Friday, July 3, 2009

Wild and Wooly - and I finally short circuit Mr. Pietzak.

Our Thursday game spilled over into a second table this week! At 9am yesterday morning, we only had 5 confirmed players. So I put out a second email, and then Tony and I invited two guys from the Waterbury tourney who lived in the neighborhood who weren't part of this game. They agreed to play, and then all the regulars chimed in too. Suddenly we had too many confirmed for one table!

We got started when 7 people arrived. Then two more arrivals made 9. Two more for 11, still squeezing into one table. When #12 showed, I asked him to wait, because we knew #13 was on the way. Once #13 got there, we drew cards to split to the "kids table" (a circular kitchen table), and we were off. We also had many guys with Friday off for the holiday weekend, so it promised to be a late night affair. A real-life poker room in my basement!

And A great game. The two new guys are both decent - one an experienced TAG - the other a bit passive, maybe - but playing good cards, betting for value, and not making big mistakes. Our regular crazies were there, building up the pots and stirring the action.

My own performance was decidedly "meh". I started with $50, then bought in for $20 more and then $40 more, but finally won some pots to end up down $33. This loss would have been cut in half save for a failed move late - more on that later.

My early losses were due to the usual things - pocket pairs that don't set up - floating a cbet on second pair but giving up to stronger resistance later. I lost one big hand because I couldn't fold two pair. AJs in the big blind, limped to me- I choose to rap the table instead of raising. Board is nice - AJ8. But a turn ten and a river king brings a 4 card straight on the board, plus a better two pair, and I'm out of position. I weigh my options - the two best moves are bet/fold to a raise, or check/call. I, instead, choose the unorthodox bet-then-call-the obvious-value-minraise, and lose a pretty nice pot. Rookie play - I should be able to lay down 2 pair on a nasty board.

My first meaningful win of the night is on the bullets, which let a few players down tonight. I raised them up early, and got 3 bet by Mr. Pietzak. Standard play is to 4 bet, but we're already heads-up and I call to disguise. I finally hit my set when I don't exactly need it - an A24 board. We check the flop, but I lead out on the turn and
Pietzak folds, showing pocket kings. Damn the Ace on the board! Then again, we rabbit-hunt the river and a king pops up, which might have brought some serious fireworks had he been able to see that card and we got to set-over-set. I win the pot, but Pietzak is pretty pleased at the amount he lost with Aces vs. Kings, and I would have to agree - those cold-deck hands should end with badly for one of the two players, in a large pot.

Another big pot, this time on a misread board - I call a raise from the big blind with the old rookie hand, KJ, both diamonds. My villain this hand is CS - an aggressive lossey-goosey player who makes money by betting blindly and getting folds and then
hitting crazy two-pairs and straights right as someone plays sheriff against him. I hit my Jack as top pair on the board and then bet for value. He calls. CS has some piece of this flop - he believes strongly in the power of the draw coming in, and is just lucky enough to have them do so every now and then.

The turn bricks and I bet for value again. CS calls. I'm officially worried....

The river is the Ad. I check and CS fires out $8, an obvious value bet. I do not hide my disgust - I know exactly what he has. He has A7 or A4 and has hit two pair on the river. Then I check the board one more time. The turn and river are both diamonds, along with one diamond from the flop. Hey, wait a minute, that sounds familiar. I check my hole cards one more time, and sure enough, King of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds. Whattaya know! I'm betting my top pair for value and the backdoor flush comes in! I study the board one more time - any pair out there? Nope, no pair. I've got the stone-cold-lead-pipe nuts. Once again, nicely played, dumbass. I quickly raise CS's bet of eight bucks to fifteen more and he pays it off without a second thought.

Running just under even by the time we lose a couple people and recombine into an 11 man table, which turns to 9 and then 8 in short order as some people call it a night. My cards are awful for a good two hours, and I've got a bit of steam under my collar watching two people as they get dealt pocket jacks and hit flushes time after time. How do people run so good? The one time I ran with good cards in this game, I lost my whole stack on Aces vs. Kings on the last hand (and I had the aces). I mentally re-assert - just keep making the right decision, time after time. That's the name of the game.

The big cards just aren't coming tonight - I need to try and make a few bucks another way. I raise up Q9o in the cutoff. Mr. Pietzak defends his blind. I have position, can I use it to my advantage against a superior player?

