Monday, September 1, 2008

Getting the hang of it.

I have been trying to take Mr. Gumpo’s and Sandman’s advice on playing smaller online cash games. Look for loose tables, play uber tight, play pairs for sets, fold AQ early, bet aggressively upfront with big pairs, and multi-table to decrease the boredom factor. In the past few weeks I have tried all or some of these strategies, all the while taking notes on the type of play I’m seeing, looking to tailor their approaches to fit a style with which I will feel most at home.

It’s not like I’m a complete novice, correct? So, why all of the trepidation up to this point? Because I’ve been playing, at best, a break-even game. Actually, I’ve moved from a losing game to a break-even, which is an improvement, and I chalk it up to learning how to play these lower stakes rooms, getting over the fact that my roll is piddly, and settling in to the grind.

Sunday afternoons at Stars seems to be a good time to play. I wondered. It seemed to make sense that a long holiday weekend, or just a weekend in general would have a lot of folks playing poker, and perhaps some of them would be more recreational players. I logged on and started looking around for a room with over 40% of the players in a hand. I found one, sat in and played for a while with little happening in my hand. The percentage of players in a hand started to diminish as well, and, in fact, people started leaving the table, so I renewed my search.

Eight players at a table, one seat open, 50% in a hand. I grabbed the seat. The big stack was two to my left. I’d rather not have him there, but I’d see how it went. It soon became apparent to me that the big stack was the reason this table was so loose. He was betting up everything, either with a minraise or 5 xBB. Position didn’t seem to matter.

I had AQoff in middle position and limped. He minraise from the SB and I called. Q on the flop, he checked and I bet the pot. He called. Turn brings the 10 of diamonds, a second diamond and he bet out. I called. A of diamonds on the river and he bets small. I call. Runner runner flush, no Q no 10, nothing much at all. I reloaded what I had lost.

As the game proceeded, it became apparent that the player to my immediate left (cmchu) and Mr. Flushy (oreoboe) were doing a lot of battle, and they were doing so with less than stellar hands. Mr. Flushy was still living up to his name with this player as trips went down, leaving this player a shortish stack. I picked up Qs in the SB, and after several limpers, bet 8 x BB. The BB, Mr. Shorty, (cmchu) and a middle position player called. The flop was a blank and I fired again. Mr. Shorty went all-in with what little he had left, the other player called the all-in and I shoved. Middle position folded and Mr Shorty hit a straight on the river with his pocket 9s. I didn’t take too bad of a hit, of which I was relieved and added more chips again.

The game was still loose as hell. So loose that there were 10 players waiting to get into the game! Mr. Flushy (oreoboe) had just lost a pot betting to the river with air when this hand came up:

PokerStars Game #20050180486: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2008/08/31 - 19:43:38
(ET)
Table 'Suttung II' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: Sep79 ($25 in chips)
Seat 2: bastinptc ($25 in chips)
Seat 3: cmchu ($12.65 in chips)
Seat 4: oeroboe ($50.20 in chips)
Seat 5: nancy34 ($20.15 in chips)
Seat 6: juice1319 ($25 in chips)
Seat 7: icenine3 ($7.25 in chips)
Seat 8: addie10 ($27.55 in chips)
Seat 9: yipyapsap ($25.65 in chips)
oeroboe: posts small blind $0.10
nancy34: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bastinptc [3d Ad]
juice1319: folds
icenine3: calls $0.25
addie10: calls $0.25
yipyapsap: folds
Sep79: folds
bastinptc: calls $0.25
cmchu: calls $0.25
oeroboe: raises $0.25 to $0.50
nancy34: calls $0.25
icenine3: calls $0.25
addie10: calls $0.25
bastinptc: calls $0.25
cmchu: calls $0.25
*** FLOP *** [9d 8c Kd]
oeroboe: bets $4
nancy34: folds
icenine3: folds
addie10: folds
bastinptc: calls $4
cmchu: folds
*** TURN *** [9d 8c Kd] [6s]
oeroboe: bets $0.25
bastinptc: calls $0.25
*** RIVER *** [9d 8c Kd 6s] [Qs]
oeroboe: bets $1
bastinptc: calls $1
*** SHOW DOWN ***
oeroboe: shows [5h 3h] (high card King)
bastinptc: shows [3d Ad] (high card Ace)
bastinptc collected $12.90 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $13.50 | Rake $0.60
Board [9d 8c Kd 6s Qs]
Seat 1: Sep79 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: bastinptc showed [3d Ad] and won ($12.90) with high card Ace
Seat 3: cmchu (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: oeroboe (small blind) showed [5h 3h] and lost with high card King
Seat 5: nancy34 (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 6: juice1319 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: icenine3 folded on the Flop
Seat 8: addie10 folded on the Flop
Seat 9: yipyapsap folded before Flop (didn't bet)

I had retrieved what I had lost earlier to this guy. As scary as that board was, I wasn’t folding with his last 1.00 bet, that’s for sure. I got lucky, but sometimes, Ace high is good enough, especially with information to back up the call. The danger, however, was that now it appeared that I had joined in the fray of calling down with air. Or, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing, for I wasn’t the only one looking to score big at this table, even if it meant sucking out. The very next hand is with the guy to my immediate left (cmchu):

