I went over to Hollywood Park last night around 8pm with two buyins to the $400 game. I usually love to play the unrestricted $5-10 NLHE game there because its $500 min and no max which means there is at least $10,000 on the table and lots of times much much more. The great thing is the game is so loose and populated with bad players that you can really develop your post flop game and exploit mistakes in that area of betting. For those of who you who aren't familiar with it, post flop is where the boys get separated from the men. It takes no great skill to put someone on 88-QQ and push all in AK preflop. No big deal, but run a three bullet bluff on every street takes a bit more courage and tenacity. As well as making large bet calls with marginal holdings that happen to be the best. But, anyway, since the bankroll is still in the rebuilding phase I cannot afford to jump into that game with my usual $1000 buyin. Rick went up earlier in the day and was playing in that $500 game and was doing phenomenally. I think he said he was in $1000 and left $3800. Pretty damn good, if you ask me.
I had similar good fortune at the $400 table which is the same structure as Commerce's $400 $5-$10 game. The first hand that I raised I had JhJd on the button after three limpers. I made it $45 and got two callers. The flop came 4h 10c 9c. Both checked to me and i bet out $85 and after one fold, the remaining player goes all in for about $20 less than what I have. The guy was an Englishman who I have played with before on the $500 game but we were never really involved in any hands against each other and at the previous times he had much more behind so I had no idea of how he played his short stack. I discounted 1010 because he was the cutoff and just limped after one in front and also didnt get credence to 99 for the same reason. I asked him if he had a set and he kind of nervously responded to me so I figured he had a 10 or a club draw or something like QJ. So I ended up calling and although the club came on the turn he said he just had a 10 and I doubled up. However much I dislike the idea of calling big raises with hands where your opponent knows where you are at and you have no idea where they are at, the $400 game doesn't really allow too much for that unless you have a few buyins in front of you. Here for instance, I was very unhappy about calling but I pretty much had too.
For the next hour or so after that I had all fairly easy decisions, I saw that Bobby, an egotistical Persian who I play with often, was playing a bit faster than he should have so I limp reraised him with QQ and he pushed with 99 and I took all his chips. Another time I raised with AQ and hit a Q and took down a 5 way pot on a non-threatening board. I made a few raises preflop and made a CB and took the heads up pot down. All really easy decisions and slowly built up my stack for about 3 hours. I only really had two interesting hands that need some sharing. The first came when after a few limpers, Mr. Englishman (who had rebought and gotten above even, sitting on ~$1200 where as I had ~$1400) raised to $50 on the button. He generally was raising with solid values but those ranged from 99-AA and a few big aces. I had KsQc in the SB. I was wary about calling here because there was a lot of situations I could get in trouble but I felt as though I would easily lay down when i was in trouble because I planned on probe betting if I hit a K or Q and laying to any sort of overt plays by him. You might say that this would be weak play but this type of players would let me know if he had JJ or KK on a Q 7 3 board by folding or raising. After I called, Bobby (who had also rebought) called and so did one other limper. As Bobby was calling, however, he said quietly but still rather audibly "Let's Gamble". So, with a $200 pot the flop came down J 10 7 rainbow. I checked fearing that not only was it very possible Mr. Englishman hit either a set or had an overpair but I couldn't slow him down with a probe bet if he had 10-AA and there was too much behind both of us for me to justify building this pot with just an open ended straight draw out of position. After I checked, Bobby decided to go all in for $310 into the $200+ pot. The other caller folded and after a bit of a pause Mr. Englishman called the $310 and started saying "If you flopped a straight I need the board to pair", and exuberantly told the dealer "Pair the board". Now this was interesting because he knew I was in the hand still and I was interested and contemplating as he was saying this. In fact, although I was not looking at him I could feel his eyes on me trying to get me to fold. So, this led me to believe that he, in fact, did not have a set of JJ or 1010 but had an overpair. You know, the whole strong means weak and weak means strong