Having the Energy to Win

Energy, it’s more than the thing that keeps your lights on, it also lets you play powers in Power Up. One of the resources in Power Up is our energy pool, which ranges from empty to a full 15 points, and it is more difficult to manage this resource than it might first appear. In the video above, Arlie Shaban takes advantage of another player’s poor energy management by being aware of the situation at the table.

The hand we want to focus on starts with Arlie’s opponent just having the energy he has just gained. As Arlie comments, this only leaves enough energy to play either an X-Ray or Clone power card, so nothing that is really going to impact the hand directly. Arlie is sitting on a small stack of just 5 big blinds, but in Power Up, a chip, a chair and some powers are all you need tog et back in the game.

Following a button raise, Arlie raises, leaving himself only 9 chips left behind. This is so he has the best chance of playing the last power card. As we’ve discussed before, that is an incredibly power position in Power Up. Arlie mentions he should have just called, and I agree that would have probably been the better option, allowing him to use his powers on the flop where he has more information.

An effective shove from Arlie’s opponent later, and the action is back on him. I think Mr Shaban makes another mistake here. With this hand being a key one, and possibly his last in this game, the order in which he plays his powers will have a big impact and could be the difference between winning a losing. We know that he’s not folding to a 9-chip raise, but he has some powers in his hand that let him maximise his chances of winning.

Arlie has a Scanner, a Reload and an Upgrade in his hand, and these cards should let him maximise his chances of winning. He also has 12 energy to power them. He can play any 2 of these cards in this hand, and he decides to play Upgrade followed by Reload to improve his 2nd card to go with his Ace. We have to consider the opponent’s range here. It’s pretty wide considering how short Arlie is, and the already have an Ace. We know which card we are going to be dumping, it’s always going to be the five of hearts. The advantage of using the Upgrade card is we have the choice between keeping the five, or replacing it with the card that’s drawn. Here, we really don’t want the five, so anything we draw is likely to be better. Of the remaining 50 cards (we don’t count our opponent’s cards as we don’t know what they are) only 15 are equal or worse than the five. So, chances are that any card we pull is going to improve our hand. I’d have used the Reload first in this situation, allowing us to keep our Upgrade for later. I also would have gone with the 9 of clubs. It’s far enough ahead of most of Arlie’s opponent’s range and leaves us more tools to win the whole tournament if we win this hand.

However, if I’m honest, I can’t fault Arlie’s play too much, especially as I have the benefit of hindsight. However, my strategy would have left Arlie with more options in the next hand, which we can see he won by beating a much better hand.

The big thing I’m taking away from this example is the conservation of resources. The obvious one is the energy pool that let Arlie take control of the hand. The less obvious one is the power cards themselves. Having an extra card in the last hand of the video would have given Arlie a lot more options, and the suited Ten kicker didn’t really improve his odds substantially against his opponent’s range compared to the nine.

Power Up gives us more to think about in these situations. We must preserve our chip-stacks, as in poker, but we also must consider our Energy and Power Cards in a similar way. Not having the options to use the powers at our disposal is the equivalent of not having enough chips to get a fold from an opponent. It radically reduces our options.

Arlie shows here that he has started down that road, and soon we’ll be bringing you a roadmap to follow him. What do you think? Comment below or join us in our discord channel to give us your thoughts.

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