Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An interesting Hand

This hand occurred at the Hustler 5 -5 blind NLHE game. I have about $2000 at the beginning of the hand and the villain ( who is reasonably tight) has about $1500.

I am in the Small blind with 3s 5s. UTG limps, 2nd position (villian) limpts, and fold around to button. Button is a tight but predictable guy who raises to $25. I call and so does the villain, UTG folds. $80 flop comes down Js 10d 4s. I check my flush draw and villain leads into the raiser for $20. Raiser sighs and folds and I call with my flush draw. Turn brings the 7h. Now I have a flush draw and now a hidden gutshot straight draw. I decide to lead with a blocking bet and mimic 89 to try and slow down the bettor a bit if he has a J. I bet out $40 into the $120 pot. He promptly and with little thought raises to $140. So he obviously didnt believe me on the 89 and he likes his hand. Since we have so much money behind and I have a hidden straight draw along with my flush draw i figure my implied odds are quite high as I really do not put him on 89 of any variety. So I decide to call this $100.
The river comes the 10s for a final board of 4s Js 10d 7h 10s. I have made my flush so I lead out $250 into the $360 pot. He insta/turbo/without thinking or hesitation moves all in for $1200 +. Sigh....I know that I cant call $1000 for this small pot on this board. I can't really find a hand that I can beat. I can barely hope he bet out into the preflop raiser on the flop with a low straight draw 89 on the flop and is putting me on A10 or something like that but he has to have at the minimum AsXs here.
It was rather stupid of me to lead out into the paired board when my obvious flush hit when I am out of position. HIs range of hands has to be J10, all sets, Aj, AsXs, 89 and maybe KQ. Of those hands, I am beating only KQ and AJ. Neither of which this player would snap raise all in for 4X the pot on the river. So of his possible range I am really trying to value bet the very bottom of his range. Praying for a call from AJ or an oddly played QQ, KK, or AA. I can't put him on a dry 10 to lead into the tight raiser with just second pair on the flop. So in essence, I can't beat anything that he can call me with. So once again, I play a flush badly versus a boat. This time though the session on a positive note although I lost about $450 on that hand.


Monday, May 19, 2008


In No Limit Hold'em, all of the great players have developed the instinct to pick up more of a ethereal part of the game that can't always be expressed succinctly after the fact. This is one of those masked qualities that tends to rise out in necessary situations in successful players. I have seen it come about in me at various times. The key is to realize when you have to trust it. Just right now I took a hard knocks lesson as to when to trust myself. A hand will illustrate what I am trying to say perfectly:

6am 5-10 NL game @ commerce casino. Game is fairly loose passive and I start the hand off with ~$750.

UTG limps, I limp in 2nd position with As6s, cutoff and button limp, SB completes and BB checks. 6 way $60 flop comes down Qc Js 2s. Checked to me and I bet out $45. Folded to SB who min raises to $100, BB calls and then folded to me and I call.

Now before I go on, I will say that I have not played with SB very long at all, maybe 10 hands max and I had not seen him win a hand or showdown a hand as he just moved to our table from a broken game with more $$ than me but I had the feeling he was very tight.

The turn card in the 3 way $360 pot came down the Qs for a board of Qc Qs Js 2s. I now have the nut flush. The SB is sweating and twiching now and bets out $100 and the BB calls $100. I decide to raise here for 2 reasons. First, off, I know the BB is a bad player and will pay me off with a worse flush, a bare Q, or maybe something worse. Secondly, I really felt like the SB had Q2. Everything in my gut told me he had Q2. So if he were to reraise me or call and then bet/push the river, I could be sure and easily fold. But, no. He just calls and unfortunately, the BB folds. Now the river comes the 3c. He checks while still being quite twitchy and agitated. Now I am super confused. Is he really pulling this move on me with me only having $350 left in a $900+. Is he really trapping here with me being pot committed and having to call his river value bet? (or so he should have thought)? I thought there was no way this could possibly be the case. Did he have AQ/KQ, a lower flush, a worse Q, J2? Somehow all this clouded my crystal clear read of 10 seconds prior that told me he had Q2. So, of course, this new found bungled thinking bewitched my hand into pushing my last $350 into the pot as a voluntary bet. And, yes, of course, he called and showed me Q2.

I sometimes have the instincts. Now I need to learn how to listen to them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Addendum to "Absolute Bitch Post"

Adding another serious runner runner beat to the list:

My hand: 9h 9d My opponent's hand: Qd Qs

Flop: 9c 4d 7d (both parties all in) Turn: 2d River: 6d


Friday, May 16, 2008

Hustler Thursday "Deep Stack" Tournament

Tonight, in my continued preparation for the tournaments this summer, I played the $255 buyin Deep Stack tournament at Hustler. It is a pretty well run tournament that starts each player off with 5000 in chips @ 25 -50 blinds. The only down side to this is the rounds are fairly quick at 25 minutes. This edition of the tournament saw a healthy turnout of 113 players. I feel as though that's a very managable number of players as far as my ability to win and have it be worthwhile. Less than 80 players and the prize pool is too shallow to allow anything less than top 2 and more than 300 players (without better structure requirements) requires a much greater luck factor than is indicative to tournaments to begin with.

