Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sometimes Limit Poker Can Be So Limiting: Another $15-$30 Hand

A modern British LED Traffic Light (Siemens He...Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes Limit Poker Can Be So Limiting: Another $15-$30 Hand

I was playing in a $15-$30 limit hold'em game at the Oaks. Here is one of those hands that is very frustrating.

I am in the big blind. 6 players limp in pre-flop. I look down and find two black Aces.

I can raise here, which would probably be the book play. But my raise is not going to get anyone to fold. My thinking is that I want to eliminate opponents, not build the pot.

The flop is 2s-3s-9h.

The small blind bets. I raise.

Two opponents call. The small blind folds.

On the turn is the 3 hearts.

I figured that was a good card for me. Now, if anyone had two pair, trips or a set, they would raise me here.

But, I bet the turn and one opponent just called.

Before the river card, I figured my opponent had top pair or a flush draw.

What would be the worse card on the river?

That is the card that hit the board...the 9s. Making a player with a flush draw to make his hand and giving a player with top pair, a boat.

I check-called. My opponent showed the 9c-10h.

If it was no limit, I would have re-raised big pre-flop and took down a nice pot. Instead my pocket Aces and I were doomed to lose.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Limit Poker: $15-$30 Cash Game--A Very Interesting Hand

toilet wcImage via Wikipedia

Limit Poker: $15-$30 Cash Game--A Very Interesting Hand

I got knocked out of the Oaks $120 buy-in tournament today when a player beat my pocket Aces. He moved all-in on the flop with his flush draw. I called. He hit his flush on the turn. Oh well.

Since I was out early, I decided to try the $15-$30 cash limit game.

Here is the Very Interesting Hand

Everyone is playing rather loose. I get dealt 9-9 on the cut-off.

5 players call. I call since no one is going to fold for one bet. The button raises. Everyone calls.

There are 7 players in the hand.

The flop is 5s-7d-9d.

The big blind bets into the raiser and the big field. I call. The button raises. The big blind calls. I call. Everyone else folded. Three of us take the turn.

The turn is a 2c.

The big blind checks. I check. The button bets. The big blind now check-raises. I call. The button calls.

The river is a Jd, potentially giving someone a flush.

The big blind checks. I bet right away. Why? I am sure no one has a flush. My bet will make it look like I have a flush. And, if the big blind has a straight he may fold since he is an "observant" player.

The button calls. The big blind is not happy. He takes a while to make a decision. He folds.

I show the set of 9's. The button shows a set of 7's.

The big blind had the 6-8, which gave him a flopped straight. He folded since he was sure I could only be in the hand with a flush draw.

A big win for me!

For the entire session of limit cash, I ended +$800.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Trip to the WSOP: A First--Getting Knocked Out By A Player Who Folded

The VenetianImage via Wikipedia

My Trip to the WSOP: A First--Getting Knocked Out By A Player Who Folded

I just got back from my trip to the WSOP. Something happened to me that never happened to me before. It is a little embarrassing and it was potentially very costly.

Let me set this up:

I entered the $350 Deep Stack event at The Venetian. While the WSOP has added a daily, deep stack cash event it is not as good as the one at the Venetian. The Venetian events use automatic shufflers and the rounds are 40 minutes. The WSOP Deep Stack events are shuffled by hand with 30 minutes rounds. Also, I believe the Venetian events have a much better blind structure. More play, more opportunity to read the opponents.

There is one disadvantage to the Venetian events. The smoke. There are so many players that they have to add tables outside the smoke free poker room and in the smoke filled casino.

The Venetian Event

670 players and paid 64 places. First place was over $47,000.

We had played for over 12 hours and it was near 1 am. We were down to 67 players.

I was at a corner table and in seat 10. The blinds had just increased to $2,000-$4,000 with a $500 ante. There were 9 players at the table.

In early position, I was dealt pocket Aces. I had $87,000 in chips and I raised to $10,500. The players folded to the big blind. The big blind was a loose aggressive player who liked to re-raise pre-flop with a wide range of hands and to push his draws on the flop with check raises. He had over $250,000 in chips and was probably one of the chip leaders.

