Saturday, 31 January 2009

January results and February goal

So another month passes, and it's the same story: nothing like enough volume, but pretty successful for what I did.

I played 132 $10ers at 13.4%, which is a bit below expectation imo, but I didn't run very well at the end of the month. I'm also still not winning my fair share, so I need to look at my ITM play. I think I'm a bit tight with four and five players, so that I am always way too shortstacked ITM. I also mixed in ten $20ers at 22.7%. That's obviously a bit on the hot side, but they don't seem much tougher than the $10ers, and I'll be moving up permanently soon. I played 40 $16s at 3.4%. I really need a good run a the 16s. A couple of hundred games of runhot and I'll break 0 and start to feel good about them. I confess to using Juk's luck analyser, which shows that I'm running pretty badly, and I feel the cards have not broken for me at all: I haven't had my expectation of big cards, and what Juk doesn't show is the bad luck of having AQ on the button and running it into BB's AK, or getting outpaired preflop.

I also played 19 $10.40 double or nothings, which I don't count as STTs. I cashed in 12. I played 16 of them in one set, and it wasn't too hard. That's probably not sustainable, unfortunately. If it was, I'd be a professsional double or nothing player.

I did put in some work with Wiz. Maybe a bit short of what I wanted, but it was helpful. My goal for next month is to do three hours of poker activity a day, mostly study. I won't set a volume goal because that will come. I plan to study a lot now and then shift the balance when I feel I have acquired the skills I need. And I mean real study. Fucking about on the web won't count.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Thinking about Gigabet

Thinking it through, I think Gigabet's theory is correct, and experience leads any thinking player to similar ideas.

What does it mean, practically? Among other things, if you have a 1.3K stack at t150, BB has 1800 and the median is about 1.2K, you can and should pass some +EV spots, but if his stack is 800, you can and should take some -EV spots.

This is probably obvious to anyone who gets it, and anyone who doesn't will think it's totally wrong. But I think that, at least in games where players are reasonably unwilling to gamble it up, it's very true.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Some hands

Just for my own enjoyment, I kept a few hands from the past few days. I'm going to post them so that when I look back in a few years, I'll remember how easily pleased I was.

I think villain in this hand had been quite aggro, although we hadn't played many hands. My decision to flat with AK is a bit questionable but I prefer just to call if a/ I'm against someone who seems to have a tight raising range, b/ it's still very early so it will be hard to get it all in, and c/ I am out of position. Note that his bet is quite big. Vs a standard raise, I can pop it up to 180 and the pot is still small enough to get away from easily.

Poker Stars $10+$1 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t10/t20 Blinds - 9 players

The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: t1500

Hero (SB): t1500

BB: t1500

UTG: t1500

UTG+1: t1500

UTG+2: t1500

MP1: t1500

MP2: t1500

CO: t1500

Pre Flop: (t30) Hero is SB with A K

2 folds, UTG+2 calls t20, 1 fold, MP2 raises to t120, 2 folds, Hero calls t110

So I flat here with AK for the reasons I gave. I don't know whether this is a good or a bad play, but the downside of repopping should be apparent. Say I make it 350 to go. The pot will be 700ish and I'll miss the flop 2/3 times. I then have to cbet and if he calls or raises, I'm down a lot of chips and the pot's looking too big to fold, yet I won't be getting a good price when I'm behind.

Of course, the 1/3 time I hit, I wish I had threebet, because now I can win a bigger pot, and the times he has AQ and we flop it A high, it will be easy to get it in.

So I prefer to keep the risk down to the minimum, although I accept that I will gain less reward by doing that.

1 fold, UTG+2 calls t100

There is no hand, none whatsoever, that can justify this play. You basically shouldn't ever limp/call for 6BB at this level. If UTG+2 had a big hand, AA or KK, he should now reraise. Sure, we are liable to believe he has a big hand and we might then fold, but that's okay. He gets to take down the pot risk free. And it's perfectly possible we'll have hands we're prouder of, or are stupid, and will get it in with him.

But probably this guy has some shit like KJ or AT that he should have folded in the first place.

Flop: (t380) 6 9 5 (3 players)

That's the definition of a nothing flop. There are a couple of draws out there, but it mostly missed even a LAG's raising range.

Hero checks, UTG+2 checks, MP2 bets t120

That's a rather odd bet. It's less than 1/3 of the pot. It tells me he doesn't have anything. Why?

MP2 made a decent raise preflop and got called in two places. The likeliest calling hands for that raise are pocket pairs and broadway hands. Not everyone in a $10 will fold KQ on this flop for 1/2 of the pot, and almost no one will fold a hand like 77.

See what I'm saying? If you don't expect folds for 1/2 the pot, why are you betting 1/3 the pot with your JJ or A9 or whatever hand you're repping here? He's not betting much, so if he has a value hand, I'd expect him to bet more. This looks to me like what I'd call a "please fold" bet. He has the button, and when it's checked to him, bets like he's supposed to.

Also, and I think this was an important factor for me, he raised to 6x pre. That's not really a raise you want or expect to be called. Many bad players bet like this. If he raises to 3x, which is a bit small, his range is slightly weighted to stronger hands. Raising too much weights it to weaker ones. You know the idea, because at some point in your poker career, you will have done the same. You pick up JJ UTG and raise it 5x, because you don't really want callers because we all hate hooks, right? It's a bad idea but it's very common.

Usually, I play this weakly and fold, but taking my read and the 4/1 odds, I decide to peel.

Hero calls t120, UTG+2 folds

Turn: (t620) 9 (2 players)

This card doesn't change anything. I am still in the same place as I was on the flop.

Hero checks, MP2 bets t200

Again, 1/3 of the pot. I don't think he has a 9 for a couple of reasons. First, I think he bets a 9 harder on the flop, because it's pretty vulnerable but he'd want to get it in with a hand like mine, should I think I can push him off it. Second, there aren't many 9s in his raising range: if we give him A9/K9/T9s and 99, he can't have it very often -- I cut the combos of A9 and K9, 99 would require all four 9s to be in play, and T9s is only likely to be in his raising range if he plays a lot of cash and has forgotten that we're only 75BB deep or doesn't understand cash concepts very well. Hands like Q9/J9 aren't impossible but you can't give them much weight in an unknown's range.

I also don't think he has an overpair. If he did, why would he bet so small against a willing caller? It is possible he's "milking" AA here, as some players do, but more aggro types will tend to push better hands hard, because they are at least aware that they must use their image to get value from big hands. It's usually the passive types who minbet their sets and flopped flushes at you.

It's important to note that I'm getting 4/1 here again. I'm about 6.7/1 to hit a pair, which may or may not be good. So I'm not calling with the odds here. I'm calling because I think he is FOS often and I am taking the odds for the times he isn't. I'd say that I misread him no more than half the time, probably less.

Hero calls t200

River: (t1020) 4 (2 players)

That's a slightly scary river, but probably more for him than for me, because many players will call all the way with the flush draw. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to a bet. If he'd bet like 300, hmmm, that would have been really tough.

Hero checks, MP2 checks

But he didn't bet. Whatever he believed I had, he decided I wouldn't fold it.

Final Pot: t1020

Hero shows A K (a pair of Nines)

MP2 mucks K J

And I was right that he didn't have much. His raise preflop is obviously a mistake. KJ is a trash hand in the early levels of an STT, and I think you should always fold it in his position (and just about any other -- I don't play KJ even from the button at t20). The blinds aren't worth stealing, even with a limp sweetening the pot. I don't mind that he cbets the flop, but he should have bet more. If he had, I would have folded. Double-barrelling is not a bad idea most of the time, although probably not on that board, and definitely not so little. Say I have 77. Why would I fold on the turn for a bet not much bigger than the one you put in on the flop? My hand hasn't become any worse on the turn.


