Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sweet, Fickle Poker

So far the decision to add some 15/30 full ring into the mix has been nicely +EV, as I went on quite a little run last night. I would like to attribute it to my sick poker skills but, umm, it's easy to play well when you flop quads and nut flushes and have multiple Tazs at your table who take turns refusing to believe that they can't run over you with their second/third pairs.

I did give a bit of profits back, banging my head at 10/20 short again. I'm too stubborn to completely bail but I may switch things up next month, and primarily multi-table 15/30 full ring and see how I do. I think I can handle four 15/30 tables and one 10/20 short without sacrificing too much of an edge, so that may be the game plan for February.

I wish I had more 10/20 short experience under my belt, just to get a better fix on what to expect, and how to react to downswings. Fifteen days into the month and I was +$5,000 at the 10/20 tables, but since I've managed to bleed back the bulk of that, sitting at about +$500 right now. That doesn't include prop payments, but I'm inclined to not include that, as it's not at all indicative of my ability to beat any particular level nor can I necessarily depend on that revenue stream indefinitely, so I don't want to resort to being "profitable" only because of propping or rakeback, etc.

Per a comment request from a previous post, here be three hands from last night, one that I think I played horribly, one that I played well, and one of the truly sick variety.

How To Completely Butcher a Poker Hand

10/20 LHE, 5 players. I'm in the BB with AsAc.

Action folds to CO, who raises. CO is pretty bad, all around, and overly aggressive. He loves to take stabs at scary boards with absolute trash, even 3-betting/capping, then firing again on the river. He's the sort of player that doesn't mind losing sessions as long as he "gets you good" a few times and causes you to fold a better hand on the river to his trash.

Button 3-bets. The button, however, is one of the best players on the site, and pretty damn savvy. He's more than likely 3-betting light here in an attempt to isolate CO. I've played a ton of hands with him and he thinks I'm weak tight (for good reason), so a cap from me would basically be the same as telling him I have KK-AA. There's also a great likelihood that CO will cap anyway, as he's prone to do that.

I cold-call, CO caps, button and I call.

Boo, me. Just calling instead of capping isn't the worst play in the world, for the reasons above, but I'm getting unnecessarily fancy here. The button knows that I'm decent enough that I have a pretty big hand, whether I cap or not, plus even if he's raising light in an attempt to isolate, he's not going to extend the attempt too far anyway once I come along for the ride, unless the flop hits him really hard. Odds are I'm going to end up bashing it out with the CO anyway, so I might as well take the lead, so that I can 3-bet him at will when he does his thing and raises my lead.

Flops comes Ah 8h 5h. I check, planning to check-raise CO's inevitable stab at this. CO, however, checks, as does the button.

Super boo, me. If I think CO is going to play at this, I have to bet, so that he can hopefully raise and knock the button out (and any potential heart he might have in his hand, no matter how wee). Even if he raises and both come along it's a pretty easy 3-bet/cap for me. I have to get a bet of some sort in, just to charge anyone with a single big heart, so I can't check and rely on the kindness of strangers to do it for me.

Honestly, much of the bad play here on my part is directly related to my recent downswing at 10/20, as I'm already seeing the hearts four-flush that'll inevitably hit on the river to crack my aces. Instead of envisioning ways to extract full value from my awesome hand, I'm pre-emptively turtling up, cringing, expecting the worst.

Turn is 7h, putting Ah 8h 5h 7h on the board. I check, CO checks, button checks.

Do we see a pattern here? I've managed to completely and utterly fuck up this hand, in nearly every way possible, as I have no clue where I'm at, no momentum, nothing. If I bet and get raised by the CO, who loves to raise on boards like this with nothing, can I lay it down? I can't on the turn, obviously, as I still have lots of outs, but what about when he fires again on the river? If I bet, get raised, and the button comes along (or raises himself), I'm definitely behind, as the button definitely has a hand there.

But that scenario completely clarifies my river decision, as it's an easy fold then if the button bets. I have 8-10 outs on the river regardless, so why I'm suddenly acting like a girly man and checking, fearful of a raise, I do not know. It's also not impossible (just unlikely) that I'm still ahead, even on the turn.

River is 5c. I bet, CO folds, button folds.

Nice. I misplayed every other street, why not the river? I have to check this, hoping someone takes a stab at it with a wee/mid heart, or that someone is slowplaying the Ah. If it checks through, it checks through, and at least they get to see my hand and what a complete and utter lemur I am, playing AA that way.

How To Play a Hand Reasonably Well

10/20 LHE, 3 players. I'm in the BB with Kc10d.

