Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Welcome Back, Mojo

The nice run at 10/20 short continued last night, booking my first +$1,000 day in quite awhile. Sometimes I wonder if I overthink things (well, wonder is the wrong word, as I know I do), as poker really isn't that difficult when you get down to brass tacks. Especially against opponents like this:

10/20 6 max LHE, I'm in the BB with J10h. CO is very bad and the reason I'm sitting at the table. Folds to CO, who open-raises, folds to me, and I call.

Flop is 7c 9s 10h. I check, CO bets, I check-raise, CO calls.

Turn is 3h. I check, CO bets, I check-raise, CO calls.

River is 8s. I check, CO bets, I check-raise, CO calls.

CO rolls over Kd2c and loses.

The 6 max phenomenon is an interesting one, though, as far as the general trend of 6 max becoming much more popular in recent months. The attraction is pretty obvious, as far as more action for the action junkies, but I also wonder if part of the popularity is slightly more complicated, related to keeping bad players afloat longer.

It's a little counter-intuitive, as you'd guess at first glance that bad players would bust out faster at 6 max, given that they're faced with many more decisions per hour, so their weaknesses in decision-making are exposed and magnified much more rapidly. And that has to be true, but the flip side is that in many cases bad players (especially over-aggressive ones that play too many hands and play them too hard) are actually playing much more correctly at 6 max, for no reason other than the structure itself. Cut the total numbers of players in the game and raw aggression becomes more valuable, especially in the hands of someone who doesn't "know any better" and ignores assorted warning signs.

Here's a hand that somewhat illustrates the above. It's also a hand that I play like a semi-donkey, so you get the added pleasure of witnessing that as well:

10/20 6 max LHE, I'm on the button with JdJh. UTG open-raises, folds to me and I 3-bet, SB folds, BB caps, UTG calls, I call. BB and UTG are both pretty terrible and over-aggressive, so their range is pretty much anything.

Flop is 2c 8h 9h. BB checks, UTG bets, I raise, BB 3-bets. UTG calls and the action is on me.

Honestly, I should likely just fold here, despite my overpair. Even if I put one of the crazies on overcards and the other on a flush draw (which is pretty much best case scenario here), I'm not that far ahead, and both opponents love to bash, so who knows how expensive it will get to continue in the hand. One of them likely has an overpair to my jacks, as even crazies get dealt big hands sometimes, and pre-flop action seemed to indicate that, so I'm likely drawing to two outs. I've watched both opponents bash away to the river with K high in previous hands, though, so I manage to talk myself out of folding in what's a pretty nice pot.

Turn is Qd. BB bets, UTG folds (?), and I decide to get jiggy and raise, hoping to buy a free showdown, with every intention of folding to a re-raise.

BB re-raises. I dwell for awhile then go "Hee haw" and call. I know, I know. It's a big pot. I'm a donkey. BB is a confirmed lemur. What can I say.

River is 3s. BB bets, I call. BB rolls over A5c and a fat pot is pushed my way.

In retrospect, that's obviously pretty poor play for BB holding A5c. Spewing chips like crazy. Next stop, Bustville, population 172,182,172.

But I very nearly folded that hand, and should have folded, in likely two different spots. Which is obviously results-oriented thinking, in every way, but the lurking point is that the BB will likely last much longer playing that way in 6 max than if he were playing at a full ring game. He'll rake enough extra pots via brute bludgeoning at 6 max to keep him at the tables for awhile, likely longer than he'd last at full ring where the same tactics work less often. He's still a crazy, in the end, and will go broke consistently playing that way at either 6 max or full ring, but in many cases he gets more mileage for his chips at 6 max.

Have some bonusey type stuff to post soon that I've been working on, so stay tuned for that.


J said...

Turn is Qd. BB bets, UTG folds (?), and I decide to get jiggy and raise, hoping to buy a free showdown, with every intention of folding to a re-raise.

I don't understand this line.

UTG is gone by the time it gets to you. If you are looking to get to showdown, how does this move "buy" you a "free" one.

A "call, call" line gets you to showdown for the same price as the raise/"free" showdown, without any threat of having to fold to a re-raise.

Did you think there was some kind of fold equity in the turn raise? Otherwise, I don't get the reasoning.

ScurvyDog said...


Sorry, but I thought the added value of fold equity/punish overzealous flush draw was implied so I didn't spell that out.

Realistically, BB is not very likely to fold, so my raise is probably less than good, especially if I persist in being a donkey and calling, instead of folding to a re-raise.

I guess my thinking in spots like that is I prefer to take a "free" showdown via the turn raise, as opposed to call, call. Yeah, I know, it's not "free" and it's a wash either way, but at least I don't feel like quite as much of a donkey if I raise the turn as opposed to call, call, only to see a better hand in both cases.

Not matter how I describe or qualify it, it's not a good play on my part. Sorry for my misuse of "buy" and "free" and for being a donkey.

Philip Cartwright said...

Like the Blog, Scurvy. I've just entered into the already over-crowded world of poker blogging. Grateful if you'd link to my site (if you think it's any good) at http://seventwo.blogspot.com - I'll link to yours either way.

J said...

... but at least I don't feel like quite as much of a donkey if I raise the turn as opposed to call, call, only to see a better hand in both cases.

Sometimes I think all the emphasis on "aggressiveness" in current poker literature has made the "call" something to be viewed with unwavering disdain.

That's too bad, because it can be a very powerful weapon when used correctly, especially against maniacs.

I view this hand as a perfect case for it, assuming one shares the view that fold equity on the turn was near zero ("punishing" flush draws when heads-up is a different discussion).

cc said...

Welcome back to the living--hope I join you soon.