I won again tonight. After grinding some wins out online, I was ready for some real live play with real players. Tuesday I busted out early after opening too many pots, not remember my cardinal rule: "Do not play aggressive against call stations."

In any case, we were playing today, and I was feeling pretty fun and aggressive. I decided to have fun and not worry about winning again today. I feel the last time I had a shot at the 3-peat, I got too blinded by the "win" and made a bad call at a coin flip which led to my defeat.

If you've ever listened to OAR's "Crazy Game of Poker," that was it tonight. I was acting very aggressive, to the point where nobody knew what was happening. Then Ryan started playing the "all-in" game and for 10 minutes, we had people going all-in left and right. My chips kept swinging around from highs to lows ... it was totally crazy.

We only had 10 people today, and it was a pretty tight group. Ryan has been playing real well lately, so I felt I could play cute with some hands and get away with pots.

After reading a bit on Daniel Negreanu's site, I decided I would open and raise any pots with any playable hands to see if I could play better post-flop than my opponents. So any suited connectors that weren't too far apart (the absolute worst raising hand for me was 96cc, while I ended up calling all hands, even down to 92o).

So during the first half of the game, I was opening and closing pots like crazy. I feel I have a solid read on almost every player in the game, so I wasn't too scared about ever losing chips.

The first big pot I lost, I looked at a $5 raise from Big Red preflop. I looked down and saw 65cc. Almost sure that he had big pockets (Range from JJ - KK, he tends to slowplay AA), I decided to see the flop. Since I had position on him, I could see how he reacted to the flop and then act from there. The flop came A-x-x. Big Red immediately bets out $5. I look down at my chips. I feel that he hasn't hit his ace, and I might be able to move him off the pot. I looked down and saw ... $15 in chips. Damn. I would have to commit all my chips to try to move him off his KK, and there was even no guarantee he could be moved off his hand. So I folded. He told me after the hand that a reraise of all-in would of made him fold... oh well. There will be plenty of opportunities later.

A few hands later, Ryan opens up the pot for $3. I see 89o, and I decide to see the flop. I figure him for overcards, and I'm hoping I can move him off if I catch a fortunate flop. The flop comes 76x. I've flopped an open-ended straight draw. I bet $3, and he raises it to $8. I decide if I can catch the straight or any pair off the turn, I'll move all-in and make him draw out on the river. No such thing, and I have to muck the hand, to everyone's confusement.

I think the play here was particularly confusing for a lot of people. Basically you see Ryan betting $3, me calling. Flop comes, $3 bet, $5 re-raise, then smooth call. Then check, check. Then cold-fold on the river.

I think people were thinking I play too tight; I do like to take fun risks from time to time, and this is one of those times when my risks missed. Of course, usually if I miss my risk, I can fold to a bet from the position ... but no bet from Ryan on the turn OR river meant that I had to fold my hand. I think this hand confused Terrence the most, and rightfully so. I would of never made the preflop call with this POS hand two weeks ago. But I'm trying for a new style now ;).

At this point, I'm hurting for chips, but I'm not particulary worried. I can always tighten up and double up on some monster hand. But for some reason, I decide to continue pushing my hands.

I picked up A4 (or A3, or something crappy like that. I flop nothing, and I bet $0.50 into a pot that's roughly $3. Everyone folds except Big Red. The flop comes an Ace. I bet $1, and he reraises me all-in. Now, I have about $4 left, and I'm thinking he doesn't have an ace. If he had an ace, I would of expected a preflop raise (he's the type that does that). Could he be slowplaying a two pair? Oh well, I'm pot-commited and I make the call. If he slowplayed AK or something, he deserved the win. I had no problem losing to it. He flips over J6. JACK HIGH. HE IS DRAWING DEAD AGAINST MY TOP PAIR WITH SHITTY KICKER.

Terrence immediately gets up and starts ranting about how people need to not double me up. Oh, they did NOT learn the lesson.

