geek stuff poker

Interesting trivia from my log files

In the comments to this post, Nuke asked my opinion of a few of the regular players in the 10/20 and 15/30 games.  He named three players and I named one additional player.  Today, I was looking through my referral logs from Google and discovered an interesting fact.  Two of the four player nicknames mentioned in that post were used as search terms in Google and linked from Google to that post.  Both times it happened exactly once.  If I had to guess, I would bet that both of the searches were by the players themselves, so that goes to show you that it is a small world.  One of the players (who I play against all the time) spent a couple of hours reading through all my posts.  I’m going to guess he has a better book on me now, if he was able to work out my Stars nick.  Its a small world, after all.

poker Strategy

Check-raising the flop for fun and profit, Part One

First things first. I may have “stole” some of this material from a number of poker books. At this point, I have read so much and forgot even more, so I no longer remember which ideas are my own and which ideas I learned from the greats. Also, I make no promises that this is all bulletproof advice. Just like anyone, I have leaks in my game. Some of what I do might work for me because of my image and may not work for you. Some of what I do probably doesn’t work for me and I don’t know any better. If you think an idea is nuts, feel free to me why either here or at ITH. I’m always happy when I learn something new.

For the most part, I use the flop check-raise from the BB, usually when I have defended my blind against a single raiser (or sometimes when a raiser raised a limper who has tagged along). The limper who tagged along is usually a bozo and doesn’t change too much.  You should not be heads-up from the SB too often, because usually you should be 3 betting form the SB when you intend to play, especially against a loose raiser or when you have a vulnerable hand like 77.  Sometimes, I might have a hand like A6s where I just call from the SB and the BB folds anyhow and I would be in the same situation, but usually I’m 3 betting or folding from the SB.  There are a few other “standard” check-raise situations that you should probably know about.

For instance, if you have seen a flop with multiple limpers from a blind and the flop is relatively harmless, you often are correct to raise if it checks around to the button (or the virtual button, whoever is last to act) and he bets. Any good aggressive player is going to be tempted to bet in position when the entire field checks. If the flop is dry and raggy, he probably didn’t connect with it. You can profitably check-raise any two quite frequently in this spot. Other limpers who checked once are rarely going to be willing to call two cold here, especially if you have chosen a dry flop that doesn’t give many draw-chasers a shot. People love to chase overcards for one bet on the flop, but two bets cause them to back away quite nicely. If the Button just calls you, you pretty much have to fire away at the turn again. That will take it down a ridiculous percentage of the time.

The other classic check-raise situation is a very big hand or very big draw when you act immediately before the pre-flop raiser. You know he is going to bet and you can usually trap the field for two (or maybe even three!) bets. Use this for big flush draws and sets and the like. Don’t misunderstand the relative strength of your hand. With two pair, you are vulnerable and would usually rather bet into the raiser and see him raise it up and chase away the other players.

But these aren’t the situations I want to discuss. I’m interested here in blind defense against a single raiser. If your games don’t put you in this situation very often, you aren’t going to find this series that useful. I’m jealous, because games where you find multiple players seeing every flop are much better games than the games I play, but the dynamics of those tables are different. In my games, the guys in late position are going to find something worth raising nearly all the time. I’m usually going to be defending my blind with a extremely wide range against these guys, because they are raising me with a similarly wide range. Against early positions raisers I will tighten up, but basically I’m adjusting to their projected range. PokerTracker says I fold my BB to a steal about 30% of the time and my VP$IP in the BB is about 45%, so I’m probably looser than you in the BB. My W$WSF is 36% from the BB and I lose about 0.22 BB/hand from that seat.

So, when do you check-raise? Obviously, we start out with those hands where we connect with the flop. In general, if I catch a piece of the board, I’m looking to check-raise. It would give away too much information to the more observant opponents if I only did this with medium hands and played my monsters differently, so I’m going to have to handle both of them the same. If I started with a pocket pair, I’ll be check-raising pretty much every flop. There are exceptions which are based on the other players range and how it connects with the flop. If the other player is very tight pre-flop and very showdown bound, then holding 22 on a board of A98 is a pretty bad situation against an EP raise. If you believe his range from UTG is something like AA-TT/AK, then you should just check-fold there. In general, on Ace-high flops against tight raisers, I will not checkraise unless I believe that they can be scared off of a hand like JJ by aggression. In my games, people who call down with AJ unimproved are much more common than people who fold JJ, so it won’t happen that often. Even against looser late position raisers, Ace high flops are mostly bad news. Until someone’s pre-flop raise percentage goes up to extremely high levels, they will still be very heavily weighted towards Aces.

