Thursday, February 13, 2014

Playing poker in Tampa

I finally had a nice session here in Tampa, Florida.  The last time I was in Tampa, towards the end of summer in 2013, the results were mixed but negative.  This session evened me up for the two trips, though.  The session was a mostly decision-free session, albeit on the short side.  I got to the Tampa Hard Rock Hotel & Casino around 8:30 and was seated almost immediately at a shorthanded table for a little 2/5 action.  (I’m still executing my New Year’s resolution to play a lot more 2/5 in 2014.)

The table consisted of (in clockwise fashion:
  1. A “pro” to my immediate left (who was nice enough, wasn’t trying to run me over, who was capable of a few moves and loved to raise limped pots with position)
  2.  An older gentleman in seat 10 (or 9; not sure whether the tables are 10- or 9- handed) who would lead almost every flop regardless of action pre-flop
  3. A few nits in the 1-4 seats
  4. A complete and utter fish in the 5 seat (who was more than happy to dump buy in after buy in, before getting bored and going to play Blackjack for $25-100 / hand)
  5. A newbie / straight forward chick to my right, which rounds out the table
There weren’t too many hands of note, but I have 5 hands to discuss / share.

Hand 1: I take advantage of seat 10.  It’s limped around to me in the SB with 89hh and I complete.  We see a flop of 3 5 6 – not sure whether there’s a heart on board.  On queue, seat 10 leads $15 (as he always does) into the $25 pot and it folds to me.  I flat my gutter + 2 overs.

Turn is bingo – I hit an 8.  Of course, I’m checking to him yet again and he leads for $25 this time.  I just call.

River is a 5, pairing the board.  I’m not happy with that card, but I’m happier than the river being an overcard.  I check a 3rd time and he contemplates his bet – and leads for $30.  I beat him to the pot and say “call.”  I wait a while for him to flip and he shows KJcc for a complete bluff.  I scoop with my 8’s and a few eyebrows are raised with my snap / “weak” call.  Really?  Why are they surprised?  Have they been paying any attention?

Hand 2: I raise on the BTN with AQo to $25 after one limper.  Seat 10, in the BB is the only one to call and we see a HU flop of 5 7 T, two hearts.  He leads (on queue once again) for $20.  I raise to $55.  He thinks for a bit and flats.

We check the non-heart 2 turn and check the blank river.  I wait for him to flip once again (not sure whether the rules are last action flips first or clockwise flips first).  He shows after a bit, he shows A6ss for a missed backdoor (????) and I show AQ for the scoop.  I should have bet the turn!  Oh well.

Hand 3 (questionable hand): I’m dealt KK (with Kd) in the BTN.  I raise to $35 after 2 limpers and seat 4 (tight gentleman) calls.

Flop comes 7 8 T (2 diamonds).  He checks and I lead $40 into $~70.  He check raises to $90.  We’re sitting on about $275 effective to start the hand, so I’m looking down at around $200.  There’s $200 in the pot - $250 if I make the call with $150 behind.  It’s very possible this guy limped 77’s and 88’s (I think he raises TT, but I haven’t seen him make an aggressive move all day), but I doubt he’s showing up with J9, after calling a sizable PF raise.  I just don’t see waiting for the turn to get it all in when there’s not a lot of turn cards that I will like: a 9 sucks, a diamond sucks, a face card sucks, a T sucks.  I put him on a cross between a diamond draw and A T (both with about 25-35% equity), so after careful deliberation, I opt to shove.  He thinks for a few and finally folds.  Is it wrong to shove there?  Should I be flatting and letting him shove the turn, calling off all cards?  It just felt so wrong to let him have a card here.

Hand 4 (questionable hand): I get mixed up with Seat 4, the fish where I limp Ad8d along with ~3 others.  I’m sitting on $225 effective.

Flop comes 8 9 4 (two diamonds).  Fish leads $20 into $30 and I raise to $65.  He calls.

The turn is a diamond (which also completes the straight – though don’t remember which particular card – may have been the Td if that makes a difference).  He leads for $75 into the growing pot and with less than $175 behind, I shove the remainder.  Is this a mistake?  He deliberates for a good long time and finally folds.  Before he folds, I show my 8d to rile him up a bit that he’s folding to mid pair because he thinks I have a diamond flush.  I told him I didn’t want to see the river diamond because I wasn’t sure my 8d would be good enough.  This hand bothered him quite a bit because he went on to dump about $1.3k to the table over the course of about an hour and a half.  Unfortunately, none of his dumping was to me – but this guy took his losses in stride; I think he had a good time doing it.

