February 28, 2009

Excited about the Obama Budget

Barack Obama came into office promising, much like most of his 43 predecessors, a sea change in how politics work in Washington, a move away from partisanship and special interests and towards parternship and national interests, etc etc blah blah blah.... Usually this is just totally horeshit, and it may be in this case too, but the recently released budget plans are a sign that this time might actually be different.

First, it is a much more honest accounting of the expected expenditures our country will face in the future. For instance, Obama includes projected spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in projecting future deficits, whereas Bush projections assumed that these expenses would magically vanish in the future. 

Perhaps more impressive than the better transparency are the policy changes. Obama's plan to end all agricultural subsidies to farms with more than $500k in annual revenue represents an attack on the most ingrained of all special interests. Agricultural subsidies have long been the prime example held up by economists of inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. They also serve as an example of an "iron triangle" described by political scientists, a system of circular backscratching, nearly impossible to break, which results in billions of dollars being handed to special interests (in this case, farmers). If Obama were able to eliminate these subisidies, it would be an act of true statesmanship, in that is clearly in the national interest, but will require a lot of political capital and he will likely get no credit for it from the general public.

Another major step forward is in environmental policy. The budget anticipates hundreds of billion dollars in revenue from sales of carbon permits. Past proposals on emissions trading have usually simply endowed past polluters with current permits, which they could then trade. Obama's proposal would instead auction off the permits, which results in revenue for the government, and does not reward past pollution.

Finally, Obama promises to shift a lot of money into expenditure on health care. While that money won't get us all the way to nationalized health care, it makes a signficant step in that direction. I feel fairly confident in saying that a move to nationalized health care would be the single easiest (mechanically, not politically) and most effective way of increasing this nation's welfare. Feel free to disagree with me in comments if you want, but before you do, take a look at where the US ranks vs. other countries in terms of most indicators of national health, and then take a look at where we rank in dollars spent per person per year on health care. The results might surprise you.


February 26, 2009

Getting Nitty with QQ out of position....

Maybe I played these hands just way too gheyly, but if I'm making mistakes here, I'm pretty sure they're not big ones. Sometimes I'd rather give up a small pot than create a big one where I have a small edge at best, but I'd welcome any comments on these hands (both these are full ring games):

Seat 2: bruechips (BB) ($158.10)
Seat 3: UTG ($9.75)
Seat 4: UTG+1 ($190.25)
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Qd Qs]
UTG calls $0.50
UTG+1 raises to $2.25
bruechips calls $1.75 (The raiser was a fairly loose and aggressive player. He was at about 21/18 in the couple hundred hands I had against him, and I thought he was playing well. Three-betting more than 300 bbs deep is pretty tough, because he's going to call almost every time and his position plus the deepness of stacks gives him a monster advantage. The UTG limper is obviously a donk, but he's also short-stacked, and the deep-stacked LAG is also in early position, so he probably has something decent. I decided to just call. I'm not quite just set-mining, but I'm trying to control pot size and get some value post-flop on the right boards.)
UTG folds

*** FLOP *** [Ah Jh 9c]
bruechips checks (NOT the board I was looking for)
UTG+1 bets $4 (At this point, I can't really continue. Sure, he could have KQ or TT or JT or a heart draw, but I doubt he's going to be just checking down turn and river if I check/call. What huge hand can I rep if I check/call this flop? And I don't think my hand is good enough call down 3 barrels, especially once a K or T or heart or J peels off on the turn or river. I could turn my hand into a bluff by check-raising, but I will get called down at least once by any A, hearts, QT, maybe even KQ or JT. So unless I want to put in another big barrel on the turn - so this play is going to end up costing me $40 or so - raising here is, as David Benefield likes to say, lighting money on fire. I really just have to fold.)  
bruechips folds

In this hand, I'm also out of position, and it's the nittiness of the villain, as well as the deepness of stacks, that makes me passive:

Seat 3: bruechips ($116.35)
Seat 6: MP ($139.85)
Seat 8: Hijack ($99.50)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Qc Qd]
MP calls $0.50
Hijack raises to $2.25
bruechips calls $1.75 (The Hijack has a pre-flop raise percentage of 1 or 2 in a few hundred hands. That's pretty much AA and KK only. Maybe he limps AA sometimes and occasionally raises QQ or AK. Either way, there's not much value in a raise.)
MP calls $1.75

*** FLOP *** [2h Kd Jh]
bruechips checks
MP checks
Hijack bets $7 (He bets into two players. I'm behind AK. And also JJ now if he were getting "frisky" (for him) with it preflop. MP is still left to act behind me. No point in continuing.)
bruechips folds
MP folds


February 25, 2009

Sprit Pot (Part 7)

This was a frustrating sprit pot...got a freeroll from a donkey and couldn't spike anything...fawking hearts....

