Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Session summary - getting value on the turn and river

I'm not normally one to write about session summaries from prior nights, but I had a very frustrating night which I'd like to get out and onto [virtual] paper.  I will immediately point out that results-wise, it was not a disappointment, as I ended up +1 buy-in, which has been the pattern for most of this past few days.  However, I felt like this session should have been a +3 or +4 buy-in session, though at points, I was down 1-1.5 buy-ins.  It sucked.

Basically, I played perfect poker...  I *HARDLY EVER* play "perfect" poker.  Helping my perfect poker was the fact that I was hitting every flop that I needed to hit.  However, the perfect part of my play was the fact that I was getting value out of each hand.  The reality is that I'm starting to put a lot more importance on bet sizing on the turn and river.  I  realized that I miss a lot of value by showing down very few of my hands, which means that too many opponents are folding to my turn or river bets.

I am a consistently losing player at showdown - and I mean a HUGE losing player at showdown.  If you look at my graph, my non-showdown winnings and showdown winnings are polar opposites (fortunately, my non-showdown winnings is MUCH larger than showdown winnings losses).  Regardless, I think my opponents are folding to those turn / river bets far too often, because I'm not giving my opponents enough credit for being thinking players.  In other words, I'm betting too much on a lot of their top pair -type hands that I would like them to be able to showdown (and get value from) when I have them beat.

It's one thing to be a level 2 or 3 or whatever player.  It's a whole other thing to apply the concept.  At this point in my poker career, I'm a pretty decent hand reader - I can usually understand what my opponent's thought process is, understand what he's trying to represent, and can understand what my moves represent to him.  However, what I haven't been doing is giving my opponent enough credit for being able to do some semblance of the same to me.  Therefore, in the past, I've been just whacking him over the head with HUGE turn / river bets, where, while a donkey may call them, my "intelligent player" can't possibly call them (and I wouldn't call them if the situation was reversed).  As a result, I'm hardly getting to showdown with my monster hands (though when I do, I'm certainly stacking my opponent).

I spent last night focusing on getting value at the turn / river (instead of folds).  I was completely successful, and though there were a few spots where I could have gotten more value (I read my opponent's hand for weaker than it actually was), I got to showdown a lot more, and as a result, was able to extract profit which I would have otherwise missed.

Coming back around to the opening paragraph - this session was an overall disappointment, though.  Results-wise, it seemed as though whenever I would get my money all in (I don't think I ever sucked out and I certainly missed my [flush, straight, etc.] draws) my hands would not hold up.  It was a game of get my money in as 70/30, 80/20 / even 90/10 favorite and watch it get shipped to my opponent.

Without question, it was frustrating, though I didn't really tilt.  I actually really goofed up a hand where I got all in with AK vs. AA - a hand where my villain had clearly repped AA (it was a new player in the same spot as a prior donkey player who would make this same move with ATC and I didn't realize it was a new player).  On another table, I was able to get my stack up to 300 BBs, with position over 2 different 225+ BB stacks (one was immediately behind me and the other was 3 behind me).  It was frustrating that they would not bite on big bets to commit their stacks and let me double through; they were well aware of their stack sizes :-(.

Finally, on the last table I will talk about, there was a 73/2 player who was just KILLING me.  He was one of those play every hand no matter the price, and then proceed to hit each flop.  It was pretty easy to determine whether he had a hand - and the type of hand he had (he was a 0.4 aggression factor, meaning he would fold to cbets when he missed, and check / call down all pairs otherwise), but as soon as I would go for serious value (I'd have a good hand vs. his marginal range), he'd flop a monster hand or turn / river a better hand than I.  It was frustrating having to go back to the drawing board each time.  I had position on him (he was immediately to my right), and every time he'd limp, I'd iso raise with the intention of cbetting and taking it away on the flop.  It's frustrating whittling away a guy's stack at 5BB per hand, particularly when you have him down to 40BBs, holding a monster hand and he backs his Q5o hand into trip 5's, getting schooled by a donkey, to set him back to 80BBs.

All in all, I need to constantly tell myself to have patience - usually checking my TPTK on the flop with the mindset that no one is calling my bet without having a pair... since I hold TP, it reduces the likelihood that they too hold TP...  make them feel comfortable with their second pair, or pocket pair, or whatever.  Then value town them on the turn / river with small, whittling bets.  I'm moving away from a bet bet bet bet bet game (until they fold), into a check / bet / bet or bet / check / bet game.  I can see the theoretical profit due to the confusing play; I just need to realize it.

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