Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you are going to play poker...RAISE

Last night was poker league at Brother's Bar & Grill again. I'm completely out of contention to make any waves this league, so I'm still focusing on tweaking how I play. Last night, in all but one occasion, I played each hand as agressively as I could. Most of the time, the results were poor, but I had fun.

At the beginning of the night, I decided my standard bet was going to be 4 X BB. If I entered a pot, it was for that raise. The standard raise is usually 2 X BB (which just seems stupid), and some players are experimenting with the a little bit bigger raise, but my goal was to be consistent. I was called every time raised with the exception of one hand. The one exception was the time I had AA...of course.

The table I was at, was filled with mostly novice players. Many of them, really didn't know much in terms of card strategy, but seemed confident that they were good. A couple of the people seemed to have a bit of advanced thinking to their game, but most of them just played their cards.

There was a new guy on my left. He worked at a local bank and had moved down here from Fargo. He used to work in a casino by Fargo as a blackjack dealer. He tried to be agressive, but didn't read well.

The next guy, I've played before was a well groomed man in his late 50's. Nice guy, knew a bit about his cards, but didn't read players much. More on a few hands with this guy later.

Ginny is next. She a very nice girl. Plays pretty tight and will bet if she hits the pot. Pressure works to get her out of the pot.

The next guy always reminds me of Jerry Falwell in appearance. He's pretty much a moron at the table and will call any bet with any pair. He will call pre-flop raises with almost anything connected or paired, doesn't matter if they are suited or not.

There was an old biker looking guy next to him. He played tight, but I didn't really see him playing anything stupid. He was getting the cards and I could read him like a book. He dang near jumped out of his seat the moment he knew he was strong. This guy I could read with almost 100% accuracy.

And to my immediate right, a beginner to poker. This guy was really green and not faking. He turned over Q high more than once. No draws. He was eaten up pretty quickly.

Almost everyone at the table splashed it. Ugg. Tracy (Matt's wife) joined my table later. I didn't mix it up with her very often at all.

The Jerry Falwell guy is the first hand to talk about. The blinds 50/100. I opened the pot from under the gun with A K off. I opened for 400. He was in the LB and called, the BB folded. We are heads up.

The flop comes Q 9 4 rainbow. Calling the original raise was sizeable to his stack. With that flop, I wanted to make sure he knew I had a big hand and raised it to 600. He called me without thinking. There were no draws...did he pair his Q? I bet 600 on the turn with the 2. He called this time and said...yeah, he's got a big one, but I have to call. Now...what would he have that would call all these bets? I'm now thinking that he's slow playing a set, maybe 2 pair or a big Q. He checks, I check the river. I'm convinced he would even call a bet that would put him all in. He turns over 8s 9c. He had a monster and wasn't going to let it go. He had middle pair with what he called...a decent kicker. OK...moving right a long. What did I learn? In this case, I should have paid more attention to him being a calling station. I could have got the same information from the flop with a smaller bet, and given up if he called and my hand didn't improve. He would have checked it to the river. I've added him to the file cabinet.

This very next hand, I had A K again...this time it was suited! I'm under the gun and come out for a raise, the blinds had just gone up, so I made it 600 to go. I get called by the BB, old biker guy. This was my biggest mistake of the night. I missed the flop and we went check check after the flop. Now to be honest. I put him on an ace. Figured it was smaller than mine. We check everything to the river. He raised it 500 on the river and I called. Now, when the river came, he about jumped out of his seat. I don't think the river card helped him, but I think he realized, I missed the flop. He had ducks. A pair of dueces. The next better hand to mine. What did I learn? A continuation bet on the flop would have taken it down for me. Probably didn't even need to be that big. Even if he called, a send shot on the turn would have taken him. I saw no idications that he hit anything until the river and this guy had put cards in the muck before.

The next hand of note was actually earlier in the night, but it was interesting. Ginny was a short stack, but still playing tight. I had raised preflop and she'd called from the LB. She likes I can put her on paint, pair or bigger. I had raised with Ks Js (trying to mix it up). Well an almost dream flop came in Qs 10h 7s. I was sitting with nut draws. Man did I have outs. She raised to 300, I reraised to 1200. She thought for quite a while and then mucked. Her bet and actions told be she paired her queen. My 1200 bet was for her tournament. I looked it up at CardPlayer, and I was correct in that I was in the lead 2:1 at this point, assuming she doesn't have K Q. Even then...I stand a good shot at winning this. She eventually folds. She had a little Q and knew that she was probably in trouble.

The last couple hands of note are quick (all the chips moved preflop - and I was always the aggressor). This is the well-manacured guy. I moved all in for 1700 chips when the blinds were at 75/150. I really wanted to steal the blinds and get some chips before the break or go home. I got called by him when he was under the gun. We are heads up and turn over the cards. He's got JJ and I have Ac 7c. The flop comes 8c 9s 6c. Well, that worked out well. Another great drawing flop for me. I hit the ace on the turn. I think I celebrated, which was wrong, but it felt good to hit one from behind. A bit later after break, the blinds are 200/400, I raise under the under the gun with pocket 10s (mistake - I could have just called...people were always calling me). I got called by this same guy. The flop comes with nothing higher than a 10, but no ten. I put him in for his remaining 800. He has A Q off suit. He hit the Q...and I double him up. Karma restored? What did I learn? I should have paid attention of the size of my raise to the people behind me stack. Had I noticed that this was for all his marble, I would have thought that maybe he would be desparate and call me. Short stacks can do this, and I should avoid putting them to the test with just 10s.

I busted before the points...but we did learn more. Back to the felt soon, I hope!