Interesting hands of the ANC – 5/5

Larger than life and greater than mountains

In perhaps the ‘hand of the tournament’ we see how very differently teams play exactly the same cards. Garth Kay of Australia (here winning one of the biggest single pots of the event with his pocket rockets in seat 4) probably wasn’t too thrilled about having multiple opponents see a flop. However, when the flush draws and straight draws all miss, it is exactly what he wanted. India and Israel laying down their AA in this hand cost them dear, as did Mongolia getting in all-in in no less than four of the six positions around the table. Japan was all-in in five spots, winning two. China pulled off yet another miracle, winning both their all-ins in seats 4 and 6, and Singapore’s cautious strategy came good once again also, playing only the aces.

Hand_No216

The final hand

Despite the all-in strategy not working well for last-placed teams Japan and Mongolia, the final hand saw fireworks from these two teams once again, and with mixed results. Each got it all-in in four spots, Japan only winning once, and Mongolia an incredible three times. Elsewhere Singapore and Israel’s flopped flush held up, both managing to get their seat 5 opponents to fold before the river. And so came to an end an incredible tournament in which China demonstrated both its fine qualities as host nation and superb poker ability as a team. The event was the most sporting poker competition this author has witnessed, played not for money but for true national pride. Congratulations to everybody that took part and see you at the Finals!

Hand_No240

Interesting hands of the ANC – 4/5

Quads Baby, Yeah

You don’t hit quads often, and it seems that when you do, it is best to be playing against Mongolia. Ace-seven is a raggedy old hand to see a flop with, but it paid off big time for Japan and Singapore in this hand.Four teams also managed modest wins with the pocket deuces in seat 1. This hand is a prime example of why Match Poker is scored via a points system and not by total chip count. It does not seem right that teams should suffer huge consequences for making legitimate plays (i.e. the folding of A7 pre-flop here). The missed opportunity costs them a few points in this one hand only, instead of making the event one of the key moments of the tournament. It is consistency and the ability to maximise situations throughout all 240 hands that wins the day.

Hand_No137

Kicker Trouble

Well into the tournament now, the varying team strategies are beginning to show. Trailing teams Japan and Mongolia are ‘going for broke’ and prepared to get it all-in fairly regularly.  Everyone else must adapt and pick their spots wisely. With a solid performance in Day One, Singapore are clearly playing far more cautiously to maintain their qualification spot. They escape with-out too much damage with their AQ in seat 1 yet are also the only team not to win with AK in seat 3. India are unlucky not to score more here (the only other team to correctly figuring out their kicker trouble in seat 1). Who would’ve thought that CPG could treble-up with their AK and China even double-up with the seemingly trouble holding of AQ?

Hand_No176

Interesting hands of the ANC – 3/5

When monsters meet

While we have already seen total team chip scores ranging by over 30000 chips in a single hand, here is an example of a range of just 400.  Since players are completely isolated from their team mates and play at other tables, it is impossible to know by how much their own decisions will affect the team overall. The moral is that “every chip counts” and this hand scores just as heavily as any other.  Not a single team managed to escape the confrontation of their QQ against KK, but the real story is in the detail. Australia, India and Mongolia lost out in the hand by simply getting involved in the seat 2 position. CPG, Israel and Japan were joint winners as they eked out marginally bigger wins with their kings. Play in seats 1,4,5 and 6 was almost identical across the board.

Hand_No62

Unexpected fireworks

Suited connectors and pocket pairs are pretty, but it is still surprising that this hand played out anything other than just the classic QQ v AK in seats 4 and 5. Could it be that teams were trying to finish Day One with a flourish? Was there some exploration going on strategy-wise, with an opportunity shortly forthcoming to review play overnight? Were some teams reacting to the in-running scoreboard and panicking? Is it simply human nature to want to push chips into the middle of the table, knowing that in Match Poker you get them back again in the next hand regardless? Three of the top scoring four teams in this hand didn’t get too carried away with their AK in seat 5. The losing teams once again got embroiled in big pots in multiple positions.

Hand_No99

Interesting hands of the ANC – 2/5

Everyone loves a flush draw

In an unusual situation here where seats 2, 3 and 4 all flop a diamond flush draw (seat 2 also with top pair), we see five of the eight teams getting it all-in bad. Sometimes a flush draw, especially a nut flush draw as in seat 3, is just too hard to let go. This is another example of China’s dominance, trebling up with their QT and not committing more than 150 chips elsewhere. In contrast, Singapore and India were two of the teams unsuccessfully chasing draws and also not capitalising from their one strong holding. Looking across the rows it is also interesting to compare how teams played their rag hands. Every team folded pre-flop with their 95 off-suit in seat 6, yet there is quite a range of play seen with the J3 suited in seat 5.

Hand_No45

Kings busted

In regular poker events getting a big hand cracked can seriously dent a player’s prospects or even result in their elimination from the tournament. In Match Poker, however, such scenarios impact only single hands, and more importantly, are dealt equally to all teams. The KK in seat 4 here is destined to walk into either the flopped flush in seat 5 or two-pair in seat 6. India and Mongolia outmaneuver everybody by winning the hand in both these spots. India also managed to get away lightly with their kings, while Mongolia (and CPG) even managed a sizable win in this spot as well. One of the biggest single pots won in Hand 50 was by Japan’s Tsuneaki Takeda (11325 chips) yet the team scored below average due to action elsewhere.

Hand_No50

Interesting hands of the ANC – 1/5

Can anyone stop Bold Uundai?

The 2013 ANC wouldn’t have been the same without Mongolia. Their uber-aggressive style eventually got found out, destroying their chances as a team, but such volatility helped them to pick up a few of the individual player awards. An example here is Mongolian captain Bold Uundai making a straight against Japan’s AK in seat 5. No other seat 3 player got beyond the flop with their 54 of hearts, but Bold managed a double-up, putting him way out ahead in the individual standings. Of note is that he did the same thing again in the next hand, spiking a river king for a full house against China, to record back-to-back double-ups that no other seat 3 player achieved. On paper Hand 4 looked like a classic AKvTT scenario. Think again when Mongolia is in the house!

Hand_No4

The art of pot-limit

In another ‘action hand’ we see four spots showing particular interest. There are the pocket pairs of 7s and 9s, plus the QJ and K3 that connect well with the flop. The QJ in particular is key here, as despite half the teams folding this pre-flop, it turned out to be the overall winner. The K3 on the other hand flops a nice flush draw, turns top pair, but misses on the river. With Match Poker’s pot-limit pre-flop structure, a lot of flops are seen. Teams must figure out how to maximise their winning spots and minimise their losses. China won this hand by extracting the most chips with the 9s in seat 2 and losing little elsewhere.  Despite CPG and Israel being the only two teams to double through their QJ in seat 5, it is the result across the whole team that counts.

Hand_No21