Monday, March 31, 2014

Still writing for SplitSuit...

Check out the latest here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Splitsuit content

Go check out my newest Splitsuit article here. And buy some stuff while you're at it! (don't forget the 10% code NOTEBOOK)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Article for SplitSuit

The poker training website asked me to write some content for him. My first article is live! Check it out here, and maybe buy some stuff while you're at it. As always, use special checkout code NOTEBOOK to get 10% off! 

If you don't have the book "Poker Plays you can Use", btw, you need to get it right away. Available on Split's site...


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Scared the CRAP out of me

Monday afternoon Cleveland Horseshoe session - the poker room is packed for the Monday tourney, I'm sitting at a better-skill-than-average 1-2 table. I still feel like there are enough soft spots to stick around, though, so I do.

My stack is down a bit today based on two biggish hands. The first is a preflop all-in vs. a player that started with $70. I had QQ and he had KK - totally standard. The second was my AA paying off a good player who floated my cbet and spiked a 2-out set of nines on the turn. I felt his $50 river bet could have been a busted draw, he was good enough to try it, so I made a bad river call. In the end, losing only 40 big blinds with aces to a set seemed like a small victory rather than a big loss.

Elsewhere in the session, I watched a certain opponent play his aces in a different way - he limped with them, and then woke up on the flop. He won one hand doing this, and lost another to some garbage connector type hand. I mentally shook my head watching this guy try and get tricky, only to trick himself out of his stack.

Later on, there were a few limpers to me on the button, and I raised to $15 with 44. A couple guys folded, but the AA limper called. I of course stared at the flop looking for my precious three-of-a-kind. For the first time in the session, I got it, with an Ace-King-Four flop. There were also two clubs. The AA limper lead for a small amount, and I raised to $30. He called instantly.

. Oh, no, I thought to myself. Did this chucklehead actually get dealt aces again?

The turn was a seven of diamonds, and the AA limper, undeterred by my show of strength on the flop, lead out for $50.

Oh, fer, fuck's sake, I thought to myself this time. Am I really going to consider folding bottom set? Am I that big a nit? I started to count combos in my head, but the adrenaline was making things cloudy. I knew that if he could limp AA, he could also limp KK, which still beat me, but also AK, which didn't. Or maybe he was just willing to go to the wall with Ace-Queen. I didn't know, but my overall feeling was something to the effect of "if he's willing to limp with pocket aces regularly, and then play them to the river no matter how bad the board gets, then he's bad enough to make other mistakes too". I called the $50.

Predictably, the river came and he shoved the rest of his stack in. To complicate matters a little, the river brought the third club card. Right or wrong, I had ruled out this player having a flush (maybe because I was terrified of aces or kings). I had that awful pit in my stomach of getting stacked by an aces-limper, but also my inner poker ego saying "man-up, Nancy! You're ahead more often than you're behind, and you're getting a price, you have to call here".

I said out loud "well, I've seen you limp aces before, but I'm not folding. I call", and flipped over my fours.

The aces limper blinked a few times, said "nice hand", stood up, and left the table.

Happy new Year, everyone. I've made some decisions related to my live poker game - I will share them in a future post shortly. For now, everyone stay safe tonight and we'll chat again in 'fourteen.

The second barrel

Depending on the board and the player type, firing a second barrel on the turn can be a profitable play. Here are two examples from my Friday cash game session.

In the first, I had 2 limps to me in the big blind and I raised up 77. One player folded but the small blind called. At least I had position on him.

We got an 8 high board, (something like 852), 3 different suits. He checked. I felt like I had the best hand here most of the time, so I let out a value bet. My opponent called the bet. Now I'm not really sure if I have the best hand anymore.

The turn brought a king- my absolute favorite barreling card. Since everyone puts you on ace-king anyway, this king should give me top pair, top kicker. After my opponent checked again, I quickly and confidently bet $25 and got an instant fold.

Firing the turn barrel when a king comes works against decent players who are thinking a bit about what I might be holding. Complete fish might call with their gutshots or small pairs thinking their miracle trips are going to come anyway, so it doesn't work so well against them. In addition to kings, aces work pretty well also, but probably give people two pair more often.

In the second hand, I raised up an ace-queen suited and a pretty bad loose passive called me from the blinds. As usual, I whiffed on a king-six-four board, but this was a good board to continuation bet, so I did. My opponent thought for a second, like he wasn't sure what to do, but then called. His indecision lead me to believe he had a medium pair between the king and six, or maybe something like six-seven.

The turn paired the four, which didn't change the board at all. My opponent checked, and I knew I had to fire a second barrel here. I choice a $35 "I really mean it" bet this time, and he folded without too much further thought.

"You have a pair?" he asked.

"Ace-King", I replied, ensuring him he made a good fold.

You can't bluff every board or every player type, but against the correct players and the correct board, you can add a few more pots to your session.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Still More LAG Practice

I've taken to treating my .50/$1 home game as my practice sessions. Small stakes make it easier to try some things out. Here are some of the things I've employed in the last few sessions.

1. Checkraise from the blinds on a dry board. This was against one of the few regulars in my game who even knows what a blind steal is. I can't even remember what I defended with, but the board was a bone-dry K73 rainbow or somesuch. I checkraised his cbet with air, knowing his range was too weak to continue most of the time. He flashed pocket tens - pretty strong, I'm not maniac enough to get him to try and continue with second pair. Yet

2. 3bet/squeeze AQs as a semi-bluff. Usually a flat from me - keep the dominated aces in the pot and all that. But once a third person entered the pot, I heard the cash register cha-ching and decided I just couldn't leave those 8 big blinds lying out there, could I? Our home game features very little 3betting, usually QQ+ only (not even ace-king), so my 3bet got a bunch of credit.

3. Open from early position (6-handed). Flop bottom pair and a flush draw. Take a Bet, Bet, BIG BET line as my flush comes in. Smoke top pair for half his stack.

4. My favorite hand of the session. A few orbits after the hand before, open , get the same player calling me. Completely whiff the board, but cbet anyway. He check/calls. The turn brings in a club flush, I still have nothing. But I make another solid bet and villain turbo-mucks, knowing I can bet the flush draw before having it.

5. Call with on the button, multiway pot. Flop top 2 pair on an board. Original raiser leads, folds to me, I re-raise to $20.

He looks at me for a few seconds. "You got a set or a flush draw this time", he asks, then flashes an ace and folds.


My 2014 goal is to take shots at $2/$5, and with a little luck, stick there. Keeping some plays like these fresh in my toolbox should help me reach that goal.