Wednesday, February 06, 2008

GC Last Night, a.k.a. Surrealism

What a surreal night last night was. Turns out there was this voting thing going on (which I totally forgot about, although I am registered as a permanent absentee ballot (and the ballot is currently sitting somewhere in my living room, untouched). The players seemed a bit worse than usual -- maybe the poker players that like to watch election results tend to be better players?

On paper, I took a really harsh beating.

My premium hands were AQ, AA, KQs, KK, AJs. Well, I had an AJo. AA and KK went down in flames, AQo, well, nothing going. I won with KQs and AJo. That's it for 2.5 hours of play.

I did have some medium pairs, most notably 88 which flopped top set (three-bet four ways, after a 6-way capped flop). Turn was a blank and I bet, another guy goes all-in for $6, called by one, and I try to complete (apparently you can't). Is that a tell? River comes a jack of clubs, completing the flush, and the guy (who I figured had a flush draw) checks to me. I hemmed and hawed and decided to not value bet (in hindsight, I probably should have -- everyone will bet a flush there). I roll over my set, thinking it is likely good, but the all-in guy spikes his pocket jacks on the felt. The other guy had TT. So yeah, that was a four-outer...

The table was pretty loose and passive. 5-7 way flops for one or two bets were common. Many hands were checked to the river. Blinds were only chopped maybe twice the whole night. And people were calling down to the river often.

I should mention the guy on my right who said he lost $300 in 8/16 and was playing down in 6/12. He was up a decent amount soon after he sat down, but not because he was a really good player. The whole time, all I could think about was:

After my KK got cracked (I'll relate that hand later) I was down about $130. Three hands later I was up $240. Biggest swing I've been through in a while. These lucky hands made it happen:

  • 63h on button. 5 players in including the blinds, so I limp it too. Flop comes 542 with two spades. My first thought was, it'll never hold up? Flop got capped four ways driven by a guy in EP. Turn is a n offsuit jack (safe for me) and I get a raise in on the EP guy (three players left). River is a Kx, and I've still got the nuts, both players call me. Raiser had A3o and other guy had a set.
  • 99 capped five ways pre-flop (I never raised once). Flop comes Ad8d3h. Original raiser checks, re-raiser bets to my right. I call because I've got over 22:1 (I've got the 9d). Two more players call. Turn is a Tc and I'm ready to fold. I know I'm beat, and I'm only getting maybe 12:1. Until the flop bettor goes all-in for 3 chips. That I can call -- original raiser calls too. Shockingly, the turn is a 9. It might even have been the 9d (maybe I lied about getting the right odds). Hell, I bet it. I thought I had the best hand. And I did. The original raiser had QQ, all-in guy had a decent ace, and suddenly the table was a little mad at me. I didn't mind, because I was still trying to stack chips from the last hand.
  • QTo in MP. I limp (kind of a what the hell limp). Flop comes QJ5, BB guy bets, I raise. #1, I wanted to find out if I had the best hand. #2, I wanted to get rid of some players behind me. This guy was pretty solid, didn't bluff, and shut down to aggression. So when he called, I assume I was ahead, but wasn't sure (he could easily have a better pair, but unlikely since he didn't raise. Turn was a blank, check-bet-call. River was a T, check-bet-call-show-groan. He showed a J5o. Why the hell didn't he raise me?
So, yeah, I had some luck. They also made plenty of mistakes, like the 99 hand (ran out of chips and couldn't protect his hand in a monster pot) and the QTo hand (if he raised me on the flop and bet the turn, I probably would have let it go).

Some hands I have questions about... Thuan, leave comments, and I'll give the answers and outcomes there:
  • AQo in the SB. UTG raises, four players call, and on me. What do I do? UTG was aggressive but pretty decent. I honestly considered all three options (fold, call, raise).
  • AA in late position. Two limpers, I raise, one-two callers behind me. Flop comes T66 with two hearts and I like it. I bet and get two callers (decent player to my right, who's loose and somewhat passive, and a decent guy to my left on the button who's loose and very aggressive). Turn comes Qh and it goes check, bet, slow call with hemming and hawing, raise. Crap. What do I do? FYI, the raiser (loose/passive) is pretty decent by GC standards, but I've seen him miss bets because he's not aggressive enough and he's way too loose preflop.
  • KQs in SB. UTG guy (same guy as above -- oddly enough, he wasn't raising a ton) raises, three call. What do I do? Nevermind, I know I should raise there for value, but I didn't. Wimp! Anyway, we get five to the flop (10 small bets), flop is KJ6 with one spade (my suit). I check because, well, I don't know. Should I lead into the raiser or check it to them? (one player in between us, two after him). Anyway, I check, BB checks, he bets, folds to me, and I raise to put pressure on the woman between us. He three-bets, and I call. Turn comes non-spade 9, I check, he bets. Now I go into the tank, because he's a pretty decent player and he's telling me he has AK or better. Now what do I do?
  • KK on button. 4 limpers to me and I raise. Six to the flop for two bets. The flop is Q93 with two clubs. Loose, passivish guy (same as in AA hand) leads out in EP. Two-three players behind him call, what should I do?
Looking through my notes, I think I am doing much better on value bets. As far as I can tell, I only missed one (the 88 hand when one guy was all-in -- I think it is marginal but +EV since most won't check-raise that spot). I feel like there might have been one other where every draw in the book hit the river and I didn't bet one pair. But much improved over where I was before. I remember very few cases where I was calling down to lose.

