Friday, April 06, 2007

55 dollars

Tonight was a damn good poker lesson.

I couldn't hit a freaking hand all night. It was the complete opposite of last night.

My small to medium pocket pairs never made sets. My suited connectors rarely came close to a draw.

And not one big pair was dealt to me at all. (My biggest pocket pair was 7's.)

I did get ace king a couple of times but could never connect with the flop.

So me being me, I lost my first buy in. I think I made a "decent" play.

But it was the sort of over aggressive style that gets in me into trouble at a cash game. The type of move that you see all the time in tournaments. But the kind of move you don't need to necessarily make in a cash game.

Here's what happened:

I limped under the gun with ace king. Guy in middle position bumps it up 6x the blind. Me and one of the blinds call and see the flop.

Flop comes three small clubs. And I should mention that I'm holding the ace of clubs.

I check to the guy who raised preflop and he makes a pot size bet.

But we all know he's gonna make that bet no matter what he's holding.

I put him on something like pocket jacks. That hand (and smaller ones like 8's, 9's 10's) are the ones that I often see make that kind of 6x the BB preflop bet.

I really don't want to call.

The way I see it, if a club comes on the turn it might kill my action. Likewise if I miss on the turn he's gonna bet again and I won't be getting the correct odds to see the river.

And damn I love to gamble.

So I reraise him almost all in. It's the one way I can guarantee that I see two more cards. I also think that perhaps I can get him to fold here. I'll gladly take either scenario.

If he has two red jacks I'm actually a 52.42 to 47.58% favorite.

If he has two black jacks (and thus one of my club outs) I'm a 50.20 to 49.8 underdog.

So either way it's close to 50/50.

And by getting my money in first I gain folding equity if he decides to give up.

He plays with his chips for a minute and the truth is I'm really happy either way. It would be nice to take down the pot, and have the table fear me and my aggressive play. But I'm also crazy so of course I don't mind racing this guy and trying to double up.

He eventually calls. At the end of the hand he turned over two baby clubs for a made flush. I really can't believe he took so long to call. If you're going to play small suited cards I think you gotta call when they hit.

So with his made flush it turns out he was a 71 to 29% favorite to win the pot on the flop. It was the worse case scenario for me. (Yet the funny part is that even in this worse case scenario I still will win this hand 29% of the time! Or to put it another way: the 2006 NY Mets hit as a team for a .292 average. So I win this hand as often as a 2006 NY Met got a hit).

To his credit, there was no way for me to put him on a made flush. Certainly not with his preflop raise. I know he doesn't have ace king of clubs for the nut flush since I hold the ace. And how many suited club hands could he have made that preflop bet with? King queen? 10 jack? Maybe. The fact that he flopped a flush, well that's just poker. It happens. And obviously (as you can see) when it happens I'm willing to pay someone off.

Now if I had won that hand I wouldn't have learned anything about poker. I'd be cocky and think it's all easy money. But since I lost I suddenly was down more than 1 buy in. (I had already bought some additional chips that had bled off missing flops.)

I wouldn't call it tilt. But I was frustrated. So I sat back. Took a deep breathe. Grabbed another buy in out of my wallet. And told myself that I wasn't leaving the table until I won my first buy in back.

It wasn't pretty. My cards never really got better. I can sit here and whine about all the bad things that happened. Like I flopped a baby flush with suited connectors and of course the board pairs on the turn and the 4th spade comes on the river. It was that kind of night.

And it took 4 hours of folding and waiting. But I won my money back.

One way I enticed myself to keep folding was the concept that: if I'm a better player than my opponents then the more hands I see, the more my advantage has a chance of being a factor.

Like if I'm playing against Phil Ivey and I'm not the better player then I may as well go all in with the first good hand I see since I don't really want to play him post flop.

But against these mediocre typically bad Vegas weekend warriors, I want to have a sample of as many hands as possible against them. Lets put us in all kinds of scenarios. And then lets see who can play these multiple post flop situations better. That's where my edge is against these people. I need to sit there for hours for the data to be as accurate as possible.

Obviously on any single all in either of us can win. But on a long boat trip to China I should have a big advantage. If I don't have an advantage over hundreds of hands then I'm in the wrong business.

So I ended up cashing out on the night up 55 dollars. The amount itself is insignifcant. But in many ways this comeback felt sweeter than winning alot more money last night. I was in a bad place mentally. I never got the cards. If this was baseball, I scored my runs through alot of bunting and sacrificing. I moved runners over.

The key to my comeback was winning 4 different pots where I was chasing but sensed weakness
and bet (or made a raise) on the river despite not hitting my draws. And all 4 times they folded.

Those bets are getting easier and easier to make. Especially when you look at your cards and know that the only way you can win the hand is to bet. It doesn't even feel like a bluff. It feels like a necessity.

Thus the betting itself isn't that hard. The hard part is deciding the correct amount to get someone to fold. Sometimes it's a large bet. But oftentimes a small bet is more believable. A smaller bet can scream to your opponents that I must have the nuts and am trying to just get some value out of it. And then they can feel good about folding. And the money they saved.


Check Raise Chin said...

A 9% gain is better than most wall street investments.

Was there anyway you could've laid down that hand where the guy pulled a flush on the flop? Maybe wait for a better chance to get your money in?

Just wondering...

EskimoQuinn said...

Sure. If he showed me his flopped flush before I bet I definitely I would have laid it down.

But I'm not really in that bad shape against most other hands.

This morning I had the thought that I could have flashed him my ace of clubs when he was thinking about what to do it.

With a made flush he still calls my bet (his logic being that I'm not going to show him the ace of clubs with the nut flush cause why would I kill my action?)

But perhaps showing the ace of clubs gets a hand like a medium poker pair to lay down there.