shipitfish: (Default)

I rarely post nor play anymore, as you all know, but I do go on a poker excursion once every few months. While I haven't been bothering to post reports or anything from them, I can't let this one pass since at a 2-3-5 $1k max NL HE table at Lucky Chances, who joins our table but a software-related professional (this is the Bay area after all) and sometimes poker pro. Not only that, but he is also an LJ-er named [livejournal.com profile] dmorr and he posted about a hand that we played. I have commented.

I should also note he LJ-outed me with my real name and employment affiliation, but I guess I should stop worrying about this now that I've talked about my part-time professional poker period on Free Software related podcasts and because my Wikipedia entry at one time linked to this journal. Only a moron couldn't figure out my real name if they gave it ten minutes of net.work.

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

During the weeks leading up to the WSoP this year, I played lots of satellites with points and various other small amounts. This is a tourney hand from an online WSoP main event $600+35 satellite (which I'd super'ed into). Starting chips were 2,500 and starting blinds were 10/20. We were on the first blind level, at a 9-handed table. I had 2,800 in chips and was two from the button.

Action is folded to the person on my right, who made it 60. I called with 5d 5h. The big blind (with 2,959 chips) defended and we saw the flop of 5c 2h 6s three-handed with 190 in the pot.

It was checked to me, and I led for 100 chips. The big blind called and the preflop raiser folded. The pot stood at 390 chips. I knew nothing about the players, but I put the big blind on an overpair (probably around 77 or 88 that he was misplaying), 34, 66, 22, 78, 45, 47, or maybe overcards. The turn was the Qs and he led for 200 chips. I somewhat felt perhaps he did have something like AQ that he check-called with and added this to his range. I also though maybe at this point he had a gutshot or overcards on the flop and picked up a flush draw. The annoying part about his lead is that it actually increased my range for him (even if it did make it unlikely he held an overpair on the flop).

I made it 600 chips to go and he called quickly. We saw the river of Jc with 1,590 chips in the pot. He had only 1,699 chips remaining. I really felt he had a set of 2's at this point, but obviously 34 and a set of sixes were real possibilities. I consider that maybe some sort of Q was a possibility, as he may have been making some sort of delayed steal on the flop. I decided there were a number of hands he could pay off legitimately. I figured he'd call with everything in his range except busted-straights/turned-flush-draws. I led 800.

He check-raised all in. At that point, I narrowed his range to 34, 66, 22, and very rarely QJ. I called his last 899 with 1-to-3.54 odds, hoping for 22, and saw 3s 4s.

After calling the river, I felt strongly I shouldn't have tried that river value bet. I think I would have been more likely to check in a cash game, but in a tourney (at the time) I felt I had to collect the chips. Once I've value-bet, I clearly can't fold to the check-raise because I can't completely eliminate 22. Plus, if he had QJ even a little bit of the time I think the odds are clearly right.

Thoughts?

shipitfish: (Default)

Here's another one of these. I am only even considering I made a mistake because the player in question was extremely tight.

In a $1/$2 NL HE $200 Max online, 10 players, the hijack seat limps, cutoff raises all-in for $8.50. I reraise to $25-to-go (having started the hand with $250) from the SB with Ks Kh. An Ultra-Tight player in the BB (who has me covered) smooth-calls and the limper folds. I have Ultra-Tight on QQ or AA, maybe AKs, but he probably folds even the latter 90% of the time in that spot.

The flop is Ad Kc Qd. I check with the intention of raising, since I know he probably flopped a set. He bets $20, I raise to $100, and he goes all in and I call immediately, expecting to either see a set of queens or of aces. It's aces.

I should never, ever consider just betting out and being done with the hand if he stays in the pot, right? I should try to get the money in, right?

Man, playing poker this many hours yields set-over-set too often. :)

shipitfish: (cincinnati-kid-betting)

Usually, people spend the most time talking about hands where the situation is very close. I think this situation is a close one, but I'd appreciate comments if people think I'm overlooking something.

This is in 6 handed $200 maximum buy in $1/$2 NL HE game online. The button is a new player, having just posted his first blind this round. I sat down a few orbits before and I have only a little over $200. The button has $197, and raises to $7 when the action folds to him.

I called $7 in the SB with 9c 9h, and the big blind folded. The pot stands at $16 with a flop of 2d 3c 5s.

I bet out $9 into $16, figuring for a fold if he has overcards and a raise if he has an overpair. I'm not going all the way with this hand if he raises; I'll give him credit for TT or something and fold. He just calls. I figure he's capable of doing this with just overcards with an ace for a gutshot. He also could be slow-playing a monster, but I didn't get the sense he could have an overpair, because unless it's aces, he can't really let a card come off.

The turn is the 9s and I led $15 into $34. My hope is that now he continues to call if he just has overcards, and perhaps decides to pounce now if he does have aces or some such. Again he just calls.

At this point, I admit to being confused about his holding. He could have flopped a set, which he continues to slowplay. A4 is possibility, but it seems strange he'd slowplay that now with a two flush on board.

The river is the Qd. I led $50 into $64. At this point, if he has AQ and has been ripping with overcards and a gutshot, I figure he'll just call. I was a bit surprised when he moved all-in for $116 more. I didn't really think he'd slow-played QQ all the way down, and that was about as likely as a pure bluff with a missed straight draw — probably together they make up 5% of the time at most and cancel each other out. I decide that he either has A4, or one of the flopped sets, and decide to call, getting nearly 1-to-1.5. He actually held the stone cold, 46o.

It seems to me that I just have to get stacked here, and I'm not terribly unhappy about the play. But, I've been running badly enough that I am in that mood of questioning these sorts of situations and wanting to be really sure I didn't screw up.

I thought a bit about betting less on the river, which would have made it much easier to fold to an all-in. But I felt that there were some hands that would pay off that amount, and given that I didn't know anything about the player, he could easily have misplayed aces or a flopped set.

The other post mortem thought I had was to bet much more on the turn, something an overbet of around $40. The problem is, he might still just call with a flopped set, so the overbet doesn't actually tell me whether he has a flopped straight or not.

Did I royally screw up here, and if so, how should have I played it to lose less? Is this really a close situation, or did I just totally miss the obvious?

shipitfish: (Default)

W.D. and I decided to go to Atlantic City on Saturday 30 December 2006. I believe that it had been over two years since my last to Atlantic City. It just usually ends up that I go to Foxwoods, since I know so many people from the Boston poker world.

We were pretty frustrated to learn that the Borgata no longer has a poker room rate like the old days — at least for anyone who plays lower than $40/$80 limit. I checked in with a few staffers, and they said that they, in fact, have very little control of room rates anymore. According to a brush and two floor people, the room rates are controlled completely by the casino hosts, and they chose whether or not to make offers of rates against someone's player account.

I had been curious about what NL HE in Atlantic City had become. I heard rumors that a lot of mediocre players were beating these games regularly for large amounts of money. I quickly found out why. The players are so bad that a well-trained child could beat the game, if they had enough bankroll to survive the variance. The action is just amazing.

It's this weird scenario of the clueless leading the clueless. The “strong, sharky players” at the table are these overplay one-pair types who think they should get every dime in the pot with an overpair. They are trivial to read because they play almost no hands and they turn up their nose at players who take flops in multiway pots with oddball hands: They must be donkeys if they play hands not in Sklanksy's list. These people would probably do ok at limit, but because they get so many chips in with one pair, they are actually helpless at NL HE and don't really realize it.

But that's only 2-3 players each table. The rest of the players are just completely lost. I mean that almost literally. We had a guy at our table who had never played poker at a casino before. He was actually a pretty nice guy (which nicely offset the constant whining of the “good players” ranting about how many times they posted on 2+2 or somesuch). This older gentleman was nice and trying his best to post his blinds, stop himself from splashing the pot, and otherwise avoid breaking every last poker casino protocol. But, unlike some others at the table who just flagrantly ignored poker etiquette no matter what anyone said, he asked us to tell him when he made a mistake so he could learn.

The variance was brutal, as I kept getting nice situations to put in my stack in as somewhere between a 60%-80% favorite and losing. I won't violate my journal's “no bad beat story” rule and tell details, but I was quite sure I had positive EV enough that I need not post these hands to ask if I played them right.

The only truly questionable hand that I played was actually a hand against that kind older gentleman. To set it up, I should note that he was clearly a limit stud home game player (he noted he'd been playing for years but never in a casino), and he got easily confused about how and when to bet. He would bet (what we believed was) top pair by overbetting the pot 6-to-1 or so, and would never get called (hence the “we believed” part). When he had a reasonably strong hand — two pair or better — he'd often call down the whole way, so it was difficult to tell his true strength. W.D. lost a bunch betting two pair into his flopped flush this way; W.D. thought the fellow was drawing. I got caught by something similar, but I think maybe I didn't make a mistake given his wide range. Here's the hand:

I raised to $10 from middle position with QJs, which I'm typically doing in this game. I actually do get called by weaker Q-highs and J-highs (people will play basically any face card with a kicker above an 8 in this game for a small raise). It folded to our older friend on the button, and he just called. We saw a flop of QQ3 heads up, with two suits. I bet $20 into $23 and he just called. I figure his mostly likely holdings are a flush draw, or the case Q.

The turn was an offsuit K, and I led for $50 into $63, and he called again. Of course, he would play the entire range of 33, AQ, KQ, QJ, QT, Q9, and Q8 this way. (I actually do think he would have reraised preflop with KK.) So, I felt there was basically no way I can eliminate any of these hands unless he raised; I kept reminding myself throughout the hand to instantly fold if he raised and looked strong. Baring that, I wanted him to keep calling with a weaker Q. I knew from other hands that bets sizes around $75 or so actually caused him to pause when he had a draw, so I tried to keep him drawing if he was.