I was hoping he would re-raise or check raise me on the flop since I wanted the opportunity to double up. He just called.

The pot was $27,500. I had $76,500 left.

The flop was Jh-9h-8c.

Being heads-up I thought this was the kind of flop my opponent would check raise me with any draw.

I bet $25,000. I studied my opponent to see if he would make a play here.

From the corner of my eyes and to the left, I spotted a bunch of $5,000 chips splash the pot. I immediately turned to my left.

The player in seat 2 had raised me! I didn't even know he was in the hand! WTF!!!!!!!

I was annoyed.

I was annoyed with the dealer for not saying this player called pre-flop.

I was annoyed that the dealer didn't state three players were in the hand pre-flop.

And I was pissed at myself for not knowing this player was in the hand.

With pocket Aces, a coordinated flop, and against two opponents...well, there was no way I was going to bet the flop.

Now it would cost me another $40,000 to call a raise! Essentially, I was going to be all-in if I called this bet.

The big blind folded.

I was burning up. Was I pre-tilting?

My opponent could be raising here with a set, two pair, top pair, a draw or some combination. I had no idea....and I was really pissed.

I moved in.

My opponent had a set of 9's and I was knocked out by a player who I thought had folded.

It was so, so, absurd.

I did play in three side tourneys at the WSOP and lost all my coin flips. But after what happened to me at The Venetian, I decided it was time to leave Vegas.

Yes, I take full responsibility for my screw-up. And, yes, I would probably have lost 40% of my chips on that hand. But I don't play pocket Aces like a rookie--I would have checked with a coordinated board and two opponents in a raised pot.

I guess I was not the only thing that was really steamed. While driving out of Vegas in the 95 F-degree heat, my tire blew up about 4 miles from the Baker exit. Such fun.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, June 4, 2010

Introducing A New Poker Move!

Egg Cream Essentials - u-bet Original Chocolat...Image by akaalias via Flickr

Introducing A New Poker Move!

Yes, I have decided it is time for a new poker move. Obviously, it can't be really new since you can only do a limited number of moves at the poker table. But, it's new because I'm giving this poker move it's very own name.

First, some background....

When I was a boy my parents would drive us from Connecticut to visit my grandparents who lived in Brooklyn. One of the highlights of every trip was the food that was at my grandparents and never at my home. For example, there was this candy, I called it paper candy. I guess the real name is button candy. I loved that stuff.

My grandmother believed that it was important for me to drink milk. But, I hate milk. So she would have on hand, chocolate syrup. And whenever she told me to drink milk, I would get the milk and chocolate syrup out and put it on the kitchen table.

Next, I would take a long glass and fill it about three-quarters of the way to the top with the chocolate syrup and then cap the glass off with milk. I'd get a long spoon and mix it. It was great!

For some reason my Mom would never be able to find this chocolate syrup in Connecticut.

The name of this great syrup was U-Bet.

My new poker move: U-Bet

This is a very simple concept but for some reason many players don't seem to embrace it. When your opponent checks, U-Bet. You are not playing your cards, you are playing your opponents cards. Think about that great chocolate syrup when you play poker...U-Bet.

Again. When your opponent or opponents check, U-Bet.

Let me give you examples that are from the no limit $.50-$1.00 cash game last night.

Example 1:

A player raises to $3 and a second player calls. You have 6-5 suited in the big blind and make the call. There is $9.50 in the pot.

The flop is A-9-4 rainbow. You check and your opponents check.

When the turn card hits the board, U-Bet. I don't care what the card is. U-Bet since your opponents checked.

You only have to make a $5 wager to find out if you are going to win the hand. And, you don't have to be right that often to make this a profitable play.

Example 2:

A player on the button raises to $3. You have 8-7 suited in the big blind and make the call. There is $6.50 in the pot.

The flop is K-7-6 rainbow. You check. Your opponent bets $5. You call since you hit the second pair. There is $16.50 in the pot.

The turn is a 2. You check and your opponent checks.

When the river card hits the board, U-Bet. Again, I don't care what the card it. U-Bet since your opponent checked.

Other examples:

The most common example is when you have position and your opponents check the flop.

Another common example is when everyone checks the flop and now everyone checks to you on the turn. Your opponents check, U-Bet.

