If I had your hand and you had mine, what would happen?

Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:53 | Filled in poker

I have played almost no poker since the last update. I woke up at 2AM this morning and have been playing for half an hour or so. Action is slow, so I’m playing 10/20 on Stars at the moment. I got in a funny situation on the table there. There was a player to my right who I marked as a target almost as soon as I sat down. He was short-stacked and got to the river on a drawless board with $5 left. The pot was something like $140 and he folded for his last $5. Given that there were no draws, this made no sense to me and I concluded he was probably a mark. Soon thereafter I raised with KK and he led all three streets on an Ace high board with 55 unimproved. This pretty well sealed my opinion of him. That led to this fairly standard hand:

PokerStars 10/20 Hold’em (9 handed)

Preflop: Hero is Button with , .
4 folds, MP3 raises, 1 fold, Hero 3-bets, 2 folds, MP3 calls.

Flop: (7.50 SB) , , (2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero bets, MP3 calls.

Turn: (4.75 BB) (2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero bets, MP3 calls.

River: (6.75 BB) (2 players)
MP3 bets, Hero raises, MP3 calls.

Final Pot: 10.75 BB
Results:
MP3 shows (two pair, aces and tens).
Hero has (full house, tens full of sevens).
Outcome: Hero wins 10.75 BB.

I would usually not 3 bet with KTo against someone I respect, although I might do it against a person I thought was raising too light since I have position and might take down a lot of the pots where we both miss. I don’t even think he played the hand badly, although A8o is a pretty light raise there and calling the river raise is spew, since the worst hand I could have there is a better Ace than him. Maybe there is a 10% chance of a bluff there in his mind, but there really isn’t against a decent player in that spot. In fact, I’d never raise anything worse than a ten there. This hand sent him into a fairly amusing rant exchange with me:

He said, “lmAO”
He said, “U LUCKY DIDE”
He said, “U NO THIS”
I said, “I’m a lucky guy”
He said, “BUT THIS SUCKE”
He said, “U SUCK”
He said, “AND WORSE U THINK UR GOOD”
I said, “Nah, I think I suck too”
He said, “NO SERIOUS U OUT FLOP ME W KT AND U THINK U GOOD”
I said, “I only figured out where the caps lock key is yesterday”
He said, “I ALWAYS CAPS”

At this point he was all in for his last few bucks and he was gone at the end of the hand.

This reminded somehow of something I read a long time ago from Tommy Angelo (I think). He proposed a good way to think about poker that I have used ever since I read it. He pointed out that you can’t control when you get good cards and when you get bad cards, you can only control how you play them. He suggested that when you review your hands you consider how much you would have won or lost if your cards had been reversed. The difference between those results is your edge in the game because eventually you will get both sides of every possible situation. For example, if our roles were reversed in that hand, I would not have lost any money because I would have folded A8 there. I hate weak Aces. Even if I somehow played it, I would not have lost that extra bet on the river. Those bets are my edge against that player. There is a player who I see all the time at Stars who often gets the best of me. I have been reviewing all of our hands together to try to formulate a better strategy for dealing with him and I realized when I was doing that he was playing better than me using Tommy’s method. He was getting more money when he had good hands and losing less when he didn’t. It helped me find the right adjustments, we’ll see if the results follow.

Anyhow, I’m probably going to try to get some work done soon and sit out. I’m up about $300 as I write thing and just shy of 9,000 VPPs. I’ve clicked off auto-post, so assuming nothing dramatic happens in the last few hands that should be where I end up.

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