The river was an offsuit 2, and I decide ultimately to give him one of the queens I was beating, and bet $75. This assured a call from everything but the flush draw, and if he did raise, I was surely beat. He just called.

This is where things got confusing for everyone. I tabled my hand as quickly as the calling chips went into the pot, as I always do when I am last aggressor on the river. The dealer looked at my hand, and collected the pot into a pile. A second or so went buy; our friend flipped his hand, and I saw a black trey flash. Before I could see his whole hand, the dealer was shipping the pot to me. I looked up and saw three threes laying out in front board (our friend was in the five seat near the board). My hypothalamus pot scooping reflexes kicked in to collect the pot headed my just as I realized what was happening. Yet, the pot had already hit a small stack of red chips out in front of my main stack.

By the time I looked up at the dealer and opened my mouth, the whole table was in an uproar. The dealer had misawarded the pot. The 2+2-obsessed guy to my right said: just give him the pot, you know which chips are yours and which were in the pot. I actually didn't. A red chip or two definitely got confused, and I certainly recall touching some of the pot's chips as they came toward me, so I couldn't be sure that I hadn't absent-mindedly stacked them while the treys were swirling and the dealer was misreading the board.

Floor came over and didn't know what to do. I immediately conceded that the other player had won the pot, but before his hand had been properly read by the dealer, the dealer had misawarded the pot. Meanwhile, 2+2 guy yelled in my ear louder than usual, saying I should give him the money and move on. The floor guy did not, unfortunately, take control of the situation.

After another five seconds went by, I said: Look, I saw treys full of Qs. I know the pot is his. I remember the action. Let's take my chips, and reconstruct it street by street together.

We did so, going backwards from the $75 on the river, and we rebuilt the pot by putting chips from my stack in front of me and the older gentlemen to represent each bet that was made. Then, just as I finished, saying: And three whites for the blinds who folded and tossed those in, the dealer grabbed the pot and started shipping it.

I said, Wait, that's the action, now I'm owed $4 for the rake. The entire table erupted in rabble-rabble-rabble. The dealer and the floor person argued that since the rake had already been taken, I wasn't owed anything from the pot. But we've already dropped the rake, they kept saying.

I gave them two full go-rounds of: That's exactly my point. The rake was taken by the house, from the original pot. We've reconstructed every bet made, including the blinds, and therefore the pot out there that constructed from my stack is the pre-rake pot. Since every chip came from my stack, and you've already dropped $4 from the old pot, $4 in the newly reconstructed pot goes to me. Then, they finally agreed, looking more like they were appeasing than believing me. This whole damn table was a tribute to the cluelessness of the human race — me included with my distracted ill-gotten pot stacking.

Frankly, the floor shouldn't have let me take charge. I did because it seemed the only way to keep the game moving, because I'd heard the word “camera” mentioned, and I didn't want the game held while they went to see if the dealer really did misread the board, etc. I saw the treys-full distinctly after the pot was already in front of me, and was happy to just do what needed to be done to get the guy his money and get to the next hand.

It was, however, a bit humiliating to be the only one who remembered every last bet of the action, and then to be in charge of reconstructing it so I could give $155 over to a guy who had no clue what was going on. And, of course the dealer made a completely rookie mistake, and the floor guy didn't do his job, either. I sure hope the guy forgot, as he kept doing all night anyway, to tip the dealer that time.

Anyway, I still think I couldn't have played the hand differently. That's a tough thing about someone who is completely new. It's actually more challenging to read them than the “good players” because their range is so big. I was ready to fold, basically on ever street, if he raised. (Unless, of course, the dude tried a bluff, because he actually was the first person I ever saw who had every single Caro bluffing tell at once, so I surely would have known.) But given that he just called every street, how can I not lose the amount that I did?

I should note this exact same thing happened to me in the 2/5 game at Foxwoods early in 2006, where I held AT on TT5 heads-up against a player who was brand new — never having played poker at all before. That fellow actually had trouble reading the board over and over, called everyone all the way to the river and asking the dealer to read his hand for him. I mean, I've learned how to fold open trips since my previous disasters, but, in the future, should I just check them down, particularly against players this clueless? ;)


Regarding the Borgata's amenities: I like the new poker room, but I wish people would get used to the smoking ban and stop wandering in drunk with lit cigarettes like idiots. The salad place at the food court below is nowhere near as good as the fast food at Foxwoods, but also isn't bad at all.

Finally, I don't think the 2/5 game is worth it there. I sweated one for a while, the players are much better than at 1/2. It's probably somewhat beatable and has substantially less variance, but with a buy-in of only $500, you can pick up easier (and likely more) money playing the $300 buy-in 1/2 game.

The limit action is presumably pretty good still, but I didn't wander over my old $6/$12 grounds, since the NL HE games were so beatable-by-morons easy. Ted Forrest was there playing $1,000/$2,000 H.O.S.E. (Although with another semi-famous pro whose name came immediately to me when I saw his face, but whom I've now completely forgotten other than his first name begins with a “D”.) I kept taking the long route to the bathroom to gawk, including one time when they had called security to shoo rail birds away, and to set up a perimeter (why didn't they do the latter from the start?). Ted wasn't doing well, I don't think. I saw him with chips and a stack of cash on one pass and later with just cash, although it was admittedly hard to see, so I don't want to start false rumors of Forrest losing at the $1k/$2k game at the Borgata.

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

This is an online hand that I played very poorly. (Maybe I should post the good hands once in a while, but what's the point of talking about the right things one does? Focus on the mistakes to get better, right?) There are so many mistakes in this hand, I'm not sure which one to focus on. I will just lay them all out to you.

In a six-handed NL HE $.50/$1 game. I am in the $.50 small blind with $218, Jagsmith84 (with $42) is is in middle position, followed by BigGross ($99), followed by rotncotn ($473).

Jagsmith84 limps, BigGross min-raises, rotncotn calls, and I call with Ad Ks . I usually call with AK out of position rather than raise, as I don't want to build a big pot preflop.

The flop was Th 9d Ah. Checked to BigGross, who bets $9, and everyone calls. Perhaps I should have bet out. I know there is a heart draw out, but I don't know where, and check-raising is going to built the pot too big if aces-up are out (people on this site generally overvalue weak aces). I decided to take a turn and see if it's a safe card. Probably a mistake.

The turn was Kc with a pot of $47. Something possessed me to check-raise. I figured that if I had one bettor into me, and only callers behind, a check-raise would clear the field of draws and isolate me with a weaker two pair most of the time. I'd learn quick if something better than that was out. Again, probably a mistake.

This time, BigGross gives up, rotncotn bets $24, and I make it $60 to go. Obviously, I have to put more in there, but rotcotn is deep, I think, so I figure even a small raise will put him off most hands. He calls relatively quickly. Ok, a flush draw is his most likely holding, right? Other possibilities are AT and T9, and he want to see the river too without committing too much more. The river falls 9h, pairing the board and getting the flush draw there. I bet $50 into $167, hoping that I can get called by AT. He check raises all-in (another $97 to me), and I fold.

I probably should have led for the pot size on the turn, but given that I didn't, I should have considered seriously check-folding the river. But, I probably made more mistakes too. I figure some will say reraising from SB with AK is correct, but I really don't like that play most of the time. Any other things I did wrong? (There have got to be tons; I am really unhappy with my play here.)

shipitfish: (cincinnati-kid-betting)

I've been playing reasonably well lately, and been able to make pretty big laydowns. Here's a case where I failed to lay down the third nut full house when there was a reasonable chance my opponent held the nut full. However, I don't think that I made a mistake, but would like some input.

This hand is from a 10-handed tight online game, with $.25/$.50 blinds and no maximum buy in. This game was tight and passive, most flops were heads up if raised, but there was a good amount of limping. I started the hand with $213 and have the table covered. spcome, my heads-up opponent on the flop, had $59.90 behind.

UTG+2, I raised with 8h 8c. RoyRFlush called me, and spcome from the small blind made it $5.75 to go.

I've been raising lots with any pair, any suited connectors and two-gappers, and pretty much any hand I play, and I play tons against opponents this tight-weak. However, it's not common for someone to reraise from the blinds, so I actually gave him a tight range: JJ, QQ, KK, AA, AQ or AK. There is really no way he has something else.

I called for set value, since it's only 10% of his stack and most players on this site will stack off with any overpair. I flopped gin with 8 s 5d 5s. spcome bet out $9. I basically have him on an overpair or an AK continuation bet. I call with celerity, trying to represent a flush draw, and hoping it doesn't come if he has an overpair. The turn fell Kc.

spcome thought for a moment and bet out $7.50. This bet is basically narrows to three possible things: As Ks, KK, or a scared QQ, the last being unlikely.

I figure I should call to try to trap the As Ks.

The Ts brings any possible flush draw home on the river, and spcome led all-in for $37.65 into $45.25. I called immediately, figuring he's made a flush or he has kings full. My “muck or show” window popped up; he had Kh Ks.

I'm curious if others think this was just plain bad luck. I think the only other decisions I could have made were: (a) raise the flop against the obvious two-outer, (b) fold the river. It seems to me the spade falling on the river forces my auto-call because As Ks becomes as likely a holding at that moment as KK, given the action. I also don't mind my play on the turn, because I'm enticing him to keep coming at me if he does have AK. As for the flop, again, I think just calling is better in case it's just AK or AQ.

