Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Turning AK into a bluff on the river

I just played a $10 match on Stars against what I would call an average HU player for that stake, and this hand was certainly the most interesting point. It involved a note that I had made earlier:
"- check 77 in BB after button limp; call down on Jxxx"
This guy was fairly passive, a little past the point of being just trappy. Shortly after the hand where he checked 77 in the BB, I saw him do a similar thing with 88, checking in the BB after I limped and flat calling on an A42 flop (I had Q4, and made trips on the river, which might have taught him his lesson). I'd also observed him limping middling aces on the button. So I had made a mental note that this guy liked to slowplay fairly strong hands preflop.

Poker Stars, $110,506.46 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Tournament, 15/30 Blinds, 2 Players - Hand History Converter

BB: 1,520
Hero (BTN): 1,480

Pre-Flop: (45) K A dealt to Hero (BTN)
Hero raises to 75, BB calls 45

Flop: (150) 6 6 T (2 Players)
BB checks, Hero bets 100BB raises to 240, Hero calls 140

At this point I knew I was behind, but his very smallish raise intrigued me. I figured it meant one of two things: either he had a 6 or a very strong ten (or TT), or some other pair, 77-99 or JJ-QQ (AA & KK being less likely because of my AK). I did not consider a flush draw, as raising a draw was not congruent with this opponent's relatively tight/passive style. I also had the Ad, for whatever that was worth. So either he had the nuts, or I had outs, and given the odds his tiny raise laid, I decided to peel the turn.

Turn: (630) 3 (2 Players)
BB bets 240, Hero calls 240

I'm now pretty confident that he has some sort of pair, probably JJ+ since he doesn't seem afraid of the ten, and the turned diamond gave me the nut flush draw to go with my two overcards. Getting roughly 3.5 to 1, I call.

River: (1,110) T (2 Players)
BB bets 330Hero raises to 925 and is All-In, BB folds

At first, this river looks like a brick for me. My flush draw is busted, my overs missed, and any ten just filled up. But the second ten on the board makes it less likely that my opponent holds a ten, and when he pauses and bets only about 1/3 of his stack/the pot, I consider my read up until this point and look at how my actions appeared to him; small preflop raise, bet/call on the flop, call on the turn. This doesn't look like a busted flush draw, and it certainly doesn't look like AK, because only a donk would play AK this way. It looks like a medium ten; T9, JT, QT, KT, and possibly AT. After about 1.5 seconds I decide to go with my read and stick it in. Opponent tanks off his entire 60 second time bank and folds.

Results: 1,770 Pot
Hero showed K A and WON 1,770 (+900 NET)

Thoughts, comments, and criticisms appreciated.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Luckbox & The Lost Weekend

Things have continued to go well through this month. Thanks largely to game selection I've kept my win rate quite high, and have thus been able to bring in $40-$70 per session playing just 3-7 hours (15-25 games) per day, very steadily. This is also due to running good this month; has my luck percentage at 82% for April. You can see the graph here. I'm very curious about what my red and blue lines (non-showdown vs showdown winnings) can tell me about my game; perhaps I'll include my analysis in my next post.

Unfortunately I've basically lost Saturday and Sunday to "that other job", as my manager scheduled me for Sunday (a no-no) as well as Saturday. I'll show her, however. I'll show her.

Though overall I've run pretty well this month, I thought the reader(s) might enjoy this sample hand. The pre-flop call, btw, was based on a solid read of my opponent as a maniac that I would be forced to gamble with, and I had no qualms at all about shipping it.

PokerStars Game #43102880517: Tournament #265988233, $19420262.66+$23529420.30+$0.50 USD Hold'em No Limit - Match Round I, Level I (10/20) - 2010/04/23 21:02:54 CT [2010/04/23 22:02:54 ET]

Table '265988233 1' 2-max Seat #1 is the button

Seat 1: AJPC79 (1450 in chips)

Seat 2: mistah kurtz (1550 in chips)

AJPC79: posts small blind 10

mistah kurtz: posts big blind 20

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to mistah kurtz [9h 9d]

AJPC79: raises 80 to 100

mistah kurtz: raises 200 to 300

AJPC79: raises 1150 to 1450 and is all-in

mistah kurtz: calls 1150

*** FLOP *** [Tc Th Kc]

*** TURN *** [Tc Th Kc] [Td]

*** RIVER *** [Tc Th Kc Td] [Ts]

*** SHOW DOWN ***

mistah kurtz: shows [9h 9d] (four of a kind, Tens)

AJPC79: shows [9s As] (four of a kind, Tens - Ace kicker)

AJPC79 collected 2900 from pot

mistah kurtz said, "sick"

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot 2900 | Rake 0

Board [Tc Th Kc Td Ts]

Seat 1: AJPC79 (button) (small blind) showed [9s As] and won (2900) with four of a kind, Tens

