Friday, October 8, 2010

adjusting into my A game

I don't usually bring my online game into my live, weekly Thursday night game. There's a couple reasons for this - the desire to not be a total aggro-dick as the host of the fairly friendly game - the old Mr. weakie-tighty that comes out. Sometimes I threaten to bust it out, and sometimes the situation warrants I bust it out.

Last night was one of those times. Mr. M.O. came to the game - a player whom I respect a great deal. His live game of choice is $15/$30 fixed limit, a game so alien to me it might as well be Badugi or Razz, two games of which I've never seen a hand dealt.

He doesn't come often, but he doesn't mess around when he comes. He sat on my right this night, and the aggression started up from hand #1. Raise, raise, raise. If I had to guess as to his stats at the live table, I'd put him at about a 22/20. Not completely batshit-crazy, but a guy who has brought his online game to his live game.

I was plotting my strategy - I liked having him on my right so I could see what he was up to, but I knew he would be taking shots at my blinds. As I was plotting during the second orbit, I picked up a black ace and a red one. M.O. folded this time around, and my open raise was called by Wiley, to my immediate left this time.

We saw an all low 4-7-8 board with 2 clubs. I made my normal c-bet, for value, and Wiley raised it to $13 more. Ahhh, crap.

Time to think it through a bit. Not much to think about here (maybe a sign that I'm processing information more quickly). Three sets beat me, and 5-6. Flush draw semibluffs - a move that Wiley is absolutely capable of making. One more, very important stat to add to the equation though -Wiley had pushed me off of a set two weeks before, then got to laugh at my expense when I told him what I had. He know I tend to shrivel up a bit in my live game.

So there it was - really just a 50/50 type deal. He could have flopped a set or the straight, or he could just be seeing what I'm made of like he did two weeks ago. I could save the buy-in and not overplay the aces, or I could overplay the hell out of them and not let the bully push me around tonight (even if the bully has a hidden machine gun in his coat).

I announced I was all-n. This wasn't a spot to call and hope he fires again. This wasn't a spot to maximize EV - this was simply a test of my poker cahones. If I was right and he was pushing me around, he would fold and I would win a nice pot early. If I was wrong, I would pull the second buy-in out of my pocket and sulk a bit, and try to make it back from the passives on the other side of the table.

I was right this time. His cards frisbeed into the muck before I could push my chips in there. I had taken the punch and stood my ground, this time.

This was the type of hand I needed to kick me into my online game, which I needed to combat M.O. to my right.
When he was in pots - I chose my spots for some multiway attempts. When he was out of pots, I went into blind stealing mode and "punish the limper" mode. I won my biggest pot of the night punishing a limper.

I had ace-six offsuit. An awful hand, but one ahead of the passive limper. I got lucky on the six-six-four board and bet it. He called, chasing either the two spades or just not believing me. This player is capable of not believing me all the way to the river, and I intended to get paid.

The turn brought another spade. The flush was out there, but I had the proverbial (actually, the literal) ace in the hole - the ace of spades to back me up. Trips with a nut flush redraw? Yes, please. I bet again. He called again.
A jack of spades on the river brought me my flush, but my opponent lead out $12 into the pot. An ok bet for the pot size, but a BIG bet for this player. Usually unaggressive, unaware of pot odds and putting people on hands - I actually had to slow down and consider that this player had a full house. I wasn't considering folding the ace high flush, but I had to choose between calling and reraising to get value from smaller flushes. It was a tough decision for the not-yet-math guy - I was vaguely aware that hand combinatorics would help me figure it out, but no way am I to the point where I can do them accurately at the table.

The one thing I did know is that me having a 6 took away chances for him to have one, and there are many more ways for him to have 1 spade in his hand than there were to have the few combinations of pocket pairs or 6x that boated up on this board. I couldn't run the actual numbers, but it seemed obvious that there was more chances of a flush than a full house. I put in a raise - to $25. This was enough to get value from smaller flushes, and enough to fold if he went all in (I felt it unlikely this player would push all in anyway, even with the stone cold nuts - he's that passive).

I was relieved to hear "you've got the ace of spades?. Damn. Well, I've got to pay if off".... expected now to see the king. Which I did. Along with an eight of spades. I had fallen behind on the turn and caught a break on the river. Nice.

Epilogue - a quick run of Flopzilla confirms my suspicions - it looks like a 8-1 bet that the player has a flush vs. a full house in this spot, based on hand combos. 8-1! You can see the output of that run in the shot below.

At the end of the night, M.O. tried swiping my blinds. I was feeling good and held a weak ace. I three bet him and he folded jack-ten. The online game works live.

1 comment:

MicroRoller said...

Nice post. Just wanted to say thanks.

I've never seen flopzilla before. It seems pretty useful