[ Update: for those who don't read comments, I'm convinced by [livejournal.com profile] swolfe's arguments that I should fold the hand on the river if I chose not to move in on the turn. ]

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

[ I'm continuing to post about my Vegas trip. Much of this may be boring to those who have been to the WSoP and/or Vegas before, but it was all new to me, and it will certainly be of interest to those who've never been, and perhaps some interest to those who have. ]

W.D. and I were now headed on that Monday night back to the Wynn. The walk back wasn't too hard, but “off-strip” really does mean “far away”. The Rio to the Wynn walk in the Vegas fall or winter might be a brisk, nice walk. But, this time of year, it seemed to tax the body. Once we made it to the Wynn, I couldn't help but pop back up to the room for a shower.

This actually became a habit of mine; I was taking showers basically every time we returned to the Wynn after being outside; one of the days I took three (including my usual morning one). I suppose it's somewhat decadent to respond to this scorching anti-environmentalist monstrosity that is Vegas by wasting the precious desert water supply, but I couldn't help myself. I suppose my version of what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas is I took a lot of showers, abusing a limited water supply. I'm such a liberal goodie-two-shoes — ooh, I didn't recycle one time, aren't I evil? :)

Before my shower, I called down to add myself to the $1/$3 and $2/$5 NL HE lists, and was literally able to watch the names move during my shower via the LCD screen in the bathroom. As I got dressed, I was three from the top on $2/$5, and headed down.

This game was tight. People were making preflop plays; continuation bets were winning three-way pots uncontested. I started to feel like “wow, Vegas games are tough”. When my name rolled to the top of the $1/$3 list, I was ready to switch.

I joined a friendly table of about three confused tourists, one semi-pro from Reno, two annoying locals, and the rest WSoP fans/satellite winners. I was slightly nervous — not that the stakes were that high — but I was still not fully comfortable with the idea that I was in the center of the poker mecca at the most popular room. Even though there were some real ($10/$20, and $20/$40 blind) games at the adjacent tables, I felt like my small stakes game was a big challenge.

I quickly realized that the locals were highly experienced players who sat in these smaller games for the easy money. The Wynn is somewhat unique in that their NL games have no cap buy-in at any stakes. The game plays very big, and one of the locals had a wad of $5,000 sitting on the table ready to throw if he got a tourist in a bad spot.

His buddy, a dour-faced portly Lebanese man, who went only by the moniker, “the Doctor”, couldn't have been more unlike the people I call “doctor” (such as Tom Baker or Christopher Eccleston). He was sarcastic, rude, mean, nasty, and demeaning to the other players. He didn't care if he scared fish away; he knew more were on the list and was there for the duration. Even worse, his buddy with the wad thought the Doctor was the funniest guy on the planet, and, as W.D. eloquently put it, laughed like a hyena at the Doctor's lame jokes. These two, and the Doctor in particular, would figure prominently into our Vegas sessions; he was part of the Wynn's furniture.

I played reasonably tight for a while, and decided to take a flop with one of my favorite NL HE hands, 5c 3c. I was in the big blind with four other people seeing a $9 preflop raise from the UTG+1 tourist to my left.

I checked the flop of 3s 7d Kh, and we saw the turn of 5h at no charge.

The Reno semi-pro seated two to my right was on the button, and had usually bet at pots that were checked to him twice, so I went for a check-raise. Reno didn't disappoint and bet $18, and I made it $45 to go. The action seemed to fly around to him and he folded quickly. I flashed my hand toward him, in hopes to show how loose I was playing. As I moved to land it down face up on the felt (I always show one, show all without being asked), I realized that someone had called the $45 cold in between. He was one of the tourists, who, fumbling with the chips, hadn't put his chips fully forward and his call was slightly obscured. This was no excuse; I've never done this before, but perhaps the excitement of playing in Vegas had gotten the better of me and kept me off my usual observance.

I didn't want my hand to be necessarily dead; I asked the dealer if my exposed hand was dead as I landed it back face-down in front of me. (The whole movement ended up being one basic motion: lift, flash to right, see caller to left, land cards face down.) I didn't know at this point who all had seen it; I was sure the full right side (1,2,3,4 seats) had seen, but I simply didn't know if the caller had!

The dealer told me my hand was absolutely live, and I said: well, half the table's seen my hand, so I'll check it dark. The river fell 5s, and most of the people to my right gasped and started laughing a bit.

Strangely, my clandestinely calling tourist bet $150 into the pot! I had no clue what was happening! Had he seen my hand? Did he and the people around him think I'd shown Reno a bluff, and therefore my blind check induced this bet? And, why the size of the pot? If he'd seen my hand, and was making a value bet, wouldn't it be less? I guessed maybe not, since he would know I was full and would likely pay off a large value bet. I asked him if he'd seen my hand, and he shrugged.

I was actually starting to put the pieces together. Just barely, I was starting to realize that he must have me beat. But, instead, I just acted too fast. Before I was even done going through the facts, I heard myself saying all in and my whole stack was moving forward! Wait a second, I haven't thought this through, what am I doing?; the thought flashed across my brain as I heard: call and saw, through my now confusion-fogged vision the Kd 5d, and I heard, Yeah, I'd seen your hand and knew you couldn't get away from it.. What had I done?

So, this marks the largest technical mistake I've ever made, compounded by the pure silliness of a bad move. Fortunately, he didn't have many chips left behind, and I was left with about $240 of my original $600 buy-in.

It was clear I made an insane mistake (one can argue that I have to call his river bet, just in case he hadn't actually seen my holding, but going all-in is a luxury that I couldn't afford at that point). The funniest thing was that, had I not exposed my hand, I would have had to put him on a naked 5 like A5s on the river and would have been forced to call. In other words, my exposed hand actually made it possible to avoid being fully stacked, and I missed the opportunity.

I quickly decided what I had to do. The truth was that I couldn't have gotten away from the situation had I not exposed my hand. Sure, I'd made a huge error, having actually given myself an advantage exposing my hand. But, I decided to put the technical mistake in the back of my mind for later analysis (which is below), and consider the fact that I'd have paid off anyway. It was not easily discernible that he'd failed to bet out and reraise with a better two-pair on the turn, and I'd never have made that huge laydown on the river.

So, why dwell on it? It was a beat that I only had the possibility of avoiding because of the exposed hand mistake anyway (or by being a much better card-reader than I am), so I let it be and restored my stack with a $400 rebuy. I pretended like it hadn't happened and started playing again. In my next Vegas Retrospective post, I'll talk about how I evened up just one orbit later holding — you probably almost guessed it — a 5d 2d.


I've now had enough time to think about the technical mistake I mentioned above. My feeling is that there were two factors at play that caused my problem. First, there was the obvious excitement I had of playing in Vegas for the first time. My head was not completely clear; it was muddled a bit with the exuberance of playing there for the first time. I should be more careful in the future when I am a little too excited to be playing poker and calm myself down.

Second, looking back over my whole live poker career, I very rarely sit in the four and five seats; I basically only sit there when it's the only open seat or I am trying to get relative position on someone. I do, upon review, have the hardest time seeing the action from those seats. So, in the future, I need to be extra careful when in those seats that I understand the action that has happened.

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

I mentioned a few months ago that I suffered some a lot of losses one weekend in March. This is another post about some bad play I made in one of those hands. This hand took place at 02:00 on Sunday 12 March 2006.

I was hanging out with W.D. on Full Tilt, playing nine-handed NL HE as that's what he prefered at the time. I don't usually play nine-handed online; I am primarily a six-handed player. But, regardless of how many hands were dealt, I played this hand terribly.

The game was $1/$2 blind, $200 maximum buy-in NL HE. I was on the button with $152. (I was stupidly playing short stacked because I didn't have more money on the site at the moment.) Ahead of me in middle position, a somewhat agressive player with $252 limped. A passive player (with $150) limped. W.D. (with $325) limped behind them. I had Kh Th and decided to limp as well. The small blind, a very tight player called Silly Sally (with $143) completed. The big blind checked. We saw a flop of 6c Ac 5h with $11 in the pot (post-rake).

The flop checked around. I can't fault my play here. I had nothing, but in a field like that, I am likely to be called by hands like 78.

The turn was the Ah. Silly Sally in the SB checked again, and our aggressive player bets $2. I read this as a typical online probe bet. Many aggressive online players bluff the minimum. They seem to hope multi-tablers won't see that the bet is that small and fold things like middle pair.

Behind him, the passive player called (likely with a 6 or some draw), and W.D. called. With $16 in the pot, I am probably up against a six and some draws. I have the nut flush draw, and decide that a semi-bluff is warranted, and make it $15 to go.

Months later, I still don't think the semi-bluff is wrong there. I have major weakness in front of me, and even if the draws call, they may be flush draws, against which I have the best hand and huge implied odds. A six would be hard pressed to call.

Silly Sally, in the SB, is my only caller. If I'd been playing my best game, this should have easily shut me down no matter what came on the river. Sally, a conservative player, has checked twice, and now called a large bet. She has played the hand cagily, but the most obvious hand she could have is 66. Conservative players usually go for a check-raise with a set (a bad play, in my opinion), and when she filled up, there is even more reason to slow play because it is unlikely someone has an Ace.

I hit my “worst“ card, a 9h. Making the flush here is awful, but Sally even gave me an out; she checked it to me. I “value-bet” $25, and she immediately check-raised all-in for $100 more. I thought for my full time allotment, but it did me no good. I ignored the point that a conservative player would not call me on the turn with merely a flush draw on a paired board (she wouldn't), and decided she had made a weaker flush and called.

