Monday, March 20, 2006

You Know It's Bad When...

You know your game sucks when the only pride you can take is in your laydowns. I was really proud of this one:

PokerStars Game #4359776715: Tournament #21678548, Hold'em No Limit -
Level II (15/30) - 2006/03/20 - 23:13:52 (ET)
Table '21678548 4' Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: Lilhenny5454 (1410 in chips)
Seat 3: iamhoff (1920 in chips)
Seat 4: Superdad7777 (1155 in chips)
Seat 5: huskerfan721 (1010 in chips)
Seat 6: kingster1711 (2645 in chips)
Seat 7: rosie422 (1830 in chips)
Seat 8: flopinAces (1555 in chips)
Seat 9: marvin43619 (1975 in chips)
iamhoff: posts small blind 15
Superdad7777: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to iamhoff [Qc Qh]
huskerfan721: calls 30
kingster1711: calls 30
rosie422: folds
flopinAces: folds
marvin43619: calls 30
Lilhenny5454: folds
iamhoff: raises 60 to 90
Superdad7777: folds
huskerfan721: calls 60
kingster1711: calls 60
marvin43619: calls 60
*** FLOP *** [7h Td 9s]
iamhoff: bets 60
huskerfan721: folds
kingster1711: calls 60
marvin43619: raises 330 to 390
iamhoff: calls 330
kingster1711: raises 2165 to 2555 and is all-in
marvin43619: calls 1495 and is all-in
iamhoff: folds
*** TURN *** [7h Td 9s] [Qs]
*** RIVER *** [7h Td 9s Qs] [6c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kingster1711: shows [Jc 8c] (a straight, Eight to Queen)
marvin43619: shows [7c 9d] (two pair, Nines and Sevens)

I really didn't want to lay down the Hiltons, especially on a 10-high flop with a shot at a runner runner straight, but that push was a nice wake-up call. Given the Q on the turn, I'm really glad that marvin pushed after the flop. If I was still live with that 3rd Q, I probably would've pushed then and lost it all. Not that it would've made a difference in the end, but I'm proud that I was able to restrain myself.

This one was a pretty good laydown also. Not quite as dramatic or disappointing, but I lived to bet another day.

PokerStars Game #4359838330: Tournament #21678548, Hold'em No Limit -
Level III (25/50) - 2006/03/20 - 23:18:13 (ET)
Table '21678548 4' Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: Lilhenny5454 (1610 in chips)
Seat 3: iamhoff (1415 in chips)
Seat 4: Superdad7777 (2200 in chips)
Seat 5: huskerfan721 (1890 in chips)
Seat 6: kingster1711 (3125 in chips)
Seat 7: rosie422 (1755 in chips)
Seat 8: flopinAces (1505 in chips)
flopinAces: posts small blind 25
Lilhenny5454: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to iamhoff [Jd Qh]
iamhoff: calls 50
Superdad7777: calls 50
huskerfan721: calls 50
kingster1711: calls 50
rosie422: folds
flopinAces: folds
Lilhenny5454: checks
*** FLOP *** [Th Jc 3s]
Lilhenny5454: bets 300
iamhoff: calls 300
Superdad7777: folds
huskerfan721: folds
kingster1711: raises 300 to 600
Lilhenny5454: raises 960 to 1560 and is all-in
iamhoff: folds
kingster1711: calls 960
*** TURN *** [Th Jc 3s] [4h]
*** RIVER *** [Th Jc 3s 4h] [8h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Lilhenny5454: shows [3h Jh] (a flush, Jack high)
kingster1711: shows [Tc Qs] (a pair of Tens)

Unfortunately, these are the only hands I can be proud of tonite. 4 SNGs. No finish higher than 14th (45 player). Glad I'm not doing the 45 SNG Challenge, because I'd be sucking wind. I think the dealers at Stars hate me. Don't know why, I've never talked smack about them or anything.

