September 2, 2010

Prefrop madness, leveling, and stacking off light!

I had a such nice warm welcome back to the world of blogging yesterday I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw another post up there with a much more interesting hand. Let's get right into the action.

B is a complete monkey and I go ahead and make a 3b him from the SB. With K6 high (SOOOOOTED!) I'm obviously trying to get him to fold a bunch, or get the pot HU where he's doing something retarded like set mine IP. Unfortunately, much to my chagrin - I am COLD 4b in the BB by an aggro regular. 3b FAILLLLLLLL!

Before I go further, I want to note that I really like the sizing by the BB here, it is small enough that is not risking that much when he has to fold to a 5b and big enough where I simply can not call oop with a marginal hand. I am put at a decision for my stack right there for a relatively cheap price.

The first thought two thoughts that entered my mind were "FML" and "Fold," ROR! However before doing that I did analyze the situation a bit more. The facts were pretty clear - B is a donk and rarely has a hand here and I know this, thus I 3b him. If the BB has even the slightest clue (which I suspect he does) - his response SHOULD be to cold 4b with many a hand as a bruff. Easy SORUTION!


Before anyone who reads this jumps on the bandwagon of 5b shoving K6s a cold 4b, let me get into a few criteria I weighted before doing so.

a) BB is a relatively aggro regular and had a HIGH 4b% percentage
b) I was SOOTED - a nice 3% boost to my equity when called
c) Having a K was probably the biggest factor in reshipping here. This makes it less likely he has hands that he would go with pre that would completely screw me. KK and AK.

Full Tilt Poker $400.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

MP2: $1275.10
CO: $407.20
BTN: $780.60
Hero (SB): $400.00
BB: $439.70
UTG: $536.10
UTG+1: $776.80
UTG+2: $521.70
MP1: $1291.20

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is SB with Kd 6d
6 folds, BTN raises to $14, Hero raises to $44, BB raises to $104, 1 fold, Hero raises to $400, BB calls $296

Flop: ($814.00) 3h 2h 7s

Turn: ($814.00) 5h

River: ($814.00) Js

Final Pot: $814.00
Hero shows Kd 6d
BB shows Jh As
BB wins $811.00
(Rake: $3.00)

While I got stacked and definitely give the BB ALOT of credit for calling off with A high here, I'm still fine with my play. BB tanked down FOREVER before calling it off. Anytime you have your stack in the middle with K high and you get a tank from a guy who put a 1/4 of his chips in the middle - CLEARLY he was bluffing. I can tell you with certainty his original plan was not to cold 4b SNAP get it in vs a 5b. Also I think AJ is at near absolute high end of his 4b bluffing range (that he somehow turned into value, ROR). I think he's going to fold AT and lower, all Kx hands, and any other crap he was bruffing with.

I had 39% equity and and lost, oh well - RELOAD!

Remember folks - red cards are the anti-nuts. Always bet on brack!!!

September 1, 2010

Rush Poker + JJ FAILLLLL

Well as I'm sure you know by now...I've been on a massive blog hiatus the past few months. I'm sure you ALL missed me. And by all, I mean nobody, ROR!

I've pretty much officially transitioned over to RUSH poker - its ridiculously addicting and while you can't game select and pick and choose seats, the ease at which you can fire up/close games is amazing. The games are by no means easy, but after a few good months at 1/2, I felt confident enough to return to my old stomping grounds at 2/4 when they opened up RUSH at that limit earlier this month.

The caliber of players sitting at these games is a true testament of how popular RUSH has become. You've got guys who are regulars 5/10+ coming down to swim in the RUSH waters! Below is a hand vs David "Raptor" Benefield. I got stacked...but I just think it's hilarious that this guy has played as high as 500/1000, RORRR! And apparently he's a winner there, according to PTR, he's up 333k in 679 hands, ROR!

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): $402.70
UTG: $466.80
UTG+1: $560.60
UTG+2: $866.20
MP1: $400.00
David Benefield: $414.00
CO: $584.00
BTN: $534.70
SB: $403.00

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is BB with Jd Jh
4 folds, David Benefield raises to $10, 3 folds, Hero raises to $34, David Benefield raises to $88, Hero requests TIME, Hero raises to $402.70 all in, David Benefield calls $314.70

Flop: ($807.40) 8d Kh As

Turn: ($807.40) 3h

River: ($807.40) Qs

Final Pot: $807.40
Hero shows Jd Jh (a pair of Jacks)
David Benefield shows Ah Ks (two pair, Aces and Kings)
David Benefield wins $804.40
(Rake: $3.00)



July 15, 2010

Go Andrew!!!!!

For those of you who aren't aware, Andrew Brokos (aka Foucault, author of the outstanding Thinking Poker blog linked on our right sidebar) is making ANOTHER deep run in the Main Event. Congratulations and good luck to him. We'll certainly be rooting for him all day here - if you want to follow along as well, he has been sending updates to his twitter page:

July 1, 2010

THIN! (Part 19)

Perhaps the king of THIN! thus far:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG+1: $63.55
UTG+2: $31.90
MP1: $88.15
MP2: $50.50
CO: $45.80
BTN: $129.40
Hero (SB): $61.80
BB: $51.55
UTG: $85.95

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with Ac Td
5 folds, CO raises to $1.50, BTN calls $1.50, Hero raises to $7, 2 folds, BTN calls $5.50 (Squeeze here is a little thin - I'm not doing it every time, just sometimes. Button is a pretty loose player, so could be calling pretty wide. CO is a standard TAG type, so I think he folds to the 3b quite a bit.)

Flop: ($16.00) 7c 5c Jd (2 players)
Hero bets $11, BTN calls $11 (Not the greatest flop to one-barrel on, but I do have backdoor straight and flush draws, and is it too much to ask that he fold QT or something to me on this frop?)

Turn: ($38.00) 3c (2 players)
Hero bets $22.50, BTN raises to $111.40 all in, Hero calls $21.30 all in (He does call, and I pick up backdoor clubs. I'm not folding this hand. I think he's just floating the flop with a pretty weak hand a bunch of the time. Like I'd estimate a jack or better to be less than 1/4th of his range. I've got 3 options: 1) open shove $44 into $38 2) bet something that might seem to give me room to fold, like $22 3) check, hope he bets smallish himself then shove over it, and lead river if he checks back. Of these, I think 2) is by far the best. 1) seems very draw-ish - I think he'd call me with pretty much any pair, and all the hands he's folding are worse than mine. If I had AcAs, I'd like this line more to get max value from lower pairs. 3) is pretty risky, because he could just shove himself when I check, which puts me in a pretty gross spot, and is really the only situation where I'd end up folding, which would really be a disaster against his range for calling the frop. I like 2) much more, since it looks more like I'm trying to get some value out of one pair myself, without putting all my money in yet, so he might find a fold with 66 or 76 or whatever. Or even better, he might call and then fold when I hail-mary shove the river. Also, he might shove over my bet with a bunch of worse draws. At the time I was thinking something in the T9/98 with one club range. Little did I know I'd be in even better shape than I could have hoped for!)

River: ($125.60) 9s (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $125.60
BTN shows Ks Tc (King Jack high)
Hero shows Ac Td (Ace Jack high)
Hero wins $122.60
(Rake: $3.00)

95.5% equity on the turn there with ace-high!


June 29, 2010

I Finally Play a Hand Well (I think...)

I'll be honest, part of the reason I haven't been posting much recently is that I haven't really felt too on top of my game. In particular, my non-showdown winnings have been hurting a bit over the past couple of months compared to what they have been in the past. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing - if you're at a table full of total calling stations, then the optimal response is to forget about non-showdown winnings and just try to maximize the pot size when you've got the best hand and crush in showdown winnings. But I think at the Rush games I've been playing, it isn't necessarily that (i.e., that I am forgoing bluffing opportunities), but that I am getting bluffed and re-bluffed myself a fair amount, and also getting called down lighter than before in some spots.

So I have been more on the lookout recently for more spots where I could run a big bluff, induce some bluffs from opponents, as well as make some thinner value bets in spots where I have been getting looked up light. Here's one hand where I think I played pretty well. Or maybe I just got lucky this time, you can decide for yourself:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG+2: $131.70
MP1: $17.95
MP2: $50.25
CO: $54.80
Hero (BTN): $67.40
SB: $69.65
BB: $21.50
UTG: $28.80
UTG+1: $103.10

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Qh 9h
5 folds, CO raises to $1.50, Hero raises to $5, 2 folds, CO calls $3.50 (The villain in this hand and I didn't really have a history, but I have him at 27/21 over 129 hands, so he is quite an active player. Given that, Q9s is way too good to fold on the button vs. his cutoff open. The main reason I 3-bet instead of flat is that the small blind is fairly squeeze-happy, and calling would put him in a perfect squeeze spot. I don't really want to face a re-raise from him 140 bbs deep, I'd rather just get the pot down to heads up between myself and the CO, or take it down immediately.)