She didn't have the hand she represented throughout the hand — 66 — but rather Ad 5s. Her play seems wrong to me on the flop (check-raising two pair in that spot is something I'd only do if a truly hyper-aggressive player is in the pot), but there is no question that my play was just abysmal. I should have had my wits about me and just checked the river. It would have been annoying to see a smaller made flush in her hand, but I really have to give her credit for a monster on the turn. I hadn't once seen her call with a draw without odds, especially out of position, so there is no way she calls on the turn without at least trip aces. Even if I give her a naked Ace on the turn, I have to give her credit for A9 on the river and fold.

Well, Sally, you earned that $100 bucks with your patient play. Please enjoy a fine meal on me and my donkey play.

shipitfish: (Default)

In a low-limit satellite tournament, I recently had a player berate me for betting into a dry-ish side pot. I had raised from the button when the action folded to me and the big blind was all-in for 350 chips, less than the value of the blind (400). The antes had started, so there were 775 chips out there. The small blind was tight and even in chips with me (about 9,000). He was pretty tight and I felt he'd fold most of the time, assuming I had a hand to show down with the all-in player.

I held 23s, which (I believe) is only around 30% to win against two random cards, so the odds were about 15% against me, even if my instincts were right and the SB folded. But, I was also hoping to use the play to set something up later, as the blinds would be going up soon. Against loose players, I noticed tighter players were calling a lot of all-in bets with bad hands in this tournament, and they seemed to only need a small reason to call big preflop raises for all their chips. I was hoping to give them a reason in my case — by risking less than a BB, with some small equity to win a pot full of blinds and antes, and be “forced” to show that I'd raised with a terrible hand. I hoped it would induce action later, and the blinds were going up fast so getting called by dominated aces to double up in the next round would be a big help.

I was not too happy when the SB called the 775 bet, making the main pot 1,475 and the side pot 850. The flop was QJ2 with a two-flush and the SB checked. I really felt I had the best hand at this point. Given what I'd seen of this player, he would have bet out with either a Q or J; he had not check-raised once since we'd started the tournament. I decided to make a feeler bet of 500. If he called, I was wrong on my read and he had likely a J. I would then have five outs on the turn to win, and I might get a free river card, too. Betting 500 to win 2,325 therefore seemed right to me here.

My 2 was good, he folded, and it beat the all-in player. His anger was focused in the argument was that it helped me more to check it down than it did to bet, because it was the best shot to “eliminate a player”. I thought a lot about this argument and I don't buy it. We were still seven seats from the money, and one more player with an emergency stack wasn't going to change much. I theorize that the player was more angry that he would have hit a pair on the turn or river (although he never said specifically what he had).

I know my preflop raise was very questionable, and that its primary value was to have the better players at the table see me as a “loose raiser” and get action as a favorite (with weak King-highs, for example) when I would inevitably move all-in within the next 20 minutes. But, was it so questionable that I should have just folded and let the SB call and show down with the all-in player? And, was my bet on the flop a suicide bet? Is he right, is checking down right? (If he was right, it was for the wrong reason, of course.)

I've read a lot lately that seems to indicate that game theoretically, bluffing into a dry(-ish) side pot can often be a correct play. Am I taking that too far, though?

As it turned out the ploy seems to have worked. I got called all-in preflop holding QQ about 20 minutes later by a very tight player (who had earlier joined the discussion of my “bad play”). However, he knocked me out when he flopped an ace.

But, being careful not to assume I'd done the right thing, I should ask the question if I did. What do you think?

shipitfish: (Default)

Below is my exchange with Bob Ciaffone about the Ad Qd monster draw hand from a few weeks back. Most of the commentors suggested I should have played differently. Bob's first comment was:

I often fold A-Q offsuit to a single raise, but seldom fold A-Q suited, especially having position. I call if I do not know the player, or if he is not a rock.

On the flop, when he bets, I like your raise. He could have zero (but the best hand with AK). I do not let an opponent with such a hand charge me to draw when I have a hand that I am willing to back with all my money. Plus I do not know what an overcard will do for me, or which one to hit.

You ran into a good hand, yet were still about even money to win. Just have a little more karma next time...

I replied:

As for folding preflop, you mention you would fold AQs if he was a rock. His starting hand selections may have been close to “rockish” (he would have only AJ-AK or a middle pair or better), but he would make some big mistakes on the flop with one pair. Does that justify?

I think you are saying you approve backing the hand with my whole stack, but even if I am pretty sure I have no fold equity against an overpair (as I was in this case)?

I am confused by your distinction between someone “charging to draw”, and “backing the hand with all the money”. Would this summarize your position: “His hand might just be a little better or worse than mine given my monster draw, and I don't want to see a turn with money left.”?

Some of my friends who are pretty good players argued that I should take a turn cheaply and see if I hit. I disagreed, because I think I'm a favorite enough of a time that I want to get it all in, since I know he'll put it in with any overpair.

Are there times when I want to play that hand a little bit more conservatively? I didn't think there were, but some argued I should so I wanted to ask you — would you ever play more conservatively there given the situation and my read that he'd overplay any overpair?

Bob responded to that with:

A-J is not “rockish” so you can call with A-Q suited. I do approve of your backing your hand with your whole stack. The problem with calling is you may have to face a big bet with only one card to come, where you are not so eager to play. Plus he will pull up if the flush comes. Plus you do not know if an ace wins or if a queen wins (you know one of them is a winner, if not against aces, but which one?).

The clearest way to state my position is he may make money off me on a hand that cannot call a raise if I do not put down some heat.

I do not play this type of hand conservatively when heads-up against a preflop raiser.

So, I appreciate all of your opinions and thoughts. I've decided to declare that I played this hand correctly. I don't think that I love this situation anymore — I know that I love this situation.

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

When I originally posted about last weekend's losses, I mentioned there were a number of hands where I clearly played badly (unlike this hand, where there is actual useful discussion to consider). This post is about a hand that I just played horribly from the flop and thereafter.

The hand started at 13:57 EST on Sunday 2006-03-12 on Ultimate Bet at a six-handed $1/$2 NL table with a $200 maximum buy-in. A player named stealerste with $100 called $2 UTG. I had $166 and received Kd Qc. I decided to make a small raise. Small raises on Ultimate Bet, because the players are often so tight-weak, generally clear the field pretty easily. My goal was to end up heads-up with stealerste. If he didn't limp-reraise, I thought, I probably would go to the flop with the better hand.

A player called fuerte with $364 in the big blind called the $3 cold, and stealerste called. We saw the flop three handed, with $16 in the pot, and I was in position. I didn't really have a good idea of what fuerte had, but felt I had stealerste beat.

The flop came 3c Kc Ad . They checked to me, and I made a feeler bet of almost the pot size ($12). This is a pretty standard and profitable play that I make as the preflop raiser with position when checked to on a board with serious draw possibilities — tight-weak players almost always bet out with top pair on boards with draw possibilities.

fuerte check-raised for the minimum. I didn't like this situation, and figured he had a reasonable ace. There is almost no point to call here. At the time, I felt that I could call and represent a flush if the draw came, but that was a stupid move against a weak player. I called, making the pot $64.

The draw got there on the turn with the 4c. fuerte made a defensive bet of $15, and I made it $40 to go, hoping to represent a flush. fuerte called rather quickly.

Now, what was the point here of making this raise? At the time, I thought it was a reasonable bluff (and maybe a semi-bluff, since I now had a second-nut flush draw of my own). But, making these sort of turn bluffs against weak players is totally pointless. I was not thinking straight, believing I could run over the table post flop in the way that I do preflop in these games. Yet, the whole reason I play these games is that the players are too tight-weak preflop and can rarely fold top pair on the flop when it hits. Representing that I hit a draw is pointless; I need the actual flush to get paid well, and bluffing is just a waste. At the time, I thought I could make some quick money bluffing, but that was just a mistake of trying to recover legitimate losses earlier that weekend too quickly. It was the very definition of tilt. No matter what lies we tell ourselves, we are all prone to it sometimes.

fuerte quickly called, and I then put him on specifically the Ac. The way he called instantly really indicated that he was drawing to beat the flush I was representing. Even weak players think twice before calling so quickly with just top pair if they aren't also drawing to beat the likely made hand.

The river came 9h and fuerte bet $40 into the $144 pot. I knew this was some sort of defensive bet with the Ac, but I had no clue what his kicker was. Looking back, I should have cut my losses right here and let his defensive bet win. But, it was too enticing — knowing that he almost surely didn't hold a made flush — that I pushed for $97 total.

What a terrible play on my part! I'm offering about 1-to-1.75 when he has already shown that he's somewhat skeptical that I made a flush. I thought at that moment that he'd play like I would — another common terrible mistake. In the moment, I believed I was making some “amazing” read on his defensive bet that he would fold.

The truth is, I couldn't eliminate a made flush on his part here, anyway. This could be a bet specifically designed to entice me to do what I'd just done — push and try to bluff him off the naked Ac when he actually held the nuts. Indeed, the way the hand played out, the street-by-street action could easily indicate something like Ac 10c! Instead, I put him on the one hand that I had a chance of bluffing and threw my chips away.

fuerte called with Ac 4d. Of course, he should have thrown away two pair there and certainly shouldn't have check-raised the flop (I deeply wish he'd bet out, of course, because I would have folded), but my play is substantially worse than his.

I have to remember I'm in these games because people do terrible stuff like this and I have a real opportunity to make big scores (and do, regularly, when playing my best game), when I don't get tilt-induced fancy play syndrome and make very stupid plays.

