Monday, March 24, 2008

Feeling Terrible

I took my first serious shot at 2/4 and 3/6 last week and ran incredibly well. It was one of those weeks where everything went right. Whenever I took a bad beat, it was only for a small pot, usually against a shortstack’s preflop all-in. Meanwhile, whenever I got it in flipping for a 200bb pot, my hand held up admirably or hit what I needed.

Well, that all came to an end today. The worst part is, I didn’t actually run that badly at all. I simply played terribly and my results show it. I think the graph below summarises what I’m feeling right now quite nicely.

This graph covers the last two days. As you can see, I was running extremely hot, picking up buy-ins almost at will. Then, the most innocuous of events sent me tilting. I had found a 3/6 table with a massive fish and duly sat down. About 20 hands in, he min-raised to $12, the small blind called and it was up to me in the big blind. I had QQ and quickly re-raised to $46. The fish came along but the small blind folded. The flop came a beautiful Q99. Needless to say, I was already planning what I’d do with the money. The pot contained $94 and I decided to bet $72. Deciding, however, was as far as I got. You see, there was a slight problem. My bet/check/fold buttons had disappeared!!! In their place lay the annoyingly yellow and ever-so-innocent-looking “wait list” button. I frantically tried to fix the problem but in the end I could do nothing but stare as I open-folded my full house.

Now, I know that in all likelihood he didn’t have anything and wouldn’t have paid me off. There is something extremely aggravating however about losing a guaranteed $100 and possibly more. I didn’t suddenly go crazy or anything, but upon reflection, it definitely made me make some marginal decisions down the line that eventually spiraled out of control.

The first one probably seems the worst of the bunch but this is actually the only hand that I’d probably play the same. Essentially, I called a flop push with AK high with no pair and no draw and looked a downright twit when he tabled QQ. I’ve made this type of call only four times before and was right on three of the occasions (the Ace high held up those three times too). The fourth time I was right in the sense that I did catch my opponent bluffing – unfortunately, his AJ bluff bested my AT hero-call…Anyway, here’s today’s hand for reference. My opponent was running at a crazy 65/55.

Party Poker, $2/$4 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players - Hand History Converter

SB: $391.17
Hero (BB): $496.90
UTG: $420
MP: $442.87
CO: $405.70
BTN: $744

Pre-Flop: K A dealt to Hero (BB)

2 folds, CO raises to $12, 2 folds, Hero raises to $46, CO calls $34

Flop: ($94) 2 9 6 (2 Players)
Hero bets $72, CO raises to $359.70 and is All-In, Hero calls $287.70

Turn: ($813.40) T (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($813.40) 3 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $813.40 Pot ($3 Rake)
Hero showed K A (high card Ace) and LOST (-$405.70 NET)
CO showed Q Q (a pair of Queens) and WON $810.40 (+$404.70 NET)

The next two hands are very similar. They both involved me taking a high risk-high reward line and in each case I was outdrawn by a runner-runner straight.

The first hand took place immediately after the AK hand above. I had sat out a few hands to reload and on my first hand back I was dealt AQs on the button. The same Villain as the AK hand raised under the gun, another player called and it was on me. I don’t normally 3-bet under the gun raisers in this spot but since this villain was no ordinary under the gun raiser I decided to go ahead. There was the added advantage that my opponents might think I was tilting and would call me down light. So I popped it up to $52 and to my surprise both players came along (I expected the raiser to call but not the caller). The flop came AK6 rainbow, giving me a pair of aces and the backdoor nut flush draw. Both players checked to me. Now, if this hand were heads-up, I’d continuation bet this flop just about 100% of the time. On this particular occasion however, I felt that betting $100+ into two people would completely give away my hand. Since the pot was so inflated, getting all-in on just two streets (rather than three) would be no problem so I decided to check it back. The turn came an 8 and it put a flush draw out there (not mine though). They both checked to me again and now I had a mandatory bet. This was where I made my first major mishap. My normal value bet would be about $115-$125, and my normal induce-a-shove bet would be above $75. I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do however so I went squarely in the middle, betting $104 (2/3 pot). This still is large enough that draws can’t chase but not so large enough that I’m squeezing enough value from another ace. It’s also not small enough to induce a shove so it’s basically a bet in no man’s land. To my utter shock, both players called once again. The river came a 5, completing the backdoor flush. Both players checked to me again. This is a spot where I’ve recently been leaning towards betting for thin value. In the past I’d check back this spot 100% of the time simply because the flush hit. Nowadays, if I’m confident enough that I have the best hand, I’ll value bet razor thin all night long (and often value-town myself in the process). On this occasion, I felt that a bet was warranted. Essentially, the only hands that beat me were a flush (obviously) and A8. Any other made hand would’ve raised the turn. The question I then had to ask myself was - would these players check these hands to me? The answer, clearly, was no. With the flush card coming, they’d have to assume I’d be scared of it and check behind. Moreover, the pot was so large now that, if they shoved, it would only be a fraction of a pot size bet and they could safely assume that I’d be forced to call since I’d be getting such good pot odds (I’d definitely fold if they shoved though). With these considerations in mind, I decided to ship the last $250 in. The Villain from the AK hand thought for about 3 seconds and called. The middle player thought for a while too before folding (I assume he had AJ or AT). Our favourite villain tabled 97s (different suit to board) for a straight and took it down. I still think this push was alright as I’m pretty confident that I would’ve gotten value from the middle player if this Villain had missed his draw. Of course, it’s hard to tell yourself that when you could’ve saved yourself $250 by checking…