Flop: ($10.75) 6h 4c Ad (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $6.50, CO calls $6.50 (Can hardly ask for a better flop to c-bet. He calls, which means he most likely has something in the AJish range, or perhaps a 76s. It's possible he has AK. I'd usually expect a player like him to just 4b preflop and get it in with AK in these positions, but you never know.)

Turn: ($23.75) Qd (2 players)
CO checks, Hero checks (I wasn't really planning on barreling the turn anyway, but I'm certainly not now that I picked up a pair.)

River: ($23.75) Tc (2 players)
CO bets $15, Hero raises to $55.90 all in, CO folds (OK, here's where it gets interesting. Basically I decided that I have enough very strong hands in my range that I can shove here and get some respect from the medium-strength hand that he almost certainly has. AT is pretty much the best hand he could have. It's possible he has AQ, but I think he 4-bets it preflop a fair amount of the time, plus I have a Q myself. I can have pretty much all of the hands that beat AT. I could certainly check a set or top two on the turn some of the time, AT most of the time, and more importantly, I am checking back TT and KJ there every single time, and 3-betting with them pre-flop pretty much every single time, and he can pretty much never have KJ or TT. Finally, I decided that he was capable of reading hands a little bit, and could fold an AJ, AK, or even possibly an AT here. Or course it's possible he had just a pair of sixes and I was betting for value!)


Final Pot: $53.75
Hero wins $51.10
(Rake: $2.65)

June 3, 2010

Brack is Beautiful (Part 22)

Wow, way too long since our last post. Some random stuff since last post:

1) Went to visit Russia with the gf, was pretty sweet.
2) Been doing a lot of work/research, not that much poker playing...trying to load up for the job market, which starts in the fall, and I hope will not end with me being unemployed.
3) What poker I have been playing has been of the Rush variety.

Anyway, what better way to break a long dry spell than to remind ourselves of the power of SPADES????

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (CO): $65.00
BTN: $151.20
SB: $79.90
BB: $14.50
UTG: $150.75
UTG+1: $53.80
UTG+2: $65.40
MP1: $56.05
MP2: $58.05

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with Ks 4s
5 folds, Hero raises to $1.50, 1 fold, SB calls $1.25, 1 fold (Pretty standard open for me unless the button is just a total 3b monkey)

Flop: ($3.50) 7c 3s 9s (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks (Not my standard play, but I do include it, since 1) I will get check-raised a fair amount on this frop, and I don't want to get it in this deep with 2nfd 2) if I check here and make a frush later, I should get some good value for it, whereas if I bet here, get a call, and make a frush later, I might not get as much 3) I have the best hand at least some of the time, and most of the better hands are not folding to a c-bet, so I'll probably have to barrel the turn too to get him to fold any pair or a decent A-high...which I'm not averse to doing at all 4) protects me in other hands when I want to check down AQ or 44 or something and the board gets gross later, means that he can't blow me off my hands with marginal showdown value quite as profitably)

Turn: ($3.50) 5s (2 players) (I forgot to mention the other reason...spades get there EVERY TIME)
SB checks, Hero bets $2.50, (Great spot for me to bet, because I apparently rep so little after having checked the flop, it looks like I'm just stabbing, which I would do quite a bit with any random spade or six or something. Also it's a board that's supposed to hit a pre-flop caller, so he might think he can raise and try to represent sets/2prs/pair+sd, flush himself since he'd be much more likely to check the frop with a fd than I would)
SB raises to $6.50, Hero raises to $13.50, SB calls $7 (I get the raise out of him, and I decide to go ahead and 3b, and not that big. I could have made it a little more, but again, if I were bluffing, I'd make it pretty small too, both to lay myself a good price at getting him to fold complete air, and also because I wouldn't want to put him in a fold or shove situation with a bare As or 67 of 66 with a spade or something. I'd rather get him to call and then check/fold the river.)

River: ($30.50) 6d (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $34.50, SB folds (At this point, he either has a naked As, or something with some pretty decent showdown value, like 2pr+, maybe a straight. Also this card looks scary, like the kind that I might bluff, but not very credibly, if I had 3b the turn with an As. I say not very credibly because the reason it's scary is that it completes a bunch of straights, but I think he might think that I wouldn't overbet a bare 8, or certainly not a bare 4, for value here with the flush and higher straights possible. So I was hoping he'd think I have air or flush, and a flush not very often after I checked frop, and make a call with a worse hand. Brackchips said I should have bet less, but whatever, that's my reasoning. Anyway he folded after some contemplation, so I guess we'll never know.)

