Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Think I Am Improving

One of the things I have always struggled with in No Limit Hold’em is getting married to top pair or overpairs. I’m sure it comes from my initial training in Limit Hold’em. Top pair in limit will win a high percentage of the time and even if it doesn’t, you usually have the odds to call down to the river.

In No Limit, top pair or an over pair is a medium strength hand. Top pair is good for a small pot. A big pair is great preflop, but gets really tricky the longer the hand lasts.

I have lost many buy ins running top pair into two pair, or more commonly a set. Here is one hand that I felt I lost the minimum and was actually proud of the way I played it.

POKERSTARS GAME #15532662163: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($0.50/$1.00) - 2008/02/24 - 22:52:54 (ET)
Table 'Agamemnon IV' 6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: larryvq ($52.50 in chips)
Seat 2: DrunkenSeouL ($97.80 in chips)
Seat 3: stak1 ($129.50 in chips)
Seat 4: zwieback86 ($98.50 in chips)
Seat 5: limoni ($109.50 in chips)
Seat 6: maxthedog425 ($83.35 in chips)
maxthedog425: posts small blind $0.50
larryvq: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to larryvq [Ah Ac]
DrunkenSeouL: folds
stak1: folds
zwieback86: folds
limoni: folds
maxthedog425: raises $1 to $2
larryvq: raises $6 to $8
maxthedog425: calls $6

I am short stacking here and maxthedog425 has me covered by a little bit. The min raise from the small blind could mean a lot of things. I raise a good amount and he calls. The call tells me he has a high pair. Obviously it’s probably not Aces. Kings would probably push all in. I’m thinking TT, JJ, or QQ. Maybe AK or AQ.
*** FLOP *** [6h 2c Ks]
maxthedog425: checks
larryvq: bets $8
maxthedog425: calls $8

Good flop. No real draw possibilities. I make a continuation bet of ½ the pot. Usually I may bet a little more if there are draws present, but I want to make sure I get a call from AK, QQ, and JJ. He calls so my plan seems to be working
*** TURN *** [6h 2c Ks] [Qs]
maxthedog425: checks
larryvq: checks

The Queen scares me. I actually do think he might have hit a set here. I only have $36 left in my stack. The pot is $32. Now is the time to keep the pot small. I check behind and maybe call a bet on the river.
*** RIVER *** [6h 2c Ks Qs] [Jd]

maxthedog425: bets $11
larryvq: calls $11

The Jack is not a good card either. Maxthedog makes a value bet of $11. I figure there is a chance that he has Ace-King so I make the crying call.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
maxthedog425: shows [Qh Qc] (three of a kind, Queens)
larryvq: mucks hand
maxthedog425 collected $51.40 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $54 Rake $2.60
Board [6h 2c Ks Qs Jd]
Seat 1: larryvq (big blind) mucked [Ah Ac]
Seat 2: DrunkenSeouL folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: stak1 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: zwieback86 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: limoni (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: maxthedog425 (small blind) showed [Qh Qc] and won ($51.40) with three of a kind, Queens

I only lost $27 of my original $52 stack with Aces. It’s rare that I am happy after my opponent sucks out on me, but this was one such occasion.

Here was a hand I misplayed last night that actually worked out in my favor.

POKERSTARS GAME #15581155951: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($0.50/$1.00) - 2008/02/26 - 23:46:01 (ET)
Table 'Umbriel' 6-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: larryvq ($73.95 in chips)
Seat 2: luckywinz ($121.35 in chips)
Seat 3: MTHawghunter ($176.10 in chips)
Seat 4: foxhoundzr2 ($100.90 in chips)
Seat 5: desertfox18 ($53.30 in chips)
Seat 6: cdhtrout ($43 in chips)
desertfox18: posts small blind $0.50
cdhtrout: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to larryvq [Ah Qs]
larryvq: raises $2 to $3
luckywinz: folds
MTHawghunter: folds
foxhoundzr2: calls $3
desertfox18: folds
cdhtrout: folds

I like to raise 3x the BB under the gun and 4x the BB everywhere else. The main reason for the small raise is that I put a little less money in the pot when I am out of position. Plus the smaller raise makes people more suspicious that I have a really big hand. I use this to my advantage a lot because I often mix in a medium suited connector in my raise range and I swear it feels like everyone folds to my raise 70% of the time.
*** FLOP *** [8c 6h Qh]
larryvq: bets $6
foxhoundzr2: calls $6

I hit my pair, but I am out of position and there are draws on the board. I have the Ace of hearts so I do have a backdoor flush draw. I would like the hand to be over now, so I bet the pot. Foxhoundzr2 makes the call. He could have a weaker Queen, or some kind of flush draw, maybe a set and waiting for the turn to pounce. The straight draw seems less likely since the “books” don’t recommend calling under the gun raises with 7-9.

*** TURN *** [8c 6h Qh] [9s]
larryvq: checks
foxhoundzr2: bets $13
larryvq: calls $13

I have a brain fart here. My mind says keep the pot small and I instinctively check. After I hit the button, I curse myself because checking is the play I am supposed to make if I have position. Similar to how I played the Aces hand listed above. This time I just gave up control of the pot. The $13 bet into an $18 pot seems strong and concerns me. I should have led into the pot again for about $10. Then if I get raised, I know I should probably let the hand go.

*** RIVER *** [8c 6h Qh 9s] [7h]

What an ugly card! Now the flush and the straight have made it. Or is it ugly? I really want to see what this guy has. I decide to bring out the $15 blocking bet into a $44 pot. I formalize the thought to myself a split second after I bet when I notice that even if foxhoundsr2 has a set, this may be a tough call. I played this like I had Ace-King of hearts and the small bet looks like I want a call.
larryvq: bets $15
MTHawghunter said, "one has a flush one had a 10"
foxhoundzr2: folds
larryvq collected $43.30 from pot
larryvq: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $45.50 Rake $2.20
Board [8c 6h Qh 9s 7h]
Seat 1: larryvq collected ($43.30)
Seat 2: luckywinz folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: MTHawghunter folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: foxhoundzr2 (button) folded on the River
Seat 5: desertfox18 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: cdhtrout (big blind) folded before Flop

Foxhoundzr2 took the full time allotted before folding. Maybe he folded a set? More likely it was something like KQ.

1 comment:

birdiemachine said...

Nice blog...just reading others interested in golf and poker. I am a golf professional in Kentucky and Tom definitely would not fit well into the typical group at our club.

I have a couple of for poker and another for golf fitness. Check them out some time!

Ask me questions about golf anytime you wish and I like to debate poker strategy.