Saturday, 31 May 2008

Fck mi lck

shoved AJ over a small raise < A6, 7th
33 ran into AA, 3rd
KJ < QT, 3rd
shoved ATC into K6, he rivered trips, 4th
shoved A5s into AA, 6th
shoved 32 into A2, 3rd
shoved over a limp, he called huge shove, Q7s < A5
TT < K7 for 10BB, 4th

That's a set of 8. I actually played well, but ended up -8% ROI. That doesn't tell the story, of course. I lost a big stack when a guy outsucked me with KQ, then the same game did it again with a dominated ace at another table. Meh.


So I load up five more. First one I bust out of I try a retarded trap. It's folded to me in the SB, and I limp with 99. I figure the BB will raise with or without a hand. He minraises and I push over. He snapcalls. AK. Flop K, gg me. Next game, I have AQs, and raise to 150 at t50. Some guy calls and a guy who is playing 33/23 reraises. Looks like a squeeze and I push over. I have 2.7K, so he should fold a lot of his range and I'll be beating most of the rest. After all, he's been raising with shit. Except for this time. He has AK and it's gg me again.

Well, wtf can you do? I had even been lucky in that tourney. I had raised with AA and got one caller. Flop was all rags and I bet. She called. Turn was another rag and I shoved. Snapcalled by a set of 2s, but I rivered the A. Sucked for her, but I'm kind of due one.

Next tourney, some guy with 800 chips raises to 300 from the button. I have 77 in the SB and shove over. He snapcalls with JTs. WTF? If he'd pushed, that would have maybe been okay. But the poker gods do not punish the bad players. They hate you for being too smart for the fish. Flop JT3, and I'm left with 400 chips.

I am hating this so badly. I'm playing really well at the 10s and have played well for the last while. But my ROI is through the floor and shows no sign of improving. It's very hard to stay confident when you are losing money. You start to doubt your play and eventually I think I will end up quitting, even though I probably am a decent player at this level.

So I ended the day after 13 games, 7% ROI. That's disappointing but at least I ended with a couple of decent cashes so I didn't lose for the day (not that it matters over so few games).

So meh. But I feel good enough about my game not to get too disheartened. And I'm still learning.

Thursday, 29 May 2008


So I eight-table the 10s.

And bubble four fucking times!

And still won $20.

Imagine if I had run that bit better on the bubble. Sigh.

Still, it's encouraging to play decently when eight-tabling. I think I missed a few things but basically not enough to worry about.


OMG. This is so bad.

PokerStars Game #17768933590: Tournament #90107199, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2008/05/29 - 06:08:33 (ET)
Table '90107199 1' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: RagtimeScott (1570 in chips)
Seat 2: loic91 (1220 in chips)
Seat 3: binhnhi914 (1670 in chips)
Seat 4: FR Vessant (1470 in chips)
Seat 5: 13Enrique (1680 in chips)
Seat 6: phileas99 (1660 in chips)
Seat 7: RRR21 (1590 in chips)
Seat 8: def78901 (1470 in chips)
Seat 9: bobvegàs (1170 in chips)
binhnhi914: posts small blind 10
FR Vessant: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [As Ah]
13Enrique: folds
phileas99: folds
RRR21: folds
def78901: folds
bobvegàs: folds
RagtimeScott: calls 20
loic91: folds
binhnhi914: calls 10
FR Vessant: raises 100 to 120
RagtimeScott: calls 100
binhnhi914: folds
*** FLOP *** [6h Tc Jh]
FR Vessant: bets 180
RagtimeScott: calls 180
*** TURN *** [6h Tc Jh] [8h]
FR Vessant: bets 480
RagtimeScott: calls 480
*** RIVER *** [6h Tc Jh 8h] [Qd]
FR Vessant: bets 690 and is all-in
RagtimeScott: calls 690
*** SHOW DOWN ***
FR Vessant: shows [As Ah] (a pair of Aces)
RagtimeScott: shows [9h Kc] (a straight, Nine to King)

That is totally wtf. This guy gets lucky like once in a blue moon. I am the blue moon. What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck my luck.

A 10+1 without frills

I'm going to liveblog a $10 tourney while I play it. I'm not actually watching the table closely (working), so it's all generic. But it might give you an idea of how a 10+1 regular plays out.

Hands I just fold, I will note what they were without any comment. Everything else, I'll explain why I did what I did. I'll also mark when I pay blinds. If I do watch a hand, I might give some notes.

I don't recognise any of the players at the table, which usually means that none of them are any good. You remember the good players' names.

QTs -- just about lost a guy there:

Mikaa23 posts blind ($10), MaxiNew posts blind ($20).

Wooster_1 calls $20, ricked71 calls $20, ureeek folds, big wonka calls $20, magbigg4336 folds, Dr Zen folds, ARESTANT66 folds, hazemeljisr bets $40, Mikaa23 folds, MaxiNew folds, Wooster_1 calls $20, ricked71 calls $20, big wonka calls $20.

FLOP [board cards: KD 3C 9D ]
Wooster_1 checks, ricked71 bets $190, big wonka folds, hazemeljisr calls $190, Wooster_1 folds.

TURN [board cards: KD 3C 9D 3D ]
ricked71 bets $570, hazemeljisr calls $570.

RIVER [board cards: KD 3C 9D 3D 6D ]
ricked71 bets $700 and is all-in, hazemeljisr calls $670 and is all-in.

ricked71 shows [ KS JC ]
hazemeljisr shows [ QH AD ]
ricked71 wins $30, hazemeljisr wins $3,050.

Her calls on flop and turn are atrocious, but his bet on river is just as bad.
75 -- now we're ninehanded
J8s--someone nearly busted last hand, didn't see what happened, don't care
AT -- to weak to play UTG

77 -- I call 100 raise. Q53r flop. Raiser bets 300. I fold. He shows 88.
AJ, I raise to 90 in cutoff. Called by fish on button. 863 flop, I check, she checks behind. Turn 6, she bets small, I call. River K, check check, MHIG. I don't cbet because this player is ultra fishy and will call with anything, so I'd have to twobarrel.
73s -- down to seven. Fish hit top pair with A7 on AQT flop, but other guy had flopped straight. This is why you don't play shit like A7 of course. But a lot of these fish do and when they get hot and heavy on A high flops, they don't always (or often) have better than top pair.

83BB -- I check, three to flop. KQ5 two diamonds. Turn Td, river 5d. Checked down and I split pot.
KQSB, one limper, BB is sitting out. I call. Flop Q high, I bet 2/3 pot, he folds. Could have raised pre, but I don't like playing raised pots OOP much.
Q5. I walk BB.
A7BB, fold to 3x raise. Meh. A high flop, checked round. Raiser had JJ, callers T8s and K4s. Unreal.
JT -- weird, guy limped, some other guy limped, raise to 200, first guy pushed. This would often be a pair actually and I call with anything I raise with. But the raiser had a big stack so maybe he was going fairly light.

J2BB walked.
J9sSB, folded to minraise. Probably would have completed against this table.

I have about 1600 chips at this point.

93--there's a whole lot of limping going on. The table has been fairly passive, actually. You don't often get one as passive as this, but I haven't had the cards to take advantage.
Q8BB, two limpers, I check. AAJ flop. BTN bets, SB calls, I fold. Better had JT, caller bluffed river with 55.
KT--we lose a guy. QJ raised pre, AK reraised small and called push after getting outflopped. Six left.

J3BB. Fold to a minraise. I have 1290 chips.
JT. Tempted to push with tight BB on 1K chips, but meh.
T2BB. Folded to minraise from same guy. Frustrating but what can you do?
T8SB. Standard shove. He folds.
QQ. I raise to 400, hoping to induce a shove. All fold.
87. I have 1440 chips.
85sBB. Fold to 3x raise and minreraise. Minreraiser shoves 722 flop. Raiser calls with JJ < AA.

99SB. I shove over minraise. He has 55 and my hand holds.
A8. I shove because both blinds have less than 10BB. All fold.
T6BB. Two limp, I check. It's checked down. BTN wins with pair of 6s, ace kicker.
J2SB. We lost someone somewhere in the past few hands, but I didn't see him go. We're fivehanded now. Make that four. We lost a guy on that hand too.
85. I have 2.7K. One guy is shorter on 1.7K. He looks more cluey than most.
42sBB. Fold to SB's minraise. Gaaah.
85SB. Fold to a push.
87BB walked this time.
T7s, another minraise
Q3BB, limper, push, I fold, limper folds.
63sSB. Shorty pushes again.
KJs. I push. all fold.
K7BB. fold to minraise
54, idiot in SB walks shorty.
63s, LOL. Bigstack sucks out on shorty
KTsBB check it out
big wonka posts blind ($100), Dr Zen posts blind ($200).

Mikaa23 bets $400, big wonka folds, Dr Zen calls $200.

FLOP [board cards: AC TC KS ]
Dr Zen checks, Mikaa23 checks.

TURN [board cards: AC TC KS QD ]
Dr Zen bets $800, Mikaa23 calls $800.

RIVER [board cards: AC TC KS QD 7D ]
Dr Zen bets $900, Mikaa23 folds.

Preflop I considered shoving over because he is obviously raising my blind very light (has done it several times), but Ax is a big part of his range and he probably won't fold. My hand will play pretty well anyway, so I call. On the flop, I'm ahead always and I would usually bet out--it's very drawy. It's very likely to have hit him though so I check it to him hoping to get some money in. Turn is a horrible card, but he's not all that likely to have a jack. However, he is very likely to have *something* so I bet the pot. I'm hoping to get paid big by hands like Qc9c or T9 even while not betting little enough to encourage calls from weaker but still dangerous hands. On the river, I push for value.

It's a pity he didn't call, but I'd say Q9 is his most likely hand by far, followed by 99, a random Q, suited clubs, T9 and various pairs and other stuff.


HU at t300

Won't post hands too hard to keep up.

The other guy is quite aggro when he has something but timid when he doesn't. He outstacks me 11-4 but I should win against a player as bad as this.

Big hand

Dr Zen posts blind ($150), big wonka posts blind ($300).

Dr Zen bets $700, big wonka calls $550.

