Poker Lesson - Because I'm bored
Posted By: Stick
Date: Saturday, 20 January 2007, at 11:31 a.m.
I just finished playing a short session, 17 hands, 4 orbits, 4-5 handed, $50/$100 limit texas. The table was pretty loosey, chasing a bit, raising on shit, kind of table I like. [I usually sit @ the table and watch to see how things are going for an orbit before I actually sit in, see if the action is live or ppl are playing tight, try to get a quick feel for the table. I also check any player notes I have on ppl who are already seated.)
In general I'm a tight player. I wait for decent cards and I play them. My game is simple but effective. I played 6 hands out of 17, about 33%.
The first hand I'll take a look at can be found Stick's first hand. Preflop action it's folded to me on the button and I have AQ off. No brainer, raise. Aggression is the name of the game no matter what stakes you're playing. I get 3 bet by the SB & then the BB cold calls. Here's my first decision, should I cap?
The hand itself, AQ off, isn't that powerful when facing a 3 bet and a cold call of that 3 bet, if I was to base my decision on hand strength alone I'd simply call and see what fell. Here though is one of the most important ideas in real estate...position, position, position. I have position for the entire hand. I'm last to act, they have to make plays at me as I sit back and figure out what their play means. This is a huge advantage. Also by capping I announce that I'm on a huge hand, JJ or better in most cases. They'll be very hesitant to check raise me even if they hit scared I have a monster.
So the flop comes down a rainbow dud. It doesn't matter what the flop is, I'm betting it. I capped preflop and I'm certainly not pulling back the reins now. They both call. This is usually good news for me. It means they're drawing at overcards (assuming they didn't hit a set and are slowplaying me). If no overcards come I figure to have the best hand, if they do come, well maybe it will be one of mine!?
The turn is a complete blank. There are now no flushes possible and they both again check to me. I'm not giving them free cards now, I still think I have the best hand and til someone musters up the guts to checkraise me I'll keep it in overdrive. I bet, the SB folds (give him credit for JK or QK) and the BB calls. At this point the BB is on a draw. Who knows what kind of draw but I still figure I have the best hand as long as we avoid all those straight cards. He could be on TJ, TQ, A7, TK, AT, etc...a plethora of hands. When the river comes I will act carefully.
The river is all I could ask for (cept pairing me). He checks and at this point I don't see any value in betting my hand. I can't imagine a hand he could call me down with so my bet would be wasted by possibly getting called by a better hand and losing an extra big bet. I check and he was chasing absolutely nothing. It's nice to have these kinds of players at your table. The kind who will call 3 bets preflop on A/rag unsuited then chase thin air til the river. Sure, he could have caught a 7! lol Scoop the pot, on to #2.
Hand #2 Stick's second hand is a bit odd, esp. for $50/$100. Rarely if ever will you see 'limping' 4 handed preflop at such high stakes. It's such a terrible play. If you are the first in the pot and have a hand worth playing this short handed it's worth a raise. It disguises the strength of your hand, it knocks other players out and maximizes your chances of winning if you do go to a flop. A decent amount of the time it plain wins you the blinds on the spot too!
Anyway, so the gimp in front of me limps in. If he had raised, I'd have folded my 5-7 suited. If he'd have folded, I'd have raised on the button with my 5-7 suited. He limped, which means I can fold or call, raising is now not an option because everyone would be getting such a good price on their money to take a flop that I'd most likely be playing against multiple opponent's and be a pretty big dog. I decide since again, I have position for the entire hand, I will play.
The flop is a rainbow, but a meaty rainbow at that. If anyone bets, I fold. Even if I think I have them beat at the moment it isn't worth it. Problem is, everyone checks to me? Here's the real dilemma, what now? Do I really bet with bottom pair and the wrong end of the straight draw? There are so few cards that can help my hand and so many draws I know these guys will be playing for one small bet. The only card I would like to see roll off the deck is another 7. Nobody bet though, so I figure my hand is good, I bet out and see what happens hoping everyone folds. Two of them call..on draws of course.
The turn is an ace. This would scare most people but you have to remember the UTG player LIMPED in. It's highly unlikely that gimp limped w/A/anything. The other guy was the SB and although he wouldn't have raised w/an ace since everyone limped in, probability tells me he isn't likely to have one either. They all check around to me again. This is a perfect opportunity for me to keep up the charade that I have a strong hand and hopefully knock them off their draws. Once again, if anyone checkraises me I'm done with the hand but I also can't give them a free card here and then have one of them bet the river into me (regardless of what the river brings). I bet, get one more fish to drown.
The river is another relative blank. I get checked to (and I'm happy) and once again, there's no value in me betting here. There's no hand he'd call me down with that doesn't have me beat. I check, scoop the pot, and get to see how piss poor he played his hand. He has TQ UTG w/4 ppl & doesn't raise preflop? So instead of winning at least $75 which he would have had he raised preflop he ends up losing $200. Good play my friend, good play.
On to hand #3. Stick's 3rd hand. Here is another key concept which I always push, if you haven't caught on yet, it's position! I'm not big on defending my blinds. If the cutoff or even the button raises my blinds I don't mind folding my trash hands but when the SB raises ... oh oh oh... that's a different story. Once again for the entire hand he's playing into me and I have all sorts of options available to me to win the pot.