This is from later in the same game. I think I saved it because it illustrates a couple of points for me and because I wasn't sure about the river. I think my play is right for the reasons I give, but I'm not at all certain.

Poker Stars $10+$1 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t25/t50 Blinds - 6 players

The Official Hand History Converter

SB: t5520

Hero (BB): t2165

UTG: t2440

MP: t1665

CO: t1000

BTN: t710

Pre Flop: (t75) Hero is BB with 7 7

Nice hand to have in the BB.

UTG calls t50

This guy is terrible. I can't remember his stats exactly but he's running something like 30/10. He will bluff in all the wrong places, slowplays when he's strong, calls far too light. I've actually played him a couple of times, and he's been LOL bad each time.

3 folds, SB calls t25

But compared with this guy, he's a genius. If I tell you that in this spot, his range would be ATC, you get the idea. He's the kind of guy they invented the word "fish" for: constantly limping, calling down with any piece and sometimes no piece at all, no idea of his hand strength and no concept of relativity with others'.

Hero checks

In many types of game, you could raise here. My hand is likely to be best. Against their ranges, it's in great shape. However, I'm relatively unlikely to make them both fold, and will have to cbet OOP, which is not going to be fun on a lot of boards. So I'd rather take a passive line and see what happens.

Flop: (t150) 8 8 6 (3 players)

Well, I'm very likely ahead on this board. However, UTG can easily have 98/87 or even T8/86, and SB can have anything. But I'm going to take some convincing to fold here. On a board with a paired top pair, a pair one notch below TP is pretty much the nuts imo.

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets t100

Well, that's not going to convince me.

SB folds, Hero calls t100

So I can be behind here, but let's face it, he can have a very wide range of hands and I beat most of it. He has the button and it was checked to him, so he could conceivably -- more than conceivably, very likely -- bet his entire range. he legitimate things he can have include 97, a 6, a pocket pair (although not likely a bigger one than mine because I can't see him limping 99+ too often and excluding flopped quads from a guy's range is not too risky in poker).

Turn: (t350) K (2 players)

That's not a great card for me because it hits some of his range. He has a few kings in there. AK/KQ he probably raises, but KJ/KT/K9 are all possible. I'm not horribly afraid, and in an MTT would not fold to a bet very often, but I am probably going to have to fold here if he puts in a big bet. If he bets 200 or so, I will likely call though.

Hero checks, UTG checks

Well, I'm pretty much sure to be ahead here. He's not liable to be good enough at thinking about poker to induce a bluff here.

Which would not be a terrible idea, and here's why. If he's been at all observant, he'll have noticed that I'm quite tight. I've rarely continued after the flop, particularly when in the blinds. So my range is quite narrow here: I probably have some sort of pair, possibly a draw and maybe a few overcards (but not many -- actually none, because I would routinely have folded them on that flop).

So if he has a king, and bets the turn, I'm folding most of that. I am not all that likely to call with a small pair unless he bets on the small side. But when he checks, I'm thinking that my pair is certainly ahead, and I am quite likely to bet for value on the river. Worst case, I check and call a bet there, so he makes some value from his king. I'm also likely to fold draws to a bet here, and might bluff with them on the river.

So checking a king behind could be a decent play here. I think that recognising this spot has been good for me, because I should try this approachin spots like this where I have cbet with AK, been called, then hit the K, where I usually bet for value, but could maybe more profitably check and then get the value on the river. The draws are reasonably unlikely on this board, so checking top pair behind is not overly risky, and you definitely don't get as many calls as you'd like if you just fire it into them.

River: (t350) A (2 players)

Suddenly, my plan to vbet the river has gone out of the window. It's not that I'm scared of the ace, but that he will be.

At the river, he has, I think, mostly three types of hands:
1. Aces that just got lucky
2. Draws that missed
3. Pairs worse than mine

If I bet, (1) is calling or raising, (2) just folds, and (3), fearing that I have an ace, will largely fold.

If I check, (1) is betting of course, but it's possible that (2) and (3) might bluff.

