Game: The Big One For One Drop 2014
Players: Connor Drinan, Cary Katz
Why is it interesting?:
Preflop: Check out the opening raise made by Katz. He checks his cards and IMMEDIATELY looks at/reaches for his stack. He totally cannot wait to get his chips in there. Notice how he picks up some chips and flings them into the middle with a carefree sense of wild abandon? He’s trying to look casual, but because he’s a bit excited, he overestimates the force required to “casually” throw a few chips in. I think this is interesting because it shows that it is worth watching players as they look at their cards and make their first action, rather than looking at your own cards.
Players who are trying to look casual with bets, often have what they consider to be a big hand. If you know what they consider to be big hands, then this information will help you narrow down their range.
At this point in the hand, Drinan is watching Katz like a hawk, it’s not clear from this video whether Drinan has already checked his own cards, but if he has, he’s done it quickly enough that he still has time to watch UTG open. If you’re playing live poker, you should be doing this too.
When action is on Drinan, he looks like a robot. He’s in a $1m buyin tourney, with AA and he’s got a less experienced player betting into him; he’s got to be a little bit excited. If I was in his shoes, I’d probably have passed out, but I don’t play $1m buyin tourneys.
I play $10 online tourneys and I don’t get unduly excited when I get AA, because experience has taught me it means nothing until I get paid. At this point, Katz is doing the classic “don’t mind me, I’m inconsequential” head-to-the-baize move, as if he’s attempting to make Drinan forget that he’s in the pot.
Everyone knows that feeling with AA, right? The words, “please raise, please at least call” whizzing through your head. I think this is a bit of a leak with less experienced live players, myself included. Looking sheepishly inconspicuous can tell on my big holding, because when I am actually getting tricky, I’m more inclined to want to appear strong. I’m getting to grips with this, but I’m still not much better than Katz at the moment.
What I’m aiming for is looking alert, engaged and scary in every hand when I still have live cards, closer to Drinan. Even if I have 7-2 pre and am planning to insta-fold when action comes to me. I think this is good live advice, and I hope I take it.
After Drinan’s 3bet, watch Katz’s eyes. They are all over the place, this is a good tell, but handle it delicately. These wild eyes mean one of two things, either this opponent is not really struggling to think at this moment (because he looks at things that are not relevant to his thinking) OR he is an opponent who struggles with sustained thinking (he is easily distracted from an important and immediate task).
Getting this mixed up will be costly, but if you know a player is a good, thinking player and they start doing this, then you can identify that they believe they are in an easy spot.
If a player does this regularly, in many spots, then you may be facing a player who can’t think as efficiently as you about the hands, and that’s a guy you can beat on the long term.
Katz should be given a BAFTA for his 4bet. I can actually smell ham, and the final flourish of splaying the chips and giving Drinan a bitchy side-glance, as if he’s annoyed at him for making him 4bet just confirms he loves putting his money in and he wants to do more of it.
When action’s back to Drinan, let’s remember he doesn’t know Katz has AA here, but if he were to 5bet shove it becomes obvious he has AA or at the very least KK to Katz. How could Drinan possibly put Katz on AA when he’s holding that? You just wouldn’t, you know it’s possible, but come on. Whatever Katz is holding, he’s massively telegraphed to Drinan that he’s not giving it up.
Drinan has the best starting hand, and Katz has told him that he can go for max value, right now.
In this pot, it’s almost irrelevant, the stacks are half in anyway, but imagine the starting stacks were ten times the size. Drinan could have 5bet shoved 15 times the pot and know he was getting called there.
I do not like the way Drinan turns his back to Katz and starts analysing the hand with another player who he obviously thinks “will get it”. I think it’s fucking rude.
At any level, less experienced players should be welcomed into the game with open arms. Drinan is being a little bitch here, and should put on a netball skirt and go and give head to the football team with the other Mean Girls. He should be including Katz in this discussion, or not having one at all.
Flop: “If I lose like this… whatever.” 5% likely backdoors shouldn’t be scaring us, and Drinan’s obviously not scared here. If I was playing my normal $10 tourney, I would not give a shit either. If I was playing in a £500 live event, which I would only have sattied into anyway, I would be having some sort of contorted palpitation.
I think of the OneDrop as all the big players’ equivalent of my £500 games, because they don’t get to play $1m buyin games everyday either. Hat off to Drinan for being polar-bear balls here, this is a massively important mindset.
Turn: Drinan’s distress appears to increase in exact proportion to Katz’s equity. Again, I am impressed that Drinan does not get overexcited on the turn. Katz is overexcited, he’s talking about “luck” and is clearly buzzing. That’s the kind of adrenaline hit that translates into feeling invincible and donking off some off your new big stack within the next few orbits anyway, even if you do hit the 1/5 chance. Most the time, this is a chop, Katz should be as calm as Drinan, who still, quite rightly, expects to play the next hand.
After the hand: Drinan loses with amazing grace, Katz is gracious in winning, although I don’t see a handshake. Nothing for Drinan to analyse really, he played perfectly. This was one of those cruel situations where mother poker doesn’t give a shit about your emotional involvement with that particular hand, and maths picks the worst moment to hit you with the predictably unlikely.
Geeky Considerations: In a hand where both players have the exact same cards, I would say that I aspire to play it like Drinan, not Katz. I explain this with the statement that Drinan knew what Katz had, but Katz only knew/cared about what his own holding was. Whatever your own cards are, you should always be more interested in what your opponent’s cards are and what they plan to do with them.
Drinan was ready to play on, keeping his head, in control of his game; Katz was buzzing off a punt.
I wanna be the guy in control of everything I can control, because it’s the best weapon I have against the things I cannot control sending me over the edge into insanity.