Heads-up, I absolutely never donk bet. I will check-call, check-fold and check-raise, with a strong preference for the latter two. We’ve discussed check-raising when you hit the flop (with a few exceptions), but if you check-fold when you miss and check-raise when you hit, you are going to be pretty easy to play against. Worse than that, if you start with unpaired and unsuited cards, you are going to miss about 67% of the time. So we’re going to have to mix in some bluffs as well. The most obvious spot is to check-raise when you pick up a draw. Any flush draw or open-ended straight draw is a clear spot for the check-raise. Any gutshot plus an overcard or two is a good spot. However, even just check-raising the draws is not enough, in my opinion. This is where you have to consider how likely the flop was to fit in with the aggressor’s range. If he raised UTG, you tend to give up easier (and call fewer hands pre-flop). If he raised on the Button, you tend to raise a lot more, because his range includes a whole lot of crap. A non-intuitive concept is that you are usually better off check-raising King or Queen high boards than all rags. If the board is all rags he is more likely to hold overcards and more likely to correctly peel one and hope to catch. The pair that you are representing make not scare him that much. If you do check-raise the raggy flop, you have to be careful if the turn brings an overcard. A King-high flop is a lot better most of the time. If he raised with suited connectors that whiffed, he may figure that his outs are no good against your likely pair of Kings. Additionally, a King is not that likely to help him. I like to bluff on Queen high boards against loose raisers as well. As I have advocated before, time spent playing around with pre-flop raise percentages and how they fit with various boards is often helpful. If the player is especially loose, I’ll take a shot at monotone boards and paired boards more often as well. On a board of something like T77, the other guy will assume that a flop check-raise from you means you have a ten every single time.

The other factor involves your opponent’s tendencies. Some guys will actually fold to the check-raise then and there. If they do it often, you need to oblige them by check-raising more often. The other pattern that is going to earn you a steady diet of check-raises from me is the guy who calls every time on the flop and folds the turn fairly often. At the other end of the spectrum, some guys are extremely stubborn and will call down most of the time with unimproved Aces or small pairs. You are going to be forced to bluff a little less against them (and you want to be more like them against me). Other players are hyper-aggro, tending to three-bet with unimproved AK/AQ hands and much worse. These guys are fine for you and you should bluff them the usual amount (we’ll talk about why later).

So we have the skeleton of a plan now. We’re going to check-raise most every time we connect with the flop, unless it is a real bad flop in terms of hitting his range (like Ace high against a tight EP raiser who isn’t folding ever). We’re going to check-raise when we called pre-flop with a pair. We’re going to check-raise when we have even fairly weak draws. If the other player has enough weaknesses (he raises too loose and the flop was bad for his range or he likes to fold too much), we’ll check-raise most every flop unless we’ve been in his face a lot lately. I would guess that I end up check-raising about 60% of the flops where I call pre-flop, check-calling about 10% and check-folding about 30%. I think PokerTracker 3 can tell me that, but I don’t know for sure.

Next installment, I’ll talk about how the other guy is going to react and what you should do in turn.


It exists if I say it does.

One of my midget nephews is turning four tomorrow. When quizzed about what he would like for his birthday he happily extolled the virtues of his preferred toy, named mega-Mechanikat. He went into quite some detail about how the toy works and what makes it the coolest thing since the last thing he was into. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, since I now could be the cool Uncle without relatively little effort. It turns out that Mechanikat is the villain of a show in which the hero appears to be Superman’s dog. He looks like this:

Mechanikat picture

Google also explained the mystery of mega-Mechanikat, which is apparently a giant robotic suit that our villain can climb inside and terrorize the world from within. This dovetails nicely with the young lad’s main interests, robots and superheroes. However, mucho Googling later, I can find no such toy. Despite the fact that my nephew described its operation in detail and confirmed the TV commercial he saw hawking its attributes, it seemed to be marketed poorly because I could not find the damn thing anywhere. Thwarted, I appealed to my sister for help. She laughed and told me that, as it happens, there is no such toy. Her son thinks that there should be and therefore that there is. We are not the first ones to be sent on this wild goose chase.

