Cash Session

I've been running well in tournaments and it seems my cash game has suffered. I go through spells where I feel like I'm a good cash game player or a good tournament player but rarely do both go well at the same time. Obviously, I ran well in the tournaments of the Bayou Classic, winning single table satellites and doing well in big MTTs.

Sure enough I sit down at the cash tables and it's like the wind is completely out of my sails. No longer is my tight image enough to isolate one opponent after the flop, I'm playing three or four players everytime. I try and protect a smaller top pair and nobody goes anywhere. Course an overcard comes and it all breaks down from there.

For a while, I started to question my ability. I refocused and did some thought about the differences between the two games. What did I do different after a slate of tournaments vs. what I was doing beforehand in cash? I did some reading including this blog and self-reflection.

Number 1, I am playing the cash games too tightly. I think part it is buying in with a smaller stack in a game with no fold equity. Whatever the reason, the results include me losing money when I win the pots by not building them bigger or leading out on the river, and I'm not quick enough to take the pots nobody wants. Too much of my tournament survival caution is costing me money. That same caution enables me to bluff in tournaments and induce folds from good players but it basically goes unnoticed on a cash table.

Number 2, my reads, are now made against two or more players instead of one or two (usually). The players range seem to be more unpredictable on a cash table then the boxes I can put them in when playing a tournament. Also, I'm missing information or sometimes just not listening to it. Case in point, I had pocket Kings today. There was the call station in a blind who was hitting everything, and also not afraid to bet with nothing and show his successful bluff (to opponents that never had a hand to call him down with). In short, he was having a wet dream for a poker session because everything was going his way, despite his terrible play.

My strategy was to get a big hand and fire out a big preflop bet and play him one on one. So, I bet out bigger than I normally do with the KK, because he'd call. He did. $20 a head. I didn't like it when a regular joined the fray too. But I knew I'd know where I was at with him, so I didn't mind him riding sidecar.

Flop at first looked sweet. No ace. Then it bothered me QQJ. Target stewed and then said "CHECK." Ding-a-ling-ding-a-ling danger. The regular checked. My KK might be good here. I was about to bet 25. Then my groggy gears recalled the reason my spidey senses were tingling... earlier when slow playing the nuts, pretty much the only time the Target checked-called, he said "Check" aloud. When he was on air he'd pat the table and then fold.

The regular wasn't afraid to lead into pots and I was a preflop raiser. The target wanted somebody to do his dirty work and he had two good candidates. Great. I check. We go to the turn which is a brick. Target fires out a $40 bet. The regular folds and I contemplate folding. I stew a good bit and then push in the $40. River is a blank and the target checks. I check behind.

I think he knew I wouldn't call a bet, but maybe I'd bluff at it. He was probably right. Or he thought I was trapping with AQ. He doesn't show his hand once I checked, maybe pissed I didn't bet. This annoys me. I turn over my Kings. The table oohs. He sighs and shakes his head, the picture of a beaten man. He flips over a 4 and the sloppily shows his queen. Slowrolled. Ah, the cherry on top of a second best day.

Though I lost $40 post-flop to the guy, I shouldn't have lost anything. I was drawing to two Kings and I knew it. I just didn't listen to my read. In a tournament, I'd have to, and right or wrong I'd move on to the next hand. In a cash game, with a rebuy in the wallet it's easy to hope you aren't right and call anyway. So much for reads if you can't obey them. IE Daniel Negreanu on High Stakes Poker.

This is the same guy, who I got AK suited and AQ against. Same tactic, bigish preflop bet and he called when everybody folded. Both times I flopped flush draws, straight draws and over cards. I'm a favorite. He'd bet the flop, turn, and river and I'd call, call, and fold hitting nothing. One time he had a measley 7 which my neighbor saw him pitch to the muck after he dragged the pot (giving him a straight with 68910 on the board). I had AQ with two spades.

I could tell my river folds were met with some derision from some players on the other side of the table. How could I call his bets and not call the river with my stack decimated each time. I made the right folds, but here is an example of where my lack of agressiveness hurt me. In the AQ hand instead of calling I could have seized the initiative and bet my draw. I don't normally like to do that vs. a call station, I figure with them if I hit my hand they'll pay me off anyway. Why pour money into the pot if I know he's ahead (even if I'm a favorite).

After the slowroll it's tilting time... but I didn't. I had pumped three buy-ins into the game and had another a half buy-in in my wallet. I was going to reload to a starting stack but I decided to leave it there and played with the measely 15 reds in front of me.

I kept folding crap hands. I did a better job laying down decent hands... ones that felt beat and just stuck around biding my time. I dragged my first pot after an hour and half of second bestitis. Put me over 20 reds. Then I caught fire. I'd bet my hands, hit my hands, bet them again, they'd hold and I river bet for value.

One scare came when I had A10 flop came KQJ all hearts. I had the 10 of hearts. I forget the action but neither the turn nor the river was a heart. I kind of played it weird in a multi-way pot. On the river, I looked at my opponent, we lost two others along the way, and I shipped it, I trusted me gut, that despite him calling two big bets he didn't have a flush maybe two pair.

He groaned, "This is a terrible call." Uh-oh, baby flush? I turn over the A10 (the A the diamond) like it was the nuts and he looked at it funny. Someone alerted him I had a straight (not the dealer... btw, that player should shut the fudge up and not read hands for a guy). He couldn't beat that either.

He called me a Mad Genuis. I think that, too, was derisively as all he saw me do for fours hours was lay down hands late in the action and rebuy. Then I overbet the pot and got him to pay me off.

I got AK, and took down a massive pot. Then I got AA. Then I finished off the guy calling me Mike Caro when he shipped it with a flush draw. He got a caller and I called too with KJ same flush draw. J hit the turn on a board of babies I tried to build a side pot, no takers. I revealed KJ. He showed Q10 and I only had to sweat a queen. Suddenly all three of my buy-ins were sitting in front of me again.

Somebody new to the table groused about my rush.

I looked around at the faces, and most of them had missed me bleed hundreds into the table for the hours leading up to that moment. Yeah, I got the Federal Pentirary treatment until you folks got here and now I'm back to even.

I cleared a small profit and went home. My patience was rewarded today and I saw some areas which I can improve upon next time, so it was a good day. Even when I had a sliced artery in my wallet, I'm glad I maintained composure and didn't question myself or deviate from solid plays. Getting a mad rush didn't hurt either... lol.

Now time for some online Texas Hold'em.


Goondingy said…
Man that first part is me all the way so far this year...just not enough freaking patience. Good come back, like the growth, like the read breakdowns...all the lunchboxes do!
C.S. said…
You calling me a lunchbox?
Dan Walsh said…
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