Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shot Turns Sour

Cash games are going pretty badly at the moment. I took a shot at some higher stakes games last night, playing 3 tables of 10/20 and 1 of 25/50 to go along with my usual 5/10 and 3/6 tables, and ended up losing something like $8000.

Two hands from my session stood out in particular. In the first I raised A4s from the button at 10/20 and got called by a solid reg in the big blind. The flop came QJ2r with one of my suit and I made a standard c-bet of $100 when he checked to me. I got check-raised to $280 and had to decide what to do. Folding is fine of course but this is a spot where my opponent is very likely to be bluffing. For one, the board is very dry so he’ll know that I’m c-betting with a high frequency and often with air. Secondly, there isn’t really much that my opponent can represent at all. He can’t really have a set as we’re only 100bb’s deep so flatting QQ or JJ preflop in his position would be peculiar to say the least and flatting 22 would be a flat out leak given how wide my opening range on the button is. This left AQ and QJ as the only two hands that he can legitimately do this with, and even AQ may 3-bet preflop or at least take a more passive line postflop (going nuts with AQ in a small pot like this on a board like this is usually inviting disaster). So my two options here I feel were to 3-bet bluff or to float. My typical line here is to double float and I think this is what I should’ve done – call flop, call turn, and shove river if he checks. I also have a backdoor wheel draw, a backdoor broadway draw and the backdoor nut flush draw so there’s a decent chance that I can back into a hand should my opponent end up firing three bullets. For some reason though I decided to make a small 3-bet bluff, a decision I regretted as soon as I made it. The problem with 3-bet bluffing here is that there is pretty much no made hand that I’d do it with. With an overpair or middle pair or a set, I’d just flat in this spot. So immediately I started thinking “man he’s going to see right through this and jam” and sure enough he did. At this point my mind started whirling and spinning and doing all those things a confused poker player’s mind does. As I said, I really felt that the only legitimate hands my opponent could have here were QJ and AQ (with AQ being weighted downwards somewhat). With just ace high I was actually ahead of all his pure bluffs and semi-bluffs and I felt that these bluffs made up a considerable portion of his range. Unfortunately, he could also be bluffing with a hand better than mine, something like 77 (though I think this is very unlikely) or AT (more likely). In the end I timed right down before making the hero call and got shown QJ. This sent me a little tilted as I was even for the session until then but I still think I was playing pretty well.

In the second hand we were $2900 deep at 10/20 when a fish opened in the cutoff and I 3-bet KQs from the small blind. The fish called and we saw a flop of AKQ with a flush draw (not mine). I bet and he called and the turn brought a total brick, an offsuit 5. At this point there was something like $1200 in the pot and we had $2300 effective behind, a really awkward stack to pot ratio to play with. If I bet $800 or so here on the turn, the pot would contain $2800 on the river and we’d have just $1500 behind meaning that I’d be committed to check/call a lot of bad rivers. So I decided that the best way to get the money in would be to go for a turn check/raise and so I check/shoved when he bet $600. He thought for ages and I was delighted to see that my hand was good. He eventually made the call with AT and binked a J on the river for a pretty huge pot. Now this is obviously just your standard bad beat, but to me it was a lot more. Not only did I lose the $5800 in that pot (a pretty huge sum for me) but I also lost $1300 a few hands later after I made a pretty bad and tilted river call. After that I decided to quit my session and that probably cost me another $1000 in opportunity cost alone as I had to leave a 25/50 table featuring Scout. So all in all that bad beat probably cost me about $8000. Ah well.

I was looking through my HEM for this year and I’m now down $6600 for the year. More disconcerting though is that I’m in the red for every level (except 25/50 ironically). So to get myself back on track I thought I’d set myself a little challenge. I want to be up $4000 at 2/4 and $6000 at 3/6 before I play 5/10 again. That should put my online bankroll back to about $68000. I’ll then try to win $12000 or so at 5/10 before reverting to playing 5/10 and 10/20 full time again. With an $80000 bankroll, hopefully the pain of losing $6000 pots will be somewhat lessened by then.

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