Friday, October 17, 2008

live thursday, running theme continues

I'm not too ashamed to say it, I played great last night. My thinking is slowly upgrading to level 2 - "what does my opponent think I have", and I was able to use that to my advantage on more than one occasion last night.

A couple examples - I raised late with JT, the other Matt defends his blind. Matt loves to play small cards and hit big hands, or simply take flops away when small cards come and tight players show weakness. The flop came small, unconnected cards and he fired out a bet. Sure, he could have hit here, but I raised the pot preflop and nothing says that I don't have an overpair, so I reraise and get a fold.

I did this again with AKo - I decided to follow a couple limpers in late position and play conservatively. The flop came J T x, Tony fired out a bet. I know he'll do this with top pair, middle pair, an underpair, just about anything, so I raise him up as a test. He says "you flopped two pair, huh?" and gives it up right away.

Seems my tight image is now working to my advantage.

I also took a couple shots with complete crap cards, one time raising from the button with 23o, and playing it all the way to the river. I decided to show that one to make sure I got caught making a move - I think this will help let these guys know I'm not always playing AA/KK/AK type hands.

Then, right at the stroke of midnight - it happened - the same thing that has happened 2 other times I've played in this live game - I got tangled up in a second best hand and got stacked. This time, everyone folded to me in the small blind. I had QQ. I don't like to slowplay big hands from the small blind - you check for deception, the flop comes 2 7 J, and your opponent flops 2 pair with his 2 7 and nails you. I make the standard raise. The big blind calls. He is a tight, solid player - I've never seen him defend with junk, so he's got some kind of hand here.

The flop comes 8 9 J, three different suits. Somewhat coordinated board, to be sure, but I've got an overpair and a gutshot. I make it $8. He raises to $20.

Uh-oh, now what have I gotten myself into? Let's run through what he could have:

Overpair, AA/KK. Possible, but I think he reraises me preflop. He is good enough to call for deception, though.

Overs, like AK. Also might have reraised preflop. Is he capable raising my flop bet with air? Not sure. Earlier, I saw him bet into the small card guy with nothing on both flop and turn, then caught a lucky Ace on the river, but leading out is different than reraising someone who has showed strength twice.

AJ. A solid possibility. Good enough to defend a blind with preflop, maybe not quite enough to reraise. Top pair/Top kicker on the flop, dangerous board, reraise to find out where you're at.

A Straight - namely QT. I discount this possibility - I think this hand is too weak for this player to defend a blind with. He can't know that I don't have QT, though.

A set. Yup - fits his preflop call and the flop reraise.
Dangerous board would make him want to take the pot down now.

Two pair. 89 or 9J are both possible, but not the most likely holding.

My last consideration - his raise size. Only 2.5 times my raise, pretty small. By my counts, the pot is $36 after he raises (my $4 raise, his $4 call, my $8 lead, his $20 raise), and I have to call $12. He's giving me 3-1 odds! Does he want me to call a big hand, or is he afraid of the scary board as well and is trying to lose the minimum? If you've got a set here, don't you raise more to shut out draws, or are you not concerned with the draws and just worried about cracking AA/KK/QQ?

After I call his raise, I will have 37.50 left in my stack, just short of doubling his $20. He has me well covered. I think he'll fold AK/AQ, of course, and he might call with AJ, so I'll make money if I'm ahead and shove. If I'm behind, I figure I've got 2 outs to hit trip Queens, and 4 more tens to hit a gutshot, so I'm 25% to hit a winning hand no matter what he has. 25% to improve to a win, maybe 20% that I'm already ahead, and maybe 10% more to get a fold based on his holdings, and I'm somewhere around 50% to win the hand, with 3-1 odds.

Ok, let's go. I shove it in.

He counts out the call, compares it to his stack (which would still be sizable if he lost this hand), and somewhat confidently says "ok, I call". He turns over 88. Yup. He says "oh crap, I wish that was AA or KK", seeing the gutshot possibilities. But for now, he's got me unless I hit one of my six outs. Sadly, 4 of these outs vanish when the 9 pairs on the turn, giving him an 8s over 9s boat. Now only one of two queens will let me out-boat him.

I catch a glimpse of way too much white background on the river card as it flips over for it to be a broadway card. Two of spades. Done.

I look up at the clock - it's 5 after midnight. The game usually breaks up by 12:30, so I decide to call it a night. I'm Tony's ride so I hang around and watch the end of the Sox/Rays, then we leave, with me down one buy-in. Tony is well ahead again - I tell him how amazed I am that he hasn't been felled by a good, second best hand in this game yet. We've probably played equally well with the exception of one hand each night that cracks me, yet I'm not sure I've played any of them badly. I'm pretty sure I can get away from this hand if I've got $200 on the table, but with $65? Nah, I think I played it fine. Once again, though, nothing to show for it.

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