Button raises, SB folds, I call. Button is better than average, and his range for a raise here is probably 55 and up, any A, any two cards 10 or higher, any two suited cards with a K or Q. He likes to wait to the turn to raise, especially with straight/flush draws, but also with overcards. He also has a hard time folding A high on the river, and will often make dodgy calls to look you up, and will almost always take a stab on the river if checked to, instead of the free showdown.

Flop is Qc 9c 4h. I check, button bets, I raise, button calls.

The flop is largely meh for me but I do have the gutshot plus one overcard. He's been running over me a bit so I chose to poke him, instead of simply calling and folding the turn unimproved. My plan is take one more stab at it, leading on the turn, and that'll be the last money of mine that goes into the pot, assuming I don't improve.

Turn is 10s. I check, button bets, I call.

This is sort of an odd situation, as the 10 obviously helped me, but now I have a hand that I have to take to showdown, no matter what comes on the river, as given his range there's a strong likelihood that my hand is best.

If the turn had whiffed for me, I'd easily be able to fire out another bet and fold if raised, despite the fact that I know he likes to do that when he's still drawing. Now, though, he's just as likely to raise on a draw, but I can't fold my hand, so I'm committed to calling, then calling again to a river bet.

Yes, I'm giving him a potential free card by checking, but the only non-club card I really hate is an A, as I'm already behind a Q if he has it, and a K or J helps me. If he hits the club flush, so be it, as I can't push him off that anyway, given his playing tendencies.

As far as simply calling his bet and not check-raising, see above. Simply calling also encourages him to potentially bluff the river again if he misses (or he has a 9 or a 10 with a weaker kicker) and is checked to, as I'm likely not going to lead with my middle pair on the river anyway.

River is 2d. I check, button bets, I call. Button shows Ac 9h and I take the pot.

My check-raise on the flop is a little dodgy, as I often get 3-bet there, but I think the rest is pretty solid, as far as extracting the most value out of this particular opponent, given his tendencies.

How To Play Like a Completely Insane Lemur

15/30 LHE, 9 players. I'm on the button with 6c6s. Completely Insane Lemur limps from UTG, UTG+1 limps, folds to CO, who limps, I limp, SB calls, BB checks.

Flop is 6h 6d 3d. Completely Insane Lemur bets, UTG+1 folds, CO raises, I smooth call, SB folds, BB folds, Completely Insane Lemur 3-bets, CO calls, I call.

Turn is Ad, putting 6h 6d 3d Ad on the board. Completely Insane Lemur bets, CO folds, I raise, Completely Insane Lemur 3-bets, I cap, Completely Insane Lemur calls.

River is Kc. Completely Insane Lemur bets, I raise, Completely Insane Lemur 3-bets, I cap, Completely Insane Lemur calls.

Completely Insane Lemur shows 9h 3c, for a pair of 3s, 9 kicker. My quad 6s are indeed goot.

Umm, thank you?


EN09 said...

Hand 1: Wow... Why again would the button be thinkin' weak/tight?

Hand 2: I'm working on SH and HU play. Why not a continuation bet on the turn since you raised the flop?

Hand 3: It's nice to see there are .50/1 players at 15/30. One day when I grow up... hmmmm...

ScurvyDog said...


1) Because I'm bad about regressing to slightly weak/tight play, especially when running poorly, and of late I've been playing on the weak/tight side when this opponent has been around.

2) Given the fact that he loves to play draws fast on the turn (as well as overcards), the odds are great that a turn bet from me results in my facing a raise. He also, obviously, can be ahead with a Q or a relatively slowplayed hand like 99, 44, 1010, JJ, QQ, KK, AA.

The 10 improves my hand enough that I have to go to showdown with it, but not so much that I really want to face a raise, or feel comfortable 3-betting for value if raised. If he truly has nothing, he simply folds to a turn bet.

My flop check-raise screams flush draw to lots of opponents, so there's a better than decent chance he'll continue to stab at the turn or river with a worse hand, especially with big aces, as long as another club doesn't fall.

3) No kidding.

Unknown said...

3) Wow.

Why am I busy fussing over tight-ass bonus whores at 1/2 thru 5/10 when I could be playing wonderful competition like that!

Never-Limp said...

I guess the completely insane lemur put you on 22 :)

Garthmeister J. said...

Yay Insane Lemur!

CC said...

Maybe Insane Lemur is setting you up for some big sophisticated play later in life. At the least, you have to admit that his betting disguised his hand really well. I mean, you didn't have him on 93o did you? You must be new at this poker game. As Mr. Mike Sexton would say: this guy's got heart (of course, a brain with heart prevents some chip depletion...).

Beck said...

Ah, the dreaded open-limp UTG with 9-3o. Pure Sklansky play there.