Table 'Suttung II' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: Sep79 ($25 in chips)
Seat 2: bastinptc ($32.15 in chips)
Seat 3: cmchu ($12.15 in chips)
Seat 4: oeroboe ($44.45 in chips)
Seat 5: nancy34 ($19.65 in chips)
Seat 6: juice1319 ($25 in chips)
Seat 7: icenine3 ($6.75 in chips)
Seat 8: addie10 ($27.05 in chips)
Seat 9: yipyapsap ($25.65 in chips)
nancy34: posts small blind $0.10
juice1319: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bastinptc [Qs Jd]
icenine3: raises $0.25 to $0.50
addie10: calls $0.50
yipyapsap: folds
Sep79: folds
bastinptc: calls $0.50
cmchu: calls $0.50
oeroboe: calls $0.50
nancy34: folds
juice1319: calls $0.25
*** FLOP *** [Qh 6c 7c]
juice1319: checks
icenine3: checks
addie10: checks
bastinptc: bets $3
cmchu: calls $3
oeroboe: folds
juice1319: folds
icenine3: folds
addie10: folds
*** TURN *** [Qh 6c 7c] [7h]
bastinptc: bets $3.25
cmchu: calls $3.25
*** RIVER *** [Qh 6c 7c 7h] [9d]
bastinptc: bets $5
cmchu: raises $0.40 to $5.40 and is all-in
bastinptc: calls $0.40
*** SHOW DOWN ***
cmchu: shows [Kc Ad] (a pair of Sevens)
bastinptc: shows [Qs Jd] (two pair, Queens and Sevens)
bastinptc collected $25.15 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $26.40 | Rake $1.25
Board [Qh 6c 7c 7h 9d]
Seat 1: Sep79 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: bastinptc showed [Qs Jd] and won ($25.15) with two pair, Queens and Sevens
Seat 3: cmchu showed [Kc Ad] and lost with a pair of Sevens
Seat 4: oeroboe (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 5: nancy34 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: juice1319 (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 7: icenine3 folded on the Flop

I had now recovered my losses from both players, with quite a bit on top of that.

Of course, the room went dead after that, the waiting line had dropped to 1 and I got ready to call it a day.

With all of the action in this room, I only had one other table open. Actually, two tables is about all I can handle at this early stage in my online game. And, although the other table was supposedly fairly loose, it wasn’t anything like the other table. There were a couple generic calling stations, one LAG and a couple rocks. I lost holding 77 to a guy with K2 who called my flop raise (all blanks) and hit a K on the turn. That was about it. I folded a lot, took down a small pot with a pair of Jacks. I was tight, tight, tight forever. Change-up time!


Table 'Unitas III' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: voelker ($27.60 in chips)
Seat 2: Eksal ($6.35 in chips)
Seat 3: phillme13 ($14.50 in chips)
Seat 4: rdgoins ($15.25 in chips)
Seat 6: FlagellumD ($34.70 in chips)
Seat 7: bastinptc ($17.70 in chips)
Seat 8: Jeusbbp ($40.50 in chips)
Seat 9: SCScoach ($24.65 in chips)
rdgoins: posts small blind $0.10
FlagellumD: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bastinptc [5s 4s]
bastinptc: calls $0.25
Jeusbbp: folds
SCScoach: calls $0.25
voelker: folds
Eksal: folds
phillme13: folds
rdgoins: calls $0.15
FlagellumD: checks
*** FLOP *** [5h 7d 9d]
rdgoins: checks
FlagellumD: checks
bastinptc: checks
SCScoach: checks
*** TURN *** [5h 7d 9d] [4d]
rdgoins: bets $1
FlagellumD: folds
bastinptc: calls $1
SCScoach: folds
*** RIVER *** [5h 7d 9d 4d] [4c]
rdgoins: bets $1
bastinptc: raises $1.75 to $2.75
rdgoins: calls $1.75
*** SHOW DOWN ***
bastinptc: shows [5s 4s] (a full house, Fours full of Fives)
rdgoins: mucks hand
bastinptc collected $8.10 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $8.50 | Rake $0.40
Board [5h 7d 9d 4d 4c]
Seat 1: voelker folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Eksal folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: phillme13 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: rdgoins (small blind) mucked [8h 6h]
Seat 6: FlagellumD (big blind) folded on the Turn
Seat 7: bastinptc showed [5s 4s] and won ($8.10) with a full house, Fours full of
Fives

I’m soooo embarrassed! Think I could have gotten more? Probably not with the flush and paired board. He made the price right, so maybe I’m not so embarrassed after all.

I didn’t stick around long after this hand. I was happy with my results and let it go, up for the day. Maybe up more than I ever have been at PS. Maybe I’m starting to get the hang of what it takes to play at this site. I have to think more on this, as it is apparent that I loosened up more than what Mr. Gumpo recommends. Maybe it’s a case of “whatever works,” and I say this because of my experience at PA. Loose tables are often the norm and it is often the odd hand that takes down a pot. Not always, yet it is clear that the player who has superior hand-reading skills can readily outplay the ABC, top pair, TPTK player. The downside is potentially higher variance, which I don’t have the luxury of enduring at this juncture.

As I said, I have a lot of thinking to do. And playing. Together, I believe I can come up with a strategy that suits me.

3 comments:

El Forrest Gumpo said...

"...it is clear that the player who has superior hand-reading skills can readily outplay the ABC, top pair, TPTK player. "

The problem I find is at this level it's REALLY hard to put the bad players on hands. I have no doubt more often than not they really think they have best hand.

The classic example of the Doyle Brunson vs Jamie Gold flush versus flush hand. Doyle had I think the 2nd nut, Jamie had a baby flush but was giving off every tell he had a stone cold monster. Doyle made the right read and the right fold, but even he steamed after finding out he laid down the best hand.


FG

bastinptc said...

Perhaps I should have written "player and hand-reading skills."

True, it is hard to put a bad player on a specific hand or hand range. The key may be to control the pot size until, based upon reading the board, one is certain of one's win.

matt tag said...

well done. I'm sure I'd get killed in these games at this point. Too wacky for me.