In February’s MSPT Canterbury Park, a tournament that attracted 491 entries, it was the penultimate level of Day 1B (Blinds 1,000/2,000/200) that two of the big stacks collided.
It happened when action folded to Gregory Stoker in the small blind and he limped. The ultra-aggressive Darren Peasley, who had been drinking and held the chip lead most of Day 1B, exercised his option with a raised to 12,000.
Stoker responded by limp-raising to 40,000 and Peasley simply said, “All in.”
Stoker, who had 130,000 back, shot back in his chair. He seemed to think Peasley was up to no good, but didn’t seem sure he wanted to get it in. However, he ultimately spiked in a call to create the biggest pot of the tournament so far.
Stoker was ahead, but Peasley was drawing to two live cards. The flop was of no consequence, but the turn was as Stoker paired his ace.
However, Peasley could still win with a lady on the river, though it wasn’t in the cards as the peeled off instead to improve Stoker to trip aces.
“Nice call,” offered Peasley, who dropped to 75,000 (38 bb) while Stoker chipped up to 340,000 (170 bb).
We caught up with Jonathan Little of PokerCoaching.com to ask him some questions about this hand, which was indicative of the wild action you can experience at Thunderbolt Casino.
MSPT: What are your thoughts on this hand and how it played out?
Little: I like the plan of limping with nearly your entire playable range from the small blind against an aggressive opponent. If you instead opt to either raise or fold, you cannot play nearly as many hands in a profitable manner.
Do you call off in Stoker’s spot?
Little: Definitely! Unless Stoker is a huge calling station who will call the three-bet with a wide range of junk, Stoker should be limp/three-betting from the small blind with a polarized range consisting of premium hands that can easily call the all-in shove and junk holdings that can easily fold to the all in. This implies that when Stoker three-bets with a premium hand, he is planning to call the all in essentially every time.
This hand was at the end of the night. Both players were primed to bag Top 10 stacks. Is there an argument to be made that they should stay out of each other’s way, especially with good but not great hands? Or do you think you go for it when the opportunity presents itself?
Little: Making the next day of a tournament is completely irrelevant unless there is a payout jump associated with making the end of the day (which is rarely the case). The main time you should significantly tighten up at the end of the day is when your table is incredibly tough and you expect to get a better one on the next day (because the field consists of mostly weak players).
Both these guys were playing deep, which isn’t always the case at the end of a Day 1 flight. Generally speaking, what sort of things should players take into consideration when playing deep at this stage in a tournament?
Little: It is difficult to say, but if you lack experience playing deep stacked, your main concern should be not going broke with a marginal made hand, such as top pair with no kicker after the flop. That said, if you encounter an overly aggressive player, like Peasley, playing too conservatively is one of the biggest mistakes you can make because you are playing into their game plan.
PokerCoaching.com is an interactive poker learning experience from two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little. Try it for free at PokerCoaching.com/mspt.