A few hands later, Ryan opens the pot for another $3, screaming paint cards. I see J8dd, so I call. The flop comes 987d. Yay! I've made my pair! His overcards have been defeated! I bet $3, and he calls. The turn comes 6d. I don't think this has helped him, so I bet out again. He immediately moved all-in on me. I have to go into the tank to figure this one out. I picked up my diamond flush draw.

I place Ryan (in the worst case scenario) on JT or AT. I'm also thinking he's taking a huge bluff at the pot, and he's done this before.

For some reason, I couldn't see him moving so strongly with JT preflop, so I discount that. The only hand I place him on is the AT. So I start calculating my outs. I needed a diamond or a ten to give me a higher straight. Assuming he held the ten of diamonds, that gave me roughly 8 diamonds and 3 tens to rely on. 11 outs, and most of my money was already in the pot (I think I was getting like 3:1 or something to call). I make the call... and Ryan goes, "You got lucky. I misread my cards." He flipped over QJ (apparently he thought he had the nut straight). I'm in a HUGE lead here... all I have to do is avoid a ten or a queen and I'm the winner! River comes a 6, and I have doubled up YET AGAIN.

This is not boding well for other people at the table. I can sense the frustration that I'm not out .... hahahaha you bastards. I'm not ever leaving the table. EVERRRR.

Somewhere along the way, I took down a small pot off of Terrence (sorry!) when I called a big preflop raise (figured him for overs, he said he had AK later) and saw T44 on the flop. Went all-in and took it down. Mad respect for Terrence. Not many people can fold down AK on a flop like that ... and of course when we rabbit holed the A came on the turn. PHEW.

I decided to play the Gus Hansen style ... so I was making weird calls across the board. I was calling big preflop raises with 82o, 67 suited, etc. I was basically hoping for a good flop and seeing if I could get a good read on people. I made the right folds at all the right times, so I feel it was OK to do this.

A nice hand came around... I picked up 92suited and decided to call the BB since everyone was limping in anyways. The flop comes KJx (KJ are suited). Everybody checks around, which is REALLY ODD for a possible straight draw, a flush draw, and a LOT of paint. SOMEONE (4 people in the pot!) had to hit a piece of the flop. I'm thinking that someone has a set or flopped top two pair and are slowplaying it. The turn comes a deuce. I have flopped bottom pair with a horrible kicker.

I have position in this hand (I think Yush was the only one after me?), so I decide to test people out with this hand. Someone raises it $2, and 2 people call (Godwin and Pete). I decide that I really need to test these guys on what they have. With a possible straight draw and flush draw, I might be able to move people off their hands. Unless I'm horribly beat, I also think I can get middle pair to fold (I think top pair would of bet out against flush and straight draw). So when the bet comes to me, I raise it to $10. Yush and whoever initially raised it folds immediately. Godwin thinks about it for a long time ... then releases middle pair. In the process, Godwin asks for my chip count, and I lay it all out for him ($22.25). There's no way I'm calling if he goes all-in on me. Godwin claims that he's worried about what "Pete might have" which is preventing him from going all-in.

Whatever. If Pete had top pair, he would of protected it strong off the flop, not checked and called.

Everyone folds to me, saying it's a good bet. I gladly flip over the deuce and claim the pot. Don't limp against me again, fellas. No good.

I realize I'm really getting to people when I see Ryan and Big Red play A2 STRONG. I mean, if you can get normally pretty solid players to overplay their weak, medicore hands, you know you're doing something.

I've been playing EVERY POT against Pete, and everyone notices it. Pete is such a stodgy play he's incredibly easy to read, which makes me so happy with my play. I have openely played hands blind against him ... he's just that type of player.