FLOP [board cards: 5C TC JC ]
big wonka bets $10,470 and is all-in, Dr Zen calls $2,830 and is all-in.

TURN [board cards: 5C TC JC 4H ]

RIVER [board cards: 5C TC JC 4H KC ]

big wonka shows [ 9H TD ]
Dr Zen shows [ QC AS ]
big wonka wins $7,640, Dr Zen wins $7,360.

Easy call on the flop. I have tons of outs and he is probably bluffing/has nothing much. And so it turned out. I normally shove pre, but I think raising is okay against this guy because he so clearly announces when he's hit the flop.

A bit of a folding match now. Card dead mostly.


Dr Zen posts blind ($150), big wonka posts blind ($300).

Dr Zen calls $150, big wonka checks.

I limp here with QTs. I could raise but I prefer to play pots against really bad players this deep. He's pushed a couple of flops, which is terrible, so I am hoping to hit top pair and stack him.

FLOP [board cards: 6H TH 3D ]
big wonka bets $8,090 and is all-in, Dr Zen calls $6,310 and is all-in.

Job done. He has 65.

TURN [board cards: 6H TH 3D AS ]

RIVER [board cards: 6H TH 3D AS 5C ]

Fucking doomswitch.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Fuck yer luck

This says it all. It's really hard not to get despondent when this happens to you.

The pink line is what I could expect to win each time I went all in. The dark blue line is what I actually did win. The yellow line is how lucky I've been. This is in 6.50 games. Over 210 games, I've lost 30 buyins to luck.

Thursday, 22 May 2008


This is the worst setup I think I've ever endured. I'm not superstitious but fuck, can I win on PokerRoom with this shit happening? I have 66.

played at "Mobile" for USD TC from 2008-05-21 21:22 until 2008-05-21 21:23
Seat 1: dwjnou ($1,500 in chips)
Seat 2: reRsr ($1,500 in chips)
Seat 3: ELPUTA ($1,500 in chips)
Seat 4: Euro3d ($1,500 in chips)
Seat 6: alfie1953 ($1,480 in chips)
Seat 7: LittleApeMan ($3,020 in chips)
Seat 8: x sickdog ($1,500 in chips)
Seat 9: Dr Zen ($1,500 in chips)
Seat 10: RobertBruce2 ($1,500 in chips)
alfie1953 posts blind ($10), LittleApeMan posts blind ($20).

x sickdog folds, Dr Zen calls $20, RobertBruce2 folds, dwjnou folds, reRsr folds, ELPUTA calls $20, Euro3d calls $20, alfie1953 calls $10, LittleApeMan checks.

I limp for set value.

FLOP [board cards: QD 6H QS ]

Woohoo! Not only have I hit my set but it's on a board that others will bet and get money in.

alfie1953 checks, LittleApeMan bets $150, Dr Zen bets $500, ELPUTA folds, Euro3d folds, alfie1953 bets $1,460 and is all-in, LittleApeMan bets $2,850 and is all-in, Dr Zen calls $980 and is all-in.

Well, obv. I get it in. The only hands beating me are QQ and

LittleApeMan shows [ 6S QC ]
Dr Zen shows [ 6D 6C ]
alfie1953 shows [ KS QH ]



But PokerRoom definitely has the doomswitch on me. Playing a $5 MTT, I pick up aces. It's t30 and I have about 1850. Some guy raises to 400 (!). I flatcall. I'm obviously getting it in on any flop. He has about 4K. He is clearly an idiot.

The flop comes T99, which is really good for me. There's almost no chance he has a 9 and he might be tempted to play some retarded draws hard here. He bets out and I shove. He snapcalls with JJ.

He must have known that I have the doomswitch. The turn is a third nine, which means he is drawing to one of two Js to beat me. Obv. he rivers a J.

His play is terrible. My hand is face up because anything less just pushes or folds.


Yet again I am caught by the retarded limp a big pair UTG play. There's nothing you can do about it when you have big cards and play them hard, but some tard has limped KK with 750 chips at t100. This time I had AK. Now, if I did this, they would flop an ace, of course, or the BB would just limp and then hit two pair (which is why you don't make this play). Nothing he did would have ended up any differently. If he raised, I would have shoved. So whatever.

You can't know they're doing this, because the same retard will limp JTs or KQ just the same.

Tx for trying

Here's why you can win money at poker. This is just a $5 game, but this play wouldn't be out of place at the $10s or $6.5s. I have no read on villain at all.

played at "Mount Vernon" for USD TC from 2008-05-21 20:44 until 2008-05-21 20:45
Seat 1: reggx ($2,340 in chips)
Seat 2: seppolo27 ($1,445 in chips)
Seat 3: canto xx ($1,610 in chips)
Seat 4: cladius99 ($1,430 in chips)
Seat 5: iren1073 ($1,290 in chips)
Seat 6: inspecteurgg ($1,660 in chips)
Seat 7: godhino2 ($1,160 in chips)
Seat 8: Dr Zen ($1,450 in chips)
Seat 9: Leguy93 ($1,130 in chips)
Seat 10: CANNYBUS ($1,485 in chips)
canto xx posts blind ($15), cladius99 posts blind ($30).

iren1073 folds, inspecteurgg folds, godhino2 folds, Dr Zen calls $30, Leguy93 calls $30, CANNYBUS folds, reggx folds, seppolo27 folds, canto xx bets $45, cladius99 folds, Dr Zen calls $30, Leguy93 calls $30.

Limp for set value first time round and no reason not to call the minraise. Why these players make them, I don't know. No one folds and you just end up drawn out on.

FLOP [board cards: 7D 2C 4H ]
canto xx bets $30

Hilarious. Obviously trying to steal it.

Dr Zen bets $100

I make a very small raise. The board is super dry and I have the nuts, but I will get calls from all sorts of hands here, and if canto or the other guy has an overpair, we might get a nice pot here.

Leguy93 calls $100, canto xx folds.

It's impossible to put this guy on a range. He could literally have anything here. You'd consider his most likely hands some sort of OCs, maybe 4x or 2x if he's super bad. He can have a draw, but only 65 is really reasonable here. I guess 86 is also possible if he's superbad.

TURN [board cards: 7D 2C 4H 3H ]
Dr Zen bets $300, Leguy93 calls $300.

I slightly regret my small bet on the flop because 65 has come in. That's only a tiny part of his range though, but his call scares me a little. However, it's quite conceivable that he has Ah2h or 55, something like that. He could also have the underset or an overpair.

RIVER [board cards: 7D 2C 4H 3H QD ]
Dr Zen bets $990 and is all-in, Leguy93 calls $670 and is all-in.

You could make a case for not shoving here. There aren't that many hands you beat that he will call with here: undersets, overpairs to a 7 maybe, twopair hands, some Qx hands. But there also aren't many that beat us: just 65 and A5.

Dr Zen shows [ 7H 7S ]
Leguy93 shows [ 2H JH ]

What. Teh. Fuck.

Saturday, 17 May 2008


Sigh. Another five-game losing streak. It's not much, but these players are so bad that it hurts. My ROI is way below what I would hope for at the 10s.

This is how they've gone:

1. AK, got it in on A high flop and guy with straight flush draw hit both.
2. Lost most of my stack when guy with AA limped UTG and I pushed over with TT. Then busted pushing rags into the tightest guy at the table, who decided this was the hand to loosen up on.
3. Turned a flush and guy sucked out to full on river.
4. Shoved over retarded minraiser when on button with A9. BB had AJs.
5. Pushed over loose raiser with 66. He had KQ. Flop Q obv. This is after I iso-shoved a weak player with AT, and a retard called off 3BB with Q6s. Flop Q obv. The only time you don't flop a Q when I'm around is when I hold QQ. Then you flop an A or K, depending what you need.

All uphill

All uphill today.

PokerStars Game #17485278497: Tournament #88644960, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/05/17 - 01:50:28 (ET)
Table '88644960 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: wiggles16 (1360 in chips)
Seat 2: kridtman (1400 in chips)
Seat 3: TimTolle (1590 in chips)
Seat 4: Rocktoit420 (1180 in chips)
Seat 5: 3Aces2K's (835 in chips)
Seat 6: VAB_Shark (2606 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (1320 in chips)
Seat 8: bud_901 (1320 in chips)
Seat 9: D-2-D (1889 in chips)
FR Vessant: posts small blind 15
bud_901: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [7h 8h]
D-2-D: calls 30
wiggles16: folds
kridtman: folds
TimTolle: folds
Rocktoit420: folds
3Aces2K's: folds
VAB_Shark: raises 30 to 60

This guy is minraising literally every hand he plays.

FR Vessant: calls 45

Normally, I'd fold this, but I figure I can win a very decent pot if I get lucky postflop.

bud_901: calls 30
D-2-D: calls 30
*** FLOP *** [9h Th Td]

That's a very decent flop for me. I have the straight flush draw. I'd like to build a pot because I expect to win more than half the time. With luck, the retarded minraiser will raise and I can get all in. I'm slightly less happy with a J than a 6, but I expect that any straight or flush will be good.

FR Vessant: bets 120
bud_901: folds
D-2-D: calls 120

This very loose guy probably has a small pair and doesn't believe I hit the flop.

VAB_Shark: calls 120

I'd rather he raised, but still, there are tons of cards on the turn that will make me happy.

*** TURN *** [9h Th Td] [Ts]

That is totally not one of them. I'm now drawing dead against any pair higher than 8s. I could cry.

FR Vessant: checks
D-2-D: checks
VAB_Shark: bets 200
FR Vessant: folds

No way I can call. The risk that he has a pair is too high. Even 22 has me drawing very slim. The other guy can easily have a pair too.

D-2-D: calls 200
*** RIVER *** [9h Th Td Ts] [Js]
FR Vessant said, "sigh"

Yes, FR. It's a lot like that.

Now, I could have folded preflop and you could argue for not betting the flop. But preflop, I think my hand will play okay against this idiot. He often bets small postflop too, so it's going to be relatively cheap to showdown if I make a pair on the flop. A few hands earlier, he flopped a full house, checked it, called a small bet from me on the turn, then checked to me again (allowing me to check behind).