Final Pot: $30.50
Hero wins $29.00
(Rake: $1.50)


April 12, 2010

THIN! (Part 18)

Haven't had a THIN post in quite sometime and felt that this hand simply could not be overlooked for a THIN nomination. Been grinding out NLHE quite a bit with decent success, one thing I have noticed along with Bruechips is that NOBODY FOLDS anymore. NOBODY. From one pair to friggin 8th has become quite difficult to pry people off any of any semblance of a hand. It's friggin nuts. I guess it is just part of the educational evolution part of NLHE as the players get progressively better and the fish pool dwindles. The players that will succeed need to continuously find new ways to exploit their opponents. 3betting/cbetting by even bad players is becoming pretty standard - alot of your edge will come in later streets where players are uncomfortable/unsure as to the best play.

Enter Provided you can VB your hands better than you opponents - you will be ahead of the game. Being able to VB later streets as your villain's range becomes more polarized will maximize your WR.

Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $202.85
UTG+1: $263.25
MP: $200.00
CO: $202.50
Hero (BTN): $490.20
SB: $100.95
BB: $55.55

Pre Flop: ($3.00) Hero is BTN with Ks Jc
2 folds, MP raises to $7, 1 fold, Hero calls $7, 2 folds
(this call is not completely standard - i think a mix of calling, folding and 3b'ing are reasonable. One thing to note is that we are 7 handed. The reason I chose calling here is I felt I might get played back if I 3b here since I had been pretty aggro pre IP, I felt I could outplay him on most flops.)

Flop: ($17.00) 2h Kh 3s (2 players)
MP bets $11, Hero calls $11
(Boom goes the dynamite? Good flop but not necessarily I feel super comfortable raise getting it in with. Raise folding would be retarted for obvious reasons. I call the standard cbet - with the intention to take him into town (value town that is!) if I sense weakness on later street.)

Turn: ($39.00) 7c (2 players)
MP checks, Hero bets $26, MP calls $26
(Pretty much the nut card for me that does not improve my hand...when he x's I'm quite confident that I am best here, I am betting for value but it would be REALLY gross if I got XR here, honestly idk what I would have done. Maybe shit my pants and reshoved, but that is probably influenced by the fact that I know the outcome of the hand.)

River: ($91.00) 9s (2 players)
MP checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $446.20 all in, MP requests TIME, MP calls $156 all in
(After he xc's the turn I can be pretty confident that he does not have a one pair+ hand that beats me. I really think that AK, KQ would have tried to sqz out some more value on the turn when the brick rolls off. It is obvious he is trying to get to SD without putting any more money in the pot. When I am trying to figure out what is the best to bet, I realized that I could very easily make my hand look like a bluff with an overbet shove...and given that NOBODY folds these days I figured it was the best play. I felt that KQ was the ONLY hand that I would be value cutting myself on - but against worse one pair K hands and hands like TT-QQ, I could pwn him hard.)

Final Pot: $403.00
MP mucks Td Kc
Hero shows Ks Jc (a pair of Kings)
Hero wins $400.00
(Rake: $3.00)


March 29, 2010

A Case of the Mondays (Part 12)

Tarrantino's take on TopGun...undoubtedly one of the best youtube clips across the entire interweb. Tremendous stuff.


March 15, 2010

High Stakes Poker Recap, Season 6, Episode 5 THAT is what I like to see in an episode of HSP. Four massive pots that I can remember off the top of my head, three of them very interesting and I think well-played on both sides. With all the action from episode 5, I don't think I'll have time to talk about episode 4, whose best action was a massive non-poker side bet between durrrr and Ivey.

The players are getting more and more aggressive as the match progresses with three, four- and five-bet bluffing pre-flop and re-bluffing post-flop. The best players have adjusted by going for thinner and thinner value.