Hand 5 (I think I played it okay, but open to opinions): I raise to $35 with AKo from SB after a few limpers.  "Pro" to my left flats and everyone else folds.  Flop comes K Q X and I check.  I think if I bet here, I blow pro off all his bluff hands, and this seems like a "scary" flop for a PF raise / flop check that pro can lead.  As expected, pro leads for $40; I consider check / raising but opt to call hoping for further continuation bets.

Turn is J and we check through.  River is another J and here's where I think I should consider leading about $50-60 but I'm hoping he can't let it drop the fact that I checked 3 times.  I opt to check and he insta-checks.  I don't know whether he'd call a small value bet - perhaps $40-50 instead of $50-60.  I begrudge the fact that he respects my play and isn't trying to push me off hands.  As soon as he checks, I know I'm good and flip up AK without waiting for him to move.  He sighs and folds; I think he had a pair of Q's.  I just felt like it was so standard for him to at least fire off one more barrel, but I guess I judged him wrong.

 Oh yeah!  I almost forgot to detail that I had the opportunity to play with a former bracelet winner and 2004 6th place WSOP main event finisher, Al Krux.  It was pretty cool sitting down with a guy who has likely seen it all.  I categorized him as a tight nit – he never really made any moves in the time that I spent at the table.  He was more having fun, enjoying a cocktail.  Cool experience, nevertheless.

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  1. was there any cheap motels u saw other than the one across the street ive been told is $239 a week at the motel 6 and thats not really that cheap, thats before tax, and dont motel rooms go way up in the winter in florida?

    and was there any NL games where the min buy was under $100? how late does the $3-6 omaha and $1-5 stud last til they break up?

    1. Sorry - no clue about the pricing of hotel rooms. I'm staying downtown and the rate was around $100 / night. The Hard Rock does have a 1/1 and a 1/2 game - not sure of the min buy in for the 1/2 but the 1/1 is $40 or something around there. I have no idea about the 3/6 or 1-5 games but I did see a 1/2 Omaha PLO game going. FWIW, the 2/5 max buy in is $1k and the min buy in is $200.

  2. KK hand - Seems like it was a "see where I'm at" minraise, and he found out. The tricky part of this hand IMO is whether you're going with the hand or not after his raise (SPR 4, right on the border0. Once you do decide to go, shoving is correct in my book, we're going to be shoving more than overpairs there (gutters, 99, flush draws, sets) - let's give him something to think about with AT.

    Hand 5: Nothing harder to play than TP out of position in my book. You got to showdown, that's a fine result for me. I like your reasoning to check/snap river, it just didn't work out.

    Flush hand with fish - he's donked a second time AFTER you raised his flop bet (seriously, did you forget you just got raised??), seems like he likes his hand. I like the shove against a fish with the nuts. If he's trying to decipher your actions (maybe unlikely), you have raised before the flush hits and again after. Seems odd to many people (especially if they don't raise draws).

    1. The KK hand - I just hate shoving with a possible coin flip equity. Lately, I've been trying to avoid situations like that if possible. However, I just felt like there were so many bad cards to come on the turn that I wouldn't know where I was. It felt simpler to just push and see how he takes it; I'm never putting him on J9, and when he thought about calling for what seemed like eons, I knew I was ahead.

      That flush hand with the fish really irritated me since he dumped so much to other players. I don't understand how he folded there.

      Finally, are you going to be able to play the Bitcoin Blogger Freeroll? I hope you saw the post about it!

  3. Hand 3: I don't give a free card either. Draw heavy board. This is the kind of hand where you kick yourself afterwards if you let him get there for free.

    Hand 4: I guess it depends on how he had lost previous hands. If he was calling everything, then certainly shove. If he has shown some restraint, however, I might just flat and shove after he either bets or checks the river.

    Hand 5: Tough hand out of position. I would have played it differently -- and likely botched it!

    1. What would you have done on hand 5? Keep in mind this is a competent player - I put him on a Q x hand, so assuming that, what would you do? I'm figuring if I bet at any point within the hand, he's going to fold. If I let him bet, I think that's the only way I get value. He respects my play. All of those reasons are why I opted for the check / call rather than the bet bet bet.

      Are you leading the turn or the river? Or perhaps the flop? I have no idea how to get additional value here...

  4. PM,
    Hand 3: I play the same. Go with it and force them to make the decision. Too many bad turn cards.

    Hand 4: I just call the turn with the nuts. Usually the fish fires the river too. They don't understand how to effectively bluff, but they do know how to fold when they have nothing.

    Hand 5: I like the check on the flop, but I think I min-raise his flop bet. I hate giving good players with position free cards when I have the best hand. If you play the hand like you did, they check down their losing hands, but if they hit then they value bet you.


