Sunday, December 23, 2007

Play along at home...

Here's a hand I was involved in today so you can play along at home. I won't tell you which player I was so you can make your guesses as if you were sitting at the table with us. But, later on, you'll be able to highlight the white text to reveal the details.

Situation: $6-$12 LHE at Garden City. Our table had been going for about 30 minutes, and while it was pretty loose, there were a few decent players. I wasn't afraid of anyone though, so that is a good sign. In this case the two players in question are the SB and cutoff (CO).

Action: Folds to CO. CO raises, button folds, SB calls, BB calls
Flop (5.5 SB): 8c 6h 3c ; SB and BB check, CO bets. SB calls and BB folds.
Turn (4 BB): Ac ; SB checks, CO bets, SB calls.
River (6 BB): 2h ; SB bets, CO says "That sucks," and calls quickly.

Who won? What did each of them hold?

If you'd like to know about the SB first, highlight below:

The SB was my opponent. He had 88.

Think about that. Let it sink in...

Preflop, he cold-called a raise with 88 in the SB. Not a bad play by any means. Could have three-bet it though, although I had been playing tight.

He flopped top set. The check was reasonable if he was looking to check-raise. But he didn't. Maybe he planned to check-raise on a safe turn card (which is why maybe I shouldn't always bet the turn when I still only have ace high). There was a flush draw out there but even a check-raise would give the BB the right odds to call. A check-raise would have forced the BB to have bad odds with a gutshot though. I guess I'm ok with his check.

On the turn, the flush draw got there. Why check it again? If it checks through (which it could easily, if I have overs and no club) he's given a free card on a very dangerous board for him. I expect he was probably afraid of the flush, but honestly, it was unlikely he was up against it. And, by all means, if you check and get bet into, raise. Again, chances are I don't have a flush or trip aces. In fact, if I hit the ace, I can't have the flush. Gotta bet or check-raise there...

On the river. What's my most likely hand? An ace. A check-raise will likely work. Betting out is a good option too, but it takes a monster to raise him there.

What bugs me (and what made me clueless to his holding) is that he flopped top set but waited until the river, leading out in a way so that there was no chance of getting extra bets from me if he was ahead (which was most likely).

If you'd like to know about the CO first, highlight below:

You may have guessed (from the verbal comment) that the CO was me. I had A9o, with the 9c. I felt like an A9 was enough to take a shot at the pot pre-flop, but wasn't surprised when the SB and BB came along. The SB, in particular, was slightly loose PF, and a little more than slightly loose post flop. Not a bad player by GC standards, but not very aggressive.

On the flop, they both checked, so I figured it was worth a bet even though the board was pretty coordinated.

On the turn, I was really happy. Now I had top pair, a flush draw as backup, and I just didn't feel like either of them had the flush.

On the river, I knew I was screwed. Granted, I had no clue what he had, but that's a strong bet there and I was expecting a flush, a crazy two-pair, or a straight. Getting 7:1 I had to call though, because he could have missed a draw or had a weaker ace which he chose to value bet there. Hell, even TT or 87 could bet there.

My comments:

I feel like this is a great example of why there is money to be made at GC. I like pretty much every single one of my actions, simply because my opponent didn't do a single thing to tip me off that he had me beat. Yeah, I said it, I liked my flop bet even though I was nearly drawing dead. Because more often than not, they've got a crappy second pair with a gutshot, low club draw on the turn, or even a pair of tens they slow played. So against my opponents' range, I made every correct choice. Against the hand he had, well, I was drawing slim.

More importantly, notice how I paid the minimum yet was betting pretty much the whole way? What was he afraid of, a flush? The board pairing? If he had raised on the turn, I would have lost another bet (minimum, I might have three-bet there, probably not though). He could have check-raised me on the river if he realized I had an ace. Hell, he probably should have three-bet the flop with his hand. But this is passivity in action.

And a bet the guy didn't make me pay is a bet I take home at night.

Bonus hand:

There was one super fish sitting to my right when the table started. He's a middle-aged guy, overweight, and I've seen him around GC before. He was loose preflop and called down with pretty much any piece. The annoying part was he'd say something like: "He's got the ace!" on a board of A83 and then call down to the river with a pair of 8s just to see. Gotta love guys who will announce a read and then do the exact opposite of what the read calls for!

He eventually moved across the table and I got into a hand with him I'm pretty proud of. I limped pre-flop with KJs in late position, and the flop came down QJ8 rainbow. Six people in, checks to me, I bet, and three (including the super-fish) called. Turn was an offsuit 3, checks to me, I bet again, and just super-fish calls. River comes 7, he checks, and I bet. And before I bet, my thought was: He doesn't have top pair. He has a jack, and he'll pay me off. Value Bet!. He hems and haws, calls, I flip my cards and say, "I've got a jack." He says "I can't beat the king," and I pull the pot.

While the hand seems simple, I would have never made that value bet on the river a few weeks ago. Hell, I'd probably be too afraid of the queen to bet the flop, even in position!

I used to think limit poker was just robotic betting and calling based on the hand you hold and reads didn't matter much, but now I'm seeing the usefulness of reads and aggression with medium hands. Sure, one read won't make or break your night, but getting value bets against the right players make up a large percentage of your profit. And with more bets available, you can hone in on your opponents hands pretty well (although it is still hard to fold the river based on a read due to the odds).

My point is, I'm getting the hang of this game!


Thuan said...

My boy's all grown up! You played both hands perfectly! (Although perhaps w/6 to the flop on the 2nd hand, raising w/KJs at GC is a possible alternate line).

First hand: This is what I'm talking about. Good solid aggression. Excellent bet on the flop for these reasons:

1) Yes, the board is coordinated, but you're up against the blinds, they can have anything.
2) They checked to you.
3) You're only 3-handed.
4) At GC, you will get called by gutshots, so some of the time you are getting value for your hand. So weak tells + short-handed+ position+ fold equity + occasional value play = BET Good Job. And like I've told you before, the avg. GC player will MAKE you lose the minimum when they're ahead.

Again, I like your turn bet and river call.

2nd hand: I don't mind the PF call in-position w/KJs, but at GC and a loose table, a raise might be slightly better. Otherwise, good read on your opponent and awesome value betting with middle pair! Btw, if he did have the Q, it would've been like Q5o... you definitely weren't up against a monster.

Thuan said...

Btw... night and day between these 2 hands and the one you played in this post: