poker Strategy

Check raising the flop for fun and profit, Part Two

This article is the conclusion of a series. If you haven’t done so already, you should probably read Part One or skip this post too if you are my Mom.

There are five basic results that you will see when you check-raise the flop in terms of how the other players will handle it. I’d say that they happen in approximately this order or frequency:

  1. Call flop raise, fold to turn lead.
  2. Call flop raise, raise turn lead.
  3. Fold to flop raise.
  4. Three bet flop.
  5. Call flop raise, call turn.

Let’s examine each case in detail.

1. Call flop raise, fold to turn lead.

I presume that it goes without saying that when you are simply called on the flop, you need to follow through with a turn bet the overwhelming majority of the time. Even when scary cards come that are likely to have hit the other player’s range, you usually want to go ahead and bet. For reasons I don’t entirely understand, very few players will call the turn again. They will usually fold or raise. Once I play someone often, I make some notes on how they react to the flop check raise because I use it a lot. When someone folds on a board like T75(2) and they raised from middle position, they are most likely folding overcards. Getting about 10:1, this is a pretty terrible fold, but you will see it from some players. Better players will not fold overcards in this spot, so you can usually deduce things about their pre-flop range. Usually, you will get folds from a hand like ATs when the board is Q75(2) because they figure they only have three outs and even then they may not be good. If a better player folds on the T75(2) board, he was either raising A9- or really weak suited connectors. I’m always trying to figure out what people’s ranges are, so this is a good spot to look for clues. The main thing you are trying to figure out when they take this line is what that says about their raising range or their post-flop play. On that particular board, there are very few suited connectors that they would fold. They are either raising A9- or something like 44/33 that they are unwilling to call down with. The fact that so many players take this line is what makes the check-raise so profitable. You should see this line most often on Kxx or Qxx flops or when the board pairs on the turn. This is because those textures are the most likely to both miss the pre-flop raiser and to scare him. When you see someone take this line on a board like the T75(2) example, you should start check-raising lighter, because he is almost certainly giving up too much value. Watch for the flop check-raise and this line when you aren’t in the hand too, because the more often someone does this, the more profitably you can attack them. If they fold too much, you can add more bluffs to your range.

2. Call flop raise, raise turn lead.

On a dry board against most opponents, this will signify an overpair. In fact, against the “right” player, you can fold to this line on the turn when you were on a pure bluff. Generally, only very aggressive and bluffy players with raise the turn on a dry board without a big hand. When you check raise a flop like T75, the other player will usually put you on a hand like JT or KT — top pair with a weakish kicker. If the turn doesn’t change anything most players will only raise when they have AT or better there. Usually you will have to peel the turn even when you know he has a strong hand. Let’s say you defended with 76 and get raised on the T75(2) turn. Even though you are pretty sure he is on AT+, you are getting 7.5:1 to see one more card. You are going to collect at least one more bet on the river, so you really need 5 clean outs and that’s what you have. You also have some great “implied tilt odds” because when you catch a six and check-raise the river to crack his Kings, he is going to have a meltdown. You do have to watch out for sets, which will also play this way. Another factor that will significantly increase the chance of a bluff is if the board picks up a draw. If your opponent is observant and knows that you check-raise a lot, he may bluff raise the turn when he catches a backdoor flush draw or a straight draw (especially with overcards). Some players will know that you fear Aces and will raise the when the board comes T75(A) and they don’t have an Ace. This is where knowing the other player is useful, because you are going to have a river decision to make. It is important to be able to estimate the percentage of his hands that include bluffs based on the board texture. In general, I will let go pure bluffs and gutshot draws to this line and call open-ended draws or pairs. If you are getting better odds because of a cold-caller, obviously call more. If you have to fold the turn to this line, mentally increase the odds of a bluff the next time someone takes it against you.