On the flop, I want a bigger pot. I'm hoping to be raised. I don't mind if someone has a T, because if I make my draws, they won't improve and will still need to get lucky on the river.

D-2-D: bets 360
VAB_Shark: folds

Probably had nothing on the turn. But still I couldn't call.

I got knocked out shortly after. I think my play is okay. Just one of those things:

PokerStars Game #17485398953: Tournament #88644960, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2008/05/17 - 02:00:03 (ET)
Table '88644960 1' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: wiggles16 (435 in chips)
Seat 2: kridtman (1355 in chips)
Seat 3: TimTolle (1720 in chips)
Seat 5: 3Aces2K's (2815 in chips)
Seat 6: VAB_Shark (2081 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (1085 in chips)
Seat 8: bud_901 (940 in chips)
Seat 9: D-2-D (3069 in chips)
bud_901: posts small blind 25
D-2-D: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ac 9s]
wiggles16: folds
kridtman: folds
TimTolle: folds
3Aces2K's: calls 50
VAB_Shark: raises 50 to 100

Minraises again.

225 in the pot. The minraiser has nothing, obv., so I think I can steal this.

FR Vessant: raises 985 to 1085 and is all-in
bud_901: folds
D-2-D: calls 1035

Ouch. He has AJs. I'd probably fold in his shoes, but I'm not retarded, and it's not terrible. It's only a third of his stack, so meh.

3Aces2K's: folds
VAB_Shark: folds
*** FLOP *** [Qh 8s 6c]
FR Vessant said, "sigh"
*** TURN *** [Qh 8s 6c] [7d]
*** RIVER *** [Qh 8s 6c 7d] [7s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
D-2-D: shows [Ah Jh] (a pair of Sevens)
FR Vessant: shows [Ac 9s] (a pair of Sevens - lower kicker)
D-2-D collected 2345 from pot

GG me.

The only thing you did right, sir, was suck out

I hate these retards. And I hate it when they get lucky.

In this hand, SB has 22. See what you make of his play.

PokerStars Game #17484950795: Tournament #88640539, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2008/05/17 - 01:25:36 (ET)
Table '88640539 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: EC Pirates (1995 in chips)
Seat 2: rjm74 (1570 in chips)
Seat 3: joshrocker (1755 in chips)
Seat 4: dtrix79 (3200 in chips)
Seat 5: FR Vessant (1380 in chips)
Seat 6: Waggdawg (1010 in chips)
Seat 8: TheAccount (1175 in chips)
Seat 9: LATINFLACO (1415 in chips)
dtrix79: posts small blind 75
FR Vessant: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [6h Jh]
Waggdawg: folds
TheAccount: folds
EC Pirates: folds
EC Pirates is sitting out
rjm74: folds
joshrocker: folds
dtrix79: calls 75

Horrible. I have less than 10BB and he has a hand that will rarely be good enough postflop that he can be confident in it. He should push.

FR Vessant: checks
*** FLOP *** [Kh Jc 2h]

dtrix79: checks

I can forgive checking but I generally make a weak bet here, in the hope the BB will think I'm FOS and shove a K or J over.

FR Vessant: bets 300

I have a strong hand: a flush draw plus a pair. I have 14 outs to beat top pair, and I have to think I'm best at this point. If he is "trapping" with a K and pushes over, I'll have an easy call and be favourite to win.

dtrix79: calls 300

This is terrible with his hand on this board. He should definitely raise.

*** TURN *** [Kh Jc 2h] [Qh]
dtrix79: checks
FR Vessant: bets 930 and is all-in
dtrix79: calls 930

He probably can't fold here. I can't have KQ (would have shoved it pre), KJ is unlikely (probably shove that too) and all the draws came in. He has at best 10 outs but the pot offers 2 to 1. So I guess he has to call and hope to get...

*** RIVER *** [Kh Jc 2h Qh] [Kd]



Friday, 16 May 2008

You gots to laugh

No, really, you do.

PokerStars Game #17464376572: Tournament #88537690, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/05/16 - 04:50:49 (ET)
Table '88537690 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: DUE2003 (1730 in chips)
Seat 2: studman65 (670 in chips)
Seat 3: FR Vessant (1470 in chips)
Seat 4: marijule (1470 in chips)
Seat 5: xbbACEdx (1180 in chips)
Seat 6: mrp123 (1470 in chips)
Seat 7: colin28950 (2260 in chips)
Seat 8: crayondawg (1870 in chips)
Seat 9: Kirche83 (1380 in chips)
Kirche83: posts small blind 15
DUE2003: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ah Ks]
studman65: folds
FR Vessant: raises 90 to 120

I'd normally raise to 3x, but this table has already looked ultraloose, so I put more chips in. Bigger pot if I hit the flop.

marijule: folds
xbbACEdx: calls 120
mrp123: folds
colin28950: folds
crayondawg: calls 120
Kirche83: folds
DUE2003: calls 90

WTF? There is no way these guys all have good enough hands to risk this many chips.

*** FLOP *** [Tc Ac Qd]

So I hit it, but that's a really dangerous flop.

DUE2003: bets 1610 and is all-in

OMG. Well, I figure he can have a very wide range of hands. He could be made, with KJ , TT, AQ, AT. He could have a draw to the flush, and that would be most of his range here. He could have a combo draw. I can be a bit behind that but with all the money in the pot, I can't fold.

FR Vessant: calls 1350 and is all-in
xbbACEdx: calls 1060 and is all-in


crayondawg: folds
Uncalled bet (260) returned to DUE2003

It turns out the fishy big blind has Jc9c. His preflop call is awful, because he's always behind and if he flops a pair, I'm never paying him off. Pushing the flop is also pretty terrible. In his shoes, I bet out, hoping to be raised or even check, looking to get it in.

The caller has AQ. His preflop call is atrocious. He doesn't know I'm tight -- although I haven't played a hand yet -- but AQ is a bad hand to call raises with. You are never going to be sure enough on the flop that you're ahead, unless you flop it really good. As he did here.

Me, I'm in really bad. I need a jack.

*** TURN *** [Tc Ac Qd] [Kh]

Oh dear.

That gives the fishy big blind his straight.

River J?

*** RIVER *** [Tc Ac Qd Kh] [4c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
DUE2003: shows [9c Jc] (a flush, Ace high)
FR Vessant: shows [Ah Ks] (two pair, Aces and Kings)
DUE2003 collected 580 from side pot
xbbACEdx: shows [Qc As] (two pair, Aces and Queens)
DUE2003 collected 3675 from main pot


In case you were wondering, that flop is really tough for AK. A reasonable calling range for BB is beating us a lot on that flop, but you don't want to fold the best hand. If you are behind, you are only drawing to four outs. As it happens, I was miles behind both players, but you can't know that when you're faced with the bet.

Still I'm not sure. Maybe better to fold.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Lesson: about odds

Okay, I've been thinking about it and this is probably the way conceptually to think about odds.

Say you are 3/1 to win a hand. What does that actually mean?

You are at point A, the action point. It's the point at which you must decide whether to bet, call or fold. Your odds at that point represent your chances of getting a certain outcome (the one favourable to you). All the figures we are bandying about express those chances.

So. You are at A, and after you decide, you will be at B. Say you take the odds.

It's as though there are four point Bs: B1, B2, B3, B4. Imagine this is a quantum universe (which it is), in which all possibilities happen (they probably do).

B1 is favourable for you.
B2, B3, B4 are not favourable for you.

3/1 says there are four outcomes, and one is good for you.

You can always think of odds in that way. Just sum the two sides and consider that you have that many outcomes. If your odds were 3/2, you have five outcomes, two favouring you.

Okay. So how does that fit in with a/ equity and b/ pot odds?

A. Equity

Your equity in this sense is the share your favourable outcomes have of all possible outcomes. When you are 3/1 to make your hand, you win it one out of four times.

You can figure out what your odds are as a percentage by simply doing this: divide 100 by the number of possible outcomes, then times that by the number of favourable outcomes.

I know that sounds complicated, but really it isn't. More importantly, you usually think of it the other way round.

We were talking about QQ vs AK. We say QQ has 56% equity versus AK.

So what are we saying? Well, equity always totals 100%. You can't win more than everything. And this is in any case how we describe probabilities: 56% just means 56 out of 100.

Out of 100 outcomes, if you hold QQ vs AK, there are 56 that are favourable. You can also write that as 0.56, which is handy when you're figuring out how much you stand to win or lose. (If you both have stacks of 1500, he shoves and turns over AK, and you are thinking about calling, you know that you stand to win 0.56 x 3000, and the amount you lose is always your bet. This just means that if you played the hand 100 times, you would expect to win 56 times and lose 44 times, which would average out to 0.56 x 3000.)

B. Pot odds

You can easily figure your pot odds. They are always (money in the pot) / (the bet you have to call).

If the pot is 100, some guy puts in 50, and you are asked whether you want to call, your pot odds are 100+50 / 50, which is 3/1. So when should you call?

You should call when your odds of winning are better than 3/1. How you can figure that out is for another day, but this is a key idea in poker.

3/1 means that out of four outcomes, one needs to be favourable to you. Remember our little formula? Sum the outcomes = 4. Divide that into 100 = 25. Times that by favourable outcomes - 25. You need to be a 25% chance against whatever he's betting with to win.

Luckily, there are tools to figure out whether you actually are that good a chance against his range, so long as you can make a reasonable estimate of what hands he can have. You can get by in STTs with a very sketchy and basic knowledge of pot odds. Basically, you need to know when you are good to push with a draw and when you are being offered such good odds that you should not fold. But you can learn both without having too good a grasp of the underlying concepts.

But this you do need to understand. Each set of outcomes makes a pie that totals 1. You are always going to end up with 1 or 0. But conceptually, before a play you can consider yourself to have a virtual slice of the pie. You will make a lot of decisions that depend on how big that slice is. And that pie is intimately connected with another (I know, way too many pies), which we will consider next. Just as you have equity in every hand (which is just the amount of outcomes that will favour you), you have equity in the tournament (which is the amount of the tournament's prizepool your chips are currently worth).

