Sunday, December 16, 2007

My #1 Leak: Not Being Aggressive Enough

After all the bad beats I posted last night, I probably owe everyone $5. Surprisingly, the beats didn't get me too upset and I played pretty well the whole night, although I did get a little gun shy and missed some bets that I might normally make. The two trip 9s hands I posted about happened pretty much back to back and dusted off $150 or so in 5 minutes. I'd be lying to say that didn't effect me.

Anyway, thanks to Thuan, I think I'm closing in on my #1 leak: not being aggressive enough.

According to Thuan, the main mistakes players make in the 6/12 game are:

1) They are loose PF.
2) They go too far w/marginal hands.
3) They are curious.

You can exploit #1 just by playing tight preflop (check -- I'm definitely doing this) and raising hands that tend to be ahead like AJ or KQ (I'm not always doing this). You can exploit #2 by betting your hands that beat marginal hands -- this includes second pair (I'm not doing this). You can exploit #3 by betting the river with anything that has a decent chance of winning (second pair, maybe even third pair). Again, not doing that.

So, adjustment number one:

#1. Bet down any top pair, any second pair, and sometimes even third pair until I get raised. I'm definitely not doing this, but I should. The good part is, if I get raised on the turn, I can pretty easily throw away second or third pair if I don't have odds to chase.
Adjustment number two:
#2. Be more aggressive in position. Don't be afraid to bet and raise with weak top pair, flush draws, etc. IF I AM IN POSITION. Many cases I think it is likely I don't have the best hand and I'm missing chances to grow the pot and/or steal the pot. Doing it out of position isn't a great idea, but in position is good.
Adjustment number three (maybe):
#3. Raise more in position with weaker hands that may not be the best but that benefit from taking the lead and have high card strength. I haven't (but think I should) be raising hands like 88, ATo, A9s, KQo, KJo, QJo when I am in the cutoff and on the button. I think I should loosen my three-bet standards a bit too, especially if it is a loose raiser. In many cases, the reason to raise is to take control of the hand, not because I'm sure I have the best hand.

To put this stuff in another way, I think I'm playing pretty well pre-flop, or at least well enough to have a decent advantage on the loose players at GC.

But post-flop, I'm giving up a lot of edge by simply playing too tight. I saw a bunch of hands last night that I would have won if I stayed in. Some of them were good folds (like raising TT preflop then folding to a tight player's flop bet on a board of K98 where I would have runner-runnered a straight). On second thought, according to #1, I probably should have probably raised the flop to test him, although I was pretty positive he had top pair. Some of them were bad folds like the K9 hand where I had second pair.

A great example is the KQ hand that follows:

This is later in the maniac's reign, and I was in the cutoff. There were 2 limps, maniac raises, and I cold called with KQo. At the time, I thought to myself that I'd be behind any ace. But really, I was playing chicken, and I should have three-bet to get some of the blinds out, take control, and get the button out. Aggression mistake #1.

Both blinds called, so we hit a flop of 864 with two spades six handed. Surprisingly, it checked around to me and I checked too. I don't think this is a bad check, because they'd call me down with any pair, and I likely didn't have the best hand. Although, maybe it was. If I could get anybody out it would have made me that much better and I could get a free turn card. Aggression mistake #2 then.

Turn was a 9. Checks around. At this point, I don't think it is worth stealing this pot since it is so draw heavy and I'd likely get into a situation where I'm up against a made pair on the river and I can't bet to win it.

River is a ten. Checks around, and big blind takes it with a 97 suited.

The big problem in this hand came from me not three-betting. If I had, I could have knocked out the big blind and maybe a limper or two, gotten some dead money in while I had a good hand with position on the maniac. It most likely would have been my pot, all because I tried to save the small bet pre-flop. And with KQ, I want less callers.

Also, if I'm betting or raising with overs, that makes it so the good players HAVE to pay me off when I hit better hands. Although, I don't actually recall not getting paid off on my good hands all night. So I never had a problem with my table image hurting my action (a good thing about the 6/12 game).


Thuan said...

Just one cautionary note... Don't take the aggression too far. I don't know about betting down 3rd pair. Maybe check/call on river w/that. But again, it also depends who you're up against. Behind the maniac, reraise w/KQo, but call against the typical GC player. Also, players at GC have a tendency to check to the raiser on the flop and turn. So use that to get free cards on hands like 2 overs w/a gut shot, for example. Also use it buy outs. Like in your KQ example, if you had bet the flop, you might have gotten A-rag to fold and you'd win if you spiked a K or Q. (Of course, the way the hand played out, you would've lost no matter what - 79 is going nowhere on that flop -, but that's not the point... you had the same chances of winning as AA, so play a bit more like it).

One more thing, on the hand that you layed down TT to a tight bettor's lead... are you really sure he had a K? Did he limp PF. Are you sure he's not betting a draw with that coordinated board? Or T9s or J9s or 99 or 88 or A9 or JT? (you are screwed in a couple of cases, but are you sure his range was that narrow?) If he's tight, I'd say raise the flop. If he 3-bets, take one off in case you spike a T(though that might make you a second best hand). If he just calls, then watch the turn card. You can check if it completes a draw or bet for a free showdown. Probably no need to value bet the river because in this case I think you'll only get called by a better hand.

Sean said...

Point taken. I don't want to make a new leak by getting too aggressive.

On the TT laydown, I knew enough about him that he wouldn't make that bet into the field (6 players) without top pair or better. I don't know how I knew, I just knew. Sure, I'm not 100% positive, but given I'd have to call 2.5 bets minimum to get to the showdown, I know it was a good fold. But if I was going to play, I would have raised him for sure. BTW, when I said he was tight, I meant more postflop (maybe I should say passive). He liked to bet in position, but not out of position.

Overall though, I'd say it was close between raising and folding, but at the time given what I knew, I felt like it was a fold.

Thuan said...

I think that's fine. You have probably just a small edge anyway in that pot and it's small-medium sized pot, so you're not losing much by folding on the flop. I didn't realize it was that big of a field 6+... then sure you're right to fold esp. w/players behind you. You don't want to be the one going too far w/marginal hands.