Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All Work & No Poker Makes Homer.....

Go crazy?
Don't mind if I do!

Seriously, I haven't played poker in almost a month. I've even hardly watched poker. This has been the biggest amount of time that poker has been out of my life in over 2 years. I came close the other night, as I was going to head to a local casino to play a $35 tournament, but I realized the money was better spent elsewhere at this point. It's looking like I'll probably be poker-less for at least the rest of the year. For now, I'll just have to live vicariously through the poker blogs that keep me EXTREMELY unproductive at work every day.

However, this doesn't mean that I'm still not looking to improve my game, although I'm skeptical what improvement I can have if I'm not practicing. Not to dwell on past mistakes, but since I'm looking to improve my live game, I'll focus on the last live tournament I played in, which I mentioned in my last post.

The tournament was structured with starting stacks of 1500, blinds starting at 25\50, 25 minute levels. The tournament also awarded regulars with bonus stacks of up to 3000, so unless you has a bonus stack, you were in the hole pretty quickly. Luckily for me, they also awarded first timers with a 2000 bonus stack, so I wasn't far off.

Mistake No. 1: Position is key

I only played a couple of hands, so there's not really much to go on. However, one hand I played was KQo from UTG+1 I think. The player next to me raised to 150, and I called along with 3 limpers. I hated this call later because (although I did flop top pair) I was out of position for the entire hand. But I did call and paired my Q. I figured I was good at that time, but I checked it since I was out of position, hoping someone would take a stab at it. But we all check, and I check-fold when the A hits because I know the guy left of me just paired his A (he raised UTG+2 with A8o). I played this board like a pansie when I could taken down a small pot on the flop.

I think there was another time where I folded in LP with a speculative hand, something like 67, and I would have made the nut straight on the turn and it would have been cheap to see. I don't fault myself for folding 67, but this is a hand where I could have played position like I had a huge hand and scooped up a pot. I knew I was playing tight, everyone else probably knew it too, and I probably lost an opportunity by playing the cards and nothing else.

Mistake No. 2: The "big" hand

I thought about this hand for quite some time afterwards. There's no other way to describe this play other than "complete donkey". Everyone folded to the button who raised it to 150. SB folds, and I reraise from the BB with AKo. This is the right move: if he's trying to steal, I can take the pot down here. But I don't think I raised him enough, only raising it to 450. He has to call 300 for a pot of 925. With 66 in position, I'd say it's a pretty easy call for him, and I don't fault him for it. Perhaps I should have raised it to 750? My reraise wasn't much better than a min raise, and it doesn't really accomplish anything. Of course, I was completely fucked the entire hand when he flopped his set the same time I flop a K. A stronger reraise may have pushed him off the hand. I pick up a small pot instead of losing a bigger one. This may be all second guessing, i.e. "what could I have done to NOT lose this hand?" As soon as we saw the flop, I was bound to lose some chips, and there's really no way I'm gonna put him on 6s preflop. But generally speaking, I think my reraise was not enough - I should have reraised him to 600 at least.

So we see the flop, and it's Kc 6c 4d. Alas, I'm fucked, but I don't know it. I'm sitting on 2250, he's got more than that, and I lead out with 500. He thinks it over and calls. Like a donkey, I fail to consider what this means or what his hand is. Did he hit top pair also? Does he have a set? Is he chasing the draw? He calls, and I'm still thinking TPTK is good, like a good donkey does.

The turn is another club. If he is chasing a flush, I'm drawing dead. The hands that beat me are:
KK (unlikely, considering his pre\post flop play)
K6 or K4 (unlikely, especially considering his postflop play)
66 or 44 (possible)
AXc (also possible)
and hell, maybe even something like QJc or JTc. I don't have enough information on this person to know how hard he would chase a flush draw.
So, of the hands that beat me 14 hands that beat me (counting AXc 7 times), I'd say 9 of them are realistic: 66, 44, and AXc, and all of those hands have me drawing dead. The hands that I can beat are: KQ-KT. Of a possible 12 hands, I have 3 of them dominated, and 9 of them leave me drawing dead.

I check, and he bets out 1000. Unless he has something like KQ-KT, and thinks that I was just C-betting the flop with a lower pair, this bet is screaming strength (or a very ballsy bluff). Perhaps he did have something like QJc or JTc, and he hit his flush but is afraid of the nut flush redraw (in his position, I wouldn't put me on a flush draw also, based on my betting to this point). Either way, the fact is I'm dead to 75% of possible hands (about 81% if you include other suited hands at this point), my opponent is betting just a little less than half of his stack but definitely more than half of my stack, meaning if I call I'm essentially committed to the river when the river can only hurt my cause, but somehow, someway, I convice myself to call. I don't even remember what the river was, but I mercifully check, and my opponent is gracious enough to check it as well, and his trips take down the pot.

Even just the slightest bit of thinking over this hand and I could have found a way to lay it down. Instead, I hardly think any of this and just assume that TPTK is gold. I hindsight, I check fold the turn, leave myself with 1800 in chips and live to fight another day.

Mistake No. 3: The exit

I ended the tournament when I pushed my final 750 with A6 and the guy left to me calls with AQ. Yeah, I was suited, but I basically surrendered by pushing with this hand. My thought at the time was "Hey, I've got an A, it's suited, and the blinds are going to go up pretty soon, probably when it comes around to me. I should probably take a stand here." That's not too bad. But, another way to think about this is "I have A6 off, but for 750, the only hands that are gonna call me are gonna leave me completely dominated, either by outkicking me or by giving me only one over card. I know it's gonna leave me shortstacked if I fold this, but if I can make it past the blinds, I'll still have 6BB, and 6BB in position is probably better than 15BB out of position". Yes, this mistake is about position, but it's not so much about position in terms of putting pressure, but about position in terms of evaluating what I'm up against. 6BB is not going to be enough to push someone off a hand, but I'll at least have a better chance to figure out if I'm dominated or if we're playing live cards. And, there's always the chance that I'll get a bunch of limpers who will call, building me a good pot. If I lose, I lose, but if I win the pot, I'm back in the game.

What's funny to me is that, all these things I've discussed, I knew when I sat down at the table. It's not like I'm presenting any new concepts that I just learned a week ago. But, for some reason, when I sat at that table, everything just went out the window. Perhaps it's because it was my first live game in over a year. I wasn't nervous, but I definitely wasn't thinking clearly. The next step is to take this information and pound it into my head, so when I do get to a live game again, I'll be able to see some progress.


Post a Comment

<< Home