Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The power of the look... Always look to your left!

Since the onset of this blog, I've gravitated away from being solely an online player to being a bit of both online & live.  I love the fact that the players live are so much worse than the players online, and the money live is so much larger than the money online, but live has so many more dimensions added to the game - mainly the live reads, hence the title of the post.

I will tell you this: Over the past week or two, I signed on to a new poker site (affiliate link to the right) and it's like the old days of Stars & Tilt.  I'm regularly logging on and playing 6+ tables of all stakes, from .05/.1 to .5/1 (.001 x BTC).  I have Holdem Manager installed and it's great!  I'm getting readjusted to all my old stats - 3bet, PFR, VPIP, FTSTL (Fold to Steal), etc.!  Over the weekend, I put in around 7k hands - a crazy amount since Seals with Clubs started losing players.  Hopefully, this new site will hold out & I'll be able to keep playing there.  It feels good to crush although I realize the rate that I'm crushing is unsustainable (north of 50BB/100).

Anyway, to the title of the post - always look left - I found myself at a somewhat difficult table to start last Friday's session.  In seat 1 was a player I'd played against before (competent player, good reader, very aggressive), seat 4 had an aggressive player (reg), and, since I was in seat 8, seats 9 & 10 to my left were also regs.  This was a 1/2 game at MDL.

My day started with AK within 2 hands and I raised to $12 as first in.  I got 2 callers to comply and saw a flop of A x x (rainbow).  Cbetting small seemed to be the likely route here, as I want all A x hands coming along for the ride - I lead out for $20-25 and get a fold out of the 1 seat, but seat 4 check / raises to $80.  Now I'm at a decision for my initial buy in stack...  and I opt to shove - dry board and he's check / raising?  He insta-mucks and I pick up a healthy pot.

A quick brief of one of the more important items to reads in live poker: always look to your left.  What does that mean?  When it's your turn to act, or even prior to your turn, always look to the guy to your left and see what he's going to do if he's giving any tells.  If he has chips in his hand, or he's reaching for chips, that could be a tell that he's going to raise.  If he has the "fold hold" on his cards, he's very likely to be folding.  I extend that look left to later streets - to see what the action will be after me.

The hand starts with a multi-way limped pot with an A 7 8 board - I have 8x (can't remember the other card - likely 7 or 9, as this hand was somewhat non-memorable) in late position $7 flop bet and I call along with aggro seat 1.  FWIW, this flop lead seemed weak at the time, and I call with a backdoor and mid pair.  Normally, I'm not happy about calling into an Ace high board, but the price I'm getting to hang around is decent enough...

An A on the turn checks through to me, and I'll happily take a free card here, but as I'm looking to the next street, I see seat 1 instantly grab chips for an automatic river bet.  His decision was squarely predicated on my check through.  As expected, the river comes (not a clue what it was, but maybe it was a 2 or something) and he leads $19 - fold from the original bettor and I snap it off.  He doesn't even wait for me to show but mucks his cards.  For added insurance, I asked the dealer to muck his cards so I didn't have to show.

Easy call in a vacuum?  Probably not - this may be a fold without thought.  But since this is live poker, and we're not dealing with just online reads, we can gather a whole lot more information about current and future streets - look left!


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