This tournament, however, didn't go well at all for me. To begin with, my table was full of maniacal idiots. Which is usually a good thing except when you are card dead. I got a bad beat early that lost me 600 in the 25-50 stage. I was in the BB with 10 6 and five people limped in, the SB completed, and I checked. So we saw the 7 (!) handed flop with 350 chips in the middle. Flop comes Js 10s 6h. SB checked and I decided to check because I really felt that even an overbet here would elicit 2+ calls and then I would need a very bricky card to come on the turn for me to push on. I don't want to see an A, Q, K, J, 9, 8, 7 or spade. So I checked. It checked around to a guy in middle position who bet out 175. The guy directly behind him (who I had already learned was a complete and utter dumbass) raises to 575. It folded back to me and I elected to just call here. Again, with 5K starting stacks I think it is better to call here rather than reraise or push. For one thing, its early and my hand is super vulnerable. Secondly, I know I am up against a loose bad player who very well may not lay down his QJ here for a 4200 rereraise. QJ or similar hand is still about 25% against my hand and thats not discounting the original bettor's calling intentions with any sorts of draws. Yes, against more skilled opposition I would be more likely to push here because AJ, QK, or even an unlikely QQ would be able to easily fold knowing they were behind. But against a player who I had already seen demonstrate his lack of understanding there is little upside to taking on more unnecessary risk with a vulnerable hand early in the tournament. I felt as though I could have found better spots to get it all in. For instance, if a safe card comes on the turn then I would feel much more comfortable about getting it all in as all his possible hands that aren't ahead of me (such as J10 or an unlikely 66) now are way behind mathematically with just one card to come that the payoff is now justified for the diminished risk. That being said, I called the 575 and the original bettor called as well. The turn brough the beautiful Jc and I checked, Original bettor checked, and raiser turbo bet out 1500. Of course, I folded my dead 3 pair hand and the original bettor calls. River comes 3h. Original bettor checks and raiser instantaneously goes all in for 2K more and bettor takes 10 seconds to call with AJ on the JJ 10 6 3 board. The all in guy's hand? K 10, of course. I was never really in doubt that I had the best hand on the flop but I was fighting the vulnerability of my holding and the "accidental" equity that the raiser's range held against me. So my first place holding on the flop immediately went to 3rd place on the turn. Surprisingly enough, the J is the only card in the deck that puts me behind both players.

After that hand, I didn't get a hand for a solid hour. I blinded off a bunch and lost a few tiny bets (limping with 33, raising with KQoff and getting reraised 8K over my 300 bet preflop). This was not a table where you could steal or try to win some small ball pots. Every pot was 3+ to the flop and I mean every pot. Not once did we not see a flop. I think the deep stack structure gives people more confidence to play flops. Which is great for me because the people REALLY REALLY sucked after the flop but it required hands. There was such unbelievable value waiting for any hand that made it but no chances to outplay people with marginal holdings appeared. It essentially became a game of patience. Luckily, I had that in spades but I kept getting blinded down without having won a single chip. Then in 2nd position I pick up AsAc. Since I had been folding for the last hour I decided to limp/reraise as my early position raise probably would have been given more credit than I would have liked. The blinds were only 100-200 ante 25 and I was in no mood to just win the 550 out there. So I limped and, of course, tons of other people limped as well giving us 6 people to the flop. Naturally, the 6 handed 1450 pot came out as bad as it could for my hand Qd 9d 5d. It got checked all the way around which was a good sign. The turn was an innocuous 3c and the SB bet out a pithy 500. I only had 2500 left and I decided there was no way he had a flush and I shipped it and prayed not to get called by anyone except QKd which i doubted was out there. No callers. Finally, I won a pot and got almost even with the starting stack. The next hand I get another playable hand!!!! Woohoo. KhQh Under the Gun. I thought about raising here but again, I was going to get 3+ callers and I didn't want to have to show weakness if i missed. It may sound like I am playing timidly in this tournament but I kid you not outside of the last hand this was a showdown poker table. So any continuation bet wouldn't work and I would be forced to make a hand out of position. So I limped and again we got a 6 handed 1450 chip flop. Apparently the dealer had a thing for flushes because the board came out Ks 7s 4s. The two blinds checked and I decided I was going to try and win two hands in a row and bet out 800. I got everyone to fold except one guy who I had observed to play really oddly. The turn came a dispicable Qs. So now the board is Ks Qs 7s 4s and I have KhQh. I checked to him and he made a tiny bet of 700 into the 3050 pot. Getting over 5:1 to call with my 4 out boat draw I called. Turn bricked out the 10h and I checked again. He made the same 700 chip bet on the river. So I had to call 700 to win 5150! Such a huge disparity really irked me. I was getting better than 7:1 but of course his chances of having a flush were so high that I really didn't think he was bluffing. I folded in disgust and of course he showed me the 7d 6h. Obviously, I think I have to call there as only the As or the Js has the balls to bet just 700 on the river begging for a call. The Js can do it because it is quite unlikely that I would have the As and check the river.

