Friday, January 29, 2010


Had a cold this week, so I didn't make the Tuesday game, and tonight's game didn't run.  So no NLHE cash for me.

Sunday I have a $50 HORSE tournament, and I'm looking forward to it, but also doing my homework. 

Which means losing money in HORSE tournaments online.  I did figure some things out about my HORSE game though, and I'll post them separately.  For now, I want to wind up my thoughts from last week's Friday game since I might play a little NLHE cash on Sunday.  These are mostly from what I wrote down after I played.

* * * * *

I won a little less than half a buy-in on the night, but it kind of feels like a loss.  I do believe that I have an issue with barreling bluffing, especially in smaller games (this was a $20 NLHE game, 10c/20c blinds).  It seems like once I raise a hand, I start bluffing on multiple streets even when I hit nothing at all and my opponent is likely to have improved.  Furthermore, sometimes I know an opponent is weak, but I don't follow through with a bet that will get them off their hand.  If I'm going to bluff, commit to the bluff!

For example:

I straddle for 2BB, two callers, and the big blind raises to 15x ($3).  I have 99, and I briefly thought of raising (BB is relatively tight, but losing and he overplays hands sometimes) but called along since I had 150 BB in my stack and the other two guys were stacked also. 

Flop comes Js Ts 4s.  SB, BB, me, and LP guy all check.  I think there is a decent chance I have the best hand.  Turn Jc, check, check, and I decide that I should protect my hand and avoid getting bluffed off it.  So I bet $5 into $12.  LP calls, others fold.  I'm 99% sure he doesn't have a jack, but believe he has either a flush draw or a weak pair.  River comes a blank, and I decide to bet smallish to make sure I see a showdown and avoid him firing a big bet with a busted flush draw (which he is very capable of).  I bet $7 into $22, and he hems and haws for a long time, and eventually calls.

Take a second and think about what he has -- I'll let you know later.

What I did well in this hand was bet with a plan and read my opponent.  What I did very poorly was a clumsy bet that was essentially a bluff because it would only be called by a better hand.  If I know he's weak, why not just push?  His range on the river is any hand with a big spade, medium pair, pair of tens, and the very unlikely jack, flush or nothing (float).  Against his range, a large bet ($20ish, pretty much a push) will beat out everything but the unlikely monsters.  Smaller bets would get called by hands that beat me (have you figured out he held a 10 yet?).  Checking is also a very good option, especially since he'd be unlikely to value bet a ten in that spot, and I can bluff catch against most other things depending on my read.  Or even better, bluff-raise...

It just seems like I'm making a lot of senseless bluffy bets late in hands, and it is causing money.  Like betting on the river with nothing into a guy that had called me all the way there after raising pre-flop.  And he'd let got overcards by the turn!

Sometimes, if I feel that I'm beat, there's nothing I can do.  They'll call a bet, and bet if I check.  So just be ready to fold!

Another example:  Early on...  forget exact action, but I think I raise, bunch of callers.  Flop is two clubs.  I bet middle pair or something like that, two callers (LP of previous hand and SB).  Turn is third club.  Checks around.  River is blank.  LP thinks for a while, looks like he's considering a bet, then checks.  SB checks and I'm sure he doesn't have much.  I think, then bet $5 (about 2/3 pot, I think).  LP calls, SB mucks -- LP had two clubs.  Why bet there?  I'll only get called by a hand that beats mine and fold hands that I beat!  Just because they are weak doesn't mean I need to fire!

This weeks goals (going into the $100 NLHE game, $1/2 blinds):
1) Continue to open a lot of pots and fire CBs at them.  The game is pretty tight and a lot of money can be made by opening light in position.  But cut it down after the flop unless there's a great chance I can get them off a hand.  (hint: probably not!)
2) Range hands, every time I'm in a hand on the turn and the river.  There's lots of money to be made in value bets and bluffs, but I need to range hands to see them.  If it makes me think longer, that's ok!
3) If I bluff, make it a bigger bluff.  2/3 pot or more.

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