Poker Time

I’d love to tell you all that now I’m fully recovered from the 2 days of rock madness I can begin concentrating on the poker, but the fact is, I’m still dehydrated, got a few interesting bruises, and most of my muscles are killing me. BUT, I did get in some poker 😉

After waking up at 2pm and watching Europes magnificent Ryder Cup Golf comeback (Get in there!!), I went over to the MGM to play in a $1/$2 game. I was surprised by the 100,000 or so 14 year old girls around the place (it is a casino afterall..) – The Justin Bieber shirts seemed to be part of the explanation as to why. What concerned me was all the groups of guys attending together also wearing Bieber fan stuff… I wanted to understand how a bunch of 20+ year olds realised they all loved Justin Bieber and wanted to go to Vegas to see him live… Interesting.

Anyway, back to the poker. So I did 2 sessions today. The first one was at about 5pm and lasted 4 hours 30 mins ish. I made a healthy $117 which averages at around $25 per hour. Certainly less than I’m aiming for, but the game was very tight aggressive with the lack of drunks around at that time… The only money to be won was from the odd bluff, as most times when you’re in a big pot in that type of game, you’re behind!

Seeing as it was a bit tough and a bit boring, plus the impact of the past 2 days of rocking out, I ended up pretty exhausted so decided to head back, take an hour to relax, freshen up, and then head up North to Caesers to see what was going on there…

There was a 1/3 game going with some pretty big stacks. After sitting down I quickly realised why.. It should have been a 2/5 game rather than a 1/3 with an average of 6 straddles per round including button straddles. The average raise to 15 would regularly get 4 callers. To my direct left, a super loose passive player who kept hitting his draws. When I had an overpair on the board, he called me down with a house. Then opposite me, a loose aggressive guy who had been caught making $150 bluffs with high cards when someone had raised to $20 as a continuation bet. Yup, the time I had top pair top kicker, he had an overpair to the board…. So I got stacked!

All in all, down just under $180 for the day. I don’t think I’ve played badly though – In over 7 hours of poker, the only hand I caught better than a pair was one set on a horrible flop… There’s not much anyone can do with that! Hopefully some variance will shine tomorrow and I might hit a few flops. Vegas is the type of game where when you hit your hand, you can bet for value all day long and get paid off. The issue is, you need to hit the hand first!

I’ll leave you with a couple of interesting hands:

I have AK in the small blind. Mid position raises to 10. Cut off calls. Both players TAG with around $150. I call with AK off-suit. Flop comes down K55 rainbow. I check, SB continuation bets 20 and the cut-off calls so I happily follow. Turn Q. Checked round. River 4. I check, mid checks, cutoff makes it 40. I call. He has A5 for the trips on the flop. I’m not super happy about how I played this hand as I was the passive one the entire way through and out of position. I feel like I should have 3-bet pre-flop which would have most likely won the pot right there and then.. Once the flop comes down, I didn’t want to bet out or check/raise and create a huge pot with just my pair which is the reason why I became a bit more passive. The mistake was calling the river, as the only thing I was beating was an out-right bluff which based on the player type, wasn’t likely. My concern for the pre-flop 3 bet was getting 2 callers and being out of position… If that happened, I would have ended up losing my stack on that flop. Especially as players were more passive pre-flop and then turned TAG after the first 3 cards… Hmm. Well, one to discuss further!

On the flip side, the only Vegas local at the table who seemed to act like he was a decent 1/2 player (left with a stack of 800ish), fed me a load of chips for no reason what-so-ever. I’m still perplexed as to why he played the hand the way he did. My thinking is either, he’s actually one of these common players that think they’re good, but they’re actually gamblers (he did talk about equity though). Or alternatively, he got bored. I was sitting with AQ suited in late position and this guy (lets call him Villain) who is under the gun limps. Folded round to me and I raise it up to $10. Small blind, big blind and Villain all call (remember what I said about passive pre-flop? Sigh!). Anyway, I completely miss the flop which is 862 with 2 hearts. It’s checked round to me, and the general playing style means that if no one has an 8, it’s an easy pot to bluff, so I bet out $25 into it. Small and Big blind both instantly fold but then it comes to Villain who, like I said, seems to consider himself a great player. He calls my bet. Turn comes K of diamonds. Villain checks, so at this point I figure he simply called my flop bet thinking I was just bluffing/continuation betting and wanted to see if I’d give it up on the turn. I thought it was a great turn card though for my line… If he did think I was bluffing my flop bet with AK or KQ, then that turn could have suddenly put me ahead and any future bet looks like a value one. Based on this thinking I bet 45 which I think is low enough to look like a value bet, but high enough to give incorrect odds for someone chasing a draw. He calls me. So at this point I’m thinking “shit”. The only thing I’m beating that’s just called me is a draw, but in reality, I put the guy on something strong right now. K8, 86, 22, 66 are all within the range of the way he played this hand. K8 maybe the most unlikely due to the pre-flop limp, but the rest certainly. River comes a J of diamonds. villain checks so I check behind. Villain announces he missed and mucks his hand. I don’t have to show mine and I win a pretty big pot.

I’m still confused by the hand. I did not put him on a draw and don’t know whether it was a straight, flush or both. If it was both, he should have raised my flop bet without a doubt, and if it was only one, his call was incorrect which is why I didn’t put him on that. Did I play the hand profitably? I think so! I think in most cases, that line wins on the turn against a very TAG player unless villain has a K. I wouldn’t have considered that turn bet if Villain was passive, but in this case, he can only play back at me if he has a monster…

That’s it for now. Catch you all later!

