Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Catching Up...

I've been procrastinating updating the blog, but I'll give you a quicky now. Well, maybe it will be quick.

Played 1/19: +174

I played for about 3.5 hours and had a really strange day: no big pairs, no AK, AQs only once. In other words, no premium hands. On the other hand, my table was awesome (I remember think how I loved my table about an hour in). Every pot was getting 6-7 players to it, even if it was raised, so I could play a lot of suited connectors. As Thuan mentioned, suited connectors probably have much less variance than big hands because you get in cheap, build big hands if you hit, and otherwise don't need to invest much.

In particular there was a middle-aged Russian next to me who was playing almost every hand. He did a lot of betting (some raising pre-flop) but mostly he stayed in if he could. He did have some reading skills, but he was way too loose to make up for that totally. Since he was in every pot, that got the whole table in almost every pot. A few hands (in abbreviated form):

  • Q9s I see a cheap flop of 844, everyone checks. Turn is a 9, somebody bets, I raise, called. River is jack, I take a little time but make the value bet, and win against T9o (the Russian). I'm pretty proud of the value bet. Like Thuan says, they'll lead into you out of fear of missing the bet with two pair or better, so value bets have a high percentage of success.
  • 65o in the big blind. I call one bet to see the flop 4 handed. Flop of 668 rainbow, I check, young aggressive guy to my left bets, call, button raises, I cold call both to not tip my strength just yet, young guy raises, button caps. Turn is an ace, I check. They both check. Damn. River is a blank, I bet, they both fold their pocket pairs. Yes, they both folded in that monster pot. I know I misplayed this, but I'm not sure what line is the most profitable.
  • An illustration of why crying calls are good. 64d in SB, a bunch (5?) to the flop. Flop is 9d4x2d, I bet and am called in 2-3 places. Turn is 8d, I bet again, two callers (youngish, decent guy and the Russian to my right). I start thinking, "no diamond, no diamond". The river is the Ad. I check. Decent guy bets. Russian moans and groans but calls. What do I do? Well, I called. If the Russian was any happier about calling (he was clearly hating to do it, and I suspected he had two pair with no diamonds) I couldn't call. But in this case, I threw my bet in. Decent guy shows 99, for trips. Everyone was surprised he didn't raise, but I've played hands like that in the past -- he should have raised the flop though, or maybe the turn. I show my hand, and Russian has the lost the pot body language. Yet he shows an ace and a diamond... the five of diamonds! I felt like this pot was a gift from the gods...
  • AQs. My one good hand. I'm in MP and the Russian raises it. For whatever reason, I don't re-raise. At the time I was thinking he hardly ever raised preflop, but in hind-site, I think I just had gotten so few good hands I didn't want to raise preflop. We get 5-6 callers. The flop is QJc9c, checks to me, and I bet. I don't have clubs. Guy to my left raises all-in for two bets. Only the Russian calls, and I add another bet on. Turn is the 3c, I bet, he calls. River is a 6x, I bet, he folds. All-in guy rolls over KTo... Crap. This hand bugged me later because if I had three-bet the Russian then I could have gotten him out (maybe, he might have just gone all-in).
  • A haunting hand: 22, 7 players in for two bets pre-flop. Flop comes KJ4 rainbow, SB bets, I call with marginal (but implied) two-outer odds to a set, and both my outs are clean. Button raises, SB three-bets. Damn, now I have to fold (something like 24:2). One of them could even have a set. As luck would have it, a two hits the turn. And it would have won in the end. This one bugged me a little, but I played it right and the other players protected their hands correctly.
  • QJs. I didn't write this one down, so I'll make up as much detail as I can. It is a notable hand and I'm kind of proud of it. I get to the flop with 6 players for two bets. The flop is T54 or something like that with two of my suit. There's some action with late position betting and maybe four of us see the turn for two bets (10 big bets). The turn is an offsuit 7. A guy in early position, who's been pretty tight and playing by the numbers, leads out into the field. For some reason, I feel he's really strong. Like a straight strong. I call with one other player behind me and a Q hits the river (13 big bets). Without hesitation, he fires again. I fold. Yes, I folded top pair getting 14:1. But I had no doubts in my mind it was a good fold -- my read was just so strong. He had to have two pair or better. And he did turn over the 86 when the other guy called him. What do you think, am I nuts? At the time, I really didn't even have to think about it much...

