Restealing when there is a disconnected player

Barry Carter gets Dara O’Kearney to review not only a hand but also how he studies his hands, in a new series on self study.

I wanted to get better at self study as a poker player and I know this is a topic a lot of our members want to improve on too. So today is the start of a new series where review a hand I played and not only do I get a professional player to review the hand, but also the study methods I used to do the review. 

The bubble has burst in a €10 rebuy UOS event on Unibet, 21 players remain. The blinds are 2,000/4,000, I have 56,000 in the Small Blind and my book writing partner Dara O’Kearney is under-the-gun. He has just acquired a big stack and has been abusing the table. He raises UTG for the third orbit in a row and it is folded to me with K T. Normally this is a trivial fold, but the Big Blind is disconnected and has been for about 10 minutes. 

I think Dara is exploiting the situation with his big stack and going after the dead money of a disconnected player. So I suspect he is doing this with a very wide range, any high or connected cards. I also know from the man himself that around the two tables left mark is a good time to try and build a stack for the final table. So I shove over the top of him thinking I will get a lot of folds and when called be up against hands I have reasonable (not brilliant) equity against. He tanked and eventually called, and won, with A 3

The hand as it happened

Dara revealed to me that he didn’t even realise it was me at the table, so while I felt I had a read on my mentor he basically played the hand how he always would. So I decided to get into my very modest lab to decide if it was a good move. 

Does a sitout widen our range?

I put this hand into Holdem Resources Calculator, using the payouts for the tournament and assuming 21 players remained. I gave the option to shove or min raise, as Dara did. First of all, I looked at what hands would be a raise and reraise without a dead stack. 

Curiously HRC suggests Dara only min raise 2% of hands here (Just AA and A9o), preferring shoving 20% of his range, which makes sense because he has a big stack and can exert a lot of pressure on us as we near the final table. It recommended I 3-bet with 6.6% of my range, basically the top 6.6% and high card heavy hands. There are more combinations of A9o than AA in Dara’s range, which can allow us some 3-bets. He obviously folds when he has A9o and calls with AA. 

The ranges assuming no disconnected player

To mimick the impact of a disconnected player, I edited the Big Blind’s range to say they would call 0% of their hands and 3-bet 0% of their hands, then refreshed both our range’s to reflect that. 

This dramatically changed the ranges. Now it suggests Dara should min-raise 100% of his hands given it is guaranteed the Big Blind will fold. Even more interesting, knowing this range, it recommends I 3-bet with 100% of my hands. When I do, Dara should call with the top 94.6% of hands. 

The ranges assuming the Big Blind is sat out

I am the only player at the table HRC suggests reraise Dara wide, for the obvious reason that I get to close the action. Nobody else can come over the top of me. 

I knew HRC would suggest wide ranges for both myself and Dara in this spot, but never thought it would be correct for us both essentially to get all our money in the middle of the table every single time. It is not unlike the effect of a bomb pot in cash games or a bounty in PKOs, an extra prize in the pot widens our ranges considerably. 

In fact the ranges are so wide that I worry that this is either a flaw in HRC or I have messed up my method of study. So over to Dara to see what he thinks of my homework assignment. 

Dara’s review of the hand review

Dara O Kearney
Dara O’Kearney 

When a player is disconnected I essentially move myself one seat forward for my ranges. When it is the Big Blind I go even wider than usual because it is more beneficial to get them fold. You have to be careful because other people can see the Big Blind is sat out too so you’ll get 3-bet more. If I think I am going to get 3-bet more I still widen my range but I add more blocker hands and take out non blocker hands that cannot call a 3-bet. Small pairs and suited connectors go in the bin more.

I have to admit I was surprised how wide our ranges were supposed to be. I don’t have massive ICM pressure on me because I am a big stack, so I can call if I am getting close to the right ChipEV price and if you are shoving any two I don’t need much of a hand to call. In practice I don’t think you were shoving any two which is why I tanked. You don’t have much ICM pressure either as one of the shorter stacks, so this is a good chance for you to double up too. If this was a medium stack against a medium stack it might be a different story. 

If I was to do further study I would have also changed all the ranges of the players to what they were likely to be in real life, rather than just GTO, then looked at how that changed things and what that does to our ranges. I’d then change the ranges so a couple of people 3-bet more than they should, and a few people who flat more than they should, then see what that does to your ranges too. You want to understand the spot holistically, just because you happened to be the Small Blind in this spot that isn’t the only thing you should consider.

I agree with your findings very much, your overall approach was good.

How do you conduct your own self study? Let us know in the comments:


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