So I call preflop with my trash 3J and the flop comes garbage-esque. He bets out, like he has to since he raised preflop. I'm running pretty well, my table imagine, though short, has to be tight, I decide to raise and try to steal me some cash. I don't figure he has anything on that flop unless he had it going in. He simply calls, hopefully he's on two overs.
Well lookie lookie @ the turn. I catch top pair. Good news, I'm no longer bluffing! He checks, I bet, he raises. Uh oh? Not really ... these stakes you get used to people trying to steal your pot when scare cards hit. He could have backdoored into a flush draw, into a straight draw (most likely with hands like AK AQ QK), or he could have actually hit the jack. Whatever he's selling I'm not buying I don't actually have the best hand right now. On top of that if I 3 bet here and he caps it I can fold knowing he had me. I also 3 bet here so he doesn't bet into on the river. I'm showing enormous strength by reraising a checkraise on the turn, regardless of what the river brings, he will now check to me.
The river is a relative blank. He wouldn't be on that flush draw or he'd have 3 bet me on the flop. He checks and once again we come to a situation to where I can't imagine him having any hand he'd call with after how the betting went down that he could call with and not have me beat. He'd have backed off JQ or JK the same way he backed off whatever he has now on the turn when I 3 bet him. I check, I also get to see his cards this way and see if my read was correct. I'm happy when I see he had QK hearts, I made a good read and a good play. Scooooooooop!
As a side note what this hand also accomplished is let the SB know I will play any 2 cards from the BB and that I'm willing to bluff on rainbow flops. I let him know he has to be ready to play poker if he's going to try to steal my blinds. I will also make sure next time if he does have the balls to raise me again sb/bb and the flop comes down a rainbow that I have something. The next couple of times he's surely going to call me down with just overcards thinking I'm making another play at the pot.
Stick's 4th hand is a short lesson in maximizing your profits. Still 4 handed I get dealt AQ off in the SB. UTG raises it and I decide to eliminate the BB by 3 betting. If it was AQ suited I'd be more apt to allow the BB to come in and disguise my hand more, but 3 betting is probably still the best option. AQ suited plays a tad better multiway than AQ off. Anyway...
I 3 bet and the flop comes down perfect for me, 66Q. I bet out and get called. I could give two shits less what he has now but he's chasing AX or has a middle pair, end of story.
The turn is an ace putting the nail in the coffin. Whatever he has now I really couldn't care less, I made top two and I bet out again. He calls. This will become important very shortly.
The river is an insignificant ten of spades. I now have to put my opponent on a hand and I go back to my original thinking...middle pair or AX. Middle pair he probably folds ont he turn when the ace comes and I still bet out. This means he's probably on AX. [btw, if he was on a flush draw aside from raising me on the flop in all likelyhood I wouldn't be losing any bets by not betting anyway on the river. He certainly wouldn't call if he's on a flush draw but he might bluff at it!] So if I put him on AX what's my best play here? I bet out he calls, no doubt about that. If my read is correct which it almost have to be my best play is to check. I check and it says "I have KK or JJ or even 99 and since you called when that ace hit I assume you have me beat".
Hook, line, and sinker. He takes the bait, bets the river, and I checkmugged his ass. That's an extra big bet right there that very few ppl would have squeezed out of their opponents. Always be thinking, maximize profit, minimize losses.
The last hand I'll be discussing is Stick's hand #5. I'm in the cutoff with 4 people and get dealt a pretty big hand. I raise, get 3 bet by the button. I figure I have the best hand and want to try to control the action so once the blinds fold I cap the betting.
The flop comes down unfavorable. If it's unfavorable to me though it is hopefully the same to him and of course I bet out. He raises on the spot. Once again I narrow the range of hands he would have 3 bet preflop down. There are the obvious monsters like AA, KK, QQ on down to 99 w/this flop. If he had one of those though he probably lets me keep control of the betting til the turn when he can be assured to get another big bet out of me. I cross those hands off my list. He could have 3 bet with the likes of A9, AT, TJ, TQ, TK, JQ, QK, JK, these are all hands very possible for him to hold. I have a fair few of them beat for now, two overcards, backdoor flush draw and it's only a small bet to call. I decide to see what happens.
The turn is brutal for me. About every hand I put him on has now connected and he certainly has me beat. All I can do is check. He bets. Do I even call?There's $775 in the pot before I call, so in theory I should be around a 7-1 dog to hit a winning card to make this call. Assuming my only out is a jack that leaves me 4 outs out of 46 cards, or 2/23, nowhere near the odds I need really. Next I have to ask myself, if I hit a jack will he call me down on the river? The answer to this is most certainly yes. He will have at least two pair and may even have a queen himself and raise me. That puts $875 in the pot still not giving me correct odds to call. On the fly I knew I didn't have the right odds but figured they were close enough...esp. since I'd been running pretty good. I also didn't rule out the 3 aces as being possible outs for me. I called and got lucky ... better lucky than good any day right? I did make the correct read the entire hand through though.
If anyone found this mildly entertaining or if any of you play poker and found it helpful, just drop me a reply and I'll do it again sometime. I do it a lot for myself, analyze hands, etc... but it helps me going over the hands and having to explain them probably more than it helps anyone else just reading them.
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