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2 thoughts on “Poker Time”

  1. The AK was definitely a 3b pre flop.  Just like you said, you’re OOP on the hand.  We don’t really want to play OOP, we have a very strong holding, AK, so 3b to $40 (POT IT!).  As played (calling pre flop) you should check/call down.  On a dry flop like K55r, you’re obviously either WA/WB.  We need to check/call because we cannot expect weaker hands to call our bets/raises (especially w/o pre flop betting lead).  I don’t know what you’re going on about saying you’re only beating a bluff by the river.  That’s ridiculous.  Kx’s.  Okay, turn isn’t helpful because we’re losing to KQ, but we’re still beating a lot of Kx.  You have to call as played.  We know the flop bet was a c-bet as does the CO, so he could be betting a ton of Kx combinations for value by the river.  LOL he flopped trips and checked back on the turn after you OVERCALLED the flop.  That’s pits.
    On the 862hhx flop, I don’t get your flop logic at all.  You’re treating it like a dry flop when checked to OTB, that only 8x will call you, untrue.  XXhh and 97 and 75 all connect with this board, obviously 86 being another common speculative holding but at this point that’s a made hand not draw.  I’m usually checking back in this spot.  You are in a pot v. 3 other people.  Sure they all checked to you, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t hit the flop.  I think the flop is too wet to cbet, I’d check back here and when the Ko rolls off on the turn and everyone checks to me a 2nd time, then we can go ahead and bluff at the pot.  Now we’ve removed a street of betting, the draws have all bricked out and only have 1 more pull at it, so we can really slash odds, and you cannot tell me this line doesn’t look like AK.  Raise pre flop + check back flop UI (everyone is already thinking you have AK when you check back flop, it’s what they always assume) + bet turn = AK = TPTK.
    I don’t get why you’re giving this guy credit.  A good player would never announce themselves as a good player at the table.  You know that.  $800 at a 1/2 game?  Those are chirping chips.  You’re correct, if he was on a draw (and he was) then he played it terribly.  If he actually did have a combo draw: FD+SD, he should be k/r’ing flop and trying to play for stacks IMO.  If he just has a FD, he might want to donk bet flop into you or k/r when the blinds fold out (if blinds call and he has nut flush draw, there is just no need to be raising people out of the pot with a draw to the nuts and should just call).
    I think just checking back the river is fine.  You’re beating all busted draws and you’re not moving him off Kxhh for example.  You know there’s SD value in well.. you have the nut no pair here.  It’s nice you didn’t have to show for your image.  I think you should reexamine the flop, it’s just not as bluffable as you think.  T52r, now that’s a flop where unless they have Tx they’re folding.

  2. On the AK that’s exactly right. I didn’t want to play OOP but I knew at that point I would be unless I overbet the pre-flop 3-bet which I didn’t like either. I think in a normal session I would be 3-betting there, but my other line of thinking was that I didn’t want to get in a big pot OOP with AK either against those 2 players. Not an excuse though -- The 3-bet is definitely the correct play in that position everytime as you said.
    Definitely no one is calling a check/raise with a weaker hand, and I *hate* donking but at the same time, fish don’t know what that means and had I donked 50% of the pot, I do reckon I would have had KQ/KJ or some pocket pairs such as QQ/JJ/TT calling knowing Vegas players. 
    I think it was the player type that gave me the read of being beaten. When I called, I justified it to myself the way you just did (KX etc…), but in reality, we need to remember the main rule in Vegas which is, if the player isn’t a good one, a call means they’re behind, and a bet means they’re ahead on the river in 99% of the situations. This is a good example. As TAG I couldn’t see him calling pre flop with a low kicker to the king, meaning the worst K he could have had was KJ, -- Thus there are a LOT more hands beating me there than I’m beating. I think based on the player type of who he was and how he’d been playing, and my read, I think the call was incorrect and I’m losing there well over 50% of the time..
    And yeh -- He played the trips awfully -- I was lucky to come away with a small loss in that hand. Had I have played correctly and 3-bet, I think I would have ended up losing a heck of a lot more as I imagine he’d call me down 3 streets too ha!!!
    With the 862hhx flop, this was an INCREDIBLY tight passive game at the MGM which is why I switched to the V. I mean, people were folding flush and straight draws to pot bets all day long in this game. It was tight as hell (reminds me of games back in England). I do pick some pretty bad times to throw in a c-bet, but it was a regular working tool at this particular table due to the tight nature. 
    He didn’t announce himself as a good player exactly but certainly acted like it I guess which gave away mixed signals due to what you said. I guess my line gave away AK but it I  think it gives away a lot more hands than just AK as well. I mean, I would have played that line exactly the same with any pocket pair 8 or higher, a set etc.. AK isn’t the worst of my range (he may have put me on a draw as well and hoping for some sort of card to bluff me on which didn’t hit), but there are certainly a lot of very very strong hands. I agree with you though he definitely played the hand terribly either way. He didn’t have the implied odds to justify the call with the draw, but I would have much preferred a bet on the flop due to the fold equity he had as well as showdown equity (and the fact it acts as a defensive bet where he can give himself better odds!). 3 reasons why he should have bet a draw on the turn rather than check/call a bet. He gets better implied odds if I raise his bet rather than if he check/calls?
    I agree that flop is never bluffable in a normal Vegas game. If we went back in time to that same table tough, I would say it was more bluffable than a usual game just due to the nature of the players in the hand. However, I understand it was well connected and suited thus very wet yes. 
    What confused me the most was how he changed his style in that one hand. It was the first time I’d seen him passive the entire game ha.

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