Friday, June 5, 2009

The draw comes in.

Thursday night game, I'm hovering about even. I win a decent pot early when I limp with JT and flop the nuts on a 9QK board. A shortstack makes a borderline pot-committing raise and I put him all in. He thinks for a long time and finally calls with KQ, but doesn't hit his boat.

Money is flying around the table tonight, but I'm pretty much staying out of the way. I'm a bit tired, a bit distracted by the NBA Finals (should have sat on the other side of the table), and I've got Mr. Pietzak immediately behind me. He has position on me except when he's in the blinds, and defends most late raises from the blinds to the death. We go man-a-mano early and both end up showing Ace-three for a chop. I consider it a small victory.

Mr. Pietzak raises under the gun. His raising range seems to be very wide here - he will raise up connectors regardless of position, as well as Ace-x suited. I think he actually uses position as a cover sometimes - figuring that if people are respecting the gap principle and putting him on a tight range, then he can loosen up even more.

When it gets to me in the big blind, I check my cards (did very well at not looking at them early tonight) and find a nice little pair of nines. Surely I'll defend, but how about a 3-bet? Calling would really only be for setmining reasons - most flops will look dangerous to pocket nines. Maybe I could get him to lay down connectors, and if he's playing Ax soooted hand, he might be only 30% to spike his ace. I bump the pot to $8, expecting him to call. He does.

The board is not terrible - ten, seven, rag with two diamonds. The ten doesn't scare me - there are many more hands in his range without a ten than with one. I also think he would have 4bet JJ-AA, so my read is that I'm good here. I value bet and Matt calls. The turn and river complete no obvious draws, but a Queen does come as a pseudo-scare card. When I check the river, Mr. Pietzak concedes and says "it's yours" without even seeing my cards. I never see his, either.

I don't lose or win any big pots for a couple hours after the nines. I hit Kings in the hole twice - one time my raise folds the field so I win the blinds, the second time I get one caller but he folds on an apparent whiffed flop.

I'm pretty much playing fit-or-fold poker based on my position at the table and the various distractions.

Around 10:30pm I get AJ in early position, both diamonds. I have recently taken AJ down a notch or two in how I play it, especially in early position at a full table. This table is 7 handed, and a raise wouldn't be terrible, but play is a little less aggressive than usual tonight. I choose to limp this one, and perhaps call a raise using the disguise of a decent-but-not-great hand played weakly.

The raise does come
- from CallZilla, a nickname that I'm deciding more and more is not fully descriptive. CallZilla will in fact chase the occasional draw, but he will also take an aggressive betting lead, even raising in spots, and is not afraid to put a decent bet out on the river with no cards at all. CallZilla's main problem is when he hits a little bit of a hand and gets in too deep as a second best. Maybe "River CallZilla" works better.

The raise is for $2.50 more, and someone before me calls. I call as well, though I'm not thrilled with my hand anymore.

We see a ragged Queen-seven-three flop, but there are two diamonds on the board. Can I draw to this flush, out of position, without losing my shirt?

I check, intending to call a normal bet, but folding to heavy action. The $5 bet comes - again from Callzilla. Now he has raised preflop and the flop itself on a ragged board. His most likely hands are a top pair (AQ/KQ) or an overpair (AA/KK). He checks QQ if he hit his set. He can also continuation bet a pair under the queens on this raggedy board (JJ/TT/99/88). I've got to discount middle pair here (
67/78) because of the preflop raise - this player is willing to play these hands, but not raise limpers with them (at least I've never seen this move).

I've got about $30 in my stack at the moment, so I could check/call here and the turn and try and get to my diamond on the river for about $13. (five now, eight on the turn if he has something worth betting both streets).

What if I raise now? This would be the old "raise with a draw, in position" play, except that I'm not in position. What might happen then? Well, he might fold a second pair, putting me on a queen. That would be fine. There are no draws to chase, except the same one I'm chasing, so he might call and pay my off big if we both hit.

He might also decide to put me all-in, which might not be all bad, either. Let's say I raise to $15, and he puts me all in. I will have to call $15 to win $55 (8 preflop, his 5 lead, my 15, his 30). 3.9-1 odds to chase a flush, with two cards to come? That's plenty good. What about the aces, are those additional outs? If
he's got KQ/QJ/KK, then they are, but if he has AA/AQ or a set, then they're not. Let's give them half credit and call them 1.5 outs instead of the full 3. This puts me at 11.5 outs, and the rule of 4 says I will win 46% of the time, while getting 3.7-1 odds.

(I could even count my Jacks as partial outs, in case he's making a stand with nines or tens, but that possibility is even murkier, so I'll skip it).

