Wednesday, December 1, 2004

The Marketplace of Ideas, WPBT Update, and More

Several things in this post. If you want to skip the hand history, just scroll down a little... I've bolded the sections to make it easier to read.


A Hand History Adventure, Part Deux
Well folks, I put the challenge out there and you sure did respond. A few days ago, I posted a hand where I misplayed 88 and still managed to win a large pot. I want to start by noting that my self-analysis of the hand left a lot to be desired. Input from several readers, and one well respected 2+2 poster has given me much more to think about, and I hope its ok to post some of your comments here for all to share. Of course none of this would be possible without the Internet and its ability to open lines of debate across regions, states, cities, continents. We do live in an amazing time!

So to recap the hand, I limp/call with 88 in MP in a Party 2/4 game. The flop comes down 953, two diamonds (I'm holding the 8d). I make a loose PF call/call combo, and then catch runner-runner to beat a rivered set, and probably some overpairs. The results aren't important: the process behind the decision making on each street is. Cutting to the chase, one reader says he'd fold pre-flop:

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"Call me tight but I would seriously have thought twice about going with this hand. I might have still played it but I wouldn't have liked it. :-) Pocket eights out of position with 5 players and a bet coming from my right from the guy who wasn't the pre-flop raiser."

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I have to disagree, as 88 is very profitably from any position for one or two bets in a loose, passive game (which fit my table at the time perfectly). I don't even mind that it gets raised behind me. I'm getting 7:1 when it comes back around to me pre-flop, more than enough to draw to a set. Folding after its raised would be a disaster, but folding initially might be a little better. Nonetheless, I've got to go with my gut on the pre-flop play and say its SOP.

The flop was where it all got effed up, and here's one poster's view from 2+2:

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"I think every street here is debateable.

Your first decision is really the crossroads of this hand. you're either going to play, or go all out by assuming your hand is good and thus protecting it. as a result, calling is unacceptable. you have 3 people to act behind you, holding only a pair of 8s in a reasonably sized pot. you don't have much of a backdoor draw and it's very reasonable to expect MP1 to be holding a 9. it's unlikely he's betting with a smaller pair, so he's either got you drawing to 2 outs, or he has a flush draw. again, since there are all those people behind you, I'd muck it. since you decided to play, you have to raise it. the CO's raise doesn't mean all that much from this spot, and you're getting great implied odds thanks to the CO, so you can make that second call

turn: BB, the PFR, comes out firing into all that action. what the hell is going on? no real draws came out. this screams overpair to me. I now start to think that maybe he checked the flop with the intention of check raising, but when it got raised he got scared. now he wants to see where he's at, so he bets. you're immediately getting 12-1 on your 4 or 6 outer. it seems nice, but you have a LAG behind you who has already shown aggression. the BB is obviously scared and MP1 now seems to be drawing or holding on to his 9 for dear life, so you're going to be getting 15-2 just about every time here. if we gave you 5 outs plus implied odds, that's cutting it close. you'll probably have to bet out on the river if you hit anything so you can expect to get 2 or 3 BB on the river. that gives you about 9-1 on your 5 outer, so it's really close

river: the river is close. since we're putting BB squarely on an overpair, it's questionable whether he comes along. given MP1's flop bet, he's either got a 4 or an 8 with a flush draw, 64s, or 98s. any of these are possible, but given the flop bet, we know you're not beat. there are also more 4s in the deck than 8s, so I think your river 3-bet is fine."

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Interesting points, particlarly on the turn, which I think is also a point of major confusion with BB suddenly waking up. I think he's right about folding the flop. But if I'm playing, it needs to be for a raise. The quesion of why it is important to raise was addressed by a thoughtful, anonymous reader. Hope its ok to post one portion of his comment here:

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"Good to see that you recognize your mistakes, but your explanation is a bit misleading. Normally, I wouldn't bother to comment, but others might be reading your blog and taking everything literally.

Raising could be the right play here, but raising "to get information" is not. Since your raise would likely just get called, you get no information. In low-limit games, betting/raising just to get information is almost always not worth it.

That being said, raising might be correct here. If you think your 88 has a reasonable chance of being best, you must raise in order drive out anyone with overcards or gutshots. With all these callers, you are likely to lose if a A,K,Q,J,T come on the turn or river. You must force hands like QJ, KT, etc to fold.

