Hands, Hands, Hands...

I've decided to play the juicy cash games running concurrently to the donkaments. I've heard how outrageous the busted tournament players are but I had no idea. Why aren't I a busted tournament player and now merely a cash gamer? I'm tired of the bubbles or min-cashes. Like Austin Martin alludes to in his blog, I feel entitled to win because I see "lesser" players riding luck to bigger cashes. The frustration has built to a head. So, I should take a break from the heartache. That means, I'm heading to Harrahs early 2morrow morning. If I win $340 plus before the 3:00 tournament, I'm playing it as freeroll. I never learn.

Playing stictly cash today I was amazed at how EVERYBODY takes a bad beat to get knocked out of the field. Nobody gets their money in bad anymore? I thought it was just me (sarcasm). Every 5 minutes somebody walked into the poker-room talking about flopped sets and runner-runners to put them on ice. Granted as stacks get smaller and people are forced to call with less it's only natural that a lot of people get knocked out when they started ahead in the hand. I don't quite agree with the guy who left my table to play in the 3:00 and returned at 7:00 who said he thinks 75% of the time the worst hand wins. Hmmm... Maybe he needs some help in the hand rankings.

I'm tired of writing about bad beats so here are two hands that definitely do not qualify. The first one is from last night. I still can't figure out what my opponent held. Mustang Mike was there and I've asked several people their thoughts and none of us can exactly figure out what the guy had. So far, I've been told I was priced out of the call but I'm starting to have some second thoughts.

Some background: The villian is in the small blind. Today he made me and 8 other people richer, last night, his ruthless aggression was coupled with a run of good luck, and despite overplaying his hands, he was bulldozing the table. He bet EVERY SINGLE FLOP. He bet almost every single turn. He called almost every single preflop bet and many post flop bets if somebody had the temerity to bet before he could. If not for his bad river calls he could have made a mint last night. He had a fat wallet and the unmitigated belief that blind aggression leads to riches and not ruin. He's also a good ol boy that ran an angle on me, which I love, and I'll get to later.

In this hand I was in one off the button facing a few limps. I have KhQh and have been inactive for a couple of orbits. I fire out 12, my raises are given the respect my tight image warrants for the most part, so I'm thinking I could isolate. Of course the domino effect ruins that. He calls with no hesistation. Three more limpers follow suit. Pot of 60. It's amazing how much a call station to your left can create a mountain of multi-way pots in a 1-2 game. I think I'm going to put some thought into that and how it affects strategy in a column at some later date.

Back to the action: Flop is Jh9h4s. Villian, unusual for him, checks and others follow suit waiting for my continuation bet. I give it to them with 25. I've become predictable of late trying to be unpredictable and betting my draws. Villian calls. Tough to put call stations on hands. Turn is a 6c. Okay, that didn't help either one of us. I'm hoping for a check from him but I'll call just about any of his typical bets for my draw and the implied odds of him calling what could be the nuts on the river. He is looking skyward and the dealer has to remind him it's his turn. He looks at me and sez "All in." Pot is 110. He's got maybe 275-300.

I'm flabbergasted. Huh? Before I go through my thought process I want to go back to the angle he shot on me earlier that night. In the second hand I'll focus on... I have a weak ace in one of the blinds. Flop gives me two aces. I check. He bets out everybody folds to me. I call. Turn: Bricko. I check. He bets the turn, I call. With all the second pairs he's shown my ace may be good despite the rag I got riding sidecar. The river hits and before I can do anything he pushes a bet of 50 into the pot. Right into his style of bet and they'll go away. I deliberate for a long time. This angle of betting out of turn is almost always a sign of weakness. Most of the time I raise with anything and take the pot as if I checked, but sometimes I stew on it.

Here, I felt he probably had a weak ace too (at best) and wanted to control the pot and eliminate me betting a similar holding. In these situations position is almost inverse with the power being to first to act. Here I have to decide to call with a mediocre hand, or to muscle up a bluff, but now I can't bluff 50 I have to bluff 150 or so, which is tougher to do. On one hand I realize he's got a $50 spliff sitting in the pot for me, but on the other knowing his tendency to be a call station and married to hands, I decide a different course of action was better. His 50 in the pot might force him to call a raise with a secondary holding. So, I tell the dealer I didn't check.

She didn't think so. Nice control of the game by the way. She pulls his bet back. I contemplate making it $55 to be a jerk but I decide I don't want to anger him into reraising or calling so I go for the confusing number of 50 the exact same amount he put out. Here I want him to make the decision of calling my $50 or raising me in the face of a river bet. He folds. I win with my weak ace. I don't doubt he could have had A8 and the 8 would have played. He could have had less but I think I made the safer play. Clearly, the man did not like me calling out his angle and folding the hand to me. One player told me well played, another guy said, "You lost that $50 why didn't you just let him leave it out there." Twisting the screw a bit I say loud enough for the guy to hear, "What if I was bluffing?" Some laughs, one red-faced enemy.

