a double all in. Three hearts on board and I was holding the ace of hearts. You have to be tempted to call in that spot, but I reckon folding was the right play.

The hand cropped up mid-way through a 6 seater sit n go and I had 1580 chips, almost exactly the 1500 starting stack. It was a “double or nothing” sit n go so we needed three people to get knocked out before we would make the money and double up. At the stage the hand was dealt all six players were still alive.

Blinds were 50/100 and there was a limper in front of me. From the small blind I just put in the extra 50 and the big blind checked. The flop was monotone: all hearts and I’ve got the ace!  I readied myself for action but then it all started kicking off in front of me.

09-07-2014 11-43-57 HOTW 128 1 of 2

An all in for 820 was followed by a raise to 1640 and from being really keen to get involved I was starting to get reluctant.

The player all in for 820 probably, nay, almost certainly doesn’t have a made flush. He’s probably trying to protect a hand like top pair and the fact that he’s getting short on chips means you can widen up the possibilities because he’s getting desperate.

But the second player’s action really does spell strength. He could have been trying to trap by limping with an overpair preflop. He could have a set of 2s (9s or 10s would probably have raised preflop) or he could have a made flush. He could also have a hand like A-10 or K-10 (with or without Kh) and be raising to isolate. Or two pair perhaps. But whatever it is, it’s something strong and it certainly beats my bare ace.

I leaned towards the second player having a made flush with a hand like 8h-7h

What I did know for certain was that my “no-pair-nut-flush-draw” hand was behind. It was a draw and no more. The first important thing to factor into the equation is that losing = elimination. Indeed this was an overriding concern so I actually realised pretty quickly that I’d be folding this.

In real time it crossed my mind that if either of my opponents held hearts then my draw wasn’t as good as it looked. Instead of 9 hearts to shoot at I might be drawing at 8 or even 7. Plus, if one had a set that board could pair up (the board always pairs up when they have a set but never pairs up when you have a set, that’s the law.)

Let’s look at it this way. If there are 9 hearts in the deck, I have a 35% chance of making the flush. That’s means I’ve a 65% chance of being dead.  If there are 8 hearts left or only 7 hearts those odds are even worse! Lastly – I could make my flush and still lose.

So I folded and this immediately happened:

09-07-2014 12-21-01 HOTW 128 2 of 2

Turns out that a) neither player was as strong as I thought and b) I would (of course) have won the hand!

Still, if I made that call a thousand times I’d be winning. That’s the way you have to look at it. As depressing as it is to see these cards slot in perfectly with your hand after you’ve folded, I’m here for the long haul and in the long run I’ll win making that play. In fact I was planning on writing this hand without revealing what the turn and river cards were. Results are irrelevant! All that matters is that you make the correct decision, right? But that would never do, would it :)  ?

In a cash game I’m pretty sure I would have called. My thought process would have been something like this: “there are two all ins and I’m 35% to make my flush. I’m getting 2-1 odds and I’m slightly better than 2-1 to get there.”

But I’d have been deceiving myself. Although it looks like a chance to triple up it isn’t because the first all in is short stacked. So instead of getting the approximate 2-1 that I need I would have only been getting around 1.76-1 (1480 to win 2600 is 2600/1480 = 1.76)

So cash or tourney this was a fold.

Posted in Freddie Mays | Leave a comment

Poll of The Week

Don’t know about you but I’m REALLY UP for these semis (ho ho ho).

All hilarity aside though (and by the way that “joke” was lifted from a bookmaker who was not Paddy Power, before I get accused of theft) I’m in a quandary so I’m not getting involved with the Brazil Germany game tonight.  On a neutral ground I’d be with Germany every time given Brazil are without Neymar and Thiago Silva. But my mate who knows a lot more than me has priced it thus: Brazil 6/4, Argentina 2/1, Germany, 9/2 and Holland 10-1!

Have to say Germany look big in his unofficial book so I can’t very well back them at 11/4 can I? But neither do I want to back Brazil because I just don’t think they are the best team. Hmmmm…. home advantage is quite something in Brazil though is it not?