The river presents another challenge. You will be getting a big price to call (nearly 10:1), so you have to have a good understanding of what cards are in his range. If he could be bluffing a busted draw, you will probably have to call down. This sounds like you will always have to call down, but you actually don’t. If you are facing a player who is fairly tight post-flop, especially one who has shown a tendency to check behind with medium strength hands on the river, you can actually fold smaller pairs fairly safely. These players will normally only bet the river with a strong hand or a busted draw. Very few players can call your check-raise, raise the turn and fire again on the river without a pretty strong holding. If the board had a dry texture where his turn range included no logical semi-bluffs, I lay down a wide variety of hands on the river. It is very important that you understand the difference between different situations. If a hand developed multi-way and one player was leading the whole way, I might call his third bet on the river getting less than 10:1 with even weak pairs. This betting pattern conveys a lot more strength and I would generally respect it from all but the most LAG players. This advice applies more to full ring than six max.

To summarize, I handle this line as follows: (1) Three bet two pair or better (this line is more often than not an overpair). Of course this doesn’t apply to flush boards or four straight boards or the like, where I’d call down. You would also tend to just call down with weaker two pair hands against a player who tends to fold a lot, because their range includes way too many monsters. (2) Only fold if the texture is dry and you don’t have outs to beat top pair and the other player is straightforward. (3) Call everything else, but consider folding the river if you can’t beat a bluff or if the board was dry on the turn and your gut says your hand is no good. I usually call down much, much lighter than you probably do and I find a surprising number of folds on the river. When I called down more, I found out that I was beat an extremely high percentage of the time.

3. Fold to flop raise.

Do a dance. Sing a song of praise to the poker Gods. These guys are awesome. You were giving him 7.5:1 and he probably had undercards, like suited connectors to a high flop or a low pair with all overcards. If you play against him a lot, you are probably getting into his head and he just doesn’t want to tangle with you. If you don’t know him, he is probably a pretty timid player. If you see a guy fold here when he raised from MP, you can be absolutely certain that when he takes line 2, he has an overpair or better. I play against players whom I have check-raised many hundreds of times who have never taken this line. Against a good player, this is usually a sign that he is raising light. Usually you have caught him in an ill-advised blind steal. If he ever does this from EP, he’s probably a fish. Guys who take this line obviously get a lot more of the same. The fact that they will use this line generally makes them easier to play because you have a lot more information when they take a different approach. When you see people take this line, you can increase the number of hands you check-raise the flop with.

4. Three bet flop.

This line is the one that I dislike the most. Some players never take it, using only lines 1 and 2. I find them easier to play because it is easier to read their hand. Some players will mix up 1, 2 and 4. That is actually pretty helpful because if they use both 2 and 4, they are probably telling you something about their hand. Most players will prefer to take this line when they have a free card in the back of their mind. If the board is draw-heavy, they probably have one. If the board is dry, they probably have overcards. Aggressive players particularly like this line with AK. If you know that the other player uses line 2, you should generally play as if he is on a draw. If you don’t know him, you can play more defensively.

I generally prefer to just call the three bet and reevaluate the turn. If you cap the flop with hands like top pair, you are probably giving money away even to hands you are currently beating. If he holds two overcards and the flush draw, he is actually the money favorite there. However, if you aren’t willing to cap hands like top pair, you are giving away a lot of information when you cap two pair or better. I used to play where I capped drawing hands (so that I had a chance to win without hitting) and big hands and called one pair type hands. Now I usually call pretty much everything. I’m actually not sure which line I like best, because I don’t play very many players who take this line, so I don’t have a lot of data yet.

When I just call the three bet, I tend to donk the turn fairly often. If the board had a flush draw that didn’t come in or was dry and no ace or king came, I don’t want to allow the other guy to have his free card. I also do this with stronger hands so that when he raises his overpair I can punish him with three bets. If I just had one pair and he raises again, I’d usually have to peel getting 8.5:1. At this point, I can’t really give you a cookie cutter line. I know players who take the free showdown line a ton and I’ve actually called the flop 3 bet, donked the turn and called a raise and donked the river again. Think about his range and what hands are likely. Let’s say you flopped a crappy two pair from the BB and the board was two diamonds. The turn is an offsuit Ace and you donk and he raises. If you think it is likely that he was raising the nut flush draw on the flop and raising the pair of Aces, you should three bet. You are a 63% favorite against top pair with a flush draw.