Those of you who think you are immune to this, no matter what stakes you play at, don't continue to fool yourselves. Despite adequate bankroll, overconfidence and that desire to end the weekend “up”, mixed with some reasonable but useless reads can get the best of the best of us.

shipitfish: (Default)

I had to stop thinking about poker for a bit after losing that grand, and I will be posting more about total donkey plays I made last weekend. But, I want to be clear about the hand that is the subject of this post: I am pretty sure that I love this situation. I made a brief off-handed reference to it in my earlier post. The thrust of the argument against my play below is that the preflop decision leaves me an underdog (i.e., playing AQs against a likely big pair or AK), and therefore it's not worth taking a flop. Furthermore, one could argue that the flop is at best a coin flip, so why introduce so much variance for this? Before I get deep into the analysis, let me first retell the whole situation, which should be stated and considered first before extensive analysis can be at all useful.

The hand begins on 21:09 on last Saturday when readysteady, a tight-aggressive, overpair-overplayer player on Full Tilt raised UTG to $9 in a six-handed NL HE game with $1/$2 blinds. I was right next to him and decided to call with Ad Qd. I could have easily been dominated by AA, QQ, or AK, but felt that it would be reasonably easy to get away for a small raise on the flop if it came A or Q high. Meanwhile, having seen him play aces once before at this table, I felt he'd raised less preflop with AA from early position (probably only $6), trying to induce action. He'd won with those aces earlier, so it was unlikely he hadn't gained a temporary “must over-protect aces” philosophy. He had raise to $6 before from early position with hands like AJ, so I suspected here that he held a vulnerable big pair that didn't want to see a flop out-of-position — probably TT or JJ. But, maybe he did hold QQ or KK; I couldn't rule it out. AK was another possibility, of course.

There was still some chance he had AA, but I figured (at the time) that most of the time, he held a hand like AK or TT-KK as opposed AA. In fact, the real numbers were much better. He's a tight player who almost always holds one of those hands when he makes that raise. With an Ace in my hand, there are only three ways he can make AA, while he has 33 ways to make one of those other hands, so he's about 1-to-11 underdog, statistically, to hold AA after his $9 raise. Why am I so focused on AA in this post-hand analysis? I'll get to that shortly.

To continue with the hand itself: I decided to call his $9, and that I'd get away on the flop if I made merely one pair. I had $259 and he had me covered. He had overplayed one pair a number of times at this table; he fit the typical profile of someone who plays NL HE by being very tight preflop and getting all the money in on nearly any flop where he holds an overpair or top pair, strong kicker. I'd of course rather have a set-building hand against him, but a nut-flush-building hand wasn't too bad, and I'd have position for the rest of the hand, as I expected the rest of the four people to fold unless they had monster.

With $21 in the pot, we see the aforementioned 5c 2d 3d. (My original quick note about the hand had the suit of the 5 wrong, but it isn't relevant since it wasn't a diamond. :) readysteady bet out $15.

I now had him read for an overpair, or maybe a feeler bet with AK (pretty unlikely). Folding on this flop seemed like a bad move; I have too many outs against so many of his possible holdings. I could call and see if the turn hit me, or raise right away. It was highly likely that he would reraise, and I decided that, before I raised, I had to know what I'd do when he reraised. If he reraised, I had to be committed to playing for all my chips. I had limited time to make this decision, but I was sure in about 20 seconds of my one minute to act that I had to be committed.

My biggest consideration was how I'd get paid off if my outs came. I thought he might put one more pot-sized bet in if I hit the flush or the straight, but he might slow down if an overcard came. If my overcards are actually live outs, then I might make another half-pot bet from him on the turn, and when I called it or raised, he'd be done with the hand because he knows that I am not going any further without a pair that beats his (i.e., his “get all money in with overpair” rule no longer applies). Meanwhile, if one of my overcards isn't good (specifically, if he holds KK), I'm a favorite (see numbers below), but it's still tough to play a Q on the turn. I was therefore ready to commit my stack.

I raised to $40, readysteady paused for about a quarter of the allotted time (15 seconds) and reraised to $100. That pause made me even a bit more sure that he didn't have AA. I felt he'd be faster to commit chips with AA, because he doesn't have to pause to consider that I might have an overpair to his. The pause, of course, could have merely been his consideration of a set, but this was a player I'd seen commit quickly to aces once at this table. I felt he would do so again. I moved in, putting my whole remaining $250, and he thought again (this time only about 2-3 seconds) and called. He showed Kd Ks and the board completed to 5c 2d 3d Jh Kh. His set won $521.

Now, in the moment, I didn't have time for heavy math analysis. But even after the hand, I think that the questions are really these: (a) should I fold AQs preflop to an early position raiser, and (b) should I just see if my draw hits on the turn rather than getting all my money in?

As to the first question, I don't think it is reasonable to fold the hand, even against a tight online player. The typical profile of tight players in the six-handed games on Full Tilt — a profile which this fellow fit and had confirmed by his actions — is that they overplay overpairs and/or strong top pair for all their chips. My 9-to-253 implied odds are just too huge to pass up in a six handed game. The other players behind me are highly likely to fold. I'm going to see a flop heads up with position.

Of course, I may be dominated. I need a lot of help on the flop (which I got, IMO) to put any more chips in the pot. But when I do get that help, I'm going to get his whole stack. I am focused on taking stacks in NL HE; not making sure I make the absolute direct odds pre-flop EV play. This is why I decided that for me in this hand “hitting the flop” did not include merely top pair. I definitely needed two pair or better.

Two pair would be tough to play, but this fellow was likely to slow-play a set, so it'd go check-bet-call or check-bet-raise on an AQx flop should he hold a set. Either way, I would have slowed down and eventually folded two pair in that sort of situation. I might lose a bit more on the turn, but I'm only going to bet a quarter of the pot on the turn when he checks again, worrying specifically about the check-raise by that set of aces of queens. Once he check raises, I'm done — I've folded two pair many times in such a spot. So, while there are some negative implied odds for two pair against a set, I also get paid off pretty well from AK, with which he bets out rather than check-raising in that spot. (I should note that despite lots of advice out there about betting out with a set, few players do it; I didn't think readysteady was likely to.)

If I flop Broadway, I'm getting all my money in on the flop while winning. In that spot, he puts it all in with AK most of the time, and a set all the time. If I flop a flush, I almost always win but I admittedly don't make too much from him, unless he flops a set.

If I flop what I flopped, overcards, a flush draw, and a gutshot, I have to tread lightly if the flop is ten high or bigger, but in this case, with all babies, I'm in great shape.

Yes, he can wake up with AA in that spot, and I get my money in as a 36% underdog. But, going back to the hands he likely to have, given his preflop action and flop lead, he's a 1-to-11 underdog (about 8%) to have specifically AA. So, 8% of the time, I'm a 36% underdog. Another 8% of the time (when he has QQ), I'm a 44% dog. Meanwhile when he has KK (18% of the time), I'm a 51% favorite. Against the rest of the likely pairs (TT, JJ), which he holds 36% of the time, I'm about 58% favorite. I'm of course crushing AK (the extra 30%), but if his flop lead was actually a feeler bet with AK, he folds any AK when I raise.)

Anyway, I'll even set aside my read that he didn't hold AA. I'll just do the pure EV calculation that his lead bet gives us no new information (i.e., it may be an AK feeler), and that he gets all the money in with any pair (i.e., we assume no fold equity). I do the calculation by assuming I win right there when he holds AK, and that I have to face the odds with all my chips when he has any other holdings.

With these assumptions, my flop EV (when I raise on the flop, expecting him to reraise and we get it all in) is as follows:

HandProbability of HoldingEV formulaEV component
AA 8% 36% × $271 + 64% × $-250$-5
KK 18% 51% × $271 + 49% × $-250$3
QQ 8% 44% × $271 + 56% × $-250$-2
TT, JJ 36% 58% × 271 + 42% × $-250$19
AK holdings 30% $36$11
TOTAL: 100%$26
(The EV “component” field is the “percent he has it” column multiplied by the “EV formula” for that situation.)

Now, I agree that introducing $250 of variance for $26 of EV is nowhere near the best spot I can get find in these tight-weak games online. But, it's still a good spot that I'd take every day for $250! I believe in keeping a large bankroll (larger than most proposed recommendations), in part so you can take these tight marginal edges.

There are also meta-game considerations here to think about. I have chosen to play short handed NL HE tables precisely because the players there tend to be tight-weak preflop and play one pair too loosely after the flop. I play best in NL HE against tight-weak players who overplay one pair.

When playing against these players, I want to sometimes take these tight-edge gambles. I want them to know they are going to get action when they overplay one pair. More importantly, I want them to know that sometimes they won't be a huge underdog against me when I give them such action. (Indeed, I engaged readysteady in chat window discussion about the odds precisely to make sure he realized that I'd pushed an extremely tight edge.)

You see, I want readysteady (even his username exudes tight-weak play, did you notice that?) to overplay that KK every time. I want him to continue to believe that folding an overpair is impossible. I want everyone at the table to feel the same way. I want readysteady to call up his poker buddies, and tell him about the huge fish who pushed in with AQs with “only” 15 outs. I want them all to react this way, because, if I didn't have straight draw outs as well, I wouldn't have played the hand the way I did. I would have called with 2-to-1 direct odds on the flop, seen if I made the flush on the turn, and folded for a pot-sized bet if I didn't. It would have been a little mundane pot that wouldn't even have made it to my blog. But, I had at least three extra outs, and went for it. Sure, the math shows I'm risking $259 to chase $26 in EV. But, most of the time when I get the money in with him, I have a set of fives, not the nut flush draw with one (maybe two) overcards and a gutshot.