Sure, you have the pot odds to call on the flop. However, this is a case of reverse implied odds. Your hand is unlikely to improve (ie 2 outs or runner-runner), so your odds will usually get worse as the turn and river are dealt if you are against several opponents. For this reason, you must raise (or fold)."

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His/her commentary about wanting hands contining AKQJT to fold is dead on, per Sklansky's remarks in SSH about "investing extra bets early" to maximize your ability to win the pot. If I can drive out loose aces/kings/etc then I'm able to win some of the time even if those cards to fall later in the hand. I misspoke when I said "to get information," and I'm glad someone called me on it.

Long story short: thanks for the input everyone. I really appreciate it, and again am humbled by the constant learning process that is playing & blogging online poker. As I said above, we live in a special time where this process is possible. Doyle Brunson sure didn't have the advantages we do while learning the game!!!


WBPT Update
Pauly has posted a new, updated roster for WBPT, which is only a few short days away. Lots of greater writers will be participating, and I'm psyched that NL poker greats Ron Rose and Tom McEvoy will be joining us for a brunch beforehand. Great stuff!!!

I've been to Vegas twice, once about a year ago with my family for a few days, and then a second time this summer for a few days of full-time poker. This trip should be somewhere between the previous two, as my apparently poker-tolerant girlfriend is coming along. I gather I'll get a solid amount of time in at the tables, but it won't be 100% as was the case in August. Maybe I'll be fresher and more motivated throughout as a result, since I got completely exhausted and unfocused by the end of my 3 days in August.

My plan: 3/6, 4/8, NL$100, and NL$200. Mandalay Bay, Excal, Luxor, Mirage, and Bellagio. Maybe some small cash game Omaha if its available. I figure the other half might even be willing to sit a few orbits of 1/3 at the Excalibur with me. I'm gonna have to think of fun gimmicks to employ if I do play in that game, since it really isn't anything but a short-term crapshoot with 7 to every flop. Yes, if I played it all day every day I could squeeze some EV out, but I won't be, so please spare me the Sklanskian commentary. Please. If I can't play for decent money, I may as well have something entertaining to do at the table. Suggestions?

Actually, hell. Maybe I don't need suggestions. With so many fellow bloggers out there, I gather we could get a blogger table at Excal 1/3 and truly GAMBOOOL. Now THAT would be fun! My proposal for the rules? Must straddle, mandatory one drink per orbit, and a sidebet for winning pots via the HAMMER (everyone pays the winner $5?).

If I win a bunch early, I might take a stab at a few orbits of 5/10 or 6/12, playing uber-tight. The Bellagio would be the natural choice for this kind of venture. If there's time, maybe an afternoon trip to downtown to see Binions, etc.

Bah, I just ran out of things to write about re: Vegas. More to come.


My play, a Short Update
I've been treading water at 2/4, with a little growth in the BR in the last few days. My monsterous 5+ BB winrate per 100 is going to come down slightly as a result, which was probably inevitable anyhow. Generally, I've been taking sizeable losses early in sessions (25BB+ in some cases), only to claw back to even or more slowly but surely. Don't know whether its a virtue or a vice, but I HATE HATE HATE to end a session down substantially if its not late at night. I'll keep playing, if the game is good and I'm sure I'm not tilting, to see if things don't turn around.

This strategy saw me drop 25BB at 1/2 5-max on Tuesday (where did my shorthanded skills gooooo?), then swing from up 20BB to down 25BB to up 4BB on PokerNow 2/4 later that night. Tonight I ground out a small winning session at 1/2 5-max on Paradise, and am almost done clearing my TURKEY bonus there. I've decided that once its clear, I'm cashing all the way out and moving to Party. The difference in opponent skill is astronomical, and there's no reason for me not to make the move and maximize profit potential.

The 2/4 tables provided just as much of a rollercoaster tonight... didn't make very many draws, which cost me since I play them very aggressively. I swung from +15BB to down 20, and finally back up to +9BB after 900 hands. Four tabling really shows how short term variance works, as these sessions often leave me up over $100 at one table, down $80 at another, and up or down a little at the other two. But hell, if you want an example of the unfortunate side of variance on decent play, read up on Chris Halverson's OIC experience the last few days. I feel for the guy, as he was on his way up and so close to the top of the leaderboard.

So anyhow, for the week ending tomorrow night I'm up about $410 or so, including bonuses. That money will look just fine on the green felt of the Bellagio's poker tables. Mmmmmm.

Thanks again for reading.

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