mantra. Well, it rang true to a tee here. So my situation was this. I had an open straight draw to the nuts with two overcards against two people. One person had an overpair so, at best, only one of my overcards MAY have been live and I very well may have been drawing dead on the overcards if he had KK or AA. Secondly, if he had AA then I would have only 6 outs vs him. Thirdly, if he had QQ or KK and an A or 9 came on the turn it would be unlikely that he would pay too much off as the A would be an overcard and the 9 would put a one card straight on the board. Against Mr. Englishman in the possible sidepot my implied odds were quite low. Now back to the main pot. What in the hell did Bobby have and why did he way overbet the pot before the original raiser made any sort of claim to the flop. I think I can reasonably conclude that Bobby knew Mr. Englishman had a strong hand and most likely an overpair so he wouldn't be playing something like AJ or KJ in such a way so he probably had an over pair beat. He did say let's gamble as he limp/called a raise out of position so he very well could have had connectors such as 89 or J10 both of which had an overpair in bad shape. Personally, I wouldnt have overbet the pot with the nuts on a rainbow board before the Original Raiser could speak but I am not everyone. So by picking that information up, i could see that I most likely needed to hit my straight in order to beat Bobby. So if I was up against Mr. Englishman who would happen to have QQ then even hitting my K would not win the main pot for me. After taking all this into account, I did the pot odds calculation and saw that I had to call $310 to win a pot of ~$830 which would be a little better than 2.6:1. There is a 3:1 chance i make the straight if I saw both turn and river and I felt that I probably would get a check from the Englishman if I called. All of the above info led me to fold. Of course, right out the gate was the Ah followed by the 10h. Bobby indeed had the 89 for the nut flop straight and Mr. Englishman had the KK. But, of course, we don't do results based thinking so I was happy with my analysis and my laydown.
The second hand was a hand that I won. It involved two people besides me who have yet to be mentioned in this blog. One i will call the Sleeping Giant and the other I will call Old Blue. S#G and O#B for short. A little background first, S#G had been at the table since I had gotten there about 4 hours prior to this hand and from what I could gather from table conversation had been there for a long time, possibly bordering on 24 hours. His play was quite unimpressive, the only hand I saw him raise was QQ and when he hit two pair on the turn in the blind with 10 8. He had about $15-1600 when I had gotten to the table and now was at about $1100. He also occasionally fell asleep while in a hand, hence the name. For O#B, I had observed him make an unsophisticated bluff on the other $400 table where an Ace flopped and the preflop raiser showed weakness and he pushed all in only to get called by a ragged Ace behind him. He mucked on the flop without even seeing the cards ran out.
Then this hand occurs. O#B limps UTG and I am in late position with 6s6h and raise to $45. S#G calls on the button, both the blinds fold, and O#G calls as well. The flop comes Ks 9s 5d. O#B checks and I figure that with the image I have I can probably CB here and lots of hands may fold such as 1010 or AQ or even a 9 from a tight player like S #G that I otherwise wouldn't want to see a turn with. Plus I could get a read as to whether my opponents were on a K or a spade draw. Surprisingly, i got called in both spots. So my thinking was that I am done. There is a chance I was up against a spade draw or straight draw but it was very unlikely that I up against two draws. The turn brought the 6c! O#B had about $240 left and S # G had about $8-900. I bet out $ 260 into the $370 pot and got called by S#G as well as by O#B. The manner in which O #B haphazardly called led me to believe he had a spade draw. But at that point it was probably moot as if he hit his spade draw I still might be able to build a bit of side pot with S #G whom I figured to have a made hand, and probably a reasonably strong one at that. The turn brought the beautiful 2d. I pushed all in because not only was the pot $1150+ and S # G only had another $600 or so but with that kind of card if S #G liked his hand on the turn he can't think that this changed anything. He called and slammed his cards down in disgust when i showed my 66 meaning he probably had me beat on the flop with something like AK or maybe even 55?!
Point being that with larger stacks behind CBs with marginal holdings make sense because you haven't committed yourself to the pot as much as you have when you CB on shorter stacks.