Seat 1: EP ($121.25)
Seat 3: MP ($75.95)
Seat 5: bruechips (button) ($115.95)
Seat 6: SB ($40.70)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Jh Kh]
EP calls $0.50
MP calls $0.50
bruechips raises to $2.75 (Standard rimper punishment)
SB calls $2.50
EP calls $2.25
MP calls $2.25

*** FLOP *** [3s 6h 2h]
SB checks
EP checks
MP bets $11.50
bruechips raises to $28 (A weak player donks into me for full pot on a scary board. I'm looking for a bet/fold out of maybe a 44/55/A4, or just total air. Or a bet/shove out of QhTh, that would be nice! Anyway I obviously don't mind getting it in vs. A4 or 44 that much anyway. I'd be pretty surprised if he took this line with a set or straight.)
SB folds
MP folds
MP raises to $73.20, and is all in
bruechips calls $45.20 (OK he shoves...I'm obviously not folding at this point.)
MP shows [Jd Kc] (Uhh...??)
bruechips shows [Jh Kh]

*** TURN *** [3s 6h 2h] [7d]
*** RIVER *** [3s 6h 2h 7d] [8c]

MP ties for the pot ($77.45) with King Jack high
bruechips ties for the pot ($77.45) with King Jack high

OK, ghey...chop it up. Let the record show I think his play is terrible. I don't think I'm ever raise/folding this flop in a 4-way pot. If we were heads up and he 3-bet shoved KJ on a AT3 board or something like that, that can be a good play sometimes because 1) he has a draw to the nuts, 2) I will bluff raise a donk bet on that board pretty often, and 3) he could potentially rep more strong hands like A3/AT, whereas none of the 2-pr combos in this hand are very plausible. I wish I could give up a suckout in some other pot to spike a heart on the river in this one to punish this donk for his terrible play.

As a side note, I have been playing lower limits recently, not because of a big downswing or anything, thank god, but just because I don't have that much time to play these days. Because of that, I feel like I'm not quite as sharp when I'm playing and also I don't have time to play a bunch of hands to even out my variance at higher stakes (oooo 1/2 the nosebleeds!! ROR). So until I get more than a couple of hours a week to play, I'll probably donk around at NL50.


February 19, 2009

Tilted by the News

As loyal readers know, I'm in graduate school. One of the responsibilities of most grad students is to work as a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes. So I was pretty tilted when I saw this article in the Times. A choice quote:

"A recent study by researchers at the Unversity of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B's just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading."

The gist of the article is that students believe that their grades should correspond to their effort (or at least, they believe if they work hard they should get good grades, I didn't see anything about students who don't work hard but do well on tests deserving bad grades) and not the quality of their work. What a terrible lesson to teach young adults about the way the world works. The function of grades are to tell anyone who cares to know, be that an potential employer or the student herself, how well the student understands the material presented in the course. This allows the employer to evaluate how competent this student would be in completing similar tasks in a job, and allows the student to determine whether they need to study more or have any sort of capacity for work in the field. 

This function is vitiated by giving grades for effort and not performance, even putting aside the fact that effort is not observable. It is possible to tilt grades more towards effort, for instance by assigning a lot of busy work homeworks that constitute a large portion of the grade and weighting less towards exams (although note that even this is a far cry from handing out a B to all the students that show up). There is some value in assessing a student's ability to take responsibility for a simple and easy task. I think it's OK to let a failing student get a passing grade by virtue of completing such assignments. Or dropping an A student down to an A- if she can't manage to get them done. But if someone gets a C or a D on all the tests, how can they expect to get a B for the course just because they attended lectures?? Learn the material and get an A on the exams, moron! Or if you spent that much time studying and still couldn't hack it, find a new department!! You aren't entitled to a good grade just because you showed up!

Really this is just one more step in a process of ceding control of universities over to undergraduates. This is a predictable result of universities deriving much of their revenue from undergraduate tuition and fees. The customer is always right. These days, the "customers" are handed course evaluation forms at the end of every class so they can deny tenure to all the professors who have the gall to deny them the B they so richly deserve for showing up to class that day.


February 17, 2009

Tasty River Check

I will get right into the HH and follow up some comments…

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (9 handed) 

Button ($454.40)
SB ($525)
UTG ($624.30)
UTG+1 ($422.75)
MP1 ($769.60)
MP2 ($463.60)
MP3 ($429.30)
Hero (CO) ($422)

Preflop: Hero is CO with Q, A
UTG+1 raises to $12, 1 fold, MP2 calls $12, 1 fold, Hero calls $12, 1 fold, SB calls $10, 1 fold

Flop: ($52) 6, J, 2 (4 players)
SB checks, UTG+1 checks, MP2 checks, Hero bets $32, 1 fold, UTG+1 calls $32, 1 fold

Turn: ($116) J (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero checks

River: ($116) A (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero checks

Total pot: $116 | Rake: $3
UTG+1 had J, J (four of a kind, Jacks).
Hero had Q, A (two pair, Aces and Jacks).
Outcome: UTG+1 won $113

Prefrop – calling with AQs standard…but I know my equity is significantly lacking bc ANYONE who reads this blog understands the most fundamental concept we stress here at spritpot – HEARTS NEVER GET THERE.  Spades is the only reliable soot you can count on for a frush…you show me one hand where you make a heart frush and I wirr show you three where I make one with a spades.  Its not math or theory…its just fact.  Spades are the nuts.  Calling with a non sooted spade cards is a bit thin.  We would make a video and post it on Cardrunnners – but we’d be giving away the only unknown secret in poker.  Our fan base is loyal and we gotta keep certain secrets about this mysterious game of NLHE to ourselves. 

Frop – the UTG raiser checks along with UTG+2…for me, this is pretty much an autobet.  I am going to get folds from better hands like pp’s and AK…and have position for the remainder of the hand – so in the event that I get called…I am confident that I can outskill/outluck them FTW.   UTG xc’s...and I INSTA put him on some kind of draw.  What kind of retard would play a made hand this way in a multiway pot oop? 

