Monday, July 30, 2007

Reasons For My Fishiness

Xerxes: Your Athenian rivals will kneel at your feet... if you but kneel at mine.
Spartan King Leonidas: That is quite an offer. Only a mad man would refuse it. But this kneeling business... I'm afraid killing all those slaves of yours has left me with a nasty cramp in my leg.
"300"

I have now completed all the PSO bonus' that I wish to at the moment, but I do have one point I'd like to make. I was a little disappointed that you can only use one skin on the Micro gaming network, as PSO offer multiple skins. This is obviously not PSO's choice, as more of a choice of the Micro Gaming (formerly Prima) sites that stop bonus whores like myself from abusing their generosity. I say, if I'm prepared to play the 1000 hands to get a small bonus, why not let me do it a few times over? You know I'm good for the action and they wouldn't be offering the bonus in the first place if that action couldn't cover it.

Instead, now that the bonus has ended, I am going to trot back to the old faithful Full Tilt and Poker Stars. As I am moving up in levels, there should be some interesting times to had as I carve out a new image for myself at the tables.

last night was a quick hit and run, I was up enough at the cash game to pay for entry at a MTT starting in 5 minutes time, so I decided to use that as a free roll and see what happens. I won one good pot early, and then folded 38 hands in a row pre-flop. The best of it was 77 when I got re-raised by the BB, and then another player on a short stack went all-in for about 80% of what I had. I had to fold, and lucky so as the short stack flopped a full house with 55 on a JJ5 board. The re-raiser had ATo. Nice re-raise there buddy – I actually saved me money on that one though. I did eventually knock him out after he was going all-in on very nearly ever hand. But that was as exciting as it got for me as I got to see a flop for free from the big blind with A6o. Flop was 763 and I bet out only to be raised all-in. I called, half because I thought I could be ahead and half because it was the first time I had hit a pair in 4 orbits. He had 33 and I was gone in 50th or somewhere near there.

I am noticing a lot of profit coming from cracking Aces and Kings. While some people could correctly assume this involves a little bit of luck coming your way, it also helps when opponents get married to their big pairs. An all unders flop? "Golden" they say, "I'll just string him along. Perfect example – 34o on the SB, UTG raised to $4 pre flop. Everyone else folds, so I call because if he has high cards, chances are my cards are live and if I miss, I can easily get away from this hand. Besides, my reads online have been going pretty good of late so I am trusting them.

Pot is $8.50 after rake (massive limits, I know, but you'll never find me claiming to be a high roller) and comes Qd5d6h. I have an open ended straight draw, something to look forward to and if he doesn't have a flush draw, that could be good cover for my draw. I check, wanting to keep this as cheap as possible, and he bets out $5. So now I have to call $5 to a $13.50 pot. I will go into what I consider the analysis of this decision later and my thinking of the maths and what not. Anyway, I called and consider that an easy decision. The turn is my mad, the deuce of spades. I check to let him hang himself as my call would indicate a flush draw and it missed here, so surely he has to make me pay for it (unless he has it himself). He bets about half the pot at $9. I check-raise him to $50 which is more than he has at the table so it was really a raise to about $40. Here is the crucial point of the hand where he has to make a decision. What do I put him on? That is not really important as I hold the nuts. I figure he might have a pair, maybe TPTK in which case he is drawing dead. He might have been playing tricky and hit trips or two pair in which case he has outs, or he could have a flush draw – in both cases he is going to have to call for all his chips to get it. There is also the chance he puts me on a bluff, but to be honest I think the all-in bet would be enough to win the hand right here, and may have actually cost me a value bet on the river if he had something like AQ or KQ. In the end he called with KK and was drawing dead. Of course I get called a donkey for cracking his pocket kings with 34o – but really, did he have to go broke on that hand? I gave him every opportunity to fold and he wouldn't take it. I have his whole stack, and he has a story to tell. Some times I think people call with their big pairs when they should know they are beaten just so they can say how unlucky they are. Ok, I could have had AQ or KQ in his mind, but is that the kind of hand I want to be check-raising with? I don't like that play on that board at all.

Now about that call on the turn – and my thoughts on playing draws in general. Here is my thought process for better or worse. I am getting just under 3-1 on the call for an OESD. I have 8 outs, and just over 2% a card so that's about 17% for the straight on the turn and about 34% for it on the turn and river. The exact numbers don't matter because I am not operating on the level where ±4% will matter. Good if you know them, but really not important. So is the 3-1 pay off worth it? Perhaps, but I doubt I will get paid 3-1 in this case. If I hit, most of the time he will have something that is worth calling a value bet with or I could check raise as above. My pay off will be bigger than the 3-1 it was on the flop. Of course, if the my dream card didn't come on the turn then my odds of winning will be greatly diminished and any decent player would make me pay a second time for the same draw.

That is something I think about a lot at the home games, when less experienced players are considering calling a bet on the flop. They consider they have to call say $10 to have two chances to hit their flush or straight. I remind them they have to call $10 to hit their draw on the TURN only – because if it is an obvious draw that doesn't come on the turn, there is no way they are seeing the river for free. Gives them something else to think about when drawing heads up against me anyway.

So, for the above 34o vs KK, how would I have played it differently if I was the KK? I would have probably put me on a Queen or a flush draw as he obviously did. $5 on the flop – probably less than I would have but not by much. I want AQ to call, if a flush comes I know I am good enough to dump an over pair. $9 on the turn – again, I might have gone a few dollars higher to make the flush draw really think, but $9 is ok in my book. Would I still call the over-bet from the check-raise? Probably not. I've folded bigger hands that that before. I would have lost far less on the hand I think. What if the 34o just called? I think I would have called a small to medium bet on the river, certainly not an all-in and I would have checked if it was checked to me.

I have been accused before of being gun shy, but I am slowly shaking that (besides the Kings full of tens check on a KhJhTh9hTc board).

Home games this week will not be on, but there is an outside chance that we will be paying a visit to the local card room for a quick session Saturday afternoon in between social engagements. It's been a while since I have been back to this card room and never during day light hours, so it will be interesting to see what kind of crowd and what games they run during the day. Hopefully just a quick few SNG's and we'll be on our way.

I just won a good argument that would have made a good prop bet, if my workmates were into gambling as much as I apparently am. Orko was definitely in the original cartoon series of "He-Man" – turns out he was created specifically for the cartoon series. I only bring this up because the original Spider-Man cartoons are now on in the mornings here, and today I got to see the first episode where Peter Parker gets bitten. You know, I don't think the live action movies give Spidey enough snappy lines like he does in the comics and the original cartoon – or perhaps my mind is just clouded by the sub-par showing we had this year of the third in the trilogy.

At least I still have a few episodes of Briscoe County Jr to fall back on. I get the feeling that it was not meant to be as dodgy or cliché as it is, but I am still enjoying this old timer. An example of what I mean is in one episode when the bad guy of the week is riding off on his horse with maiden on the back, he stops and has this little exchange with the woman.

"We're being tracked…It's Brisco County Jr."
"How can you tell?"
"Because I can't see him."

And then they show Brisco riding his horse through the flattest, most impossible to hide in scene at full pace. Yep, he's a master of tracking this Brisco! Ah, it's all good fun though.

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