Friday, January 7, 2011

Knowing where I'm at

Thursday night cash game with 7 players. 5 are habitual limpers and get into trouble with bad kickers, over and over. It's actually kind of funny to watch two of them build a big pot with each other with top pair and then see if their 6 kicker is good. (sometimes, it is!).

I had the benefit of hitting some big hands. Pocket tens hit top set on the flop with two clubs. I bet half pot and am called. The turn brings the third club.... that also pairs the board! Jackpot. Bet/Bet gets call/called and I'm paid off by the King high flush (king-deuce sooooted is the holding).

Ace-queen punishes a limper or two, from the button. Tony cold-calls in the blinds - the only player who can give me trouble at this table. But I'm pretty sure what he's cold-calling with, pairs looking to set up, AQ/KQ, mayyyyybe a suited ace hoping one of the limpers calls behind for a multiway flush draw (but I doubt it). We take the flop heads up.

Decent flop for me - Queen-four-four, with two hearts. I can't conceive of a way Tony has a 4 in his hand. I also don't think he has cold-called me with kings or aces to trap, which would have allowed the limpers in behind him. So the only way he has any real equity on this board is with Ace-x of hearts, and I don't think that's his style. (he's too tight to call raises with weak aces out of position). Not worried about ace-king, either, which he might call or raise, but I've got half of his outs crushed by hitting my queen.

When he checks this flop, I'm now nearly 100% sure he has no flush draw - firstly because I didn't think he would have it to begin with, and secondly because Tony would more likely bet it on the come than checkraise it. So I put his range squarely on pocket pairs that have two outs against me. The standard way-ahead, way-behind situation. I decide if I bet now he'll fold most of the time, but if I check now (unafraid of the flush), I win at least one more bet out of him in the future. I check.

The turn indeed brings the flush card (a baby 3/4, I think), and Tony predictably/correctly bets at it. He doesn't have ME on a flush draw (I would bet on the come also), or a queen, so he figures his pocket pair might be good. I do not have a heart in my hand, so no runner-runner possibility for me. If a fourth heart comes, I might be in some trouble - these are the drawbacks of checking a street for deception. I can live with this. I call the turn bet with top pair. My plan is to call most river bets, except a fourth heart, larger-size bet. If checked to, I will bet myself.

The river is a black middle card so I no longer have to worry about Tony having a backdoor flush. That middle card might have hit him as a two-outer, I'm not worried about that happening in the long run. Even if it has happened, the flush on the board prevents him from raising too big with a sudden river set. Tony checks. The right play is a small, callable value bet. Tony can't have me for a queen or a flush, and he can't raise a binked set, so the smaller size protects me in case of a raise. Tony thinks a beat and then calls, and shows pocket jacks. Right where I had him.

"Nice check on the flop", he says. Indeed it was. It won me two streets of bets instead of zero.

The rest of the night went very well. The limpers play predictably postflop and tell me exactly where I stand based on their bet size. I felt comfortable playing two pair on a monotone board knowing I was up against an overpair, and knowing what cards I had to dodge (board pairing and fourth flush card). I can also fold if one of those cards come and have become much better at tilt control when losing a hand I was winning earlier. I was able to play Ace-Ten with an ace on the board comfortably because my opponent bet sizes told me he didn't have an ace, and his bigger river bet on a deuce screamed desperate bluff (it represented no possible hand he could have in a pot he raised himself). My pocket aces were easily and comfortably played in a 3bet pot with an SPR of 1, even on a somewhat scary jack-king board - it didn't matter if he flopped his set with stacks that shallow. He didn't - he had queens and couldn't call my c-bet (which I made to get value from AK).

I won most of the big pots and lost only the little ones, for a 120 big blind win. That's a good night.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

Nice check on the flop", he says. Indeed it was. It won me two streets of bets instead of zero.

You have to take small chances, and especially in tournaments where you MUST build your stack to have any chance.