The last thing I consider is my own image at the table. As I've mentioned, I've been really tight tonight, playing fit or fold for the most part. I haven't gotten tricky yet or shown down any bluffs or goofy cards. Anyone watching would have to assume I have something with a flop checkraise, and give it lots of respect. Therefore, if by some miracle I actually hit my flush, it will be well-disguised (why would have am been playing so fast with a naked flush draw?).

In review, I might get a fold, and if I don't, I should have nearly a 50% chance to hit my hand, with great odds (odds I manipulated myself, but what the hell). And, if I hit, it will be well-disguised. Sounds like raising time!

I make it $10 more, $15 total, and I watch him very closely for his reaction. His reaction is very quick - he calls the extra $10. There is $35 in the pot, and I've got $15 back.

The call was a bit unexpected - I figured he would either put me all in with a queen/overpair, or fold without one. This kind of puts me in no-man's land, out of position, with no hand. Great....

The turn pairs the seven. This isn't a terrible card for me. If he has a seven in his hand (which I've already discounted), he was already ahead, so this card doesn't change things except to take away my possible ace outs. I think we're in the same place we were before the turn.

My only problem now is if he bets. I've got $15.50 left, and any bet he makes would force me to fold or put all my money in. I could shove it all in now, but there's a good chance that whatever caused him to call on the flop will cause him to call on the turn too, with no threat of more money behind. My fold equity is not very good anymore. My best hope is that my flop checkraise scares him enough to check behind (TT/JJ/QK), fearing another checkraise coming. I check. Callzilla thinks for a second and checks. I get a free card to my flush. Now all it has to do is come in....

..The river, a two of diamonds. I can hardly believe it. I've hit the ace-high flush! It's not the nuts at this point, because the board is paired with sevens, so I'm behind any boat. I can't see many boats on this uncoordinated board, though. Any two pair hand that boated up with the 7 would have had to be 73 or 7Q - Callzilla didn't preflop raise these crappy hands. A set of Queens is possible (or even quad sevens?), but I would have thought that all the money would have gone in with my flop raise.

Nope, I can't worry about a boat at this point. You don't play AJs, then fold when the flush comes in on the river. You just go broke if that's what he has, tell your opponent "nice hand" and take the cooler.

So what does he have if we discount the boat? He still could have the overpair, AA/KK, though my guess is that he raises the turn with that, unless he's really giving my checkraise respect. He could have KQ/QJ - seems a bit weak to raise limpers, but ok. AQ could raise limpers - would he have called a flop checkraise with TPTK (though why not put me all in?). He could have JJ/TT/99, and just didn't believe my flop checkriase. Finally, he could have the same flush (KdTd?).

If I put my last $15.50 into the pot, he will definitely call with the flush, probably call with the overpair, and maybe call with the queen. I say he probably folds the smaller pair at this point, with an overcard and a flush out there. It will be hard to put me on a flush with the goofy way I played it.

I summon up my best "oh well" sigh and stick the 15.50 into the pot. Callzilla is adding it up, figuring his odds. I know he doesn't have the boat or quads now - he would have beaten my money into the pot. Probably the same thing with a flush, too. Nope, he's figuring out if his overpair or top pair is good. All indications look like he's going to fold - but in the end he declares "call" and starts stacking his chips. I flip over the flush and he sees the bad news, turning over AQ.

I finally hit a big pot. I tighten way up, getting a big frisky with an A9s, and winning a fair pot with a 56o straight from the blinds (and get paid by an A5 smaller straight), but I also throw out a lot of marginal junk, and end the night up $56.


Memphis MOJO said...

I can't figure out how CallZilla should have played it.

Is he just destined to lose his stack once you check-raised the flop? What should he make of your check on fourth street?

matt tag said...

I think, on this board, Callzilla should have put me all in on the flop checkraise.

If I'm Callzilla, with AQ, I have to assume I'm best on the flop here except for a set. (if he knows my style, I'm not the type that limps in middle position with AA/KK).

There is only one solid draw possible - the diamonds. If the board is 9dTdJd, that's one thing, but there are no logical two pairs out there and no possible straight draws except the gutshot between 3 and 7 (45/56).

I think, if I'm Callzilla, I put the villian all-in, and if he's got the one draw out there, AND it comes in, then good hand sir. This way, I was almost sure I was getting my money in ahead, which is the goal. Let the poker gods decide the rest.

This fits SPR principals perfectly. The pot on the flop is $8, and the effective stacks are $30.50. The SPR is 3.8 - easily low enough to commit on TPTK.

bastinptc said...

Was the Q on the flop one of the diamonds?

matt tag said...

I think the Q was the non-diamond, but I'm not 100% sure. Why do you ask?