I thought of this request tonight as we dined at our favorite sushi haunt. We get rockstar treatment there, as we have been about a hundred times and are on a first-name basis with, well, everyone. We have access to a “menu” that isn’t printed anywhere and usually get one or two dishes that the chef is experimenting with to sample that we neither order nor pay for. Technically, we don’t much order anything, since they know what we like in general and just mix it up a bit here and there. We usually finish with one “special roll” which is whatever insane (and horribly nontraditional) thing the chef has dreamed up. We are active participants in refining these rolls and helping with the naming. Some of them make their way to the regular menu and some only exist for the good customers like us. The chef sometimes snorts when we suggest that he add a particularly good one to the menu, saying “Too much work” or “Too many good ingredients.” For some time, my wife has had the idea that he should make a roll named a “Glowworm.” Unlike our usual contributions where we name a roll after he has dreamed it up, she came up with the name with no idea of what ought to be a part of it. No glowworm has yet appeared, either because he isn’t inspired by her idea or because the muse has not yet provided the inspiration. Tonight, when he asked what we wanted for a roll, instead of saying “surprise us” or naming a favorite creation from the past, Suited insisted on the Glowworm, despite the fact that it doesn’t actually exist except as a name she dreamed up. The chef laughed nervously and made one up on the spot. And it was good. Damn good. Also, I now know why my little nephew thought he should be able to get whatever he dreamed up, because it works for his Aunt.

Poker can be like that too. Sometimes I decide what hand I wish I had and I just act as if that is the hand that I actually have. If you convince yourself that it is so, you can often convince the other folks at the table as well. I did it today to great success. I called on the Button with :Jd :Tc behind two limpers and raised the flop of :Qh :9d :3h for a free card. I wound up with the big blind and the flop better on a brick turn and I took my free card. When the river was the :4h, I had already decided that I was going to treat a heart as my bingo card. The BB checked, the MP player bet and I raised quickly. The blind thought for quite some time and mucked and the MP player mucked instantly. It doesn’t work all the time, but when it does, it feels like you invented a new sushi roll.

I’m up to 9,600 VPPs, so I guess I’m going to make it. I’m behind pace on the earning, but I’m doing better than last month. I’m also going to get some of my strategy stuff posted up sooner or later. I’ve expanded my focus from one specific spot to a greater subset of what happens when you check-raise the flop OOP. I do it a ton so I’m getting pretty good at recognizing the various things that happen when you do.


The problem with a goal to play a certain number of hands per month

I have stalled at 9,000 FPPs and I’m not sure when I’m going to play again this month. I was in New York this weekend checking out the auto show while Suited shopped and now I’m in the middle of the remodel. To top it all off, I’m getting ready to take a nerd certification exam on Monday. I’d hate to lose my Platinum status since it results in about 5,000 VPPs a month or about $80. Maybe if I find a free moment or two, I’ll 8 table short-stack NL or something to get them really fast.

The car show was fun and I did it much smarter this year so that I got to see absolutely everything and avoided the crowds as much as was possible to do. New York is just far too many people in far too little space for my tastes, but I did get to see some cool stuff. I got to sit in a M3 convertible, which would have been a fine choice if I didn’t get the 911. There were a number of new models, most notably the “G8 sport truck” (El Camino, to me, the Solstice coupe (actually better looking than the drop top, I think), the new Maxima (yawn), Hyundai Genesis (try as I might, I couldn’t get down with the idea), a beefier Challenger SRT8 with a 6 liter engine that looked shockingly good. There were a number of things that might not have been new, but were new to me like the BMW 1 series, a bunch of AMG Mercedes stuff, the stupid Honda Fit, Acura TSX and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. There were also a number of absurd and cool concept cars that will never be built in a thousand years. There was one plane/car with fold down wings that fold up into an elaborate and huge spoiler when in car mode. This was a favorite of my nephews who love transformers and found the idea of a flying car perfectly normal. They wanted to know why I didn’t buy it. There were a variety of stupid hybrids and a low-rider type Scion that is, if this is possible, even more boxy and silly looking than their current line-up. My favorite exhibits were a smashed-up Taurus that was used in an offset crash test and rolled onto the floor. They cut out the passenger side and rigged up a plasma TV to watch from the interior that depicted the crash test in detail. It was very cool and the car was remarkably unscathed after the wreck. Toyota had a Tundra tuck that was very precisely sawed into two pieces down the middle. They even sawed the tools in the bed in two. You could walk between the two pieces and check out transmission guts and everything. It was quite awesome.