Oh, and my goals (jotted down in my notebook before I played):
  • Count the pot to the river. I'm getting pretty good at counting the pot before and after the flop, but when I'm in a hand, I'm often thinking about other things than the pot and I don't know the count on the river. C-, I can't seem to balance keeping count and reading players. Hopefully it will get better with practice. Luckily, I know my flop odds about 100% of the time and turn odds about 90% of the time.
  • Play Intelligent Aggressive. Forget the notions of loose or tight, play intelligent. Raise in position, raise to isolate, fold borderline situations against a strong raiser, etc. Post-flop, follow my reads and intuition more than books. I've played enough now where I can start moving past SSHE. Also, think through decisions more. Quick action got me in trouble last time. B. Did better this time, but I've still got a long way to go. I think I'm still a little too worried about raising pre-flop too much, which it should be the opposite -- bad raises pre-flop cost less than bad river bets or calls. I did get back into the habit of thinking longer before I act, and I think that helped. It's hard to be too 'intelligent' with your play at 6/12, especially on a good (meaning loose) table, since so many decisions are simple.

Finally, one last funny thing. There was a guy two to my right who came over from 3/6 and was really sensitive about rule violations. At one point, he went off on somebody because they folded on the turn while the guy before them was taking a lot of time to think. He also kept getting on people about folding out of turn in general -- total table captain guy. Yet he didn't play that well :)

Anyway, at one point the aggressive guy two seats to my left was talking on the phone after folding his hand. The hand ended, and the dealer flipped over the cards, and this guy on the phone reaches across the table and flips over the muck and starts seeing what cards are in there, while on the phone! The dealer then flipped the muck back over and shoos him away... I've NEVER seen anyone look throught the muck like that, and it gave table captain guy an aneurism. He was going on an on for fifteen minutes! Completely hilarious!

Oh, anyway, my total result was +$201. I'm back in the black! (at least until next time)


Thuan said...

Wow! Fun night! Wish I coulda been there. Ok... my opinions:

AQo: Ok... well UTG may be a good player, but how good is your read on his raising hands from UTG? It's a rare player that will only raise JJ-AA, AK, AQ. If your read is that certain, then a fold is in order. Otherwise, with AQo, I don't mind a call or raise... lean toward a call because you won't eliminate anyone, you are OOP, and given the strength of UTG, you may not have that much of an equity advantage.

AA: Do you have Ah? I assume not since you're asking. Bet, call, raise is tough. Someone has at least two pair and most likely better. Sometimes, you are gonna have to lay down the best hand and this is a tough one bc it's AA, but you gotta do it. More than likely someone has a 6 and someone has a flush. The best situation you are in is that you are up against AT, KQ, and a flush draw, but you will lose in this case often anyway. Drop it and move on.

KQs: Yes, reraise from the BB. Anyway on that flop, you need to lead out. Why? Hope the PF raiser raises to make it incorrect for gut shots behind him to call. Anyhow... yeah you're most likely beat (either AK, JJ), but I think your gutshot is clean, so I would call the turn (which also commits you to calling the river). I don't think I'm good enough to lay down here.

KK: If you are ahead, it's by a slight margin, so missing a value raise here is only a small mistake. Besides, a raise won't knock anyone out. I would just call. If the turn is not a club, I would raise any bet. On the turn, you have much more equity over flush draws, so it would be a big mistake not to value raise. The EP guy might just have KQ, AQo, QJ, etc...

Sean said...

Scary Thuan -- most of your lines are right on...

AQo: It was one of those situations where I hated my hand, couldn't really raise for value, but couldn't really fold either. So I called, and folded a missed flop.