5. Call flop raise, call turn.

This is almost always a weak hand. Normally you will see this from poor players who have a small pocket pair and they are hell-bent on showdown. Probably your image is very bluffy and they can’t stand to let it go. On our hypothetical T75(2) board, it could also be a hand like A5s which has enough to call down but doesn’t want to get frisky or a draw like 98s. Some players will also play AK unimproved like this, especially if you play at lower limits. Your decision is pretty much poker 101. On the river, do you beat middle pair or not? If there is a possible busted draw, do you get more value to check and hope he bluffs or do you get more calls from weaker pairs? If you have a weak hand like third pair, do you have a better chance of getting a call from a weaker hand or do you have a better chance of getting a better hand to check behind? Could you ever get a fold from a better hand?


I made it Platinum again this month, but….

A spate of terrible, terrible weather gave me some down time at home to plow through some hands and get in enough play to requalify for Platinum for another month.  Unfortunately, this seems to have caused my table selection to go out the window.  As a result, I managed to give back a lot of the profit I had accumulated earlier in the month.  I can’t even say that I especially took a lot of bad beats, I think I mostly played poorly.  I was four tabling pretty much the whole time and this resulted in some situations where I played foolishly.  There were several hands where as soon as the hand ended, I knew that I should have played them differently.  I hate when that happens.

I also am about to give up on my experiment where I never capped pre-flop out of position.  I started doing that based on some input from Willem and some big blind decisions discussed on ITH.  I understand the idea (which is that you can check-raise the flop and get the same pot size), but I find it doesn’t work nearly as well for me.  A lot of hands don’t go to showdown and you simply win less of them when you don’t cap.  I’m going to return to capping lighter than most people.  A review of my database suggests that I was getting better results when I do so.

Sometimes a guy calls you when you check raise the flop, figuring you have a smaller pair or caught top pair on the flop and his AQ is good.  By the time he gets to the river, he figures he has to call one more.  If you cap and bang all the way down, he figures he is against AK at best and you often get the fold.

I still will book a profit for the month, barring any dramatic self-destruct in the next night or two, but it is much less than it could have been.  I think I have to be careful to avoid playing when I’m not sharp because I can’t just coast along on auto-pilot against better players without some bad consequence.


Charity Tourney Trip Report

They did manage to fill up with all 50 seats occupied and for the most part it was run fairly decently.  They used an entirely different blind structure than they said they were going to use, but the original blind structure was crap anyhow.  They still started with $500,000 in chips, which was awkward.  Suited and I were assigned to different tables, which was a good thing.

During the first level, which ran for an hour, I got some great cards.   I connected with the flops often and was on a steamroller ride.  I built my stack up to $900,000 by the first break.  Suited had about the same, perhaps a bit more.  I know that she had a big hand where she had top two pair and was called with a worse two pair by someone who made WPT Hollywood decisions on every street.  My biggest hand was Kings, which never improved and I just bet/bet/bet.  The opponent was a classic calling station and I knew I was good all the way down.  I turned a straight and flopped a flush from the big blind on two different hands and got paid on both.

We both had quite poor second levels.  I dropped all way back to $600,000 because I played a few hands that didn’t work out.  The biggest one I raised to $60,000 (blinds were 10,000/20,000) and the big blind just called with a curious expression on his face.  I had red Jacks and the flop came down Q54 with two spades.  I c-bet about $80,000 and he check-raised all-in.  He really didn’t seem the type to shove on the flush draw.  I thought for a bit and mucked my Jacks face up because I’m a showoff like that.  He obliged me by tabling his pocket Kings and I got credit for a good laydown, although it really wasn’t that difficult.  Suited claimed to have not played a single hand and was around $750,000 at the second level.

