Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Table for You!

Well, I didn't win a table last night. I lost one... and a third... of a table.

Overall, I'd say I played pretty well, but I know I have a ton of leaks. I was able to lay down top pair, two pair, etc. a few times when I needed to. Actually, within the first ten minutes I had won a big pot with AA, a medium pot with KK, and a medium pot with 72o (I was in the small blind, ok!). I was up about $150 at that point.

Then, after a number of missed draws, folds, and generally good (if a little passive) play, I got down to about $75 in the hole before I added on. Well, that's a $200 swing, so obviously there were some bad plays in there, but I can't remember them; I never got all-in, and other than missed draws and a few lay downs when a tight player raised/bet into me, I can't think of anything specific.

Then I won a hand with 87s on a Ac7x3c 7 xc board (I thought I was screwed, but got big value from two big aces). I was up about $40 at that point, but then I lost a chunk value betting top pair top kicker into two pair, almost getting a fold on the end, but he made the crying call and I lost.

Finally, this hand came about when I had a stack of about $180. I had AA in MP and raised to $14 since there was a $4 straddle. One, loosish girl, called in LP, the big blind called, and the straddle called too. The flop came good for me, K88 rainbow. Two checks, I bet solidly ($30, I think), she called pretty quickly, and the straddler called pretty quickly. At this point, I thought there was a good chance someone had an 8, but also a good chance one of them held a king. The turn came a low card (6, or something like that). Straddler checks, I check, she bets $40. Straddler starts hemming and hawing (he knows her well). Finally, he folds, and I quickly call because I think I'm good. I just didn't figure her for an 8 since she called a big bet pre-flop. River comes a 7, I checks, and she starts playing with her chips. At first, I think she's going to check, but then I realize she's figuring out how to size her bet. Finally, she bets $80, and I'm pretty sick. I still think it is unlikely she's got an 8, and the bet is more of a 'get out of my pot' bet than a value bet. So I finally call, and she had 87s. This hand pretty much sucked the wind out of me, and although I made a valiant effort to win money after (I only had $30 left) after I lost my money I took off.

Deconstructing that hand, I think I made a number of mistakes. Pre-flop action was fine. On the flop, my bet, if anything, was a little too large. The pot is about $60, so a half-pot bet is fine, but I'm either way ahead or way behind. A smaller bet would allow me to control the pot a little better, like maybe $20. On the turn, I think the check was a mistake. At the time, I thought it likely the straddler had an 8, so I wanted to take a street of betting away from him. But, if I'm going to call a bet, I should be betting there. Doesn't have to be a big bet with the draw-heavy board out there (maybe $40 is good). The pot was about $150, BTW. But, then if either of them comes over top of me, I have to assume they have better than a king, and I must be beat. And the bet is small enough that a king will come along drawing to two outs. Given the check, calling was definitely called for since she could easily be value betting a king. On the river... well, I'm torn between calling or folding. The pot was about $220, and I was getting almost 4:1. But, I'm not sure if she would always bet a king so hard since I had to be calling with at least a king. Given the odds, it was a pretty close situation.

Overall, I just have to say that was kind of a bad spot, getting my aces cracked. More importantly, though, I tried to play a little tricky and it got me attached to the pot. Leading on the turn would have made things a lot simpler for me because she would have likely raised tipping me off to the fact I was screwed.

I think if there's any major leak that's creeped into my game, it is that I'm not betting when I should. Small-ball is fine, but playing small-ball does not mean don't bet, it just means think before you bet and keep the pot small. I really did neither in that pot. There was also a case where I didn't raise AQ pre-flop and lost a chunk of chips when someone outdrew me. I think I'm still playing a bit too timidly.

There's more to this story which I need to think more about: these losses are starting to cause more pain than they really should because my family is on such a tight budget. Not that I shouldn't be playing poker, but I maybe should look to something with less variance, like LHE at the casinos.

Again, though, it could just be me smarting from the loss last night, so I need to think more about it.

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