Thursday, August 04, 2005

Scary Cards

I'm not going to say that poker is going well, due to the inevitable junk kicking that will follow. So I won't say that. Nope, not at all.

It's amusing when you encounter situations that might previously have gotten you worked up but which now slide right off your back. I'm not a big chatter at the poker table (virtual or non-virtual). Well, I'm not a big chatter anywhere, but I digress. I don't mind when people pop off in chat, by and large, but it does piss me off when table coaches simply won't let something go, many minutes after it happened. This is compounded when said table coach is a horrible, horrible player.

I was playing a full ring 5/10 table at PokerRewards last night, basically treading water. Not to beat a dead horse, but good lord, Prima players, Jebus bless you.

The guy to my right is absolutely horrible and raises with anything. I isolate and take a pot off of him with QJs when I turn a Q and he gets pissed, as he felt like he deserved to win that one, playing K9o, when the flop came 9 7 2. So he starts popping off about what a lucky fish I am, etc. As this is going on I limp in with KQo, and eventually win another nice pot when I river a straight. Largely BS, granted, but I had top pair until an A fell on the turn and was willing to call one more river bet, blah blah blah.

That guy starts popping off, too. Suddenly a third guy starts cautioning both of the guys not to tap the aquarium glass, wink wink, nudge nudge.

The beauty of all this is their respective VPIPs:

Table Coach #1: 52%
Table Coach #2: 39%
Table Coach #3: 78%

Umm, okay, thanks guys. All I ended up saying was "glub glub" and left it at that.

I'm still slightly amazed at times by the ability of people to completely and utterly mangle the game of poker (myself included).

It's interesting, too, the evolution of one's thought processes, as far as what you see and think with certain hands and certain flops. Here's a hand from last night, seen through three different lenses (as best I can recall, obviously).

In all three scenarios below Hero is on the button and has 8d8s. Villain is UTG and is very loose and aggressive. The game is 5/10 limit HE, 6 max.

My Thought Processes Two Years Ago
Hey, cool, I've got a pair of 8s.

Villain raises.

Crap, he raised. I guess I'll call. Maybe I'll get lucky and flop a set.

Hero calls. Everyone else folds. Flop is 4h 7h 10c. Villain bets.

Crap, no set. Better cut my losses.

Hero folds.

My Thought Processes One Year Ago
Hey, cool, I've got a pair of 8s.

Villain raises.

Hmm. He's betting and raising a lot and it is 6 max. I know I should probably raise or fold but I hate raising with small.medium pairs like this and then missing the flop, having hard decisions to make. I'll just call.

Hero calls. Everyone else folds. Flop is 4h 7h 10c. Villain bets.

Hmm. Didn't hit a set but that's not the worst flop, either, if he's playing overcards. I'll just call and see what happens on the turn. If it's not a scary card, I'll raise him, hoping to either win it there or get a free card on the river. If he re-raises, then just fold.

Hero calls. Turn is the 10d. Villain bets.

Crap, that's a bad card. If he has a 10 I'm drawing completely dead. Plus he may have an overpair, flush draw, anything. Let's just bail out, this is looking hopeless and I don't want to look stupid calling down to the river with a dominated hand.

Hero folds.

My Thought Processes Last Night
Hey, cool, I've got a pair of 8s.

Villain raises.

His VPIP is 68%, which is ridiculous for even 6 max. Let's see how much you like those cards, dawg.

Hero 3 bets. Everyone else folds. Villain calls. Flop is 4h 7h 10c. Villain bets.

He didn't cap it pre-flop so he's probably playing overcards. I don't like the flush draw but I like that flop a lot.

Hero raises. Villain 3-bets.

Hmm. Don't like the 3 bet much but I can't fold here, as it's a decent sized pot and he's uber LAGGY, having just played a few K high hands exactly like this. I definitely need to slow down, though, and just call down to the river, unless the turn or river help me.

Hero calls. Turn is the 10d. Villain bets.

Sweet. Other than an 8, that's the best card I could hope for, as the odds just improved dramatically that's playing overcards, and doesn't in fact have a 10. If he does have a 10, so be it, he'll get more of my money.

Hero raises. Villain calls. River is Js. Villain checks.

Just check it down. Given the strength you've shown, he's not going to call with overcards, now that he's lost the momentum. Anything else he calls with beats you.

Hero checks. Villain shows AKs. Hero wins.

The part that interests me the most about the above is the gradual evolution of what you consider "good" or "bad" flops, and what "scary" cards are. Another recent example that pops to mind is having AsAh, with the betting capped pre-flop, and three players seeing the flop, which comes Jc Jh 5d. That flop is a relief to me these days, whereas in the past I would groan, seeing only the two jacks that could give someone with just a puny jack a mighty set to smite my aces with. Which, granted, is obviously true, but there are only two jacks left in the entire deck, so the odds of that occuring are pretty tiny. The odds are they don't have a jack.

Compare that to holding the same AsAh and having the flop come Qd Jd 10h. That flop makes me throw up in my mouth a little, as you could already be drawing very slim to someone with AK, not to mention straight/flush potential. That flop scares the bajebus out of me now, whereas in the past it would have worried me much less than the above example, when nothing "scary" came on the flop.


Drizztdj said...

Excellent breakdown of thought processes... I'm probably between your last year now type of thinking.

Maybe I'll play a little Hold Em' and see how it works out.

Human Head said...

Great Post, the thought processes were a good idea. Feel free to post more of them :)

the new said...

I'm in the middle thought process right now. I can feel myself gradually moving toward your latest thought process, though. In limit. NLHE is a different story. I think I get bluffed a lot there.

DuggleBogey said...

Fantastic post. I wish more people would post what they're thinking in hands, instead of just histories.

Myself included.

Mourn said...

Compare that to holding the same AsAh and having the flop come Qd Jd 10h. That flop makes me throw up in my mouth a little...

Dude, I just totally cracked up out loud in the middle of an open confrerence call and everyone stopped talking.

Line of the month, maybe the year.

StB said...

Fantastic post.

I actually had your last scenario happen to me on Full Tilt yesterday. A K flopped his straight to take out my rockets.

WillWonka said...

I also laughed out loud on the throw up bit. Yet, another great post. Keep 'em coming.

Heafy said...

Don't mean to jump on the wagon or anything, but I really liek this post too. I can see a lot of the "2 years ago" and "1 year ago" thought process going on in my head.

JasonSpaceman said...

Here, fishy fishy fishy...gotta love these folks with more money than brains explaining why you suck. (Well, more money than brains until they finish their session, anyway.)

It's funny, my thinking in HE has evolved similarly, but only in NL. I see monsters everywhere in limit. I can't explain why that is, exactly, but it is.

Joe Speaker said...

My passive self cringes at the familiarity. Must kill him.

Excellent example of evolution. Gracias.