Some might argue this is a reckless way to play NL HE when I could sit and wait for more of lock. I'm going to ask my coach to read this one, but I'll probably need a lot convincing from him that I made the wrong move. I watch these tight-weak players bleed away money playing ultra tight and making themselves like textbooks. I want them to fear me at the table; to worry that they can't fold because maybe I have some big draw, not a set. I don't move in every time with AQs in that spot with every player. It felt right in this situation, with that board, against that player.

We can argue about “risk vs. volatility”. We can disagree that introducing $259 of variance into one's bankroll for $26 of EV is too much variance. (Although please consider that the limit HE player frequently puts 30 BBs at risk to win at most 2 BBs for a given evening — and that this situation is much better.) But, I think that's the most important point of this hand: varying a little bit from playing “by the book” (i.e., calling with AQs after a preflop raise, moving in with a big draw that may be at best a coin flip) builds a complicated table image that keeps your opponents guessing and forces them to respond to you.

We'll see what Bob says when I ask him to read this — if I'm full of crap, I'm happy to eat my words if he tells me to. :)

Update:Bob finally answered me on it.

shipitfish: (u-club-stack-2006-03)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Work Dan and I were playing at the U Club when a fellow dumped a nearly $500 stack to me. He rebought for around $200, and played for a while when the following hand came up between him and Work Dan.

Work Dan (W.D.) called behind this guy, let's call him Stack Dumper (S.D.) (in honor of his earlier dump to me), in late position when S.D. had raised to $10. They saw the flop five handed with $50 and with Dan in position (some earlier limpers called the raise when it came back around to them). S.D. had about $250 behind and W.D. had about $350.

The flop was Ks Qc 9h. S.D. bet $5. He'd never bet so little into a big pot like this. Dan made it $30 to go, the rest of the field folded, and S.D. min-reraised making it $60 to go. W.D. thought for a while and called. There was $170 in the pot and the saw the turn 2d, which left the board without a flush draw.

S.D. thought for a moment and bet $55. Dan thought for nearly a minute and called. At this moment, I was beginning to feel that S.D. had JT. His play was extremely strange and didn't match up with his past behavior. I had no visual read on him that told me anything, but the betting sequence, especially given that it was so different from his past actions, seemed to shout JT.

On the river, which fell Ad, S.D. quickly grabbed the $5 chip covering his cards, put it on his remaining stack and pushed for $127 total into a $280 pot. W.D. thought for a long time. He looked at S.D. and said you have Broadway, don't you? You flopped the nuts, didn't you?. S.D. tried his best to look away, and finally met W.D.'s eyes and grinned and pushed his eyebrows up a few times. This, too, was out of character; he was a very serious player who didn't make faces like this and goof off like that. The only visual tell I noticed was that S.D. seemed pretty calm — which I usually read as a bluffer's tell — but I had no visual read when he bet the nuts to compare it to. I continued to think JT and was rooting for W.D. to fold what I thought was KQ.

W.D. thought and thought and finally called, very reluctantly. I just kept saying in my head that S.D. had the nuts. At the moment of the call, I figured W.D. must have had a set; I figured he'd fold KQ. S.D. showed the Qh 7h for a middle pair bluff, and W.D. won with 9s 9d for bottom set (on the flop).

W.D. and I debated for a long time about how he should have played it. I felt that he needed to decided on the flop or the turn if the guy had JT. If he felt there was a good chance a set was good, he had to move in on the flop or the turn. S.D. would overplay one pair for sure, but he might give up if a third straight card fell, or if the board paired, and he only held a good K. Also, if S.D. has AK, W.D. needed to charge S.D. to draw to a T.

But, after much debate, I realized I wasn't sure how to play it. I wondered some if W.D. could make it $120 to go on the flop and fold to a fourth raise, but that didn't make sense either; the hand seems too strong to fold even on a problematic board. Still, I don't think he's in a good spot when the turn blanks at him and he has to face a bet. Sure, he has position, but he's still trying to decide if the guy has the nuts or not. In the end, I don't know W.D.'s right move here.

shipitfish: (u-club-stack-2006-03)

Back at River Street once, I called a bet that was somewhere between $300 and $400. Until last week, that was the biggest single bet I'd ever called (or made, for that matter) in a poker cash game. Thursday night, I made that new amount $452, which yielded the largest pot I've ever played as well: $1,012.

Work Dan (since there are two Dans commonly mentioned in my journal, I'll start being more careful to distinguish) and I went to the U Club for an evening of poker last Thursday. The $1/$2 NL ($300 max) game was more happening than usual. There were a number of calling stations, and a number of would-be “strong” players who would make big all-in raises when they should have just called (e.g., when holding a straight made on the turn on a board that made a three-flush on the river), or who would constantly overplay one pair.

I had built a stack from my $300 buy-in to $475 when the following hand came up. I limped from middle position after one limper with 5h 7h. Most pots were seeing flops with no raises for the preceding fifteen minutes or so; the table was quite passive. Two more limped behind me and the small blind completed. The big blind (BB), a regular who has good starting hand selection but couldn't fold an overpair at all once he saw a flop, raised, making it $25 to go.

The limper between us quickly folded, and I looked to the left. I got the feeling that one of the two limpers behind me was ready to call (a calling station who would pay almost any amount for a draw). I figured the small blind and the other limper were likely to fold. I was offered 25-to-60 (roughly 1-to-2.5) direct odds to call. These weren't great, but I had a really clear idea of what the BB held. He had AK earlier, and had raised a smaller amount from the blind with roughly the same number of limpers. However, with QQ, he'd raised about this amount. I really eliminated the no-pair hands right there — I felt pretty strongly he wouldn't commit that much (he was a bit of an “absolute amount” better) with even an AKs. I decided TT was maybe a possibility, but JJ-AA were the most likely.

The BB was also very deep; he had me covered for sure (I eye-balled it at around $500, turns out it was $580). I decided to call, because if I flopped two pair or better, he would have trouble folding and put a lot into the pot drawing thin. Two folks actually called behind me (the calling station I expected and the button), and we saw the flop four-handed with $108 in the pot.

I watched the BB watch the flop. He didn't love it, but I felt before I even looked myself that he held an overpair to it. He stared for a moment, then looked at his chips and aggressively said “All in”. I began thinking why did he make such a huge overbet? as I looked down to see 5c 7c 5s. Wow! Ok, so I have the second nuts, and someone likely drawing to two outs just bet $450 at me!

I looked behind me to see if there was any way I could showboat to get the short (relative) stacks to call, probably drawing at a flush. They looked as ready to fold as anyone could look, so I said Call and watched their cards hit the muck. He tabled the As Ah, and stared at me, looking worried. When the fourth five hit the board, I turned my hand up saying: You have outs to the bad beat jackpot, I think. (As it turned out he didn't; the bad beat jackpot at the club had been hit the previous night, and they'd increased the requirement from “any aces-full beat” to “aces-full-of-kings beat”, but I didn't know that until after the hand was done.)

I counted out my chips and said, $452, I think, dealer, please recount me, though. Meanwhile, this guy was going ballistic. I didn't listen to most of it; it went on for a full minute. The last utterance was: what do I need to raise preflop to get you off that donkey shit?. I didn't know what to do, I wanted to remain silent but felt bad and wanted to say something. I gave the only answer that came to mind: If you went all-in preflop, I wouldn't have called. I should have kept my mouth shut, because that probably made it worse, but I didn't know what to do with the guy flipping out. (He fortunately wasn't the beat-you-up-outside-later type, but I made sure waited a full half after he left before leaving.)

He kept muttering but I just ignored it as the dealer squared and shipped. There was a lot of chat after the fellow left (an hour later after he dumped his rebuy to Work Dan — more on that later) about why he'd made this overbet. My best theory remains that he was focused on the other stacks, which were only about $200 at most. I think he thought that he was overbetting by about 2-to-1 instead of nearly 4.5-to-1. It's a great example of making sure you know the stack sizes. I didn't feel bad because I'm always careful to keep my stack visible with all greens up front.

In the end, considering his reaction, I think he was more angry with himself for the overbet than he was at me for playing 57s. And, hey, maybe I am a donkey. But, knowing he'd often overplay an overpair, I think I had reasonable implied odds to call. What do you all think?

Obligatory stack pictures are available as always.

shipitfish: (poker-strategy-books)

A while back I posted about abusive use of the semibluff. As I mentioned, using it too often simply makes your opponents realize that when you raise on a draw-centric board, you usually have the draw and not a strong made hand.

The semibluff is however a powerful poker weapon when used with restraint. One place where it can be very useful is live game situations where players have many tells and varied stack sizes and you have a tight table image.

What follows is an example from a hand I played last summer at the old R Club here in NYC. It was interesting situation, since, as was often the case at the R Club, there were people who had very different stack sizes. The players in question for this particular hand were Mike and Pappy.

By this point in the summer, I had logged about 40 hours of play with Mike and had a very good read on his game. He was absolutely incapable of folding any flush draw, and any top pair with an overcard kicker. He usually put in good sized raises with top pair on the flop (i.e., he knew it needed to be protected), but often raised a bit too much, and couldn't fold to a reraise. (By way of example, I once got an entire $400 stack from him on the flop, in a limped pot with the flop T43, where he held QT and I had 44. He just kept reraising!) With draws, Mike played a classic loose-passive style willing to call huge bets to see the next card and try to get there. The one type of draw, however, that he really loved and played aggressively was “a pair and a flush draw”, with which he'd often back with his whole stack on the flop.

I knew Pappy less; I'd only logged about 5 hours of play with him. However, I'd listened carefully to chit-chat about him, and that chat was extensive. Pappy was primarily a tight-aggressive player, although he occasionally was known to put a lot of pressure (i.e., hyperaggressive) preflop and on the flop. He wouldn't commit his whole stack with one pair, and he was even capable of folding two pair when deep enough. He assumed other people played as he did, and he always played his sets cagey. If you made a cagey play, he'd put you on a set and throw away two pair. The joke about him was that he often raised with two random cards, flopped two pair, and then would lay it down to a raise on the turn.

