Friday, April 22, 2016

What's the definition of insanity? Oh yeah... right...

I once again had the pleasure of playing against my new favorite whale last night... the one featured in my prior post here.  Now I'm admittedly not much of a table selector, but tonight I became a bum hunter extraordinaire.  I'm not above turning down a free meal because the pickins' are too easy, so I requested a table change immediately upon sitting down.  When I saw a seat become available, I jumped on it only to find out that the floor had inadvertently sat someone new at my requested table.  I talked with the new player, tried to convince him to switch with me, and bought him a beer to swap.  He happily accepted and just like that, I had the Jesus seat on our whale.  Needless, last night did not disappoint - this guy has predictably not changed his game at all, hence the title of the post.  The purchase of a beer was money well spent because the whole table was very profitable.

I was going through the hand history that I mentally filed away last night, because there were quite a few interesting spots:
  • Hand 1: I call an EP raise to $8 with 77 in MP, as do around 2 players including the whale.  We see a flop of 7h 9d Qh.  Checks to me and I lead for $20.  Whale insta-raises to $55 and folds the table back around to me.  I hesitate for a bit before calling the raise.  Turn comes a blank and I check to the raiser.  He leads out a smooth $100 on the turn and I flat.  River is an 8 and I decide to check.  He checks through and flips over AA.  I feel a little sick that I should have stacked him for around $400+ but got 0 value on the river.  I was half-afraid of set over set given his aggression, but I was also thinking he'd bet the river - but I should have thought about it more and perceived that he would be afraid of JT.
  • Hand 2: I wind up calling [smallish] flop / turn / river bet from a fishy player with JT on a K 9  x T 9 board.  When I call his river bet he hesitates for a while, looks at me and asks "Do you think you're good here?"  When I say "I sure do hope so," he flips over QJ and scoops.  I think he was just a fish and didn't realize he held the straight, intending on just going for a gag bluff, but still - what an ass.
  • Hand 3: Our whale got involved in a hand where his opponent shoved the river on a Q 9 T x Q board.  Our whale (I'm guessing he was tilting majorly since he claimed to be in for $1900+ AT A 1/3 GAME!!!) shook his head and claimed "I can't believe I let you get there on me..." before waiting 30 seconds to call with the nuts - QT vs. his opponent's KJ straight.  Really?  He knows better than that...  WTF?
  • Hand 4: I raise to $15 with 88.  Our whale and one other see a flop of K 9 4.  We check to whale who bets $15.  Folds to me and I call, not believing.  Turn is a blank.  I check again and he bets $20.  Call.  River: 8.  I check again expecting a bet (theme of title of post), yet he fails to bet and I'm shown KT vs. my river suckout...  Again, 0 value on the river.
  • Hand 5: Tighter player raises to $10 (a very small bet) and I look down at KK.  I raise to $35.  Folds around to original raiser who puts out $100.  Uh oh!  I start thinking about AA and try to stifle those thoughts...  I'm like 1 and 1 for laying down KK correctly - last time I did it I was up against AQ and would have been way ahead.  That memory is still burning in my head so I just call the 4bet.  He shoves in the dark for $140 on a 3 3 6 or so board.  I even say, "This is a HUGE cooler," but somehow can't find the fold button - I call.  Board runs clean and I'm up against AA.  Bummer.  Do I get extra points for being very very close to folding pre flop or flop?
  • Hand 6: I raise $15 with KQo and get called in 2 spots.  Flop is Q 2 4.  I bet $25 and am called by a nittier retiree.  Retiree fiddles with his chips a bit - looking like he's deciding between raising, calling or folding.  The tell I had was deciding between calling / folding.  Turn is an 8.  I bet $35 and nit again fiddles with his chips before raising to $75.  Was my read wrong?  I wind up folding.  A few hours later,  I ask him about the hand and he stares at me without blinking - eyeballs fixed - and says he had 33, claiming he put me squarely on AK.  He was planning on shutting down if I called the raise.  Not quite sure what the fixed eyeball thing was all about, but had the distinct feeling of being lied to while trying to appear truthful.  I felt much more like he had 22 or 44.  Maybe I tell that to myself to escape the bad laydown...
  • Hand 7: I look down at AQo on the BTN, facing a $15 raise from the best player at the table - TAG Asian dude who knows what's up.  One caller between us & I 3bet to $45.  Asian guy flats and monkey-in-the-middle folds.  Flop comes J high.  He checks and I cbet $60 (he has about $200 behind).  He raises $100 to $160 to go.  I think for a while and can't help but put him on QQ, JJ so I fold.
  • Hand 8: I raise to $15 with AKss in EP.  2 callers between aforementioned Asian dude and me.  Asian dude raises to $55 and it folds to me.  I flat, all else fold.  Flop comes K Q high.  I check to aggressor and he bets $65.  I call.  Turn is a blank.  He bets $150 and I try to shove but wind up calling because I didn't put enough of my stack out (I miscalculated the size of villain's bet).  River is a blank and I check since I gave away my check/raise.  He winds up betting after a long pause - $60 all in.  I snap and am shown AKo for the chop.
  • Hand 9: I raise to $15 with 88.  Get called in 2 spots and have position.  Flop comes 8 9 4 - 2 clubs.  I lead for $35 and get called in both spots (one is the fishy player from Hand 2, one is a decent reg).  Turn is a Qd putting 2 diamonds, 2 clubs out there.  Checks to me and I lead for $75.  Fishy player folds and reg thinks a bit and calls.  River is a 2c completing the flush draw.  Reg checks to me and I weakly check through.  Reg shows TT (oddly played, sir) and I scoop.
  • Hand 10: I limp / call $10 with K2dd as do 4 other players.  Flop is K 2 3 with 2 spades.  The fishy player mentioned in Hand 2 leads for $15.  I raise to $45.  Fishy player calls.  Turn is an off suit 9.  Fishy player leads for $100 with $70 or so behind.  I shove all in [correctly this time] and am snapped off my fishy player.  River is of no consequence and fishy player proudly flips over AKo.  I flip over K2 for the flopped 2 pair and scoop.  It was nice getting a bit of karma.
Overall, I had a solid session.  These kinds of sessions are nice because the cards fell into place, rather than me playing well.  What I beat myself up about is the lack of value obtained on the river in multiple spots.  I hit a miracle set and got nothing for it.  I  should have stacked the whale with my set of 7's but only got around 1/2 stacks...  Towards the end of the night, I became more fearless and tenacious, but I definitely missed opportunities for stackage.  I don't know why earlier in the night I was so gun shy.  I kept on feeling like I was going to be set over set - and ironically, I was KK over AA and didn't shy away when I should have!  Get 'em next time!