But I'm not sure. Whether to vbet here depends on how many pairs you think he has and how often you think he calls.

Hero checks, UTG checks

Final Pot: t350

Hero shows 7 7 (two pair, Eights and Sevens)

UTG mucks 5 6

Does he call with that if I bet the river, say, 150? I'm not sure. I don't think so because he has to ask himself what I can have on the river that I called the flop with. If I was a looser player, it's vaguely possible I could have QJ/QT and now I'm bluffing; or I could have 44 or something.

This guy might call though. He was very bad, and he has a pair. So I don't know.


This hand I had no idea and still don't. Villain is one of those players who is aggro in about the right measure but plays way too many hands (about 20/15, 19/13 or something like that). We've played a few times so I think he knows I'm tight.

Poker Stars $10+$1 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t25/t50 Blinds - 7 players

The Official Hand History Converter

SB: t1755

Hero (BB): t1565

UTG: t1675

UTG+1: t2840

MP: t1355

CO: t1330

BTN: t2980

Pre Flop: (t75) Hero is BB with T A

5 folds, SB raises to t150

I think he has a wideish range here, but I couldn't be specific. I don't recall seeing this move before. I'd expect him to raise with most broadways, most pairs, most aces though.

So I'm ahead of his range and I think he thinks I am tight and he expects me to fold mostly.

I'm not at all sure what my best play is here. I hate to fold because my hand very much figures to be best, but calling doesn't make much appeal, although I will have position, because I will be folding the best hand a lot when he cbets, and I can be sure he will. If the blinds were higher, I'd shove over without worrying too much about it, but we're a bit too deep for that. In this spot, I think he will fold everything I beat to a shove, and call with everything I'm losing to. Well, there's a lot more of the former than the latter, so maybe shoving was better than what I chose to do, and maybe not.

OTOH, I'm repping a hand at least as strong as I have by repopping him. Now he should still fold everything I beat and should only call/shove the hands that beat me. He's not a complete idiot. I can't imagine he would think A9 is good here when I repop him.

Hero raises to t400

So I repop him...

SB raises to t1755 all in


1 fold

I really don't think I'm ahead of his 4bet range at all. I suspect I ran into a very strong hand. I don't know how it plays out if he just calls and I whiff the flop. Say it goes check-check on the flop, does he bet his whole range on the turn? Meh.

I'll have to think more about it. I'm sure that if I can think my way through this sort of hand, I will be a stronger player, but I'm not at all sure what to think about it.

Stop at eight

So maybe mass-multitabling the 10ers isn't working for me? I played a set of four while doing the dishwashing for 63%, then 26 in a set of 17 and five replacements, and lost a hundred bucks. Since then I've eighttabled three sets and played a couple while working for 40%.

It seems pretty incredible that I should coincidentally run hot when I play fewer tables and cold when I play more, but I think that's what happened. Still, I think I'll stick to eight-tabling for now, and add extras more slowly.

You called with what though? redux

How bad are the players in a Saturday night 4/180?

This bad. No further comment is needed:

Poker Stars $4.00+$0.40 No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t15/t30 Blinds - 9 players

The Official Hand History Converter

SB: t215

BB: t6485

UTG: t4135

UTG+1: t1155

Hero (UTG+2): t1140

MP1: t4095

MP2: t9270

CO: t1175

BTN: t2615

Pre Flop: (t45) Hero is UTG+2 with A Q

UTG calls t30, 1 fold, Hero raises to t120, 4 folds, SB raises to t215 all in, 1 fold, UTG calls t185, Hero raises to t1140 all in, UTG calls t925

Flop: (t2525) T 6 J (3 players - 2 are all in)

Turn: (t2525) 3 (3 players - 2 are all in)

River: (t2525) 2 (3 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: t2525

SB shows J 6 (two pair, Jacks and Sixes)

UTG shows 7 T (a pair of Tens)

Hero shows A Q (high card Ace)

UTG wins t1850

SB wins t675