Bovada $2K NLHE 6-Max
A couple of months ago on the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor (hence the title), I played a 6-Max tournament with 154 entries on Bovada and had the good fortune to place 2nd.
Due to the unique anonymous nature of the Bovada hand history files, the game gave me a record of every card dealt at my table—even those folded pre-flop by the other player—all the way to the last hand of the tournament. In previous hand history discussions, I’ve focused on significant hands, but this time I thought: “Why not do every single hand?” We can see what people are playing (and what they’re not playing). We can see all of the bluffs, the good folds, the missteps, all the way from the early stages of the game to the bitter end.
Because the game is 6-Max, there’s more action than at a nine-handed or ten-handed table. Personally, I love the format (the opening event for the PacWest Poker Classic at Chinook Winds today is 6-Max and I’ll be there tomorrow), and I’ve done reasonably well in them, even making the top 25% of the only WSOP Circuit 6-Max I played a couple of years ago.
The 6-Max format forces players into fast action. You can spend much of the tournament at tables with fewer than six players. The blinds come around quickly, and for players unused to the fast pace, they can be caught unawares as their stack dwindles while they wait for the hands they look for nine or ten-handed. You really need to open up your game in order to stay ahead.
Something special was needed for this examination, so I’ve devised something a little different. The chart accompanying each hand details basic player information (the ID number for that tournament, I’m #50), position, cards, and stack size, as well as equity at specific points: START being cards as they’re dealt; PRE-FLOP shows just the players making it to the flop; POST-FLOP is the effect the flop cards have on equity; etc.
Suits for the cards are indicated by blue for diamonds, red for hearts, black for spades, and green for clubs, the standard four-color designations if you use that setting online.
Equity was calculated using the Poker Query Language Runner available at ProPokerTools.com.
Because this is a time-consuming process (and there are more than 320 hands from start to finish), I’m going to break these posts up into somewhat more digestible bites, starting with the first 20 hands. There’ll be a new set of hands every day until I’m done. All hail Adobe Director, my go-to tool for text file processing!
I entered the game a couple levels in, as player number 50, with just under 100BB at 5K. A new table opened up, and there were only three of us seated when the first cards were dealt. The other two players had already been involved in some action; player 48 in BB was down 330, player 45 on the button was up more than 1.6K. D called with [ks 8s] and I raised my [qd ah] to 240. BB folded [3s 6c] and D called my raise. The flop made top pair for me: [7c qh 6s]. I bet 300 and D folds.
Another player is added to the table as balancing goes on from other tables. Player 47 is seated between 45 and myself, he has picked up a few chips in a previous hand.
I raise this hand preflop after UTG folds and win. By the time action is on BB, I have 66% equity in the hand.
Player 44 is moved onto my left. Whatever he’s been doing, he’s nearly doubled up.
I fold, along with the newcomer, who has only a 1 in 20 chance of winning the hand. D raises with the best hand by far preflop and gets called by BB. After the folds, D has picked up a greater percentage of the equity, relative to BB’s hand.
After a [4s 4c 8h] flop, things are relatively unchanged, even with the addition of a straight to BB’s win possibilities. D’s kicker is a blocker for the straight. What’s important to BB is that the equity of his hand isn’t decreasing significantly There’s no action at this point.
The [ah] turn flattens things out even more. BB’s flush is hardly ideal, but he’s close to a flip. BB rightly checks, D bets another 360, making the pot 1,110. BB’s getting better than 3:1 on his call, and hits the [qh] on the river. BB shoves with the hand that started off with second-best equity pre-flop and gets a fold.
By the time SB raises my BB after three folds, I still have only 27% equity HU. I know if everyone folds to my suited ace-king I’m usually sad.
You can spend a lot of of a 6-Max game playing 5-handed, due to table balancing, particularly in a smaller tournament like this one, where there might be only ten or twelve tables total, and half of them might be short at any one time.
Sort of entertaining to see here that CO’s seven-deuce is the third-best hand, better than either of the ragged queens. Lots of diamonds. UTG raises to 180 and I’m the only caller.
The flop is [3d 4h ac] and I check-call a c-bet.
[9s] on the turn gives me two pair. Always possible he could have a set, but I’m pretty sure I’m good here and let him bluff 360 more into the pot. I’m beating anything but a wheel or a set, and I raise to 1.5K, then he folds.
My first big pot. Because three of the nines are dealt, I’m actually behind SB’s [kh qd]. I raise to 180 and get called by both the blinds. Kind of questionable on the part of BB, but it’s the early stages of the tournament, the call is cheap, and he’s correctly surmised that his cards are live. Even with the ace, I have less equity than SB. I’m extremely unlikely to win with just a paired nine in this situation.
The [2d 6d ad] flop changes things as one of my pairs comes through, but the superior diamond draw in the hand of SB reduces my equity from 85% (if SB doesn’t have the diamond) to 47%. My trendline is up, though.