Conceptually, what matters is that you understand that even though you really end up with 1 or 0 -- or in prizes with 50/30/20 -- at any point, you have a virtual slice of the pie, which we can describe in percentages.

Friday, 9 May 2008


I don't try to steal the blinds much at t50. No real point. But I've been worrying lately that I'm playing too passively. But actually, I'm probably better off just not bothering.

PokerStars Game #17301504798: Tournament #87687371, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2008/05/09 - 01:09:23 (ET)
Table '87687371 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (3890 in chips)
Seat 5: forever_smex (2935 in chips)
Seat 6: gtdmo (2615 in chips)
Seat 7: jazzy22 (3070 in chips)
Seat 9: feelincrappy (990 in chips)
jazzy22: posts small blind 25
feelincrappy: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ah Tc]
FR Vessant: raises 100 to 150

AT fivehanded is just too strong to fold.

forever_smex: folds
gtdmo: folds
jazzy22: calls 125

The guy's a total fish, so you have the double-edged sword. On one side, he's useless. On the other, his range for calling is pretty wide.

feelincrappy: folds
*** FLOP *** [9s 4c 9d]
jazzy22: bets 150

There's no way that hit him. He's got to be bluffing.
FR Vessant: calls 150
*** TURN *** [9s 4c 9d] [Kd]
jazzy22: bets 150
FR Vessant: calls 150

That may have hit him but he didn't bet enough for me to consider folding.

*** RIVER *** [9s 4c 9d Kd] [2h]
jazzy22: bets 150
FR Vessant: calls 150

I'm no worse off here than I was on the flop.

I realise that mostly he has a pair, but I can't fold the river at that price.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
jazzy22: shows [Js 4s] (two pair, Nines and Fours)

W. T. F.

No, really. He didn't just complete the blind with that shit. He called a raise.

And then hit the fucking flop with it. It's actually incredibly difficult to find a fold anywhere in that hand but there's nowhere I can put more money in and make him fold. Not that he would.

On the flop, his most likely hand is a bluff. He doesn't have a 9 often there, and there should be few or no 4s in even a fish's range. The turn may have improved him but he doesn't increase the bet, which many fishes do when they have been bluffing but now hit. On the river, the pot odds are too big to fold, although I'm rarely winning.

But Jeezus, could I please hit the flop? And when I do, could the other guy not have some weird fucking two pair hand? And when all that goes to plan, could my hand please hold up sometimes?


Poker Jeezus is not listening. Same guy. I have AT again.

PokerStars Game #17301661046: Tournament #87687371, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/05/09 - 01:21:13 (ET)
Table '87687371 1' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (2315 in chips)
Seat 5: forever_smex (4310 in chips)
Seat 6: gtdmo (3390 in chips)
Seat 7: jazzy22 (3485 in chips)
gtdmo: posts small blind 50
jazzy22: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Th Ad]
FR Vessant: raises 150 to 250

I'm close to push/fold. smex already pushed over one raise, so I keep this small, because I'll have to fold again if anyone pushes.

forever_smex: folds
gtdmo: folds
jazzy22: calls 150

Of course. He can again have anything.

*** FLOP *** [Ah 9s Kc]
jazzy22: checks
FR Vessant: bets 300

Well, I hit the flop, so I have to bet.

jazzy22: calls 300

OMG. K9? Set of 9s?

*** TURN *** [Ah 9s Kc] [Qd]
jazzy22: bets 300
FR Vessant: calls 300

I have to call here. I have no reason to think he's beating me. He's retarded enough to bet QT here a lot. Mind you, he's also retarded enough to have Q9 or of course any ace. I have to just hope the river will be cheap.

*** RIVER *** [Ah 9s Kc Qd] [8s]
jazzy22: bets 400
FR Vessant: calls 400

I am all agog to see what shit he is going to show me.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
jazzy22: shows [As Jc] (a pair of Aces)

There are days when you just want to bury your own head in the garden.


And this is one of them:

PokerStars Game #17301766562: Tournament #87687472, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2008/05/09 - 01:29:39 (ET)
Table '87687472 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 2: FR Vessant (1420 in chips)
Seat 3: Wolf_Pride (2595 in chips)
Seat 4: yumpoker! (2895 in chips)
Seat 5: ZLP1712 (3545 in chips)
Seat 8: brevenge (1155 in chips)
Seat 9: gumphry (1890 in chips)
yumpoker!: posts small blind 75
ZLP1712: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ah Ac]
brevenge: folds
gumphry: raises 1740 to 1890 and is all-in


FR Vessant: calls 1420 and is all-in

Have that bitch!

Wolf_Pride: folds
yumpoker!: folds
ZLP1712: folds
*** FLOP *** [3h 7d Jc]


Bitches 2

This is getting ridiculous.

PokerStars Game #17300429186: Tournament #87680989, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/05/08 - 23:58:08 (ET)
Table '87680989 1' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: chipleadercm (1640 in chips)
Seat 2: FR Vessant (1410 in chips)
Seat 3: srfdblovrhd (1235 in chips)
Seat 4: brevenge (1044 in chips)
Seat 6: georgiagolf (2635 in chips)
Seat 7: msEvsiNdreAd (4675 in chips)
Seat 8: zookwicket (861 in chips)
brevenge: posts small blind 50
georgiagolf: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Qh Qc]
msEvsiNdreAd: calls 100
zookwicket: folds
chipleadercm: folds
FR Vessant: raises 400 to 500

I have not played a hand in this tourney.

srfdblovrhd: folds
brevenge: folds
georgiagolf: raises 400 to 900

So he has to have AA/KK right?

msEvsiNdreAd: folds
FR Vessant: raises 510 to 1410 and is all-in
georgiagolf: calls 510

Nope. He has AJs. Well, I raised instead of shoving in the hope of getting shoved over, so I got what I asked for, and...

*** FLOP *** [9d As 4d]

Every. Fucking. Time. It's insane. I am not kidding. QQ is a premium hand and I am losing with it.

And again, the other guy's play is simply terrible. He must fold his hand. He is guaranteed to be behind me. Yes, he got lucky this time. Please do not comment that, because yes, I can see that he did. But his hand is a big dog against mine.

It is really sucking now. I don't feel I'm playing badly at all. Clearly, I didn't play this hand badly.

Next tourney, I shove over a minraise with AK. He has 88. I hit the A on the flop. River 8. I mean, wtf?


At this point, I decided to give up for the day.

PokerStars Game #17299350536: Tournament #87676215, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2008/05/08 - 22:58:01 (ET)
Table '87676215 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: VILAGEIDIOT1 (2200 in chips)
Seat 2: gapoker#9 (1160 in chips)
Seat 4: TheKamikaze (1625 in chips)
Seat 5: Geissler1987 (725 in chips)
Seat 6: FR Vessant (1210 in chips)
Seat 8: hunterblue (4885 in chips)
Seat 9: bullwild (1695 in chips)
hunterblue: posts small blind 25
bullwild: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [As Kh]
gapoker#9: folds
TheKamikaze: calls 50
Geissler1987: calls 50
FR Vessant: raises 1160 to 1210 and is all-in

This is pretty standard. It's not a huge pot, but it's about 15% of my stack and I can take it with low risk.

hunterblue: folds
bullwild: folds
TheKamikaze: calls 1160

He has QQ. His play is beyond retarded. If I limp and the blinds also limp, he is playing QQ fivehanded. Any K or A comes, he's going to have to fold to a bet.

Gotta raise your big pairs. It's stupid to limp and hope someone else raises for you, because you so rarely get a decent hand that wasting it is fucking criminal.

Geissler1987: folds
*** FLOP *** [Kd 9h Ks]

Hooray. At last the poker gods have given me a break.

*** TURN *** [Kd 9h Ks] [5h]
*** RIVER *** [Kd 9h Ks 5h] [Qc]

Oh no, I see they haven't.


This is just routine but QQ is becoming my least-favourite hand by a street.

PokerStars Game #17297980657: Tournament #87669967, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/05/08 - 21:49:34 (ET)
Table '87669967 1' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: alksolo (1050 in chips)
Seat 2: FR Vessant (1425 in chips)
Seat 3: Timberland31 (1135 in chips)
Seat 4: loosh23 (2355 in chips)
Seat 6: xgocubsx (4435 in chips)
Seat 8: omandon (1595 in chips)
Seat 9: TGAVALLEY (1505 in chips)
alksolo: posts small blind 15
FR Vessant: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Qd Qh]
Timberland31: folds
loosh23: calls 30
xgocubsx: calls 30
omandon: folds
alksolo: calls 15
FR Vessant: raises 120 to 150

That raise is slightly light, but it's still in the bounds of okay.

loosh23: folds
xgocubsx: calls 120
alksolo: calls 120

They can have anything, but it really doesn't matter. If they have kings, a king will come on the flop. If they have aces, an ace will come. Guaranteed.

*** FLOP *** [Jc Ks 8d]

My heart sinks. I'll probably have to continuation bet at it, and obviously will lose.

alksolo: bets 900 and is all-in

"I have a king."

FR Vessant: folds
xgocubsx: calls 900
FR Vessant said, "that hand just never fcking holds up"

Too true, FR.

*** TURN *** [Jc Ks 8d] [Ad]
*** RIVER *** [Jc Ks 8d Ad] [Jh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
alksolo: shows [9s Kd] (two pair, Kings and Jacks)

WTF? Limping that shit is bad. Calling a raise is inexcusable.

xgocubsx: shows [7c Kc] (two pair, Kings and Jacks)

Even worse. You can excuse his limp in the first place: it's sooooooted and if you squint he's just about in late position.

Okay, no. You can't excuse limping that shit either. These boys are just going to lose a ton of money.

LOL at shoving the flop, as well. That's terrible. What can I have? If I'm anything like the standard player I have a big ace or a decent pair. I might have KQ.

Well, if I have AK or KQ, you just busted yourself. If I don't, you make no more chips because I simply fold. The guy can only hope to make money from worse kings, and mate, there should not be any worse kings out there.

This is what novice players do. If you can avoid that mistake, you have learned a lesson in poker. In his spot, check to the raiser, who often bets. Then you can shove over with your top pair and win his bet. The downside is the same, but you have the benefit of winning more when you're ahead.

