Sunday, August 06, 2006

Suckout or NOT?

I had never played any 45 SnGs because it always seemed you had to wait too long before they started. Then I signed up for the 45 SnG Challenge and discovered another reason for not playing them. I apparently suck at it. The closest I have gotten to the money is a 8th, 9th and 10th place finish. Oh well, I will plug away at them some more and see if I can avoid being in bottom place of the 20 people in the challenge.

The following hand was my finale in a 45 SnG yesterday. I was pretty much short stacked (blinds 200/400) with 1985 in chips. I was dealt KK and pushed. One caller called with AsJs. The flop came 3dQs4s, the turn was a Jd and of course the river was a spade (10s). Of course I went home in 9th place and just missed the money (again).

We see this kind of hand happening all the time and usually we listen to the loser complain about how they were sucked out on. Pokerstars is often refered to as Riverstars as it seems to happen all the time.

I certainly agree there are many times when suckouts occur, but I believe people often think that hands like the one I described were a suckout. I certainly didn't like the hand, but it was NOT a suckout. Especially in a case where the decision was made preflop. The caller in this case had two good cards, we were on the bubble and he had me covered 4 times over. The fact the cards were suited added to this decision. I would have probably made the call even if they weren't suited given his opponent (me) was so short stacked.

My point is the fact the cards were suited added value (I am not the math guy - they can tell you how much value). This value was based on the odds of 3 cards having the same suit out of the next 5 cards dealt. The fact the last card that matched happened on the river doesn't make it a suckout. Even if he would have had to go runner runner suited to get the flush, it would not have been a suckout because he made his choice before any of the cards were seen.

Now I used a simple example (although painful for me) with a flush and the decision being made preflop. But the same thing occurs whenever someone makes a one way choice (going all-in, or even getting pot commited). If the choice they made was based on getting certain cards and it was a valid choice, the fact the cards happen to come out on the river, or even turn and river, it is not a suckout.

Now this isn't to say that suckout don't occur. They do - all the time even. It is important to remember that it isn't a suckout if the decision made by the player included odds on remaining cards filling their hand. Of course nobody should be depending on runner runner odds to make their hand and if they did, you can call them a donkey instead.

1 comment:

Patch said...

I think part of the problem here is the lack of a clear definition of the term "suckout". Where exactly is the dividing line between suckout and skillfully playing the odds?

I went looking for a definition online and found a lot of hand-waving and just plain wrong definitions. One even suggested simply hitting a draw against a superior hand was a suckout. Anyone with even a minimal grasp of odds and some conception of the flavor of "suckout" knows this is clearly wrong. It's somewhat rare, but it is certainly possible for the player on the draw to have the better odds. To me, this indicates hitting that draw is not a suckout.

It seems clear (at least to me) the suckout-ishness of any particular hand depends upon the odds. Hitting a two overcard flush and open-ended straight draw does not constitute a suckout. Hitting a one-outer at the river obviously does. And somewhere in between we cross over from unfortunate but not incredibly unlikely to the area of clear suckout. But I don't know exactly where that point is and a quick search shows ignorance on the part of many others as well. Poker bloggers of the world, your assignment is to discuss this critical issue until consensus is reached.

Concerning the hand in question, the possible flush draw pre-flop is not worth nearly as much as most people appear to think. In this particular case (probably all cases, but I'm not that much of a math whiz either) it added about 3.5% to the villain's odds pre-flop. You were a 2-to-1 favorite when all the chips went in.

I'm not sure if this could "officially" be called a suckout, but I think it's at least very close to the area where suckout-ishness starts to build rather rapidly.