Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sleeping Around

I'm jumping indiscrimiately between Stars and Party like Tara Reid at a swingers club.

Some interesting hands last night at the tables. Perhaps only to me, but I'll relate them here anyway.

I'm in a full MTT mode. I really feel like I'm getting a handle on how to play these things and don't feel quite as over-matched as I had previously. Plus, I'm feeling challenged by them, as opposed to the grind of the ring games. So I bought into the $20 NLHE tourney on Stars last night. I ended up sorta free-roling it because I doubled up on a .50/$1 NL table I was playing simultaneously during the first hour. So, thanks for that fellas. And you donators know who you are.

In the tourney, I had worked my stack up to T3400 nearing the break. I was playing my standard tight/weak style, but caught some hands. It helped that the table was largely populated by like-minded players. There was a lot of limping going on, so you could see flops with marginal hands in LP. I took down a good-sized pot with 52o from the BB when I flopped two pair. I also made a nice sized pot when I sniffed out a river bluff with two low pairs on the board. He check-called a position bet on the turn. He led out on the river for T800 and I took a long time to call, thinking my AJo was gonna get a chop. I took it all when he showed 86s and a busted straight draw. Scary play for me and one I'm not prone to calling, but I felt I had a good read.

Nearing the break, I limped with KQo in MP and found myself heads up with the BB. Flop missed me, coming nine-high, but we check-checked to see the turn. The turn was a 10 and again a check-check. When a Jack came on the river, the BB fired out a T500 bet, before I even registered that I'd just made the nuts. I raised him all-in and he called with the dummy end of the straight. Bad river for him. I went to the break with a well-over average stack of T6000.

Now is the time to switch to a more agressive mode. I was the big stack at the table by more than T2000 and, with one or two exceptions, it was a group that cowed before pre-flop riases. One of these exceptions would prove to be my undoing. The guy in question limped in at least 50% of the time, position be damned. And more often than not, he'd call raises behind him. On one such hand, I found Ac8c in the SB at Level 5. One limper, plus the guy I just mentioned and I bumped it to 450. BB and other limper folded, leaving me heads up with Loose Guy. The flop came 5c 7s 8s. I fired out another T450 bet with my TPTK and Loose Guy raised it to 900. I'm most certainly going to at least call that bet. My read is that he's on the spade draw and angling for a free turn card, though it's likely he has at least one overcard to my 8. If he's got 96o, I'll kill myself.

He's only got T1100 left in his stack and I'm certain I'm ahead (a limp-call with a pocket over-pair would be absurd). So I push him all-in. He shows Js5s.

Now, is this a good play? That's the question I've been asking myself. He certainly has the pot odds to call here and I'm actually a slight underdog, despite being ahead at this point. My reasoning here is that I was certain he would have called any turn bet, as well, even if he DIDN'T have correct odds, which he wouldn't have had, though it was close. I also tend to make these plays so I don't have to make a tough decision on the turn, off-suit over-card falls (which is a failing I'm well aware of).

The turn came a 2c and at that point, I would have most certainly put him all in, so it ended up happening the same way, no mater how I played it.

Alas, a spade on the river and I'm down to T3800. Thoughts?

A level later, I grabbed some chips from the button where I got the blinds AND a 3x raise from LP by pushing all in with A10o. Then, my undoing. And again, it's Loose Guy and his odd play that set the noose.

I find AhQh one from the button. There are two limpers to me, Loose Guy and Bluff on the Busted Straight Guy. The former has me covered by a hair; the latter has about 2/3rds of my stack. I make it 800 to go. Both blinds fold. Loose Guy calls. Shocker. I knew that was coming. And that's where I think I may have made a mistake of aggression on this hand. That raise would have been fine if I expected folds, but I was reasonably sure Loose Guy wouldn't fold anything. So, mistake. Compounded by the fact that Bluff Guy re-raised all-in.

Well, I think I have to raise all-in here. Initially wary of the limp re-raise (indicitive of a huge hand), I dismissed it based on the fact Bluff Guy limped with one limper in front of him already. He would have raised initially with a Group One hand. So I decide he's trying to push someone (or both) out. I raise and Loose Guy calls.

Me: AhQh
Bluff Guy: KdJd
Loose Guy: 10d10s

I've got live cards. I am, in fact, going to win this hand nearly 40% of the time. But I don't. If I were an Eskimo, the flop would be Death Valley. Entirely incompatible. Eight-high, all black. Turn is Jh. I still have my six outs. I don't get one. Bluff Guy triples up and Loose Guy gets the scraps. I don't understand limp-calling with 10s. Anyone wanna explain that one to me?

Back to the matter at hand, I got myself into trouble here, but I wasn't in bad shape. I could have avoided it all together by just limping and letting go of the hand after the flop. But once I was in it, I had to make the call. Pushing that small edge.

I think maybe I give to much thought to what my stack will look like IF I win those hands. I'm looking at T10000, a top 30 chip position with 150 left, and a real chance at the tourney. I know you need to pick your spots, but I also think you need to win one or two of these types of hands to have a shot at the top. That's been my experience anyway. If anyone wants to set me straight about that, I'm happy to listen.

Bottom line was I forced a play I didn't REALLY have to force at that point of the tourney since I was still holding more than 15x the BB. And it cost me.

So, live and learn. I closed Stars with a $42 profit on the evening with my ring game cash and headed over to Party.

The first thing I notice is they've changed (lowered) the blind structure on the NL ring tables. Interesting. I hadn't played here in week (excepting the dear and patient wife's flirtation with Omaha SnGs) and missed the memo. My first instinct is that the change will drive some fish from $25 max to $50 max. Which I believe is a fine development. In fact, I opened two $50 tables (now with .25/.50 blind structure) to celebrate.

And celebrate I did. Got KK twice in the first 10 minutes on one table. Doubled up once on an unfortunate soul holding QQ (said unfortunate soul IMMEDIATELY went on tilt, pushing his meager stack in three straight hands, pre-flop, once with 63o) and dragged a smaller one when I had to check the river on a scary board.

Not much action on the other table, except for the time I flopped quad aces. Flop was TOO good and I didn't get paid off. Did have an intersting hand where I lost a small pot to a tiny stack. I had 3s2s in the BB and saw the flop for free. It came As5s5d. Not a bad draw and I called the all-in from the SB for $6. No other callers. I figured I was looking at 12 outs twice heads-up. Turned out to not be the case as the SB had 33 and a 5 came on the turn to give him the boat. My 12 outs twice went to one out once with the drop of a single card. I didn't get the miracle. Yet another hand where I'm the smallest of underdogs (or favorite) and fail to win it.

Maybe that's a lesson.

Regardless, I was content with my play last night. If I played perfectly, this space would be awful empty. But my bankroll climbed on both sites. Let's see Tara Reid top that.


At 3:55 PM, Blogger poker_ghost said...

perhaps "rabbits" wasn't the lucky word of the day. maybe you should have said "ringworm" or "stachibotrys", those always seem to work for me.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger April said...

"like Tara Reid at a swingers club."

Anything to get the Google referrals, huh? ;)

At 4:45 PM, Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

I dug that Tara Reid opened and closed your entry. That's the most consistant work she's done since Josie and the Pussycats.


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