Turn – well its VERY unlikely he has a J here now that there are two out on the board already, when he checks – I go ahead an check behind fully intending to INSTACARR a river bet that is not a diamond. 

River – I had my opp on a draw the whole way and diamonds gets there – but gives me top pair, nottoshabby kicker.  I was so tempted to stick in a vb here, but what the herr can I get carred by?  ZERO.  MAYBE a stubborn TT, but this opponent was pretty passive (which is highlighted further when he tables the stone nuts). 

Rooking back on this hand…it’s a CERTAINTY that he won the STONE minimum on this hand – exactly 8 bb’s postfrop.  If he would have bet out on this frop…there is def a chance I would float, bruff raise – which for him would have been exponentially more profitable.  Say I bluff raise, he calls, turn xx, when the river comes…I’m mor e likely to VB vs hands such as QQ, KK.  Another scenario might include barreling the turn as well if I indeed put him on a draw. 

Needless to say, I tagged this weak passive fish and look forward to playing more pots vs him!


February 14, 2009

Ship the airport win & Check calling for value

I found myself fiending for some action while in the Oakland airport recently…and decided to fire up a few tables.  I tested out the free wireless, it seemed stable enough that I was confident I wouldn’t have any disconnect problems.  Found a few juicy tables and got the action started…this session was particularly +EV bc I stuck to playing 4-5 tables for a few reasons – on my laptop, little more difficult to concentrate in a public place, and the possibility of getting disconnected.  Nothing can tilt you more than a disconnect when you frop the nuts and lose yer connection – just ask this guy!

Its VERY rare to find yourself xc’ing 3 streets for value – ESPECIALLY in a raised pot.  Obviously there are many factors that must be true in order to even have the chance to do this…you need to be out of position, you need to have a hand that has showdown value, and you need to have an aggressive opponent who is willing to bluff three streets.  The conditions were perfect today....

I'm going to use another converter...if anyone has any love/hate for this or the one I usually use, fire away on the comment section.  

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold'em, $6.00 BB (9 handed) 

BRACKCHIPS (MP1) ($1081.95)
MP2 ($216)
MP3 ($1160.30)
CO ($1105.90)
Button ($600)
SB ($114)
BB ($817.85)
UTG ($141.45)
UTG+1 ($111)

Preflop: BRACKCHIPS is MP1 with J, J
UTG raises to $12, 1 fold, BRACKCHIPS calls $12, 1 fold, MP3 calls $12, 1 fold, Button calls $12, 2 folds

Flop: ($57) 4, Q, Q (4 players)
UTG checks, BRACKCHIPS checks, MP3 checks, Button bets $36, 1 fold, BRACKCHIPS calls $36, 1 fold

Turn: ($129) 2 (2 players)
BRACKCHIPS checks, Button bets $87, BRACKCHIPS calls $87

River: ($303) A (2 players)
BRACKCHIPS checks, Button bets $235, BRACKCHIPS calls $235

Total pot: $773 | Rake: $3
Button had K, 10 (one pair, Queens).
BRACKCHIPS had J, J (two pair, Queens and Jacks).
Outcome: BRACKCHIPS won $770

I made up my mind on the frop that vs the Button, I would be xc'ing many a streets for value.  The only hands that he could rep that beat me were 44, AQ, KQ, QJ.  There was really no value in betting, I would be folding out most hands that I beat - 55-TT.  The frop turn xc was pretty easy...as well as the turn, but when the river came an A, it was tough to make the call - but I closed my eyes and called it off.  Woulda been really gross if he had something to the tune of A5 that gets there on the river...but there is really no other way to play this hand given the action.  

While I decided early on in the hand to xc for value - as I mentioned earlier - the river left me with a tough decision and I pondered a fold.  Its easy to come up with a gameplan for a hand postfrop, but sticking to it can be increasingly difficult as the board texture changes and you are faced with increased pressure.  Even if your opponent sucks out and nails a 2-3 outter on you, creating a plan and sticking with it will allow you to make much better postfrop decisions.  You will find yourself trusting your gut much more and as long as you can handle the occasional beat - your game will improve significantly.  Despite how simple this game can seem on the surface - 2 hole cards, 5 community cards, 4 rounds of betting...the decision making processes involved can be very complex - and the more you can eliminate tough decisions the better.  


February 12, 2009

Brackchips Rivebrog

Ok folks...here we go - all ready for the HU showdown. I've traveled 3k+ miles for this event and now its on like donkey kong.

We just high carded for the button, I pulled a red 9 and bruechips peeled a black Ace. Dagger...let's hope this is not indicative of the way this match will unfold.

I hope I put a REALLY wicked beat on bruechips...it is pretty much the onry way I will feel accomplished with a W.

Let's dance...

Hand #1
AJdh, I choose just to call oop 200bb deep. Frop is Ac4hTc. I XR a c bet of 4 to 16 hoping to rep a FD and he insta forded. I don't think he would think that I would XR with TPGK, and I hoped he would float with 66-88. Obviously had air and didn't feel like floating or just thought I was super strong.

Hand #2
I raise 3x on the B with Ts5c (brack cards r GORD!) and he carred...we saw a frop of 5d6d7c and it went xx. I feel this frop is ALL OVER his calling range. I expected to get xr'd quite often and would not be able to continue. He led a Qd turn and I fold like a vagina.

