Thursday, December 01, 2005

Same Old Story...With a Different Ending!

I went back at the old club for the first time since it reopened. The weekend they reopened, I was in AC getting tossed around like a locked-up 100 pound manboy with a tear drop tatooed on his face (stay away from that white collar crime KATM) and since then, but for playing KD's game the day before Thanksgiving, I've been licking my wounds.

To be perfectly honest, I've been playing with a feeling of dread as I have ridden through this downswing. I wanted to get a little mojo back before hitting Vegas next week, so my approach going into last night was to at least temporarily adjust my strategy, toning down my aggression, which as FTrain has pointed out to me, leads to high variance in my game. Over the long run, subject to some corrections, I believe this has been a good strategy for me--I do not play over my bankroll and therefore can take some hits--but over the short and medium term, it can leave me feeling like utter shit. I did not want to get off the plane for my first Vegas trip with several days of packed poker in front of me feeling that I had forgotten how to play.

So the plan was to lay back and tight for a least the first push, win some small pots and avoid the big showdowns so as to rebuild my confidence.

First orbit shorthanded 5 players, everyone has about 200 or 300 behind, in small blind UTG and button limp to me. I have red cowboys, I make it 12 to go, called by BB and other two. Flop is three small diamonds, 8 hi. The first casaulty of war is the battle plan.

I open for 25, BB folds, UTG, who I've played with before and don't have a particularly good impression of, comes over the top to 80. Button folds, what to do?

What could he have here to bet that way? In ascending order of what I'd like to play against here:

1. Worst case: ace-rag diamonds, seems unlikely because a smooth call on flop seems much more likely. I am really screwed if I play against this hand, need runner runner. 24:1 behind.

2. Almost as bad: AA with diamond. I really don't see this being his holding. If it's there however, I've got two outs and he's got 8 redraws. 13:1 behind.

3. Next worse: two other diamonds. Could be, and bet would be consistent with protecting against more diamonds. I'm still pretty screwed against this hand with 7 outs plus runner runner, slightly worse than 2:1 down.

4. Still pretty bleak: A set. Could be, bet also reflects the need to protect against the diamonds. But again, I would expect a bet preflop. If he has it, I have 9 outs and he's got 10 redraws, slightly better than 2:1 down.

5. Pure coin-flips: pair with diamond ace and two pair. Both hands are quite possible.

6. Good coin-flip: naked diamond ace. This would be a very aggressive play, but not unheard of from this player. 11:9 ahead.

7. Now we're talking: Pair with or without lower diamond. Over 5:1 ahead. I can see this play for sure, particularly if top pair with diamond kicker.

8. Ecstatic: Underpair with diamond, pocket pair at 13:1.

OK, add donk bluff and then figure out what to do.

Preference scale in retrospect I think should be fold>push>call. Folding is really painful here because this is a pretty excellent flop for red kings. But given the possibilities discussed above, it's not too expensive to get away from. I might even show my cards to induce later plays against me, or not if I don't want them. Pushing seems like a better option if I want to play this hand. If I'm behind, I need to see two cards and will probably be facing a bet on the turn if I don't improve. If I'm ahead, I can't be giving free cards to an ace of diamonds. Comments welcome.

So I pushed, he had 9d 7d, and I did not improve. Stuck 300 and "here we go again" flushing through my system as steam rose off my bald head. Rebuy!

Breath deeply. Calm down. Tell the dealer what you think of him (before anyone gets alarmed, this wiseass dealer and I go back two years and actually quite like each other; barbs are part of any loving relationship with me).

I battled. I dinked. I doinked. I noted that there were some seriously questionable players at the table. In for 600, I was soon back up to 440, down to 400, then up to 550, then down to 500 then, yippee, in the black at 650, then 750, the 900 and finally went home at 1020, up 420 for the night. Everyone knows this who has experienced this, but whether it's logical or not, it is a much better feeling to go from down 300 to up 420 than it is to go up to 800 and down to 420 or even just up to 420. It felt great.

One more badly played hand I think I could have gotten more money, comments as always welcome:

AA in third position on a 8 player table, 700 behind, second biggest stack at least 2:1 over all other stacks, I opened for 15. 3 Callers behind and the flop is 999 (rainbow--that's a joke). This is one of those flops absent massive information (e.g., call, reraise, reraise) you are going to the mat with. So I bet out 25 and the table folds around, the last player showing me his ace. I think I should have given someone a chance to catch up. On the other hand, it is consistent with continuation bets that I have been known to make.

Two funny donks-paid-me-off hands:

Hand 1: Loose UTG opens for 12. Folds around to me in the button, I have offsuit slick. I make it 50 to go and have a caller. Flop is JT rag rainbow. Small blind checks to me, I check behind (I don't always make a continuation bet). Turn is rag. Check check. River is queen. Check to me I bet 50, he thinks for a minute, then calls. I show the nuts, he mucks. WTF could he have had there? AQ?

Hand 2: Loose 2nd UTG opens for 12. Very very aggressive player who has bluffed off his 600 stack down to 55 over 2 hours calls behind in cutoff. Folds to my SB, I have AQ clubs and make it 60. 2nd UTG calls behind with 175 more, and bluffer calls, declaring he needs to tripple up or go the ATM.

Flop is Q23 rainbow. I open for 100 and 2nd UTG goes into the tank. I mean really. For like 3 minutes. This is a hard decision. He come out suddenly and pushes all in. I'm just not putting him on a better hand here. Maybe KQ. I call. He had 99. All for me. Wow.

If you've made it all the way down here, check out this post from Weak Player, who is setting out I think fairly well specified goals in a path toward improving his game. Very much the engineer.


At Thu Dec 01, 09:57:00 PM 2005, Blogger Weak Player said...

Back in the saddle again!! Keep that bankroll pumping up for vegas. The cooler is over,right?

At Fri Dec 02, 10:54:00 AM 2005, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I don't play much no-limit...but I might have just folded with those kings. It sucks to do...but the flop was too good for him to have stuck around. I would have also thought trips!!!

At Sun Dec 04, 12:42:00 AM 2005, Blogger Kid Dynamite said...

with the KK, whatever you do, do NOT show your hand if you decide to muck.. I have no problem with your all-in.

Also, with regards to toning down aggression: i've also been getting PASTED lately, and have tried to really screw down and play perfect poker: This doesn't mean playing uber-tight and dialing the aggro to zero, but it means that no matter how many buy-ins you drop (and I was at one point down 5 over a mere 2 1/2 hours in 2 separate sessions) you simply CANNOT let your current loss effect your play: NO TILT ALLOWED>



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