  5. Hand 4 is an easy call on turn...only reason to shove is if you think he has a flush too and don't want to see another diamond. Flatting keeps your range much wider.

    Hand 5 I raise pre and never bet post?...FPS IMO. If he has position on you I probably just play it straightforward and bet, bet, bet. As played river is auto bet for sure. You've disguised your hand so need to bet. I would bet 80-90 into 150.

    1. Hand 4 definitely didn't want to see a 4th diamond, but I had $100 behind - I though this would be a snap call for him when he just put in $75 + $65 and has $100 remaining to call. That combined with the 4th diamond led me to shove.

      Hand 5 - Yes, FPS for sure. I think I missed a bunch of value not taking the lead. I felt like the hand hits my range and misses so much of his range that letting him bluff was the optimal line. If it weren't against "pro," I would have bet bet bet for sure.

    2. Yeah I understand thinking people can't possibly fold. I struggle with it from time to time as well.

      I recently played a hand at 5/T where I flatted a nitty opener's raise to 40 (after 3 calls) with 3s4s on the button (5 to flop). 1.2k stacks flop T34, she leads 100, me 325, she 850, I cram...she can't possibly fold for another 350 with any 2 cards right? Nope she folded QQ. So yeah its LOL live poker and people make retarded folds all the time. I have to remind myself this all the time and the key to truly crushing low stakes is finding out which players play "raise to see where I'm at" poker and play them differently. Like to this chick me flatting her 850 flop 3b would have been "weak" so she would pile the turn 100% (actually if I run the math I think I want her to fold given she still has decent equity).

      Hand 5..yup same page. Not that many good 2/5 "pros" so remove that from your head and you will do better.


  6. As usual, the hands you think you played great you actually played pretty bad, and the hands you question are the ones where you actually donked into the correct play for your one time in the session. It is just comical reading. I know this is actually my brother writing this stuff just to entertain me. He always wins.

    On Hand 1: the fact that you consider an 8 to be "bingo" in giving you a very bad top pair while at the same time completing straight draws and still leaving you behind the flopped sets, flopped two-pair-with-connectors, and any overpair to your 8s, but to you an 8 on the turn is "bingo". You donkey-called the flop with a gutterball and undercard-overcards (obviously lower than his overcards), got lucky on the turn and then check-called like a guppie for two more streets after you sucked out. And then wrote a post bragging about your play in the hand. Enough said about that one.

    Hand 2: You surely should have bet the turn, not sure if you were joking or not. But you raised the flop with air, got called by a guy on a draw, and then checked behind on the air turn, giving another free card? And then checked behind again on the air river, giving any pair a chance to run you down? But this was not your "questionable hand" either?

    Hand 3: It is so painfully obvious that you shove with the KK that I cannot even believe you are legitimitely asking the question. Go read lightning's comment, he said it best I think. There is no doubt here. If you're playing KK for a raise preflop, and the flop is undercards and drawy like this, for these small effective stacks, of course you have to push there, and hope a J or a draw calls you and you hold. If you give any more cards here, you are of course a monkey and this one is not close.

    Hand 4: This one is not "questionable" my man. You botched it, plain and simple. You have The Nuts man, the actual literal nuts.. He's a huge fish, he's betting fairly big into this board, and most importantly YOU CANNOT LOSE regardless of the river card unless you put him on a set right now, which you dont. This is the picture-perfect situation for a slow play. If he doesn't push on the river, then you can push there and make him fold, where he will be even more likely to call because of your turn check. But that was a free $100 you forced him to not give you in that hand, and you should have been able to see that right away. He can't outdraw you on the river man!! He can only pick up a card that makes him more likely to call your allin with the nuts on the river, or become more sure that his either turned or rivered flush is good. The only reason you go to the freaking casino in the first place is so that you can get into this very spot, check there, and take his stack on the river. The rest of the hands, you just hope to break even. And you blew your one big chance there. Wow. But it's only questionable.

    Hand 5: Not betting out with AK on a KQx board against a good player is probably the worst move of all the laughably bad play described in this post, other than the last hand which obviously is pure textbook. That is the kind of flop that a pro would flop a draw with, or a Q with QJ or QT, and you are simply giving up a chance at a free card to suck out on your strong flop. It is the ultimate in FPS, and of all the people at the table, you have picked the one "pro" (assuming you even really know what a poker pro looks like, which is very doubtful), and you have picked the hand you are least likely to fold with your ultimate TPTK.

    For all these reasons and more, you are such a poker donk it is not even believable. Hi brother!!


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