So back to the first hand... This incident replaying in my head I face the villian's all in bet. In one way, maybe he thought this was the only way he could steal this 110 from me. Did the 6 really help him at all? Why bet so much if he has a made hand? Did he put me on a draw and wants to protect something? Is he trying to sucker me in with an overbet? Is he making a semi-bluff with a draw?

If has two pair or a set, I lose my overcards (Kings and Queens) as draws. Then I'm left with trying to hit a heart or a 10. If he's got the set, I lose the 4h as another out. Yet, my gut tells me he's making a move. Then he does one of those lookaways when I catch him studying me, like he doesn't want to scare me. Argh. Ultimately, I was priced out. Still, the hand vexes me. I don't know what he had. In playing with this guy for hours today and yesterday, he didn't making a move as audacious as this one. So, now I think he might have had 78 or 10Q and been way behind me with a semi-bluff OR he had a set of sixes and wanted to get me back for embarassing him earlier.

Still, it's a fun hand to contemplate. Would he really call that board with pocket 6s?

Comments

Reid said…
I think your villian most likely had Ah6h. It's a simplistic view, but that fits all the betting: PF call, flop call, over-push on the turn. He could feel VERY secure moving-in because he probably felt he had loads of outs: 9 hearts, 3 As, two 6s. And it aligns with his style. That's how maniacs get paid off. But would he have pushed harder on the flop with the nut flush draw? Seems like he would have. With a dude like that, it's almost impossible to put him on a hand. I think you made the right read with him being strong. "Looking skyward." That is a universal tell of strength. I used to catch myself doing it all the time back in the day. Maybe it was good that he priced you out?!?

As for the call-begets-call in the 1-2 NL games....so true. My opinion on the most profitable style? Playing the NL games with a strategy more suited for old-school pot limit hold 'em. Small pot-builder raises with drawing hands, encouraging multi-way action which gives you the correct implied odds to win BIG pots. Mostly, the big pairs either crush you or net you a small pot. I've learned that the hard way. The drawing hands are simpler to play--especially in position--if you can do some rudimentary math and if you're facile at controlling the pot.
some guy said…
About the hand with the trip Aces, i don't agree with making the guy pull his bet back and making the same bet he put in out of turn. Saying u were bluffing makes that guy think but chances are he's not really gonna remember what u said later. If you're willing to bet the $50 and leave it open for him to raise when you're not sure if your hand is good doesn't make sense to me. You're willing to lose $50 either way, and with him betting out of turn limits the amount u can lose OR sense u bet the river into him, u should have just check raised on the river becuase the only way for u to control his bet was to make him leave the $50 in the pot. He could have raised u all in if u check raise, or if u bet into him...i think either way u costed yourself a minimum $50.

As for as the draw hand, i don't think making the call is ever good considering your style of play...playing tight limits the amount of hands so why would u wanna get it all in on a draw...even though the guy may have been a moron, it is possible to credit him with a good play...u can't call becuase u don't have anything so the strength of his hand is pointless...out of curiousity, what would u have done if he checked the turn to u?
C.S. said…
Thanks for the thoughts fellas. Reid, I like the pot building bets and I've been noticing they gotten me even bigger pots if I make them with nobody to act after me. So many opponents refuse to believe I would bet instead of check to a free card if I'm was on a draw so that they pay bigger on the river when the danger card hits. Have you noticed this too?

Some Guy: I could have cost myself $50 on that hand, I don't deny that, but I think the guy had something. (BTW, my wording was confusing I didn't have trip aces, my ace only paired the board).

I felt that he'd be more likely to be married to the hand if the $50 was still in there. I suppose I could have reraised him all in since I sensed weakness and in that case probably made him fold. However, he made some big (bad) calls with less than top pair. If I put him on an ace and a marginally better one than I had, I really think the only way I could bluff him was to get his $50 out of the pot. I also don't see that guy not at least calling a raise (except for maybe all in) if his $50 was committed. I think you are right with most other players and many times I simply raise their "angle" bets and they fold. If it was just an outright steal, I definitely lost $50 but I think he had something.

Oh on the other hand if he had checked that's a tough question. I think I would have checked all those draws because I had so many different ways to beat him. That night I was betting a lot of draws so maybe not, had I bet I likely would have lost a some more money in that pot.

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