Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Best Session Ever and Back in Black

First the good news:
  • I sat in the softest game ever.
  • I had the best session ever, playing wise and takehome wise.
  • I am now in the black (+) for the year.
Now the bad news:
  • I am still making some mistakes I can avoid.
  • I was way way up instead of just way up and managed to misread my hand lose $2000 in a $4000+ pot.
I am very proud of how I played in the $500 unrestricted buyin at Hollywood Park from Thursday evening until Friday morning. I saw Keith seating in it but he got up right as I got there. As I surveyed the game, I saw only two players I had ever played with before. Skinny Jeff who I have known from Commerce for almost a year and half now and Grumpy Richard who is always grumpy. Jeff is a good player but outside of that I saw no real threats on the table and relatively little money for this game. So i decided to sit because I figured it would be an easy table to run over. Well. Yes and no. Very early on I noticed that I had the worst position on the table. I was in seat 1 and in seat 2 was a guy named Dean. Now Dean was absolutely horrific. In almost every sense of the word. He saw almost every flop no matter the raise and did some unbelievable things. For instance, after I sat down but before I posted a blind I saw this occur. Someone in early position raised to $105 (semi-standard in this game), Grumpy Richard (herein referred to as GR) called, Dean called on the button, and the SB went all in for $450 or so. The early position raiser wasn't happy but also went all in over the top for $1060 total. GR folded and Dean on the button decided to call the all in. The early position raiser really really wanted to run in 3 times. The all in small blind decided to go once and after Dean was explained what running it 3 times meant, he finally decided to do it. So the main pot was contested on the first full board while the turn and river would be dealt three times for the side pot. Well, the cards were turned over. Early position raiser had QQ, SB making a move had 10d 2d, Dean had 4 6 off. Despite some scares, QQ managed to win all three and scoop.
Now, back to the fact that I had horrible position. I realized early that Dean was the table target and was on my immediate left so while the other players were not super smart they were able to recognize the fact that isolating Dean was a great move. So I was going to get nailed everytime I came into a pot without a super hand as this was a semi-aggressive table. Add in the fact that while i bought in for $1000, there were about 4-5 people at the table who had me covered. So i played it cool for a few rounds and called a raise with AK off in the BB. Board came A Q 4 rainbow and the raiser started pounding and I just called until he bet $400 on the turn when i only had $640 left so I got it all in vs his AJ and he doubled me up to about $2000 or so. From there on out, I again played it cool until I could change seats. I moved to seat 4 which was the best seat in the house. Dean was in seat 2, Skinny Jeff (herein referred to as SJ) was in seat 3 and was easily the biggest stack and best player at the table (outside of me of course) but he was also tight. So this now meant that I could be the first to isolate Dean as long as SJ wasn't holding a pretty good hand. He knew this and probably saw that he would have to play solid as he was sandwiched between me and Dean. I isolated Dean a couple of times when I got KK preflop and won some nice pots. Then this hand came up. Probably one of the hardest hands I have ever played.
The button is on Seat 8. GR is in the SB, BB is in seat 1 and Dean is UTG. Before I get into it, I should mention Dean has been playing a ton of pots but he has also been getting pretty lucky and had a penchant for getting people to bluff into him as a calling station. So he was deep stacked here. Ok back to it. Dean raises UTG to $60. SJ calls the $60. I pick up KK and raise to $260. Everyone folds to Dean who calls and suprisingly SJ calls as well. So now with $800 in the pot the flop comes down A Q 2 rainbow. A pretty shitty flop for me. Dean checks, SJ checks, and I quickly check the multiway pot. The turn brings the 2h putting two hearts up there. Dean checks and SJ bets out $500. Now, most people just muck here but I am not most people :). I start to think about it. Jeff and I know each other well and our games. I know he is isolating Dean with AA, KK, QQ preflop. So right off the bat I know he doesn't have those hands. I also know that he respects me and wouldn't come after me with a hand that wasn't nut possible for a reraise preflop. He is folding AQ and down there to me without a question. There is a 50-50 chance he folds AK to me there as well. So once he calls me preflop I am almost certain he has a pocket pair and he trying to make a set. I have already ruled out AA-QQ and while he is trying to make a set he wouldn't call me with 22 in that position