Saturday, June 18, 2011

Live Poker #2: The Fish Gets Hooked


Been a while since I've written twice in a month, and I see a trend of more writing if this poker itch continues, so I may as well start linking again. Before I even link my own last post, I have to thank Dr. Pauly for blogging the 2011 WSOP. I appreciate the level of writing and the candidness of his writing more than any poker information he funnels to us, and I think Pauly inspires me not only to play the fun and challenging game of poker, but also to write--something I have a very hard time getting inspired to do.

Here's a link to my last post, and the first live poker recap I've had in quite a while. In short, it details my guppy-like play at $1/$3 NL, but getting lucky and getting to cash out at least a portion of what I put down to play with.

Tonight I followed the same routine of two weeks ago with a Friday evening motorcycle trek the 30 or so miles up to the casino. I enjoyed the ride, albeit an hour later than two weeks ago, and about 10 degrees cooler. This time I parked right out front in the valet parking, which is free and open to any motorcycles. I decided to play $4/$8 limit tonight instead of $1/$3 NL, but I did put my name on both lists and would have played NL if that table opened first. Luckily (?) for me, the $4/$8 spot opened first and I spent the next three hours on my only $100 buy-in.

Because I bled off all of my chips from the moment I sat down two weeks ago, I sat down tonight determined to plug the leak and play tight, solid poker. I did not put a single extra chip into the pot in the first four orbits. A little over the top on the tightness, one might say, but really I had shit. I didn't see a pair, two face cards, suited connectors, one-gappers, not even two-gappers! I folded K-8o on the button, but I thought about pulling the trigger.

The fact that none of my hands would have won anything made me feel alright about all the folding. I fall for loosening up when all of my crappy cards would be winning me mountains of blue chips if I would have played them... and then I start playing crappy cards and lose my lunch money.

I'll preface the first hand I was involved in with the fact that it is probably the single best live hand of poker I've ever played in my entire life. A footnote is that I've probably played less than 100 hours of live poker (but hey hey! I hit a royal flush once!).

First hand that I volunteered any of my precious chips... you might think a pair? A big pair? Nope. 6-4 of spades, and I limped in UTG. I think my decision to limp in a bad position was partly not having a single "playable" hand all session, and also the table seemed to be pretty easy in terms of players getting to see cheap flops. Of course the first time I limp I get a re-raiser in late position. A few people had limped in behind me before the raise, and I think 5 of us saw the flop:

Flop: Jc 7s 3h ($38 in pot)

I'm a little hazy on the specifics, but I think the SB folded preflop, which put me second to act behind the BB. Let's say for math's sake five of us saw the flop, this puts 5*$8 plus the SB's $2 in the pot, so $42 minus the rake which is $2 or $3. I think I'll just assume $4 in rake for the pot because it gets pretty big. So let's say we're at $38.

We check it around to the Smoking Hot Asian (SHA) original raiser in late position. She bets $4, I think the button and the BB call, as do I and one person folds. I've got a pretty loose draw here, but I figure $4 into a $54 pot doesn't make my call too terrible (still not great, but I'm a fish!).

Turn: 2s

Board: Jc 7s 3h 2s ($54)

I've got 64ss, so now I'm pretty committed to any bets with my flush and inside straight draw. BB checks to me and I check without thinking too much into betting because I'm honestly not very sure how I would play a re-raise. I'd have to call, but I'm not sure I'd like my position. Original raiser bets and gets the button to fold, but the BB and I call.

River: 6c

Board: Jc 7s 3h 2s 6c ($78)

I see the 6c on the river and I'm a bit dejected, but then I notice the BB wakes up and bets out at the pot. This surprised me but I didn't let it show. In the time I spent folding the first four orbits I had picked up a few tells on the older greasy Italian gentleman to my right, and he had the typical strong is weak / weak is strong attitude. His wife twenty years his younger was draped over his right shoulder, on the opposite side of him from me, and I was about 95% sure he was bluffing at the pot to try and impress her.

Now the gears start turning in my head. The 6c on the river is not the card I was looking for, but I think I might just have the Italian guy beat. I'm pretty sure the SHA across from us has both of us beat, so I decide to RAISE!!! I make it $16 and she thinks about it for a second, smiles and lays her hand down. The guy to my right insta-calls and tables... ATo. Upon the insta-call I resigned to losing the hand, but showing my sneaky play. I saw the ATo and pumped my fist while being pushed the $110 pot.

This hand was the confidence booster I needed after getting reamed two weeks ago. Even if I had lost it, I think I would have been pretty happy with my play, at least my raise on the river. Rethinking this hand now, I see plenty of holes in my play that opened much wider later in the session (gushing out all my chips), but I also think the river play is something that 'rounders' make routinely, and I count as the best play of my life (and I'm telling the truth). I'm looking forward to incorporating plays like this one more in the future. Pretty much just having a read, sticking with it and having the balls to pull the trigger--something Jordan has been preaching for the last six years or so.

A few orbits after my marvelous play *pats self on back again*, I look down at two red aces in the BB. Old guy with a Yuma, Arizona trucker hat in early position raises it up. One caller behind, and then a late position 3-better. I four bet and hope it doesn't completely give away my aces. Four of us see the flop.

Flop: 3c 8s 8d (~$62 with rake out)

I bet, everyone calls.

Turn: 5h

Board: 3c 8s 8d 5h ($78)

I bet, Yuma guy is the only caller.

River: Kh

Board: 3c 8s 8d 5h Kh ($94)

I am deathly afraid of the King on the river, and as the card is being flipped I say to myself "No King, No Queen!!!" I rationalize that there's an equally likely chance of him having Kings, Queens or Jacks--so I bet out the river... and get raised. I begrudgingly call, knowing I'm beat but not good enough to fold in that huge of a pot. I anticipate kings, but he flips over quad 8s and rakes the $124 pot. Ouch! Beat from the flop on.

The greasy Italian guy to my right congratulates the old guy and is still needling me from betting my pair of river sixes against him. "You should stick to your pair of sixes, those aces aren't better than your pair of sixes, ha ha!" This would have caused a witty reply from me a few years ago, "Now the old guy has got your chips" or perhaps a "go fuck yourself!" Here's another thing I've learned from my time spent reading Jordan's blog: don't tip the glass. I knew I could clean out the greasy guy to my right if I let him continue to play his macho game, so I just waited out his rant--and it felt great knowing this. Unfortunately, someone else took his money before I could.

I make one more good play against the old guy from Yuma later in the session, but my play opens up and I blow my last $60 in chips chasing draws much like my play from two weeks previous. One thing I really want to correct is that when I got down to $40 I just looked for a spot to get all my money in, which is pretty much just pissing away that $40. Next time I vow to just get up and cash out my few remaining chips. The least I can do is put it into a fireworks fund for the 4th of July and blow off money in a more loud and destructive way.

It felt great to make a good play and get rewarded with a positive (albeit very short-term) result, but the fact that I left losing all the money I put on the table, and the suspicion that "the best play of my life" is a move most poker players use fifteen times a night... I can't help but rub the inside of my cheek, checking for a barb.

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Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I am speechless...

10:32 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hey MHG. I love reading these posts. It actually reminds me of when I first started playing live poker and had to find my sea-legs. Unimportant, but the link to me was messed up. Also, I'm at now, so you can leave out the blogspot. But no biggie.

Also, I'm glad to see some of my advice may have helped out. When it comes to a gloater or dickhead razzing you about your past hand, you may even want to encourage his rudeness. Agree with him that you just got lucky and that you should've never made that raise. Let him think that he is right and reinforce his bad play.

10:46 AM  

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