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A Fold That Will Haunt Jorryt van Hoof for a Long Time
What could have been? What should have been?
I'm fascinated by things that could have changed everything and rewritten history.
What if the Germans didn't stop before Dunkerque? What if the bulk of the English army would have been trapped?
Could England have stopped a German invasion then? What if Hitler’s boys didn’t have to fight the biggest two-front war in history?
It's very easy to see a scenario where World War II ends differently. Without a doubt, a mind-boggling thought.
Butterfly Effect Always In Effect
Maybe you prefer a more important parallel?
Imagine Zinedine Zidane without the head-butt. He had already taken Les Blues to one world cup victory in 1998.
He was the best player in the 2006 World Cup, had scored in the final and was dominating the field.
With a win for France “Zizou” would have taken the final step up to the all-time greats like Pelé and Maradona, where he probably deserves to be.
Instead, history took a different headspin.
I changed poker history with a fold in the 2003 World Series against a guy I, three days later, learned the name of -- Chris Moneymaker, of course.
The butterfly effect is always in effect and the data is never more profound than in a poker tournament.
Imagine all the pots and all the rippling effects in the Main Event with almost 7,000 players.
The proof is in the pudding of every final table.
What is Luck, Anyway?
Let's look at last year's Main Event where Swedish champ Martin Jacobson put together one of the all-time great final-table performances.
That is how the history is written, and that's how it is, but I don't buy into the argument that it was impressive because he was never all-in without the best hand.
That's nothing more than luck. He was short stacked and had to go when he had to go.
The impressive feature was that he waited patiently for the absolute right spot and took it every time.
What is luck anyway? Winning with KK versus AA? Or getting American Airlines against the Cowboys?
There is a hand that changed everything at
the final table last November. And the decision had very little to do with Martin's game.
Most of Your Big Successes Rely on Someone Else
I have won some tournaments and in many of them an opponent has made a bad fold that basically saved my tournament life.
Actually, it has probably happened in every one of them. I just don't know it.
It's an important lesson that most of your big successes relied on somebody else doing something that had nothing to do with you.
Jacobson had played perfectly up until this hand. There were four players left. The blinds were 500k/1m with a 150,000 ante.
The stacks were:
- William Tonking 20 bb
- Martin Jacobson 21.5 bb
- Felix Stephensen 57.2 bb
- Jorryt van Hoof 101.6 bb
Van Hoof was dominating with a lot of small raises. Obviously the two small stacks were looking for spots to reraise all-in and increase their stacks by around 20%.
First to act van Hoof raised to 2.2 bb with Q♦ 7♦. There is nothing wrong with that, even when he knows that he'll face a lot of reraises.
Tonking reraised all-in. Jacobson went all-in as well. Stephensen folded.
Now van Hoof had a decision to make. If he folds, one guy will be eliminated. But if he calls he can eliminate two guys and be a big favorite to win the whole tournament.
A chance to knock out players is always huge when playing shorthanded and with big blinds.
He wasn't risking much. He would still have a commanding chip lead if he lost.
Everybody Knows van Hoof is Opening Light
It was a mathematical decision so we can join in on the fun. I presume you have and use Flopzilla?
It's the best tool there is to learn about ranges, equity, to create your own ranges and basically understand the foundation of poker -- which is math.
Everybody knows that van Hoof is opening light but Tonking is desperate and should also re-raise light.
From the big blind I would expect a range of 40% of starting hands. Now he has two players behind him so 30% seems about right.
All pairs, all aces and all Broadway combinations are 29.7% so it seems reasonable.
With Q7 of diamonds van Hoof needs 38% equity. But given that it's going to happen again and that he gets the chance to knock out a player, he should probably call a little lighter than that.
He needs to put in 17,800 to win 42,100. That translates to 42.3%, which is the equity he needs.
As you clearly can see it's very close, even though I think van Hoof would have folded.
The Real Question is ...
The pot gets complicated when Jacobson goes all-in as well from the small blind.
An estimation of his range is 88+, AT+ and KQ. That's 9%. If you want to take away KQ, it's 8%.
van Hoof now needs to put in 18,650 to win 63,800. That's 29.2% equity.
It's very hard to imagine that he can have that against two opponents, given how the pot has played out, but the real question is how much equity does it cost to call and how much is it worth?
Against Jacobson's expected range of 9% he has 31.2% equity. van Hoof has odds against everything except QQ, KK and AA, but even against those three hands he has 15.5% equity because he is suited.
Jacobson did a good thing by going all-in so fast and resolutely to show van Hoof that he had a real hand. I think that influenced van Hoof to eventually fold.
That's All History Now
Adding another opponent makes the calculation a lot more complicated, but let's try to make it simple.
van Hoof is not risking much given the value of the Independent Chip Model. But he can knock out two players and enter heads-up with a 3-1 chip advantage.
Given that so many players like to be creative with premium hands when shorthanded I think we can greatly reduce the chance of running into QQ+.
There's not a chance in hell that Tonking and Jacobson would be much tighter than my estimated ranges. But there is a reasonable chance they would be much more aggressive.
Then van Hoof would make a big mistake by folding. I think most of the time we can expect to run into AJ and 88 or something like that.
With Q7s it would be mistake to fold. If van Hoof could have seen his opponent’s hands -- 22 and TT -- he would call instantly.
I believe that he would have called really fast online. I believe he would have called in a smaller tournament, too.
I even believe that if he had taken more time for his decision to consider all aspects he would have called.
Instead, I think van Hoof will be haunted with his fold for a long time.
A queen came on the river and a call would have changed history. But that's all history now.
About Ken Lennaárd:
Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via PokerListings.com. Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not represent the views of PokerListings.com.