In any case, I don't mean this in a disparaging manner. He's a very solid player, but in my experience those types of players will only flourish in a tournament setting if their cards are good. And eventually they will succumb to a bad call or a bad beat. Anyways, Pete opens a pot for $3 and I make an immediate call with 99. At this point, I've narrowed him down to either AK, AQ, AJ or mid-range pockets (no better than mine, but maybe he has TT?). The flop comes QQx. He makes a bet (I forget how much it was, but he definitely was not representing any hand. It wasn't a "my little pony" bet, but it wasn't "I'm trapping you" type of bet either. I smooth-called him. Turn comes a 9. I've made my boat. Pete goes all-in, saying "You don't have anything." I immediately say, "Sorry Pete, I've got you beat" and flip over my boat. He's drawing dead to the river and he gave me about $25 - $30 in chips he didn't need to if he made an information bet.

I take Godwin out the same way when rags hit the board after a big preflop raise, and he goes all-in against me with 99. I have TT and win the pot. FOR SOME REASON, PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK I HAVE NOTHING WHEN THEY GO ALL-IN?! The thing with Godwin's situation is that he had easily $50 - $60 in chips; he didn't need to risk it all to protect a pot that was at MOST $20 ... but he thought he was "protecting" the pot against overcards.

That's the thing with tournament games. The point is not to "protect the pot." All-in works all the time except when you're beat. Godwin realize he made the one fatal mistake against the chip leader ... he played SO well until there ... but one mistake against the chip leader and you're out ...

Bobby got shafted when he called an all-in from Ryan (J4ss) and his AK didn't hold up. He was down to $2.25, but he did VERY WELL and got back into the game (eventually coming 2nd in chips at one point!).

Really quickly, I want to get something off my chest. What is up with people making weird-ass calls? Big Red invested half his stack with AT. Bobby invests everything except $2.5 on AK ... and both these guys had at most put in small blinds.

I'm from the school of thought that unless you're chip leader, risking all your chips on what is at BEST a coin toss is a stupid move. If you're a solid player, you should be able to build your chips in other ways rather than risking it all.

You will NEVER see me go all-in (unless I have AA or KK) preflop unless I have a HUGE chip leader (being defined as even if I lose the pot, I still am at least 2nd or 3rd in chips).

Guys, don't risk all your chips on what are at best coin flips. Poker is NOT a game of gambling ... it's a game of calculated risks.

The hand in question is when Ryan has 33, Bobby goes all-in for $5, and I call with Q5hh. I love calling small all-ins because nobody bluffs the pot and you can usually check it down to the river and win a small pot if you have the best hand.

Ryan and I check it down to the river, and I river my queen. Ryan bets $3 into a dry side pot. This is where I believe a mistake was made. I even said, "I'm only calling this to make sure you're not bluffing." Bobby has AQ, so he won the main pot, and I won $3.

Here is where I don't like where a lot of people play. The river is the most dangerous place to make any bet. If you've missed your draw, you may try to bluff your pot. If you have the best hand and you know you can sucker someone in for some more money, you make a value bet to extract more chips. But the $3 bet by Ryan is just a loose call. The only hands he's gonna move me off is middle pair, and if Bobby has a strong pair, then Ryan wins nothing except the side pot.

Even in normal situations, a lot of people make bad bets on the river. If you have position, and someone checks it to you, unless you're 100% sure you have them beat, I would not make a bet. Someone could be slowplaying a two pair made on the river or a set made off the flop or turn. If you make a small bet, there's just enticement to reraise you all-in, and you'll be kicking yourself for not just checking it down. It basically boils down to this: If someone has you beat, making a value betting is digging your own grave. But if someone has missed their draw, they're not going to call your hand anyway! So why make a stupid small bet like that at the river? It's pointless!

Let me take a moment and talk about Bobby. He's a very solid player, but he's getting really easy to read. He took out Big Red when the flop comes 777. Big Red goes all-in, and I ask Bobby, "Got your aces?" He assents and flips them over against Big Red's A9.

So whenever I think Bobby has big pair, I always play against him regardless of what I have. For example, he opens in early position with a small bet. At this point, I don't think too much of it, so I call with Q4hh. Yush makes the call as well. Flop comes Q4x. Yush bets out $8, then Bobby reraises him all-in. I think to myself, "Oh goodness. Bobby has overpairs and I can now bust him." I then go, "Bobby, I'm reraising you all-in" immediately. Yush doesn't even think and folds his QJ, saying "WTF just happened?"

