Sunday, February 04, 2007

How should I have played these?

Sunday during Superbowl on Doyle's Room. $0.50-$1 No Limit. I had run up my initial $50 to $97 and now have drifted down to $75. A new player who had bought in for $100 has raised the first two hands preflop and just raised again to $4. The first hand I saw him raise 5 handed under the gun with A7 offsuit. I am in the small blind with Ac-Qd.

I could just smooth call, but for some reason I felt the need to bring this guy back to reality. I reraise to $16, pretty much hoping to win without a showdown. He min reraises to $28. I briefly consider pushing all in, but I don't want to waste 30 minutes of effort to win $25 so I can flip a coin for $75. I just call. The pot is $57 going to the flop.

The flop is A-T-7 rainbow. What is the correct play here?

Here is the range of hands that I think he could have: AA,KK, QQ, JJ, TT, AK, AQ, AJ Most players will not put in the 3rd raise with anything less than AA or KK but I think this guy's range could be wider based on the previous plays. This seems like a situation where I am way ahead or way behind.

I only have about $50 left and I am first to act. If I bet I probably fold hands like KK, QQ, JJ. If I check and he checks through I still know nothing. Why? Because if he flopped a set on a ragged board, he would check it through hoping to trap someone with a high pocket pair into betting the turn.

It looks like the best way to play this hand was either push all in and hope to fold hands like JJ or TT or fold to the 3rd raise. Or just call the first one instead of reraising out of position.

I learned all of this because I pushed all in on the flop and got called with a flopped set of 7's. I don't think my opponent played this too well, but I played it worse.

On Friday night I tried out the 5-150 game at Casino Arizona. I was curious to try it after playing 2-5 No Limit in Vegas a month ago. I felt comfortable with the stakes so I felt I was ready. I played fairly tight, trying to figure out the best strategy with this capped limit. Basically your maximum bet or raise is $150. So if the initial bet is $150, you can raise $150 and make it $300 total. The maximum buy in is $350 which tends to limit your options for post flop play if the pot is big preflop.

I thought I was playing pretty well and was up about $60 with $410 in front of me when it all started to go bad. Here were the key hands:

I had 7s8s on the button. There were two limpers plus me and the blinds for 5 players total. $25 in the pot and the flop was 9s-2s-2c. Everyone checks to me. I decide to semi bluff my flush draw since I doubt anyone has a 2. Everyone folds except a player who thought an awful lot of himself. I had seen him tilt earlier when another player had put a bad beat on him. He proceeded to raise every hand for the next 20 minutes. Recently he had calmed down however. This player decided to check raise an additional $40. I thought about moving all in, since I was not convinced he had a 2. I put him on a 9 or another pocket pair. If it's a lower pocket pair, maybe I can move him off the hand if an over card hits the turn. I decide to just call.

The turn was a 7d. My opponent bets $100. I have to fold now. I still feel like he might have had nothing and knew I was on a draw. I needed to call $100 to win $245. Not good enough odds to chase.

Soon after this hand, I am dealt AcQd in the small blind. There are two limpers and then a raise to $25. I call, the big blind calls and one of the limpers calls. I believe the pot was $110.

The flop is Qc-4s-5s. I am first to act. I did not feel good about betting into 3 other players with just top pair, top kicker. I decide to check and get more information. The BB checks, limper checks, and the initial raiser bets $75. Thinking that this was more than enough to scare the other two players out, I decide to just call. Then the big blind raises $150 to $225. The initial bettor folds and I decide to fold.

I think the call of the raise in the small blind preflop was ok. Raising seems too risky. It may eliminate all the limpers but it builds a big pot out of position. Plus who knew so many would call?

On the flop, I think a check is ok, if I am planning on raising the initial raiser. This is a standard play in limit poker to charge the draws. It might be a little excessive in No Limit or Capped No Limit, but it's a strong play. I also could have put out a bet of $50 to see where I am at. I need to protect my hand from draws plus I need to find out if the initial raiser has AA, KK, or even the remote possibility of QQ.

The way it played out, I felt like the big blind had a set and I would be drawing close to dead. I had not seen him get out of line and the only hand I could be ahead of was a flush or straight draw. I did not think he had the balls to make that kind of raise. He did show the hand after we both folded and he had 6s-7s for a straight flush draw.

So technically I was in the lead but he had 15 outs twice so the odds were about 60% for him to make his hand by the river. I think my fold was ok, given the position I put myself in. The problem was that I should have never been in that position.

These lessons are way too expensive for me!

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