My final SNG of the evening, I was dealt AcKh at UTG+1 on the first hand. UTG folds and I raise up to 100. SB and BB (Villain) call. Flop is 7QTc Hmmm. Big slick, gutshot straight draw, one-outer nut flush draw. Do I check or do I represent? Blinds check to me, and I throw out a bet of 200 (roughly pot-sized). Villain calls Turn is a 10. He checks, I check. River is an 8. Missed my straight and my flush. He bets 150. Figuring him for a missed draw (I put him on KJ, my mistake) and stealing the pot (call the blind, check the turn), I call. He's got JcJd, and big slick is cracked. Fast forward to the last hand (or rather MY last hand) of the same SNG. I'm short stacked, around 1000 or so, and after 3 other crappy SNGs, I'm really tilting. I wake up to JcJs in the BB. Folds to the button, who threw out a 3x raise. Villain in SB (same as first hand) calls, as do I. Flop is 4cTsAs. The only explanation I've got for why I didn't think that somebody paired an ace is because I was riding the Tilt-a-Whirl, and dammit, I was going to make my jacks work! Villain checks. I bet out about 1/2 the pot, for about 2/3 of my stack. Button folds and villain calls. Turn is a 10, and this is reminding me more and more about the 1st hand, when my big slick was cracked by JJ. I push and villain calls. And he flips up....wait for it...AhKc! We almost exactly reversed out hands, and this fucker won both of them! I know, I had no business being in the hand once the ace came down on the flop, but I was tilted, I figured the 3x raise preflop wasn't high enough for anything (at this table at least) greater than QQ, and more importantly...I had outs!!! I was runner runner for both a straight and a flush, dammit! Except for those hands, I got squat all night. Twice I got all in against somebody, both times with Ax where I had them outkicked, only to split the pot on a boat. Twice! I also chopped a pot 3 ways when we all had Ax and pulled Broadway. Beyond that, I got things like A6o, 59, 2Ts, K3o, and J4o. Stellar hands. And when I'd have something like A8s or KTs, the flop would be paired on the board and wouldn't touch my flush. Maybe tomorrow will be better...


Klopzi said...


I'll offer some constructive criticism based on your play in the SNGs you described. Take the advice or leave it: these are only suggestions and I don't want to inadvertently steer you down an erroneous path.

1. You seem to be doing a whole lot of calling. I'm not a big fan of calling unless I have a good hand. Calling a T300 bet with only an overpair is not a great move - push or fold in this case.

2. Remember that when someone makes a big bet, they have a hand. Sure, you'll get bluffed out every now and then. But I assure you that your opponents are not bluffing most of the time.

3. Don't be afraid to push all-in pre-flop when you're getting short-stacked. When you had JJ and your opponent throws out a 3x raise, you need to push here. Are you honestly going to fold this hand on one of the later streets when you're short-stacked?

4. Don't let your results deter you. Play your big hands hard, raise big pre-flop and play the flop hard. At the same time, don't be afraid to drop your hand if you suspect your beat. For example, when you made the c-bet with your AK - when your opponent calls here, you're done with the hand. AK is a good hand pre-flop but not so good post-flop.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. Keep at it - you'll get your revenge.

Nick Christy said...

I have to agree with klopzi comments, but (not to sound like I am piling it on) I need to add one thing that stuck out at me when I read your first hand history. I know 3xBB is a standard raise with QQ, in that situation I think you need to push a little harder. You already have 3 callers ahead of you, which means you have a pot of 90, raising to 90 and making the pot 180 isnt a huge raise in this situation. You had the guys in the first two positions call before your raise. Examine that a bit. Who would call here, 1) a good player with a good hand, 2) a bad player with any hand. In each of those situations your raise probably gets called. The guy in first position is getting 3-1 for $60 on a possibly huge pot, if he cold called from first position before, he is almost sure to call this bet. The guy in second position is now getting 4-1 to call, ditto what I said about the first position. Now, the other caller is getting 5-1 and you are almost assured of a call from him, so your 3xBB raise didnt accomplish much. In a situation like that I would raise a little higher then normal, say 150-180. Now you are probably getting called only by pocket pairs and AK/AQ and you know what you are up against.

Just my thoughts, otherwise keep up the grind, for every hand your opponent catches that straight on you there will be a few where you blindside him and take his chips, so it was a good laydown~!

iamhoff said...

Thanks for the thoughts and advice. Lord knows I need it. You both point out two areas that I still need to work on in my game. Hell, the whole thing needs work, but two areas in particular are bet strength and position awareness.

