Friday, May 30, 2014

Checking Top Pair

I've been reading and studying alot of player strategy and I saw an interesting trend that MTT PROs are checking TP on the FLOP so that the pot doesnt get big enough that they might have to release the best hand. I think its very interesting and a huge counter to what how everyone played a decade ago. This also means that when someone DOES bet the flop, they are often getting called and big draws still try for a check raise. As I think about this, and I think about how betting on turn/river are often value targeting, it seems that this all adds up to something. The current "wisdom" is that the flop bet is now based on Equity in the hand, vs. protection... I believe this stems from online play, where players could take advantage of small edges over a large number of tables and hands. Just exploiting the math.

But if this is all true, and at the WSOP tables I'll see a majority of regs playing this way, then shouldn't I also have some "against the grain" plays in my playbook?

I am spending time playing trying to get a feel for how I am viewed as I play hands. I was at the local charity room playing deep cash and despite not having showed down a bluff and not being spewy, when I did try to pretend my JT was TT and bet flop and turn, I could not get players off of TP (which was 8) or MP! On the river I made a gutshot and increased my 3rd barrel size so that if I got called and had to show how I got there bluffing, at least it paid off. And I did get called...

So now I have to spend time watching myself so to speak... trying to get on line on how my bets look and how they are being digested.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

deep stack practice

Here is a note to self. When you put someone on Top pair vs. your overpair and that card pairs on the river, DONT CALL. Especially when the bet size tell is that he is trying to get paid off. Gez Columbo, stop making hero calls when you know you are beat. It's a WISH call. I WISH I was still ahead.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Here we go again

I went to my league night knowing the bad news. I played too poorly at the start of the season to have wrapped up a top 6 spot. I was way down in the "yellow" band, not eliminated, but not favored to finish FTW. I dont know how many readers have read Elements of Poker , but the discussion about bringing your A game was particularly relevant. If there was one thing I could put my finger on that I did well that evening, it was focus. I tried not to be distracted and as the cliche' goes, "Keep my eye on the prize". That was good enough for 3rd place, which is where I needed to finish. With 3 left, I did call a pre-flop 3bet shove with JQs only to see KQ. A Jack on the flop sealed the improbable run, and I continued to hoover chips until the end, finishing in first. Despite all the work I did in the last 2 weeks on hand reading, that skill doesn't always play when you are not very deep. Most of my decisions were either simplified by stack or position, or were basic in nature.

I did make one HUGE mistake 3 handed though. I raised my button with air and the SB called. The flop was K63 and I have Q4o. He checks, and I c-bet which he calls. The turn is a 9 I think, and he checks, I barrel and he calls. Its at this point I am pretty sure he has a 6. So when the river is another 9, I feel like I can push him off this hand with a 3rd barrel. But I RUSH the river bet, which in my mind made it look very week. Despite a good sized bet, I was called down thin for the only time of the night. I was kicking myself not for the bluff, because I think that was a good spot for the 3rd barrel, but for giving off a pretty bad timing tell.

Still, incorporate your mistakes into future plays... What I mean by that is remember what everyone perceives just happened so you can use it should the opportunity present itself.

With the victory, can a seat the in WSOP Event #51, the new "poor man's main event" $1500 Monster stack 4 day event. It's going to be a BRUTAL grind that favors cash game players on day 1 where stacks are very deep. My plan for the next month is to get some cash game practice in while concentrating on post flop hand reading and line recognition skills.

League #2 wraps up this coming Friday and once again I enter the last event in the "yellow zone". I do think I have played well enough to win in league #2, but in 3 of the 8 weeks, suffered severe blows (beats yo) when I got a hand/player EXACTLY where I wanted and some 4-6 outer sent me to the dealer pit. Perhaps I have variance on my side then as I enter the final week, looking to get my money in ahead and have my hands hold up.