Friday, August 19, 2011

Easy does it...

Last night, the wife was working late so I stopped by the local charity card room on my way home. This time, I was the one felting players. I played pretty well, but went down to $40 on this call. I raise pre-flop and two guys call. I have 77 and the flop is AA6. Check, check, so I bet $15 and I get one caller, OOP. The turn is a second club and this time I bet $25 (into $50). He call, OOP with a naked 6. Really? The river is a 6c and he bets out $40. I sit there thinking, there is no way he would club draw from OOP with a pair on the board and one card to come. so I call to see his rivered sixes.

So armed with $150 I again take a flop via a limp call with 77. Flop is 722 and I check, two checks behind. Turn is an Ace, but to be honest, I already decided to bet $20 into the $30 pot regardless of the turn card. Bully for me, since the turn hit Mr. AK on my left and he ships in $100. Call.

So I am at about $250 when a regular players with whom I am familiar (cough* John *cough) raises to $10 and I min -raise from position with AQ. He calls and the flop ia AQJ. top two on a somewhat action board, but turns out he was cold-decked for the third time of the night when he calls my big turn bet with AJ.

so then the wife shows up from work and we have a nice dinner.

Interestingly (somewhat), was the nice little video I saw today on the power of simply thinking you are going to do well:

Apparently, thinking your better than everyone does improve your play. So uncheck that ego!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Catching up

Two leagues have started this month, and its time to start thinking about poker again.

My first night was a bit frustrating. I watched a guy who seemed pretty readable, take an EP limp. I figure him for a small pp like 55. In the cutoff, I have 44 and limp to. The blinds come along and the flop misses everyone. On the river, I feel like I can turn my 44 into a bluff, but under bet (?) and he calls with 66. Perhaps he calls there no matter what. But I have about 8k in chips through the first 8 eliminations. Just before the table break, I button raise with A8 and short big blind shoves. I call and he shows A6. A 6 on the river and I am crippled. the table breaks.

I double up at the new table with TT getting me to $8k, but then I 3bet all-in with AK (because the blinds are 500/1000) and TT takes me out.

In the second league, a better result. I am frustrated and had to let go of a couple of hands after being out drawn (but good lay-downs!) And again, find myself with a starting stack size after 4 -5 levels. I end up getting my AQ all-in vs. Kings (in the blind?) and hitting the Ace. From that point on, when I was the smaller stack, I won the race. When I was the shorter stack, I would lose horribly like AJ vs. J8. But I cant complain as I woke up with JJ both times I needed a big hand, and both times JJ held. I finished second, despite not having a huge amount of strategic hands. I did bluff far more than usual after we were down to 4 handed, but in the end finally got caught heads up with 74s vs 88.

Interesting part of self awareness. My heads-up game is terrible. Which is funny, because my short handed game (6-3 players) is pretty darn good. I would practice this online, but alas I still dont have my freaking FT monies, nor do we have an online poker bill yet.

Monday, August 01, 2011

What I learned in the absence of online porker

This might surprise you, but my game has improved since online poker has gone away. A strange thing was happening to my game based on the quantity of hands I could play in an hour. I did not value each hand.

It's a big hard to describe, but it became clear while watching the live WSOP coverage (which, by the way is boring as hell due to the Jamie Gold rule). Hands are won and lost through pattern recognition. If I can identify what your action means, then I should know the correct counteraction. This can be as simple or complex as you like, but there are so many more hands online that you can err on the side of caution, make mistakes, and still have opportunities. Live though, I cant afford to throw away an OPPORTUNITY to win a hand and wait for the next window. When an opponent check-calls the flop, and he check calls the turn, and a 4th spade falls on the river, Ben Lamb is betting out that river with air. More often than not, those check-calls are WEAK and a signal to pressure. But in online action, often we'll not fire that barrel because there is another better spot coming up based on quantity of hands. This is not CORRECT thinking, but a trap I was falling into. I would even justify things by "keeping the pot small" or some other line of reasoning. But in the end, NLHE is a game of position and manipulating opponents into making bad decisions. And if you make those decisions easy, then your opponents errors mean less.