Monday, August 15, 2016

I Don't Think, Therefore I'm Not

Sometimes I ask myself am I a thinking poker player?

Based on the last short session, the answer might be closer to a No than a Yes.  Let's look at the evidence.

I bought in for $200 and was hovering around $175.  After 30 minutes, a new player arrived with three stacks of red bullets ($300) and took seat 1.  He played tight, used position, and didn't make any mistakes from what I could tell.  I made a mental note to watch out for him.  Less than an hour later, we got into it.  

I'm dealt 2,3 in the big blind and he is in late position.  Three of us see the flop 4,5,5.  It's checked to him and he bets $10 and I'm the only caller.  Turn is a good looking A.  I check, he bets $25, I make it $50 and he goes all-in.  The pot was $239 and I was being asked to chip in $113 more.

I snap called.  That's right, I just went on autopilot.  It's not that I didn't put him on a hand.  I did.  I thought he had a 5 or an ace.  If I was a thinking player, knowing the opponent was a solid player, I would have reassessed the situation once he moved all-in.  Looking at the previous betting, he didn't bet pre-flop in late position.  He bet the flop and the turn.  He saw me showing strength when the ace hit and went all-in!

After I snap called, he asked me if I was holding A,5.  Right away, I knew that I was in deep trouble.  He had flopped a monster and showed 4,5 for the win.

If I had stopped to think after he moved all-in, I think there is a 30% chance that I could have found a fold.  Could you have folded a straight under these circumstances?

Friday, August 12, 2016

To Bluff or Not to Bluff

As a $1/2 player, I don't get crazy with bluffs.  A bluff here and there does happen.  But I try to stay away from putting my stack of $300 or $400 in the middle on a stone cold bluff.  Well, I did say that I try not to do it but the Nike slogan doesn't agree.

I'm in seat 5 with A♦, 4♦ or 5♦.  Seat 3 is in this hand and so is seat 10.  Seat 10 is on the button and $450+ behind.  I am $475 behind.  Three of us see the flop after seat 3 bet $10.

The flop is K,2,7♣ and seat 3 bets $15 and we call.  Turn is 3 and seat 3 bets $35, I call, and seat 10 makes it $165!  Seat 3 folds quickly and I am left with a big decision.  What could seat 10 have?  No AA or KK because he would have raised pre-flop or before the turn.  He had pulled off this move before twice while in late position.  The big bets had worked before since everyone got out of his way.

I just couldn't see him showing up with a monster in this spot.  He is probably putting seat 3 on a weak king.  I don't look particularly strong either with my checking.  The question is What do I do?

The pot is about $270 and I just don't believe the guy in seat 10.  I do have a flush draw as a way out.  But, we all know that it's not right to call $165.  I could fold...or put pressure on the opponent.

After taking some time to think, I announce all-in.  That's right, I just dumped my $450 stack into the middle.  He doesn't snap call.  He sits quietly then starts to talk out loud.  Says something about having two pair.

I'm sitting there, not sure if I should be thinking of how stupid I am or how great of a play I made.  I was feeling more comfortable now then before I had announced all-in...which was surprising.

Seat 10 folds by sliding his cards towards the dealer.

My biggest bluff went through!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Villain

I start out at table 7 in seat 8.  The table seems easy going.  The play wasn't particularly aggressive pre-flop.

Seat 5 is occupied by a middle aged woman.  Seat 9 is to a home new Asian guy who is in his forties.  He came inunconventionally and I'm starting to suspect he likes to gamble and to the game for $200.  He has played some hands very has a very wide starting range.  He tends to bet a little too much with second best hands.  The villain, in seat 6, has $190 after starting with a TBC-like oddball buy-in of $210.  The lady is nursing a short stack of $93.

The lady makes it $15, the villain calls, and then seat 9 makes it $60!  The lady wastes no time and pushing all-in for $93 total.  I'm thinking seat 9 has A,K but since he is loose that could also mean middle pocket pairs.  But the lady is showing a lot of strength too.

The villain pushes all of his chips in and seat 9 calls.  The flop is 10,2♣,5.  The turn is J♠.  The river is a 7♣.  The lady proudly flips over her K♠,K.  The dreaded pocket kings are no good because the villain flips over J,J♣!  The lady realizes what just happened, grunts, lets out a shriek, and then storms off into the night.  The Asian guy folds and says he didn't have pocket aces.

I'm not sure if the lady realized that there was no way for her to win the hand with such a short stack after the flop came down ten-high.  I forgot to mention that after two orbits in seat 8, I requested a seat change and moved.

The villain got lucky.  That villain was me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just a Weird Spot

What was I supposed to do?

I'm sitting on $600 and to my left is the big stack (BigS) with $1300.  He has been playing throughout the night.  He was approaching 20 consecutive hours at the table!  To my right, a $300 stack, who is very loose (VL) and doesn't shy away from calling.  He sat down and burnt through his first buy-in.  But, he was able to get back to even after catching some good cards.

All three of us are in the MPs.  I was dealt A,10, and lead for $12.  BigS and VL both called.  Flop comes down A,10,7 and I bet $30.  They both call.  Turn is a 4♣ and we all check.  Should I have bet? River is a 9.  VL is first to act and checks.  Now it's my turn...