Now, to make a successful semibluff, I needed all this information as the hand progressed. The hand started with Pappy raising from early position to $10, a standard preflop raise in this $1/$2 NL HE game. Usually, a $10 raise here yielded four callers. I was the first to call from middle position with Ac 8c, and Mike called behind me on the button. The blinds folded and we saw the flop three-handed with $33 in the pot. Mike had about $180 behind; I and Pappy each had around $300.

The flop came Tc 3c 7h. Pappy bet out strongly for $25. I knew he wouldn't bet here without a pair, but he didn't seem to have an overpair. I figured he probably had AT, but, as he sometimes raised with random cards, he might have T7. I felt my best bet, with Mike still to act behind me, was to call. I didn't have direct odds to draw, but I felt that I should stay and had some minimal implied odds. (Pappy would still bet once more if the flush card came, for example, and Mike would pay off with a variety of hands should he see the turn.) I felt that I might be able to make a move on the turn if I ended up heads-up with Pappy. However, semibluffing on the flop was a bad idea, because Pappy might reraise with two pair here and I'd have to put in the third raise as a semibluff to get him off it. (Usually, Pappy made his “big laydowns” on the turn.)

Mike called instantly behind me, and I was approaching certainty that he had a mere flush draw, obviously weaker than mine. He didn't usually play straight draws on two-tone boards, and since he didn't raise, I didn't think he had a pair at all. His call swelled the pot to $108.

The turn came 2d. I felt this was a good card for me. It didn't change much about the hand, and when Pappy bet out $50, I felt that he was getting concerned with two callers. Pappy assumed that others played like he did, and with two callers, he probably was worried that only one had the flush draw while the other might be beating him. I saw the $50 as a defensive bet. I knew Pappy could lay down two pair sometimes, and would certainly lay down just one pair, even if I had under-read him and he'd started with KK or something like that.

I decided to “put myself” on a set of threes for Pappy's sake. I figured that he wouldn't be suspicious of the “just call” on the flop, because that's how he'd play a set of threes. Pappy would think, that since Mike acted after me, that on the flop I thought that Mike would fold. And, since I knew Pappy didn't have a draw, calling with my “set” would be — in Pappy's view — a safe play. The pot was $158, and I had just enough for about a pot-sized raise. Since I knew that Mike had a flush draw and no pair on the flop, I figured it was unlikely Mike had me beat at the moment. If I raised here, Mike would certainly commit the rest of his $145 stack on a flush draw; he always called with flush draws if he had less than $200 in front of him.

So, I saw this great opportunity. Pappy would get terrified, even with two pair, that someone who had a stack as big as his had bet all-in, and that someone else called. He wouldn't commit his whole stack on an all-in overcall with two pair or less. I moved all-in with my best “set face”. Mike instantly called. Pappy sighed loudly, shook his head, and tossed his hand to the muck.

His eyes got huge when I turned over my hand. I looked at Mike and said: I'm drawing better than you, I think. He tabled Jc 6c. He had more outs than he might expect — thanks to Pappy's fold the three jacks and three sixes were good. Sadly, the river came 6s. I was sad to see the money shipped the wrong way, but I was very happy with the play! I had gotten the best hand to fold, and gotten a call by a hand with only six outs with one card to come!

Someone whose attention had waned momentarily right after I'd gone all in looked down as the chips shipped to Mike and said: a pair of sixes won that huge hand!?! and Pappy looked ready to fall out of his chair. I had protected the pot for Mike, of course, but it was well worth it to semibluff, get called by the player I was beating, and have the best of it with one card to come!

Plus, if I had to pick between Pappy and Mike getting the chips, I'd pick Mike since he was such a weaker player. If I'm going to protect a pot for someone, I want it to be for the weakest player at the table, and Mike was surely in the running for that at the old R Club.

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

Most of my readers will probably think I am insane for considering this laydown in this situation. I think, however, that I misplayed this hand. I also have somewhat of a moral obligation to post this, as [livejournal.com profile] nick_marden once lost a big pot with a very similar situation and I told him what I am telling myself at the end of this post.

I was playing $1/$2 NL HE, $200 max online at Full Tilt Poker. Historically, these games are the types of tight weak games I've written about so often. However, lately, they have been more loose-passive.

I was at a six player table, and a few people had busted. We were dealt a hand with three people suddenly after two people left simultaneously (one busted and one left on his own). I was in the BB with Jc Jd. The button, Quyzzie, raised to $7, which was a standard preflop raise. I hadn't been at the table but for a dozen hands, but Quyzzie was playing pretty loose from what I saw, but not with his preflop raises. His vice seemed to be bad one-pair hands on the flop.

The largest stack at the table, who seemed to be a strong player (named Mikechike) made it $20 to go from the SB. I gave Mikechike credit for a big hand here. I figured he had a pair between TT-AA, AK, or AQ.

I had a tough decision. I felt that it was a tough laydown to make three-handed, and a reraise from Quyzzie meant I had to fold preflop. I had $252 behind, Mikechike had me covered ($258), and Quyzzie had only $87. I decided to call the $18 cold, and be done with the hand if Quyzzie reraised or if I missed the set. Quyzzie just called.

The flop came Jh 5d Ah. Mikechike paused for a moment and bet $18 into the $60 pot. I actually considered a set of aces as a possible hand. AK was the other very likely possibility, making his bet hoping that someone with a weaker ace would raise . But, I was realistically worried about AA (for all the good it did me).

I decided to set Quyzzie all-in. This way I could look to Mikechike like I wanted to be heads up with Quyzzie, and force him to a decision knowing one player would be all-in. (I expected Quyzzie to call with any Ace, and it seemed somewhat likely he had one — my feeling about his preflop raise was Ace-high.) I made it $67 to go. Quyzzie insta-called (yes, I usually try to avoid that cutesie online poker term.). I really felt he would have thought some about putting his stack at risk with KK or a flush draw, so I was pretty confident he had an Ace. Mikechike called somewhat quickly behind him.

I thought Mikechike might have a flush draw here, but I realized after the hand I couldn't put him on this. The only one that made sense is Kh Qh, and it would have been pretty odd preflop behavior for that holding. In a sense, I think I have to put him on exactly AA at that point, because he'd take the opportunity to protect AK. (Remember, my only read on him is that he's a pretty good, reasonable player.)

Therefore, when the turn falls Td, Mikechike checks, and and the pot stands at $261, I think I can check instead of betting my last $166 (which is what I did). Of course, Mikechike "insta-called" in his own right. Mikechike had the only hand that made sense — Ad As. (For the curious, Quyzzie had Ac Qc — overplaying one pair again. Again, for all the good it did me, my read on Quyzzie was right.)

If I instead check the turn, and that 7d that came on the river arrives, Mikechike likely puts in a value bet. I may have to call up to $100 there, but I might be able to fold for all-in. Indeed, AK seems even less likely when he just checked the turn. Meanwhile, if I check the turn, and the flush doesn't come, how much if any should I call when he value bets top set?

Finally, is this all just a stupid marginal discussion? Should I have made the "more obvious" right play of folding preflop, even though we were three-handed?

I have to admit Mikechike played it as I would have — trying to sell it as a flush draw to two obviously made hands that can't have anything but runner-runner flush outs, and therefore they are left drawing dead on the turn. Even if Quyzzie does have the flush draw, Mikechike can safely check the turn, because I conveniently already charged Quyzzie the maximum to see the river. But, I should have seen past it because no flush draws coincide with the preflop action.

I think I should be ashamed of myself. If it's the 5h Jh Ac instead of the Ah 5d Jh , maybe the flush draw with an AK becomes more likely and I have to just take the beat. But the board the way it was, I should have walked away $166 richer than I did.

Anyway, all I have left to say to myself (on Mikechike's behalf) on this hand is: Ship It, Fish!

shipitfish: (clueless-donkey by phantompanther)

My illness broke my posting routine, and I apologize to my readers who had gotten used to very regular posts. I'll strive to get regular posting going again.

I was sick from last Wednesday, missed two days of work at the end of last week, and didn't start feeling better until Saturday morning. But, by Saturday evening, I was ready to play poker again.

Dan and I went to the H Club in NYC. Dan is a relatively new player who came to me about one year ago asking for advice to learn NL HE. His game has improved a lot over the past year, and he is now a reasonable tight-aggressive player. However, I know quite a bit about his game, which was a factor in the hand I'm about to describe.

I bought in for the $500 maximum in the $1/$2 NL HE game. I saw a ton of flops with reasonable multiway hands — I was dealt about a dozen pocket pairs which I took to multiway flops and failed to flop any sets. I took a number of flops with suited connecting cards and other surprise hands, but failed to connect there as well. I rebought for another hundred and but was still struggling to keep my stack at $400.

Dan, meanwhile, was playing very well. He was raising frequently preflop, and was making good choices about raise sizes. It took a $20 (!) preflop raise to get just one caller. Dan was carefully doing that with his big unconnected cards and big pairs. He was using position very well to win pots uncontested, and was properly value-betting his holdings to protect strong but vulnerable holdings. I felt he was really playing well.

It was in this context that the following hand came up. From middle position, Dan raised to $20 after one limper ahead of him. From watching his play and knowing his game, I knew that he had two big unconnected cards (AK, AQ or maybe AJ or KQ), or he had a big pair (JJ or better, maybe TT). I was on the button and it was folded between us.

