Friday, October 10, 2008

live game thursday

My next door neighbor Fred, a friend and fellow player, has had some health trouble lately. This week we got some good news - the swelling in his neck is definitely NOT cancerous,, and it looks like he will recover fully. Fred has been on all of our minds lately, and it was a great relief to hear that his recent ailments were not as serious as they could have been.

Freddie entered my mind again last night when I looked down at my hand from the big blind and saw 34o - a miserable hand to play, yet one of Fred's favorite hands. Fred loves nothing better than to play his 34 against someone's AK and crush them on a 3-3-K flop, or simply beat them on a 3-J-8 flop that misses the high cards. Fortunately for me, the normally aggressive table limped around to me and I got to see a free flop with my junk.

And it was a nice flop, too - A-3-4 for bottom two pair. Thinking I would get some action from anyone with an ace, I decided to lead out instead of checking. My read proved correct as the most aggressive player at the table raised me. At first, my heart sank - thinking he had A3/A4 and I was about to go down in flames again on Thursday night with a hand I couldn't get away from. But I took and extra second and thought about this opponent and his tendencies - he loved to raise people, both preflop and postflop, and his raises didn't always mean powerhouse hands. I considered all of the hands he might do this with, and it occurred to me there was a chance that he didn't have an Ace at all. It was possible he was playing a medium or small pair - and on this board, he was just raising to represent the ace, thinking I couldn't have had one myself.

I steeled my courage and re-bumped it. It wasn't an all-in but it did commit me, and it was obvious my opponent knew it. As I've often mentioned - this is a low-stack cash game, so you can't get too worried about trickeration and odds. You need to hit your hand and get it in. He thought for quite a bit of time and then folded.

Biggest hand of the night for me was QQ from the small blind – 2 limpers, I raise it up to 7. Big Blind calls my raise, limpers fold. Flop comes Q (yes!), A, x. Again, I hope villains’s got an ace so I lead out about half pot. Apparently, he does have an Ace, so he raises it up to $20. Pot is over $40 now, I’ve got to call $16 and I’ve got $29 behind that, so I stick it all in. He thinks for awhile and says “I’ve seen you do this with AK, I’m thinking about calling you”. Then, he says “this is probably a horrible play, but I call, show me AQ”. I know he’s got AK before he flips it over.

One running theme that I need to work on is getting some value when I hit my hand. The 3-4 was not an example of this because I feel like I need to protect bottom two pair, but I had a couple hands where I bet for value at the end but didn't get called. One was a KT that paired the ten, then turned into trips on the river. I bet the flop and turn and had someone call me both times, but when I bet the river they folded. They told me they had middle pair. I probably could have bet smaller and got paid a bit. In another hand, I started with a pair, hit a flush draw on the turn, then hit the flush on the river. I glanced up at my opponent when the third club hit and witnessed an obvious frustrated sigh upon seeing the flush card come. I knew I had him beat, but I couldn't get him to pay off my bet at the end. Perhaps I need to bet small enough to entice a call with a pair in some of these cases.

One other gutsy move - I played A8 in a limped pot in late position and the flop came 8 high. Someone fired a bet out at the pot - but this guy has taken several stabs at pots already, sometimes taking them down, sometimes getting called and shutting it down on the turn. I raised him up with my top-but-very-vulnerable pair, and got a fold. He flipped over AK.

At the end, I was up a whopping $2.50, but I consider this a wildly successful session compared to the last two bloodlettings I took at this table. I leaked several chips playing some crap connectors and hands I probably should have folded, especially with Mr. 3-bet 2 seats to my left, and I also defended my open blind a couple times against the LAG to my right and didn't have it go anywhere. I also lost $12 on a race - my TT vs. his AQ - but he had shoved his last chips in and I had 1.9-1 to call - an easy call in a race situation.

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