Friday, April 24, 2009

death by setmining

Thursday night game is not going well in the early going. I'm getting "pocket paired" to death. I open with JJ, get 3 bet from a player who wouldn't normally 3 bet without a monster, and then put all-in on a K-rag-rag board. Ok, maybe I'm sometimes folding the best hand here, but why find out in the first hour? He says he had AK, played for minimum value if you ask me (what's he afraid of on a K-rag-rag board?).

I raise under the gun with 77, get two callers, and whiff on a broadway flop. I limp with 33 and get raised over, have to let it go. I call a raise with 66 (without even the chips to make it profitable), and whiff again.

Oh well, looks like it will be one of those nights. I top my stack back up to $40, and dribble away another $8 down to $32, when I call a standard raise from Tony with QhJh. Queen/Jack is one of the "trouble hands", for sure - but Tony is aggressive enough to raise with plenty of pairs worse than a jack, so I have top pair value here if I can hit and keep the pot small. Also, I'm in position and can use that even more than my cards to make some moves or give myself the right price to chase some draws. Finally, I'm no beginner poker player anymore - I should be able to play some of the "trouble hands" and get away from them if I flop a single pair.

All of these thoughts vanish away when the dealer lays down a QJJ board. My boat is floating!. Soooooo glad I just topped my stack up a few orbits ago. However, I only have 32 big blinds on the table, and I'm definitely going broke with my underboat if I have to.

We both check the flop. Tony would C-Bet many hands here to see where he was at. Any pair, either under or over the board, any Queen, or even AK. His check might indicate a big hand like QQ (which I'm dead to) or AJ (which I'm killing). In any case, this is one of those "way ahead/way behind" scenarios where it doesn't hurt to check for deception, and I don't have to worry about losing a street of pot building because my stack is so small.

The turn brings a nine, which doesn't hurt me at all, and might actually help me if Tony has just filled a gutshot with KT (although this hand is a bit weak for his raising range in early position). Tony bets $5, as I expect him to. Raising now pretty much telegraphs that I have a jack - not a bad result if he has AJ/JT/J9, but lets him off the hook with almost any other holding (even Aces/Kings would have to be scared here).

I look at how the river could go if I just call. I'll have about $23 left. The pot would be $18. If Tony bets the river, I can easily get all-in (with no fold equity, as it turns out). If he checks the river, I will of course bet - and I might even employ the "Tony Overbet" against Tony himself - a pot+ bet for value that is meant to look weak. Yes, this sounds like a plan. I call.

I feel pretty good about my future street planning, but forgot one about thing - what the various river cards might be. I am jolted back into reality when the river brings a king. Even though I have already committed in my mind to going broke on this hand - my mental image immediately shows Tony turning over KJ for the suckout overboat. This mental image makes my mind race and I lose focus on the action. Tony leads out for what I think is $12. I put in the $12 and announce "I'm all in", leaving the rest back for counting. I am corrected however, when it is pointed out that Tony put in only $7, and I have mis-counted a $5 chip near his bet as being part of his bet. I pull back my $5, but announce "that's ok, I'm still all-in" (which I would be anyway since I had already announced it). Tony doesn't look too happy, but I really don't have enough back for him to fold many made hands, so he calls. I am so geared up to see a king that when he flips it over, I turn away and say "you got me", but he says "no, I have three pair!", and I turn back around to see his other card is a queen, not a jack.

I feel pretty stupid here for letting my emotions of the big hand sweep me up. This is somewhat of a common theme for me when I hit a huge hand. I consider it a small victory that at least I recognized that the king could have burned me before putting me money in - but my stack size was too low and my hand too strong to consider just calling his river bet out of fear of being two-outed. There were far more hands that would have to pay off my mini-shove (AJ for trips/JT for a straight, even J9s for the smaller boat), big pairs, maybe even AK) than the lone KJ that had me beat now. As it turns out, Tony felt it necessary to pay me off when he improved to two pair with KQ, so my value range was even wider than I thought.

This hand brought me right back to even on the night - $64 after a $40 buy-in and a $20 top up. Later in the same orbit, I raised it up from under the gun with 99 (another pair to bite me again). When the player two to my left reraised all in for $8 more, my first consideration was just folding - why race for $8 against two overs (or be dead to a higher pair). When two people called before me, though, I decided I could now call for setmining reasons...

...and I finally hit a set! A-9-5, with two diamonds. The ace might even give me action as well. I was not thrilled with the flush chasers, however, so I stuck $15 into the pot right away. Everyone folded except the all-in guy, who could not improve over my set.

These were really my only two big hands of the night. Shortly after this the table was reduced to 5 players - 4 of whom had a bigger stack and Tony who was trying to stay afloat with $30-40. Everyone tightened up, seemingly content to take home their winnings to that point. I made a few moves to basically stay even, and claimed $91 from the kitty at the end of the night, up $31.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice recap.

"I look at how the river could go if I just call."

Most players aren't capable of thinking like this.

matt tag said...

I'm not great at it either, but I'm working on it.