Friday, February 11, 2011

Live cash game notes

My cash game has entered a bit of a funk in the past couple weeks. My table is eminently beatable, and sometimes difficult to bluff against, but last night I decided that I had become entirely too fit-or-fold, waiting for a hand, and ABC. I was watching other players stab at pots, bluff-raise flops, and punish limpers, and I needed to get back into the game. Literally.

Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they do not. With my newfound determination, I three bet an open raiser with Ace-Queen - knowing I would get called by worse. But behind me, Johnny J cold-called my three bet. Johnny J is the tightest player at the table, and I knew my AQ was crushed overall by whatever he was entering the pot with. The original raiser also called, and we saw a ten-ten-jack flop. Johnny J fired out from the blinds, the original raiser called, and I made the easiest check-fold of the night. Johnny J held pocket kings, and the original raiser had 3-outed both of us with queen-ten.

The 3-outer was the theme of the night. I saw so many hands where the dominated guy ended up winning the pot. Players at my table love to call with king-deuce and hit their king, and so rarely seem to pay for their kicker problems. If they hit their king then the villain has pocket queens, and if the villain has a dominating king then their stupid deuce ends up winning the hand with bottom pair. I must have seen 9 examples of this in the 120 hands or so we played last night.

I lost most of my money against Tony, who had been one of the biggest recipients of the 3-out ass-whipping at the table, and I knew he was steaming. He raised and I three-bet to $11 with pocket queens. I also knew that based on his current mental state, I was probably going to have to go with the hand preflop, figuring his frustration would have him shipping ace-king, ace-queen, and pocket jacks. He ended up calling, though, and we saw a flop. Tony only had 35 blinds behind.

The board came ace-four-five, and Tony checked. He's entirely capable of checkraising an ace-king here, so I ended up checking behind.

The turn was a six, and now Tony fired out a $10 bet, with $25 left back. I knew that if I called this bet, I would have a to call a bunch of all-ins on the river, too. It's the easiest play in the world to fold and just give him credit for the ace overcard, but I wanted to think this hand through as much as possible and come to a correct decision. A 7-8 straight didn't worry me in a three bet pot. I wasn't worried about kings or aces - I knew these were going in the middle preflop - Tony wasn't going to slowplay aces while steaming - he was going to steamshovel his stack into the middle of the pot as fast as humanly possible. I thought the same might be true with ace-king, also, so I was kind of half-discounting ace-king. Ace-queen was also just strong enough to call a three-bet with, but so were pocket jacks and tens. I also noticed that eights now had a gutshot draw. Tony would bet all of these hands after my flop check. I did a quick combo-count in my head and realized there were overall more pairs that I beat than ace-queens and ace-kings, especially if I was half-discounting ace-kings based on my thought that he would have shipped them preflop. I made the call.

The river bricked with a 2 or 3, and Tony shrugged and put the rest of his stack in. $25. The pot was now $75 and it cost me $25 to call, offering me 3:1 odds. Was I correct in my reads 25% of the time? Would he turn his pockets jacks (or nines or tens) into a bluff with an ace on board, AFTER I called a turn bet? Or would he think they were somehow good? Or was he just steaming enough to not care if they were good or not? Once again I tried to count combos: I counted 12 AKs, 12 AQs for 24 hands that beat me, and 6 combos each of 88, 99, TT, JJ for 24 that did not. Fifty-fifty, and I only had to be right 25% of the time to make the call. I made it.

I did the best I could, but Tony flipped over a hand I didn't take into account - pocket sixes. He had hit a 2-outer set on the turn. I really don't like his calling of a preflop 3bet with sixes and only a 45BB effective stack, but I failed to take into account that his steaming state might make him setmine without good odds. We don't always play correctly when steamed. So I doubled him up.

I re-ran the numbers in Pokerstove this morning. Now knowing that Tony was capable of setmining, I assigned him a range of all pairs except aces and kings, ace-queen, and half of the ace-kings. On the 2567A board, I am a 60-40 favorite vs. his range, and I had to call a 3:1 pot odds all in river bet. I feel like this opening range is fairly true to his final range - he probably doesn't continue with the pocket twos, threes, and fours, but he may be value/frustration betting all of the pairs from 88-JJ, and of course value betting the 55-77 sets, and the AQ/AKs as well. Even against that range I'm over 50% to win on my call, making it a correct overlay with 3:1 pot odds.

I liked the decision even though I lost a pretty big hand.

The big hand was yet another example on the night of the dominated guy winning on the river.

I did end up getting more aggressive in the last couple hours of the night- I went back to blind stealing even though the biggest calling station of the table was in my blind. I won twice vs him and lost once when he called preflop with 34s and flopped a straight. Since he came out firing with an over pot sized bet on the flop, and since my jack-six had whiffed entirely, I didn't lose much on that hand. I 3bet Tony from the blinds once more time, knowing that the last time I had done that was with pocket queens, and he had to give me some credit. He did and folded, after which I revealed my seven-deuce suited. The reveal was very much on purpose - an announcement to the world that fit-or-fold was leaving the basement, hopefully for good. I think it's time for online Tag to step over 100% to the live cash game side.

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