Friday, April 15, 2016

A quick brag post...

I played Thursday night 1/3 at the 'Shoe and then was able to come back and play a session today, Friday.  Both sessions were very successful.  One hand was a particular standout as one of my opponents so poorly played their hand that I was just stunned.  I guess I have so many hands under my belt at this point that nothing should surprise me, but still, I'm always amazed...

A little background: 65-75 year old gentleman, always well dressed, likes to splash around a bit and does not have a fold button.  Usually, if he calls for $3 and someone raises, so long as there's money in the pot, he's calling the raise.  I've hit him up a number of times where he'll limp and I raise to between $20-25 eliciting a call followed by a check / fold.

A bit more background on our fish of the day:  I played with him last night where the board turned a 4 flush with me holding the Ace.  I lead out a monotone flop for $10 or something (limped pot) and he called from one of the blinds.  Turn completed my flush and I led out for another $10 or so - he c/r'ed me to $30 and I thought for a bit --- called.  River was another flush card so the board was a flush.  It was something like Q 2 3 6 9 so a straight flush was possible with the 4 5, buy I wasn't too worried.  Any who, our friendly scamp leads out for $100 with like $90 behind.  I raise all in and then he starts talking about how I have the Ace and how bad he runs, etc.  He ends up calling and I stack him.

Fast forward to today: I raise A Q hh from EP.  I get called in about 5 spots and we see a flop of... ho hum...  K J 3 - all hearts.  Easy game, I know...  Well, old man in SB checks, BB leads for $35 and my read is precisely that he flopped a flush too.  Action is on me and I waffle between check and raise - the last thing I want to see on the turn is another heart so he can be scared away, after all.  I come to my senses, though, thinking about the pending 4 other players yet to act and decide to call the $35.  Alas, it folds around to our lovable loser in the SB who decides to execute an ill-timed check / raise... except he c/r's all in for about $170.  BB thinks for about 5 seconds and verbalizes a call.  The whole time, I'm thinking: "I want him to think that I am pondering a call, but all I'm really think'in about it Vegas and the fuckin' Mirage."

Action to me and I have the BB covered (he has around $350).  Is there any point of screwing around with so much in the middle already - he's committed almost half his stack and the last thing I want is the board to pair or another heart to drop?  I do my best Matt Damon and verbalize all in.  BB is now in a panic... he wasn't thinking I had already flopped the flush, and went through the stages of grief right before my very eyes in the span of about 10 seconds: surprise, then disbelief, then finally acceptance with the call!  Well, what do you think old man holds?  Go on!  Take a guess - what do old men have when the c/r all in?  AA of course - drawing nearly dead to runner runner with 1 Ace and / or running trips on the board.  Needless to say, my hand holds for the 98% favorite and I scoop a nice pot!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Beware the Ides of March... into April?