AA: Nope, I didn't have the Ah, otherwise the decision would be easy. I wasn't concerned in the least about the guy to my left (he was weak, I could tell). The real question was if the guy to my right was check-raising the flush, and quite honestly, I couldn't picture him check-raising anything else. I just didn't see the guy check-raising a 6 (or having a 6) in that spot, although I guess it is possible. He was also passive, I didn't really see him making a check-raise with trips there. So I thought for a long while and... called.

I just wasn't strong enough to lay down AA in that spot given those odds (10:1). The paired board actually helped me in that spot, although I didn't think about it then: if he had a flush, either an ace or a 6 was good, giving me 4 outs, which is 11:1. I think it was -EV overall since he could have had trips or a full-house, but not very. I'll have two outs against anything but quads, so I'm not losing too much.

The guy behind me folded (!). The river came another heart, and he lead into me. This really confused me. If he had a low flush, that card should have scared the hell out of him. So I called there too (although even if a heart had come, I still probably would have called to catch a possible bluff). He had K2h.

KQs: I'm not sure I like leading in this spot. If I have him beat, he'll just call and I'll be out of position against a huge field. The woman between us (a dealer on the day shift) was really loose too. I figured a check-raise would at least put pressure on her, or I could check-raise the turn if a bunch of people called and I improved. Also, the check-raise would define his hand. The way it went down, I didn't mind my play too much. Obviously, the two lines are up for debate, and I know I do too much checking from early position.

Anyway, I called the turn for exactly the reason you gave -- I had a gutshot at minimum, plus we might have a tie or he could have a slightly worse hand. And yeah, that locked me into calling the river.

The odd part was on the river, I checked to him, and he bets, saying "I know you don't have anything." I was already putting my money in and wasn't going to fold now, but that's usually a huge tell for a strong hand (trying to talk someone into a call). Then he asked if I had a pair and I knew I was good. I didn't force him to show his hand, just took the pot.

The really interesting thing for me on this hand was that my flop check-raise induced a three-barrel bluff (or semi-bluff). I'm sure the time I took on the turn helped too. In this spot against this opponent, I think inducing the bluff was way more valuable than leading out.

KK: I took the exact line you recommended. I call the flop (I won't get rid of anybody anyway) and raised the turn when a blank came (no flush). He just called. On the river, the board paired, and he checked and I bet. He check-raised? I called getting 15:1 (although this might be a spot I can let go, can't imagine this guy would bluff-raise from what I've seen). He showed QQ...

My bet on the end was a value bet. I honestly thought I had the best hand on the turn (not sure if a straight was possible, but it probably was). How he limps in MP with QQ pre-flop and then slows down with top set in that spot on the turn is beyond me... Then, he gets in a check-raise? Although he check-raised me earlier with the flush, so I guess I've got to watch out for that from him (and if he leads out, assume he doesn't have a monster).

Thuan said...

KQs: The thing is... you are in EP. You can't be sure if the PF raiser will bet if you check or raise/call if you lead out. The decision to lead out or check(w/the intention of CR) is really read dependent. Here I prefer the lead out bc:

1) You don't know that the 2 players behind him will fold to 1 bet. So, you want to use the PF raiser to knock them out. But this IS contingent on your read. If the PF raiser is aggressive, he may just raise and put pressure on the players for you. Though... I can see good reasons for a check as well since the flop looks pretty safe so a CB is likely. ok... checking is better. Also... you have to call the turn bc again you can't narrow down GC hands that well. There are players at GC who go crazy on the flop.

KK: We've talked a lot about the weird hands people limp with. I think they take a few bad beats w/QQ, JJ, AQ, etc... and figure it's better to wait to see the flop. Result... they give up a huge equity advantage (but I'm guessing they don't think in terms of pot equity). For example, last time I played the SB thought for like 15 seconds before CALLING a 3-bet PF w/6 players. He had AA! Would you really consider just calling w/AA? A woman asked him after about it and he said he's had so many bad things happen to him w/AA against large fields. I think we all forget the good things that happen.

AA: Oh I didn't consider the paired board. You have 4 outs (maybe only 2), so yeah... you still don't have the odds. It's not a huge mistake if you call as long as you can be sure you won't get reraised. If you're not afraid of the lead-out bettor, then sure go ahead call.

Sean said...

On KQs hand -- I knew he was aggressive and would lead out again 99% of the time. That was a big part of my decision. I think both lines can be argued for though. I would lead into a tight player or on a really scary board.

On the AA hand, I think I confused you on the action. The turn when check, I bet, guy to my left made a really slow call (of weakness, he'd been calling down often), and then the guy to my right check-raised. So, no, I wasn't worried at all about the guy to my left. He had a draw or weak pair at best.

The more I think about it, the guy to my right is check-raise happy. I'll have to keep that in mind (he's probably been at my table maybe 1/4 of the time I've played at GC... overall!).