The board - 8TK with two hearts. A horrific whiff save for a gutshot with a jack. Pietzak checks and then calls my c-bet with something - probably some kind of draw.

Good and bad news on the turn. A Jack, completing my miracle gutshot, but also a heart, completing a flush. Pietzak leads out. Of course he does. He check-calls with two hearts, and leads out the turn. Damn

But wait one minute here.
Pietzak doesn't have to have the flush. This is the most deceptive player at the table - he could easily represent a draw in the face of what he thinks is a top pair hand. You cannot be afraid of every draw that comes in. Add to that one more salient point - I've hit a decent draw myself! I'm in trouble to AQ and to the flushes, but ahead of plenty of playable (two pair hands and a baby 97 straight). Finally, there's no way he can put me on this hand - he might think AQ, but not Q9.

I raise, with the intent of getting it in here if needed, but slowing down on a dangerous river (like a fourth heart or a queen) Might not be the best spot, but I'm going to stand up to the bully.

The river bricks. Pietzak checks and I consider his holdings. I decide he's got either two pair or a baby flush. I'm ahead of one and behind the other. Which one, dumbass, which one? At that moment, I remember something he said to me once. He told me "you don't play (a hand like four-five-suited) and then play meekly when your flush comes in". His meaning - you play cards like baby suited connectors in the hopes of making straights and flushes. In his mind, if you get caught with flush-over-flush, then that's poker, much like getting it all in with set over set.

His check here is my sign - no flush. Maybe AQ for a better straight, but also lots of two pair hands and a smaller 79 straight. I'm ahead of more hands than I'm behind, and my hand is well-hidden from his awesome hand-reading-radar. That's a value bet. I put $15 into the pot. Pietzak scares the crap out of me with a speech that starts "well, if you've got the nut flush, then congratulations, you've got me".. and tosses three red chips into the pot. Was my read wrong? Does he have the baby flush? It's never easy, is it?

No flush. The 79 low-end straight. A $60 pot is mine. That jack was a killer for him - he flops open-ender and the jack completes my impossible-to-find gutshot. I'm back to even.

I briefly consider nursing my now-even-stack to wind down the evening, but decide to throw that thought out. Unfortunately, the big straight is the last winning hand of the night. I dribble about $15 away on a few speculative hands. My final played hand of the night is a pair of deuces in the hole. I raise them up like they're aces, and get two callers, one behind me, one from the blinds.

The board is all low cards, and Terry pumps a bet into the pot from the blind. Terry is one of our new players - a solid TAG. I don't know enough about his game to know what types of moves he might make, but I read this play as hitting the weak board in some way and betting to see where he's at. And I'm the initial raiser. There's no reason I don't have aces or kings here, right? Dammit, I'm the raiser here! I pump his bet to $15 - take that!

Colbert behind me immediately makes it $30. Ok, nevermind. Terry grumbles that he would like to play this hand, but he can't stand up to a raise and reraise behind him. He folds. I fold, too - I've made my play and it didn't work.
Colbert tosses over Jacks, for the fifth time tonight. Fuckin' Jacks again! Not only that, but he's never been against a bigger pair, either! Like I said, why couldn't I have aces or kings here?

Truth is, had I decided to go for another spectacular late night kamikaze play and shoved here, Colbert probably would have laid down the Jacks. But I wasn't sure that's what he had - he likes to call preflop with Aces and Kings, too. Those I'm not too sure he would have laid down. My overall play here was good - I made my move and got caught, then cut my losses.

I'm also very proud of my play with the Q9 - and my ability to make a value river bet in the face of larger hands out there, but hands I was able to rule out (for the most part). That's good poker.

Of course, there was some really crappy poker, too. I couldn't lay down-two pair on a board where I beat almost nothing. I initially missed my backdoor draw to the nuts with the King-Jack of diamonds. (Had I folded the nuts there, or at any other time in my poker career, the tone of this blog the next day will be decidedly different, I assure you). The end result - a 0ne-buyin loss. Like I said before, meh. But for that price I got 6 solid hours of great poker - I can't conceive any better way to blow a couple bucks.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

"I remember something he said to me once."

Good read.

This is why I love f-2-f poker more than online poker. At a live table/tournament, they talk and tell you how they play.