As for the other game I imagine Argentina should deal with Holland but you just can’t trust those sneaky Dutch, led by the snivelling cheating wretch that is Arjen Robben.  I hope he gets red carded for diving after being legitimately fouled, after missing a routine 1 on 1 for the World Cup like he did last time against Spain.

If Argentina beat Brazil in the final it will be an unmitigated disaster.  I really don’t want that to happen and I imagine the powers that be in Brazil and FIFA don’t either.  It’s hard to describe how much Brazilians detest their Argentinian neighbours so that particular final could be a seriously feisty game.  Of course, Germany-Holland could descend into a mega ruck as well if it happens. Best get Howard Webb in to be massively officious on all the petty stuff, issue 13 yellow cards but not send off the axe murderers.

So I just don’t know what to do. Over to you ! This week’s question is: who do you think will be the 2014 World Cup finalists? Answer this week’s poll and leave a comment with your Twitter username to be in with a chance of winning a token for my Bounty competition.

Congratulations to @fiercelyacute for winning last week’s poll.

Posted in Freddie Mays | 4 Comments

Friday’s Caption Competition

It’s caption competition time again.  But before that, here’s the password for the Freddie Mays Bounty tournament at 9pm tonight:


Two World Cup rest days in a row and I’m clucking like Pete Doherty in a cell.  Thankfully footballing service is resumed and the withdrawals will cease at 5pm. Phew!

I felt so sorry for the USA losing to Belgium like that. What a game! Such excitement – a candiate for best match of the World Cup so far I reckon, alongside Germany 2 Ghana 2 and that mad Brazil Chile 1-1 encounter. Which gets me to thinking about the winner of this whole thing. Germany’s defence are, well a little bit slow with Per Mertesacker  the BFG in the heart of defence. And how can France possibly win with Giroud in their side? Seriously, I see him play for Arsenal all the time and I would gladly let him go on a free. To be fair they won in 1998 with Stephane Guivarch and he  was even worse! But they did have Zidane, Petit and Vieira in ’98. France must miss Ribery so badly. Holland have not convinced and nor have Argentina, who have looked nervous and edgy and would be hopeless without Messi. Besides, surely they won’t be allowed to win in Brazil? (I’m deadly serious). Brazil have weaknesses of their own – Neymar’s horrific penalty technique not even being the worst of them.  There just isn’t a stand out side. So Colombia perhaps? Or Costa Rica? Yeah go on the Ricans.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of the USA’s Tim Howard teaching soccer kick foot to a girl.  Oh and I’ve just realised it’s July 4th as well. How topical.  Calls for a hot dog and a quick chant of “U-S-A, U-S-A!” Submit your caption to @paddypowerpoker on Twitter or enter on Facebook for your chance to win a token to my bounty tourney next week.

Tim howard kick foot lesson

Congratulations to Mark Lieghio for winning last week’s competition with : “Wait. .is that a chip on your shoulder?”

Luis-Suarez chiellini 2013

Posted in Freddie Mays | Leave a comment

Hand of the Week – Week 127

This week’s hand of the week comes from the 2nd Edition of the “Big One for One Drop”, the WSOP event that costs a ridiculous one million dollars to buy in. There were 42 entries this time making a first prize of $15.3m, with 8 players getting paid a minimum of $1.3m. As I say, all quite ridiculous.

It was a tale of two Daniels at the end: Daniel Colman ended up winning the event with Daniel Negreanu coming second for $8.3m. In the final excruciating hand Daniel Negreanu was all in and flopped two pair with A-4 on a A-J-4 board. He was miles ahead of Daniel Colman’s K-Q. But a ten on the turn gave Colman a straight and there would be no ace or four to rescue Negreanu on the river.

“I can see Daniel waving goodbye. God he looks like Daniel……must be the clouds in my eyes.”


Sorry, couldn’t resist.

OK question time. If you’re in Daniel Negreanu’s shoes are you a) delighted that you just copped $8.3m or b) well gutted that you just got robbed of an extra potential $7m?

Personally I think Negreanu is entitled to have the teensy hump here, being an 84% chance to get back into the hunt (he’d have still had a 2:1 deficit mind). He was perfectly pleasant but he didn’t exactly look thrilled in his TV interview and I reckon he was putting on a brave face. Who knows, he might have to split that money twenty ways?

