The last 4-5 sessions at the 'Shoe have been mostly sideways - I'm probably net losing, but not much more than a buy in or so. It's been a really rough run - my AK misses, I haven't seen AA,KK in those sessions, and the one time I saw QQ (the first time in the 4 sessions - this last session) I lost vs. A6s (i.e. raise $15 PF, cbet $23 on turn of an A high flop and check through river). The decisions are not difficult, but it's a death by a thousand knives scenario - raise my good PF hands that miss, call / raise my draws but miss, fold my too expensive draws that wind up hitting, etc. Not that it's difficult to keep motivated, because it isn't given the awful play I'm continually seeing, but it's frustrating to sit for hours waiting on anything only to see nothing - no draws complete, just complete card deadness.
Crap like spiking trip Kings with KJ vs KT all in on the turn only to have the board pair again and lead to a chop. Puke!
Crap like flopping A6 boat of Aces full of 6's and know my opponent never folds trip Aces, get most of the money in on the flop and turn and see the river pair the 6 on the board, leading to a chop. Puke!
Crap like rivering the straight flush with Ax9d on a 2 8d Td Jd Qd board on a limped pot, getting lead into for $15, hoping / praying dude has the Ad, raising to $100 only to see him fold the Kd. Puke!
Anyway, to the point of the title, I'll share 2 hands that occurred last Saturday.
Hand 1: I'm in early position and limp 99. Short stack ($30 total) limps behind and ABC player raises to $12. Gets called in no less than 5 spots (including me) and shorty decides to jam $18 on top. Original raiser [shockingly] folds as does the rest of the table to a newer guy to the table wearing a cabbie cap, cargoes and a somewhat open shirt revealing a huge chest tattoo - kinda punkish looking but super quiet. Seeing the action that just took place (i.e. this guy just called not once but twice), I figure my 99 is ahead and decide to pull the 'ole limp / raise to $130 (I have $250 behind). To be honest, I was shocked that not one person called the $18 raise with so much already in the middle - prior to the shorty shove, there's $72 in the middle. After the shorty shove, he's looking at putting in $18 to win $102. Anyway, without missing a beat, my tattooed friend calls - probably took him all of 5 seconds to throw in the extra $100 with a look of "meh... whatever..."
Flop comes Q 7 3 rainbow. He fiddles with his chips, looking like he's going to bet, but decides to check. Here's where I'm not too happy with my play; I check behind. What am I expected to do here? Anything I bet other than a shove is pot committing regardless - so is this an auto shove? Again, there's $338 in the main and side pots, and I have $250 behind... I feel like he hit this flop though - based on my read that he wants to bet. Again... is this an auto ship the flop regardless the texture? Rarely do I feel like a deer in the headlights at a poker table, but this was one of those rare moments.
So we see a turn As, putting 2 spades out. Again he checks - and my check is a lot easier now; I'm just looking to get to showdown cheaply - any AK, AQ is certainly there; I don't know this guy and how he plays. The river is a non-spade 4 and he checks a 3rd time. I happily check through and he shows me the gutted nuts: 56ss. The guy who was all in PF has A6cc which would have taken the main pot anyway...
I'm not making a judgement on this guy's calling off $100 extra PF with 56s, but seriously? I blame myself for "letting him get there," but this hand could have been WAY worse - I could have bet the $250 behind at any point, definitely he's calling off the turn with a gutter + flush draw. I also waffle as to whether I bet anything on the flop he's auto calling his gutter; after all, if he's willing to take a $130 gamble with 56s without seeing a flop, of course he's going to pay now that he has a draw! But, as a poker player, I'm not supposed to take the turn and river cards into account when I'm playing out the hand post-mortem. Is the right move to shove the flop? What kinds of hands do you have him on that cold call 3 raises? To me, I have him on JJ+, AQ, AK - which, by the river, all have me beat. Then again, I guess I'm WAY wrong! And my read on the flop about him wanting to bet is wrong - or perhaps it isn't. Maybe he thought better of betting his gutter on the flop, but he's calling off. I don't know. The hand is definitely in my head, though - that's for sure! The best part about this all is that he took a $130 bet and won nothing additional - he effectively played 56s vs. my 99 vs. shorty's A6o for $130 to win $200 in PF money.
Hand 2: Same joker who originally raised above raises to $8. I call (98o) with I think 2 other people see a flop of 2 6 7 rainbow. I contemplate leading here, but opt to check - he leads for $20 and I'm the only caller in the growing pot. Turn is a Qd putting 2 diamonds on the board. I check once again and he leads for $28. I check raise to $100 and he considers carefully before folding.
I don't' make big bluffs very often but given the way things are going, I think I may need to start bluffing bigger more often. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong, but I give up on my bluffs way too easily and/or don't make large enough bluff raises / bets. I come from a mindset which may be changing: poker players who are bad players are not sitting there to fold their top pair no matter how bad their kicker or no matter how bad evidence tells them they're beat. Bad players won't fold their bad Aces, so no point in putting in a ton of money trying to bluff them off the best hand. Best wait to value bet them to death when I'm ahead and they won't fold. Perhaps that mindset needs to change...
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
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