I thought I was happy the month of March was over.  I played 7 sessions and had my first losing month since June of 2015.  I guess I shouldn't complain; it's bound to happen that I'll run bad over an "extended" period of time - and by extended, I mean 5 out of 7 losing sessions with 4 in a row.  I was very happy to break that aforementioned 4 session loser on the 1st of April, when I settled for a modest 1/2 buy in plus up.  It served to restore a bit of my confidence in my game, but I wasn't feeling 100% healed.  Stuff was still going south on my at a rapid rate, though I did not feel like my play was suffering.  Worst part was I had a killer start to the year, but March pretty much undid all the winning - my hourly rate dropped to below 1/2 levels!  I know... I know...  sample size - 21 total sessions is too small of a sample size to really make judgements and get upset.

Needless to say, I played last night and felt like April had become more of the same that I've come to expect from my sessions lately.  The night started off well enough; I spiked an open-ender with the "Grump" - 2 4ss (his favorite hand).  Mind you, I've never won with that  hand - but I called a SB $15 raise while in position with 5 other callers to see a flop of 3 5 T (one spade, rainbow).  The original raiser had $50-60 left and open shoved the flop.  I was the only caller and saw a spade on the turn and a 6 on the river for the nice, early $160 winner.  I chipped up little by little on my way to +$300 before the doomswitch got turned on.

Note: Skip to below if you don't want to read about whining and bad beats

I went on to flop a set of Aces on an all hearts board only to be shown a JT flush by the river (-$300).  I 3bet to $55 with JJ and flopped mid set only to be shown a 46hh flush on the river (he had $~200 to start the hand, called one bet and then called the 3bet LOL... -$200).  I flopped a 53 flush only to be shown a 95 flopped flush (-$100).  I flopped top 2 pair (T8) only to be 4 straighted on the river (-$65).  I flopped top 2 pair (QT) again only to be flushed on the river (-$65).

Note:  End of whining and bad beats

Despite my string of nauseously poor luck, I found myself out no more than $200 on the night and continually working my way back into the game.  As you can probably gather above, the table was juicy and primed for the pumping if only I could get my hands to hold up.  There were a few guys on total tilt, with the key player sitting on a peak of around $1700.  I could only watch it dwindle away drip drip drip when I finally caught a hand at around 2:30AM:

As I said, I'm no more than in for $200, so in this hand, I'm sitting on approx. $400.  Facing a mid position raise to $15, I look down at 55 on the BTN and opt to just call.  I actually consider 3betting here, but figure with position, sitting on a decent stack, and the looseness of the table, if I hit I can really get paid without giving the strength of my hand away pre-flop.  The player mentioned above is now sitting on around $1100 and is involved in the hand, as are around 5 others.

Flop comes 5 6 Qr, and action checks to villain.  Before we get into it, I want to provide a bit of background on our villain.  He's very active, frequently continuing with hands where he's clearly beat, only to have sucked out continually on the river... and get okay value.  A few examples are calling a turn $75 bet on a 7 A x x board with K7, betting $150 on the river when he hits his K and getting paid.  He'll call $75 on a turn bet with $60 behind when he hits his flush.  You know the type.  He's a middle-aged Asian dude who likes to gamble gabol!  He obviously will not lay down a draw... like EVER.  Finally, I'm seething from this guy - he's the most rude, inconsiderate and questionable rule breaker I've seen in a LONG time.  He'll talk about the hand whether he's involved or not - for example, he bet into a small flopped set and got raised, and starts talking about hands that he puts the raiser on while other players are still involved.  He'll regularly fold out of turn.  He'll act inappropriately like laughing at other players, berating them, slamming his hand down when he folded a flop that he would have hit.  This guy's a regular, and has clearly been warned for his behavior before, but the dealers nor the floor have taken any action against him.  In other words, he couldn't give two craps about the hand or the game if he's not involved.  In one word, he was an asshole - I almost felt sorry for him because I thought he may be on the spectrum (that's how poorly behaved he was).

Anywho, back to my flopped bottom set.  His pattern du jour is to bet smallish (~$15 into $60) with probing bets on hands that he has some equity, but continually will bet 2 or 3 streets as a bluff when other players just call his bets.  Contrary to prior action, this time he bet $47, a large bet for him to be bluffing or drawing.  Another player calls his largish bet and action folds to me.  Around $75 + $47 + $47 in the pot and I'm sitting on $385.  I read his hand as clearly - NOT A BLUFF.  I don't think I want the mid position player just calling - and I'm not sure where I'm at with our villain; he's betting so often that he's very difficult to read.  In fact, with our villain, I've opted to take a straight forward play-my-cards-face-up approach with him, because he's paying off so often and/or bluffing so often that I get more value because he so infrequently likes to fold.  Therefore, I decide I will raise large - and spike $175 into the $~170 pot.  He thinks for a few seconds and calls.  Our monkey-in-the-middle player folds.  Turn is a 3 completing the rainbow.  He checks to be again - actually I bet out of turn but realize that I incorrectly did so - and he check / calls my shove of $210 after some deliberation.  I don't remember the river, but he shows down KQo and I scoop a nice and much needed double up to end my night to the decent positive.  After a whipsaw night, I'm pleased with the results.

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