I hope U-Bet helps your game. If not, you can enjoy it in milk.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thoughts On How to Win At No Limit Poker Ring Games

Free twitter barImage via Wikipedia

Thoughts On How to Win At No Limit Poker Ring Games

Sometimes Twitter is very helpful. I was reading tweets and there was one about no limit cash play. I clicked on the link and it took me to a 10-minute video of a Poker Stars 6-handed. no limit cash game.

The 6 players at the table had between $1,000 and $12,000. I believe the video was suppose to show how smart the player who was recording this video is at poker. He (our hero) was commenting at his play and his great decision-making.

I observed the play and it was evident that one of the players was betting too often to have the cards he was representing (the bluffer). The other 5 players appeared to be playing by the book.

Anyway, our hero went heads up against this bluffer three times. Each time the bluffer tried to bet enough money to get the hero off his hand. Each time the hero wasn't sure what to do. He finally called and won each time. He won almost $6,000 on those three hands!

After he won each time he talked about how he "knew" the other player had, and why he called. It was funny stuff.

It was even funnier since the reason for the decision was not so much about the bluffer's hands, but that the guy was a habitual bluffer. Play the player and not your cards. In tournament poker, you have to play your opponent to accumulate chips. You can't just sit back and wait for big hands.

I figured if this hero was an expert, I had to play in one of these 6-handed no limit cash games. I had not played in a no limit cash game in years.

Here are my thoughts after only around 10 hours of play. Please note that I am not an expert and these ideas probably are nothing new to you:

1. Don't play at a table where the money being wagered changes your decision-making.

If the amount of money being bet influences you in any way, don't play that level. For example, if your opponent makes a bet and you start thinking about the money being wagered rather than what is the right decision, don't play that level.

Put another way: If you are comfortable at the $.50-$1.00 level, and feel uneasy at the $1.00-$2.00 level, don't play at the $1-$2 level.

2. You have an opportunity to win big if you are at a table where one player is a habitual bluffer.

The guy who bluffs too much is a player who you can take advantage of since he continues to bet without the goods. The other players are much more difficult to beat big since they will be cautious. They do make big bets without big hands.

3. When you are heads-up against a bluffer identify his betting pattern and be willing to make that tough call.

Here's an example from my game:

The bluffer was to my left and he liked to re-raise pre-flop in position. He would make a continuation bet on the flop. If he was called, and he was not strong, he would check the turn. If his opponent bet the river, he would fold. If his opponent checked the river, he would bet and often times win uncontested.

At the $.50-$1.00 table, I raised to $2.50 with A-6 suited on the cut-off. The bluffer re-raised me to $8 and I called. With another player, I would usually just fold. There was $17.50 in the pot.

The flop was 9-6-2 rainbow. I checked and my opponent bet $15. I called. The pot was $47.50.

The turn was a 10. I checked and my opponent checked behind me.

The river was a Q. What should I do?

Frankly, I thought I had the best hand. If I bet out, I would know for sure. If I checked, I knew he would bet and I would win or lose a bigger pot.

I decided to gamble since well, I had something. I checked. He bet $33.

Now, the funny/sad thing is that even though the hand was going as planned, I wasn't feeling comfortable. Had I screwed up here? Frankly, it took me a some time before making my decision...sometimes you just have to go with your plan. I called and won. He had J-5.

4. For you to win big pots, these seem to be the situations:

a) You and your opponent have premium starting hands. And you have the better one.
b) Your opponent has a premium starting hand, but you called pre-flop with a drawing hand. You hit your hand, it is hidden to your opponent, and for some reason he won't get away from his hand.
c) You end up betting a good but not great hand and get called down to the river by an opponent with a slightly worse hand (those one pair, better kicker hands), and/or you have a slightly better hand and make tough calls down to the river.

5. In most cases, you are only going to be battling for small pots. You just need better cards and better smarts to win.

A key in most cases: Don't be predictable! If you get in a betting pattern change up. Just make sure you are playing against observant opponents.

I hope this helps. And, I am open to learning more from you. Oh, don't forget to follow me on Twitter at Mitchell1969.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

What's Your Poker IQ?