Jun 182010
 

Haven’t had much of a chance to play this week, busy with work during the day and life most nights.

I did play a few hundred hands last night though for a small (1.5 buy-in) loss. Generally I’m playing well generally and the overall loss was caused by two hands.

One was my first big blind at a table full of unknown players, folds to the small blind who limps and I have:

: :

I check (generally I’d raise the small blind here but it was my first hand) and the flop comes:

: : :

Some betting happens on the flop, turn and river and we end up getting it all in. He shows:

: :

“Rebuy!”

No surprise probably but in that blind vs blind situation it’s hard to get away from trips as an unknowns range (especially at the micro stakes) is so wide there even with the action.

Same table, a few hands later I pick up pocket jacks in early position and get 3 bet from a middle position player, I call and see a flop of under cards and end up getting it in vs pocket kings. I probably could have got away from this one for about half a buy-in less if I’d slowed down and thought about things a bit.

Otherwise I feel like I’m playing fairly solid poker. Apart from playing less for stacks with pairs I think I need to work on the following:

  • Value bet sizing on later streets when I have strong hands.
  • Continuation bets in 3 bet hands.
  • Pre-flop raise percentage (currently it’s a little disproportionate to my VP$IP – something like 23/13).

Will keep working at it, I’m enjoying the challenge again!

Jun 172010
 

Things are going well since my last progress post, since then I’ve played a couple of thousand more hands and until Monday night when I dropped a few buy-ins I hadn’t had a losing session at the micro stakes 6-Max tables.

Not too worried about the loss Monday, it’s going to happen and the majority of it was from two hands where my big pairs ran into sets. It could have been a little less though as I had another one of those stubborn moments that goes against my new style of play:

6-Max, approx. 100BB stacks, in late position I’m dealt:

: :

Folded to me I make it 3X and am called by the small blind who I have no reads on. The flop comes:

: : :

The small blind checks, I continuation bet around 3/4 pot and am called. The turn comes:

:

And the small blind now bets around pot.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • I have a pair that’s lower than the board
  • Although he took a strange line this unknown player is now showing strength and on this board if he is strong he’s probably beating JJ
  • There’s still around 60BB to put in this pot before our stacks are in, no one is committed

And now let’s look at my thoughts at the time:

  • No one has been respecting my continuation bets tonight
  • He doesn’t have a queen
  • When people call my cbet then donk the turn sometimes they’re bluffing. He wants me to think he has a queen.

So I shoved. And guess what? I was right, he didn’t have a queen. He had:

: :

For a slow played set, turned full house.

Truth is the night before when I’d been winning I probably fold the jacks here, but this night when I had been losing and had been pushed off many hands before this I lost my patience and made a badly timed stand. In a way I guess I tilted.

It’s not the end of the world but it’s a situation I’ve been trying to avoid and I was a little angry at myself for losing a buy-in here.

One positive? I sensed I wasn’t playing my A game and decided to log-off and call it a night before I made things worse. There’s always tomorrow!

Jun 092010
 

Sat down for another session of 6 max no-limit hold’em last night intent on applying some of the advice I gave myself in my last post by playing solid poker, not getting out of line and being patient and guess what? It worked! I walked away from the tables up 5 buy-ins.

Here’s a happy graph from Poker Tracker 3:

Yes it’s a very, very small sample. Yes it’s an unmaintainable win rate. Yes I ran into some juicy fishies. And yes it’s micro stakes but who cares? It feels good to put a plan into practice.

If I had to pick one hand that defines how I played differently last night than I have in the recent past it wouldn’t be one of those big double ups, it would be this one:

On a full table of 6 players, with 100BB effective stacks I’m UTG and am dealt:

: :

Good enough for a raise in the 6 handed game, especially with a couple of tight players to my left. So raise it I do making it 3x to go.

It folds around to the button, who has been fairly loose/passive in the 25 hands or so I’ve seen him play, who calls as does the big blind who is brand new to the table. We see a flop:

: : :

The BB checks and I see no reason not to continuation bet here in the hope of getting a call from a hand like A8s or A7s both of which are in the button players range. I bet 2/3 of the pot and the button folds but the unknown BB player calls. The turn is:

:

The BB checks again and I decide to bet in order to extract some more value from his extremely wide range. I bet 2/3 pot again and he raises me 3 times that again.

I stop, think about it and fold.

In the past I might have shoved here, justifying the play by saying that he’s obviously bluffing trying to push his weight around or a fish overplaying a king with a weak kicker and on rare occasions I might have been right but the truth is that the line he took by calling the flop continuation bet and check raising the turn shows huge strength and the most likely truth is that he flopped a monster or turned the straight. I don’t need to pay another 75BB or so to find out how he beats me so folding is the best option.

It might not sound like much but this is something I’ve been struggling to do up until now and it’s cost me big time. I don’t see that pot as a 25BB loss, I see it as a 75BB win.

Jun 082010
 

Since my last update my game is slowly improving. I’ve still got a long way to go though and as I have mentioned before a lack of patience has been my downfall.

It seems these days I play a solid game for 95% of my time at the tables grinding away a profit and then have a major brain fart and lose a buy-in pulling some sort of stupid low percentage move. I mean take this hand as example:

I’m in the BB with a 100BB stack and I’m dealt:

: :

It’s folded around to the small blind who raises 4x, the SB also has 100BB in front of him and has been stealing at every opportunity (his attempt to steal poker tracker stat is around 60%!) so I decide to defend and make it 3X his raise to go and he calls.

The flop comes:

: : :

He checks, I continuation bet around 3/4 pot and he insta-raises me. Before I even thought about it I shove the rest of my stack. He insta-calls and shows down:

: :

Why did I shove? Well at the time I thought I was being pushed around, but that logic doesn’t hold up when you think I’m risking in the order of 75BB to win only if I was right that he had complete rubbish that missed the flop and can fold it. It’s the kind of bet where if I’m called I’m crushed and if I win I risked way to much to do so profitably.

Truth is it was a complete lack of patience combined with a bit of stubbornness. It’s not the first time I’ve done something like this either, usually it’s not for 100BB but it’s costing me regardless.

Right now the main thing standing between me being a going from a break even (or even slightly losing) NLHE player to a winning one is controlling when I play the big pots… I know I can do it!