Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Panning for Gold

It’s nice to be reminded that there is money out there for the taking providing you know where to look. Sitting down with the right players should always be at the forefront of any serious player’s mind, but seeking out the live one should not be the only objective in achieving this. Knowing the betting style of a player can be just as profitable as taking down a player who cannot fold TPTK or an overpair, and sometimes even more so as these live ones wait until they have a premium hand before they go too far with it, while LAGs can go too far and commit a lot of chips with mediocre or drawing hands.
An example of this arose the other night when I was sat at a fairly loose 2-4 SH table. There was a LAG player (whom I will not name here) I know to be very loose in calling requirements sat on my left, and I know he bets rivers and turns when checked to with busted draws just as often as he does with with strong hands. He also tends to raise if he actually has a strong hand or draw, so you can usually tell where you stand. He had amassed 3k on this table and I had been sat next to him for several orbits, where he had ritually stolen my completed small blind.
This hand I have 8d9h in the SB, and it folds round to me. I take it to $12, hoping to just steal this player’s blind for once. He calls however, and we see a flop with $24 in the pot.
The flop comes 4h 8c Th. Flopping mid-pair seems enough to be confident I am ahead here, so I bet $21, hoping for a fold but not minding a call either, as it’s unlikely he has hit here or has 2 hearts in the BB. He calls, and the pot is now $65.
The turn card is 3h. That’s a possible flush that I’m losing to, but I don’t have him on that, so I bet out again, though I want to bet a little less than I would normally to indicate I am afraid of the board, and to control the pot size in case my read is off and I’m losing. I bet $30, and he calls again, taking the pot to $125.
The river is 5d. This is definitely a safe card in my eyes, and here is where I let his aggression take the lead. I check, and he bets $95. At this point I have him on a very weak hand, maybe A4 or 65 as he has shown no strength or willingness to build a big pot as he would with TP or better. I don’t have any trouble calling, and he flips Q9 for a busted gutshot. Sub-Zero… Wins.
It’s not often that you take a $220 pot with 98off in a blind war, but by knowing my opponent and playing to his style I was able to extract maximum value when I had a mediocre hand.
I hope this demonstrates that playing with opponents you know and can predict, even if they are very capable, can be every bit as lucrative as stacking a fish when you hit 2 pair to his TPTK. This said, it’s still good to keep an eye out for any ‘erratic’ play, and take advantage of position to extract the maximum from weak players. This was a hand I felt I played very well, though my read of QQ or AKs showed I still gave this player far too much credit! Enjoy…

Hand #37041229-58212 at Indian Trail (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 20/Feb/07 13:43:25

Sub__Zero is at seat 0 with $437.80.
toddbg is at seat 1 with $408.
Craigerson is at seat 2 with $564.60.
XXPSAXX is at seat 3 with $692.10.
OLDDOG06 is at seat 4 with $403.60.
mrtenkei is at seat 5 with $419.80.
The button is at seat 0.

toddbg posts the small blind of $2.
Craigerson posts the big blind of $4.

Sub__Zero: 9s 9h
toddbg: -- --
Craigerson: -- --
XXPSAXX: -- --
OLDDOG06: -- --


XXPSAXX calls. OLDDOG06 raises to $18. Sub__Zero
calls. toddbg folds. Craigerson folds. XXPSAXX

Flop (board: 7d 8d Js):

XXPSAXX checks. OLDDOG06 bets $40. Sub__Zero calls.
XXPSAXX folds.

Turn (board: 7d 8d Js 6c):

OLDDOG06 checks. Sub__Zero bets $90. OLDDOG06

River (board: 7d 8d Js 6c 9c):

OLDDOG06 checks. Sub__Zero bets $150. OLDDOG06 goes
all-in for $255.60. Sub__Zero calls.


OLDDOG06 shows Ad 9d.
OLDDOG06 has Ad 9d 8d Js 9c: a pair of nines.
Sub__Zero shows 9s 9h.
Sub__Zero has 9s 9h 8d Js 9c: three nines.

Hand #37041229-58212 Summary:
$2 is raked from a pot of $831.20.
Sub__Zero wins $829.20 with three nines.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The pros of Pros

Just a quick update to my poker life: it's going well! I'm not managing as many hours as I'd like, but it's all going well when I do play. I am unfortunately still prone to making the odd donkey play but these days I'm much less likely to call the allins with my good but vulnerable hands and am feeling much better about detecting the difference between strength and aggression. My results continue to reflect this with the occasional losses surrounded by more frequent (and usually larger) wins. My average for this month seems to be in good shape, and I'm looking forward to hitting new bankroll targets.
My housemate has been playing full-time for his second week now, and is doing very well by all accounts. This of course has me thinking of adopting the career that is "a hard way to make an easy living", though of course this is not an easy decision and requires much more than a strong average win over several hundred hours of play. Am thinking it would be much easier to pursue acting, learning and teaching kungfu and anything else I take an interest in if I had the spare time and decent earnings I would hopefully gain from part-time play, but as I said it would require a lot more thought.
For now though, I'm just enjoying playing the game and not really having to worry about money now I can feel capable of beating the 2-4 games again….