Hand #3
Folded 8To to a raise...a bit weak but whatev. If they were sooted it was an insta 3b, ROR!

Hand #4
Raise 3x with Q6dd and I get an instamuck!

Hand #5
Folded Ks3c to his ghey b raise.

Hand #6
Jh9d - I raise, he mucks.
Note - at this rate...no one is going to win this match.

Hand #7
I get a walk with 2 rags.

Hand #8
I opened with QJo and got 3b...kind of a tight fold this deep, but I felt he was a pretty strong.

Hand #9

He raises and I muck 6 high.

Hand #10

I gave him a walk with 47 high. At this rate, this match may never end. I just want some PRAYABLE effing cards!

Hand #11

I get a walk with J2hh. WORD!

Hand #12

I open with K2ss and get an instafold. I proudly flash my Ks and Brue laughs knowing he woulda been walking into a big trap had he played his hand.

Hand #13

I call a raise from the SB with KJ and frop GIN - KKJcc. I plan on xc'ing and either leading or xr'ing all turns. The turn, 8s brings a second frush draw and I donk pot and he folds pretty quick. GHEYYY! I was planning a river xr in the event that he carred the turn bet.

Hand #14

I fold J4o OTB.

Hand #15

This one got nasty folks...I called a raise with A7o
- frop was Ks8h4d. I elected to froat oop and xf to a second barrel, and lead the river if the turn x'd through to rep a hand like KJ. However the turn came a 6c giving me a gutshot and and over - I changed my mind and try to make him fold his bluffs, 89, 99-QQ and KT-KA...I xr'd and bet big on the river which was a 9c. I was trying to rep either a straight with 57, a set, or two pair...and I was CERTAIN he did not have a set on the frop and turn, and when he calls the turn xr, he does NOT have a draw. Unfortunately I ran into 2 pair...ghey. In retrospect, I should have either 3b or just folded...middlish offsoot aces r ghey, just like my stack size now after bruffing off half of it.

Hand #16
I fold 58o OTB.

Hand #17
He opens OTB and I opt to 3b for the first time with 46ss. He mucks pretty quick and flashes his cards - T7ss. VALUE OWNDDDD!

Hand #18
I open with Ts3s OTB and get called. Frop is Jc8h7h...I go ahead and cbet against my instinct and get called...turn is a 6h and get xr'd. I fold...such a TERRIBLE second barrel...I really don't see him calling the c bet without at least a big heart. His range here is alotta 2 pairs, combo draws, sets, and other hands that GHEY ME.

Note - brue is barely visible behind the mountain of chips that I have given him.
God I'm a donk.

Hand #19

Learned my lesson this time with A8o...I 3b and he folded two spades!
WOW...big laydown there...big laydown!

Hand #20
More bluffing madness on my part...although I like the way I played this hand more than the others were I got PWND. I make a standard raise with 45ss and we see a flop of Qs8h2h. I get xr'd pretty big and decide to float for a combo of reasons...I have him on a FD (QQ he 3b's and prolly even 88, so 222 is the only set combo I see him having here), and there are a TON of turn cards that can help me out. A tasty 3c comes on the turn giving me some outs. He bets 20 on the turn and its still feeling like a FD at this point...I debated shoving but bc of my stack size, I don't think I would ever get a fold at this point, EVER. I'm getting a good price and I plan on shoving over a busted heart draw on the river. The river is a Js, which is good and bad...I had 9Thh as a decent part of his range so that just got there...but when he x's, I obviously need to stab. He is def capable of xc'ing for value here with 9Thh...but he tanked forever and rooked me up with A3hh which obviously beats the nut low. Meh.

FYI - I am now nursing the 35bb stack...

Hand #21.

K5o, automuck. I gotta play tight on this ghey stack..

Hand #22

I go ahead and limp the B...def ghey but just trying to experiment a bit. 86o. Frop is Kh9d5d and I get donked into. I call with GBALL and the turn is a Th. XX. River Qs and he xf's. Don't really know his donk range...maybe A5, 46dd?
I rake the monsterpotten, SCORE!

Hand #23

Well folks...this one was absolutely EPIC. That's all I can say...I call a raise with QsJd and end up check raising all in on a As6s4s frop...I think I can fold out some pairs and have the best draw alot of the time. Uhhhh except when you are up against Ks5h, RORRR! However I manage a MONEYSHOT turn SUCKOUT with the Jc but Brue wins the battle with the resuck when the Js comes on the river! Remember...spades ALWAYS get there, there was never a doubt.

Bruechips RiveBrog

We're about ready to get started here. We have all the requisite materials...chips, cards, LifeSavers Gummies....Brackchips is also listening to Vince on the SlapChop commercial every 5 minutes. We'll be playing a $50 NLHE freezeout starting 200 bbs deep. All I can say is, Brackchips, you're going to rove my nuts!!!

Ret's get the cards in the air....

Hand 1 

I won the high card, so I start on the button. I raised with 6-high preflop, got check-raised on an AT4cc frop and decided to lay down the 6-high...maybe too thin a c-bet there...Brack isn't going to give my c-bets too much credit in general I think. I was just hoping (perhaps in vain) to fold out a better hand like...8-high...ROR!

Hand 2

I defended J6s (steaming!!)...765dd frop went check-check. I led a Qd turn (to protect my hand I suppose) and got a fold...