Anyway, that wasn’t the hand I wanted to talk about. The week’s hand of the week took place between Sam Trickett and Vanessa Selbst earlier on in the event and it was one of those see-saw rollercoaster hands that can wrench your guts out.

It’s fair to say that neither of these two players likes to be pushed around and that when they get into raising wars they don’t want to be the one backing down. At level 8 with the blinds at 15k/30k/5k ante the action went:

Selbst – bets 65k

Trickett – 3-bets to 205k (folds back to Selbst)

Selbst – 4-bets to 420k

Trickett – 5-bets to 820k

Selbst – 6-bets all for 3.9m

And Trickett said “I do not see how I can ever fold this. Why did go all in so fast?”  His hand?


You can probably guess that he did call else we wouldn’t be talking about it. But he thought for a minute before he did. This might seem a bit unnecessary but this is a $1m buy in event after all and what can Selbst possibly have?

AA, KK, QQ or AK. That’s it I reckon and you might even take QQs out.  Trickett has two of the kings which makes some of the combos less likely and at the risk of being repetitive, it is a $1m buy in event!

This is in no way a slow roll by Sam Trickett. He knows he probably going to call but like he said afterwards, it’s a pure free roll. Vanessa could betray some information which tips him off that she’s holding aces. And perhaps there are player he might fold KK to. He has been known to lay down 77 on a 10-7-10-J-K board before. But at the end of the day it’s Vanessa Selbst he’s up against, a player with form for 6-bet shoving hands like 44. So he was basically always going to call, as he announced at the time.

Selbst turned over A-K.

Then there was an ace in the window! The flop was A-9-6

At this point Trickett cried out “noooooooooooooooooo!”

And he turned around in disgust. He wasn’t even looking when the dealer put the K on the board on turn, but he would have been alerted to the gasps in the audience. The case King! How is that even possible in a million dollar buy in event? A one outer and he was back in front.

Trickett started cheering and I suppose if you’re ever entitled to give it the big one in a poker tournament this is probably one of those occasions. It’s just a pure release of emotion. He later said he’d never celebrated winning a hand at the table before.

The river was 3, Trickett won the hand and Selbst was out. (Just imagine if the ace had appeared on the river? That would have just been too much excitement in one hand.)

I really feel for Vanessa Selbst here.  I reckon this is one of the worst things that can happen in poker. Yes, she was behind and she was a big favourite to get knocked out but there’s no way she will look at it that way. Once she’d hit her ace she would have rightfully thought “Why give me the bloody ace and then do that?”

Sigh. Those poker Gods. They giveth and they taketh away. Tossers.

That took Trickett into a big chip lead but unfortunately he couldn’t do as well as last year’s second place (for $10m) and he wouldn’t go on to make the final table.

Spare a thought for poor Tom Hall, who bubbled on the very first hand the next day. It was supposed to be a final table of 8 but at 4am the previous night they just called a halt with nine players remaining. He got it all in with 10-10 on the first hand and lost to Negreanu’s A-Q, receiving nothing at all after his long night nursing a short stack.

Incidentally the final table of nine players had 6 professional poker players and three businessmen. In finishing order:

1 – Daniel Colman – poker pro

2 – Daniel Negreanu – poker pro

3 – Christoph Vogelsang – poker pro

4 – Rick Salamon – “celebutante” says wiki (famous for being famous, Paris Hilton sex tape man)

5 – Tobias Reinkenmeier – poker pro

6 – Scott Seiver – poker pro

7 – Paul Newey – business man (founder of Ocean Finance. Hope you lose every event you ever play.)

8 – Cary Katz – poker pro

9 – Tom Hall – businessman

It was similar story in the 2012 with businessmen not getting eaten alive by the pros and doing far better than people had expected. Virtually none of the pros, if not all of them, are adequately bankrolled for a $1m buy in and they tend to club together and sell pieces of their action.  Perhaps the huge buy in does affect the pros and give an advantage back to the businessmen? Not that a sample of two tournaments is proving anything just yet, but it’s still a theory.

Posted in Freddie Mays | Leave a comment