Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Move over Peabody and Sherman

Its time once again for Columbo’s Unsolvable Mysteries

As a kid, I loved reading Encyclopedia Brown. For those of you not nerdy enough, he was a middle school dectective who channeled Sherlock Holmes. The books were light reading, and the mysteries often a single chapter. Solvable, although improbable, scenarios involving ice cream or lunch money.

Then, as I grew up, I would watch shows like Jack Klugman in that dead body show Quincy and secretly read me mom’s old Nancy drew collection.

I thought I was in heaven when they put Ellery Queen on TV. But I can't tell you why. Each show was more of a contest to guess the relevant info, much less the solution (see also the books, which ran similar). In one show, even at a tender age, I remember yelling at the TV, “bring me the head of that writer!”. It was justified, I can assure you. It was as if the writers were trying to prove how smart they were by making the mystery overtly devious and confusing.

So, in the vein of unsolvable mysteries (like Pluribus Enigma and Jack the Ripper), here now are Columbo’s unsolvable mysteries…

You are in early position with 44. You know that this is a difficult place. Many players would pass, others would raise. Some limp and fold to any second raise. In this case I take the latter. The cutoff (who is 1/4 of your stack) makes the 4xBB raise and it folds back to me (no blinds called). I can either make this call on implied odds OR I can fold saying I dont have enough callers to make it worth while. I decide since stacks are deep that I will call. The flop is 23Q rainbow. There are 3 options:
1. Bet out at least half the pot.
2. Check and fold (weak tight)
3. Check-raise to show strength.
I decide on option 3. So, I ask you now. Was it a mistake to call the raise vs. a short stack? Was it a mistake to check-raise someone who is "ready to go"? Did it even make sense to play the hand? And when he comes over the top of the check-raise, did he play KQ/AQ or is he bluffing?

And finally, if he does have AQ, how do you avoid losing money? (When the flop comes statistiaclly you will be ahead about 76% of the time here.)

1 comment:

BrainMc said...

If you liked Encyclopedia Brown, Donald J. Sobol also wrote a series called Two-Minute Mysteries. They were fun 2 page stories aimed at a slightly older audience. Enjoy.