Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Maximise Me

Deputy Travis Junior: I actually wanted to be in the FBI for about 20 minutes after I saw that movie with Jodie Foster and that guy who eats people in his basement, but I was really stoned at the time. And to be honest with you, for about 20 minutes, I also thought about making a dress out of people's skin.
"Reno: 911"

The Gnomes were messing with me again last night. I decided to go to a higher buy in table because I wasn't concentrating enough on the lower ones, and I wanted the money to matter. It's all relatively the same though, because instead of playing 2 tables I played only one, so the same amount of money was at stake.

Anyways, after I went through the history on the first ten hands, my rag cards were good enough to win 9 of them. All except one was a big pot too. Unfortunately, I only won one pot that I played, and I want to put that up for analysis.

$100 buy in, 50c/$1 blinds. I raised from middle position with 89o to $3.50, and got two callers. The flop was 67T with two diamonds – ok, so this is pretty much a fantastic flop for me. Small blind ($24) bet out $10 (pot was $12) and I decided that if they are going to draw to a flush, it would be more expensive than that. With $22 in the pot already, I figured even if I am burning further action, it is probably ok still. I raised it up to $25 which was enough to put the small blind all-in and enough to make the other player in the pot (about the same stack as me, $90+) expensive if they want to chase a draw. The other player folds and the small blind calls with JT, no diamonds. The turn was a small diamond, but since he had none it meant my opponent was now drawing dead.

Is this a good play? Obviously I am happy enough with the end result, but was my post-flop raise with the nuts at the time going to cost me money?

This would obviously depend on how often the drawing hands are going to call me and how much they are going to pay me off when they miss. I don't have any indication that the player in late position that folded on the flop held any diamonds, or if they would have called the $10 bet behind me. Putting a percentage on the number of times he would call with the draw if he had it and the number of times he would fold would be pure speculation and have no real merit other than to try to create an objective answer to a subjective problem.

The $25 raise means that if the SB is calling, he is all-in and I have no choices left regarding him, so this is now a play on the late position player. My thinking is by calling a pre-flop raise, ha might have over cards or an under pair. At worst he has a set of tens, in which case he would probably re-raise me again and we go to see if his outs come. He might call me if he has an over pair and if he is decent then he will fold KT or AT here (though these are the hands I would love for him to call with). If he is a bad player, he might call with top pair here which would be happy days for me. Maybe with all these bad hands that I have dominated, he might have been tempted to call the $10 – even with two overcards he may have called, which would have been fantastic for me.

But what if he then chose to bluff at the third diamond, it would have been at least another $20 there, likely more. Could I call the bluff with my straight?

This thought process is continuing to go back into my theory that I might be playing too tight. As a general observation, I think the only thing close to a bluff I am doing is a continuation bet after raising pre-flop. I might be getting a little too predictable, even though this pre-flop raise from middle position with 89o might suggest otherwise. I think also the fact that I had just seen about $250 worth of pots go to hands that couldn't beat my folded cards is a tiny bit responsible for this out of character action.

At this table, there were too guys sitting on either side of me who would not shut up, which is fine it doesn't bother me at all. They were basically complementing each other on their great wins and laydowns, and I was worried that they might try a reach around while I was sitting in the middle but such is one of the benefits of online poker that this was made impossible. In the end though, the player to my left had nearly tripled his stack and the player to my right had doubled his. I had peaked at $147 after the flopped straight and then folded my way back down to $117 by sessions end. All I could think of was that I had let a lot of money go by not playing loose or aggressive enough.

One example was in the small blind with 84o. The flop was a beautiful 882, with two clubs. I decided to check in first position to see if I could get any action from the other 3 in the pot. It was checked all the way around. The turn was the 4c, which was my bingo card. Hey, if anyone has the straight flush I am paying them off, but if someone has just hit a flush then happy days for me – I hope they bet. I let check my boat to hopefully get some action from somewhere else and some callers. No luck, it gets checked around the table again. The river is a 3, which doesn't change my position. Not wanting this to check around again, I put out a massive pot sized bet of $4. I get called once in late position, who shows 89o.

On one hand, I guess this guy was trying to slow play his flopped trips and got lucky that it did not cost him further. On the other hand, maybe he was unlucky that I hit a 3 outer and took the pot away from him – but he let me draw to it for free, so this line of thinking doesn't hold. To be frank though, we both let any flush chaser draw to the flush for free – I was just lucky enough that the flush card was a boat card for me. I'm guessing there were no flush chasers in the end so it was all for naught in this instance, but I couldn't help feeling that the $11 pot wasn't really enough. I should have been happy enough that I got the pot at all, considering the case 8 was out there and my kicker was pretty useless (before the turn at least), but there is no doubt that the 89o would have called any bets on the flop and turn, yet I only made him call on the river. I failed to build the pot.

One of the regulars in the home games has a great habit of just building pots. A small bet here and there and multiple callers when he has a good hand. I guess you can't be scared of the flush every time, right?

I guess the issue I am dealing with is when you play as tight as I evidently have, wining hands don't come along very often. When they do, you have a hard time trying to make the most of them because you have a tight image. I feel that I am not making the most of the winning hands I have, so when I go into my long folding sessions I am coming out break even or slightly better when I should be clearing a lot more.

The profits gained from this small session were all eaten up by two SNG losses. Out in 8th and 7th, both pretty poor performances. In one I lost 95% of my stack with KK vs AA, but that will happen. And in the other I am struggling to remember what happened but I'm sure it wasn't my fault. How could it be, right? Ah yes, I made a pre-flop raise with A6h and got called once. Flop was 863 and I pushed, he called with 77. Yeah, I'm a bit 50/50 about that decision – I don't mean it is a coin flip but I mean I think the all-in with just a pair of sixes and an ace could be either a good move or a bad one. Maybe in light of the results it was a bad one no matter what.

Anyways, that is the way the old poker brain was turning last night. I'm enjoying these little sessions of late so looking forward to more of the same tonight.

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