Saturday, June 23, 2012


A long session at the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino nets me 80BB. I'm running 200BB profit in 15 hours play there so far, can't complain at all.

It didn't look good for about 3 hours, as I continued my card dead ways from the night before. Fold, fold, fold. Twice I tried iso-raising a weak ace against some limpers, this failed both times as they would call my iso and then donk out on a flop that missed me entirely.

Meanwhile, of course, the poker gods are testing you as you watch fortune strike everyone else at the table, again and again. One old man would call to the river with any pair at all, any bet size, waiting to hit. Sometimes he wouldn't hit and then call the river anyway, and someone would actually be bluffing this station, and he would win with third pair or with the worse kicker possible!

My favorite guy to watch came to my table late - he had just placed his chips at the table but hadn't sat down. He asked the dealer to include him in the deal, and she did as he posted his 2BB. A player I knew to be tight raised behind, this got the new guy to sit down, peek at his cards, and then call the raise.

Tight player lead out big on a jack high board. I felt it was a value bet with an overpair based on what I knew about this guy, who had been folding for hours like me. New guy called. I felt like new guy was going to get stacked on his first hand.

Second card was a six, no flushes completed, and the action went bet, raise, all-in, call. "Two pair and a flush draw" says the new guy, flipping over nine-six suited. "Christ", says the opponent, the first word out of his mouth today. He then watched helplessly as a blank river cracks his pocket kings.

Lucky guy goes on to play about 70% of hands preflop. He's aggressive, raising probably 25%. Then postflop, he calls with any piece of the board, either hoping for gin late or a dangerous enough board that he can take away with a big river bluff.

The table tries collectively to adjust. They start calling his big river bets lighter. Twice the player flips over strong straights or flushes, which came runner-runner, and as the result of floating a flop bet with nearly no hand at all. Soon after he gets someone else's stack with K3s, hitting the second nut flush, up against the third. He's up 3 buy-ins now in an hour.

Meanwhile, I'm still folding, and thinking about wrapping it up for the day. I'm down $50, and this guy's on my left (2 away), which will take away my ability to isolate. I'm going to have to hit a hand to win at this table right now.

I get pocket tens in early position, and raise to $13. Aggro-Luckbox calls. I'm going to have a hard time playing pairs like this against this guy, out of position, unless I hit my 1-time-in-8 three of a kind. If that comes, this guy's going to pay me off bigtime.

Flop starts with a jack in the window, and I'm already anticipating the bet/check/fold line in my head. But the second card improves my spirits greatly - a ten. A seven completes.

Not betting the flop against this light peeler would be criminal. With a $27 pot, I make it $22. He calls as I expect.

The turn is a seeming brick, and something slightly evil occurs to me. Something I don't do nearly enough in my game, and that's a checkraise. This guy can't help himself from betting after weakness, and we've already built up a nice big pot. I briefly weigh this option over just letting him float to the river, and settle on the checkraise. There are two flush draws on the board now, and a checkraise will shut this guy out of the pot and the ability to correctly draw to them. The only disaster is if he checks behind me, but I simply can't see that happening.

I let out of big sigh, Hollywooding like I'm giving up. I check. My villain obliges me, betting a small $20 into a now over $50 pot. I make it $100, pretty sure that will blast him out of the hand, but he just smiles and calls.

Uh, oh. Time for one more check of the board - I have to dodge 2 flush draws. I won't be pleased with an ace or 9 (for KQ), either. But then I look at my stack. I really don't have enough back to fold, my checkraise was committing. This is somewhat comforting, as if the hand is really over whether the chips come my way or not.

Maybe a tad too comforting. The river card is a harmless 4, and I shove my chips in without hesitation, practically beating the river card to the middle of the table. My villain folds instantly, face-up, showing seven-four of clubs. He had the backdoor flush draw, bottom pair, and the river gave him 2 pair. Maybe I could have gotten a river bet out of him with a little more tact and thoughtful sizing.

"There are always improvements to be made", I think as I stack a 300BB pot.


Memphis MOJO said...

Surprised he didn't call only $50 with two pair.

matt tag said...

I left out some details - it was true that I had lost $50 on the day, but then topped back up to $200, and then won another big pot sometime before this hand, so effective stacks at the time of this hand were around $350. My river shove was something like $215 into a $275 pot. I figured 2pair hands would put me on an overpair and call.

Bob@3RP said...

You employed one of my favorite poker moves, Matt! I absolutely love flopping a monster out of position against one or two other players, betting it strong at first, but then -- once they call and a blank hits the turn, or the turn grows your monster into a super-monster -- backing off and checking.

I swear something like 95 percent of live players see this as a sure sign of weakness, assume you were just C-betting (if you were the one who raised pre), and then will lead into you for a large amount no matter what they're holding. At that point, you can check-raise or just call, stringing them along to the (hopefully blank) river -- where you can then overbet, making it look like you're trying to buy it, or check-raise, if you're fairly sure they'll bet again. It always works!

Just last week I did this against a buddy of mine I was playing with. In this case, he was the one who raised preflop, and I limp/called with J-10s. Flop: Q-J-J. I led out big. He called; third player in the hand folded. Turn: J. Hello, quads. I checked like it was the worst card in the world. He bet way too high an amount. I tripled it and he mucked disgustedly. I showed it since he's a friend and we were the only two left in the hand at that point.

The words "you bastard" never sounded so sweet.

matt tag said...

love it. I hope you gave a big hollywood sigh before checking, too.