Klopzi, I know I limp a lot more than I should, but this run of cards I've had lately has really made me gun shy. JJ, I'd throw out a 4x raise around MP, get one or two callers, and the flop would be something like AKK. There goes a chunk. KQd in late position, somebody EP throws out a 2 or 3x raise. I call and the flop will inevitably be Axx with no diamonds. Again, a chunk gone. As I noted in a previous post, I'm getting decent cards that hold pretty good flop potential (suited paint, middle pairs, etc.), but they're almost never holding up post flop.

And as you correctly noted, Nick, I need to learn to tailor my bets not only to the pot, but also to position. A lot of times I'll get (as I noted) a decent hand like QJ in the hand history. In the hand range that I've set for myself to play, this is a hand that I'll call the blinds and call one reasonable raise (typ another 2x BB or so). So I limp and the Button or blind will raise. So I call that. I get a piece of the flop, but somebody else got more, and I've now pissed away a good chunk of my stack. I guess I just need to raise the aggression and open up a can of whoop-ass!

I don't know. I want to be able to be more aggressive betting, but right now I'm just not confident in the cards I'm getting. Maybe if I can start catching cards consistently (yeah, right), then all I'll have to worry about is making stupid donkey moves. That's why it's gamboooling!

DrChako said...

It's almost never about the cards.

Sure, it helps to look down at AA, but they are vulnerable, too. Fearing loss is a sure way to guarantee failure.

Yin Yang:
Yin: A good laydown feels as good as a win.
Yang: No one ever made any money by folding.

Nick Christy said...


No worries buddy, you are on the same path that most of us are on. Recently I have decided to mold my game a little bit, hard and fast. I will fold a ton of hands, but when I am in the hand you better be ready to put your chips in the pot. I wont give anyone anything for free. I will fight for my pots. I will raise you when I have the best hand even if it is not the nuts. I will reraise preflop, I will bet at any uncontested pot regardless of what I have. My aggression is helping me read what people have. I think I have gotten to a point where I can tell when someone has a big pair, has overcards, or when they have a draw. I still make mistakes, but we all do. I have found that when I get in a hand with people I can make it heads up when I need to, and hide in a mass of players when I need to. I think this is the key to aggression. Use it to your advantage, but don't do it blindly. If you find a player who will push back, make sure you have him cornered when you push at him. If you find a player who will duck and run use it more often, but know his boiling point because sooner or later he is going to push back and you don't want to be caught with your zipper down.

Here are some rules I try to follow when being aggressive (I will also post these on my blog with a little more discussion later):

1) When you have AA/KK/QQ preflop, make it a bad move for the 87 soooted and alike to call your bet.
2) If you have a very strong hand preflop and you have callers in front of you, you should raise at least the pot, but probably more.
3) A lot of times a pot sized bet is not enough when two suited cards fall on the flop, but mathmatically a pot sized bet will win you money in the long run so there isn't need to deviate from it.
4) 1/2 pot bet an uncontested pot when you are in position, or when there is 1 player left to act. (sometimes you need to adjust this based on the size of the pot, i.e. no use betting 30 into a 60 pot if everyone holds 1500+ chips... it probably wont scare them.. and no need betting 700 into a 1400 pot if you and your opponent have less then 2k of chips because you are committing yourself to a pot that you don't want to commit to)
5) raise people who make 1/4 to 1/2 pot bet's when there is not a flush draw/straight draw on the board
6) Flush's/Straights scare people, you should scare people
7) Always know your table image, after being aggressive for a little while people will grow balls and start pushing back at you
8) Mix it up. If you have an aggressive table image and you just flopped broadway, make it look like you are trying to steel the pot, you might just induce an all in bet from someone with top pair.

Ok, so now I just laid out everything I know, I will go learn bridge now...

In all seriousness, I hope those help a little and best of luck at the tables...


Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Hey Hoff. I'm going to repeat some of what the earlier posters said, and add some of my own thoughts as well.

