Thursday, November 25, 2010

Action Guy

Weekly live cash game, moved to Wednesday because of the holiday, and opened up to double stakes $1/$2. 11 players.

A couple new faces to the bunch - one guy with whom I've played at the monthly tourney. Poor poker skills. Wants very badly to hit straights and flushes. A welcome addition.

Then, a young guy. Very young. Shows up with a card protector. Raises 2 of the first three hands, one over a couple limpers. Calls a raise from the blinds, checkraises somebody big, then shows 57s when he gets a fold. "Gutshot straight flush draw, I liked my chances" he says. Obviously he knows what he's doing.

I am 2 seats to his left, and he treats his button like a castle that needs defending. Nobody limps on his button. 12 to go. 15 to go. I wake up behind him with AKo, and turn his 8 into 25. He calls.

Flop's a whiff for me - ten nine rag. I bet 30. He calls. We check the turn, and he bets $15 into a 110 pot. I call just for the information.

Ace-nine offsuit for a pair. He called my three bet with A9.

Oh, it's on.

My Thursday night game is not a heavy action game. The bad players limp too much, the good players raise it up. Aces and Kings are three-bet, sometimes queens, sometimes ace-king. That's about it preflop. Crazy preflop action usually isn't needed to win money in this game - just play solid ABC, hit top pair, and win three streets of fat value vs. someone with a bad kicker. Hit the underboat and stack someone with trips. Catch a straight or flush vs. someone who can't lay down two pair no matter what the board looks like.

Our new action player changed the formula. He liked pumping up the pot - sometimes small, sometimes big. The bad players folded their junk for a short time, but then they re-adjusted to the action player by calling the raise with their T9 and their 74s. Then they would miss and fold to the c-bet, or catch a small piece and pay the action player's cbet. They were losing money, and action player was running over the table.

I had one important tell on action player - he kept the chips for his original buy-in ($250) separated from the rest of his chips - his "profits". Players that keep their original buy-in separate are often too attached to winning and losing in a given session. They often don't like dipping into their original buy-in stack if they don't have to. Maybe the couple hundred bucks is a little more important to a 20-something guy than a middle aged shlub like me who can drop a couple hundred every now and then on entertainment.

This tell was part of my own adjustment to the action player - I waited for a hand better than his range, then I pushed it - and pushed it hard. The first example was the ace-king above. A bit later came pocket queens. He raised up a couple of limpers, and I popped it up again big, this time protecting my button. Action player called (he didn't like to fold preflop once he decided to play).

My queens stayed an overpair on a coordinated board. I checked the stacks, specifically if a big flop bet would allow for a turn shove, or at least a big enough turn bet that would chop into his original buy-in pile. I made my cbet and he called it.

The turn was not pretty - it completed four card straight (with an 8), and brought a third spade. I did hold the queen of spades for some backup equity. He looked carefully at me, trying to get a read, and then patted the table carefully and deliberately, which I took to mean he still didn't love his hand. It felt a bit like jumping off a cliff, but I reminded myself that his range was wide and therefore the chances of having 2 spades or and 8 were small compared to all of his possible holdings. I stuck my stack in.

Action player exhaled and sat back in his chair. "Well, I can't call that", he said "your queens with the queen of spades is good", calling out my hand exactly. He flashed a top pair ten.

A big milestone for me. I stood my ground to action player and he blinked. I wasn't ready to make a habit of this, though - raising him super-light wasn't going to work because action player wanted to see flops. I was going to have to tangle with him holding solid values or at least high-equity semibluffs.

For some reason, the table decided there wasn't enough action, even with action player, and voted unanimously to alternate orbits with Holdem and Omaha. Egads. The pots got giant during the Omaha rounds, and my stack bobbed up and down.

I misplayed an Omaha pot about 2:15 in the morning (not seeing that a third spade had come, losing an extra $17 river bet that I shouldn't have made), and I took that as my cue that the game needed to end. I called out that we were finishing the Omaha orbit and wrapping up with a final Holdem orbit. I did manage to over-boat Tony for a nice Omaha pot on the last Omaha hand of the night.

On the final hand of the evening, I called a raise from action player with KdQd. I was in the small blind. The board came Q23 with two clubs. I checked, as did all the limp/callers in the multiway pot, and action player fired out $15. I checkraised to $36. The limp/callers bailed, and action player thought a bit, smiled, and folded.

It probably wasn't the most +EV play to blow the wide range aggressive guy off a dry board with a top pair checkraise, but I felt it sent the best message to close off the night. I can and will adjust to your game.

To any/all of my readers - have a great holiday. Take time out of the day to be thankful for good family, great friends, and bad poker.

1 comment:

bastinptc said...

As always, Matt, a good read. Happy Thanksgiving to the taglius household.