Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, woe is me. Last night at the $15-$30 table...

Oh, woe is me. Last night at the $15-$30 table...

Sometimes things go south at the poker table.

I get dealt pocket Jacks under the gun.

I raise. Everyone folds to the big blind who reluctantly calls.

The flop is J-10-8 rainbow.

He checks.

I bet.

He raises and I call.

On the turn is a 2. He bets. I decide to trap and I call.

On the river is a 4. He bets. I raise.

He re-raises me!

Oh no!!!!!!!

I call.

He shows 9-7 for a straight.

A few more hands are dealt and I am not a happy camper, of course. The player who beat me on that hand now leaves the table.

Another player at the table moves into that departing player's seat and posts.

A few hands later

I get dealt pocket 3's in middle position.

5 players call pre-flop. Since 3 players already called, I decided to try to hit my set by limping.

The flop is J-7-7.

Everyone checks.

The turn is a 3, giving me a full house.

The small blind bets and everyone folds to the the player that posted. He calls.

I raise, of course. I figure if either player has a 7, he will call my raise.

Only the "poster" calls.

The river is an Ace.

He checks and I bet.

He check-raises me!

Oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!

I call.

He has J-7 offsuit!

I got punished through out the night until I decided enough is enough.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Interesting Hand of Limit Poker....

Stacks of US quarters and penniesImage via Wikipedia

An Interesting Hand of Limit Poker....

I have been playing mostly limit poker at the $15-$30 tables at the Oaks. Yesterday, the traffic was so bad, I decided to forget the bridge and head north to Casino 101.

The highest level at limit hold'em at the Oaks is $4-$8 with a half-kill. After $15-$30, it was like playing for pennies.

Probably the most important thing at any limit hold'em cash game is to figure out how the table plays. That is, is it one where a lot of players enter pre-flop or not. If they do, it means you have to adjust your starting hand selection. High cards go down in value and suited cards go up in value.

For example, a hand like K-J is a loser, while K-J can be a big winner. A hand like pocket Aces is going to lose a lot more often as well, since so many players will see the flop.

The Interesting Hand

It is a half-kill the level is $6-$12. I am in the big blind for $4.

One player raises to $12 pre-flop and 6 players call. I peek at my cards and find a monster...6c and 2c. I call.

The flop is 2d-4c-7c.

I bet out, the pre-flop raiser makes it two bets, I make it three bets and he caps.
Oh, there are three other players who call all these raises. It is now 5 handed.

Turn is a 5c. I have my flush and the inside straight flush draw.

I bet out again, and the same raising war happens. The betting is capped on the turn. Believe it or not, there are 4 players in the hand to see the river.

The river is a 10h. I bet and get called in three places.

My flush wins.

If this raising happened at the $15-$30 game, I would probably have lost to a bigger or nut flush.

What did the other players have?

The pre-flop raisers had pocket Aces (neither a club). He actually thought he was going to win the hand on the river!

Another player had a set on the flop and never once raised.

Another player said he needed my 6 of clubs to make a straight flush. And he said, he had the 3 of clubs which would make my straight flush. What did he have?

It was far and away the biggest pot of the night while I was in the game.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tournament Poker: A New Strategy...

image of Khet, the strategy board gameImage via Wikipedia

Tournament Poker: A New Strategy...

After a disappointing World Series, I took some time off to consider the state of tournament poker in general. I had witnessed plays at the Series that truly surprised me since they made no real sense to me at the time.

Now I realize that tournament poker has reached a
level where the traditional smart moves in the game need
to be updated. In fact, it may be that the game has changed
so much that even the long-time Pros are not doing as well
so they are playing more in the smaller, limit based events.

The theme of my tournament poker book is "Risk is Good." Today, it may have to be revised to "Risk is Good, But More Risk is Better."

A New Strategy

In fact, I am going to test out a new strategy based on what I've seen. I am going to look at playing tournaments where I take on more risk. For example,

In early stages, surprise the opposition, by limping with premium starting hands. If you get raised, move all-in.

In middle stages, play aggressive with raises and re-raise. Avoid calling.
Examples: Raise and re-raise with any pair, raise in back positions first in preflop, and attack the more aggressive players.

Look to re-raise the raiser rather than calling a raise in middle and late stages of an event.
Look to move all-in with A-K.
Look to move all-in with A-9 or better by attacking players who raise too often or a back position.
Look to raise with any A, K, Q J-x hand from a back position.

My goal: To get to the final table with more chips or be eliminated faster.


One warning: I've discussed this strategy with a player who recently got to the final table of a no limit, World Series event. His reaction: It's a mistake. He believes that you have to play the game with skill, hope to have some luck, avoid bad luck, but to hang on and give yourself a chance to win.

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