For instance, Daniel Negreanu manages to get value with a cold 4-bet shove preflop with KQ. One player who needs no excuse to play looser is Eli Elezra. We accumulated more evidence in the case of "Eli Elezra vs. folding", as he called off another thirty-something grand with eight-high preflop. I'm not even kidding, you can watch the tape. It's actually not as terrible a call as you might think once Daniel shows the Q. Eli is calling off $35,900 to win $63,800, so he needs at least 36% equity to call. Given that Daniel shows a Q, Eli has only 37.8% equity against a range of QQ and Q9-QA. Even tightening that up significantly to QQ,AQs,AQo,KQs, Eli has 35.4% equity, which is pretty close to a break-even call. If Daniel doesn't show the Q, it's a worse call because there's more of a chance of Daniel having an overpair. For instance against 77+,ATs+,KQs,AJo+ Eli has only 32.3% equity. But if it's close, we know Eli is calling! He does claim in an earlier hand with Dario that he would have folded his jacks to a river shove, but I have serious doubts.

The first really interesting hand involved, of course, Tom Dwan, and Dario Minieri. Durrrr opens in the cutoff with KTo and Dario 3-bets with K3hh. Durrrr calls, of course, and the flop comes Th3s2c. Durrrr checks to Dario, who bets $13,700 into the $26k pot, and that's where the standard play ends. The first thing to realize about this hand is that Dario is a 3-bet MANIAC, especially in position. He also c-bets probably a little bit more liberally than many of the other players at the table. But even without that, his range is just so wide that KTo is pretty much the nuts against this range, even 200 bbs deep in a 3-bet pot. Most players in durrrr's spot would just call this flop bet, because 1) if you raise, he folds all of his air, and don't you want him to keep barreling on later streets? 2) if he 3-bets, you're in a gross spot because you're afraid of an overpair, AT, or God forbid, a set, in which case you're drawing practically dead 3) if you raise and he calls, you have to play two more streets out of position, which will be tough. These were all the things I was thinking as I watched Dario make the flop bet, and I was dead wrong. Raising is absolutely correct, for a few reasons: 1) it is hard to rep a bluff by calling. By calling, you give Dario a pretty good idea that you have one pair, and AT or KT is as good as you could possibly have, because JJ or better probably 4-bets preflop. You can still induce bluffs by checking, but it's likely to be one barrel or MAAAYYYYBE two, and of course you let free cards come off that could make Dario the better hand. So you put yourself in a position where Dario has a very good idea of what you have, you have no idea what Dario has, and he has position. 2) Dario is fairly likely to spazz out to a raise here, and although sometimes you will get it in drawing pretty thin if Dario has a monster, there are actually a lot of hands that he can go nuts with here. It's common knowledge between Dario and durrrr that Dario is 3-betting a huge range pre-flop and c-betting this flop pretty much every time, so we know that durrrr will be giving action often, either by calling or raising, fairly often, so as to prevent Dario from stealing him blind. So if Dario thinks durrrr isn't merging his check-raising range by check-raising with, say, KTo, then the 3-bet shove on the flop is going to show a good profit with all sorts of hands like any ace-wheel card hand that makes either a pair or a gutter on this flop, particularly if it comes with a backdoor flush draw (and since this is a rainbow flop, if Dario has a suited hand, pretty good chance he has a backdoor draw). Against a lot of players this would be a great play since their check-raising range consists of sets, the occasional slowplayed AA/KK, and then a whole bunch of absolute air and gutter balls that they won't call off 100k more with. So Dario shoves it all in and runs into the absolute worst hand for him, a higher pair with the same kicker, which durrrr pretty much instacalls. Raise/calling this flop by durrrr is just a great play. I know it seems like I'm just nut-hugging durrrr all the time, but the guy is just a monster. Get used to it, because you're about to hear more about it later in this post. I don't think Dario played the hand terribly at all, he just got outleveled a bit by Tom Dwan.

