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.


  1. Great point, never thought about it in HR point wise.

  2. Nice winning session/s. Do you still call the Shoe your home poker room?

    1. I've kinda moved away from the 'Shoe as my home to the MGM since the drive is so much shorter from both work & home. The session above was from MGM, FWIW.

    2. Cool, I did notice you put a tag for MGM on the post. Now PeteP, you, and I can meet for a beer down here.

    3. Sure thing; I'm there on Thursdays and rarely a weekend night...

  3. After this last trip to Las Vegas, I was somewhat frustrated by the $1/2 NL play. Guys basically chased everything, including gutshots, and hit them too many times. The $1/3 games at Wynn had a level of play that was much more difficult. However, I made a nice profit at Wynn. It gets me wondering about playing some $2/5, which I haven't done for some time.


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