Sunday, December 27, 2009

patience, patience, patience, patience, patience, patien....

If the three most important things in real estate are Location, Location, and Location, then the three most important things in poker cash games just may be Patience, Patience, and Patience.

One of the main differences between tournaments and cash games is that in the former you cannot afford to wait for good cards to come. The escalating blinds means that the chips change value as time marches forward. The loss of fold equity, the variable stack sizes, and the risk of simply getting blinded out means you have to make moves. As semi-pro Matt Matros likes to say, "the goal in all stages of a tournament is to accumulate chips."

Compare that to cash games, where the blinds don't increase. You can get up and leave a table whenever the conditions change for the worse. A one dollar chip is equal to one dollar, now and forever. This means there is no huge sense of urgency to win pots. Yes, the blinds do hit your stack once per orbit, but in cash games (especially no-limit games), the cost per lap isn't all that big, and you can afford to go multiple laps without winning a penny. The trick in cash games is to wait for the planets to align and for the rare golden opportunity to arise.

Why do I bring all this up? Because I played 200 hands of $5NL this morning in Operation Hindenburg on 'Stars and was basically card dead for (almost) the entire session. I tried to make some moves, but I got played back at a lot, and i had to relinquish my hands more often than not by TAGs and LAGs alike who came back over the top on me. I also took a beat halfway through the session when my flopped set of deuces were taken out by a 40/2 player who runner-runner'ed one of the ugliest straights you can imagine.

Toward the end of my 200 hands, I was down about $3 overall and ready to call the session a bust when, on the very last hand, on the very last table I had open, the following occurred:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.05 BB (6 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

BB ($6.65)
Hero (UTG) ($5.40)
MP ($7.35)
CO ($4.42)
Button ($2.30)
SB ($5.40)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with 10, Q
Hero calls $0.05, 2 folds, Button bets $0.10, 1 fold, BB calls $0.05, Hero calls $0.05
{note: I misclicked w/ the call UTG here (when I play in the morning on my laptop, I don't use a mouse; instead I use that silly eraser-head thingy between the G and H keys). Then I felt I was priced in when the villain min-raised; If the villain had raised to, say, $.25 or so, I definitely would have folded, and gone home a loser for the session.}

Flop: ($0.32) 4, K, 4 (3 players)
BB checks, Hero checks, Button bets $0.30, BB calls $0.30, Hero calls $0.30
{Against one player, I probably wasn't getting the right implied odds to make this call, but with two players in before me, I figured I could draw to the second nut flush with good IOs.}

Turn: ($1.22) 7 (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $0.40, Button raises to $1.90 (All-In), BB calls $1.90, Hero raises to $5 (All-In), BB calls $3.10
{Gin! I thought about checking to the aggressor, but decided to lead out. If the button folded, he probably wasn't going to give me action anyway. I didn't want the BB to get a free card, however, so I led out, as I put him on some kind of draw; the Ax was in his range, and he could easily have had the Ac here. Turns out he already had a made hand at this point, too.}

River: ($13.12) 9 (3 players, 2 all-in)
{Even if we hadn't got all the money in on the turn, this card wouldn't have slowed down the action. The money was going in on one or the other street.}

Total pot: $13.12 | Rake: $0.65

Button had A, A (two pair, Aces and fours).
BB had 9, 6 (flush, King high).
Hero had 10, Q (flush, King high).
Outcome: Hero won $12.47
{Note how the button slow-played himself into doom with his min-raise PF. If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's AA is just a pair. Put max pressure on the opp(s) PF with rockets, then slow down after the flop if (a) it's multiway; and/or (b) you're getting resistance from players w/ solid numbers.}

The funny thing about this hand (besides mis-clicking PF) is that I was going to quit that particular table a lap earlier, as the fishiest player had just left and a very aggro TAG I've had trouble with in the past had just taken his spot. It was time for me to leave, but I screwed up then, too, and doubl-de-clicked the auto-post blinds box, and found myself paying for an orbit I didn't want.

I guess good things do come to those who wait.... or maybe just to those who mis-click in the heat of battle.

All-in for now...

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