We also had a couple of good meals, including a blowout wine pairing tasting menu extravaganza at Cru. Their wine list covered two very fat leather binders about the size of a phone book each. It was not filled with mediocre wines either. Most everything from Burgundy was a Grand Cru or Premier Cru and for some of the better wines they had an amazing selection. The Château Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape had a vertical of about 20 different vintages spanning about a century. Of course, they were all the best years: 1995, 1990, 1989, 1978, 1970 and so on. I can remember having a conversation with my friends about a local grocery store’s promotion where you had a certain amount of time to fill your grocery cart as full as you liked for free. We worked out what we believed to be the ideal strategy. Today, I imagine what wines I would buy for the perfect meal if my fairy godmother was paying the tab. You’d have to start with a 1982 Krug, I mean the Queen herself serves that one, so that’s easy enough. It was on the list along with tons of Dom vintages. With the fish courses, we’d have to do a beautiful old white Burgundy, let’s say an Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet. For the beef, we’d need to stick with the classics: perhaps a 1949 Mouton-Rothschild? Of course, with our dessert, we’d only consider a d’Yquem for we are not savages. I could have done all this and more at Cru, but I would have been forced to sell at least one kidney.

Then of course, there is the remodel.  My previous endeavors as a carpenter have taught me enough to be a bad customer and everything that I see done wrong irks me.  Even though I know it doesn’t matter and will  not show in the end, I somehow still feel cheated when I see something is not done the way I would prefer.  I’m trying not to be too obnoxious, but it is difficult.

I have a draft post that actually talks about poker.  I want to talk about the line where the pre-flop raiser is check-raised on the flop and just calls, followed by a turn raise.  It has a fairly specific meaning and I see people handle it poorly quite often, so I think it will be a somewhat interesting discussion, but I just can’t focus on poker at the moment.  I’d be happy to address any wine issues you might have, however.


Poker? What’s that?

Life has really gotten in the way of poker lately. The crazy remodel starts in earnest next week, so I’ve had a list of tasks a mile long. I cleared the small pantry and got to do some demolition, which is the best part of any project. I banged out the shelves with a hammer and had a good time. I decided to go ahead and clear out one of the upper cabinets that is adjacent to the pantry. Since that wall is going to move, I figured it would help if I took it off the wall. Unfortunately, even after removing the screws that secured the cabinet to the wall it is stil hanging there. I think there are some brads pinning it to the adjacent cabinet. I’m not sure how to get it down. I proposed adding weights to the cabinet until it came crashing down onto the fridge to my lovely wife, but she didn’t seem too keen on that idea. I’m hoping to reuse the cabinets, so I don’t want to muscle them down with a crowbar and there is no room between the cabinets to chew up the brads with a reciprocating saw. I can’t grab the brad without gouging up the interior panel. I’m seriously thinking about cutting out the wall section that is holding the other side and pulling it through the wall.

I also managed to injure my elbow in an astonishingly complex way. Clearing the pantry led to a broken olive oil bottle, which cut the trash bag, which leaked onto the floor, which didn’t really ever clean up completely, which caused the stepladder to slip, which caused my feet to fly out from under me, which caused me to land on the refrigerator balanced on my elbows holding a stack of plates. Of course it was abject stupidity that led me to reenact the event complete with actually bonking my elbow on my desk again.

I played some poker earlier this week when there were three 50/100 tables running, one of which was quite juicy. I got in and got crushed. I reviewed the session carefully and I played a bit more cautiously than I usually do, but I took a series of bad beats that seem just like what happens in poker from time to time. I think I probably missed one value bet on the river and maybe made one call down that I could have avoided and saved $200, but all in all I’m happy with my play. The results, not so much.

