Friday, August 31, 2012

The Nuts! I mean, "Do you have the nuts?"

Anyone who knows me knows that I can't keep my trap shut for very long.  I have the equivalent of the runs when it comes to my mouth.  It makes for some interesting poker situations, to say the least.  I don't know; when I sit down at the live table, I have an ADHD that suddenly turns on - like a dog who's nose is picking up every scent and hearing everything and is having sensory overload.  Okay, well maybe it's not quite that bad, but I'm fidgeting in my chair, talking to anyone who will listen, trying to move the game along.  I guess I'm far more comfortable with online poker because it draws my entire attention in to keep me focused on the 10-15 tables I have running at the given time.

I've noted some bad habits since I've been playing live - some perhaps downright rude - all of which I'm working on.  On occasion, I know when I make a raise to get other players folded out, I am 100% sure that it will work, and have my cards ready to muck.  I've played enough to know when someone calls a $6 bet on a limped pot and I raise to $20, for example, when the action folds back around to them as the last player to act and they're looking at their cards once again, it's a given that they're folding their 2 overs or at best, bottom pair.  While they're re-assessing the situation, I have my cards (with my hand on them) half-way to the muck as an encouragement to move the game along, though I'm not quite sure my opponents see it the same way, but I digress from the original point: speaking too much.

Last night, as I had a record session (both at Charles Town and for live poker overall - $1300+), I raised 5 limpers with KJo in late position to $15.  Welcome to Ctown - I get 3 callers and a juicy pot to boot.  The flop comes a very blank - Q 8 3 rainbow.  ~50 year old calling station, which I had been noticing was a calling station, but not in the way that wouldn't know when he's beat (assumption mistake FWIW), leads for $17 into the $60+ pot.  He gets a decent Asian player to call and I come along, floating and thinking I'll take it away on the turn.  The turn is an Ace, which is a decent card to rep - I expect a check but station leads for $16 this time into the now-ballooning pot (that kind of bet from a station says to me that he still wants value, but is clearly afraid of the Ace and tells all sorts of weakness).  Asian guy folds (he saw me grab a large chip stack intending to raise (mistake because I should have trapped an additional $16) and I decide to push it to $55.  Betting less on the turn than on the flop is a pretty decent sign of weakness IMO.  Station quickly and thoughtlessly calls, which has me instantly checked out of the hand - 25BB lost on the turn is the mental calculation; bluff did not work; DO NOT BLUFF STATIONS DESPITE YOUR DUMB READ!!!!  However, the river bails me out with a beautiful Ten (no flushes, etc.), making my backdoor straight.  Emboldened and upright, station now carves out $40 of his $~180 behind and puts it across the line.  Pretty big sign of strength is my read, and I stop, take my time (been working on that - need to stop acting instantly like I do online), and push out two stacks of red (1 stack of red = 20 chips x $5 = $100 x 2 stacks) putting him all-in and to a decision.  Almost instantly he takes his chips and starts to move them forwards, motioning a call.  As soon as I see this, I call out "Nuts!" and in the same instant, realize that he did not call, but was kinda playing around with the chips, contemplating still...  Quick thinking, quick witted me, I change my exclamation to "Do you have the nuts?" but I knew it wasn't going to pass muster by anyone... the whole table knew what just happened.  Well, the whole table, except one person, who was STILL considering a call.  Looking around the table, and trying as best I could to stifle a laugh (the whole table was putting on their best poker faces too - shout out to the table "THANKS!") he sighs and says "Well, I guess I should call you - I call."  I instantly flip the goods and he shows Ace Ten for the rivered 3 outter 2 pair.  Everyone busts out laughing (except calling station) and as those internet kids say, "hilarity ensued."  Well, hilarity ensued for everyone except the station, who sulked off, embarrassed, and beaten down.

I guess that's part of running well...

