Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bad Month?

I have not calculated the damage yet. I will try and do that tonight when I get home. I am guessing I am down about $1,000 for the month.

Edit: Update. Bankroll on 2/1/2006 $5254
Bankroll on 3/1/2006 $4310

For some reason, I still cannot beat the $55 sng's at Party. They seem even more fishy since the software conversion. I swear in the last 10 I have played there have been at least 3 players gone by the 3rd level from vastly overbetting the pot and someone making a loose call.

Then, as it gets down to the nitty gritty, I seem to have the uncanny knack of making the correct mathematical shove, only to find one of the blinds waking up with a high pocket pair.

Last night was supposed to be a home game at my house, but I could not round up enough players. So off I went to Casino Arizona. My plan was to play 6-12 or 8-16 and try to win at least $130 to free roll the tournament at 7:00.

I was seated right away at a 6-12 table and the first thing I noticed was that a couple of players had at least $500 in front of them. I think the usual buy in is $200 which is one rack of blue $2 chips. I was in the 2 seat and I noticed that the 8 seat, in addition to having a mountain of chips, was drinking vodka straight.

Now I have read many times that if the table is loose, that you should tighten up a little bit. My problem all night was that I had crappy cards and whenever I started with good cards, it was in bad position.

Vodka man proceeded to play every hand for the next 4 hours, raising about 1/2 of them. I think at one time he pumped himself up to over $1,200. I had targeted him as someone I would like to play pots with, since he is likely to have crappy cards and is too drunk to fold.

I probably played 6 or 7 hands with him and I think I lost all but one. Every time I had a hand, he woke up with a better one. The one time I tried to run a bluff, he caught enough of the flop to call it down. The good news is, except for the bluff, I probably lost the minimum.

In fact one time, I had pocket Kings in the small blind. There were 2 limpers before it got to vodka man, who put in the obligatory raise. I thought of reraising, but I knew that I was not going to push out the limpers and it looked like the big blind was already getting ready to fold. I thought, "the pot is going to be multi way. KK does not play well in those pots. Let's keep it small and see the flop". In hind sight, this is a bad play, since I should be "value" betting a hand this good. The chances of me winning are far above average and I need to take advantage of it, no matter how bad I am running. So the flop contains an Ace. I check, first limper bets, and gets two calls before it gets to me. I am sure someone has an Ace, probably a weak one, so I fold. When it's all said and done, there were two aces out there and the winner of the pot spiked a set. So I got lucky to only lose 2 small bets, but it was a bad play.

The rest of the table seemed to know what they were doing, but played a little looser than my taste. They played suited connectors under the gun and often called with two gappers in late position. I won some money off of the other players, but I just was not getting the cards.

There seems to be a pattern at Casino Arizona that every time that I try a new level, I need to lose my first few times playing. I have never felt like I was outplayed, but that the cards seem to have a vendetta. Once I break through with a win, I seem to be fine.

So the strategy question from last night is: What is the proper preflop raising strategy if one player is raising all the time? It is tough to isolate because people were calling preflop, expecting a raise from him later and perfectly willing to call one or two bets more. So basically raising pocket pairs, was not narrowing the field.

After posting this question on 2+2 and reading the responses, here's what I came up with.
1. You need to value raise the AA and KK hands, no matter how many people are in the pot. They are just too powerful to call with.
2. Try to move into the 9 or 1 seat to get directly to the right of the maniac. Then when he raises, you can reraise right away and not have a couple of callers caught in the middle. This will help to isolate raiser.
3. Feel free to play high suited connectors on the button and cutoff for a raise. These pots will have the odds to call and can be huge if you hit.
4. Avoid playing anything but the very best cards in early position. You will leak too many chips, if someone wakes up with a hand, or you end up dominated.

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