SB bets 270 on his diamond draw, forcing out BB, and I call. The fold actually benefits me.
[6h] on the turn further reduces the chance SB can catch a winning card, which is down to just diamonds, with the possibility of backdoor trips or two pairs gone.
We both have two pair (and the best of the five starting hands) on the [th] river but check it down.
UTG raises a strong hand to 150 and gets called by the blinds. Note that BB’s [qs 7s] actually has more equity from the start than SB’s [6c 6s], which is true even if the pair of tens isn’t in the mix.
UTG flops the world with [4c tc ts], and somehow gets another 180 out of the sixes, which he just calls with his quads (BB gets out of the way). Then, on a [ks] turn, after a SB check, UTG bets 400 and gets another call. When [kd] lands on the river, SB must think he’s got a good spot to bluff, and puts in another 600, committing almost half his stack to this hand. UTG shoves and SB finally folds. He’s counterfeited, he has no showdown value against any card over a six. And certainly not against quads.
I opened my pair to 240 and got called by the BB, who folded to a bet on the flop when I had a full house. No bluffing into me, darn it!
Action folded to the Mutant Jack on the button, and he opened for 240. I was the only caller, and seriously behind. It gets marginally worse for me, but I called 230 with the paired ace on a flop of [qs 9c ad]. The [9d] turn was incredibly lucky for me, and I called another 500, then 1K more on the river [2h]. e chop up the small blind.
Player 48 may be getting a little frustrated. He’s the short stack, he’s had [7x 4x] two hands in a row, but the hand we get a new player on the table may not be the best time to open up with a crappy hand. He raises to 160 and gets 3-bet by the new guy in CO to 600, then folds.
UTG limps in his suited connector, then calls a raise to 240 from SB and they go to the flop HU. Presumably, he knows he’s behind.
Both players check the [6h 4s 2c] flop, then again on the [7d] turn. SB checks a [js] river, hoping to see the showdown with his ace, but UTG makes a play and bets 280, which is enough to get SB to release.
When I saw the hands that were folded here, I was a bit surprised. 6-Max is the place to open up and [qx 9x] is certainly an opening hand. [kx 7x] from the button should be a possibility, as well. All I can venture is that with the short stack capable of shoving 17BB from the SB as a squeeze, neither player through it was worth playing the hand. BB gets a walk.
UTG min-raises and gets called by CO and BB with The Portland Nuts and a suited one-gapper, respectively. The ace-high on the [Qs 4d Td] flop bets 260 into the two pair, who calls, and BB folds his 7% equity, which goes largely to CO, who’s already massively ahead.
Still drawing after the [kd] turn, UTG does pick up some equity, and bets another 680, which is called. The [2c] river shuts UTG down, he doesn’t try for a bluff, and folds to a 1.2K bet from CO.
UTG and HJ fold, then the short stack with the ace in CO min-raises. The pair of tens on the button 3-bets to 480, the blinds fold, CO shoves, and D makes the call. The board runs out [8h 2s 7h 7c js] and the tens win the hand, knocking out player 48.
The two strongest hands go to battle after a raise from UTG to 240 gets a call from D. UTG bets 380 on a [2c Ks 7d] flop and D folds, realizing his equity has plummeted.
UTG and HJ ditch their hand, then CO raises to 280, calling my 3-bet to 800 and we see the flop HU. An ace is still his best hope after [8h 9d 4h] hits the board, though he does have the backdoor flush draw. I bet 1K and he shoves for 4K. I call, the turn and river are [kc 2h], and he’s out.
No believer in ragged aces I, I fold to a CO bet of 185. When it gets to BB, he shoves his Portland Nuts and CO releases his dominated hand.
I make a raise to 240 from CO and everyone folds.
Action folds to SB, who probably feels like I did on the previous hand with kings. In this grouping, his hand is almost as strong, though he’s helped by the fact that three of the five over cards are all of the same rank. If there were five distinct over cards in other players’ hands, his equity would be halved. He raises to 240 and wins.
A raise to 240 from the pair on the button is all it takes for the blinds to fold.
- There were 12 hands played with 5 at the table, six with 6 players, and 1 each with 3 and 2 players.
- 12 of 20 hands were won by the player with the most pre-flop equity, six were won by the player with the second-most.
- One hand was walked, one hand was chopped.
- 5 hands were won with a single raise.
- I’m the most active player who’s still in, voluntarily putting money in the pot (VPIP) in 40% of the hands I’ve played. Twenty hands is a small sample size, and it should be remembered that most of the game so far has been even shorter than six-handed; playing two hands per orbit five-handed produces a 40% VPIP. My pre-flop raise (PFR) is 30%, but again, I have had kings, queens, and ace-queen already. I’ve won all three of my showdowns.
- Of the remaining players, player 45 has a 35% overall VPIP with 15% PFR; player 47 is 26% VPIP with 26% PFR.