Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Hate Flying Blind

Flying Blind is extremely dangerous as a pilot. (DUH) You can't see what you are dealing with so your choices and direction become either extremely risk averse or essentially flying into the storm and hoping for the best. The same can be true in No Limit Holdem some times. I am back in Los Angeles from my WSOP stint in Vegas, which I may blog about in the future if I find something of interest to say about the trip. So I make my first trek back to Commerce Casino, in which they have instituted a new game. Alongside the the typical $400 buyin game there is now a $500-1500 buyin $5-$10 blind game. So I sit down at a table that looks ok and I get shuffled around for a few minutes as sit changes occur and I view a few hands, nothing much of interest. By the time, the button passes me, I post and get the Kd 5h. A person limps ahead of me, I check, the button limps, the small blind completes and the big blind checks. $50 flop comes down Ks 5s 8c. I flop top and bottom pairs which is pretty strong. Sb, BB, and first limper all check to me, I bet $50 and the only caller is the Small Blind. Although I am a very regular Commerce player, I have never seen this player before. I have been told the 5-15 buyin game has been attracting alot of new faces, some good, some not so the fact that he is an unknown to me is not all that surprising.

Anyway, he is the only caller on the flop. Of course, I know nothing about him and can't really deduce much about him because he is asian, probably thai or phlipino. Before you label me as some sort of ethnic stereotyper, it must be known how asian rich the commerce is. Some are tight players, some are crazy gamblers, some are good players, and some are just outright stupid. So I did not form any opinion of this guy because of all the possibilities. So right now I know nothing of his possible range. Turn comes the 3c putting a board of Ks 8c 5s 3c. He checks and I bet $110 into the $150 pot. He now check raises me to $500 total. I had bought into the game for $1000 and he had $2000+ in front of him. Yay, right back to flying blind. I know nothing of how this guy plays, I have no ranges on him. He could have anything from KK to As4s and everything in between. So I start canceling out all the extreme possibilities. I cancel out KK, AcXc, a dry AsXs, and 33. I think if I include these in my range calculation it will skew them too much in one direction. So now he could have K8, K5, K3, 55 (less likely), 88, 85, 83, 53, Ak, 8s3s, As8s, As3s, some sort of spade/straight draw or club straight draw like 6c7c or 6s7s (clubs would make a bit more sense on the turn check raise but spades are still a tricky possibility) or KcXc. There is also a possibility he could just be trying to bully the new guy at the table with K9 or some random K hand or worse. I also was canceling out total air as a possibility but not an overplayed weak hand like the KJ or something like that. As you can probably tell my hand is a big favorite against this range but the problem remains I have no idea if this is his complete range or if he is the type of player that would only do this with K3+ in which case, my range and equity drop to very small. These situations happen more often than I would like to admit in No limit, where I have to make a disgusting play what ever the result. I figured that I cannot call as that if i call the turn I have to call almost any river given that the pot will be $1150 and if he bets my remaining $450 I would be getting odds of $450 to win $1600 or slight better than 3.5:1.
This boiled down my decision to re-push all in or fold. Folding made me feel sick but in hindsight, it seems it is the more strategically sound play. I chose to push back all in for a few reasons. First off, the mere mathematics of the situations dictate that I most likely have the best hand. Now that usually is not the only determining factor in my calculations but its really all I have right now because as the title of this blog will tell you....Im flying fucking blind. Secondly, I did not want to convey the image of someone who will put a decent amount of money into the pot and then fold to someone playing back at you. I think all players at the table recognize this at least unconsciously and it makes them play a little more comfortably against you, which is a bad thing. I wanted players to feel that if they played against me (assuming I survived the hand) that there was to be no fucking around. Thirdly, and this is probably my undoing, I gave a little too much credence to the possibility that he was just trying to bully the new guy out of the hand. While it is common to find that in deeper bigger games with good players, I had no evidence or reason to believe this guy subscribed to this philosophy.

Long story short, he called and the Ad came on the river and he had K8 and I lost $1000 in 1 hand in 5 minutes and went home.