Monday, March 01, 2010

On a roll...

Gotten a bit behind in updating the blog.  So I'll do a few updates all at once:

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Last Tuesday, .5/1 NLHE, $60 buy-in: +$55
I don't really remember very many specific things from this game, although it is notable because it is my first win in the game in five (six?) tries...

The most notable part of it was that I really didn't have any hard decisions or close situations where it wasn't clear what I should do.  Also, I didn't really have any second best hand situations, so that helped.

I did play props for most of the night -- that was probably the most profitable decision of the night!  I started by playing $1 red/black with the host who plays about 50% of the hands yet sleeps his prop over 50% of the time.  I was probably up $10-$15 from his slept props alone, and I may have slept one prop the whole time.  On the other hand, I hit very few of my props, so I definitely would have lost in the props if he'd been paying attention.  I definitely plan to play the props again!

One thing I realized coming out of the night is that I won no hands with the worst hand.  I believe that is an important long-term ingredient to winning.

Let's be honest, I'm never going to be a very loose player.  That is just my natural style, and I need to work with it rather than against it.  On the other hand, I need to pick up pots when other people don't want them and it is something I should be working on.  Generally, that will mean firing at the flop more, and making a few bluffs late in hands each session.  

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Friday night was pretty interesting.  I was planning on playing the 0.10/0.20 game but when I showed up at his door his first words were, "Did I forget to e-mail you?"  With that game cancelled, I was free to attend another game a few miles away with .25/.50 stakes.  Because I crashed the game, we were playing 11-handed, although a few people dropped off pretty quickly.

I had a pretty rough go of it early with a few second best hands and set-over-set (granted, it could have been a lot worse, though).  I bought in for $40, added $20, and was down to a little under $20 when things swung the other way and I ended up with a profit of $96 on the night.  I doubled with AK (three-bet all-in vs AQ), won a strange hand (below), and had a number of other big hands.

Here are a few hands I wanted to bring up from that night: 

I limp in late position and see a flop four ways with AJo.  It was out of the ordinary that I didn't raise it -- I can't really remember why I didn't given limpers and my position (mistake #1).  Anyway, the flop comes A93 rainbow and it checks to the guy to my right who bets $1.5 into the $2 pot.  I think for a while about raising, then decide to take it slow and call (mistake #2).  Everybody else calls.  Turn comes 6 putting two flush cards on board, and the small blind, an experienced player but he was playing pretty tightly that night, pushes for about $8.  Everybody folds to me and now I've got a decision.  I was pretty sure I was good on the flop but the 6 doesn't seem to complete anything scary.  I was very, very close to folding, but I ended up calling and was shown A6o.  I feel like this was a larger mistake that night -- leading into a bettor on an ace high board typically means he can at least beat an ace.  Possibly AT would do that because he's committed anyway, or maybe a flush draw, but it was a very strange play if he didn't have a big hand.  Oops!

Here's another crazy hand.  I raised 55 to $2 in CO and promptly got re-raised to $7.  With three callers though, it is a must-call for me.  The flop comes A65 rainbow, it checks to me, I check, and the pre-flop raiser checks (darn).  The turn was a 7 (flush draw now possible) and the BB bets big ($14 into $28... wait, maybe it wasn't as big as I thought at the time???), I raise to $30 w/ $12 behind, he calls.  On river a nasty card drops, an offsuit 4.  He instantly pushes me in...  I'm debating the call and start counting out my chips when he immediately says, "You have a set, right?  I have an ace"...  So I called :)  I'm not sure what I would have done in that spot otherwise -- I really did think I was beat by an 8.  But... with only $12 behind and a $90 pot, I doubt I would have folded.  But I'm glad he made it easier on me.

The thing that really confused me was that I had him pegged as one of the better players and was really surprised by that push.  I guess my min-raise looked really weak on the turn.  My goal was to keep him from folding, and it worked, I just didn't expect the desperation push on the end.  Thank goodness I didn't have more chips or I could have made a big mistake!

Final hand -- KK vs the host.  He was in pretty early position (maybe a limper?) and raised to $3.50.  I bumped it to $8 and he called pretty quickly.  It was late in the game, I was just about to leave (one more hand), and I was up quite a bit.  I didn't want to piss people off by running over the table at the last minute and I didn't want to get too committed and lose a big pot right before leaving (he had about $100 in front of him).  I know, these sorts of emotions aren't necessarily the right thing when in a hand, but I have to be honest.  That said, after he just called, I assumed I was ahead and I knew he was a pretty savvy player who would realized I had a pretty strong hand.  I had him on a pair, AK, AQ, etc.