The next hand involved a blind versus blind battle. I had 99 in the big blind and raised it up to $14 after the small blind open-limped. He called and the flop came A96 rainbow. He checked to me, I bet and he min-check-raised. I decided to flat here and I think that’s pretty standard. If he has an ace we’re probably getting it in anyway blind versus blind and if he has a bluff I might as well let him continue bluffing. I can’t remember what note it was that I had on him but I remember being about 80% sure he was bluffing. The turn brought a Q which also put a flush draw out there and he bet $65 into the $108 pot. At this point, I was just about 100% sure he was bluffing. There are so many draws out there now that a strong ace would bet at least $75 and a weak ace would check for pot control. He’s basically representing A6 or 66. Although I’m tempted to just call again, I decide to mini-raise to induce a shove. You’ll notice that I’ve been talking a lot about inducing bluffs through bet-sizing in this blog, and this is because it is something that I’ve been working into my game recently (I used to just standardize my bets across my entire range). Anyway, I made a small raise to $155, barely more than two times. As usually happens in pots I lose, I was shocked when he called. He now obviously had something, but what the heck did he have? The turn came an offsuit 7, and he open-shoved for $193 into the $418 pot. The flush missed, so I obviously snap-called. He tabled T8s (different suit again), having turned a double-gutshot and rivered the straight. The more I write about this hand, the more I realize it wasn’t actually that bad. However, my standard line would definitely be to raise big on the turn and that would’ve shut him out of the hand. By taking this high risk line, I perhaps maximized my expectation but lost another ‘cinch’ pot. It was after this pot, on top of the three pots mentioned above, that I basically lost it and started to play really, really bad. I began making moves everywhere and threw money away like paper. The hand below was the worst of the lot, and makes me feel sick every time I look at it. To the player who won the pot, happy Easter…

Party Poker, $3/$6 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: $805.70
BTN: $606
Hero (SB): $813
BB: $809.15
UTG: $645
MP: $822.78

Pre-Flop: 9 A dealt to Hero (SB)

4 folds, Hero raises to $21, BB calls $15

Flop: ($42) 5 6 5 (2 Players)
Hero bets $34, BB raises to $84, Hero raises to $240, BB calls $156

Turn: ($522) 9 (2 Players)

Hero checks, BB bets $548.15 and is All-In, Hero calls $548.15

River: ($1,618.30) 7 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $1,618.30 Pot ($3 Rake)
Hero showed 9 A (two pairs, Nines and Fives) and LOST (-$809.15 NET)
BB showed A 5 (three of a kind, Fives) and WON $1,615.30 (+$806.15 NET)

The start of the hand isn’t played that badly I don’t think. It is the call on the turn that is beyond terrible and which literally set $550 on fire (that’s what makes me sick the most). When I got raised on the flop, a couple of things went through my head. First, since the board is paired and very dry, my opponent knows that it’s unlikely to have hit me. Thus, there’s a good chance that he’s raising me on a bluff (when you’re tilting though, every raise seems like a bluff). Secondly, I remember thinking back to what Brian Townsend said in his last CardRunners video – “when you raise on the flop, your range should be polarized so you can either dump it or ship it if you get re-raised” (paraphrased, though I think my version sounds better :)). So I’m looking at that board and thinking “a polarized range here consists of 66, 5x and an over-pair on the one hand and air on the other”. I didn’t think he’d flat a big pair preflop since we’re somewhat deep and he’d want to build the pot. This left a flopped full house or trips. That is one heck of a polarized range! I also didn’t think he’d raise this flop with those hands since he’d have the deck basically killed and would want me to continue bluffing with my likely air. There is no turn card he can be scared of if he had those hands. So I went ahead and 3-bet bluffed him. When he called, I was disappointed and obviously done with the hand.

Then I hit the 9.

Now, I knew the 9 was no good, but when you’re stuck a couple grand and you’ve just hit top pair- top kicker after 3-bet bluffing him on the flop in a blind versus blind battle, it’s mentally very hard to fold. So I went ahead and gave him my money. C’est la vie.

For a change of pace, I’m going to play in a live tournament tomorrow at Star City. I don’t play live much anymore, because 1) it’s hard to find the time to go to the casino and 2) because one -tabling a full-ring cash game bores me to death. I’ve got very limited tournament experience (I don’t play online tournaments at all) and even more limited live tournament experience (I’ve only played 3 qualifiers for APPT Sydney last year, no luck) so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I’m not really expecting a big finish but it should be a fun experience nonetheless.


Petey said...

go back to the .10/.25 tables mate

Joey said...

lol Pete but I don't want to take your money!


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