Friday, July 21, 2017

The need for topping off your stack

As I was waiting for a 1/3 seat to open to start my regular Thursday night session, I decided to sit down at an open 2/5 in order to be included with the ongoing hot seat drawing.  I was seated at 6:05, and the drawing is held on the quarter hour.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hit the hot seat, but I bought in for the minimum ($300) and proceeded to win two nice pots during my short stay, walking away +$368.

The game at 2/5 was good.  I actually considered forgoing my 1/3 seat when it became available, but I quickly concluded that the games are far easier at the lower stakes and the money is very similar.  Less risk, similar reward makes the move a more logical choice.  A quick recap of the one hand of note which I was floored:

Straddled to $10, I find myself in the BB with 99 with my initial $300 effective.  There are a host of limps when action gets to me.  I’m definitely raising here and looking to get it in if need be.  With around $60 of dead money in the pot already, this seems like a prime opportunity for an easy pick up.  I raise to $75.  I’m surprised when 2 callers – one very loose player, and another unknown, make the call.  Flop comes 9 2 7.  Easy game.  I check and it checks through.  Turn is a 2.  I decide to try to get some money in, but want to make my bet appear weak and stab-like.  I bet $75 and they both fold.  Boo!  Perhaps if I see the river, maybe they hit top pair or any pair?  Meh.  I still stand by the play; the loose player can have a wide range here.

I get called for the 1/3 game, and pocket the winnings, sitting down to the new table with $313 to start.  It’s a mixed table with 2 regulars who recognize me, and I tread water for the first few hours.
One hand of note: Prior hand plays in, where I raised to $18 with AJo, get 3bet to $60 and fold.  Regs have definitely seen this, know I can lay down to a 3bet, and view me to be reasonably tight / aggressive.  Anyway, I’m sitting on $245 and I raise one limper to $15 with AQcc.  I think there may have been one or two calls between the more aggressive / somewhat creative reg who looks down, thinks and 3bets to $75.  Folds around to me.  I’ve already decided that this is a good squeeze spot for the reg to pick up some dead money – a move he’s capable of doing – so I shove over pretty quickly for the remainder and it folds back to him.  He folds JJ face up.  Nice pickup of a decent pot with no flop.  I start on the road to building my stack to around $620 without many confrontations.  I’m getting a lot of respect and players are folding to my cbets / raises.  I’m not hitting anything mind blowing, just playing my regular game.

Another hand of note:  I limp A5hh from the BTN after 3 other players.  Action closes and we see a beautiful flop of 2 3h 4h.  Checks to me and I bet $6 into $13.  A mid-60’s, somewhat loose middle-Eastern gentlemen calls as does another player.  Turn is a 2, pairing the board.  Checks to me and I bet $15.  Call from the middle-Eastern guy and I’m heads up.  River is an interesting 3.  It’s a smallish pot and I’m not happy with the runout.  He leads for $40.  I make an awfuckit call and he shows 95o for a missed straight draw / chop.  Go me.

Anyway, table drops down to 4 players and I debate packing it in.  A group of guys who’ve never played before sit down, as does an annoying drunk guy.  Drunk guy proceeds to turn his starting stack (no clue what it was) to ~$400 when the following happens:

3 limps and an average 1/3 player raises to $7.  Caller and drunk guy from SB calls after a speech.  I look down at QQ and decide to 3bet to $45.  Folds around to original raiser who calls, as does drunk guy.  We’re playing $328 effective, as the drunk guy is the only noteworthy player.  We see a 3 7 9 hhh flop.  Sucky, as I don’t have a Qh blocker, but certainly workable.  Drunk guy checks to me, and I want to value bet any heart draws.  I carve out $125.  Folds to the drunk guy who fumbles around for a bit and raises to $250.  I think he can have a very wide range here including top pair and redraw hands, so I don’t want to just call.  I shove over and he snaps me off with the mighty A6hh.  Drawing dead, my stack is now down to about $185.

I’ve been pondering this hand, thinking about whether I can truly put him on a flopped flush, and I’m still mixed in my analysis.  To the negative of my thoughts, drunk guy has not been particularly aggressive, he’s somewhat aware of his hand strength.  We also talked about what he was going to do when he raises me, which I think should have been a huge tell.  However, to the positive, we’re talking about a drunk guy who previously bet me $5 that a Porsche 928 was a rear-engine car – a bet I won immediately thanks to a quick Wikipedia lookup (FWIW, the 928 was Porsche’s first front engine car, and the company has since offered the 924 / 944, 968, Cayenne, Macon, Panamera).  I think I discounted his tells on account of his drunkenness.

