Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boxing in the Dark

Winning poker is all about minimizing your own mistakes, and maximizing the effects of those of your opponent. The following hand was the poker equivalent of two blind and deaf boxers in a ring together. One of them is going to win, but it sure as hell isn't going to be pretty. Can you spot all the mistakes in this hand?

Merge, $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players
Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite.
UTG: $17.28 (34.6 bb)
MP: $123.59 (247.2 bb)
Hero (CO): $50 (100 bb)
BTN: $53.60 (107.2 bb)
SB: $48.25 (96.5 bb)
BB: $55.08 (110.2 bb)
Preflop: Hero is CO with Q of spades 5 of spades
Hero posts BB OOP, UTG raises to $1, MP folds, Hero calls $0.50, 3 folds

{First mistake is by me, posting the late BB. I normally have the buy-in feature set to "wait for big blind," but I got impatient and deselected that option. Not smart, folks.}

{Second mistake is by the UTG player, who min open-raises. This kind of bet accomplishes next to nothing. If you want to build a pot, then build a pot. If you want to get others to fold, then bet enough to get them to fold. Those are the two primary reasons for betting. Min raising accomplishes neither.}

{Third mistake is by me, calling the min-raise with a crappy suited Q. WTF was I thinking? The implied odds are horrible, as the UTG player is playing a short stack. This should be an easy fold, even in LP.}

Flop: ($2.75) 8 of clubs 5 of hearts 5 of diamonds (2 players)
UTG bets $1.37, Hero calls $1.37

{Fourth mistake is by the UTG player, who cbets half pot. Again, what is he trying to accomplish? He's just pricing me in with my draws, and not folding out my better hands.}

{Fifth mistake is me just cold calling the UTG cbet. I've flopped a solid value hand, but a vulnerable one, too. Reraising to something like $3 should have been the right play. With him this short, I want to get the money in now, before the board gets scary for either him or me.}

Turn: ($5.49) K of hearts (2 players)
UTG bets $2.74, Hero raises to $6.75, UTG calls $4.01

{Sixth mistake is his next half-pot bet. Again, WTF is he trying to accomplish with that size?}

{Seventh mistake is me not taking a note on the player that he likes the half-pot button.}

River: ($18.99) 8 of hearts (2 players)
UTG bets $0.50, Hero raises to $40.88 and is all-in, UTG calls $7.66 and is all-in

{Eighth mistake is the villain's tiny little fifty cent bet into a double paired board. Once again, we must be asking ourselves: WTF? When in doubt, treat these kinds of min bets as checks, and then proceed accordingly.}

{Ninth mistake is me not even trying to implement RED-i poker in this hand. Did I ever put him on a range? No. Did I ever estimate the strength of my hand against that range. No. Did I decide how to best get the money into the middle? No. I just saw a shiny, shiny bright hand in LP and called. Then I got married to my hand and never considered how best to get paid off. Said another way, I got pretty lucky with my overshove and his call here.}

Results: $35.31 pot ($1.76 rake)
Final Board: 8 of clubs 5 of hearts 5 of diamonds K of hearts 8 of hearts
UTG showed A of clubs A of spades and lost (-$17.28 net)
Hero showed Q of spades 5 of spades and won $33.55 ($16.27 net)

{Tenth mistake is me continuing to play poker for an additional 30 minutes after this sloppy affair. Sure, I made some more money, but it sure wasn't pretty.}

All-in for now...

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