Sunday, August 17, 2008

Two Hands Versus Eric Liu and Krantz

It’s been a pretty crazy month for me so far. Though I haven’t had any massive swings in terms of buy-ins, I am still getting used to the idea of having +/- $2000 sessions as the norm. Back when I was playing 2/4, a negative $2000 session would pretty much be considered an absolute disaster. Now, at 3/6 and 5/10, I can lose a race and miss a flush draw and instantly find myself stuck the same amount. Here’s the graph for August so far.

One nifty thing about playing 3/6+ is that I’m now playing with people I recognise from CardRunners videos. When I was a 1/2 player, I’d sit down and watch just about every one of Taylor and Brian’s 5/10 videos and dream of one day playing in those games. Now, actually sitting in those games and having those same players sit down with me, I think it really reinforces for me just how much progress I’ve made.

Speaking of CardRunners videos, I just remembered yesterday that I actually appeared in one! It was a 2/4 video by Eric Liu in June and I meant to blog about it then but I think it completely slipped my mind. I remember I was a 1/2 player at the time and was scanning the tables for good games when I noticed four 2/4 tables highlighted in red. Ordinarily this would mean that Hans Vogl was grinding away but when I clicked on the tables I was pleasantly surprised to see Eric Liu’s name instead. Though jumping into a 2/4 game filled with the best regs (more on that in a second) probably wasn’t the best idea in hindsight, I thought that having the opportunity to 1) appear in a CardRunners video 2) play against Eric and 3) get some feedback on my game was too good an opportunity to pass up. So I joined all four waiting lists and sat down at three of the tables in pretty quick time.

The composition of each table was pretty ridiculous. Despite CardRunners’ best intentions, there is no doubt that having red name pros as instructors detracts from the integrity of the videos. You see, within minutes, Eric’s tables had been swamped by the best 2/4 regulars who no doubt all saw the same opportunity as me. What followed then was a session of people mercilessly trying to outplay Eric and just generally give him a hard time. In short, this was certainly not your typical 2/4 game. In fact, if you watch the video you’ll actually see Eric having to continually fold to 3-bets preflop, all the while commenting on how ridiculously aggressive the 2/4 games had gotten. If you were a small stakes player watching this, you’d be forgiven for thinking “jeez, the games are crazy tough up there!”

I only really played one hand of note against Eric and in hindsight I’m not sure I played it very well. We had $500 effective stacks and he opened in the cutoff with AQo and I 3-bet from the big blind with TT. I’d 3-bet him about two orbits earlier in this same situation with 88 (he folded) so I wasn’t expecting to get much credit and indeed Eric quickly called the 3-bet. I think in the video he actually says something like “if I get 3-bet here there is no way I’m folding ace-queen”. The flop came Ks4s6c and I led $72 into the $99 pot and he quickly called. I remember thinking at the time that Eric was fairly unlikely to have a King here (I assume he’d 4-bet AK and fold KJ leaving only KQ/KJs as a real possibility) and that this flop was a good one for him to float if he thought I was playing back light preflop. Thus, before the turn came, I decided to check-shove just about any card as his call flop/bet turn range would heavily be weighted towards floats. My logic for this was that KQ probably would’ve raised the flop with the intention of getting it in while something like KJ or 99 would almost certainly check back the turn. The turn came the Kd and this was actually a very interesting card because it now means that KJs and KQ will bet the turn (rather than check behind) but it also means that these hands are less likely to be in his range. I think it’s a pretty close decision but in the end I did shove all-in after I checked and he bet half-pot. He obviously instantly folded. Here's the hand history for the whole hand.

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

Eric Liu (CO): $845.50

BTN: $544.50

SB: $1,546.80

Hero (BB): $509.40

UTG: $823.50

MP: $1,088.40

Pre-Flop: T T dealt to Hero (BB)

2 folds, Eric Liu raises to $14, 2 folds, Hero raises to $50, Eric Liu calls $36

Flop: ($102) 6 K 4 (2 Players)
Hero bets $72, Eric Liu calls $72

Turn: ($246) K (2 Players)

Hero checks, Eric Liu bets $122, Hero raises to $387.40 and is All-In, Eric Liu folds

Results: $490 Pot

In the video he actually remarks that he expects me to call the turn and then fold to a river bet. I was actually really surprised by this as I hadn’t considered check-calling the turn at all. For me, the decision on the turn was whether to go with the hand or not. If I decided to go with it, I thought the natural consequence was to shove since check-calling would almost certainly entail check-calling the river bet as well (I’d be getting 3-1). I actually chased Eric up on an FTP table a few days later and asked him about the hand and he said that he liked check-shoving with a read but preferred check-calling without. I’m still not sure what the correct play was in this particular hand but I do think now that I should’ve at least considered check-calling. My logic of being pot committed was pretty flawed since pot odds are quite irrelevant on the river if you’re beat. Whether you’re getting 3-1 or 10-1, stacking off 65BBs with no equity is certainly not something you want to be doing regularly!

To finish, I thought I’d post this hand that I played yesterday. It was against Krantz and is quite simply a superb example of me outplaying an opponent. Not many players can say that they’re up lifetime against Krantz, but I’m now one of them!

Party Poker, $10/$20 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players - Hand History Converter

BTN: $2,061

pr1nnyraid (SB): $9,299

Hero (BB): $2,107

UTG: $3,813.50

CO: $2,939

Pre-Flop: K 9 dealt to Hero (BB)

3 folds, pr1nnyraid raises to $60, Hero raises to $180, pr1nnyraid folds

Results: $120 Pot


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