Hand 3

I pick up rockets but my preflop raise gets no action...dagger...

Hand 4

Raid down 75o to Brack's prefrop raise

Hand 5

AJo, I raise and get a ford...

Hand 6

64o goes into the muck vs a prefrop raise...every hand raised by the button so far...someone wirr start fighting back soon....

Hand 7

Decided to break the run of button raises by giving Brackchips a walk with my 74o....

Hand 8

Looks like I'm the first one to push back from the big brind, as I 3-bet 87o and get a ford...

Hand 9

K2o good for a raise and take it

Hand 10

I get a walk...good thing too as I had 96o (no spades)

Hand 11

I return the favor by offering another walk with 74o

Hand 12

I folded 94o to a raise...Brackchips shows the Ks (second nuts), so I'm feeling good about the laydown.

Hand 13

I raised 96o and got a call, so finally we see a frop. It's KsKcJc, so a comprete airball for me. I don't expect him to check/fold this frop very often. Like maybe Q6s he'll fold? It's pretty thin. And when I check behind he probably thinks I have some showdown value, like maybe A-high. So when he bets an 8s turn, not much I can do...instamuck. I could try some really complicated turn float and bet the river to get him to fold Q-high, but it's a little thin ROR.

Hand 14

I get a walk with As7c...dagger....

Hand 15

OK, we have our first big action of the match...I opened K4o and got a call. I managed to catch a monster frop of K84 rainbow. I've got top and bottom and there are no draws out there. As I said, Brackchips isn't going to give my c-bets too much credit in general, especially not on dry K-high board like this one. He knows I'll be betting this one every time and therefore not be giving up too easily. Indeed my 2/3 pot bet gets called. The turn is a 6, still a rainbow board. Brackchips checks, I bet 8 into 10, because Brackchips 1) hates to fold, 2) loves to raise, and 3) isn't going to think the 6 does anything for me, and will think that I'll be trying to push him off A-high or a pair of 4s or something. He did indeed raise to 30. He could also easily have 57 for a straight but....1) I think he'd often check-raise the frop with a draw that has zero showdown value, and 2) his range is so wide and I pwn it so hard that it's kind of worthless to worry about that one hand. I thought about 3-betting here, but I don't think I'd get value from a worse two-pair. I think he would probabry end up folding 86 or 46 there. So I just called and waited to pick off a river bet from his bruffs. A 9 came on the river, which might rook scary because it makes the board more connected, but the only hand that makes a straight now that didn't already have a straight on the turn is T7, which would be a pretty thin call on the frop even for Brackchips. He bets 80 into 70. I think about shoving here as he'd have a hard time folding 2 pair now getting such good odds on a call, but I just called it down. He didnt' show but claimed A-high, so I guess the raise wouldn't have gotten me any more chips. 

Hand 16

I get a walk

Hand 17

Huge laydown...I got Ts7s, raised for value on the button, but got 3-bet...it was tough but in the end I pitched it. He's gotta have at least the Js.

Hand 18

Interesting hand...I defended Qd9c...frop comes Jc8h7h...I check/called a 2/3 pot c-bet. My check-calling range there is pretty wide and includes some really good hands (sets and straights), weak pairs+straight draws (79, 89, 67), flush draws, gutters...all sorts of random crap. The turn comes a 6h, which gives me a good bruffing opportunity. Brackchips will barrel that card all day because my check/calling the flop range is wide, but I can check-raise and represent two pair, a flush, or a set/straight I slowplayed on the flop. So I check-raised his 11-chip bet to 30 and took it down.

Hand 19

Tried a steal with spades again...this time Q4....and got 3-bet again...once Brackchips gets going, you can count on getting 3-bet many a time ROR...stack sizes are kind of awkward now for me defending light though....

Hand 20

Lots more action to recap on this hand...I defended Ah3h from the big brind...often I'd 3-bet but I don't want to get it all-in preflop with A3s and Brackchips wirr 4-bet air pretty often. Frop comes Qs8h2h, which is pretty much the nuts for me. I check-raised Brackchips's c-bet of 4 into the 6-chip pot to 12. He tanked for a bit and called. This continues the running theme of this match, which is not respecting continuation bets. Brackchips arso ROVES to froat my frop check-raises with total air. I remember a hand a while back where I check-raised A-high for value on a dry K-high board, he froated me with J3s (there were no jacks or threes anywhere to be found on the frop), turned a jack and got some varue from my A-high later in the hand. He also puts me on a draw when I check-raise a lot too, and will shove turns when a draw doesn't get there, which has led me to check-raise weakish made hands more recently (I remember, after the A-high vs. J3 hand, check-raising K9 on a K83 board with a flush draw or something like that. He called and shoved a blank turn with 77). So when he calls my check-raise here, it doesn't necessarily mean much. I was hoping he'd just 3-bet me and I could get it in vs. 89 or a lower flush draw or whatever. Now I have to play 2 more streets out of position. But I was pretty sure he didn't have a Q, which he'd 3-bet for value. He might even do that with a good 8 as well. In any case,  the turn is a 3c, which gives me 3rd pair. I make another bet of 20 into a 30 chip pot. I was all set to call his shove and throw up if he had 77 again (hearts never get there). But he called again, which made me think he was trying to hang on with an 8 or even a 2, or maybe even AK. The river was the Js, which is not a very good card for me. If he was floating 2 streets with 89 or J-high he got there...J8 is obviously never going anywhere...and importantly, if he puts me on a flush draw and has a better hand than mine, he's not folding. The only value  in betting is to win money from a deuce or A-high. Also if he has a bluff, he's gonna bet when I check every time. Like EVERY time. So I checked and he bet 60 into 70, presenting me with a tough decision. I tanked for a while...but I decided he couldn't bet those weak made hands for value on this river. Also I have called down his river overbets and been good quite a few times, which I'm sure he remembers. So the fact that he bet 60 instead of his whole stack (which was like 90-100 ish) made me feel like he was trying a new river bluff bet size since the old overbet sizing wasn't working. If he had J8 or T9 he'd almost definitely shove all his chips in. So after tanking, I did make the call, and my third pair turned out to be golden, giving me a pretty good chip lead. And sending him to listen to Vince the SlapChop guy again.

