The part I love best about playing in the League is the very varied play that I see. At first glance, a lot of the plays seem crazy but further investigation shows some of the them to be very canny. A good example came up last night in what was, by far, the most interesting hand of the night:
Blinds were at 300/600. Scott St. Germain had the table's big stack with at least 6 players left. Matt Slavin was on the big blind whent he cards were dealt. I don't remember all of the pre-flop action here but the end result was that Will Hynes, Paull Hellman and Scott St. Germain all moved all-in (pre-flop, mind you). Matt then had the choice to call for all of his chips, which he did in the face of 3 all-ins. All 4 players showed there hands:Scott had A J offsuitWill had A A with a spade and a diamond(?)Paul had 10 10And Matt had....drumroll....3 5 offsuit.
Before I reveal the results, let's think a second to see if Matt's play was "correct". Common logic will tell you that facing 3 all in calls you're a huge dog, and that's usually true. In this case, though, Paul was very short-stacked and could have gone all-in with any two cards. If Matt had put Scott and Will on two high cards (AK, AQ, KQ, etc...), he might have thought that there were 3 players in with high cards, giving them all very poor chances of pairing up. In that case, all he would have to do would be to pair up and he would have a pretty good shot at making 4X his stack! Definitely a cagey play. Of course, that logic is more appropriate for a cash game where you can just go into your pocket if you're wrong. In a tournament, you're risking your chance to make money by doing that. In Matt's case, I would have folded. I also would have been hugely dissapointed when I saw the flop that came:
3s 5s 8s
Matt flopped two pair and all but killed Scott and Paul's chances. At this point, Will had the nut flush draw with the As in his hand. He could also make a higher two pair if the board pairs an 8 or if the turn and river come as a pair. Scott is drawing dead to running Jacks (of which neither can be Js) and Paul needs at least one of the cards on the turn or river to be the one remaining 10 that isn't a spade. So, discounting Paul and Scott's tiny chances to win the hand, Will still has about a 1 in 3 shot to take this pot down (9 spades plus 2 eights plus possibility of runner runner pair). None of those things happened, however, and Matt took down a HUGE pot, changing the whole dynamic of the game.