At this point, I simply decided to call regardless of my holding. The limper looked annoyed enough at the raise, and even if I generated 1-to-2 for him, he'd fold. The blinds were distracted and probably folding. I'd be able to take a flop heads up with position, and really felt I might be able to outplay Dan on the right flop. I was correct about the first part, at least — we saw the flop heads-up with $45 in the pot. (BTW, even though it doesn't matter at all for the telling of the hand, I held Kd 6d. I had no hand/no draw and on ever street Dan was winning by far.)

The flop was As 8s 3s. Dan relatively quickly bet $40. I considered my options of what hand I could represent. I felt very strongly that Dan had an Ace by his mannerism of betting and by the amount. I felt if he was to bet the flop with something else, he'd bet less with non-Ace hands (say, Ks Kh). The question was whether or not he had a big spade to go with the his "red ace". I couldn't know for sure if he was drawing well, so I felt I had to represent a made flush.

The question was: how would Dan think I would play such a hand? Well, I figured it was good I was taking some time to act. I figured if I called automatically, Dan would be inclined to think "draw", not only because quick calls often indicate draws, but also because he knows I've told him that. In other words, he might easily think I'd try to "throw him off" by doing the obvious "weak play" with a draw. I waited a few more seconds, and decided that an immediate raise would be the exact play to look like a pure bluff to him, so I called. The pot was $125 into the turn.

The turn was a blank, a 4h or something like that. Dan thought only briefly and bet $40 again. I read this clearly as Dan backing off. If he really had read me for a spade draw, he'd have bet the pot size again. I really felt strongly at this point that he had AQ or AK and no spade. I decided now was the time to carry through and represent a relatively strong (but not the nut) flush. I raised just $60 more, hoping he would see it as a value raise from a flush against someone I thought had no flush draw. I really expected Dan to reluctantly fold.

He began saying to the dealer, strangely and out of character, just $60 more. $60 more; that's it?. He quickly called. At this moment, I had to reconsider my read. The $60 more? thing was obviously representing a big spade, and at this point I had to really consider it. AQo with Qs was a serious possibility. I pondered and watched Dan as the river fell. I knew if he checked the river, I'd have to bet at least $100 of my depleted chips and hoped he didn't call with his Ace.

Dan saw the river card, glanced back at his stack and said one hundred. I took a peak at the 7s and refocused on Dan as he pulled out a stack of chips. I began to put Dan on that Qs, as the dealer confirmed the count of his bet. After all, why would he bet one third of the pot on the river?

Then came "the glance". Dan's eyes met mine for much less than a second, but I read something there. He had no spade. There was almost no doubt in my mind. He had decided to represent that flush if the spade fell; that's what the out-of-character just $60 more? stuff meant. He was overselling the bluff.

However, I thought I saw something else. I got this distinct feeling that he had read me as well. I looked down at my stack; I had a mere $215 left, which meant a raise would be basically a min-raise. I felt that Dan was telling me something like: I don't think you have a single spade at all and I'm going to call you with this ace. I felt very confident he didn't have spade; not totally sure, but well over 70%. But, when I added to that the likelihood that he'd call anyway with an Ace because he suspected a bluff, I decided that I'd have to fold. For show, I said: Well, Dan, I have a small flush but I had you on the Ks. I can't call.

Later, Dan and I talked in detail about the hand. Dan had decided to represent the flush draw on the turn, but obviously had failed to execute perfectly because of the look on the river. He confirmed that what was really going on is he hadn't realized that $100 was such a large bet (relatively to my stack) on the river, but that he wouldn't have called a river raise. He actually had me on a weak flush draw, not a made flush, so the 7s was, in some sense, as scary for him as it was for me, but thought I could make a good laydown of, say, the naked Ts.

It's not often I try to set up a pure bluff and play someone else's hand. I usually try to do it against players whom I play a lot with and with who I have a long history of talking about poker strategy. I used to feel somewhat safe doing this, but I wonder if this was simply a mistake. Should I be trying to set up plays like this? Am I picking the wrong players; should I instead chose tight-weak players whose game I know well? I figure I eventually have to learn how to make these complicated plays, and who better to try than those whose game I know well and whom I know are working hard to play correctly?

Anyway, I have to say that I think Dan played the hand very well. He suspected that something might be going on. I think my biggest mistake was not raising just a bit more on the turn. Dan confirmed that he would have folded to a raise of even $80 more instead of $60 more. Also, I should have given more consideration to going all-in on the river. I would have bet $215 to win $425, which is almost 2-to-1. I only have to be right one out of three times to make that high variance play profitable.

shipitfish: (poker-strategy-books)

As I discussed in my first post about the PL mixed game at the club in Boston, I was already down a full buy-in ($300) to Josh. Although I wasn't as sure then as I am now (after discussing the PL stud hand with all of you), I did have a strong feeling that I had played well against Josh in the PL stud hand. I felt I was basically somewhat of a favorite to the game, or at least able to break even and get some experience with PL mixed games. I decided to buy-in again for another $300.

As it turned out, I would play only one more big hand that night, again against Josh. My description of it is quite long; the details are behind this link. )

Anyway, so much for my foray into PL mixed games. I'm down about $1,000 overall playing such situations (that is, between Ashley Adams' games in Boston and this one — I actually won about €150 in Paris at the Aviation Club). Of course, I'd be up lots if my Sklansky dollars were fungible. If I could get some more practice, somewhere, playing mixed game big-bet poker, I might be a force in such games! Hey, what's the deal all these overspecialized players in the USA, anyway?!?

shipitfish: (l-club-stack-2006-02)

On Friday, I played at a few clubs in NYC. Originally, I was supposed to attend a home game in Queens, but the host never returned my email or phone calls. I decided to go to the L Club, which was reopening after the busts, and head to the H Club afterwards.

I'll say more in a full review, but I am usually not a fan of the L Club. However, there are few clubs left around NYC, so I will have to put up with it.

I spent about two hours at the L club. I was glad that the staff was was a bit better than usual. They had two $1/$2 NL HE games running, and a small tournament. I played $1/$2 at a table that drifted between tight-weak and loose-passive.

I made most of my profit for the night on one hand at the L club. A fellow holding what I clearly read to be a "reasonable pair" 88-JJ raised to only $6 preflop, and I called $4 from the BB with 46s, after the small blind also called. I like taking flops with this kind of hand, particularly against players who likely will overplay one pair, and even more so when the flop comes 462 rainbow. The SB, holding what I think was A6, bet out too much, around $30. I immediately made it $100 to go. I'd been running over the table 15-20 minutes before when they were playing tight-weak. I knew the pair-holder behind me was glad to finally have a "hand" against me. He immediately under-raised for his whole $101 stack with 99. While I did have to explain to the dealer that not all board pairs counterfeit flopped two pair (the river came a 4, and she start shipping to 9s and 4s), I won a substantial pot. My opponent walked out in disgust; they always do when you take their stack with 64s. When will they learn about implied odds, and how to give up on one pair when it is clearly beat? Hopefully never.

I eventually moved onto the H Club, which I hadn't been to since its recent relocation. After some minor difficult getting into the club, I found they had the same nice setup as before, although the smoking room — like it is in so many clubs now — is far too close to the table. I played another coupled of hours there and lost a mere $6.

I played two hands poorly, one at the L and the other at the H. At the L club, when our table was full and still a bit tight weak, I held AKo and made it $10 to go after a couple of people limped. I got one caller and saw the flop heads up with position with $28 in the pot and lots behind. We checked through a rainbow flop of JT8 and when the J turned, he quickly checked again. I bet out $30 after thinking for a moment. I felt that he would have bet a J or T on the turn (or perhaps the flop), and didn't think he had much of a hand. This player was pretty tight and was unlikely to call. I was surprised when he check-raised. I actually think he had a hand that he inappropriately slow-played. I think, for example, that he may have had JT, Q9, or AJ on the flop, and then checked again to induce a bet from me, an aggressive player.

However, it was really stupid to bet out there, because I'm not representing a hand that makes sense. I don't think he outplayed me, but he may have, and it was a good spot to do it. If I am going to bluff in that hand, it has to be on the flop for half the pot.

At the H Club, I won a pot with As Ah that I could have easily lost. I reraised a min-raise of $4 preflop to $12, and got two callers behind me, as well as the original raiser. Behind me, one player was a very loose, and usually passive (but capable of making plays when holding flush draws, which he loved). The other, on the button, was a young "grinder" type who thought he was better than he was. However, I didn't have the kid figured out completely yet. The min-raiser, to my immediate right, was a tight-aggressive player who knew a bit about the game. The two behind me had stacks of about $300 or so; I and the min-raiser had about $500.

I got worried about the KJ8 rainbow flop, and I bet a mere $35 into the $52 pot and was called by the two behind me, and the min-raiser folded. I realized immediately after that I probably should have bet more. I was making it a bit too cheap for their likely straight draws. OTOH, I was hoping to avoid getting to involved in a big pot. I doubt they would raise without at least two pair, so I wanted to muck the aces if they raised. Without a flush draw on board, I didn't expect a raise behind me from a draw.

The turn fell 2c, putting two clubs on the board. I decided I had the best but vulnerable hand I decided to take the pot with $100 bet into the $157 pot. It did as expected, but I still think somehow that I should have played stronger on the flop to avoid giving the straight draws an easy call.

At the H club, I meet two friendly players named Jeff and Ryan. Jeff seems to be a bit of insider on the NYC poker scene, and was able to tell me that the O Club has reopened, and that another club (the T Club) has also opened. I've got some visits and reviews to do.

I took some pictures of my stacks at the clubs.

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November 2016

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