Hand 21

I raise JTo and take down the BB

Hand 22

Brackchips is down to 40ish bbs so he decides to rimp the button. I'll take a free frop with 8d6d. The frop rooks great...Kh9d5d...I donk out for 2 chips into the 2 chip pot, since I do have 8-high after all, so he probably has the best hand.  He calls, which is OK, as long as I nail the turn. Unfortunately it is a very gross looking Th. I haven't been getting much in the way of folds from him, so barrelling here is kinda spewy. Plus if I check he'll check back a lot of his range, and I'll get a free river. That's what happens, but the river bricks off with some offsuit face card and I check/fold. 

Hand 23

Brack is beautiful!!!! Wow this hand was epic...I opened Ks5h and Brackchips carred. The frop comes A64...arr spades!!! He checked and I c-bet 4 chips into the 6 chip pot...I just can't check back the nut frush draw...esp to spades, it's not in me. Of course Brackchips shoves for another 30. If he's got an A I'm not getting the right odds to call but...I think a K would give me the best hand sometimes and also I think I'll already have the best hand with K-high sometimes if he has a lower spade draw or a straight draw/frush draw combo. So I carr it off and show my hand. He says, "oh that is not good..." and frips over QsJd! I tell him before we burn and turn that he's at reast even money to win the hand b/c I've been running so bad recently....sure enough the Jc rolls off on the turn. But it doesn't matter as I nail the river with the Js!!! Ship the W!!!!


February 10, 2009

Rive Brogging a Brue on Brack HU Match

As part of one of his regular West Coast trips, Brackchips will be here for a few days this week. Usually we get in a HU match or two every time we see each other (I think I might be up on him a little bit, but we have each won our fair share). We thought this time it might be fun to rive brog a HU match. Basically, we will each have a post going that we will continually update throughout the match. Neither of us will look at the other's post during the match. If the match ends quickly on some kind of cooler/spewoff situation, we'll probably make it best two out of three. We're looking at doing this Thursday (the 12th) at 2 Pacific/5 Eastern. Feel free to make suggestions in comments on how to make this cooler and if you'd have any interest in following it.


February 9, 2009

Getting Value from One Pair

In a cash game 100 bbs deep vs. passive players, you generally want to avoid going broke with one pair. But in donkaments, where you're rarely close to that deep, and you're often playing against terrible players who are ridiculously loose, one pair is a money-making hand, and it doesn't even have to be top pair. Here are a few hands from donkaments today where I got some nice value from one pair vs. donks...none are really THIN! because I'm usually way ahead or up against a draw rather than a hand I barely beat, but they are fun nonetheless:

The overbet for value:

Seat 3: MP (2,525)
Seat 4: bruechips (Hijack) (3,300)
Seat 9: UTG (3,020)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Ah As]
UTG calls 50
MP calls 50
bruechips raises to 275
UTG calls 225
MP calls 225

*** FLOP *** [7c Td 6s]
UTG checks
MP checks
bruechips bets 3,025, and is all in
UTG folds
MP calls 2,250, and is all in (Donks hate folding on this flop, so I punish that tendency by shoving to get max value. This donkey instacalled me with bottom pair.)
bruechips shows [Ah As]
MP shows [Ad 7s]

Froater beware:

Seat 4: bruechips (UTG) (6,115)
Seat 7: MP (2,915)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Ac Ks]
bruechips raises to 180
MP calls 180

*** FLOP *** [6d 9c Kh]
bruechips bets 300
MP calls 300

*** TURN *** [6d 9c Kh] [Th]
bruechips checks
MP bets 635
bruechips raises to 5,635, and is all in (If he has QJ, 87, KT, or T9, I'm going broke anyway. And if he has a worse K, both betting and check-raising will get all of his chips. But I decided to check-raise to get full value from JT,QT,J9, JJ, and Q9, whereas I think these hands fold to either a turn bet or a river shove. He also could have even less than that and bet/fold if I check but just fold if I bet again.)
MP calls 1,800, and is all in
bruechips shows [Ac Ks]
MP shows [Jh Tc]

Betting a scare turn for thin value:

Seat 1: bruechips (MP) (2,720)
Seat 5: SB (6,545)
Seat 8: UTG+1 (8,717)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Kc Qs]
UTG+1 calls 100
bruechips raises to 400 (I hate allowing limping in front of me)
SB calls 350
UTG calls 300

