Friday, May 15, 2009

on no.. they say he's got to go... go go CALLZILLA.

Thursday night cash game - at site #3 again. Most player's I've played with at least once or twice before, and two new faces.

New face #1 looks like he's going to play half of his hands and chase all of his draws. In the first half hour - he hits 2 top-end straights (against bottom-end straights both times, too), so he wins some money. I hope I can get some of it later..

I limp into a multiway pot with 79s (I know better - this is not a profitable hand in this 40 BB game, but I play it anyway). I hit my open-ender on a 684 flop. Johnny leads out for $3 from a blind- my weak-tight friend, and one of the only players I can read successfully. He has some piece of this flop, maybe Ace-x and he caught his x. He's the perfect player to try the old "raise in position with a draw" move - there a good chance he even folds that type of hand here. I make it $10. Johnny looks at his chips for a second and floors me with "fuck it, I'm all in". Really? Ok, let's reasses -
Johnny's got 2 pair, a set, or the 57 nuts. There are no other options. I check the suits one more time - I've got 2 spades, there's only one on the board. Johnny has successfully foiled my "raise the draw in position" play. I congratulate him as he reveals his set of 8s and scoops the $15 pot.

I make some of it back a round later. New face #1 limps in for the 20th time tonight, and the host of the game, Rick, raises it up to $3.50. Rick seems to be a solid TAG who knows what he's doing. I wonder to myself if he's trying to isolate the Limpy Limperson with his raise? If so, his range might be expanded to a medium Ace (say Ace-8+), KQ/KJ/QJ, maybe even pocket pairs down to 7s or so. After his raise, I check my cards and find a pair of tens. If his range has increased, then maybe I can make a play here. If he calls, then I'm either racing 2 broadway cards or dead to the big pair. But I think I have fold equity on top of my card strength. I push all in for about $17, and get two folds. Nice!

(note: Last night I experimented with not looking at my cards until it was my turn to act, with good results. I wasn't able to do it 100% of the time - you just really want to look and see what you're cards are! - but I believe that waiting both forces you to watch the action of other players, and prevents people from reading you. I am going to continue to play this way).

Soon after the tens, a late arrival sits down to my right - none other than CallZilla - the (very large) man who plays lots of pots, usually to the end. His nickname isn't 100% accurate - he can also bluff and attack in the right spots as well as calling all the way to the river - but he seems to go too far with his made hands and gets stuck often as second best.

I pick up a 78 suited in late position and limp along behind Callzilla. We see an Ace-5-6 rainbow flop and it checks around. A deuce comes on the turn, and it checks around to me
again. I decide to make a stab at the $4 pot with a $3 bet. The blinds fold but Callzilla bumps it up to $3 more. I'm confused. What's he playing over there? Did he play 56 and check two pair? Ace-two? Does he actually have a 3-4 straight? Or is he just taking a shot with a minraise bluff?

I check the board one more time - any nine or 4 will make me the nuts on this 4-suited board. His minraise has me calling $3 to win $13 - giving me 4.3-1 odds. I need about 19% to win, and there's a 16% chance of hitting my straight. Pretty close. Add in the fact that I have position, and that he might have a KQ type hand so that pairing my 7 or 8 might also give me the best hand, and I decide to shoot for the borderline call.

I'm expecting a tough river decision but it doesn't come - instead a fantastic 9 of clubs comes, giving me the nut straight. Even more fantastic, Callzilla continues his show of strength and puts $10 into the pot. I add up my smallish chip stack, count out his $10 bet, and then slide the rest in as well - only $10.50 more. He has to call! He has to!

Nope, he folds. He says "I think you hit that 9", meaning he had nada. Damn! Well, I won a nice $26 pot anyway.

That was really the only large hand of the night for me. The broadway cards weren't coming. The biggest starting hand I got was JJ and it won me the blinds. I raised up 2 limpers with AQ from the big blind and won their limps. No Aces or Kings to play a big pot for me this evening.

I tried stealing blinds one time from middle position with 58 suited. The button defended - my initial reaction of course was "oh crap" based on my silly holding, but when I noticed that he only had $8 on the table, and then hit two pair on the flop - I checkraised him all in and won a small pot when he folded his continuation bet.

We ended the night around 12:30 - I was up half a buy-in. Another solid, but unspectcular night. I feel like I need to win a few more smaller pots (I usually win the big ones unless someone gets lucky on me) - this might entail playing even more hands in position (to the point of not worrying so much about my cards, even) - and looking for spots to raise up limpers from the blinds (Tony seems to do this at least once per session). If I can scoop up unclaimed money put in by weak players - and/or outplay some good players with position - I should be able to increase my profits week to week.

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