either. The presence of two deuces on board helps to confirm that idea. So what is he betting with. I have him on a very narrow range of hands here. I can say with certainty that he has a pocket pair 77-JJ 90% of the time here. 10% of the time he would have AKsuited. I am pretty sure he would fold AKoff for the $260 reraise. Like I said, he is tight but good and wouldn't come after me when I am showing so much strength without a nut hand (PP trying to make a set) or a multiway nut hand like AKsuited. So common thinking would say here is that 10% of the time where he has AKsuited. But wait. I quickly checked the flop. He knows I probably would not do that in a three pot involving Dean the calling station. If I had a set of AA or QQ which would be consistent with my preflop reraise then I would want to slowly build a pot with the calling station. So I would probably bet something callable on the flop like $300 into the $800 pot. So he can probably rule out those two hands for me. Its much more likely he thinks I have KK or JJ. And with the nasty nasty Ace on board, if he was right I would have to muck my KK here. I called the $500 fully expecting him to have a pocket pair and be trying to make a move and check it down on the river. Well, another wrinkle came into play. Dean called as well. The $2300 river card brought the 9h for a board of A Qh 2 2h 9h. Dean checked and SJ now bet out $1000 into the $2300 pot. This was a bit of a surprise and I took everything in and started considering. I was almost positive that SJ was making a move on me because he knew I had KK and thought I had to lay down here. Everything in my gut told me that was the case. He had enough money behind (roughly $3000) that he could afford to do this and he had the cogniscience to pull this off as well. I kept running through the action in my head and remembering his face and mannerisms on each street to see how his reactions could have given me more clues. All the while, I am keeping him in my periphery view and observing him. Someone calls the clock on me and i tell them I have am fine with that. For some reason the floorman is late in coming so I have a long time before the clock gets there and i have my minute. During this time, Dean gets up and essentially tells me through body language that he is done with the hand. Whew! So I dont have to worry about the calling station being in there with a backdoor flush draw or a ragged Ace. I just have to figure out whether or not SJ has AK or a pocket pair. There is some table conversation about the clock being called and a few jokes being made. I observe SJ as he interacts with the others in conversation and I pick up a few small tells that I remembered from Caro's Book of Tells and I am now sure without a doubt that he moving on me. The clock finally gets there and it starts to count down. At 30 seconds I call the $1000. Dean promptly folds and SJ says "Kings are good". I turn them over and he mucks. Someone asks to see his hand and the dealer turns over his JJ and then pushes the $4300 pot to me.
Now the whole table is pretty much kissing my ass and congratulating me on a spectacular call. I can see the newfound respect in their voices. This bit of information helps in the next hand as well. I had been playing pretty solid premium hands so far mostly based on the randomization of the cards. I was getting lots of grade A hands or nothing. Lots of KK, QQ, and AK and very few 66 or J10s. So the majority of the time I was the original raiser or reraiser. This hand I got AsKh in the BB after 6 limpers. I raised $200 more to $210. Bob in 2nd position and the first limper called as well as Dean on the button. Before the cards came out I asked Bob how much he was playing because I couldn't tell how much the bills he had behind were worth. He refused to tell me! He did it all in a joking manner but he didn't tell me. The $670 3 way flop came down Ks 10c 4s. I bet out $600 with top pair, top kicker. He then informed me that he was playing $2800+, I said "Thank you, unless that's how much you are betting". He laughed and about a minute later after thinking he said "Yeah" and put it all in for a raise of $2200+. Dean folded and here I was again having to call $2200 to win a pot of $4000+. I didn't have a huge read on Bob but I had seen some hands. The only hand he had moved all in previously was when he had a set (He had set UNDER set and was able to get the top set to run it three times with him and he hit his one outer and took 1/3 of the pot!). I knew he didn't have a set of Kings, or AA and I felt he didn't have a set of 44s as I didn't think he would call $200 more as the first caller preflop. So my range of hands I had him on was a set of 10s, AK also (but probably unlikely that he would be all in with just top pair), or a big huge draw. This is somewhat like the hard call I had a few days prior with KJ as top two pair. I am way behind to a set of 10s, chopping with AK however unlikely that is to happen, and only slightly ahead of a big huge draw. My pot odds are no where near as good as what I had in the KJ situation. I looked at him and he was staring a hold into my neck. I could just feel his mind telling me to fold. He really didn't want a call. I finally showed him my AsKh and then folded about a minute later. I talked him up a bit too. I only showed my hand and talked him up a bit because I wanted him to convey to me all the info I could. He did and showed the QsJs afterward. I can tell that he was scared of me didn't want to play the hand after ward. Not a bad move at all. With that hand he is 49.60%, well worth it combined with his fold equity and the amount of money in the pot.