FR Vessant said, "wtf at both calls though"

No coaching FR. We don't actually want them to get better.

alksolo collected 1140 from pot
xgocubsx collected 1140 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2280 | Rake 0
Board [Jc Ks 8d Ad Jh]
Seat 1: alksolo (small blind) showed [9s Kd] and won (1140) with two pair, Kings and Jacks
Seat 2: FR Vessant (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 3: Timberland31 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: loosh23 folded before Flop
Seat 6: xgocubsx showed [7c Kc] and won (1140) with two pair, Kings and Jacks
Seat 8: omandon folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: TGAVALLEY (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Luckily, xgocubsx gave my chips back a bit later when he called a raise and a cbet with K8 and then checked it down with me. I had AK.

TGAVALLEY also excelled himself by limping QQ at t50. On a T74 flop, he betted 100. I called with A7s, which was loose, but I felt he might actually not have me beat. He betted the same turn and river, and I didn't improve. I think on balance it was worth 300 chips to find out that he's a complete moron, although truth to tell, had he bet more, I would have lost less.


Sadly, xgocubsx's retarded play ended up hurting him less than me. He limped on the bubble and I pushed over with AT. I am taking the risk doing that that he will call me wide--he had 6K chips and I had 900, and he'd limped for 100--but the upside is that if he does, I crush him. Well, I crushed him preflop, sure enough, because he called with J8s, but not so much postflop, because he sucked out to an 8.

It's possible that just checking would have been best there, but I was outstacked by all three fish, so what can I do? I'm going to have to take a stand somewhere with a decent hand, and I suppose it's better with 900 chips than it ever will be with 500.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


I fucking hate PokerRoom. I definitely have the doomswitch there. In the space of five minutes, I get it all in with KK on a Q high flop, am called by AJ, which turns an A, then get it in with 88 when I hit a set on a twoflush flop, get called by AA that has one of the flush suit and then he hits runner diamonds to make the flush. Totally unreal. What can you do? I am absolutely miles ahead both times, and I end up busted twice. This is like the bad run I had last month, just quite amazing bad beats one after another.

I mean, look. In the first hand, the guy doesn't even have a pair. Not even a draw. Nothing. He is just shoving wildly. In the second, the guy completely forgot to raise preflop, then got it in when I'm crushing him, and sucked out in a truly bizarre way. Ah well. You can complain to the poker gods, you can wail and moan and bitch, but what you can't do is scrub out the results in your ledger. Sometimes the horrible retards take your money and that's just poker.

Lesson: EV

Poker involves wagering. Yes, you know it is a form of gambling, in which you put up x dollars as your stake, and the prize is to win y dollars. But every action you take in poker is also a wager.

It's easy to understand what your expectation is for a series of tourneys. Say you play the $10 games with no "rake" (the vig you must pay the poker room for running the table). You have an ROI of 10%. So if you play 100 games, you expect to net (10 x 1.1) x 100 = $1100. Divide that by 100 and you get $11. So your "expected value" for each game is $11. Hang on, you're thinking, you cannot win $11 in an STT with a standard payout scheme. Right. EV does not correspond with immediate reward. It is your average return over the series you're considering. You are going to win some and lose some, but over the whole 100 games, you'll average out to taking $11 a game. In poker, we talk about the long term. This is basically the series of games we will play in our lives, and it doesn't have a term. It's not infinite, but it's not bounded (because we have no idea how many games it will be). So we think about decisions playing out over that long term.

Say you have a flush draw on the turn. Your chances of catching a flush card on the river are a bit more than 4/1. Now, I'm sure boots will tell you that they are in fact either 100% or 0%, and that's true. The next card either is, or is not, a flush card. And even if it is not yet selected, so will be random, some of the flush cards can be in other guys' hands, so your odds are not actually 4/1. None of that matters. You don't know what the next card is and must make a decision. (And actually, there being fewer or more outs actually in existence is balanced out by other factors, and your expectation is not affected by that.)

So your expectation is that you will get your flush one in five times. But you don't know which of the five times you are going to have! What you can do is consider your expectation as 0.2 (which is just another way of writing 20%, because 20% of the time you expect to win the pot), and make your decision accordingly. Note again that in fact you either will or won't make your flush. You will or won't win the pot. But think about that series of tourneys. In them, you either make $40, $20, $10 or $0, but your expectation for each tourney is not one of those figures, but the figure that describes the proportion of each that you expect: $11.

So when you are considering whether to call with a flush draw, you can look at the pot, and look at the bet you face, and if it pays enough, you call the bet. Why? Let's say we are playing limit, where the bets are fixed. The pot has five bets in it and you face paying one bet to see the river. Let's say that if your flush comes, you will not make any more money because your opponent will just fold. So the pot is paying five to one.

Okay. This time, you may win five for your one or you may just lose your bet. But you don't know which it will be. Over the long term, you will win one out of five though, and you will face this bet many times over the long term. What you can do is take the bet when it favours you every time you are offered it. Then, over the long term, you are bound to profit (so long as the laws of probability don't get overturned by the poker gods). A bet that offers better odds than its probability of coming in is said to have "positive expectation" or is "+EV". In this case, you will win 0.2 x 6 = 1.2 bets, and you have to wager one bet. So long as the return is bigger than the amount you're betting, you're +EV.

What if there were only three bets in the pot? Now your expectation is 0.2 x 4 = 0.8 bets. You expect to lose. (If you're wondering why four bets and not three in that equation; it's because when the flush card comes, you win back your bet if you win.) This sort of bet is -EV. Note again, you may win this time. You may win this one and the next one and the next. But if you keep taking -EV bets, you will lose money.

The odds that the pot offers you by virtue of its size are called "pot odds". In most forms of poker, you are willing to take bets where pot odds are greater than the odds of the outcome being favourable. There are three further considerations though that we can mention briefly. (We'll talk about them in more detail later.) First, your opponent does not always fold on the river. Sometimes you will be paid another bet or bets. You can sometimes factor this into your decision whether to call. In our example the pot odds may be 4/1, indicating a fold, but you figure the other guy, fish that he is, will always call on the river. So you can count on another bet, making your "implied odds" 5/1, giving you a call. This is a subtle concept, because the pot odds are certain, but the implied odds vary depending on many factors. Second, you make wagers in tournaments with tournament chips, not with money, but you must consider your bets in terms of dollars. That's not easy but it's essential, because you cannot replace your chips and must weigh their use correctly. Sometimes, chasing that flush, which you would do in a cash game, will be wrong because although it shows a profit in chips, it doesn't show one in dollars. Third, it's straightforward to draw to a flush and win if you make it, lose if you don't. But you are rarely working out your EV so simply. You don't always know what your opponent has, or what he's drawing to. The best you can do is figure out the "range" he has: the hands he is likely to have, and work out your EV against the range.

What do I mean? Well, let's say you have KK. You raise preflop. Some guy calls. He's quite tight, and (I won't go into how) you figure that 55% of the time he has a smaller pair, 40% of the time he has a big ace and 5% of the time AA. The flop comes A73. You are to act. You want to know whether you should bet. You don't know what he actually has though. But you can do what would be right against his whole range. Let's assume you are pushing or folding and he is calling with everything. Let's say the pot has 500 chips in it and you have 1000 more to bet.

He has 77 or 33 10% of the time (a little less because of course there are a 7 and a 3 on the flop, but we aren't looking for precision here). They have a set, which crushes you, and you will "draw out" on them roughly 9% of the time. Let's say you lose 9% of the time to those pairs.

He has AA 5% of the time, and effectively you're "drawing dead" against AA. (You need to turn and river Ks to beat him. Good luck with that.) So you lose 5% of the time to that.

He has a big ace 40% of the time, and that is beating you. About 9% of the time, you'll draw out on those too, so let's say you lose 35% of the time to them.

He has a smaller pair that is not 77/33 45% of the time. They will draw out on you about 9% of the time, so let's say you lose 5% of the time to them.

You're losing 54% of the time. You expect to win less often than you lose, so you fold right?

Wrong. There is money already in the pot. Don't forget the money already in the pot! Your expectation is .46 x 2500 = 1150. So for your 1000 bet, you expect to win 1150. Of course, you will lose 1000 when he has the hands that beat you and you don't draw out, and win his 1000 plus the 500 in the pot when he has something that you beat. But over the long term, presented with this bet over and over and over, he will have different hands each time. Sometimes, you're crushed; this time, maybe, you're crushed. But you can't know that. So you push, he calls, and...


I just need to add a sentence. When we say that 46% of the time you will win the pot, we can also say that your "equity" in the outcome is 46%. Your equity in a hand will shift from street to street, but you always have equity unless you're drawing dead. We say that you have equity vs a particular hand or equity vs a range. Think of equity as your share of outcomes and you have mastered it. Here's a quick example that should make it clear. You have 1000 chips. Villain has 1000 chips. You are going to get it in and he will call. So there are 2000 chips at stake. Now, you figure you will win 60% of the time. So your expectation is .6 x 2000 = 1200 chips, or +200. So we say your EV is 200. It's worth 200 to you to get it in with this guy. Remember, you will not win 200 ever. Only 1000 sometimes. Your equity can be described as 60%, because your "share" of the outcome is 60%, or 1200. But note that equity and EV are not the same thing. Say you and villain were heads up before this hand and it's a winner takes all tourney. Your equity in the tournament was, of course, 50% before you pushed, and will be 100% or 0% after.

So to be clear, equity is your share in the outcome of the tourney or hand, EV is the change in your equity that an action will bring.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Awful bluffs r us

Another truly awful bluff. Villain is 50/17/4 preflop (which means that he puts money into the pot with 50% of his hands, which is extremely loose; raises with 17% of them, which is a lot--he's raising with nearly twice as many hands as I'm even playing; and has an "aggression factor" of 4: this is the ratio of his bets and raises to his checks and calls postflop--it's relative, so if you play 8/4/4, you are fairly aggressive postflop, but at 50/17/4, you are using a machine gun to "fire your bullets"--make bets).