A similar hand played out between Jason Mercier and Phil Ivey. A steaming Gus Hansen opens in early position to $4200 with Q6o. Eli "never met a call I didn't like" Elezra wants to see a flop with 9c5c. Ivey calls on the button with a pair of nines, putting the action on Jason Mercier, who makes it $22,100 to go with Ah4h. Given the state of the game right now (and I'm not just talking about this particular HSP episode, I mean even low-stakes online games that I play at), this play is almost standard at this point. At some point over the last couple of years, people started realizing that 3-betting EP raisers can be very profitable, even against tight openers. I mentioned this a little in my post on Rush poker because I think Rush accelerated this trend to some extent. So when Jason gets a suited ace in the blinds and looking at $15kish in the middle, I think he, most players at this table, and even many regulars at $.50/1 Rush tables, are jacking it up all day long. Ivey is aware of this of course, and will be calling quite a bit lighter than the nines he has. They see a flop of 7h3d2s with $55k in the middle. The flop is similar to the one between Dario and durrrr in that it's rainbow, which puts a lot of backdoor flush draws out, and includes two little cards, which puts wheel draw and pair+ace hands out there. Jason bets $28,700. I'm definitely surprised that Ivey raised here. I don't know that much about Jason's game and maybe Ivey does, but I still don't know if I like this raise by Ivey. The two main differences here between this hand and the durrrr/Dario matchup: 1) Ivey, the pre-flop caller has position, whereas durrrr did not. This argues for calling instead of raising for Phil. It's harder for Jason to pot-control, fire barrels, etc., on later streets without position, which makes it easier for Ivey to make thin value bets and pot control himself than it would have been for durrrr. Also, Phil CAN represent a bluff by calling here, precisely for those reasons. 2) Jason's range is tighter than Dario's, both preflop and on the flop. While the pre-flop 3-bet represents a fairly wide range as I discussed earlier, perhaps as wide as TT+,AQ+,KQs-87s, any suited ace and many suited kings (~11% of all hands), I'd estimate Dario's 3-betting range from the button vs. a durrrr open is at least twice that big. I'm not sure if Phil raises for the same reasons durrrr does in the KT hand - i.e., because he thinks his hand is very strong vs. Jason's range and he thinks Jason will 3-bet bluff a lot. If so, he'll need Jason to be doing a LOT of 3-bet bluffing and/or his range to be a lot wider than what I claimed above. Against that range on this flop, Phil has 60% equity. And I don't think Jason is shoving in all of it. Phil's raise, to $78.7k, is pretty large to be one that's intended to just protect his hand by folding out overcards. It works out this time, as Mercier shoves in for $110kish more. I think Ivey eventually decides that he's put in too much money to fold and does call. I like Jason's play though. He's the player with the much stronger range in the hand, in that he will often have strong overpairs, and after Phil's overcall pre-flop, nines are really the best unimproved pocket pair he can have, to go with the rare sets. Given that Jason is going to have the stronger range and therefore often be making big value bets, he has to balance it with some bluffs, and a gutter, over, and backdoor flush draw is as good a hand as any to pick. If Phil is raise/folding the flop with things like 87s or some other gutter-balls plus the occasional air, Jason's shove will show an easy profit. Even as the cards lay, Jason had 32% equity, which isn't a disaster. But Jason bricks out, sending a $425k pot to Ivey, and Jason to the rail.

But all that is just an appetizer for the last hand of the episode. Phil Laak sits down at the table and immediately raises it up with A9o in early position (humble advice to Phil Laak: don't do that at this table). Eli calls with Ac7c (was there even a doubt?), Ivey calls on the button with Ad6d, Negreanu somehow finds a call in the small blind with Jc3c, putting the action on durrrr, who looks down at 9s8s (SPADES!!!). The Unabomber starts talking about how he expects durrrr to raise now, which is an attempt to get durrrr not to raise (the logic goes like this: buddy, I know what you're trying to do, I'm totally prepared for it, so don't mess around...the actual process is: don't raise, I can't call!). Durrrr reads this pretty easily and throws in the chips for a call along with a $25k chip.

Everyone folds (Eli especially reluctantly, announcing that letting go of the Ac7c is the "worst fold of his life", so that he won't look dumb on TV if durrrr has 9-high) but Ivey, and they see a flop of KdQcTd with $70.7k in the middle. Durrrr c-bets $45.8k, which I think is pretty much mandatory. Although it looks like a pretty gross flop, durrrr sets himself a pretty good price at roughly 2/3 pot. This means that if Ivey folds more than 1/3 of the time, durrrr shows immediate profit. The flop nails all of Ivey's broadway hands, but there are enough low pocket pairs and suited connectors in Ivey's pre-flop calling range that this bet will show a profit, as I don't think Ivey is fighting back with those hands on this flop really ever. Ivey is faced with a big decision here. He could raise and probably fold out some hands that do beat him. All underpairs, for instance. Perhaps AQ/AK/JJ. However Phil decides to call because: 1) They are VERY deep. durrrr says he started the hand with about 750k and Ivey has him covered. 2) durrrr could have a monster like a set or a straight, or a lower diamond draw, all of which will pay off big time if a diamond comes, and Ivey doesn't get a good result from either group of hands by raising the flop 3) Ivey has position, so he SHOULD be able to take it away from Dwan if he has air on later streets, since who keeps firing shells with air at Phil fawking Ivey on this board?? 4) I think durrrr would often be checking a flop like this to Ivey with some of the better hands that he'd fold to a raise if he had bet, like AQ, maybe even AK/QJ/JJ.