It was clearly no WSOP event, because lunch was fully catered and excellent.  They also provided Hooters girls to wait on the tables, which was almost like a poker room.  They even fed us again with a snack a few hours later.  This puts the $10 meal comp from the WSOP to shame (maybe it was $20).

In the third level, I got frisky again.  I was down to $525,000 after paying the blinds (now at 25k/50k) and was looking for a spot.  I raised the button with pocket tens behind two limpers.  The BB called and we were heads up.  The flop came down KT3 and I was fairly sure I was crushing him.  He was loose and tended to be pretty easy to read.  I had about $350k left but looked to cover him by a bit, so I bet smallish on the flop around 100k.  He just called, which really could have meant anything.  He had shown a tendency to make a lot of loose flop calls and give up on the turn.  With only 200k left and a bit pot in the middle, I checked behind when the turn made me quad tens.  He shoved the river and I insta-called.  He had Ace high and quads were good.  His seat was eventually filled by SuitedPair when we were down to 18 or so.  I was now sitting on like 2.1 million after winning a few small pots when I had Jacks beat again by a new player who was quite bad.  She called my pre-flop raise with Q7 and caught the Queen on the flop.  I bet and she raised big on a Q44 board and I made a tight fold with JJ.  If I had seen her play more, I might have called, but I didn’t know her, so I folded.  Correctly, as it turned out.  At about 1.8 million, I played the biggest hand of the event for me.  A fairly weak player raised with what he claimed were Jacks from MP.  There were two callers and the Button shoved for about 1.2 million.  The Button was good enough to raise a fairly wide range there and I found AKs in the small blind.  I shoved my 1.8 million, figuring I was probably flipping with the Button, but the pot was bloated with nearly 700k in bonus money on my 1.2, so it was a no brainer.  The initial raiser hesitated a bit before folding his Jacks, but I knew he was going to fold and the other two players also dropped out.  The Button tabled KQo and I was sitting pretty.  The board came brick-brick-brick-brick-Queen.  Of course.  He apologized a few times, but I really wasn’t upset.  I knew I made a good play and that is all you can do.  He could have shown Aces or Kings and I still would have thought it was a good play.  Unfortunately, instead of chipping up to nearly 4 million and being the monster stack in the tourney, I was back to 600k and about to face 50/100 blinds and an M of 4.

Suited was also down fairly low and I got lucky to rebalance to the other table when we were at 16.  The next level started as soon as I moved.  I paid a round of blinds with total garbage and got a double to 900k with 99 against A3.  I stayed pretty close to 900k for an orbit or two with a shove here and there.  It was tough because we got down to five handed (Suited’s table was six handed), so it is hard to nurse a short stack at a short table, but at least I had an opportunity to be first-in fairly often.  I was at 800k on the big blind when the button raised to 200k.  I looked down at KQs and figured that I couldn’t possibly fold and I might have some folding equity (it seems insane, but I’m pretty sure I did).  He deliberated for a minute, but called with AQ.  I didn’t catch my three outer and got eliminated.  Someone was eliminated at Suited’s table while we playing out our hand, but it was close enough so they drew a high card for 10th place and I lost (flips suck!).  I think 10th place was a chip set, so it was probably just as well anyhow.

The final table was classic Suited poker.  She was the short stack coming in and shoved just often enough to hang around.  She did get called with ATs against KK, but the door card was an Ace and she eliminated him.  One by one, the field whittled down until she was fourth of four at the last break.  Once again, she was the short stack by far and I provided my analysis of what she should shove, which was damn near everything.  She shoved J9s on the Button first hand in and the small blind called with ATo.  She flopped the flush draw, giving her 15 outs twice, but none of them came in and she won a $600 gift certificate.  We also got $100 in Hooters gift certs, so I think we actually came out ahead after taxes.