*** FLOP *** [4h 3c Ks]
SB checks
UTG+1 checks
bruechips bets 1,050
SB folds
UTG+1 calls 1,050

*** TURN *** [4h 3c Ks] [Ad]
UTG+1 checks
bruechips bets 1,270, and is all in (I would be betting this card as a bluff because I can represent the ace sometimes, so I'll merge my range with only one bet left and bet second pair too. No sense checking behind and then folding on the river to a bet. Might as well try to get value out of 56, 54, or maybe even an 88 that just doesn't believe me.)
UTG+1 calls 1,270
bruechips shows [Kc Qs]
UTG+1 shows [5c 6c] (limp/call, then check/call down with 6-high...very well played)

*** RIVER *** [4h 3c Ks Ad] [6d]

Charging for draws again:

Seat 3: MP (8,515)
Seat 5: bruechips (hijack) (2,455)
Seat 8: SB (15,709)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Kc Jh]
MP calls 100
bruechips raises to 400
SB calls 350
MP calls 300

*** FLOP *** [2c Kd Ad]
SB checks
MP checks
bruechips bets 900
SB calls 900
MP folds

*** TURN *** [2c Kd Ad] [Qc]
MP checks
bruechips bets 1,155, and is all in
SB calls 1,155 (He actually timed down before calling this, it was hilarious)
bruechips shows [Kc Jh]
SB shows [9d 8d]

*** RIVER *** [2c Kd Ad Qc] [Ac]


February 6, 2009

Bluffing Fail

Just so you guys don't think I'm a VAG, I also played some 25/50 this week...as in...25/50 cents ROR. I played this hand tonight that is so hilarious I have to instapost it. This might be the dumbest play I've ever seen at a NLHE table. I say "might" just because I've seen so many absurdly retarded plays and it's hard to remember them all, but this one would be hard to top (for some reason FT fawked up the HH, so I'm giving a very close approximation of the action):

.25/.50 Pot-Limit Hold 'Em
UTG ($49.90)
MP ($3.40)
bruechips (Button) ($50)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Ks Jd]
UTG calls
MP calls
bruechips raises to $2.75 
UTG calls
MP raises to $3.40, and is all-in

*** FLOP *** [Kd Tc Td]
UTG bets $13
(Betting into dry side pot, i.e., he has to show down and win vs. the all-in MP player to win ANY money in the hand. You might think this would have to be a hand that beats KJ for that reason, but since this is low stakes pot-limit, I'm probably gonna call this down, unless the turn is pretty gross like an A. I doubt he'd ever have a T, because I think he'd try to check-raise with that, but I am worried about a better K. I don't think raising has that much value since he's never folding any primary hands and he will go broke later with a worse K. The only hands he will fold are total bluffs, which is bad, because I want to induce more betting from those hands on later streets. That can't happen if I force him to fold now.)
bruechips calls

*** TURN *** [Kd Tc Td] [2s]
UTG bets $33, and is all in
bruechips calls (Pretty much the definition of a blank turn. Time to throw up when he shows me KQ.)
UTG shows [2h 3h] (huh?)
bruechips shows [Ks Jd]

*** RIVER *** [Kd Tc Td 2s] [5h]

OK so...he limps the nut low (sooted!) UTG, and calls a raise out of position...that is horrific poker no doubt, but a level of donkery not all that uncommon on a Friday night. Then he donk bets full pot on the frop into a dry side pot, still holding the nut low, and having no draw to anything decent (or maybe he thought his hearts were diamonds?). When I call that frop, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm really strong, but given that he only has a pot-sized bet left for the turn, he's gonna need something scarier than the 2s to get a fold out of me. But the frop play is what really baffles me. Me folding has almost no value for you, donkey! You still have to show down to win any money and you have the nut row!!! Perhaps the funniest part is that the all-in player had A4, and so if I had folded at some point, UTG would in fact have taken it down with his pair of deuces, and would have looked like, and I'm sure felt, like a genius. Remember this hand next time you try to fold out a third player in an all-in pot to get a few percentage points of equity, donk!


February 5, 2009

Taking shots and the turn...

I took a shot at a tasty 4 handed 25/50 game earlier in the week when I found a seat next to a fishy player I had seen playing 5/10. Granted a SHORT 6max game isn't quite my game...but I really felt it was worth a shot.

Ended up only playing about 25 hands and took down one nice pot vs the fish before he left and the game broke. Despite it being a successfully foray into a high stakes game, I'm REALLY kicking myself because I mismanaged my bet sizing on the turn which ultimately led to me winning a much smaller pot. I won't go into the detailed HH, but basically I turned the nuts straight and bet FAR too small on the turn - which subsequently led to me getting less value on the river because the pot was significantly smaller. The turn has been giving me ABSOLUTE fits lately, either not betting for value, getting blown off the best hand, or not making the proper bet size. I could go on ranting about the turn but I think I will save that for another post.


February 3, 2009

Art of the Min Raise (Part 15)

Sometimes I wonder how Full Tilt comes up with the names for its tables. Is a table named 'Finger (deep)' supposed to be a joke? Moving on...I was scrolling through such tables recently and noticed that the players/flop stats on the Pot Limit Hold 'Em looked particularly juicy. Unfortunately these games don't seem to run above .25/.50 but I tried a few out just for fun and...WOW is the action there juicy. It's like a NLHE table from 2 years ago. 