Phil's call brings the pot to around $160k and the turn brings a total blank, the 3s. Durrrr's decision here is basically check and give up, bet the turn and give up on the river, or fire both the turn and the river. I don't think there's any way he can check the turn and then bet the river if the turn checks through. It's just too difficult to represent a hand on the river after checking the turn on that draw-heavy a board in that big a pot.

So which play is best? First, what does Ivey's range look like to durrrr? So far he has called Laak's open on the button, called durrrr's $25k re-raise preflop, and called the 2/3 pot c-bet on the flop. This is a pure float almost never IMHO. It's possible Ivey has a set of tens. If he flopped a set of tens, I'm pretty sure he'd just call on the flop. If he raises and gets it in, it's almost always going to be against a straight, a higher set, or a monster draw (pay no mind to Gabe Kaplan saying durrrr is never folding AK or AA nearly 1000 bbs deep on this flop, but KQ and J9 are other candidates for inclusion). Against that range, Phil would have only 39% equity with a set of tens. The unlikely part of the set of tens story is the pre-flop action, where Phil just called when Laak raised and Eli called in front of him. It's true that earlier he made a very similar play with 99, but I think at least some of the time he'd be re-raising with TT there. KQ is in roughly the same spot. AJ is another very strong hand Ivey could have. Again, he'd probably 3-bet it pre-flop at least occasionally, but I think he'd call/call preflop with AJ more than TT. I think he raises the flop with it though. There are a lot of bad turn cards for AJ, i.e., a lot of ways the best hand can become the worst one, or at least have its action killed. Any A, any J, any 9, any diamond, and even the board pairing is bad for Ivey. That's a lot of cards to worry about. AJ has 57% equity against the strong range I mentioned earlier. Although TT also has to worry about all these cards, bottom set isn't really strong enough to get it all in with this deep on this board, and also could improve by filling up to beat a flopped straight. By contrast, AJ, being the nuts, is obviously strong enough to raise and get it in with (although in PLO with no redraw this definitely wouldn't be the case), and can only get worse on the turn or river. The same applies, to a somewhat lesser extent to J9s, although I think Jd9d will just call always. This rounds out the really strong part of Ivey's range for calling pre- and on flop. I'd say it's something like 20% of his AJ hands, 50% of his TT hands, 60% of his J9s hands, and 100% of his KQ hands. From durrrr's perspective, with the 9s in his hand, that makes .2*16 + .5*3 + .6*3 + 9 = 15.5 combos. These hands Ivey is certainly not folding on the turn and is probably not folding on almost any river (an Ad and a durrrr barrel gets Ivey off KQ for sure, but I don't think there are enough of these situations that durrrr would want to bet the turn if he knew Ivey had KQ).

What else is in there that durrrr might hope to get a fold from with further betting? First, many diamond draws. Diamond draw hands that will probably call one more bet on the turn and then fold unimproved on the river: AdQd (less likely due to preflop action), Ad9d,Ad8d,Ad7d,Ad6d,Ad5d,Ad4d,Ad3d,Ad2d,QdJd,Qd9d. We'll throw out AdQd for reasons mentioned and call it 10 hands even. Diamond draw hands that fold immediately on the turn (I think): 9d8d,9d7d,8d7d,7d6d,6d5d,5d4d, perhaps others...but let's just call it 6 combos. The second group of hands are other hands with some showdown value and also some chance of improving. These include AQ, JJ (again, both less likely because of preflop action, but still possible), and then the jack+pair hands, KJ, QJ, JT. Tough to say how often Ivey is calling pre-flop with the offsuit varieties of these hands. But given that there are 12 combos of each possible, let's say Ivey calls preflop always with the suited versions, and half the time with offsuit ones. This means 3 + (1/2)*9 = 7.5 combinations of each hand. Let's call it 22 even for the total. You'll notice immediately that we're already getting past the combinations of monsters that Ivey could have mentioned above. If Ivey calls turn and folds river unimproved with the jack+pair hands as well as the diamond hands mentioned above, that's 32 combinations of hands calling turn and folding river, along with the 6 that fold immediately.

