November 26, 2008

Thanks for Not Stacking Me, Bro! (Part 8)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! More small stakes 6-max donkery....

Seat 1: UTG ($26.80)
Seat 6: bruechips ($100)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [5h Th]
UTG calls $0.50
4 folds...
bruechips checks

*** FLOP *** [7h 9c Kh]
bruechips bets $1.25 (I frop a frush draw with and some backdoor straight draws. UTG has a 50 bb stack and open limped, so I'm just assuming he's a donk. My bet is intended to get a fold out of underpairs and A-high hands that missed.)
UTG calls $1.25

*** TURN *** [7h 9c Kh] [Qh]
bruechips checks (I make my frush. At the time I thought I would be better off trying to get varue on the river from a worse hand, because he probably wouldn't pay off two bets with anything less than a king, and if he had a king he probably would have raised the frop. But looking at it now, I think vs. a donk a bet is probably better because I do think he'd pay off two bets with QJ or certainly JT for a turned straight. Also there are some hands that will pay off a turn bet but NOT a river bet, like hands with one heart in them or T8. So although checking turned out to work out well this time, on average I think betting for value is best.)
UTG checks (I'm kind of thinking he has some T9/QJ kind of hand for a pair and a gutterball.)

*** RIVER *** [7h 9c Kh Qh] [7d]
bruechips bets $3 (Now put in a value bet)
UTG raises to $6 (This bet by him is pretty retarded. It's possible he's trying to get some thin value out of trip 7's or a straight or even a lower flush and I'm missing value by not shoving, but with all the possibilities for full houses and higher flushes, I decided to just call, as I think I am not ahead of his range for calling my shove.)
bruechips calls $3

*** SHOW DOWN ***
UTG shows [Jh 9h] a flush, King high

Thanks for not stacking me, bro! I think his flat calling my frop bet is OK, since I'd often be firing more barrels with a worse hand, and I'd probably never be folding a K given his stack size. But I think he should bet that turn. And certainly if he's not betting the turn, he should raise more on the river. You can't flush-over-flush somebody and win just 12 bbs.


November 24, 2008

Brack is Beautiful (Part 13)

There's nothing more satisfying that putting in a beautiful overbet for value (OBFV). This one was at a deep-stacked 6-max table. This guy and I had been tangling quite a bit already.

Seat 5: SB ($235.50)
Seat 6: bruechips (UTG) ($152.90)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [As Qs]
bruechips raises to $1.75 (Raise spades for varue)
BB raises to $5.95
bruechips calls $4.20 (While we had been going to war with each other, him 3-betting my UTG open is still pretty strong. In any case this deep, with position, I'd rather call and take a flop than 4-bet and risk getting 5-bet and having to fold a nice hand.)

*** FLOP *** [4c Qc Ah]
BB checks
bruechips bets $8 (One thing you don't want to do here is slowplay. AA, QQ, and 44 are the only hands that beat me. I doubt he'd 3-bet me when I opened UTG with 44, and I have an A and a Q, making AQ very unlikely. Also I'm pretty confident he would be c-betting a set with the draws out there and given how aggressively we had been playing each other. I think he would c-bet if he missed completely too. What pre-flop raiser can resist betting at an ace-high flop when given the opportunity? His check tells me that he's trying to play pot control with a medium strength made hand, like AJ or worse.)
UTG calls $8

*** TURN *** [4c Qc Ah] [4h]
BB checks
bruechips bets $18 (I am still very confident I have the best hand. I continue to valuetown. The 4h is actually a great card because all aces below AK now chop, playing the Q kicker that's on the board. He may now be more willing to give action if he has a weakish ace, AND he may think that I put him on a bare ace and am trying to bluff him where it looks like he'd be calling only for a split.)
BB calls $18