Then again, I felt like an idiot folding given that price and would have felt like an idiot if I had called and been shown the As3d. So I was damned if you do, damned if you don't but needless to say, a "bad" call there would have lifted me up to close to 8K which would have been an average (and formidable) stack in the tournament. Instead, I was reduced to a baby stack at around 3100. The blinds went up to 150-300 with a 50 ante and I was getting hit hard quickly with that 50 a hand. I folded for another 1.5 orbits because I couldn't get a hand and there was always a raise or limps before me so I couldn't just push/steal with fold equity. Then I get 3s 6s in 3rd position when I only have 2000 chips left and the pot is 950. I had a super tight image, the blinds were both tight/weak players, and because very few of these people understood Ms or tournament math I felt I could steal this pot and survive another orbit and maybe pick up a few more pots uncontested. Of course, my all in gets called by both AK and QQ and I lose. I busted in 70th place out of 113. The tournament paid out 18 places for the final two 9 handed tables.

The tournament overall I think is a great value as the vast majority of players are so horrible and the stacks are deep enough to be patient. The quick rounds are a bit of a pressure so you have to capitalize in the first 4 rounds to have some buffer chips in order to go far. I will probably play this tournament a couple more times before vegas.

It also didn't hurt that I went and sat in the $300-$500 buyin 5-5 blind cash game and killed it for $1400+. That always makes the soul feel better after a tournament bustout.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

HORSE event @ commerce

So last night was the HORSE event of the Heavenly Hold'em Poker series at Commerce. I was really looking forward to this event (and so far has been the only Heavenly Hold'em event I have played) because it is the first HORSE event Commerce has held since I started playing there. The struture was super interesting as well. The original structure that is. See, there were some big problems and even bigger complaints so it had to be restructured on the fly. The original structure had 8 hands of each game being played and then switched and limits raised. But the flop games and the board games maintained the same limits. I know the last two sentences were confusing so I will give you an example.


Game Ante Bring-In/SB Complete/BB Limits

Hold'em -- 50 100 100-200

Omaha 8 -- 50 100 100-200

Razz 25 50 200 200-400

Stud Hi 25 50 200 200-400

Stud 8 25 50 200 200-400

Now this all sounds like a phenomenal structure except for the fact that at 8 hands an orbit, we would raise the levels twice every 40 hands (once after 16 hands for the flop games and once every 24 hands for the board games). To compensate for this, the management started us out with a whopping 10,000 in chips! The big problem was a miscalculated attempt
to arrange for everyone to be in the same game concurrently (for table breaking purposes) that after 8 hands each table had to wait for all other tables to finish that orbit. Well, needless to say after the first 8 hands there was a public riot. So, Cheri Doken, the chief TD at commerce decided to make the structure PHENOMENAL on the fly and eliminate the 8 hand rule and make each game orbit a 20 minute level. Combine this 20 minute level with the limits only being raised twice every 5 levels (100 minutes) and the fact that we start with 10,000 chips and you have a super deep, play filled structure.

Unfortunately, I was only able to place 95th out of the 168 entries but I busted 6 1/2 hours after the tournament started. 6 1/2 hours and only 70 people busted! In fact, when I went back up stairs around 4am while I was playing cash afterwards, they were just winding down for the day and they still had about 6 tables (~48 players) coming back for day 2!

My play during the tournament was pretty decent although it had some huge holes. My Limit Hold'em game is atrocious. People are just recklessly agressive in that game and you have to be to a degree with marginal hands in order to get full value. I probably have some residual apprehension from No Limit that is holding me back from playing AJoff for capping betting out of position and the like. I also leaked a ton of chips in Omaha 8/B. While I feel as though I can play that game well, today was not a shining example of it. I just couldn't make a decent two way hand. My lows got counterfeited alot and my draws missed while my weak high hands were either behind or got quartered. My razz game was good as I picked up alot of chips in that. My stud hi game was minimal as I just didn't play many of those hands based primarily on the fact that I only had a few good starting Stud Hi hands and I still have trouble reading hands in that game. I probably made the majority of my chip profit in Stud 8/B and that's just because im in practice with it and most people don't play enough of it to hide their hands. People just play so badly in that game that its easy to make reads.

Right now I am very tired and headed to bed so I don't have any interesting hands from the tournament to share but I might in the near future for an update. But all in all, I REALLY enjoyed this tournament and I will definetly be playing one if not more of the HORSE events in Vegas this summer.