Thursday, January 03, 2008

Short and Sweet

Wednesday January 2nd. My first hour at work in 2008.

10:56 PM. Seated at 2/5 NL. Buy in for 400. I'm digging the 400 buy in lately. It's a 500 max table so 400 still gives me plenty of chips. But somehow saving that 100 bucks makes me feel more comfortable playing faster and potentially losing my whole stack. Kind of like I don't want to be all in preflop with a big pair for $500, but for "only 400" the 20% discount makes the possibility of my getting felted much more bearable.

Opening hand I call a raise to 20 with queen, jack suited but the "Pro" behind me raises to 115. Initial raiser unfortunately folds and so do I.

I'm calling this guy "Pro" because of his persona. I don't recognize him but I know his game. He's the unshaven guy with headphones and a baseball hat. He only raises when he enters pots. He takes the game very seriously. You know. That guy.

11:03 PM. A couple of hands later I pick up pocket queens. There's a few limpers in front of me. I raise it to 30 in position. They all fold, including the "Pro" but he takes much longer to muck. Because he's a "Pro."

11:08 PM. Fun hand for me. "Pro" raises to 20 in early position. Two callers. I call the 15 more from the big blind. Flop comes 9,9,7. Two hearts. "Pro" can't like this flop. Nevertheless he continue bets 60 when it's checked to him. Bad player to my right calls. I call too.

Turn is a small rag diamond. We have two flush draws out there. There's a straight draw out there too. The board is paired. It's a terrifying situation for everyone.

Especially if you raised preflop with a big pair.

If you raised preflop with ace king it's utterly hopeless.

There's $260 in the middle. I have a little over $300 in front of me.

Now if I check, two things can happen. "Pro" will either check behind me. Or he will bet again and become pot committed.

So I decide to take this choice away from him. I push out $300.

What can he do?

If he has pocket 10's or bigger he's not about to call off $300 bucks here. Not when he may need to hit a two outer to win. He's too good to make that call.

My bet sure looks like I don't want to see anyone draw out. I'm already where I need to be.

He takes a minute, acts like it's a tough decision, and then folds. So does the other player.

I was real proud to take down a pot like this without having to showdown. I'm tired of having to show the best cards to win.

None of us knows what was coming on the river. None of us knows who would have had the best hand. But by betting so aggressively here, I took the random math part out of the equation. And what felt so good was the realization that I was playing his hand way more than I was playing my own.

11:13 PM. Two hands later it gets folded around to me on the button. I look down at ace 3 suited. I raise to 15. Small blind folds. "Pro" calls. Flop is 2,3,7. With two of my suit. It's a dream. I quickly continue bet 20. "Pro" calls. And why shouldn't he? Tonight I look like I'm playing fast. Personally I was hoping he raised.

Turn is another 7. Pro takes the betting lead and fires $30 out of position. Sure he could have a 7. He could also have a 2 or 3 and not want to give me any free cards. Yet even if he has a 7 I might still pass him with my flush draw. I call the 30.

A random river appears. I miss my flush. He bets 40. I could be donating. Then again, I'm also sitting here thinking that unless he has the a 7, my ace 3 is probably good. I call.

He shows ace,2 for a pair of 2's. My 3's are indeed good.

11:27 PM. I'm in there with 8,9 suited. Flop comes king, 8, 2. Gets checked around. Another king comes on the turn. I think my 8's are good here. I bet 40 and get called. River fills up a flush. He checks. I check. He sheepishly shows his queen high flush. I guess he was going to check raise me? Well the good news is I probably lost the least $ possible. I put in the 40 when I was ahead on the turn. And didn't put in anymore when I was behind on the river. It's no fun to lose but it's more important for me to focus on what I did, rather than what the cards did.

11:41 PM. I call a raise to 10 with 7,8 suited. Flop is 6,8 king, one of my suit. Preflop raiser bets 20. I call. Two others call behind me. Turn is the the 5 of diamonds. I suddenly have a straight flush draw. Preflop raiser bets 25. I could raise but I call and let the two players behind me put in 25 each. I'm letting 3 to 1 happen. I'm also happy if they raise behind me. Lets get some chips in there. Mainly I'm mixing up my play. As opposed to that earlier hand when I pushed on the turn.

River is a 9. I hit the straight. I lead out with a 75 value bet into the 220 pot. Everyone folds. Initial raiser goes all in. Unless he has 10,7 we're chopping. I call. He shows ace,7.

I probably take down this entire pot for myself if I reraise him on the turn when I was ahead of his ace high with my 8's and was freerolling with my flush draw.

Playing this hand slower illustrates what could be a minor built in contradiction for the one long game philosophy. Part of the reason I played it slower was because I was satisfied to be up some money. I didn't want to give back the profit. And yet one long game also suggests that if it's correct to raise, then I need to raise. And not worry about how much I'm up or down on a particular evening. Play each hand in a vacuum.

But the most important thing I can tell you about this hand isn't whether I should have raised or not. No. The most important thing about this hand was afterwards I tapped the table and told the other gentleman "nice hand."

That's right. I didn't yell at him for staying in there and betting his ace 7 off the whole time. I didn't chastise him for catching up to me.

No. My reaction was the opposite. I complimented him.

And why should I get upset? I was real happy to be sitting next to this gentleman.


eric said...


Happy New Year!!! I hope jeep going in '08 -- your blog is one of the joys of my day.

On the hand where you had QQ's -- why didn't you raise his $60. By calling you let everyone see the turn, when your hand was already made. I'm glad it worked out, but there were 2 players and lots of cards out there.

eric said...

at the 11:41PM entry:

Who raises to 10 on 2/5 NL. Does that happen often? Isn't that just a bad play?

BadBlood said...

Otis turned me on to your blog and I have to say that it is just as enjoyable to read as he said it would be.

Robert said...

Eric, I didn't have QQ on that hand

When I had QQ I raised preflop and everyone folded.

I didn't share my cards on the particular hand you described.

Bad Blood, nice to have you on board. Don't be like Eric and write comments before getting your facts straight.

Eric, when people raise to 10 at 2/5 NL they are either 1-really old and haven't kept up with poker inflation, or 2- trying to build a pot in case they flop something.

Like lets say I have 7,8 suited on the button and there are 3 limpers in front of me. If I raise it to 10 and both blinds call, suddenly there is a 60 dollar pot in the middle in case the flop looks pretty. Instead of 30. Raising to 10 gives everyone something to fight for.

And what's sometimes funny about the miniraise is that you can then minibet the flop and everyone will fold. Well, sometimes.

Check Raise Chin said...

Nice post Rob. Great to see you're growing as a poker player. I always knew you had it, I just think you needed the experience to do this thing and do it well. Reading how you're analyzing the game is really interesting. The game within the game is where the money is won and you're right on the ball.

Excellent read bro. Keep on trucking.

PJS JR. said...

Excellent posts recently, thanks so much for the intense poker-related stories. I feel like I am at the tables with you sometimes. So, does this mean the Vegas year is being extended? Vegas Year-and-a-half? Good luck, look forward to your future posts. Ryan

Sean said...

Rob, I've been reading for about a month and your blog is my new favorite.

I had one question though -- tonight I'm planning on taking some notes while I play live 6/12. How do you do it so that it isn't intrusive?

For my purposes I want to make a note of all my hands for one session, but I can't think of a way to write down the cards every time without people noticing.

So I think I'll just have to make a joke out of it or something.