*** RIVER *** [4c Qc Ah 4h] [9d]
BB checks
bruechips bets $120.95, and is all in (Part of my decision here involved a timing tell. He QUICKLY check/called both my flop and turn bets. This is very indicative of a weak made hand. I think villains feel like the quick check/call might disarm someone from making a bluff or a thin value bet on later streets because the speed of their call indicates confidence that they have the best hand. I could bet $35-$40 here and be pretty sure I'd get paid off, but I decided to go for it all and make a massive 240 bb bet on the river and hope he'd get curious. There are some similarities between this hand and one that Foucault posted a few days ago. His post and my comments talk about optimal calling frequencies in river overbet situations.)
BB calls $120.95

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Seat 5: BB mucked [Kd Ks] - two pair, Kings and Fours

I was just hoping he'd get curious with AK/AJ/AT. KK? Wow. If only I had AT instead of AQ and made the same play. Man that would have been sweet.


November 17, 2008

No Reason to Slowplay Donks

I can't find the exact HH, but I remember observing this hand in the early stages of a 90-player KO tourney...there's maybe a limp or two up front, a late position raise, which is called by one of the limpers. The flop is A-high, it goes check-check on the flop and turn, the limper leads for 1/2 pot or something on the river and gets called by the pre-flop raiser. The limper shows AA and the raiser shows KK. What a MONSTERPOTTEN of value missed by AA by not raising preflop. He could have gotten a whole stack, instead he got 9-10 bbs.

I guess some players feel that their raises are so transparent that they won't get paid off. But let me tell you, I play tight enough early in tourneys that any non-brain-dead opponent wouldn't be putting in their whole stack with, say, middle pair. But fortunately, early in MTTs, there are plenty of brain-dead opponents for the taking. These guys will probably not be around long and you don't want to lose what might be your only chance at getting all their chips. Here are a couple of hand histories where my hand was completely obvious, yet I still got paid off:

Seat 3: MP (3,150)
Seat 5: Button (2,408)
Seat 6: bruechips (SB) (2,970)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Kh Ks]
MP raises to 95
Button raises to 345
bruechips raises to 875 (You might think that this raise looks ridiculously strong and I couldn't possibly get action from less)
BB calls (I promise I'm not doctoring this HH)
MP folds
Button calls 530

*** FLOP *** [2s Qs 9h]
bruechips bets 2,095, and is all in (Don't worry about QQ or check to induce a bluff from AK, just shove for value)
BB folds
Button calls 1,533, and is all in
bruechips shows [Kh Ks] (What were you expecting?)
Button shows [9s Ac] (Apparently something else)

Seat 1: bruechips (UTG) (2,985)
Seat 6: CO (2,860)
Seat 9: BB (3,190)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Ah As]
bruechips raises to 120
Button raises to 280
BB calls 240
bruechips raises to 1,000 (UTG 4-bet into two players usually indicates strength)
CO raises to 2,860, and is all in
BB folds
bruechips calls 1,860
CO shows [9h 9s] (This donk missed that memo)

I have literally dozens of similar hand histories. The moral is, when playing vs. donks, playing tight does not mean you won't get action from your big hands. And early in tourneys, there are a lot of donks at the table.


November 15, 2008

Not compounding a mistake

Not compounding a mistake…

Despite there being only three postfrop streets in NLHE, there are so many paths that can be taken along the decision tree of postfrop actions.  It is incredibly difficult to make the optimal play in the course of a hand that is played all the way through to the river…and when you do make a mistake, you have to do your best not to make things any worse.  Since all your chips are at risk at any given time in NLHE, it’s imperative to limit your mistakes.  While you do not have to play optimally in order to be a successful player in NLHE, one of the key ingredients to winning is making fewer mistakes than you opponents. 

Here is a hand I recently played…commentary to follow. 