Played last night (1/22):

A few minutes after I sat down I had this hand (as told in an e-mail):

Or the AA hand last night (three bets pf with 6 in, I bet the JJ4 rainbow flop and almost everyone calls). I bet the offsuit 7 turn and everyone folds except this one guy who check-raises me. In a smaller pot, I might let that go. But in that spot (approx 14:2 for me to call down) I felt I had to. Let's be honest though, I'd say he'd be bluffing there less than 10% of the time. What swings it to a call is I have 5% chance to draw out on the river.
Literally the next hand, I flop top pair with QJo and lose to a flush (I bet turn and he called with the flush made, then called the river). Literally the next hand after that, I get KK but win it, making value bets even after an ace hits the river (he thought for a long time, then called). I remember thinking two things here: first, I'm shocked I'm not tilting even though I dusted off $120 in two hands. Second, wow, I'm back up to $50. I'm not doing so bad.

Aside from that, the session (less than two hours so I could get my beauty sleep and play again tonight after I teach) was one of those dream sessions. I rarely had the second best hand and all my decisions were automatic and easy. My AQ turned a queen, my AJ turned an A, I flopped two pair and it held up, I turned two pair with Q4s to beat a flopped two-pair with T4o. One of those easy nights.

Overall, I'm in the middle of a winning streak. Two/three straight wins at GC (if you count $4 a win), almost $200 at our home game last Wednesday (which is monster if you know our game). The key is to keep working and not get too overconfident. Because these win streaks are always followed by losing streaks.

Goal results:

  • Count the friggin' pot. I'm getting better at this, but still occasionally forget to do it in a hand. I haven't had any moments when I need to know the pot and don't though. My usual trick is to count the number of players to the flop (and the number of bets). Then, on the flop, turn, and river, count as each bet goes in OR count the total. B+
  • Don't miss value bets on the river. I don't think I've missed any river value bets and I've made quite a few. A
  • Be aggressive, but think before I bet. Hard to say, but I definitely am taking some time to think in many hands. My aggression level is getting up to where it should be, with the exception of that AQs hand. B-
  • Open-raise in position / steal when appropriate. I've made a few, but there is still plenty of improvement here -- looking for +EV situations when the table tightens up. C+


Thuan said...

Nice win streak. My hand comments:

65o: You have two problems on the turn. You smooth called 2 bets on the flop twice and it's a tip off and I think the other players read it. Also, the turn is an Ace, so it's a scare card for anyone w/an underpair. You have to assume that no one else has a 6 (or you probably have kicker problems). If any other card hit the turn, I would've checked like you. But the Ace makes check-check much more likely, so I would bet... mostly because if someone has a big Ace, you might get 3 bets in. If someone has AA the turn would probably get capped anyway if you checked.

One more thing I would do... on the flop, when it gets capped to you... I'd act a bit. Pause and think like you're calculating odds for the straight draw.

AQs: Yeah... you should probably have reraised, but AQs is one of those hands that plays well against big or small fields, so if 6 to the flop is the norm, calling isn't too bad to encourage other callers. The only thing is w/your game, it's better to raise bc you have a fairly tight raising range anyway.

Sean said...

65o Yeah, I knew I gave my hand away, and I didn't consider the content of the ace at the time. Honestly, it totally killed my action because leading out after it hit might have gotten them both to fold too. But leading out was better than checking. FYI, I did act a bit on the flop for the first call.

AQs -- you hit the reason why I didn't raise. I figured it'd play well multiway and it would have decreased my exposure if I missed the flop or was dominated.