Friday, August 19, 2011

Micro Decisions

You don't have much time to win money in a 5 hour cash game. About 120-150 hands will be played, and you better pick your spots well.

I took my first shot after folding for two hours - I called a raise with ace-queen, but missed on a 7-8-8 flop. The original raiser bet 8 into 12, which was a big number for him. He wanted to end the hand. I made it 18 (not a big raise, but a big number, which many times is more important in our unsophisticated game). He called. I guess he didn't want to end the hand that badly.

The correct play was to probably bet big again on the blank turn, but I had very little equity in the pot, and was up against someone apt to make more calling mistakes than folding mistakes. This was more of a "one shot" bluff attempt, so I shut it down. So did he - we checked both turn and river. He showed pocket nines. I hate his call of the raise - absolutely hate it. All he could beat was a bluff, and was probably feeling pretty good about himself that he caught me in a bluff this one time.

I was down to half a stack later in the evening, when I got my opportunity to exact revenge on this same player. Pocket queens against his standard open. I three bet from 3 to 13. He called and we were heads up.

This villain doesn't like to fold preflop. His range in a 3bet pot (as the caller) is pretty much identical to his range in a raised pot. I immediately looked over stacks before seeing a flop - I had started with around half a stack $50 (shame on me for not reloading, but my opponent didn't have much more, so no big opportunity lost this time, thankfully). Preflop was $27 and I had $44 or so back. Stack-to-Pot ratio under 2. An easy go-broke moment as long as my queens avoid a king or ace, and maybe even still if one of those does appear, considering my opponent's wide range.

I didn't have to worry about flop texture this time, though, as I crushed the board with a queen-nine-four flop. The two bottom cards were hearts.

My opponent checked. There was no folding top set no matter how the board ran out now - all I had to do was figure out how to get my last 44 bucks into the middle, with his money in there after me. This was one of the few times I could have actually checked my monster - with so little money back, I could still be all in by the river. But I chose a different tack - I made a small, $10 bet - smaller than my 3bet preflop. Some players interpret this weak bet as tens or jacks that fear the overcard. My opponent didn't pounce on the bet, but he did the next best thing, he called. I put him on a pocket pair now - unconvinced I had anything, or jack-ten for an open-ended straight.

The turn brought an 8, now putting 2 diamonds out there with the 2 hearts. Jack-Ten just got there. My opponent checked and there was no change in his demeanor. If he had just caught me, he was hiding it well (not that I'm great in picking up tells, or even looking for them often enough). I had $34 back - the pot was $47. An easy turn shove. But I didn't want to say "I'm all in" - this was an obvious trigger to the strength of my hand. Instead, I announced a bet of 24 dollars, leaving myself ten behind. We were arranged on the table in such a way that I was in the way of my own chip stack to him, and he seemed uninterested in how much money I had started the hand with, so he was currently unaware that I only left myself $10 back. He started to consider out loud, as he often does, my hand strength. He was thinking about aces or ace-queen. He never said kings, which lead me at first to believe maybe he had kings himself.

After alternately looking like he both wanted to call and then fold, he said "I'll just go all in". He only had 10 bucks back himself, and of course I called. He showed king-jack soooooted, now with a gutshot, a diamond draw, and an overcard. I had to dodge 12 cards, and did so with a black ace hitting the river.

Once more, I hated his play. He called a three bet out of position from a tight (bordering on nitty) player with king-jack, then floated a half pottish flop bet with basically nothing at all. The turn gave him a decent-ish draw, but it's too late from an equity standpoint to bank on 24% equity and no fold equity by that time. He was worse than a 2:1 the entire hand, and a 3:1 dog when the rest of his money went in. This time his bad play cost him, unlike the pocket nines before. My double up brought me back to even on the right, and the final cash out ended me with the exact dead amount I had bought in for, to the penny.

No comments: