Saturday, July 20, 2013

LAG Practice

I think I've overcome a small hurdle in my attempt to become a more loose-aggressive poker player. In the past, I would make a move or two that wouldn't work, and then grouse about losing the 40 big blinds, which would revert me back to a more ABC/TAG style.

I'm trying to look at these small unsuccessful events as investments in a bigger future.

A month ago I was playing at the Cleveland Horseshoe and the usual bad table was having fun trapping with pocket aces. They would call and trap and call and trap and get a big kick out of winning a small or medium pot. Two of these were against me - allowing me to take myself to valuetown twice. I grumbled to myself and looked forward to the day their bad play would be rewarded me them losing their stack to me.

Fast forward to yesterday - again at the 'Shoe - the player to my left makes a small $7 raise as the first to act. 2 or 3 people call the small raise, and I call from the big blind, holding 5 6. I'm not big on calling speculative hands like this from the blinds - probably a losing play for most players (myself included) - the combination of the small raise size and multiple callers made it appealing. The last thought was one I've been working on keeping top of mind - stay aggressive on draws, play your equity. Work on your LAG style when you get the opportunities.

So we see a multi-way flop, which comes Q 9 4. Flush draw for me. I check, the original raiser bets $10 into the $28 and gets one caller. I've got to call $10 into $48 for a flush draw. Sounds like good odds to me, I take them and call.

The turn is an amazing card for me hand - a black 3. Now I've got 15 cards to a straight or flush. I decide to take the betting lead and bet $15 - my original hope is that everyone will call and I will given myself a cheap price to see a river, but that isn't how things worked out. The original raiser called my $15 bet, but then the other caller, a semi-maniac who has been stuck for maybe 2 buy-ins in his first hour, announces "all-in". This startles me at first, but I look over at the stack he has slid into the middle and it's pretty tiny - so small, in fact, that I'm not sure he has even doubled my $15 bet. I ask for a count, and the deal stacks them up and tells me it's exactly $30.

Which means I can re-raise if I want.

Do I want to? The original raiser hasn't shown much strength so far - I've got him for a hand like AQ or KQ. He might even have a drawing hand like JT or a heart draw like myself (the poker gods LOVE to give people bigger flush draws when I play smaller ones - it's already happened once today). Maybe I can push him out of this pot with a raise, and take a free crack at the stuck LAG with at least 15 outs. Hell, my pair outs might be good against him if he has JT. Plus, it fufills my promise to myself that if I want to play hands like 56s out of the blinds, I have to play them aggressively and win some pots.

I make it $85. That's a big enough "I mean it" bet to tell KQ, JT, maybe even AQ to get the hell out. I like my move pretty well, until the original raiser thinks for about .0003 seconds and says "call", counting his chips.

Ah, the life of a LAG. One second you're contemplating a perfectly-executed, well-considered semibluff, and the next second you've built a giant pot with 6 high.

Clearly I was going to need one of my outs to pass him. I had a second to think what could happen. Obviously hitting a brick would be a simple check-fold, and me reaching for the last $100 in my pocket. I was going broke on a heart river -if he had a higher flush draw, then he wins. More likely, I thought he had a set of queens or nines, or Ace-Queen, and finally the idea that the old slowplayed aces from the last session were back to torment me again. Put pocket kings in there for the same reason.

It didn't matter much what he held when the amazing 2 came on the river. I had only $55 left on the table and stuck it in. He wasn't calling with a busted draw himself, but it seemed to me that all his made hands weren't folding for $55 when they called $80 on the last street. The UTG player called again right away and flipped over pocket kings.

"Straight" I said, probably a bit too triumphantly, and flipped over 56. My opponent stopped dead with his mouth open, realizing what just befell him. "He got what he deserved, playing pocket kings that way", I thought.

As for me, I'm not sure if I played the hand well or not, but I chose an aggressive action in an attempt to bluff someone out of a pot, and then got bailed out by excellent equity when the bluff didn't work out. It felt pretty good.


The Poker Meister said...

What does your $85 3bet on the turn accomplish? I think you want him calling the $15 on top instead of getting him out of the pot, no? If he has the flush over flush, so be it, but you want more money in on the river than on the turn. Plus, given the $150 that would be in the pot by you just calling the min raise on the turn, it sets up for ~pot sized shove on the river which will likely be called as well.

I guess my notion is that he's calling your $15 lead on the turn - he's likely only calling the $15 raise from the all in opponent.

Memphis MOJO said...

I'm not big on calling speculative hands like this from the blinds

One problem I've found with calling from out of position on these hands is that you can't always extract the max when you hit.

matt tag said...

Turn raise is a bluff - I can get many better hands to fold. Say for example UTG has KQ and bad lag has something like A4 (pair + gutshot) or JT. Getting UTG to fold a better hand gives me 6 more outs on the river - my 5 and 6 pair outs.

This is how I looked at it at the time. I've posted the action on 2+2 to get more feedback though.

CdrData said...

LAG play works when you can exploit the weakness in opponents' ranges (David Chan). You want to do this against semi-competent regs, not 1/2 fish.

The problem with 1/2 is bad players chronically slowplaying. They rarely have a weak enough range where LAG play makes sense.

That said, this player pool can't fold either. Focus on THIN value instead of moves.