Seat 2: mistah kurtz (big blind) showed [9h 9d] and lost with four of a kind, Tens

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some good reads (the written kind)

Last night I thought of a couple of new things to do with this blog to expand its scope slightly beyond my own personal progress and the occasional strategy analysis post. The first thing that I'd like to start doing is posting links to articles on heads up NLHE (and heads up poker in general, for that matter) that I find insightful and suspect will be useful/instructive to other HU players visiting this blog. A second thing that might be fun is to post hand histories that strike me as interesting/ridiculous/revealing/whatever, along with relevant reads, and invite comments from readers as to their thoughts... this could also be done in a play-a-hand-with-me format to encourage discussion...
So, to get the ball rolling I'd like to suggest two articles on levels of thought in poker: Level Headed Thinking and How to Spot a Level 3 Thinker, both by Andrew Brokos. These articles provide a thoughtful explanation not only of the various levels of thought in the game, but also how to identify and respond to the level on which your opponents are thinking; goes a long way toward answering the perennial question "How the **** could you call with that?!?"
The sequel to the Carl Sampson article I mentioned a few weeks ago, Mental Disintegration in Limit Hold 'Em, Part Two, is now available for your perusal in the 2+2 Magazine. While I liked Part One better, this article still has some good discussion of personal tolerance limits and causes of tilt, and all of us can benefit by keeping aware of such things.
That's all for now. Perhaps I'll try a PAHWM post next.

PS - Seriously, what is with bad players over-betting limped pots in the early levels of a HU match? Why are you betting 100 into 40 after I check on a dry flop? Why did you bet 200 into 60 on the turn when I checked the flop behind? What the hell is that? I'm not kidding, like every other weak opponent I play does this. Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back on Track

Things are looking up. After 10 days, I've made almost as much as I did all last month, mostly as a result of a) finding my groove in the $25s on Cake, and b) going on a soul-crushing rampage playing the $10 and $20 games on Stars (undefeated yesterday). The problems I was having last month really made me analyze my game a bit. I also started watching a few videos from (the sample pack), (great site), and an excellent HU blog I just found, I've been much more aggressive pre-flop, increased my C-bet frequency, and become more selective in running bigger bluffs, among other changes, and it's made a huge difference. I'm a bastard to play against at this point.
I'm still a bit conflicted about playing on Stars, because they don't offer rakeback, which is even more significant now that I'm moving up in stakes ($1 fee per game at the 20s). However, the availability of games (and variety of opponents) is much better than at Cake, which means higher volume...
(BTW, let me just say that I would play at Full Tilt, but they suspended my account because it was associated, through fund transfers, with the account of a friend who owes them money... and who is probably never going to pay them... so FT is out for me for the foreseeable future :/ )

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stakes, ROI, & Profitability

It seems as though things are back on track. Up $300 on Cake, and another $75 on Pokerstars in the first week of April. About half of my profit on Cake is off of the stake, so I can't count all of it, but the point is that things are going better, and I've become much more confident about moving up. I made the conscious decision to focus more on the $25 games on Cake, which I'm playing on the stake, as well as the $20 games on Stars with my own roll, after doing a little examination of my ROI over the last three months.
It occurred to me about a week ago that I hadn't yet done a comparison of my ROI across different stakes. If, say, my average ROI is 35% in $5 games, but only 15% in $10 games it would be in my interest to focus my energies on playing the $5 games, since they would be more profitable for me. So I did the comparison. I used Sharkscope to ascertain my ROI at various levels at various times, including sessions when I was running like god and other sessions that I'd rather not talk about. Here it is:

My ROI in the bigger games is double what it is in the $10 SNGs, which have been my bread and butter up to this point. Since [$25 * .31] > [$10 * .16], the decision to concentrate on the $25 games was a no-brainer, and after going on a ten game winning streak, I decided to stick with it. I've also gotten better about handling the losses mentally, and not letting them discourage me.
Playing more on Stars has intrigued me. I kind of left Stars behind about a year ago because they don't offer rakeback, and have been playing on Cake almost exclusively since then. But the fact that Stars always has games available, and that they are at the optimally comfortable $20 level, has begun to pull some of my action their way... we will see if this trend continues...

March Results

A disappointing month. Still a winning month, but nearly all of those winnings were accrued in the first two weeks. After a pretty good start, I seemed to hit a wall that I don't think I've found my way around yet. Hopefully things will get back on track in April.

March 2010
Total games: 546
HU games: 515
Total profit: $635
HU profit: $646
Hourly rate: $5.63
Heads Up SNG Results
Total SNG Results

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LOL Razzaments

Today I played a kind of shitty session in the midafternoon, and ended up down $50. The amusing thing about this is that, perhaps tilted, I decided to play an $11 razz tournament on Stars and took 4th (of 104) for $96, which for me somewhat redeemed the earlier loss... and amuses me to no end.