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Brackchips [Ah Ad]
Brackchips raises to $16 (EP)
LP calls $16 (LP)
*** FLOP *** [Qd 9d 4s]
Brackchips bets $26
LP calls $26
*** TURN *** [Qd 9d 4s] [As]
Brackchips checks
LP checks
*** RIVER *** [Qd 9d 4s As] [8h]
Brackchips checks
LP bets $48
Brackchips calls $48
*** SHOW DOWN ***
LP shows [Ts Js] a straight, Queen high
LP wins the pot ($183) with a straight, Queen high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $186 | Rake $3
Board: [Qd 9d 4s As 8h]

I went for a CR on the turn in an attempt to fatten the pot…but unfortunately the villain checked behind.  I absolutely HATE my turn check.  I am betting this for value and as a bluff literally 95% of the time since the A is a good card for my range…and not the villain.   

When one of the obvious draws came in, my only play was to check call and pray he missed diamonds.  In the chat afterwards, the villain was very surprised that I only check called, but based on his profile…it is the ONLY play.  There is only one hand in his range that I am missing value from by not CR’ing the river…AQ.  Also…it is so incredibly unlikely that he has exactly AQ here since I have AA.

While I have the second nuts on the river…against my villain’s range, my hand is simply a bluff catcher.  He either has missed diamonds, JT for the nuts, or a Qx type hand.  If he holds a Qx hand other than AQ, I am CERTAIN he is incapable of value betting it.   It’s pretty thin as far as whether he would call a bet with my bet, check, bet line with a Qx hand…but as far as the figuring out the optimal line vs his entire range, I am confident that a check was best.  

While my turn check was obviously a mistake, I was able to limit my losses.  


November 10, 2008

Brack is Beautiful (Part 12)

Standard spade power...

$24 + $2 Sit & Go, Table 3 - 150/300 - No Limit Hold'em
Seat 1: Button (5,719)
Seat 9: bruechips (CO) (3,905)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [8s 4s]
bruechips raises to 800 (As I have stressed before, at these stages of the tourney you really have to take ANY chance to be able to accumulate some flop-less chips. Here it's folded to me in the cutoff, and I'm raising a very wide range, incruding spades FOR VARUE. Usually I'll raise somewhere between 2.25-2.75x the bb, depending on what kind of players are behind me. The button was a little on the loose side so I raised on the bigger side to discourage him from calling.)
Button calls 800

*** FLOP *** [Kc Js As]
Button chats: uh oh
bruechips bets 1,500 (Obvious bet...and obvious call if he shoves for my last 1600. To some players a shove from me would look weak and make them more likely to call with pocket nines or something. I pay pretty much no attention to his donkey chatter.)
Button calls 1,500

*** TURN *** [Kc Js As] [6s]
bruechips checks (At this point it doesn't really matter what I do, the money is just going in. I decided to check and call just in case he had something like JTo that he might fold if I shoved. But even that I think he'd probably call at this point.)
Button chats: gg
Button bets 1,605
bruechips calls 1,605, and is all in (I don't know why this donkey is telling me "gg" already - he has me covered, so he's trying to say I'm done if I call. Whatever, I'm obviously calling.)
Button shows [Qh Kd] (GG?!?!? How about DD for Drawing Dead!! ROR!!! Nice try on the leveling, donk!)

I really hate everything about how he played this hand. Flatting KQs on the button only 12 bbs deep...hate it. Just shove it in like a man if you want to play it. Flop...I guess it doesn't really matter. Turn once checked to...again it doesn't matter that much since there's not much less behind compared to the pot size, but not much reason to bet there. If I had a hand worse than his that I were going to call JT or QJ...then I probably would have just gone ahead and shoved it in first. But he's not close to beating my calling range, the rest of which is flushes, straights, and maybe some two-pairs.


November 8, 2008


I recently finished the worst month of my online poker…I lost far and away more than my previous worst month.  The stars aligned and nothing went right…I played mediocre at best, ran terribly, overplayed hands, did not table select well enough, played too many tables, played sesh’s that ran too long - and about 2/3 way through the month I completely lost all confidence in my ability to win/play/succeed at NLHE.  I found myself playing catch up towards the end of the month…chasing my losses in an attempt to not have a losing month.  Needless to say, it was a bad idea…lol. 