's a
PokerStars Game #17208815955: Tournament #87214767, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level ItII (15/30) - 2008/05/04 - 22:00:03 (ET)
Table '87214767 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (1670 in chips)
Seat 2: RANDY1726 (1715 in chips)
Seat 3: Ko112233 (2735 in chips)
Seat 4: kcgregg (1155 in chips)
Seat 5: al2401 (1780 in chips)
Seat 7: SCRAAPNBY (1425 in chips)
Seat 8: KAP300 (1205 in chips)
Seat 9: Monteroy (1815 in chips)
RANDY1726: posts small blind 15
Ko112233: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Td As]
kcgregg: folds
al2401: folds
KAP300: folds
Monteroy: folds
FR Vessant: raises 60 to 90

Folded to me on the button, I'll raise this. If there had been a couple of callers, maybe I'd call behind, but I wouldn't call a raise with it. I'll play with caution postflop.

RANDY1726: calls 75
Ko112233: calls 60

I'd have been perfectly happy to win the blinds, but I'm in position with a decent hand.

*** FLOP *** [Th 4c 9c]

That's a decent flop for me, obv. I have TPTK. However, the board is "wet" (has draws available--a player with two clubs has a flush draw, and QJ, for instance, has a straight draw).

RANDY1726: bets 60

Given his aggro factor, this bet can mean anything from "I have a draw", through "I have a T" to "I have nothing but I think I can get you to fold" and a lot of stops in between. We're not folding top pair here and on this drawy board, we want to make him pay if he's drawing. What you might discount here are hands that actually beat you. He isn't likely to bet them so light, if at all. If he had a set of 4s, he's likely to check it and hope I bet for him.

Ko112233: folds
FR Vessant: raises 150 to 210

So we put in a raise. This is actually a bit light but at the time I was thinking that this would be enough to have him push over anything that was crushing me. I tend to steer clear of getting "committed" (putting in so many chips that I will find it hard to fold) with hands that can easily be beaten. Here, it's largely the possibility of T9 that is giving me pause. That's a hand this guy will certainly call a raise with and while he's more likely to have checked it than bet, it can be in there.

RANDY1726: calls 150

When he calls, I'm pretty sure he has something I beat. I'd consider his likeliest hand a draw, but he could have Tx, 9x or even a 4. A small pair is also an outside possibility.

*** TURN *** [Th 4c 9c] [3h]
RANDY1726: checks
FR Vessant: bets 300

This hand is almost an object lesson in how to bet badly! But I think this is enough to make draws make a mistake and get called by the worse hands that I mostly think he has. With a less drawy board, or a slightly better hand, you might sometimes check behind to keep the pot small, and call a bet on the river or make one if you think your hand is still good. But here I don't mind folding out the draws if he has the sense to muck them.

RANDY1726: calls 300

*** RIVER *** [Th 4c 9c 3h] [7d]
RANDY1726: bets 1115 and is all-in

Whack! Okay. What's his story? It's pretty much "I have J8". It's possible but three things mitigate against it. One, it's one of the less likely hands preflop. He's loose but J8, even suited, doesn't hold a great deal of promise. Two, he's very aggro, so he will be more likely to bluff than most players. Three, and this is the key to this hand, retarded bad players do not often push here, even if their draw comes in, particularly when the straight is somewhat hidden, as it would be here. They are too afraid that you will just fold.

When a bet looks like it wants a fold, it often does.

FR Vessant: calls 1070 and is all-in

I wasn't certain I would win the hand. But I am going to win it a lot more often than not. He won't often have J8, and frankly, if he has two pair on the river, that's just unlucky for me, but I'm never crediting him for one earlier. I think he will put in more money earlier in the hand with two pair, probably on the turn.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
RANDY1726: shows [8s 8d] (a pair of Eights)

So there it is. His play is indefensible on all streets bar preflop.

Sadly, all the great postflop play in the world can be undone in an instant. I lost 1500 of the chips when I raised TT from the button and called a shove from a guy with ATs. His shove was a bit meh given my tightness but whatever. And ultimately I didn't make any money. A couple of times, a bad player rivered me and the second of them I pushed over his bet a bit intemperately. He'd sucked out to a straight unfortunately.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Lesson: starting hands

So we learned what hands are worth the wrong way round, right? Because you don't start with straights and flushes; you start with just two cards.

Well, no. We learn the other way round for two reasons. One, you need to be completely au fait with what beats what. You must not be confused about whether straights beat flushes (they don't) or full boats beat flushes (they do). This is because you need to be able to evaluate the board quickly.

You need to be able always to answer these questions: what hand can I make? what hand is the best? which hands could happen in the next card or two cards? and finally what is my opponent likely to have now, and what is he trying to make?

So you have AQ, a strong starting hand, and you flop QcTd7d, you bet and you are called, you need to know that you are probably best with TPTK, your opponent may have a worse queen or a flush draw, but he can be "trapping" with QT, TT, 77. He might also have 89 for the straight, maybe J9. You have to be aware of the possibilities.

It comes with time. You can't instantly read the board when you're a beginner. It's a skill that you learn (imperfectly: I'm still sometimes surprised by a hidden straight). But you can help yourself with study: save hand histories or ask for mine. Look at hands as they played out. Work out what was the best possible hand, and what people could be drawing to. The more you do it, the better you get at doing it. (If you want help, Father Luke, I will set you drills. Just ask. If you have the time, it's worthwhile to do. Reading the board correctly is a sine qua non of good poker, which is very hard for a novice, but does become easier. In time, we'll have you play some Omaha, because it gets you into the habit.) It is also important to understand, as a first principle, that hand strength is relative. This concept is fundamental in poker, and its importance in STTs cannot be overstated. There are spots in STTS where you cannot play less than aces! This is not because your opponent has a strong hand, but because yours needs to be relatively that strong.

Okay, so you can look at a list of starting hands, and that's fine, but it's very abstract (however, in STTs, having a grasp of the order of hands is important, because you need to be able to rank hands by percentiles). There are more concrete ways to understand starting hand strength.

There are basically three dimensions: high card strength, suitedness, connectedness. In most forms of poker played for high, you should select your starting hands according to these dimensions. The most important is high card strength, overwhelmingly so in STTs, but the other dimensions are also important. (High card strength means how big the cards are. Generally, how big both cards are matters, because if you pair, your other card will be your kicker. KQ is stronger than KJ among other reasons because a queen outkicks a jack. On a jack high board, KJ overtakes KQ though!)

We are going to talk a lot about equity. It's basically your "share" of the pot. It's how much you would expect to win against the range your opponent can have. Equity varies according to the cards on the board, and the range you think your opponent has, but when it comes to starting hands, we care a lot about "hot and cold equity". This is the chance you have of winning if you are all in with your opponent. So we say that AA has 83% equity hot and cold against 72. This means that if you are all in with 72 and you hold aces, you will win 83 times out of 100. (Actually, you may or may not. We are talking probability, so you expect to win 83 tims out of 100, but you can win 50/50 or 100/0 and that's quite possible. However, in poker we weigh our chances by strict probability, even though in principle we would need to play these hands out a million times to converge on our real expectation.

The point is that rankings of hands are less important to us than their equity against each other, and to a lesser extent how they play. Obviously, you can rank hands by their hot and cold equity. AA is the best hand, dominates all others and will win most of the time; 72 is the worst starting hand, will lose most of the time (but if the flop comes 752, the mighty aces are humbled). Learn that lesson: poker is situational. There is no best hand. AA is best preflop, but if you flop 772, AA is drawing to two outs against 72.

But we are thinking about preflop, and going back to our dimensions, high card strength is best. But you must remember that there is another dimension: hands can be made or drawing.

Pairs are by definition made hands. They have value purely by virtue of being pairs.

AK is a strong hand, but 22 beats it. (Hot and cold, 22 beats AKo, and the reason you rarely get it in with 22 is that you are uncertain that your opponent has AK or similar and not a pair.)

Suitedness helps. It adds a few percent to the equity for any hand. You shouldn't underrate the value of being suited, because many decisions will hinge on a percent or two either way, which makes a suited hand considerably stronger than its unsuited equivalent.

Connectedness also helps. 76 are connected. 76s are suited connectors. These hands are stronger than other rag hands because they can make straights with both cards together. Unconnected hands can only make straights with four on the board, which is not only rarer, but makes your hand obvious to opponents. If the board is showing 98652 and you're betting, you probably have a 7.

Heads up, most hands are won by the biggest pair. With experience, this will seem obvious, because you will play so many heads up hands in which no one has even a pair. But it means that AA is strong not only because it is the best starting hand, but also because it will "hold up" often and remain the best hand. (Indeed, like most pairs, it rather has to remain the best hand, because it only has two outs to improve).

So we are clear that AA, KK, QQ are excellent hands, and we can get it in with them fairly confidently.

And JJ and TT are very good starting hands. Sometimes, 99 is too. Remember, few hands start better, and even impressive-looking hands like AQ must catch up with it. At higher blinds, these pairs are all worth playing hard. Not so much early, for reasons I'll discuss when we talk about play at different blinds (in a nutshell, because if you get it in at low blinds, your opponent will tend to have a stronger hand than at higher blinds, because the pressure of blinds and the shorter table mean that he has "opened" his range somewhat--opening your range means to play more hands, and few players don't do that as the table gets "shorter"--has fewer players).

Other pairs have some value, and in early levels can make sets if they flop a mate. That happens about one in nine times, and if you can play cheaply, makes a decent way to try to get a big hand.

This is an important idea when you look at starting hands: you need to think about what hand you're aiming to make with it. Playing 44, you are looking to hit a set. With AA, you are hoping to get it in and watch your opponent hit nothing. Play AK and you are trying to flop an A or a K, to get TPTK. It's the ultimate "top pair hand", that is, a starting hand whose aim is to hit top pair and have that hold up.

These hands are viable because top pair wins most hands heads up. A word of caution though. If you don't raise AK/AQ, and sometimes you don't, and there's a crowd to the flop, TPTK will often be beaten when there's heavy action.

There are lots of ways to rank the starting hands, because they do differently against different ranges, and as I noted, some play better than others--AK is weaker than 22 all in, but you'd rather have it to start with, because if the board comes Q73, you will never think 22 is good, even though it sometimes will be, whereas you might bet AK. The chart here is pretty decent. I don't suggest trying to memorise it or anything, but it will help you to get a feel for what is strong and what isn't. Don't worry about the figures. We'll come to that soon.