Tonight, I played four tables: two 15/30 and two 5/10. The 30/60 didn’t get going until later and there was no 10/20 full at all. I had a good night, finishing up on all four tables. I booked a nice win, but haven’t recovered my 50/100 losses yet. I’m slightly over 7,000 VPPs, but I’ll be out of town all weekend catching the car show in NYC. I need to squeeze out some more hands somewhere by the end of the month. Tomorrow I have to be home early to meet the appliance delivery guys, so I might get some hands in then.


Easy go, easy come

I played a bit more yesterday, having up to four tables at times. I played pretty much all the 30/60 and 15/30 games and I got called a fish a lot. As usual, that was a good sign. There was one terrible, terrible player at the 15/30 table who played pretty much every hand and took about an hour to lose $1,200 across the table. After virtually every hand he would type “DUMMY” or some variation into the chat box. Curiously, I personally didn’t get any of his money really. I’m pretty sure I lost to him overall, but I took it back from the rest of the table after he left. He was a real old school maniac, playing 86/66 preflop and still managing a 3.4 AF post-flop. I think I helped the rest of the table figure out how to handle him, because I was calling him down with King high and jamming the pot like I had the nuts with second pair. Once people stopped folding to him on the turn, his fate was sealed. I think the wait list was 18 deep at one point.

I’ve gone back and looked at the brutal 30/60 session from Thursday and it was even worse than I thought. I dropped $2,600 over the course of the night, with the vast majority at the one 30/60 table. Fortunately, I won about $1,800 last night, so I’m not quite as unhappy as I would be otherwise. The downside of reporting my results like this is that I’m more aware of them and I’m not sure that it is a good thing. I’d like to think that it doesn’t affect my play, but maybe it does.

I’m up to 6,900 VPPs and my net results are up about $1,600 for the month. I played for a while at a table with NukeDuke who had a pretty much break-even session while I was there. He lost with 99 against AQ and won a nice pot with AQ against 88 for some kind of karmic balance. I took the seat to his right, which probably didn’t thrill him. However, I don’t think I was especially aggro on that table. I ended up about $100 on the table but most of that was suckouts. I made two straights with the worst hand. I didn’t feel bad about it at all. I’m mean that way.

I won $1,300 at the one 30/60, which balanced out the previous session. Thursday’s session I ran -59 bb/100 which is pretty awesome.  That game is normally quite aggressive, so big swings are just a fact of life.  One adjustment I need to make is when the pre-flop aggressor checks behind on the turn.  I tend to make bluffy bets at the river because at lower limits that means someone with overcards who have given up.  At the 30/60 game, it will be a hand that is afraid but intends to call a river bet 100% of the time.  I’m never bluffing in that situation again at the 30 game.


I got beat like a drum last night

I haven’t even loaded it into PokerTracker yet, I was not that enthused about reviewing my session. I finished the night with a fairly short 30/60 session where I got hammered from beginning to end. I played exactly three big pots and got crushed in all three. First, I flopped the nut flush and got a ton of action on the turn from JJ who made a set on the turn. The river paired the board and I knew I was toast. I check-called to see what I already knew. I don’t have any problem with my play there because I don’t see folding even though I was pretty sure I was best. There was probably a slight chance of flush over flush. The second big hand I remember in detail. I held :Ac :Tc and three bet a loose middle position raiser from the cut-off. Both blinds called (!) and the original raiser also called. The flop was pretty good for me, coming down :3c :5c :Th. With top pair and a flush draw, I figured to be a big favorite and we wound up capping it between me and the big blind with the MP player coming along for the ride. The turn was the :Js and the big blind led out again (he had capped the flop). Now the middle position player came to life and raised, so I figured I had to be behind and just called. To my great delight, the big blind 3 bet and the middle position player capped. I figured I had to be looking at set over set and prayed to whatever heathen deity I think exists for a club. The river was the beautiful :7c, giving me the nut flush. Big blind still leads, middle position just calls now and I raise. To my delight, the big blind 3 bets and I cap with glee. The middle position player comes along for the ride. To my horror, the big blind revealed :6c :4c for the straight flush draw that hit their two outer. They were obviously fine to cap the flop, but their turn play was a bit baffling. I was mad at myself because I didn’t see that the straight flush was even possible. Given the action, I might have capped anyhow, but I was seriously annoyed that I didn’t see that it was something that could be possible. Finally, I three bet with TT and the same guy with the straight flush cold capped. That was a terrible sign. The flop was T76 and the original better raised the capper, indicating that he probably had an overpair too. I three bet and the original better capped. So far so good. The turn was a king and it took four more bets to convince me that perhaps he had KK and not AK or AA. The river paired the 6 and just gave me a better second best hand. I did limit the pain on the river to one bet, but the damage was done. I scrubbed off more than $1,000 in about two orbits and decided perhaps this night was not working out too well. I also lost a little earlier in the day in a less dramatic fashion. I wouldn’t be surprised if I dropped $2,000 over the course of the night. I guess I’ll fire up PokerTracker tonight and inspect the damage. Disgusting.


