Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday night play time!

This is becoming a regular thing: posting after each session...  Based on the volume of posts, it shows how little I get to play these days.  However, I was able to get in a Friday night session, given the holidays & how tired my wife was after all the Thanksgiving events.  She went to bed early, I got to stay out until 3am - sounds like an equitable trade!  Anyway, what started out as a not-so-nice session turned into a decent win for the night:

I was card dead for most of the session, save for my JJ (non-clubs) in the SB.  After about 6 limpers, I bump it to $17 to go - and get called by 2 players - the only good player at the table (yuck) and a terribad player.  Flop comes all clubs: 5 6 8, and I put in $35.  The good player bumps it to $85 and I sit & think.  The pattern at this table was to limp premiums by the bad players (i.e. I saw AA v KK on a limped pot) but this player was a good player...  There isn't much he could be limp / calling with that includes all clubs other than suited connectors, but I doubt he's first in with SC's.  For some reason, I kept on thinking about him showing TT with the Tc, but in retrospect, I didn't consider all the factors above.  The other consideration that came to my mind was a set, but I felt that he would just call to see what happens on the turn - a point I shouldn't discount as heavily as I did.  Regardless, I made the call to see 5 5 for a flopped bottom set, and found myself down a buy in about 2 hours into my session.

I rebought, and slowly bled down another $100 to find myself down $300 for the session before things started to turn around:

I was able to get value twice for a turned two pair - once with A2 on a Q T 2 board.  Limped pot and I'm in the BB, I call a flop bet of $10 as does another player.  Turn is an A, I check and see the original bettor put out $15 on the turn - called by the other player.  I think about blowing up the pot and opt to check / raise on the smaller side to keep them both interested, plus given the concern about earlier limping of big hands, AQ crosses my mind.  I check / raise to $45 and original bettor snaps while the other player folds.  Turn is a blank and I bet $80 or so and he tanks before eventually calling.  He tells me he had two pair as well.

I can't remember the other turned 2 pair hand, but I started with mid pair and made 2 pair on the turn, value betting around $90 by the river and getting paid off.

I do recall one hand that I made a particularly good play: Limped pot and I'm in the BB with T9o.  Flop comes 6 9 T - 2 diamonds.  I lead for $15 into the ~$15 pot, called by the bad player to my left, folds around to the Asian dude wearing a beanie and headphones...  dude could care less about anything but taking money from everyone at the table - showed no interest in any conversation or anything else.  He pops it to $85 and I think & muck.  My thought is that he's been very very very quiet and very very very tight, he's got to show up with a set or flopped straight.  Bad player to my left just calls once again.  At this point, I leave my seat to go talk about the hand with the good player outlined above - we had been fairly chatty since I sat down, and I respected his play.  I whispered what the action was and asked what he would do in my spot...  As I returned to my seat, I told him, "I so want to see this hand go to showdown!"  Turn is a blank and it gets checked to Mr. Cool.  He bombs for $120 with $20 effective behind and bad player again calls.  Before calling though, bad player to my left says - "I'm calling since you want to see this hand to showdown."  River is a J and Mr. Cool bets - and gets snapped for his remaining stack by the guy to my left.  Mr. Cool shows 7 8 for the flopped nuts, and guy to my left shows Qd8d, a gutted straight on the river.  This drives Mr. Cool insane - what a terrible call, that I shouldn't be talking in the hand, etc. etc.  Now, he was right in the fact that I should not have said anything in the hand, but I do not believe my talking influenced any action.  Point made, sir, though.  He didn't let it drop though, so I started needling him quite a bit throughout the rest of the night - pointing out numerous times that the whole table was having a grand 'ole time while he's sitting there with his headphones and couldn't care less about pandering to his "customers."  (I actually didn't say anything like that, but certainly alluded to the fact that everyone except ONE person was having a great time at an epic table.

Anyway, over time, given enough needling, he responded to my jabs by calling me a 5 year old, a bully, and a little bitch.  Me being me, I wouldn't let those comments drop either, and the rest of the table let him hear it too.  As luck would have it, we got into a heads up conflict where I got the better of him:

8d6d in the SB on a limped pot - about 5 ways.  We see a flop of 6xQdTd.  I lead for $15 with my multi-way draw and he flats.  Turn is the Ad and I check my flush, knowing that he's going to look to extract his "revenge."  Without fail, he bets $45 and "I want him to think that I am pondering a call, but all I'm really thinkin' about is Vegas and the fuckin' Mirage."  So I call after my preponderance...  River is a blank and I check once again, full on expecting that sweet sweet revenge bet to come - and it does, without fail, but disappointingly to the amount of $45 again.  I snap raise him as quick as I can to $100 but that stops him dead in his track.  He's too good to call a c/r river, and I'd imagine he was bluffing the turn and river regardless.  So he folds with a very unhappy look on his face, and I put on my shit-eating grin.  Getting the better of a dude like this is fun!  It makes the whole session worthwhile.

