Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The read

The villain and I were at the same two tables and he had been aggressive from the start. In one room he had done well, doubling up, and in the other he was holding his own. Then something changed. He made what appeared to be a specious call to the river and hit an ugly, ugly hand. The recipient of the bad beat called him a donk. No big deal, right? (He had called another player himself earlier in the game.) They had a little verbal exchange, and after that, the villain took a hit for half of his stack, about $5 out of his $10. He then started to play erratically, like he was trying to catch up. Maybe he was drinking. Who knows? Whatever it was, I got to the point where I discounted most everything he did.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha, $0.10 BB (8 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

SB ($11.10)
Hero (BB) ($17.85)
UTG ($14.50)
UTG+1 ($19.75)
MP1 ($4.60)
MP2 ($9.25)
CO ($6.05)
Button ($5.65)

Preflop: Hero is BB with 9, A, 8, A

2 folds, MP1 bets $0.20, 3 folds, SB calls $0.15, Hero raises to $0.80, 1 fold, SB calls $0.60

Flop: ($1.80) Q, 4, 8 (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $1.20, SB calls $1.20

Turn: ($4.20) 5 (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $2.20, SB calls $2.20

River: ($8.60) Q (2 players)

SB bets $2.80, Hero calls $2.80

Total pot: $14.20 | Rake: $0.65


SB had 10, 6, 6, 9 (two pair, Queens and sixes).

Hero had 9, A, 8, A (two pair, Aces and Queens).

Outcome: Hero won $13.55

He could have had a Queen. He kept calling like he did. Hence, the flat call on the river. Yet, in the back of my mind I felt like he was on a steal. Maybe he had made such a move on me before with success. He left soon thereafter.

A little while later Gump showed up in the room. It's always nice to see him because he's funny. His readers will recall some of the chat he lays down on his opponents, and it works. Gump can loosen up a table just with his chat like no one I've seen.

Not that this table needed encouragement. I had been playing premium hands, hitting, and folks were calling down to the river no matter what, pot sized bet or check-raise, it didn't matter. I had several made hands that turned to crap on the river. (I remember a ten-high flush.) So, I changed my strategy. I started making blocking bets. Didn't help, except I lost less. So, I loosened up my starting hands, limping with nearly anything that smelled like potential, and folding a lot on the flop.

Finally, I had my own chance to take one down on the river. I guess you say that I employed a blocking bet because I knew that I was most likely behind in this hand from the start. Or, call it pot control. I think I'd rather call it misplayed by my opponents.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha, $0.10 BB (8 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

Hero (CO) ($9.55)
Button ($11.75)
SB ($14.90)
BB ($11.50)
UTG ($12.60)
UTG+1 ($5)
MP1 ($6.90)
MP2 ($5.85)

Preflop: Hero is CO with 7, K, 7, 2

Yeah, I know. A really crappy hand, but I had position. (Insert winking smiley face.)

UTG calls $0.10, 1 fold, MP1 calls $0.10, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.10, 1 fold, SB calls $0.05, BB checks

Flop: ($0.50) 7, 5, 4 (5 players)

SB checks, BB bets $0.20, 1 fold, MP1 calls $0.20, Hero raises to $0.80, SB calls $0.80, BB calls $0.60, MP1 calls $0.60

I knew I was in trouble.

: ($3.70) K (4 players)

SB checks, BB checks, MP1 bets $0.10, Hero raises to $0.80, SB calls $0.80, BB calls $0.80, MP1 calls $0.70

MP1 was clueless; SB was an aggressive player who saw a lot of showdowns; and BB was pretty much a tight, solid player.

River: ($6.90) 4 (4 players)

SB checks, BB bets $6.60, 1 fold, (At this point I wrote "If you have it, good for you." I couldn't rule out Kings full or a straight flush.) Hero calls $6.60, 1 fold

Total pot: $20.10 | Rake: $0.95


BB had Q, A, 4, 10 (flush, Ace high).

Hero had 7, K, 7, 2 (full house, sevens over fours).

Outcome: Hero won $19.15

After the hand, the SB wrote that he had flopped the straight. Why the hell he didn't push on the flop, I'll never know. Or maybe I do. It wasn't working at this table. Yet, the King on the turn would have chased away the flush draw with another pot-sized bet. Would I have stuck around after that? Probably not.


Memphis MOJO said...

You do an excellent job of recognizing and describing the metagame, the game within the game.

bastinptc said...

Thank you! It helps to be both a social voyeur and a bit of a head case.

There are a couple reasons I don't play more than two tables at a time, and one of them is because I prefer to study my opponents. As my friend Aki says, I'm a feel player (I also know when I'm getting good odds). That doesn't mean that just I intuit a best-hand scenario. I recognize tendencies and eventually create a profile. Sometimes I can do it in two rounds of play; sometimes it takes 20 sessions. Sometimes I know that the way I typically play will succeed against a certain opponent; other times I have to find a way to overcome my own shit in order to outplay my nemesis.

El Forrest Gumpo said...

B, it's possible to play 3-4 tables of full ring without giving up a lot of feel. Granted you can't watch all the live play on 4 tables at once though. But I live and die by the hand history window and i'm always in there looking a key hands that go to showdown and getting a line on the spot i hope to get my $.

This is also why I can't seriously play on FT cos their hand history screen is a steaming pile of you know what.