P.S.  It's interesting when people see you make moves like raising the turn on a draw.  The more attentive players at the table gave me a quizzical look, which shows they misread me in general.  I think that's a good think; it balances my range of bluffs / monsters such that they are aware that they feel more comfortable calling me light in those kinds of spots.  The reality is that I'm infrequently making that kind of move with bluffs; probably an 80/20 split, but it certainly serves to loosen my opponents' calling ranges.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back in the saddle

I've been miserable at the tables lately - every session for, for the last 3 (excluding last night), I've experienced an awful suckout, culminating in a bottom set vs. top two situation at the 2/5 tables for a full buy in.  Naturally, the limp pot / smooth caller responds to the check raise on the draw-heavy 2 spade 2 straight board by shoving all in for a full buy in with his top two.  I sat and thought for a few seconds, disbelieving that he could limp the button pre with 8's or Jacks, but so be it; my set of 3's from the BB are likely good here.  Low & behold, they're good until the river Jack sets him up for the win.

Nobody wants to hear about bad beats and bad runs - I certainly don't, but it's all I can think about going into last night.  AA overpairs all in on the flop vs. QQ overpairs (turn queen, natch), backdoor flushes getting there, etc. and I've experienced losing in all manners of new ways.  It sucks.  Last night was different, though.  I ran really well, my hands held up, and I was sitting at a table with an Austrian woman who was learning how to play.  She was simply running over the table with her rivered two pairs or trips, continually either smashing the flop or getting there before the river.  Moreover, she'd almost always invariably get value when she was ahead. Now I'm not saying that she was a good player - in fact, she's anything but that.  She was a megafish.  However, that very megafish was sitting on EASILY $1k in chips at 1/2 and raising / calling / playing seemingly randomly - but almost always getting there.

Not one to shy away from a goldmine (not to mention that she had totally tilted a heavy-set reg Asian lady), I realized upon sitting that I was at an AWESOME table, and simply needed cards.  The formula for last night was simple: get cards, get paid.  Unfortunately, I can't report that I had a bankroll-breakout session, but I did have a very nice session.  I rarely ever got into a big pot with the Austrian, but definitely doubled through more than once off of the tilted Asian lady, which felt EXCELLENT.  I love when people experience karma, but have no idea how or why.  This lady was 100% trash - dressed very nicely, but the the outward appearance thin veneer could not hide the fact that this lady had zero clue about societal norms and behaviors.  She would casually slow roll when the mood struck her, taking her time to stare at the board and then back at her cards before flipping over the winner.  She was constantly snorting snot with her nose, lest she use a tissue like a normal human.  She would continually pick her teeth - that horrible act she would at least perform with her other hand covering her mouth so that we were protected from seeing that cavern of despair.  She was a downright noxious human being.  It was unbelievable to me that a reg could act in such an abhorrent manner - she was also downright rude to players, particularly the newbie Austrian fish.  I got all in with her twice - both with the best of it (KK vs. JJ - shoved into me), and AA vs. 99 (not quite all in, but we're $500+ deep and she's committed $350+ to the pot folding a $150 turn raise / shove by me.  I'm pretty certain that she purposely miscounted the first all in for $237, giving me only $227 while counting in front of the dealer.  The dealer, BTW, did not re-count her stacks as he should have.  It was up to me to realize her "error" and call her on it.  I did not tip the dealer for that hand.

The Austrian was a piece of work herself.  I was mentally counting her chips in my head, but could not seem to get ahold of them.  The table, and especially the Asian lady described above, could not figure out that she could not fold pairs.  I saw them frequently try to bluff her off of her middle pairs only to find out the obvious: she doesn't fold.  It was astounding that they could not figure out something as simple as this.  To my pleasure, the fat Asian lady lost all of her $~900 to the Austrian.  More than twice, she would walk off, steaming from the "move" that she had just made.  To top things off, the Austrian was a heavy drinker - could hold her liquor - but still drinking heavily at a game where you've never played before is of questionable judgement.  More than once, I caught the Austrian cheering when she dragged a nice sized pot.

Anyway, big post and rambling with not much more to say other than I had a nice session and my hands held up for the first time in a month.  I figure that from an EV perspective, I'm looking at a $1500 difference.  Last night was hopefully the start of my way  back to earning back that equity.  Only another $1300 in EV to go....  :-)

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