I was able to get retribution when I top off $100 a few hands after the aforementioned hand (hence the title of the post) and open from the BB [again] to ~$22 with KK.  I get around 3-4 callers including the drunk guy.  I can’t remember the exact details, and they’re not all that important.  Flop comes T T 4dd.  Drunk guy checks to me and I cbet $65.  He’s the only caller.  Turn is a 6 or something.  I shove my remaining $186 and he hems and haws.  He starts talking about how he wants to make the call to give me back my money and that if he hadn’t won such a big pot from me in the prior hands, he’d definitely fold his hand.  He makes the call and shows QQ.  Clean river (noteworthy too, since I haven’t been doing very well over the past few months with KK) and I’m almost back to where I was prior to the QQ hand. 

In summary, quite a rollercoaster, but I eke out a decent profit at the 1/3 game to close out my session.  Had I not topped off, I would have missed out on an additional $100, and the profit for the session would have been 33 big blinds less.  In an eight hour session like the one I played, that $100 top off was worth $12.50 / hour.  These little edges make a world of difference to the hourly rate.  If you’re not topping off, you better have a good reason for not doing so (i.e. tougher competition, consistently getting your money in at high variance spots, etc.).  Otherwise, you’re missing out on additional profit that surely makes a difference to the bottom line.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Surprise! Pocket Kings fails again!

It's funny how one hand - albeit a hand with worse equity when the money goes in - holds up, but a dominating hand when the money goes in never seems to hold'em.  I feel like I'm becoming a bit of a broken record (perhaps even sounding like fellow blogger Rob and the dreaded pocket Kings) posting about crappy beats with KK but it's my blog and I can do what I want, right?

So I'm riding along nicely - a few hours into my session when the table breaks as it reaches 4 people.  I get switched over to the table I'd been eyeing all night - a table of non-regs.  I haven't been following the table closely as it's across the room, but I'm playing in Baltimore, don't recognize the players, and figure it's a tourist table.  I was correct in my assumptions.

I sit down and watch an immediate all-in and call with weakish holdings, a 3bet with KJs (noted) and a short stack shove repeatedly.  Oh yeah, straddles galore - $6, $10, $15 - all by various players.  Hmmmm...  I'm probably going to like this table...

Meanwhile, my stack gets dribbled down to roughly a starting stack, as I can't hit a hand.  I'm covering the involved parties when the following happens:

There's a $10 straddle on when UTG open ships $86 all in.  A guy in MP re-ships for $97.  I look down at KK and debate.  I know I'm facing two short stacks, so do I want to close the pot out by re-shipping the $300?  I decide on pushing rather than flatting and praying that someone else deeper just calls too.  Turns out we're 3 way and action is closed.  Flop is a glorious K 8 J.  Turn is a 3 putting a two flush and the river is a rainbow T.  I proudly flip my top set and wait until I get semi slow rollled by AQ.  GG sir.  Puke in the mouth.  Why the hell wont my Kings hold up anymore?!?!?!

Anyway, I get retribution a few hands later from the MP above.  For some reason, I don't rebuy which definitely is a factor in the hand.  I'm sitting on $215 and look down at JJ from late position -- probably hijack - after 3 limps.  I [only] get called in 5 spots and we see a flop of 5 8 T -- two clubs.  A very loose short stack open ships $125, the MP above re-pushed $300+ (which covers me) and the action is on me.  Is this go time or am I crushed?  I feel like I'm the hour or so I've been playing, the short stacker can push with any equity, but the MP would just call with a draw.  So is he closing out action against other draws?  Or does he have a set / two pair?  I eventually come to the conclusion that I'm getting too good of a price to fold and call for my remaining stack.  It folds around and I'm once again 3 way to see a turn/ river.

Well the foreshadowing above should already have indicated to you that I held; turns out I'm up against Q8hh and K4cc.  I wind up fading the K,Q,8 and clubs FTW.  A far worse equity hand for a far bigger pot.

Poker is such a strange beast...

Some final notes:

Congratulations to Memphis MOJO for his final table at the WSOP seniors event!  It's truly spectacular to see the blogger world represented proudly!

Happy Fourth of July to all of my [United States of] American readers!

I won't be posting for a few weeks (not that anyone will notice) since I won't be able to play.  I'm on a tour internationally for the next two weeks.  In fact, I'm posting this blog entry 35,000 feet up!

Blog Archive