Saturday, January 19, 2013

Early Reads

Short-ish Cleveland Horseshoe session last night nets me $146 in profit. A solid mental session as well where I played my "A" game despite the inevitable frustrations that the game brings.

One reason to stay focused at all times is to work on figuring out your opponents. As I sat down at the table, One player stuck his last $25 into the pot. He got a call, and then another player with a big stack raised the $25 to $50. The first caller shook his head and smiled, as the raiser smiled back and gave a "what can I do" shoulder shrug. Since someone was all-in, I knew I would get to see a showdown.

When we got to the end of the hand, the preflop all-in got a nice tripleup with a heart flush. The first caller showed a pathetic nine-six offsuit, and the shoulder-shrugging 3better showed the table ace-seven suited.

Yup, I might like this table

The player to my right quickly filled me in. The A7 three-better had built up a giant stack and was now throwing money around like it was his job.

So that hand's over, and I get dealt my first card. The crazy shoulder-shrugger opens under the gun, for $4. Four dollars? He just stuck $50 in the pot with ace-seven, what the hell kind of hand could $4 represent? Is it a big hand or a small one?

I didn't know, but my own cards turned out to be an ace and a jack, so I came into the pot also. My overall table position wasn't great, but I knew after one hand that I was entering a pot with a fishy opponent, and you usually can't wait for the perfect scenario to get his money.

I hit my top pair on the flop, but of course nothing is ever easy - all three cards were spades. Shoulder-shrugger sticks $10 in. I make the call, thinking I haven't played a hand yet and I'm already in a sticky spot. I will probably fold if he bombs the turn.

Turn comes and he checks. I check back. I've got a small hand, and this calls for a small pot.

River comes, no fourth spade. Villain checks again. My hand is certainly good. I bet $15, he sheepishly folds, smiling and saying "welcome to the table".

Sadly, that's the only hand I won off the shoulder-shrugger before his spectacular flameout. But paying attention early, even before I had cards, gave me enough information to play my first hand well, and win it.


The Poker Meister said...


Let me get this straight: You flop the "nuts" against a supposed wild / aggro player. It's a 3flush board and you call / check 3 streets? So basically, you let him have a "free" look at the turn / river where you know that any spade he shows up with beats you... Why so timid in this spot? "small hand, ... small pot" does not truly apply here; this is more like a $14 micro pot. You've got to bet the turn to charge him to see the river and / or raise the flop as well. You got no value out of your hand which brings me to the next question: if you're going to play a hand in this manner, where you flop TPGK, and go into turtle mode, why play AJ in the first place?

The Poker Meister said...


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matt tag said...

yah, I get criticized for playing this way sometimes, but raising AJ on the flop truly over-represents your hand, IMO.

I agree with betting the turn.

The Poker Meister said...

Perhaps you're flawed, perhaps I'm flawed. Here's my line of thought: raising AJ is not "over-representing" your hand on the flop because you have effectively flopped the nuts / your AJ hand is FAR ahead of his raising range PF. With a 3 spade flop, his hand can easily contain a spade... and he doesn't have the As since I'm assuming the As is the "top pair" on the flop that you hit (unless it's the Js high flop)... whatever, though - meaningless. The worst scenario you're looking at here is Ks Qx or Kx Qs where he has 2 overs and a spade redraw to your TPTK. That's, from what you describe, pretty low on his range as well (at the top end of his range). Therefore, there are a TON of cards including all Ax hands and/or Jx hands (whichever was the top pair on the flop) that he can have that will pay you off continually to the river - INCLUDING all good spades! In fact, it would be great for him to show up with AsXx, getting him to think if the Ax hits, he's sucked out on you... Nevertheless, raising the flop charges for the spade draws and betting the turn allows you to get it in without having to worry about the 4th spade coming. For AJo against this player, I want value value value. If he flopped a flush, which is about the only think that beats me here (and random overpairs where I got unlucky against his range), so be it... But I'm happy to get it in against him drawing to the As flush.

As played, you got no value from the flop (10 into 10), the turn nor the river. When you showdown, you look like a scared player who can be pushed off of most any hand including TP good kicker against a player whose range you KNOW is much worse than yours.

All of that said, he could easily fold the flop to a raise and hand is over. You still got value when you knew you were ahead, though.

Finally, WHY are you folding if he bombs the turn given the way you called the flop? His "bomb" would be around 20-30 which is still very small relative to stacks. You should be hanging in there against this kinda guy - it's how you get value is by letting him bluff bluff bluff into your "nuts."

Lastly, why bet the river? He got to see the turn & river for free so by betting the river, you're betting after the horse is out of the barn... either he hit or he didn't and it's a real small bet to allow him to look you up.

The Poker Meister said...

So Matt... I've been thinking about why this hand bothers me and I think I now know why:

"I've got a small hand, and this calls for a small pot." This statement is internet think.

In live poker, you should look at TPGK against a loose player as at least a mid-pot hand. Moreover, don't play scared against this guy because he's going to figure out pretty quickly that he can whip you around. You have to bet strong and put HIM to decisions rather than avoiding him putting you to a decision by keeping pots small against him. By keeping pots small against him, he profits because he blows you off your non top-of-range hands and value bets the heck outta you when he nuts over your strength. It should be the opposite way around with that type of player.