Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Baby Steps

Sorry about turning this into one depressing-ass bad beat blog the past week or so. It's probably been the toughest week, week & a half of poker in my life. It seriously felt like I couldn't do anything right, even if I was trying.

I won't say that I've turned the corner or anything, but even just the small string of cashes I've had lately has helped make my poker world a bit cheerier this week. No big scores, nothing ground breaking. I've just been slumming at the $10 & $20 games mostly, slowly & surely building my bankroll back up. And I've been having fun doing it too, which is what's most important.

I've played a couple of tournaments lately too, including a rare appearance in the MATH tonight. I hardly ever play 6-max games, and I ended up being the first one out with overpair vs overpair against TripJax. I could have layed it down to his push, leaving me chips to play with, but I wasn't thinking very clearly.

Despite what I said last time, I have ventured back into the cash games. I've made some adjustments to my play, basically playing a bit tighter. I feel like I may have been relying on Holdem Manager a bit too much, playing the stats instead of the cards or the table. I've toned down my 3-betting a bit, cut back on the open-raising, and focused on playing selectively aggressive. I had a decent session tonight, finishing up just over one buyin, mostly due to 77 vs AK on a 7A9 board. Lost a bit when 33 lost to QT on a TT3 flop thanks to running 5s. Then, there was this fun hand:

Full Tilt Poker Game #7228495585: Table Cobble Cove - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 1:50:57 ET - 2008/07/15
Seat 1: iemdavid ($100)
Seat 2: Buckley88 ($106.60)
Seat 3: push on pairs ($132.45)
Seat 4: mclarich ($100)
Seat 5: johnny9x ($45.05)
Seat 6: Zwerk77 ($20)
Seat 7: IScrewINutIBolt ($94.90)
Seat 8: Chris557 ($120.25)
Seat 9: BlackOfSpades ($138.60)
iemdavid posts the small blind of $0.50
Buckley88 posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to mclarich [Qh Qd]
push on pairs folds
mclarich raises to $3.50
johnny9x folds
Zwerk77 folds
IScrewINutIBolt calls $3.50
Chris557 folds
BlackOfSpades folds
iemdavid adds $0.50
iemdavid folds
Buckley88 calls $2.50
*** FLOP *** [5c Ad Ac]
Buckley88 checks
mclarich bets $7
IScrewINutIBolt calls $7
Buckley88 folds

I c-bet here because I felt that my UTG raise + bet could represent a ace. If I get a caller, I'm shutting down, but QQ could still be the best hand here with no 3-betting preflop. Sure enough, one caller. Time to check-fold.

*** TURN *** [5c Ad Ac] [Kc]
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich checks
IScrewINutIBolt bets $10
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich calls $10

Here's where it got interesting for me. The pot is $23 and he only bets $10 into it. It could be a value bet with AK, but it didn't make sense (no 3-bet preflop, call flop, less than 1\2 pot on turn). It seemed weak to me. I called, not thinking I was ahead, but to steal the pot away, representing AK myself.

*** RIVER *** [5c Ad Ac Kc] [3c]
mclarich has 15 seconds left to act
mclarich bets $35
IScrewINutIBolt: so gay (goodbye!)
IScrewINutIBolt folds
Uncalled bet of $35 returned to mclarich
mclarich mucks
mclarich wins the pot ($42.75)

Some chatter afterwards:

mclarich: gay?
IScrewINutIBolt: running clubs
IScrewINutIBolt: when i crushed that flop
mclarich: with what, 55?
IScrewINutIBolt: AQ
BlackOfSpades: if he crushed that flop with 55 you think he would of folded?
IScrewINutIBolt: yeh honestly
IScrewINutIBolt: i should have just shut down the turn knowing the club would come
mclarich: club or no club the pot was mine
IScrewINutIBolt: then horrible bet on the river
IScrewINutIBolt: if u had ak
IScrewINutIBolt: or flush
IScrewINutIBolt: if not nice bluff (it was, thank you)
mclarich: sorry, didn't know betting the nuts OOP on the river is a bad move
IScrewINutIBolt: u could bet for value
IScrewINutIBolt: its a new theory read up
mclarich: i will
mclarich: or maybe i just read your turn bet as weak and bluffed you

He claims to have folded AQ, obviously without the Qc. This hand wasn't a case, like the KT hand I posted before, where I wasn't sure where I stood and made a questionable play. I really felt confident that I was going to get a fold. What's funny is that it wasn't the AAK board that scared him but the 4th club. If he was scared of the board, and if he has AQ, he has to put me on EXACTLY the same hand he had, but with AxQc, right? If I'm not bluffing, what clubs does he put me on if I'm UTG raising? QJc? QTc? And I'd have to have the Qc to bet that river, assuming that I'm betting the river with the nut flush on an AAKxx board. So I call bullshit on his AQ; maybe he had an A, but I don't see AQ. Anyways, if he bets the turn any harder, I fold, but I really felt his turn bet was one of weakness rather than of value. For once, I was right.

Anyways, I feel like I've talked myself down off the ledge, for now. I clearly wasn't playing my top game the past several days. Seeing my bankroll tumble down so quickly really did a number on me. I've noticed a difference the past day or two, at least emotionally & mentally. Of course, it helps that some of my hands are starting to hold up again. I don't doubt that this won't be the last downswing I go on, nor am I ready to declare that this one is officially over. But I feel like I'm handling it better, and I'm ready to start climbing back.


At July 15, 2008 at 8:47 AM, Blogger Instant Tragedy said...

I've had an equally as frustrating road recently. I hit a new high in bankroll and now have hit a wall of frustrating bad beats.

The only thing you can do is look at your play objectfully. Grab hand histories where you are crushing it and now. What are you doing differently? It may be nothing. I've examined my own play recently and have discovered that I have gone back to my weak tight play. The Aggressiveness that I had when I was successful is gone. So now I know what I need to do to be successful again. Or at least suck less.

Variance is a bitch.

Good Luck Matt. It will all come around.


(Available now in Poker at InstantTragedy.com and Life at donahue.org)

At July 17, 2008 at 3:29 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

4 card flush on the board when it comes on the river is the easiest bluff in the world. It's almost an autobet for me. Nice takedown.


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