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Breaking into the New Year

I was walking down the road the other day, and I enjoyed 2 things I haven't experienced in about 3 months. The first was sunlight bathing everything I could see, and the second was that same light's warmth on my back! It was all the better for being unexpected, coming as it did at the start of February, traditionally one of the most bitterly cold months for the residents of Britain. Of course, it hasn't recurred and in fact, we are now in the middle of (surprise surprise) a bitterly cold week, to the extent that it was zero last night and tomorrow the forecast is of snow and temperatures around 2 degrees below zero! For many of us, this is welcome news as we will be forced to stay indoors and amuse ourselves as best we can (perhaps enjoying a hot cup of cocoa over a friendly game of Scrabble)… but for those of us with gambling habits, I imagine we'll all just get on the tables as soon we get a chance.
I worked out my monthly averages the other day, and though I've had some wild swings so far, discovered that this year things have been going well, having averaged $80ph in January. I am certainly feeling much better about how I'm playing, and am glad that for once my results reflect this sentiment. Am obviously hoping that I can maintain this level, and am now back to playing 2-4 exclusively, unless of course I see any particularly juicy 1-2 games.
Things have been going well so far, with me making some good reads, mixing up my play and maintaining a good level of aggression. This said, I am not always being paid off for my better play. For example, last night I made a great read against a guy who raised my flop bet allin when all I had was TPTK on a Q 8 5 rainbow board. He had put in a decent preflop raise from UTG, and I called with my AQs in the BB. I had been on the table for a while, and knew he was very loose and bluffed frequently. I think it was about $200 more to call his allin with a $60 pot, and I read him for TP weak kicker and his overbet was designed to get me off the hand. So I call, and he flips KQs.Obviously his 3 outer comes in on the turn, and I merely sigh as he flukes his way out of a stacking.
The other hand I'd like to bring up for you (see below) was when I was sitting at a very aggressive 2-4 table, when there was regularly a strong pf raise and several callers. I tried to play creatively, and everything went according to plan, apart from the person in the BB who decided to ignore the size of my pf reraise and stick around to see a flop. Afterwards, I wondered if I played it wrongly in any sense, but Honest told me that it was perfect and sometimes people just ignore the obvious. Amazingly, that is consolation enough, and I'm not bitter about losing the $1100, I just look forward to next time where perhaps my 'clever' play will be more justly rewarded…

Hand #37041229-23160 at Indian Trail (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 06/Feb/07 17:59:19

YummyPorkChop is at seat 0 with $434.
Sub__Zero is at seat 1 with $323.40.
Craigerson is at seat 2 with $400.
Matthe is at seat 3 with $162.20.
snatchitall is at seat 4 with $528.50.
notthe_thee is at seat 5 with $612.65.
The button is at seat 4.

notthe_thee posts the small blind of $2.
YummyPorkChop posts the big blind of $4.

YummyPorkChop: -- --
Sub__Zero: Ad Ah
Craigerson: -- --
Matthe: -- --
snatchitall: -- --
notthe_thee: -- --


Sub__Zero calls. Craigerson raises to $18. Matthe
folds. snatchitall folds. notthe_thee folds.
YummyPorkChop calls. Sub__Zero re-raises to $60.
Craigerson calls. YummyPorkChop calls.

Flop (board: 4h 5h 7h):

YummyPorkChop checks. Sub__Zero goes all-in for
$263.40. Craigerson goes all-in for $340.
YummyPorkChop calls.

Turn (board: 4h 5h 7h Qc):

(no action in this round)

River (board: 4h 5h 7h Qc 9s):

(no action in this round)


Craigerson shows Kc Ks.
Craigerson has Kc Ks 7h Qc 9s: a pair of kings.
YummyPorkChop shows 7s 7d.
YummyPorkChop has 7s 7d 7h Qc 9s: three sevens.
Sub__Zero shows Ad Ah.
Sub__Zero has Ad Ah 7h Qc 9s: a pair of aces.

Hand #37041229-23160 Summary:

$3 is raked from a total pot of $1125.40.
$3 is raked from the main pot of $972.20.
$0 is raked from side pot #1 of $153.20.
YummyPorkChop wins the main pot $969.20 with three sevens.
YummyPorkChop wins the side pot $153.20 with three sevens.