Charity poker event filling up

They decided to limit the field to 50 runners and thanks to some last second radio promotion, they appear likely to fill up.  Since the after tax cost to me is about $300, I figure there is still a small overlay, since the prizes for 1-10 all have some value.  My wife is going to take one of the seats after initially insisting that she might prefer to get her hair cut.  If she gets busted early they are running a casino room staffed by Hooters girls which should be interesting to hear.  She doesn’t really seem like the target audience.  They have been unable to answer my fairly basic question about their blind structure, which doesn’t bode terribly well for them, but I figure I should be able to adjust as well as anyone.

We ran into a snafu on the kitchen, where the door pulls for all right-hand doors were mounted about 1/8th inch off center.  This may not sound like much, but I saw it instantly when I first walked in the room.  The cabinet guy clearly feels bad and has vowed to replace the doors if he can’t fix it.  I’m trying not to stress.

I didn’t play too much yesterday.  I’m only up to 7.350, but I still think I can probably get it done.


Poker mode on

I’ve been grinding away.  I’m up to 7,100 VPPs and am starting to believe I will get to Platinum again this month.  My daily goal only is 428 now, which is pretty easily attainable.  I’ve had some real up and down days.  Yesterday I ran about -12 bb/100 and today I was up about 14 bb/100.  Today was one of those days where I tended to win a lot of hands without showdowns, which is a really good situation for me.  If I feel like I’m effective making moves with air, I really have my best results.  Yesterday I got caught in bluffs early on and I really couldn’t move anyone off a hand.  Today, I mostly only showed down good hands and I seemed to get folds when I wanted them pretty often.  Looking back at the session, I lost more big hands than I won, but I won a ton of small and medium pots.

I got an invitation to a charity poker event from the PPA, but I didn’t think that much about it.  It does have a WSOP Main Event seat as a prize, which is pretty cool, but that apparently wasn’t enough to make me concentrate on it.  When my cousin forwarded an email that said they only had about two dozen runners thus far, that did get my attention.  I’ve signed up and figure that the whole thing is going to be run like a charity raffle, but I’ve got to be +EV against a local field.  I can’t imagine a lot of people have any significant live poker experience, let alone WSOP experience.  I play on Saturday.

The remodel is cruising along.  The kitchen is starting to look much more complete.  Most of the trim is up now and the countertops have been ordered.  When we got home tonight, the house was swarming with people.  The plumbers was moving the pipes under the sink, the tile guys were laying tile in the sunroom and the kitchen guy was installing the beaded trim.


Picking up the VPP pace

Yesterday when I posted my update I was at 4,300 VPPs for the month of April and needed to earn 500 and change a day to reach my goal.  Today I’m at 5,800 VPPs and now I only need 466 VPP/day to get there.  The downside has been that my table selection has not been as good as usual and I’ve made mistakes at the end of the session where I wasn’t paying as much attention as I need to.  I accidentally 3 bet 73o pre-flop and the flop  went check-call and then he check-raised me on the turn.  Since I had yet to make a pair, it was a reasonably easy lay down, but a net loss of 3 BBs from one bad click.  At the end of my session tonight I bled off $600 with a series of suboptimal decisions that resulted in turning a small winning night into a small losing night.  One of them was a really stupid river bet with a busted draw that was going to get called by King high or better, so it was really just lighting $60 on fire.  It annoys me when I do stupid things that I immediately know are wrong, so I sat out.  Now as I reflect on it, I knew I wasn’t playing that well and I should have sat out an orbit or two sooner and saved a few hundred bucks.  This is the danger of trying to play a certain number of hands when you aren’t feeling sharp


A minor milestone!

I have cashed in my FPPs for an entry to WSOP Event #2!

