Sunday, October 4, 2009

Playing Perfect Poker

Per the plan, I'm playing slightly tighter poker than last month, plus I'm playing fewer tables. Also, I'm dabbling in the $25NL games more, as my bankroll is currently above $900, which means I (almost) have enough to meet the 40xBB rule for full-ring NL game buy-ins.

Today, I had four games of $25NL going at once, and I was playing very cautious, but very aggressive poker. In the span of ten minutes and two hands I had a huge rollercoaster swing. The first hand went like this:

BB ($4.65)
UTG ($25)
MP1 ($27.60)
Hero (MP2) ($25)
CO ($4.87)
Button ($25)
SB ($28.13)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with 4, 4
1 fold, MP1 bets $1, Hero calls $1, 4 folds

Flop: ($2.35) 4, 8, A (2 players)
MP1 checks, Hero bets $1.25, MP1 raises to $5.25, Hero raises to $18.10, MP1 raises to $26.60 (All-In), Hero calls $5.90 (All-In)

Turn: ($50.35) 3 (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($50.35) 9 (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $50.35 | Rake: $2.51

Results:
MP1 had Q, A (flush, Ace high).
Hero had 4, 4 (flush, Ace high).
Outcome: MP1 won $47.84

The bad news is this was (obviously) an ugly beat. The good news is I immediately clicked "sit out" on all the tables, and then stepped away from the the virtual felt to take a time-out. I went to the kitchen, had a glass of water, and replayed the hand in my head. I didn't think I did anything wrong in the hand, but I went back to the computer and replayed it in PT3 again to be sure. I did everything I was supposed to, so I told myself to get back on the horse. In the long run, this play is enormously +EV, so I just needed to embrace the idea that I got my money in with the best of it. Results don't matter. Yada. Yada. Yada.

So, I rejoined my four tables and instantly had the following hand occur:

SB ($20.43)
BB ($4.90)
UTG ($19.60)
UTG+1 ($25)
Hero (MP1) ($25.25)
MP2 ($25.35)
MP3 ($9.10)
CO ($11.57)
Button ($3.95)

Preflop: Hero is MP1 with 8, 8
2 folds, Hero bets $0.75, MP2 raises to $2.50, 5 folds, Hero calls $1.75

Flop: ($5.35) 6, 8, 5 (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $5, Hero raises to $10, MP2 calls $5

Turn: ($25.35) A (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $12.85 (All-In), Hero calls $12.75 (All-In)

River: ($50.85) 2 (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $50.85 | Rake: $2.54

Results:
Hero had 8, 8 (three of a kind, eights).
MP2 had A, K (one pair, Aces).
Outcome: Hero won $48.31

Again, I did everything right... and this time the poker gods smiled. Note that if the villain had had a smaller stack, I should have folded preflop, as his RR to $2.50 PF meant I needed around $25 in front of him to make the call (i.e,. the 15x rule). His stack was close enough to the magic 15x, so I made the call. A nice flop came for me, and because he was the PF aggressor, I checked, and then min-raised his flop c-bet. He just called, so I put him on a big PP or a big ace. The turn was a beautiful ace and there was no flush onboard (but there was a straight possibility). Again I checked, as I felt if he didn't have a big ace, he wouldn't call a bet from me; i.e., this is one of those situations where it's better to let the opp keep the betting lead, rather than the other way 'round. Then, fortunately, he shoved and quickly found out he was drawing dead.

The results of this second hand were (obviously) great, but I'm trying hard to ignore them. Once again I stepped away from the table after the hand and reviewed the play in my mind, then replayed it in PT3, too. The only questionable thing I did was the min-C-R on the flop. A slightly larger bet was probably called for, especially given the straight possibilities, but I really didn't put him on the straight, and I didn't want him going away. Otherwise, I'm happy with my play.

AND I'm happy with the other hand, too, even though I lost. Yada. Yada. Yada.

All-in for now...
-Bug

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