One reason not to memorise the chart (apart from, obviously, that it's very hard to do so, and isn't necessary at this point) is that it's better to think about what's good and why.

Let's take a hand as an example. KJs. It's a very decent hand but why?

1. It has two high cards. A pair of kings will win many pots, particularly heads up, and a pair of jacks is also a decentish hand. King high will win some pots all in, but you must take care: it is behind all aces, even the worst of them.
2. It is suited. Suited cards make a flush 6.5% of the time. That's huge because a flush is a very strong hand, which you will just about always be willing to "stack off" (get your whole stack in) with.
3. It is connected. There is one gap between K and J, so we call it a onegap connector, or a suited onegapper. KT is a twogapper. K9 is a threegapper, which is as wide a gap as you can have and still make a straight on the flop. The fewer gaps, the better. KQ is better than KJ not just because it has higher cards, but because they are closer together. I'd consider JT and K9 to have about the same value, because what JT lacks in high card strength, it makes up for in connectedness.

Let's look at another hand, which many low-limit players overrate: ATo

1. It has some high card strength. The A is obviously as high as it gets, but in the early levels, the T is often a liability not a plus. Hit your ace and you have TP with a T kicker. Given that all your opponents will play the big aces, you can easily make a secondbest hand with it. You are generally happier with a middling ace to hit your kicker than the ace. AT is a stronger hand on a T high board than it is on an A high board.
2. It is not suited, so it will not make many flushes.
3. It is a threegapper, and you will rarely make a straight with it, not only because you need three particular cards to make it (with, say, KQ, you can make straights with AJT and T98, as well as fourcard straights). Those cards are all in the "playing zone" (cards that will often feature in your opponents' hands, because they are playable and you can expect them to be out there if you are "multiway" (more than two players taking the flop)--pretty much T to A).

A final note though. AT is not strong enough to play UTG early in the tourney, and you do not want to call raises with it either, but later in the game it becomes strong enough to play. Remember, hand strength is situational. Against eight other hands, AT may not be strong, but against two, it figures to be the best anyone has.

Dog of a hand

This is pretty incredible. I'm posting it just so that anyone reading this knows that I know I can be lucky too.

PokerStars Game #17165032972: Tournament #86987073, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2008/05/03 - 03:05:13 (ET)
Table '86987073 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 2: dmace16 (3758 in chips)
Seat 6: FR Vessant (2385 in chips)
Seat 7: bama63 (3611 in chips)
Seat 8: akBADseed (3746 in chips)
bama63: posts small blind 100
akBADseed: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ks Ac]
dmace16: folds
FR Vessant: raises 400 to 600

Pretty close to a shove with only 12BB, but these players have been very tight, so I'm not expecting to be called often. If they pick up a hand, they'll likely shove. And I'll call that.

bama63: calls 500

Okay, I'll tell you what he has up front. Kh9h.

So should he call? Fuck no. He's going to be playing king high out of position. It's suited, but I'm basically never paying off a flush unless the board also has an ace (note that he holds the K so any other flush isn't getting paid off). He's behind my entire range here. I've been very very tight, so he can't expect to see anything he beats here. At best I have a small pair and he might outflop me.

akBADseed: folds
*** FLOP *** [9c 9d Qd]

This is a decent flop for me, but it's one that I'd expect him to bet at automatically. He's decently aggressive postflop and I expect him to consider whatever he called with preflop to be ahead here or to be able to fold me out.

I am thinking, of course, that he's called with a pair, a big ace, KQ, maybe KJ. Paired flops are generally good for OOP players, because if he bets, I can't call with everything I raised with. Indeed, with the hand I actually did have, I will fold if he bets.

bama63: checks

Now that's odd. I had a feeling about his check and I went with the gut. Normally, you'd cbet here and expect to fold the other guy out.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with checking on this flop for him. I am incredibly unlikely to catch up with him because I'll never have a 9.

FR Vessant: checks
*** TURN *** [9c 9d Qd] [Kd]
bama63: checks

Should he check here? Probably. He has the full and this may well have hit my hand. If it hasn't, I'm not likely to call a bet.

FR Vessant: bets 600
bama63: calls 600

But this is awful. I am never folding AK here but when he calls, I'm worried because there are a few hands out there that beat me. KQ is solidly in his range, JT is possibly there. But he can have KJ too, maybe KT, and it's possible JJ/TT will call here too, although you'd have to think they'd bet the flop.

*** RIVER *** [9c 9d Qd Kd] [Kc]
bama63: checks

Crazy. He has to bet here. What if I have AA? Am I folding that? What if, unlikely as it might be, I have Q9 or T9? Those will be tough to fold.

FR Vessant: bets 800
bama63: calls 800
*** SHOW DOWN ***
FR Vessant: shows [Ks Ac] (a full house, Kings full of Nines)
bama63: shows [Kh 9h] (a full house, Kings full of Nines)

I was astonished when I saw his hand. That really was a huge suckout for me. Preflop was bad for me, because I should have shoved really, and he called a lot wider than I was expecting -- he actually loosened up a ton from here on in, calling a raise a few hands later with 52o. On the flop, I'm crushed. I was lucky he didn't bet, because I'm mostly folding unless it's very small. On the turn, I was both lucky and unlucky. Unlucky to catch up a bit, but lucky that it allowed the huge river suckout.


And having whined, here's the other side of the coin.

PokerStars Game #17164641564: Tournament #86987073, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2008/05/03 - 02:28:40 (ET)
Table '86987073 1' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: lilyannadwn (1545 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 2: dmace16 (2009 in chips)
Seat 4: xlntttt (1507 in chips)
Seat 5: DaTruth35 (1175 in chips)
Seat 6: FR Vessant (2055 in chips)
Seat 7: bama63 (1550 in chips)
Seat 8: akBADseed (2729 in chips)
Seat 9: Eyedread (930 in chips)
DaTruth35: posts small blind 25
FR Vessant: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [2h 6d]
bama63: folds
akBADseed: folds
Eyedread: calls 50
lilyannadwn: folds
dmace16: folds
xlntttt: folds
DaTruth35: folds
FR Vessant: checks
*** FLOP *** [3d 2s 6h]

Top and bottom pair is a decent hand but it tends to be overtaken, and it can be tough later in the hand to know where you are. So no slowplaying, just bet out and take it down.

FR Vessant: bets 100
Eyedread: raises 250 to 350

Well, okay. Maybe he has a set of 3s. He's fairly loose so 54s is not impossible. But you can't fold twopair here. He mostly has an overpair or top pair at best. Sometimes he will have 55/44; sometimes nothing at all.

FR Vessant: raises 1655 to 2005 and is all-in

So I shove.

Eyedread: calls 530 and is all-in

And he calls off the rest of his stack with 83s.

*** TURN *** [3d 2s 6h] [Kc]
*** RIVER *** [3d 2s 6h Kc] [7d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
FR Vessant: shows [2h 6d] (two pair, Sixes and Deuces)
Eyedread: shows [3s 8s] (a pair of Threes)

I half thought the 3 or 8 would come and make me cry, but this time my 5/1 favourite held up.

Limping cards just because they're suited is completely retarded. They rarely ever hit the flop hard enough to continue with, let alone get paid for the many many times you completely miss, and flushes are so obvious when you hit them that most players will not call big bets with them anyway. You end up needing a huge parlay to make anything out of 83s. And calling a shove with middle pair against someone who bet out in the first place is plain terrible. He is never ahead there, and he will very rarely catch up, even if I only have top pair. Which I don't. I'm pretty much never shoving top pair in that spot.

Please not a 6

Tendollar tourneys just aren't working out for me. This is a terrible table, full of very bad players, so I should make money.

PokerStars Game #17164225231: Tournament #86984081, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/05/03 - 01:54:51 (ET)
Table '86984081 1' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 2: dboy118111 (2305 in chips)
Seat 3: FR Vessant (2915 in chips)
Seat 5: Elbowman (1450 in chips)
Seat 6: Liminality (2980 in chips)
Seat 8: KW11 (690 in chips)
Seat 9: WazzleDazzle (3160 in chips)
dboy118111: posts small blind 50
FR Vessant: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [3d 4d]
Elbowman: folds
Liminality: folds
KW11: folds
WazzleDazzle: folds
dboy118111: calls 50
FR Vessant: checks

*** FLOP *** [5c 6d 3c]
dboy118111: bets 300
FR Vessant: calls 300

He probably has a 6. He can have a draw too. It's a fairly loose call, and in retrospect, I could easily have folded here.

*** TURN *** [5c 6d 3c] [3s]
dboy118111: bets 400
FR Vessant: raises 600 to 1000
dboy118111: calls 600

I almost certainly have the best hand here, and will need to be very unlucky to lose. I probably should have raised a bit more but I am putting him only on TP, which is making a mistake against this raise. Not that the hand he actually had isn't making one.

*** RIVER *** [5c 6d 3c 3s] [6s]

My heart just sank. I know I will be beaten, but the pot is so big I have to call a push in case he has an overpair or 44, which is possible.

dboy118111: bets 905 and is all-in
FR Vessant: calls 905
*** SHOW DOWN ***
dboy118111: shows [7d 6h] (a full house, Sixes full of Threes)
FR Vessant: shows [3d 4d] (a full house, Threes full of Sixes)

Well, I could have avoided the trouble by folding on the flop but meh. This time the guy had six outs to beat me, but by fuck, I could do with winning a few this week.


The thing is, over the long term, this is what theoretically makes you money: crap players get their money in way behind. Like the guy in a 6.5 who called a shove with K8s after limping. I had AJs. I should win that 63% of the time, and I probably do, but when the 37% coincides with your putting 90% of your stack in, and the 63% less valuable spots, you lose money even so.

The guy with six outs loses one time in 7.5. But that one time he pretty much stacks me, and the other 6.5 will be times when someone has six outs, misses and doesn't pay me a cent.

Sigh. If the river had been a 7, for instance, I would have stacked him, and likely been $50 better off. Given that my average profit from a tenner is two bucks, you can see that a $60 swing really hurts.