1. On your first hand (a good laydown btw, I agree), the 3x raise with QQ is not necessarily the best idea. Yes it is not just a good idea but crucial that you keep your opponents from being able to read your hands by throwing in a 3x raise with QQ SOME of the time, but in my case I tend to err towards maybe just 10-15% of the time. Otherwise, with QQ, I know that I need to get the Ax guys and the KJ guys to fold preflop or my hand is very vulnerable once the flop comes, so I will usually try to go for a larger raise than that. With five likely players, you can't really expect most of these limpers at 30 chips to fold when the bet becomes 90. So in that situation, you're taking your vulnerable hand, keeping it just as vulnerable because none of the Ax and Kx guys are folding, AND you're making the stakes higher even though your hand remains vulnerable. Not the right strategic move. Some hands (QQ, KQ, A-10, etc) basically can't be played correctly unless you raise with them preflop. As one of the prior commenters said, at least if they call your large raise preflop, then you can fairly assume they have something good, and when the AKJ suited flop comes, you can fold your QQ to a large bet without wondering too much if you were beat.

2. Also on that first hand, I echo the previous commenter's position that calling the 330 raise on the flop with the overpair is not the right move. Either you are confident enough in your overpair to push here, or you fold it if you think you're up against AA or KK or trips or a straight, etc. And, for what it's worth, it'a good laydown, but to me a fairly easy one, once the big allin reraise is made. You have to assume at that point that you're a dog in the hand somehow. When I saw the allin reraise, my immediate thought was trips, or a straight. Either way you don't want to be calling that with your Queens, so you definitely made the smart move there.

3. On your second hand, I again don't see why you called the 300 bet for like 30% of your stack with just top pair Jacks and a Queen kicker. That's a good hand, don't get me wrong, but it's not superb. Not superb enough to just call with anyways. At that point, the way I see it you need to find out right away whether your top-pair-queen-kicker is good or whether instead this guy is holding JK or JA, or QQ, KK or AA. Calling his largeish bet isn't doing anything for you, especially when your hand, while good, is eminently beatable at this point. Especially given the two paint cards, giving rise to any number of straight draws as well, that is not a helpful strategic play. Again, as previously commented, for me, I would just fold here since your hand is beatable by SO many different combinations of cards, but if you want to stay in, you should probably push in your last thousand or so chips and make the other guy make the big decision.

4. It would be downright fishy of you to have called the allin reraise on hand 2 as well. Not with just top pair Jacks, and a Queen kicker. Any overpair, any higher kicker, any trips, any two pair, many straights and some other backdoor hands will beat you. And, not having gotten any information through raising to this point, you really have no clue whatsoever what the other players could have.

5. Speaking of "downright fishy", what is up with this guy Kingter1711 calling that allin reraise bet with just second pair (10s) and a Queen kicker? That smells like a guy who wanted to go to sleep at that point if you ask me. Remind me to look that guy up next time I'm on pokerstars.

Also Hoff, for what it's worth, I have also been taking a beating with the cards on pokerstars recently. I've blogged about a lot of it. But frankly you can't ever let fear of pokerstars screwing you dictate how you play the game. If you can't make the exact same *right* decisions because you think pokerstars is going to screw you, then the answer is most definitely not to play on pokerstars but make strategically incorrect decisions -- that can't possibly work. Rather, the right answer is to play on some other site for a while until you're ready to give pokerstars another chance. I do this all the time btw -- usually with pokerstars because that seems to be where the majority of my recockubeats have been suffered for some reason. Including last night (see my blog).

Best of luck man. Maybe I see you in Wil's tournament tonight.

iamhoff said...

Doc, you are so right on the Yin Yang. That's my issue with my laydowns...they were great, but didn't win me any money. Oh well. At least it shows I've got a little bit of discipline. Now if I can just convince myself to pay more attention to a 1 outer flush draw when I've got top two pair!

Nick, I can't argue with the aggression. I've had a little bit of success with it. My problem has been ultimately not catching cards. I have a hard time going balls to the wall with a so so hand like QT. Even if I'd throw out a decent (key word there) raise, I'd still get called, miss the flop, and donk off a chunk of my stack. It's just hard to reconcile the need to drop a major bet/raise with a so so hand, knowing that I'm covered a lot of the time. My own bear to cross, I guess. Either way, thanx for the guidelines...I'll try them out tonite when I fire up the poker machine. See ya on the felt.