Here was a nice donk method of playing a big pocket pair for 200 bbs:

Seat 1: bruechips (UTG+1) ($116.90)
Seat 8: BB ($100)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Qs Qc]
bruechips raises to $1.75
BB raises to $3 (Donk method berrs going off in my head. Recentry I have seen a rot more min 3-betting in position with weaker hands (like 77/AT type of hands that then 5-b shove to a re-raise), especially from shorter stacks, but min re-raising my UTG+1 raise from the BB...that is some serious strength being shown by this donkey. If it's arr rags on the frop I wourd probabry carr one bet or something, but I am mostry set-mining here, as retarded as that sounds with QQ.) 
bruechips calls $1.25

*** FLOP *** [6c Jc Qh]
BB checks
bruechips bets $6.25 (Bingo. It might be tempting to check here or bet smaller because, if he's a decent player with an overpair, what can he really beat when I bet other than a total bluff? Also him having clubs is unlikely since his range is probably AA, KK, and AK. But here are the factors that make this not only a must-bet situation, but a must-bet-full-pot situation: 1) He's not a good player, he's a donkey, who will have a lot of trouble getting away from an overpair, 2) this is pot limit, so if I want to get in 200 bbs, I need to start by betting full pot now, 3) there are a lot of cards that could kill my action, even if I still have the best hand, like a T, a club, an A, a K...)
BB raises to $12.50 (Joy to the world!!! His second min raise of the hand! For the same reasons I bet to begin with, I raise here. He has either an overpair or JJ and there's no way he's going anywhere with any of those hands given his min raising donkery)
bruechips raises to $30
BB raises to $96.25 (He insta-re-pots for almost his entire stack)
bruechips raises to $113.90, and is all in
BB calls $0.75, and is all in
bruechips shows [Qs Qc]
BB shows [Kd Kh] (Classic donk method of the big pocket pair. Hopefully I don't need to tell you loyal readers that going broke for 200 bbs, or even 100 bbs, on this flop after showing a lot of strength preflop is absolutely terrible. My range is pretty much QQ, JJ, 66, AcKc, and AcQc, against which he has 18% equity.)
*** TURN *** [6c Jc Qh] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [6c Jc Qh 8d] [9h]
bruechips wins the pot ($197.25) with three of a kind, Queens


February 1, 2009

Deep Stacked Play - Part 5

I really love me some deep stacked play...and lately I have been making a concerted effort to play these tables exclusively in an effort to cut down my variance.

Speaking of variance...I've thought a bit about this topic and as far as poker goes, I think there are actually three types of variance. All in variance, prefrop card variance, postfrop card variance. The first is obviously the only one that can be controlled...as long as you are never all in, you can not be affected by this type of "luck." As far as the other two, you obviously can not control the cards you are dealt or board. Some people will invevitably get dealt better hands over the short term or wind up hitting more than their share of flushes and sets. My solution to this...play more hands :) While over the short term your winnings can be greatly affected by preflop and postflop variance...given a large sample (100k+), these two types of variance should converge towards an equilibrium amongst the player pool.

Enough theory stuff (generally I leave that to Bruechips as he has a much better grasp/understanding of it and does a better job explaining it), onto a relatively interesting hand that involved a bit of meta game in a deep 5/10. Check it out...

Action packed prefrop action huh? I know Bruechips thinks this type of play is pretty standard for me...the 5b min bluff is not exactly something I have comfortably worked into my repoirtoire, ROR. Let me try to explain a bit of my thought process...

I was fortunate enough to get the seat to the left of the fish who was generating all the action at the table...and chose to 3b him IP. Now when the blind comes over the top of me for a hefty raise...and in the midst of multitabling, I hoover my mouse over the fold button and suddenly freeze. I think to myself..."I may have the best hand here" - ROR, just kidding.

First off, the blind is a decent player and we have tanlged a bit in the past...but this is the first pot we are squaring off in for the sesh. I really began to think there was a chance that he was 4b'ing me light cold from the blinds since I knew the donk was opening light from LP and I would 3b light from the CO. It's a great spot to do it and Slanksky says it best when he stated "figured out what yer opponent wants you to do and disapoint them." Well he was trying to disapoint me, so I mulled over redisapointing (is that a word) him a la the old 5b bruff, ROR. Two other reasons I felt it was a good spot were a) we were deep and I could comfortably fold to a 6b and b) his raise sizing seemed a bit largish...almost as if he didn't want me in the pot.

After I drop the min 5b bomb on him and he calls and x's to me, he's folding EVERYTHING in his 5b calling range but pocket 5's (I guess AK and KK could be a piece of this range, but he'd prolly go with KK pre). I really could not have asked for a better flop (without hitting my hand)...so here's to me and my postfrop card variance. Cheers FT RNG!
Relating to the first part of the post, another kind of variance would be strategic uncertainty. That is, if players are randomizing over different actions sometimes, then sometimes you'll get "lucky" in the sense that either you or your opponent will make a play that works out for you, and other times you'll get "unlucky" and make a play that's wrong ex post. For example in a situation like this one, Andrew is randomizing over check/calling and check/folding, while the villain is randomizing over shoving and checking behind. Andrew gets "lucky" when he check/calls or check/folds and the villain checks behind, very "lucky" when he check/calls and the villain shoves, and "unlucky" when he check/folds and the villain shoves.
Like the other kinds of luck, this one evens out over a large sample size. That's pretty much the definition of luck, is that it's random over all the players and doesn't favor one player over another in any systematic way.
As for the hand review part of the post, PWND!