Two outs is more than enough

Same tourney. This is why my results have been so ordinary lately.

PokerStars Game #17158770334: Tournament #86955430, $6.00+$0.50 Hold'em No Limit - Level VIII (200/400) - 2008/05/02 - 20:51:36 (ET)
Table '86955430 1' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 2: FR Vessant (4750 in chips)
Seat 4: wittuz76 (2150 in chips)
Seat 5: ps1west (1298 in chips)
Seat 6: Beefy Lad (2455 in chips)
Seat 8: wellunger (670 in chips)
Seat 9: EVIL E2612 (2177 in chips)
FR Vessant: posts the ante 25
wittuz76: posts the ante 25
ps1west: posts the ante 25
Beefy Lad: posts the ante 25
wellunger: posts the ante 25
EVIL E2612: posts the ante 25
Beefy Lad: posts small blind 200
wellunger: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Qs Qc]
EVIL E2612: folds
FR Vessant: raises 4325 to 4725 and is all-in

No need for anything fancy. They're short enough to call with wide enough ranges to make inducing a shove unnecessary.

wittuz76: folds
ps1west: calls 1273 and is all-in

A terrible call. He has KJ.

Beefy Lad: folds
wellunger: calls 245 and is all-in

And so does he.

*** FLOP *** [2d 8d Jh]

Well that's not good but at least it's not a

*** TURN *** [2d 8d Jh] [Kc]

Oh dear.

I was a 4/1 favourite before the flop and nearly 6/1 after it.

But there's no lesson to be learned here. Bad players make bad calls and get lucky sometimes. Because they are taking bad odds, their luck will run out. And of course for both these guys it did run out.

I did learn something from this tourney though. I haven't been going well in the money, particularly heads up, and I got to HU with 3K. In a regular, the blinds are usually low enough for me to outplay the other guy. But I was card dead and panicked, calling a push for 3ishK with T9o. The other guy's QJ held up. The lesson learned is that you are going to feel a lot worse getting it in behind and realising you shouldn't have than you would if you made the right play and it didn't work out.

Bad bluff

Here's another fairly obviously bluff. Villain is loose and bad. I gained my stack with TT that hit a set and an AA hand in which AJ tried to push me off a KQx flop and then called my shove.

PokerStars Game #17158306532: Tournament #86955430, $6.00+$0.50 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/05/02 - 20:30:30 (ET)
Table '86955430 1' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: burschikos (1625 in chips)
Seat 2: FR Vessant (3525 in chips)
Seat 4: wittuz76 (1330 in chips)
Seat 5: ps1west (2310 in chips)
Seat 6: Beefy Lad (1340 in chips)
Seat 8: wellunger (570 in chips)
Seat 9: EVIL E2612 (2800 in chips)
burschikos: posts small blind 50
FR Vessant: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ac 2h]
wittuz76: folds
ps1west: calls 100
Beefy Lad: folds
wellunger: folds
EVIL E2612: folds
burschikos: folds
FR Vessant: checks

Just check with the raggy ace. Too deep to do anything else and I don't like raising OOP.

*** FLOP *** [8d Jc 2c]
FR Vessant: checks
ps1west: bets 100
FR Vessant: calls 100

I expect he has nothing here, so I peel and see what he does on the turn. Folding is okay, but I did pair and his minbet suggests he wasn't confident in his hand and just wanted to fold me out. I think I can play this hand quite well from here, because I'm putting him on a KT type hand.

*** TURN *** [8d Jc 2c] [As]
FR Vessant: checks
ps1west: checks

So I make two pair and I'm definitely best here in my view. I check, hoping he will fire again. But he doesn't. Well, he clearly doesn't have a better two pair here.

*** RIVER *** [8d Jc 2c As] [Js]
FR Vessant: bets 200

I decide to make some value out of my hand. I'm nearly always still best here and I hope to be called by 8x or a small pair that thinks I'm bluffing.

ps1west: raises 300 to 500

So he bluffs.

I simply do not put him on a jack because his flop bet was so weak, nor an ace, because he checked behind the turn. I could sometimes be beaten by Jx here, or by A9+, but I very much doubt it. I think he has 8x and doesn't put me on the ace or possibly a small pair that thinks that I'm bluffing the riv.

FR Vessant: calls 300
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ps1west: shows [3h 3d] (two pair, Jacks and Threes)

I wouldn't have turned this hand into a bluff on the river. I may be bluffing, but I may also have something with some value (which of course I did). He could show his hand down for 200 and that will get value from bluffs. The way he played it, I need to be bluffing pretty often to make him good.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Calling station

Here's some high-variance play that I don't recommend.

I have a strong read on jawilmes. He's a LAGgy, not very smart player, and I've picked a few things up while watching this tourney.

Full Tilt Poker Game #6244268587: $6 + $0.50 Sit & Go (Turbo) (47526848), Table 1 - 150/300 - No Limit Hold'em - 2:39:27 ET - 2008/05/01
Seat 1: basatagirl (3,000)
Seat 4: Jamarekk (1,566)
Seat 7: PisquitoSour (4,676)
Seat 8: jawilmes (4,258)
jawilmes posts the small blind of 150
basatagirl posts the big blind of 300
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to basatagirl [Jh Ts]
Jamarekk folds
PisquitoSour folds
jawilmes raises to 600
basatagirl calls 300

I call because his minraise means one of two things: he's "trapping" with what he thinks is a decent hand, or he's noticed I'm playing tight and wants to win the blinds cheaply.

Mostly, it's the second. So I call the minraise. I'll fold if I don't like the action on the flop. Against a more straightforward player, the call is much tougher.

*** FLOP *** [5s Qd Th]
jawilmes bets 600
basatagirl calls 600

I'm pretty sure my hand is good here. When he has something, he's been betting decent amounts. This smells a lot like a bluff. I'm certainly not folding middle pair without strong reason to think I'm losing.

*** TURN *** [5s Qd Th] [Ac]
jawilmes checks
basatagirl checks

He confirms he was bluffing by checking the turn. I still want to check it down though, because my hand has value at showdown that can be lost if he pushes and bluffs me off it. On many river cards, I'm going to be happy to call a bet.

*** RIVER *** [5s Qd Th Ac] [Ad]
jawilmes bets 900
basatagirl calls 900

That's a terrible card to bluff with. If he wasn't confident on the turn, he can't be now. It's conceivable that he has Qx and was scared by the ace on the turn, but it's much more likely he had nothing. He thinks I don't have an ace (didn't bet turn) and could have paired the flop or begun with a small pair. This is not a good spot for a bluff though, because his story is just not credible for his kind of player.

This is why. If he was a tight player who I thought had a clue, his bet would look like a value bet. IOW, I'd likely read it as a smallish bet from a player with a decent queen, who figured that I might have that pair or a weak queen, and would possibly pay off a small bet. It's called a "value" bet because you attempt to get value for your hand the times it is better than your opponent's, which you figure it will often be. What you don't want to happen is to let me show down cheaply if I would pay for the privilege. But you don't put in too large a bet, because you want to be called.

But this guy has no concept of a value bet. If he has it, he bets it hard. He doesn't think what I might have. All he can see is his own hands. He is trying to steal the pot cheaply.

You should often play very weakly postflop in STTs, but here I had a clear read and the betting indicated a bluff very strongly. So I snapped it off:

*** SHOW DOWN ***
jawilmes shows [8d 4d] a pair of Aces

I don't recommend that a beginner plays this way. In an STT, you need to play tightly because of ICM and I often fold when I'm reasonably sure the other guy is bluffing because the chips will really hurt to lose. But when your experience allows you to read a player well, sometimes you need to call it down when you know you're good.

How not to check it down

Here is how not to check it down.

Full Tilt Poker Game #6243960089: $6 + $0.50 Sit & Go (Turbo) (47524616), Table 1 - 120/240 - No Limit Hold'em - 1:58:16 ET - 2008/05/01
Seat 1: LDCrayne (660)
Seat 3: JDaGr8 (4,070)
Seat 4: mikesworld (5,870)
Seat 5: basatagirl (2,900)
basatagirl posts the small blind of 120
LDCrayne posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to basatagirl [Kh 6h]
JDaGr8 folds
mikesworld has 15 seconds left to act
mikesworld calls 240
basatagirl calls 120

I just call because I'm hoping shorty will push and we'll check it down and knock him out.

LDCrayne raises to 660, and is all in
mikesworld calls 420
basatagirl calls 420

So I call and obv. so does the other guy. He seems to have understood not to a/ bet me out of the pot first time round and b/ shove and make me fold after the other guy pushes.

*** FLOP *** [Kd 2c Qs]

I have top pair but I don't bet. The big stack has shown every sign of being retarded, and I'd hate for him to push and make me fold.

But truth is, even if he did, I could call, because I'd need to be super unlucky to bubble.

Anyway, I don't mind checking it down. Just in case allin guy has KT and the other guy would have made two pair on the turn or river.

basatagirl checks
mikesworld checks
*** TURN *** [Kd 2c Qs] [7h]
basatagirl checks
mikesworld has 15 seconds left to act
mikesworld checks

But really, thinking about it. I'd need allin guy to have K7 and retard to have Q2, or some similar parlay, to bubble. Remember, if bigstack beats us both, I come third because I started with more chips. Still, best not to fold the other guy out, just in case.

*** RIVER *** [Kd 2c Qs 7h] [Qd]
basatagirl checks
mikesworld bets 960
basatagirl folds

So he has to have a queen, right?

Uncalled bet of 960 returned to mikesworld
*** SHOW DOWN ***
mikesworld shows [Ac Td] a pair of Queens


He bet me out of the sidepot with no pair.

I mean, wtf? Did he think that I call with a worse hand? Does he think, hmmm, if I fold out a better hand, I'll be ahead of the other guy and win? Well, he must.

LDCrayne shows [As 2h] two pair, Queens and Twos

But he doesn't beat him.

And I went on to bubble. In a just universe, the retard would have bubbled himself. And he nearly did. But he sucked out on the key hand, and finally sucked out on me when I pushed over a SB limp with 33 and his QJ caught a J.