Today was 200 day.

I played 200 hands and won $200 and earned 200 FPPs. Actually, I earned 300, but it would be cooler if I earned 200 for the purposes of this post. I will add a hand where I won $200 and were I lost $200:

PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (10 handed)
Preflop: Hero is BB with :Ac, :Ks.
4 folds, MP2 raises, 1 fold, CO calls, 2 folds, Hero 3-bets, MP2 calls, CO calls.
MP2 is a donk who raises way too much. He’s got to be 3-bet here.

Flop: (9.66 SB) :Jh, :Js, :Qh (3 players)
Hero bets, MP2 calls, CO calls.

Turn: (6.33 BB) :Kc (3 players)
Hero bets, MP2 folds, CO raises, Hero calls.
Now I’m not bluffing, but the raise is pretty much what a Jack would do, as well as the straight.

River: (10.33 BB) :6c (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks.
I sometimes donk here to get calls from weaker Kings, but in this case KQ and KJ beat me, so the only thing I get value from is KT. Which, of course, he has.

Final Pot: 10.33 BB

Hero has :Ac :Ks (two pair, kings and jacks).
CO has :Kd :Ts (two pair, kings and jacks).
Outcome: Hero wins 10.33 BB.

To maintain karmic balance, a loss of $200:

PokerStars 30/60 Hold’em (9 handed)
Preflop: Hero is CO with :9h, :9c.
1 fold, UTG+1 raises, MP1 calls, 2 folds, Hero calls, 2 folds, BB calls.
I’d usually three bet, but MP1 is new and BB is probably going to call anyhow, so I’ll wait and pop the flop.

Flop: (8.50 SB) :5h, :6d, :Qs (4 players)
BB checks, UTG+1 bets, MP1 calls, Hero raises, BB folds, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls.
Good enough. UTG+1 probably doesn’t get cute in a multi-way pot with an overpair, so I seem to be good here.

Turn: (7.25 BB) :2d (3 players)
UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, Hero bets, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls.
UTG+1 is showdown bound. Either a pair less than Queens or something like 76. MP1 is a problem. I would think he has to have QJ or QT.

River: (10.25 BB) :Ts (3 players)
UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, Hero checks.
I’ve lost faith that I’m ahead, and it turns out that I just got beat with that card.  I take some satisfaction in the fact that all the money went in with me ahead and I didn’t pay when I fell behind.

Final Pot: 10.25 BB
Results below:
UTG+1 has :Ac :6s (one pair, sixes).
MP1 has :Kd :Td (one pair, tens).
Hero has :9h :9c (one pair, nines).

Outcome: MP1 wins 10.25 BB.

It was a decent, if short, session. Nobody called me a fish. Bummer.


The surest sign that I’m back on my “A” game

There is one thing that always happens to me when I’m playing good.  I get abuse in the chat box telling me what an idiot I am.  I find this to be a surefire sign that I’m playing right.  It is because when I’m on my game, I’m tormenting people by pushing them around and taking every small edge I can find.  They get frustrated and usually go off when I outdraw them on a hand that I played aggressively.  It makes me smile, because I know that means I’m playing the way I should.