The flop came good for me, 6 4 3 rainbow. He checked, and I checked. The goal there was to get him on the hook for more and plant some doubt that I had a pair. He is the type of player that will immediately fold once I show decent strength after the strength pre-flop. The turn came a jack, which was a little scary, but he made a tiny bet -- $2.50. That told me he likely didn't have a jack but had a little something. Again, from similar hands, he made tiny bets and folded the instant I raised. So I called the turn, and the river came another small card. He led out $3.50, and again, I called. He ended up showing tens.

I think I missed quite a bit of value on this hand.  I should have probably bet the flop, because he could at least call a decent bet with most overpairs, and there's really good value for me.  Yes, he could raise me and leave me with a decision, but I can handle it -- wimpy plays like this are costing me money in the long run.  I also could have made a smallish raise on the turn or river -- he may have called one or two small bets before he let it go.  But, probably the flop is where I lost most of my money.

Anyway, enough for now, I'll post goals for tomorrow's game tomorrow sometime.  I also played a tournament over the weekend and I have a few comments on that too.


The Poker Meister said...

Final hand - yeah; you need to value town him. I think you need to bet a half pot cbet on the flop; it's unlikely he's going to flat you OOP with AA. I think you've both established PPs (or AK / AQ for V). What are you waiting for if he has AK? Pretty much the only value you're getting is when you're behind (or the case K), or if he's stubborn with AK. Otherwise, 6 4 3 likely missed his set combos & I put him on 77-JJ, all of which will get you value. The small bets (in relation to stack sizes and pot size) are huge signs of weakness usually. The Jack would frighten me too and I'd slow down a bit, but yes, you're right - you're missing a TON of value by not charging that flop

Sean said...

Yeah, you are right. A half-pot bet on the flop ($8-10ish) gets me value from a lot of pairs. My big concern was that he'd come over the top with say, TT-QQ, and it'd be difficult to decide who is ahead.

Knowing his play (he respects strength and would be just as nervous as me, especially OOP) that was a silly thing to worry about.

Against him (relatively tight, can be aggressive, but often cautious) how would you handle a reraise? Say I made it $8, he made it $25? Assume I have about $75 left.

What about a looser, more aggressive player with the same action?

The Poker Meister said...

"Against him (relatively tight, can be aggressive, but often cautious) how would you handle a reraise" - An 8->25 is basically committing your stack; i.e. there's $~80 in the pot and you have $~65 left after making the call. Therefore, do you feel this guy is capable of this kind of play with a naked overpair? I think if you're talking about you betting the flop and him c/ring you to $25, it's shove or fold time and I'm (live poker ONLY) erring on the side of shoving.

If you're talking about raising the turn (i.e. $2.50 -> $8 -> $25), I think against a tight player like you describe, I have to give him serious credit for a hand... but since you checked the flop, he can easily show up with AJ. But again, a 3bet on the turn is pretty strong IMO, and I'm strongly considering a fold. What's going through my mind, though is this: In live games, it's not altogether crazy (especially small stakes) for people to 4bet (and even shove) JJ+. Therefore, I'm giving less credence to the turned sets and more credence to the AJ.

By the river, though, a $3.50 bet into a large pot is pretty paltry; you have completely under-repped the strength of your hand and it feels like he's going for exactly what he has; a medium strength value bet. I think you're asking yourself "is this the player who will call a PF 3bet with small pocket pairs OOP?" which, from the likes of it, he is not. Also, "Is this the type of player who will flat, out of position, with AA?" Likely he is not. Therefore, the turn and river bet represent AJ,KJ, QJ and underpairs who are feeling somewhat confident about you having something that does not beat Jacks. I think a raise on the river (given pot size of about
$25) to about $15 would get a call. An over-the-top from your opponent on the river is probably a pretty easy fold on your part given your description.

"What about a looser, more aggressive player with the same action?" I'm value towning the clown. A LAG, with that flop, is generally not getting away from an overpair (in a live small stakes game). You're potentially looking at stacking that sucker! If he happened to flop a set, so be it... It's probably a bad attitude, but I know I'm going to get full value out of him from everything from top pair to overpairs to chasing inside straight draws (less likely). I'm probably potting every street aiming for stacks.

With a LAG, I'm scared of the Ax hand, which, on that flop, would have hit him (i.e. A6, A4, A3, stubborn AK). TPTK to LAGtards is generally the nuts in low stakes. Therefore, the only turn / river cards I'm slowing down for are paired board (with a heavy response from LAG) and an Ace.