By the end of the night, I found myself up $300 instead of in the hole $300, a swing of $600, or 3 buy ins.  The takeaway from the night is this: when you're at a bad table and find yourself in the hole for some money, keep your head up.  Your skill will win out over their poor play - just get the hours in and the rest will take care of itself.  Also, have a point to getting under people's skin.  I was just biding my time for when I could take advantage of the dude's hatred for me...  and I was able to successfully pull it off without forcing anything.  I guess the key is distilled down to one word: patience.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Poker Sunday!

This past Sunday, I had the rare occasion to get some hours in at the Maryland Live! tables...  I never get the chance to play because my wife has so many things scheduled for our family to do on the weekend.  However, by the course of the family business we own, I had deliveries to make on the way up to the poker room, and later in the day, had pick ups to make in the reverse order.  It didn't make sense for me to drop off & come home - and rinse & repeat - so I stayed out there.  Besides, who am I to complain about free time to play some live poker!?!?!?

Anyway, the tables were super soft - filled with guys who believe they know what they're doing, but are just acting like aggromaniacs.  I was surprised at some of the play - my general rule on 65+ male poker players is that they're going to be tight / passive.  I saw one such guy 3-bet KQo and get it in on the turn on a Q high board against a flopped 2 pair.  I saw another guy get it in two different times PF with 44 and AK...  not the kind of play I would expect...

Regardless, I think the tables are consistently easier during the weekend as opposed to the weekdays.  I didn't hit many hands, but those hands that I did hit, I hit hard:

AJo I raise $12 first in.  I get about 4 callers and we see a J high flop with 2 hearts.  I lead for $30 and get a terribad caller - he's been so transparent; i.e. calls when behind, bets when he has top pair.  I immediately put him on a draw.  Turn is a non-heart Q.  I bet $65 and he snaps it like he owns the place.  River is a non-heart blank and I opt to check here...  He has about $80 (effective) behind, and I've seen him try to bluff rivers where it doesn't make sense (he's a bet when he thinks he's ahead, check when he's drawing kinda guy).  He's always going to bet his air and his value on the river, but he's never calling his air on the river, so why not try for a check here when I'm going to be good so often?  I check and as hoped, he fires his last $80 into the pot, which I snap off.  He shows 9h2h for the busted draw.

AJo again, I raise into 3 limpers to $15.  I get calls in 3 spots, $60 to the flop.  J 2 5 rainbow; BB leads for $30, I call as does a terribad player.  Turn is a blank, BB leads for $60.  I call, same terribad player calls.  River is another blank and it's checked to me.  There's a ton of money in the pot already - $320 - and I have ~$200 (effective) behind - bet or not to bet?  I think I miss value here but I check and it checks through.  BB doesn't show and terribad player has JT.  Nicely sized pot but I perhaps missed value on the river with my TPTK.  I think too many players are gun shy betting into the river with a single pair hand, but I felt that I'm against 2 other players with a lot of money in the pot already...  It's probably 25% bet, 75% check situation with expectation to call whatever terribad player bets on the river (he's been prone to turn hands into bluffs when checked to on the river).

JsJx, I call an EP raise from a tight player - $15 - as do 3 other players.  $75 in the pot and the flop is 3s 4s 9.  It's checked to me and I lead for $45, only the original raiser calls after contemplating for a LOOONG time.  At this point, I feel like I'm way behind...  I'm 99% certain he's not on any sort of draw; he has QQ+, TT is very unlikely.  Turn is 2s and we check through. I turn a backdoor spade draw, though I'm not sure my Js is good here.  The river definitely bails me out though when the Jc shows it's beautiful face.  It's checked to me once again (BTW, we're playing about $400 deep to start the hand - he has $800+), and I think about how much value I can get out of my top set now that I know I'm ahead of his QQ+.  The check on the turn is what will definitely get him to call a sizable river bet, but I don't want him thinking I checked for deception on my turned spade draw.  The bet has to be awkward - so I settle on $90, which is sizable but not over-the-top.  $90 into $165 is doable.  He thinks for a good long while before finally making the call - he doesn't show but 15 hands later tells me he had KK.

Last hand of note, 7 hands later, 55 in middle position - fairly standard flopped set action.  I limp in and see an A 8s 5s board.  I lead for $15 and get a caller from a semi-solid player in the BB.  Turn is 2 and I lead for $45.  Call.  River is another 2 & I push out $100 (he has $130 total behind but I felt like a $130 bet was too large to call for a limped pot).  He somewhat quickly calls and is shown the bad news.

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