Today’s highlights:

tilt-o-whirl said, “well played moron”
tilt-o-whirl said, “u fk joke”
tilt-o-whirl said, “got to love the fish”
tilt-o-whirl said, “unreal”
tilt-o-whirl said, “the fk moron wins with a9”
tilt-o-whirl said, “thjs is a total fk joke”
tilt-o-whirl said, “u bet 99”
tilt-o-whirl said, “fk ******”

The last one was particularly amusing.  I raised 99 UTG+1 and he three-bet me.  I check-called an AJTr flop and he checked behind when the tun was another Ace.   I really thought I might fold a better hand, so I bet the river Ace.  He called with 88.  Somehow I’m the idiot for raising 99 and apparently 3 betting 88 from MP1 was a strong play.  He spewed a bit over $1,000 while I was at the table.

I had another good day results-wise.  I booked about $900 in profit and I’m over 5,000 VPPs for the month.   More importantly, I feel on top of my game again.  I’ve started to do some thinking about the proper no-limit short-stacking strategy.  I think that 6 max is the best place to short stack because of the greatly increased aggression at those tables.  I’m pretty sure that the strategy explained by Ed Miller is too tight at most 6-max tables.  I started looking most closely at two variables:

1)  What range of hands can you three-bet shove against what range of opponents?   Against a pretty loose raiser, you can shove surprisingly light over top of his open.   You will be a dog when he calls, but he can’t call very often as a percentage.
2)   I’m opening big, about 5 BBs.  This makes most multi-way flops shovable, depending on how likely their range is to have connected with the flop and how my hand fit in.  Heads-up, it is easy to get all-in when you want to (by the turn at least, even with smallish flop bet sizes) and the elimination of implied odds for the villain simplifies everything a lot.

I’ve seen some terrible short-stackers, which is odd because the basics are pretty easy.  I think a pretty effective strategy can be defined so that you play short-stack like a robot.  You could fairly easily play 12 tables even as a slow moving old guy like me.  I think it would be an awesome way to grind a bunch of  VPPs when you need them.   I’m not going to focus too much on this right now, but it will be a nice thing to add to my game during those slow weekend hours when there are no big games running.


The fine line between aggression and stupidity.

I was just reviewing my hands from Sunday and found this gem of superstar play in which I may have goofed up every street.

PokerStars 10/20 Hold’em (8 handed)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with :8h, :9h.
Hero calls, 1 fold, MP1 calls, MP2 raises, 1 fold, Button 3-bets, 2 folds, Hero calls, MP1 calls, MP2 calls.

This was a bit silly. CO posted, so I hoped that by limping, I would encourage a bg family pot. That didn’t turn out so well. MP2 is something of a donkey, so their raise didn’t scare me, but Button is fairly sane, so I probably should have folded, but I figured I could flop big and get paid a ton.

Flop: (13.50 SB) :4d, :9c, :Qc (4 players)
Hero checks, MP1 checks, MP2 checks, Button bets, Hero raises, MP1 calls, MP2 calls, Button folds.

This might be the least terrible street. Button might wall have AK or some random crap, so I decided my pair could be good and decided to take a chance at folding some people out and protecting an out or two. The fact is that this was fairly optimistic and few if any overcards are folding and probably not even pairs. I might have to reevaluate Button. He 3-bets preflop and folds getting 20:1 and closing the action on the flop. WTF?

Turn: (10.25 BB) :6h (3 players)
Hero bets, MP1 calls, MP2 calls.

You might think that two callers would tell me that I was almost surely drawing thin, but I convinced myself that one of them had the flush draw and the other had overcards. Maybe the button folded 66. heh.

River: (13.25 BB) :8d (3 players)
Hero bets, MP1 calls, MP2 calls.

There is some line about God looking out for small children and fools. I must have qualified on the fool score, because I’m probably winning now.

Final Pot: 16.25 BB
Results in white below:
Hero has 8h 9h (two pair, nines and eights).
MP1 has Js Qh (one pair, queens)
MP2 has Td Tc (one pair, tens).
Outcome: Hero wins 16.25 BB.

I felt a little bad, but I got over it.  Today was a short session, but I booked another few hundred in profit.  I was down in 15/30, but had some good hands hold up later at 30/60 and ended with a decent day.  4,250 VPPs means I’m comfortably on pace for March.