While I did get beat up this month…all was not lost.  Bruechips taught me a few things about river play…which saved my roll from completely disappearing, lol.  The lesson being, J high is the nuts. 

Dealt to brackchips [Th Jh] - MP
brackchips raises to 16
CO calls
*** FLOP *** [7h Ac 8c]
brackchips bets $28
CO calls $28
*** TURN *** [7h Ac 8c] [8h]
brackchips checks
CO checks
*** RIVER *** [7h Ac 8c 8h] [2c]
brackchips checks
CO bets $44
brackchips calls $44
*** SHOW DOWN ***
CO shows [6s 5s] a pair of Eights
brackchips shows [Th Jh] a pair of Eights
brackchips wins the pot ($179) with a pair of Eights
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $182 | Rake $3
Board: [7h Ac 8c 8h 2c]
Seat 3: brackchips showed [Th Jh] and won ($179) with a pair of Eights
Seat 4: CO showed [6s 5s] and lost with a pair of Eights

Next time, pray your draws rike a man and you won't get soul owned.  

Despite the carnage done to my bankroll...I’m determined to rebound.  This is a game that can be beat…and I’ve done so on a consistent basis for some time.  While my game my have a bit more variance than most, I need to remember that one crappy month does not mean I am a losing player.  

Here’s to PWNING November.  

November 4, 2008

Erection Day

I hope everybody voted today, regardless of your how you decided to cast your ballot. One bit of advice to all the politicians inheriting the reins of our debt-ridden country - how about you legalize a legitimate Born-In-the-USA growth industry that millions of Americans enjoy anyway? Right now as I'm typing Full Tilt has 21,000 tables running as high as $200/$400. And the U.S. government isn't taxing any of it, because it's illegal. Legalize it and tax it. You might be able to fund AIG's Christmas party with the proceeds.


November 3, 2008

Thanks For Not Stacking Me, Bro! (Part 7)

Personally this is my first installment of this series since I (unlike bruechips) tend to stack off much lighter and thus do not have as many canidates for this series. Check out the HH below...

Preflop...we have a UTG limp (who I already have pegged as a donk), and a raise from MP. I have a pretty easy 3b here with rockets here. It's a little puzzling when UTG flats and the OR folds...but I definitely prefer getting the pot HU IP. The question I have to ask myself preflop is...WTF is his range here? AK? A weirdly played KK? A random pocket pair? thoughts - HOW QUICKLY CAN I GET THE MONEY IN? Seriously, a 922r flop? He needs to have exactly 99 or a 2x combination (extremely unlikely) to have me beat here. He xc's the frop bet and I am able to narrow down his range a bit, 9x, TT-QQ? Air? Honestly I never considered a deuce...maybe that's a leak/mistake but its just so unlikely bc there are already two in the board.

Turn...another stone blank - my thoughts again - HOW QUICKLY CAN I GET THE MONEY IN? I was VERY tempted to just overbet ship the turn for a few reasons...there were a ton of turn cards that could scare him. If he has a 9x hand...any picture card may slow him down. Also, the average donk DNF (does not fold) so I figured I could get some sicko value from a hand like A9, TT-QQ.

River - an overcard, kind of an innocent card, but suddenly the villain shows the first bit of aggression by betting out...which is INCREDIBLY strange. WTF. Let's review, UTG limp call a 3b, xc, xc, bet. Also, his bet sizing is WAY GHEY - I'm tempted to raise it just on principle...but now I am behind a super strangely played QQ, but not raising would lose value from AQ. at the same time...could he have xc'd to big bets with AQ high? That would be even weirder. Maybe he has a deuce? He also could have turned TT-JJ into some sort of weird bluff.

My decision between calling/raising was super thin. While I'd like to attribute my decision to call go my online soul reading abilities - it really just came to down the fact that his line made no sense...and there weren't enough combinations of hands that he would call with that I beat.

Through a mix of slowplaying and ghey bet sizing, the villain missed out on the remainder of his effective stack.  I am playing this hand for stacks on the flop and turn no questions asked.