Thursday, October 09, 2008

Vacation Tomorrow! And Some Poker Strategy (What?!!?)

Wooooo, Vacation! I love vacations. I'm really looking forward to my first ever NYC trip tomorrow. We have tickets to see Spamalot on Saturday night, and Phantom of the Opera on Monday night. I'm a big fan of Musicals, so it should be fun.

Monday morning, we plan on going to Rockefeller Plaza and watch the Today show. We don't have any other real concrete plans right now, but I'm sure we'll take a boat tour of the Statue of Liberty and go to the WTC site, among other tourist attractions. I think we might go to the Museum of Natural History one day too.


Poker started out real good at the beginning of the month, but it's been pretty much break even since.

Apparently A5 is the nuts these days.

Full Tilt Poker, $1/$2 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players

BTN: $202
SB: $268
BB: $211.85
UTG: $194.70
Hero (MP): $218.55
CO: $279

Pre-Flop: Ad As dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG folds, Hero raises to $7, 2 folds, SB raises to $12, BB folds, Hero raises to $40, SB raises to $268 and is All-In, Hero calls $178.55 and is All-In

Flop: ($439.10) 3h 2c Js (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Turn: ($439.10) 4h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($439.10) Ks (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $439.10 Pot ($3 Rake)
SB showed 5c Ah (a straight, Five high) and WON $436.10 (+$217.55 NET)
Hero showed Ad As a pair of Aces) and LOST (-$218.55 NET)

PokerStars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players

BTN: $98.20
SB: $119.20
BB: $100.00
UTG: $94.85
MP: $199.05
Hero (CO): $192.10

Pre-Flop: Kd Ks dealt to Hero (MP)
UTG folds, MP folds, Hero raises to $4, BTN folds, SB raises to $20, BB folds, Hero raises to $50, SB raises to $119.20 and is All-In, Hero calls $69.20.

Flop: ($239.40) 2h 2d 4d (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Turn: ($239.40) 7h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

River: ($239.40) 3h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $239.40 Pot ($3 Rake)
SB showed 5h Ah (a flush, Ace high) and WON $236.40 (+$116.90 NET)
Hero showed Kd Ks a pair of Aces) and LOST (-$119.20 NET)

I tried 8 tabling the other day. Holy crap, I don't know how some of those Multitablers do it. I became a much worse poker player trying to play that many tables. And there are people who do 16 tables at a time!! I'm pretty sure that 6 tables is my max. And I just added two more tables to get to 8, and it was infinitely more difficult.

Time for some strategy! There are two pretty important skills that I've learned recently that I think have really improved my play. They may seem obvious to the advanced players out there, but I didn't really think about it much.

The first is betting on the river when you are out of position. I've learned that it is much much better to Bet/fold than it is to check/call with a marginal, yet good hand. There are a few reasons for this. One is that you get to control the size of the river bet. Another is you get to be the aggressor and make your opponent make the tough decision.

Here is an example. You raise from MP with AQo and get called by the button. Let's say that the button is a typical passive fish. The type of player that are all over the tables at 200NL and under. The flop comes Qh 9s 3h. You have TPTK. You bet 2/3 pot and he calls. Villain could have many different hands. A Queen with worse kicker, a 9, a flush draw, straight draw, gutshots, combos, whatever. They call your flop bet. Lets say that the turn is another 3. You lead out again and they call. Now lets say the river is an offsuit 8. That means JT got there. But villain could easily have a flush draw, a Queen, Pocket Tens, or something like that. If you check to them, you are giving them the initiative and letting them play correctly against you. They'll check behind some marginal hands that may have some showdown value that you beat and could have gotten some money from. They'll obviously bet out their big hands like full houses and straights. But they also could bet out with a busted flush draw. What do you do when the villain pots it on the river? Do you want to call a pot size bet there with just Top Pair? How many times have you seen it checked to the donk, and the donk pots it. Ya, a lot.

The better play is for you to bet out about half pot and fold to a raise. They will call with many hands that you beat, but if they have a monster, they will let you know and raise. A raise here from this type of player is super strong, and you can easily fold your Top Pair Top Kicker.

The second is betting the turn in position with a marginal hand that may have show down value. I've started to do this a little bit more too. Let's face it, people don't like to fold. Especially donks. Heck, even the really good LAG regulars don't like to fold. Tons and tons of floating going on in the 6 max world. But you have position, and position is king.

Let's say you raise T9s from the Cutoff. The Big Blind calls and it is heads up. The flop is Qh Ts 2h. You have middle pair. There are tons of draws out there. The BB checks and you fire out a standard continuation bet. They call.

Now the turn comes a blank and the BB checks again. What should you do? If you check behind, most players will fire out on that river with whatever they have. It could be anything. Top pair, a busted draw, a smaller pocket pair. What do you do with your middle pair?

The better play is to fire out that turn again with about a 1/2 to 2/3 pot bet. That's a nice size to charge draws if they are drawing. Heck, they may even fold a hand that has you beat like top pair crappy kicker. But the best thing about this bet, is that if they do call, what will they most likely do on the river? They will check, and you just got yourself to a cheap showdown with a hand that has some showdown value. Sure, you might be beat by top pair, but you kept the initiative and kept the pot small.

Have a good weekend!



At 2:11 PM , Blogger OhCaptain said...

Enjoy your vacation!

I like the strategy talk...this good for a donkey like me!

At 2:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to see a post with some strategy.Enjoy your holiday and think up some more strategy posts.Alternatively enjoy your holiday and do the strategy when you come back.
Liverpool - Capital of Culture 2008


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