Saturday, January 30, 2010

Watch those ladies

Thought I did a pretty good job on my REM hand from the last post, but let's be honest - this was a pretty ideal situation:

tight opponent I know well
ultra dry flop.

Muddy up the opponent and the board, REM process gets much harder, as we will see.

I attended a Cleveland Poker Meetup Group (CPMG) tourney last night - my fourth. $40 buy in, 18 players, nice slow structure. I played ok early - keeping pots on the smaller side with pocket queens and jacks and then attacking safe boards. I punished some limpers with AQs and won a nice preflop pot with a AK squeeze on the two guys who were playing lots of raised, postflop pots. I wasn't showing down anything (I didn't have much of anything to play), and my image was probably rock tight.

The middle stages killed me - no cards at all - one of the LAGGY guys won all the chips off the other and got to be even more LAGGY, entering lots of pots, stealing my blind on every orbit.

I missed a big chance to take a stand right before the second break - a female player limped along, and he raised her right away. I had king-queen offsuit on the button. I knew he was open-raising light, but was not sure if he was isolating limpers light - I hadn't seen him make this play before. I folded where I should have 3-bet. To confirm my mistake - he flipped his hand over after taking the pot - ten-nine-off. On the hand right before the break, he raised my blind yet again. I hadn't looked at my cards yet, but decided that anything in the top 30% and I was going in. King-3 suited, not quite good enough. I folded. He showed again - king-four. Dominated!

So the break is over, blinds are now 500-1000, I've got about 11,500 chips. It's pretty much go time. We're six handed at our table with 12 or 13 players left.

My hand is King-Jack off on the button, and I get the rare fold to me. On my left is Julie T, the host of the event (we're in her basement), and Melissa. Both are solid players. The CPMG is extremely lady-friendly (I believe 8 of the 18 last night were women), and the ladies easily hold their own with the men. If you walk into one of these events thinking you can pick them off, you're in trouble.

Julie T has a nice stack, about twice mine, and Melissa is about even. Shoving KJ certainly isn't horrible here (actually, my magic spreadsheet says such a play is unexploitable), but I think 11+ blinds is a bit too high to be in total panic mode yet. Plus, I think my opponents will both give me respect as my cards and situations have left me squeaky-tight looking. I opt for a standard raise, figuring the chances are pretty good that I can take the blinds. Melissa calls from the big blind.

We see a flop of 9sJsQd. I've got second pair and a gutshot straight draw. Melissa checks. In my observations so far, her checks are followed by folds rather than raises, but if I c-bet now I basically do it all-in, so I decide to check behind and see if I can hit something stronger than second pair.

The turn is another queen, and a nice one - the queen of spades. I now have a flush draw to go with my gutshot and pair. Actually, the ten of spades gives me a straight flush. Melissa checks again, so she has checked twice, and I figure that's a good sign that she called with ace-king or pocket sevens and wants no part of this board now. I bet 3500. She thinks for a second or two and then announces that she's all in. Ooooooooof.

After counting up the raise and determining she has me covered, I realize it's time to fire up the REM process and put her on a range, but all that's coming back is that little electrical shorting "zzzt, zzzt" sound. It seems that REMMing an unknown opponent on a paired, 3-flush, connected broadway board is a bit harder than doing the same to a known opponent on an ultra dry one. Who knew?!

I walk through the hand as best as I can. The fact that she checked the flop leads me to believe that she doesn't have a hand like ace-queen or king-queen - top pair hates this board and would probably lead out or shove to protect against the draws. Or maybe she has queen-jack two pair and wanted to checkraise me.

I think I can discount the made straights (KT and T8) as being too weak for this player to play. Flushes are harder to discount, she can have the ace of spades, but the lowest spade she could have to go with it is ace-ten. That's certainly a hand she could go with, but the lower aces seem too weak for a solid player to defend with, an I don't think this player is defending with suited connector types of spades. (at least this late in the tourney)

I spot ace-jack as a hand that beats me, but I'm not sure she checkraises all in with second pair+draw. I spot jack-ten and pocket tens as hands I beat, but with solid draws now.

In my final analysis, I can't put her on a queen unless she was planning on checkraising, and I don't know that she's the checkraising type, especially on nasty boards where doing so is dangerous. Plus, I see several draws that my single pair might be ahead of. Finally, if I'm wrong, well I've got a king high flush draw and a gutshot to back me up. Knowing that doing so is usually wrong, I call all-in.

She reveals pocket nines. Set up on the flop, hit the underboat on the turn. Well played, ma'am. Well played indeed.

So my flush and straight draws are toast. I've got a single out - the ten of spades still straight-flushes her boat right down the toilet. I hit a one outer last night (set of queens over set of jacks, hit quads on the river) - and I hit a two outer to stay alive already in this tourney (shoved my last 8 blinds with pocket fives into aces, hit a five on the flop) - but a third one-outer in two days is simply too much to ask for. I have been outplayed and sent home, left to ponder my play.

Could I have played the hand better? Well, skipping an unexploitable preflop shove can certainly be called into question - but pocket nines would likely call the shove anyway. Do I check the turn behind and play for cheap showdown? I suppose I could have done that - but again I had watched a player check twice that I had never seen checkraise before - I can't fault taking a stab with second pair + solid redraw equity. Finally, do I fold to the all-in? Well, my REM processing was pretty fuzzy trying to figure out all the combinations, but a Pokerstove analysis yielded me the following range of hands that she might play this way:


I left off pocket queens, kings, and aces, figuring she reraises all in preflop. I wasn't sure how far to go down with her pocket pairs - does she fold the little ones or (mistakenly) try to setmine? I think she was setmining with her nines - a more aggressive player shoves all in over a button raise.

I included king-ten even though that seems too weak for this player, but I want to include obvious hands that would checkraise the turn, like made straights.

Against the range above, I am a 57-42% favorite, so my call doesn't look horrible. But it's a muddy picture, especially against an unknown player.


Memphis MOJO said...

The title said "watch those ladies" and I assumed the post was about pocket queens. Well Julie's a queen and maybe the other lady is too.

diverjoules said...

MoJo you are funny!!!... Matt, it was so nice seeing you again. Having you at my table was an added bonus. Thanks for the kind words about playing with so many women. We do have a pretty strong group women players in the CPMG. You are one of the few though, that don't look at us like Dead Money. LOL... Many of the DM Girls have cleaned the guys clocks though. Hope to see you again soon.