So, the side benefit of my SuperNova quest has been $1,500 in a tourney entry fee and the nice little $120 deposit bonus last week. I’ve generated about $7,200 in MGR this year, so that is about 23% rakeback. I’ve also burned some FPPs on tourney entries, so in order to get an accurate estimate I’m going to need to add up the miscellaneous events to figure out my true rakeback. Still, it is nice to have at least one freeroll at the WSOP!


I’m trying to significantly increase my poker hours

Since the last post, I had two days where I played a reasonable amount of poker. I managed to lose and win almost exactly the same amount on the two days, so I’m holding steady there. I’m still only at 4,300 VPPs, which puts me way behind pace. I have 11 days left to maintain Platinum, but I could still get there if I run just over 500 VPPs per day. The only real problem should I fail to hit platinum is that I intend to cash in FPPs for an entry into Event 2 of the WSOP and I have to be Platinum to do that. I need 93,000 FPPs to buy that particular prize and I’m currently sitting on 92,372. I guess I’m fairly certain to get there before the end of the month, so that should be no problem.

I took another day off because it was my birthday and my lovely bride made me a better offer. I had a great day. She bought me a new watch that I had been lusting after for ages, the Breitling Navitimer:

This watch in my view, is the ultimate geek watch. The outer dial is a circular slide rule, which lets me calculate the pot odds to precise detail at the table. I also got the metal band to go with the leather one, so I can dress it up when I want to. I’d rather have this than a Rolex by a factor of 100x.

The poker over the last few days was relatively unremarkable. I noticed that when I played some 5/10 tables mixed in with my regular games that some of my tricks didn’t work. I have to remember to adjust. I also got a ton of comments on a hand where I called down with a weak Ace unimproved. One guy congratulated me on the gutsy calls and another guy berated me for being a fish (guess which one was the guy who was bluffing). It was a hand that would not have attracted any attention at higher limits. The board started out with straight and flush draws and paired on the turn, so it was relatively likely to have missed the initial raiser and there were zillions of busted draws he could have been betting on the river. As it turns out, he was betting KQ with a busted oesd, so I won the pot. Most 30/60 players would have called down with an Ace, so I didn’t even really think about it. It was cool because the ensuing discussion seemed to get me a lot more action. I think I said “I never lose with A6” which really set off the other guy. Good times.

It looks like the first week of the WSOP will be lousy with ITHers, so I’m looking forward to it. Paulif phoned me up to express his enthusiasm the other day. I just read that PokerElmo is also cashing in his FPPs for Event #2, so we should be there in force.


Now that’s more like it!

I finally got in a nice long session tonight. I played four tables most of the time (there were no 30/60 or 10/20 tables, so I was on all the 15/30 tables and one 5/10). I earned 1,000 FPPs and $2,500 or so. It would be much simpler if it always went like this. There is an odd poker phenomenon that happens to me from time to time.  I was totally in “the zone.”  I felt like I knew when I was beat and when I could bluff and when I should call down. Most of it is stuff I always know, but I can’t always put it together when I need it. It is a combination of mental focus, good mood and good results, I think. No matter how well you usually play, somehow when you are running well it is easier to make those thin bets and tough calldowns. I even lost a couple of rough set over sets and suckouts, but I was so confident in my feel that I was rolling over everyone.

I even smacked my primary nemesis around some tonight.  He has pretty much killed me in pots where we are both involved, but I also think I’ve picked up a pretty reliable timing tell on him today. I’ll have to watch him, but it has been 100% accurate since I picked up on it.  I really enjoy playing against the regulars and figuring out how to adapt to them.  I’m actually playing as passive post-flop as I ever have in my life because these guys are so aggro, you often don’t need to push.

Here was the biggest hand of the session:

PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (6 handed) Poker Stars Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

Preflop: Hero is Button with :2h, :2c.
2 folds, CO raises, Hero 3-bets, 1 fold, BB caps, CO calls, Hero calls.

This is one of those situations that get me in trouble. I’m trying to isolate CO, who is the perfect combination of too loose pre-flop and too weak post-flop, when BB wakes up with a real hand. He is never capping here without a big, big hand. Let’s say AA-QQ and AK.