With so few hands folding on the turn (only the weak diamond draws, perhaps some other random hands not considered here like the occasional ATo), barreling turn and giving up on river is clearly the worst idea (you probably could have guessed that from the beginning). What about betting $123k on the turn and then $270k on some rivers? Which rivers? Let's assume for the moment the worst for this strategy, that Ivey will slowplay his monster hands and call down on every river durrrr bets. Let's also say that durrrr will fire any river that's not an A, J, or 9, and that Ivey folds his jack+pair hands to these bets unless he improves to trips, and checks back all jack rivers. With his diamond draw hands, he obviously calls or shoves if a diamond hits, and we'll say he folds any other river to a bet, and also checks back a jack on the river.

Calculating the EV of two bets:

Against 15.5 combos of monsters:
EV vs. TT&KQ:
10.8*((33/44)*(-123-270) + (4/44)*(123 + 140) + (7/44)(-123)) = -3136
EV vs. AJ/J9:
4.7*((35/44)*(-123-270) + (9/44)*(-123)) = -1587

Against 10 combos of diamond draws:
(as an approximation, assume all are ace-high draws)
10*((9/44)*(-123-270) + (3/44)*(123+140) + (6/44)*(-123) + (26/44)*(123+140)) = 762

Against 22 combos of jack+pair:
22*((7/44)*(-123)+(2/44)*(-123-270)+(35/44)*(123+140)) = 3779

Add up all these numbers, you get -183. Then divide by 15.5 + 10 + 22 = 37.5, Ivey's total hand combinations, and you get an EV of -4.9k. Using our assumptions, it's a -EV play by a RAZOR thin margin. Change things just a little bit (for instance, if Ivey never has TT or if he plays QT like QJ), then it becomes +EV for durrrr.

Whether through these calculations or some other, durrrr does end up firing the two more shells. The river happens to give Ivey a pair of sixes, and amazingly, he contemplates calling the $270k for QUITE a while. He is surely aware that durrrr probably puts him on something like the range I mentioned above, and could be trying to bluff him. Part of the problem is that durrrr still could be bluffing with a better hand (99,T9,JT, say), which is why Ivey asked how much durrrr had left - he might be better off shoving than calling to avoid this possibility, albeit at the cost of another $300k if durrrr does have a hand to call him with. Finally after much contemplation Ivey does lay down fourth pair to the $270k river bet.

I'll leave off the commentary there before this thing becomes a novel. But needless to say, both of these guys were way above the rim on this hand. It was exciting to watch. Another HSP season, another legendary durrrr bluff. In a show featuring a number of daring massive post-flop bluffs, his was the only one that worked. Hopefully the action only heats up from here.


March 14, 2010

PLO - Misc

Hey folks, thought I'd throw in a PLO hand and mix things up a bit. I have spent several months trying to learn the ropes of the game and despite my poor results, I really have enjoyed the challenge of a new game. The state of NLHE games is pretty rough right now, the game is by no means "solved" - but there are fewer and fewer fishy games. That being said, IMHO there is definitely some money to be made at the PLO tables - provided you can handle the insane variance, ROR!

Let's get into the action...

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 5 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BB: $174.60
UTG: $204.90
CO: $160.00
BTN: $386.90
Hero (SB): $346.10

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is SB with 3s 4c 6d 2h
1 fold, CO raises to $12, 1 fold, Hero calls $10, 1 fold

Flop: ($28.00) Jh 5d 2s (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $14, Hero raises to $52, CO calls $38

Turn: ($132.00) 4h (2 players)
Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $132, CO calls $96 all in

River: ($324.00) Th (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $324.00
CO shows 7h Ac 9h Ah (a flush, Ace high)
Hero shows 3s 4c 6d 2h (a straight, Six high)
CO wins $321.00
(Rake: $3.00)

Prefrop - I'm by no means a PLO expert, but I believe my defense here in a HU pot where I will be closing the action is pretty standard. That being said, if I were in the SB, it might be closer towards a fold especially when you are in a pot with a squeeze happy BB. While I'd obviously prefer a rundown with some higher cards and frush draw potential - this is a hand I feel you can defend as it rarely dominated and has quite a bit of deception when you do make a hand.

Frop - And BOOM goes the dynamite...I flop bottom pair, and a nice wrap. It is a pretty standard spot for a xr here because the board looks harmless - and I expect the villain to cbet most of his range on this board. Much to my surprise the villain cold calls (given the stack sizes, I figured he would fold his air or simply go with his made hands of 1 pair+). When he calls here I thought he might be running some kind of soul read and folding to a straight completing turn card.

Turn - always nice to bink the nuts. I ship it in and get snapped off by dry aces (that picked up a FD on the turn). Unfortunately by some freak accident hearts gets there and I rose the pot...can't win em all!