There was one more hand that I wanted to post about. I raised to $60 in late position with AsJc and got 5 callers. The $360 6 way pot came down Jd 9d 6h. Everyone checked to me and I bet out $300. Bob in the blinds called my $300, Wayne who was UTG called my $300, and Dean called my $300. So all of sudden the pot was $1500+. The turn came down Kh for a board of Kh Jd 9d 6h. Bob checked and Wayne thinks and finally moves all in for $3000! Dean folds and it is back to me. Now, I am folding. My mind is made up. But I don't just fold. I need to understand this sitaution. Wayne plays often at HP so I need to understand what the hell he is doing. Why would he limp/call preflop UTG, check/call a pot sized bet in a multiway pot on a draw heavy board, and then lead bet all in on the turn for 2X the pot! My final analysis was that this could only be a sophisticated play by 6h7h. An open ended straight draw that picked up a flush draw semi bluffing on a scare card. I iniated a lot of table talk after that hand ended (somewhat heated) and Wayne said he had the nuts with Q 10 and was scared of the two flush draw out there. I suppose I believe him but I think if he was drawing to the nut straight and got there he would want to get some value out of it. Granted he needs to protect his hand so he is not going to bet some measly $400 into the $1500 pot. But a bet of $1500-$1600 seems like the way to make some money. If I had a set of KK or JJ then I have to call, if Dean had a straight draw or flush draw he would probably call. He is still making it mathematically incorrect for anyone with out Q 10 to call all the while making profit if they do. It was weird because if the pot was $800 and the same situation occurred would he have bet $1600?? I find it interesting that the pot size becomes a variable to change the action taken. In cash game play, I don't think that usually is supposed to be a variable. One of the explanations given by Wayne and also by SJ was that if he bet out $1500 and got called then what does he do on the river if a scare card (diamond or heart) comes out. Would he fold the almost $6000 pot for only $1500 with the nut straight? No, you call there but I think that is besides the point. The point is not to be scared of calling if a -EV draw calls and gets there but rather to make sure that a -EV draw has a chance to make a -EV call no matter the pot size.
All of this occurred in about 4 hours. The game got short handed with me, Dean, GR, and few people who came in and out. I got super hyper aggressive short handed and was terrorizing the table for another 8 hours. I yoyoed up and down picking on Dean alot. I misread a hand and managed to pay off GR for $2000 when I thought I had top pair with a straight that got there on the turn when in fact I only top pair with a gutshot straight draw on the flop and turned an open ended straight draw. He flopped a set and we got it all in on the turn and I didn't get there. I bought in $1000, at one point got it all the way up to about $9200, and after 12 hours of changing gears from tight aggressive to loose aggressive and back again, I left with $7665 for a profit of $6665 and an hourly rate of $551+. My best session to date.
That proudly put me over the coveted even mark. As it stands, I am now $3K + in the black for 2007.


Reza said...

Happy to hear that the ugly downswing if finally over. Nothing in the world can boost your confidence more than winning back the money you've lost in a nasty losing streak and proving yourself it was all variance.
Great job!

Rick said...

Very interesting. Just one little comment: obviously, talking about your "hourly rate" for a single session is totally meaningless. In tracking your results, I highly recommend tracking your average +/- 2s/sqrt(n), where s is the standard deviation of your results and n is the total number of results. Your results could be daily, or ideally hourly if you keep track of # of hours for each session. It is kind of amazing (and sort of comforting) how little your average will change from just one session, even if it was a hugely losing session. Makes you realize how much variance there is in poker, and I think it makes it much easier to see what's just short-term luck and what's a long-term trend. Looking only at total winnings can be really misleading.