Monday, May 7, 2012

Growing confidence and angle shooting from the prior post

Growing confidence

I'm definitely becoming more confident at the table - both with my reads and my play.  I want to share a little HH with you where I called with the sole intention of taking away the pot on a later street (a move that I don't ordinarily feel comfortable with in live poker):

6 limpers (including me in the UTG+1) face a $15 raise from the BB (table had turned passive; more limps / less raises).  I call his raise (he's a competent, by-the-book player), along with 3 (loose passive SB and BTN) others with JdTd.  We see a flop of A 9s 4s.  He cbets $17 into the $~65 pot and I call, wanting to see what the BTN would do.  My plans are upset when the BTN folds but the loose passive SB calls and we see a turn card of Ac.  SB checks and BB continues, but bets $5 into the growing pot.  I sit and think for a few moments - and realize that SB is likely leading all Aces in this spot, as she's out of position and realizes that if she turned trips, BB will likely check through giving us all a free river look.  With BB leading so small, he's so polarized towards pocket pairs scared of the trip Aces, but wants to give the small bet means strong impression (i.e. I dare you to raise me, bro).   Realizing the situation - SB is likely drawing or nipped a small piece of the flop - and BB likely has JJ or TT - I raise it to $35.  SB instafolds, as does BB, but shows QQ.

Point is, I'm feeling very comfortable making this kind of move.  I'm definitely improving as a live player.  I will be posting a WWYD later in the week - as soon as I have time to get to it.

Angle shooting

Clearly, I'm conflicted by my prior post, A quick hand... and an update.  I've been thinking about it, talking with a few poker buddies, and racking my brain as to whether it was ethical to verbalize a false hand in order to induce a call and get an extra bet on the river.  I'm still unsure whether it's ethical or not - I'm not sure where my ethical line is drawn on this issue.  On the one hand, if I'd had this happen to me, I'm not even thinking twice about it...  I consider it a good play to get the intended action.  However, the reality is that I'm likely not allowing my opponent's act to influence my decision.  I'm not so concerned about the hand itself; I won the pot, I'm not giving it back to the guy - move on mentally.  However, the question still remains whether this is acceptable behavior in the future.

A friend pointed out to me that this is the kind of action that gets someone to wait for you outside, and on some level, I agree with that thought.  He pointed out that the issue is the verbalization of the false tell - not the actual act.  One can engage in false physical tells - well within the ethical rules, but verbalizing a false statement under a false pretense (i.e. "thinking the guy was making the call") is what makes this issue a gray area.

I am still considering the action - this is not something I'd ever do among friends at a home game, clearly.  My intent is to maximize my wins at the casino, not be Mr. Nice Guy.  When I'm playing among friends, my intent is have a good time, and enjoy the company.

Ultimately, though, I think my conundrum is based on how others perceive me.  Everything in life has a price tag - is my reputation worth $50 in this instance?  Clearly, no.  I do not want to be known as an angle shooter or cheater in any game whatsoever.  Although I don't view my actions as angle shooting, I truly wonder how some of the more experienced live players perceive my action.  Is this acceptable at the poker table filled with strangers I'd likely never see again?  I can't assume that because I'm okay with the action - both on the receiving end and the giving end - that others will be.  Thoughts?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A quick hand... and an update

In the post- Black Friday world, I am continuing to struggle along - learning more about live poker than I ever thought I would, and actually improving.  I'm around $400 away from break-even at Charles Town, but more importantly, I'm far more comfortable with playing there.  I've found the nights that I should be going (where the players are less inclined to act aggressively, and are mostly passive fish), and the nights to avoid (Friday / Saturday) where the players are aggro and less fishy.  Finally, I've been learning how to take advantage of reads and comprehend what players' bet sizing indicates.

On the point of taking advantage of situations, I have a quick hand to share which I feel as though I played very well:

I'm in the SB with Kd6d and I complete to see a 8-way flop at 1/2.  The flop comes A 6 2 monotone diamonds - I flopped the nuts.  Being the Panicky Pete that I am, I am ultra-concerned about a 4th diamond on the turn and want to get value when and where I can.  I lead for $15 into the $16 pot and get one caller, a middle-aged gentleman who has shown the willingness to call bets light and bluff.  All else fold :-(.  Naturally, a 4th diamond falls on the turn and I feign disappointment.  I check and he bets for me - $25 I think.  I think for awhile and call, trying to represent a weak Ace or weak diamond.  A 5th diamond rivers and the board shows a flush.  I snap bet $50 into the growing pot, fearing that the villain, uncomfortable with the turn of events, will check through the river.  Clearly, this surprises him - the speed at which I bet the river board flush card - and the bet in the first place.  He hadn't expected that bet and I knew it prior to betting the river.  As expected, he took his time in considering the situation.  He counted out a few chips and went back to his cards picking them up as if to muck.  I "interpreted" his move as a call- he did take a long time to act - and claimed, "I play the board...  errr..." and quickly shut up and looked down in "embarrassment."  This action on my part to set his wheels in motion - spinning ever more quickly...  he even said, exasperated, to me, "I don't know what you were doing - whether that was intentional or not..."  In my mind, he's going to fold anyway - at least his actions said fold.  I figured that by blurting that out and acting embarrassed, I would at least get a higher percentage of calls than allowing him to fold quietly.  Finally, he worked up the gall to make the call and I instantly showed him the bad news.  He was *NOT* happy and exclaimed "What a dick!"  True - it was a dick move, but I love the move and will definitely look for an opportunity to do it again!

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