What to do...check or bluff?

Updated: Thursday, July 28, 2016

I checked and BigS checked.  Now, I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, I might have the best hand.  VL folds, I show my two pair, and BigS flips over 9,9!

That's right, none of us were holding a club and I got rivered.  Crazy hand.

Friday, July 22, 2016

I've Developed a Superstition at MDL

I had strung together few winning sessions while playing on the first floor at MDL.  They were nice scores too.  Today, I'll discuss one poker hand and describe my developing superstition at MDL.

MDL is a two story poker room.  I believe there are 26 tables on each floor.  I prefer to play on the first floor for a number of reasons which include distance to the cage, distance to a bathroom, better cell phone signal, and so on.  And, because I think I'm cursed when playing on the second floor!  I don't remember the last time I walked away a winner in a cash game while playing on the second floor.

I get to MDL after work and asked to be seated in a $1/$2 game.  The "poker room receptionist" told me to grab my chips and head upstairs.  I asked if there were any open seats on the first floor but the answer came back negative.  It was time to break the second floor spell!

No big deal, I grab my two stacks of redbirds, walk upstairs, and sit down in seat 7 at table 36.  The table is full but two players had stepped away.  It didn't take me long to realized that the table is playing tight.  There was a $500 high hand promotion going on every 20 or 30 minutes which typically means more action.  Not today.

I made it $12 in late position with A,J and everyone folded.  I won two or three more hands that didn't make it past the flop.  Sitting on about $240, I was dealt K,7 on the button.  Seat 5 called, I called, and the BB bet $10.  Seat 5 called and I called.  Flop was K,8,7 and the BB led out for $20.  Seat 5 raised to $50.  Let's pause the action here and see what I should do.

Seat 5 called pre-flop, and then raised the flop!  The short time I was at the table, I didn't gather any valuable info on the guy.  He could have flopped a set.  I think he would have bet 8,8 pre-flop.  He could be on a flush draw, a straight draw, or both.  He doesn't have A,K probably.  He was either a big gambler or he had a good hand.

I called and the BB folded.  The turn was a 3 and seat 5 bet $70.  He only had $35 behind so I put him all-in.  He called and the river was a brick.  He showed K,8♠ for the win!

I really should have seen that coming.  He showed a lot of strength on the flop and there were very few hands that I was ahead.  I lost the rest of my buy-in few orbits later.

And the second floor curse lives on!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What Was I Holding

I finally played my first session in July and it lasted about six hours.  It was a profitable venture that included some interesting hands.  Instead of telling you my hole cards, let's have a quiz to see if you can figure out what I was holding.

I'm in seat 4, $400 behind, and limp-in with x,x.  Seat 6, on the button, makes it $11.  Seat 7 is a retired gentleman who has built a nice stack by playing a lot of hands.  He raises it to $22.  Seat 3 calls and I call knowing seat 6 will also come along.  As predicted, seat 6 calls and four of us see the flop.  The flop is 5,5♠,A and I don't like it.

At this point, what could my opponents be holding.  Seat 7 raised out of position, he most likely is holding premiums.  Seat 6 bet $11 initially, he might have a big ace or a mid pair.  I'm not sure what seat 3 might be holding, but he didn't impress me with his play earlier.

Surprisingly, we all checked on the flop!  

The turn is a 3 and we all checked again!  I checked thinking that I was way ahead and one more free card wasn't a big deal.  What I should have been thinking is the size of the pot and placing a $60 bet to take it down.  The river is a 5♣!  What a terrible card.  Seat 7 bets $20 and only gets a call from seat 6.  After seat 7 shows, seat 6 folds.

Looking back at the hand, if one of my three opponents had an ace and I bet $60 on the turn, would he have called?  If he calls, the river kills my hand and I lose $88.  What bet on the turn would get A,x to fold?  If none of them have an ace, what bet gets them to fold on the turn?

As it turns out, seat 7 had Q,Q for the win!  What was I holding?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chasing a Royal Flush

The first half of the year is in the books.  Poker-wise, it has been a good six months.  I haven't put in that many hours and my wins could be attributed to luck, but I'll take it!

I haven't had a chance to play any poker in July, yet.  I did swing by the casino to play my $100 free slot play.  They distribute the free slot play few times a year if you play a certain number of hours the previous year.

I felt like Pete P. Peters (blog) sitting down at a video poker machine and trying to hit a royal.  I've never hit a royal flush before!  PPP is a semi-pro, like Jackie Moon, so it's understandable why he is more successful a video poker.

Sitting down with 400 credits, I played 5 credits per hand on a Double Double Bonus Poker machine.  I was mostly card dead (is that even an acceptable saying in video poker?).  Then, I was dealt A♣,J♣ and after the draw ended up with...

So close, but no cigar!  Running out of credits, I was dealt 9,9♣9♠ and after the draw ended up with...

No complaints here.  I was given more ammo to chase the elusive royal.  I got several more trips but none of them materialized into quads.  Again, down to about $20, I was dealt K,10.  I drew three cards and ended up with...

No soup for you!  I played the rest of the credits and called it quits. Looking forward to playing some poker in July!