BOBBY DOESN'T EVEN THINK AND CALLS THE BET. I flip over my two pair as he proudly shows his cowboys. My two pair hold up, and he busts out AGAIN. The thing is, he is 2ND IN CHIPS at a 4-handed table! He could of easily made the money, but he let pocket cowboys blind him!

He immediately realizes the mistake he's made after the hand (hindsight is 20/20, huh?) ... and I tell him again, "Bobby, you have to learn to fold those high pockets." If the pot sequence goes: Big raise, re-raise all-in to small stack, re-raise all-in to the large stack, EVERYBODY MUST FOLD. Unless you think I'm trying to bluff the pot (BUT WHY WOULD I WITH SO MANY CALLERS?!) ... it's just not happening!

Sad thing is, as far as I can remember, I've busted Bobby out EVERYTIME with low two pair or a set when he can't lay down top pair.

So I want to touch ont the concept of implied odds. Basically implied odds are future bets that are not paid off. You sometimes play with crappy cards (Q5) because if you catch them, you know you can make them pay off against a less experience players. Experience players like Terrence I never play these hands because if I catch a nasty two pair, he's not going to pay it off. He knows how to fold top pair and overpairs if he knows he's beat.

That's the lovely thing about the Gus Hansen school of poker. You play mediocre hands because the implied odds of such a hand are so great. You catch a nasty straight and someone will pay you off, even if the initial risk is great. And if you've got a huge chip lead, you can afford a few hits as long as you win big pots once in a while.

After Bobby went out, it really wasn't too hard for me to take out Moonie or Yush. They are both getting to be really good players, and I'm in general getting very impressed with the way people are playing ... but it's a movement towards playing "tight solid" cards. People need to learn to actually read your opponent now and make properly timed bluffs. You cannot win a tournament by waiting for your monster hand. Sometimes you gotta move with low pair against 4 players or play shitty hands like Q5 to get paid off by implied odds players.

But I feel totally bad for Mr. Terrence. He had a horrible string of cards tonight; he won exactly ONE hand with 3 people and blinds... he had to fold down JJ twice (once in a a hand where someone went all-in, Moonie went all-in, and then I went all-in (I was a huge chip leader at this point). It turned out the fierst person had 99, Moonie had AKdd, and I had AKcc. Interestingly enough, Terrence was actually the slight favorite to win the pot, but he folded down his JJ. He also had folded it down in an earlier pot where everybody had gone all-in (in a span of about 15 minutes, we knocked out 5 playeres!!!!!!!!).

Of course, Terrence was eventually beat by JJ (the ultimate irony) when he moved in early position with KJ... ouch. This was a questionable move by Terrence ... maybe it was a sense of frustation. But he went all-in (~4x BB if I'm not mistaken) UTG (first to act) with KJ with 4 people to call. Not sure if that was the best spot to move... but whatever.

But yeah, I'm getting to be a lot more fun. I had a TON of fun tonight ... messing with people's heads. I really don't think anybody knew what I was doing ... I was making banter and talking with Pete on the side about some strategies, hoping to refine his game to make him a bit looser of a player. He makes good reads, he just won't open up his playing style for some aggression.

But yeah. I got a feeling everyone thought I was always bluffing or up to something... and I was. Except when I flipped the cards up, I was a huge favorite.


Posted by roy on October 8, 2004 at 12:28 AM in Poker | 2 Comments

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Comment posted on October 8th, 2004 at 10:29 AM
we should play again this saturday. people will probably have a lot of exams wednesday (myself included) so the tuesday game won't be so good, plus fall break means probably no thursday game either.
Comment posted on October 8th, 2004 at 01:00 AM
You're the only one that would compliment me for folding everything tonight, haha. I am honored by your comments. And I hope the Mr. Terrence handle sticks.