Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How to have fun and make friends playing live poker

It's been a week and a half since I posted? Crap! Fail. I got more stuff to write about then I have time in the day. I suppose I could give up my evening sessions playing cash and sngs and then spend that time writing...huh? I'd give up poker to write about poker?

Since we last spoke, we had our monthly Bourbonators meeting. Poker sucked, scotch rocked. More on that in another post. My Eh Vegas recap is coming, but the pictures are posing a problem. Too much dust on my sensor and an inability to find the time to fix them on a computer that takes two minutes just to open the raw files. Someone tell my wife I need a new computer and more time for kay?

So the topic today is: How to have fun and make friends playing live poker. This comes from a hand I played last night in Poker League. I've said this before and I'll say it again, this stuff is great for working on your reads and skills necessary to play live poker well. I love online poker, but live poker just adds the extra information necessary to really have a good time.

My results for this last league have sucked giant rocks. 5 of the last 6 weeks, I've run the 2nd nuts into the nuts to bust. 4 of those 5, they had to draw into a two outer to get there. *sigh. You know you are playing good and running bad when it takes quads and set over set (their set hit on the river) to take you out. Going home still sucks.

This hand last night was loads of fun...but I'm not sure we will be friends.

I'm in the BB. The blinds are 50/100. I've been slowly chipping away. I've seen the flop 3 times in an hour and half. I'm thinking my table image is tight. The average VP$IP at poker league is somewhere around 60%. The table is 6 handed (they are also running a bar and frequently forget to balance tables).

UTG, a LAG, opens for a rather smallish 200. UTG + 1, a fish (loves to call with almost any two cards and then fold the flop), calls. It folds around to me. I find two black queens. I decided to show strength and raise to 700. First, this is poker league. People love cheap flops. This isn't gonna be cheap. Second, UTG likes to steal big pots with aggression. I smell a trap coming from the BB.

This is why I love live poker. My raise, and it's size are done simply to gather information. UTG goes in the tank and this isn't a fake tank. His hands are telling the whole story. He looks back at his cards and grabs them like he's gonna muck. Then he puts them down. Moves his hand towards his chips and the quickly stops. Moves them back to the cards. You can see his brain churning. These quick jerky motions are usually signs of doubt and mind changes. He sets his cards down and quickly grabs the 500 chip he needs for the call. Stops for a second and then throws it in.

I really didn't see any attempts at deception. I really think that all these motions were his thoughts playing out in his hands. I've seen this before. When you play people who play lots of online poker and very little live, you see there hands move to the buttons. This is no different.

So what does this mean? Well, AA, KK and AK he'd just snap call or raise. That's the kind of player he is. Even QQ might be a snap call for him. AQ, AJ are hands that would require thought like this and so would JJ, TT and on the very outside 99, 88. He's probably putting me on the a big hand that's not AA or KK.

The flop comes A45 rainbow. Thankfully, I was watching him, not the cards. There was definite disappointment in his face. I glanced down to see the cards and saw the ace. Cool! He doesn't have one!!! It's taken me a long time to trust my reads and tonight I did. His reaction to the flop made me believe that he definitely has QQ, JJ or TT (99-88 are still possible but in no better shape). One hand I chop, the others I'm crushing.

I've played this guy many times. He pounces on weakness but it's more like weak online information. He's not watching me. So I check. Checking should tell him I don't have an ace and confirm the likelihood I have a big pair and will be afraid. He knows me too and knows that I'll laydown if I think I'm way behind. His history tells me that he's gonna make move now. He reacts by moving his hand to check, but again, he stops and announces "All-in".

As Joe Navarro repeats over and over again in "Read'm and Reap", immediate reactions are much more likely to be true then later actions. I feel like he just confirmed JJ or TT. If he had a set of aces or AK, he's checking behind, there's no chance I'm drawing the straight. KK would have been played different a while ago and I really don't care if he's got QQ. He's got JJ or TT.

I call.

He asks, "You got an ace?"

"Nope, and neither do you. I have QQ."

"Shit! You idiot. How could call that?" showing TT. "I really think there is no way you call that there. God damn. Seriously. Queens?"

I respond, "Oops, sorry. Rookie mistake." I think I made my point. He doesn't improve and we don't send friend requests to each other on Facebook.


Anonymous said...

Great job on watching him instead of the cards. Joe Navarro's info is pure gold. I heard him speak last month at a poker academy and he followed it up by coming to the tournament and telling us each (privately) some of our tells. It was fantastic information that I didn't realize I was doing, and even better, can now identify other people doing it. You definitely sound like you've got great analytical skills going.

Its fun to watch the people who only play online and then come sit at a table in Vegas. They usually need some training. Don't fold out of turn, tip the cocktail waitress if you want her to come back, remember to post your blinds, there is no sit out button - just get up, tip your dealer, etc etc. I think having that balance between online and is key to success.

gadzooks64 said...

"He doesn't improve and we don't send friend requests to each other on Facebook."


Awesome, wp, nh, gg, yghn.

Anonymous said...

Great read and great story!
Your link to MN Poker League is broken, btw.

OhCaptain said...

Pokervixen: Thanks! I'd really like to go to a Joe Navarro session some time. I can't recommend that book enough. Poker is a lot more fun when your analytical skill are working.

Zooks: Always glad when I make you chuckle :-)

Lance: Thanks for stopping by and thank you! Link is fixed.

BWoP said...

Nicely done!

Who needs to make friends at a poker table anyway???

jamyhawk said...

I'm with BWOP. Who needs friends.

Oh wait,... who needs friends at a poker table. Yeah that too.

Great detailed post.

Memphis MOJO said...

"It's taken me a long time to trust my reads and tonight I did."

very cool!

Dee said...

Nicely done! :D

OES said...

BOOM. Excellent Mr. Captain. Is this guy a shitty player because why were you so certain he had a pocket pair? That hand must have boosted your self esteem BIG since you had such a nice handle on the hand, as a whole =)=).

With the Navarro book, I loved that beginning story about the Professor in medical school.

Great post sir!

DrewFours said...

I think one of the greater joys at the poker table, aside from the royal flush, is taking chips from someone who is unaware how COMPLETELY they sold the WRONG story.