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  • Gareth James

Embrace the variance

I had a really interesting hand on stream yesterday and my decision was somewhat polarising in the chat. PKOs/bounty tournaments are crazy beasts and it sometimes means getting it in with a really wide range and embracing the variance to win bounties.


In this spot a 4.07bb stack with a starting bounty shoves and a 0.09bb stack with 1.5x starting bounties calls. The action is on me with the mighty 75o!


Can we jam?

We cover the remaining players in the hand, which means that we won't bust, but we're currently 35/201 with 125 paid so there are some ICM implications.


Embrace the variance and gamble, or fold?


I decided to jam, and that decision was met with some comments that this wasn't particularly good. My response... it looks like a good spot, the players behind can't call that wide because there are ICM implications, but and it's a big but (I like big buts and I cannot lie) I'm not a human PKO solver and I can't say with confidence that this is 100% a jam.


But HRC is a PKO solver, so I promised the viewers I would run the spot after the session and report back. Honestly, I'm still learning about PKOs too and I know I'm going to make mistakes along the way, so if this was a mistake then I'm happy to have found something to work on.


It turns out my human PKO solver is not quite calibrated!


The first thing I did was run a basic hand in HoldemResources Calculator in Multi Table (MTSNG/MTT) 'ICM' mode which allows you to run ICM spots away from the final table, so 201 players left was no problem!


This was the result:

BOOM! I'm the best bounty player in the world!


Well actually I'm not because I used the wrong mode to run this. Basic hands in HRC only work for up to 3 players and there's no more possible action after the third player (me in this hand) calls, as you can see in the screenshot above.


This just can't be right!


In order to run this sim correctly I need to use the Monte Carlo algorithm for at least the 7 players potentially in the hand. It's probably even better to run for all 8 players (UTG had only just joined the table) and input their opening ranges.


Running the spot again, you can see the result is quite different!

So even though the players behind can only call with really tight ranges, jamming here with 75o is -$EV! Incidentally the BB called with J6o which is beyond horrendous!


Coaching point: Please don't run PKO sims in Basic Hand mode. You MUST use Basic Monte Carlo Hand to factor in all the players left!


In summary then:


  1. It was a bit of a punt on my part

  2. Basic hand and basic Monte Carlo hands will give different results

  3. I still have to spend some time in the PKO lab! 👨‍🔬


PKOs/bounty tournaments are a huge part of most sites' schedules now so it makes sense to spend a decent amount of your study time on solving these spots. Just make sure you use Monte Carlo mode otherwise you'll be doing what I did in this spot and making -$EV jams!


Good luck!

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