Flop: (12.66 SB) :4h, :2s, :Tc (3 players)
BB checks, CO checks, Hero bets, BB raises, CO folds, Hero 3-bets, BB caps, Hero calls.

Touchdown! It checks to me and BB check-raises. I seriously doubt he has TT and he won’t put me on that strong of a hand, in part because I am playing it fast here. The check-raise is good for me, because he can cap and lead the turn.

Turn: (10.33 BB) :Qh (2 players)
BB bets, Hero raises, BB 3-bets, Hero caps, BB calls.

His three bet starts to make me nervous about QQ, but I’m not slowing down with a set that easily.

River: (18.33 BB) :8d (2 players)
BB bets, Hero calls.

The lead bet after I capped finally slows me down. Perhaps I should have stuck with the old school approach of bombing like mad with a set. I just can’t believe he’d go that crazy with an overpair and there is no credible two pair combo he could have. He’s not a regular at this game and I don’t think he would be happy if he became one.

Final Pot: 20.33 BB
Results in white below:
BB has Ah Ad (one pair, aces).
Hero has 2h 2c (three of a kind, twos).
Outcome: Hero wins 20.33 BB.

No surprise to the wise readers, but I was a bit shocked.

I somewhat botched this hand because I had a lot of action going on at the same time, but I’m pleased with the last decision.

PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (9 handed) Poker Stars Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

Preflop: Hero is MP1 with :Td, :Kc.
2 folds, Hero raises, 1 fold, MP3 calls, 2 folds, SB calls, 1 fold.

This is one of those ideas that seemed clever at the time.  The blinds were both quite tight (especially the BB) so I decided to raise a borderline hand from poor position.  Mistake #1.

Flop: (7 SB) :Ad, :Ah, :Ts (3 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, MP3 checks.

Honestly, I forgot that I raised preflop because there were too many hands going off at once.  I thought that MP3 raised initially.  Mistake #2

Turn: (3.50 BB) :5d (3 players)
SB bets, Hero calls, MP3 calls.

The bet from the SB could be a couple of different things.  He easily could have an Ace and he was hoping to check-raise the flop.  My thinking at the time was that I didn’t want to get sandwiched.  However, in hindsight, I think I probably would have been better off to raise.  If I get three bet, I know I’m dead and can fold.  MP3 will probably drop off and I can reevaluate on the river.  Mistake #3.

River: (6.50 BB) :5s (3 players)
SB checks, Hero bets, MP3 raises, SB folds, Hero calls.

When SB checked, I actually thought I had to have the best hand.  I figured I could bet and get a call from a King.  I planned to bet/fold, since I figured a raise meant a boat.  If the board was KKT55, you could bet and get calls from Aces all the time, so this is a similar situation.  After he raised, some alarm went off in my head.  I can’t believe he plays an Ace that way and a five makes no sense at all.  I puzzle for a while and finally clicked call.

Final Pot: 10.50 BB
Results in white below:
Hero has Td Kc (two pair, aces and tens).
MP3 has Qh Kh (two pair, aces and fives).
Outcome: Hero wins 10.50 BB.

All those mistakes were canceled out by one good decision.  The funny thing is that I decided to call mostly because of my note which says “plays AK unimproved like the nuts on the flop.”  I figured a guy capable of that is also capable of getting tricky here.


Taxes done, kitchen still dissembled, very little poker being played

I tried to make up some ground by five tabling 10/20 tonight for a while and I had decent results, but I’m only at 2,000 FPPs for the month at this point.  Given that the month is half over and the remodel gets back into full swing soon, I think I’m unlikely to hit my goal this month.  I feel like I’m playing fairly well, just having a hard time getting the hands in.  Maybe with the tax situation behind me I can get on with it a bit.  I might have to break out my short stacking strategy in order to get it done this month.