Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 24: Gone in Two

Cash game frustration.

Hand 1

I am slightly, but not severely, shortstacked for the nine-handed table. This is a crew that plays together regularly, and I'm accurately known to be tight-aggressive. Not that people make decisions based on that knowledge or anything.

I am first to act and look down at two black aces. Hey-ho! Finally something to work with. I raise to five times the big blind, thinking this is an amount that, coupled with my image and my position, will thin the field to come.

The guy to my immediate left calls. Three other people behind him call. Apparently five times the big blind from under the gun scares no one... oh no, wait, they now have "pot odds" to call. What was I thinking? (I have yet to be able to determine what raise amount will, in fact, reduce callers to only one or none with any degree of reliability at this table, as we will see.)

Flop comes Jd 10d 3h.

I lead out for 20xBB, a pot-sized bet, happy to take the hand down right there and, if not, intending to give bad odds to a flush or straight draw.

The guy to my left reraises all in. Everyone else folds back around to me. He has me covered and it's another 20xBB to call.

Ugh. This guy could have any number of hands. I am beating KK and QQ, and losing to JJ and 10 10. He could be making this move with AJ or even the flush or straight draws.

I did the equity math in my head and decided I had to call. I paid no mind to my gut, which was screaming FOLD FOLD FOLD.

Of course he had the one hand I didn't put him on, figuring that even this dude wouldn't call a big honkin' bet from me in early position with 10 J offsuit. But he did, and he flopped two pair, and he felted me.


Hand 2

About an hour later, after a rebuy and a top-up (things are just not going my way at all), I find AhKh on the button. Five limpers enter the hand in front of me, and ~ trying to learn a lesson from my previous experience ~ I raise to 10xBB this time. Surely this will induce some folding.

The big blind calls, as does a guy in middle position.

Flop comes 3s 5c 10h.

The big blind leads out 10xBB into a pot of 33xBB. Middle position guy folds.

I know this bettor. He could be leading with anything or nothing. I think there's a strong probability that my hand is good right now, and even if it isn't, I very likely have 6 outs to the winner. I also have to believe that, given my initial raise pre-flop, I have some fold equity here.

I reraise all in, an additional 31xBB to the original bet. I am called.

Turn is the ace of clubs. River is the ace of spades.

My trip aces go down in flames to... what else, the 2 and 4 of clubs.

Yes, the man called a huge raise out of position with the mighty 2-4 and took my whole stack. As he was explaining his reasoning, he said, "Well, I knew you had just wondered what raise would get people to fold, so I thought it would be fun to call with a donkey hand." He flopped an open-ended straight draw, and called a subsequent all-in bet despite not getting drawing odds.

And that was my night, right there.

I try to tell myself that I want people making these idiotic decisions, that in the long run I'll profit mightily off them.

I also tell myself that I could have folded to the all-in reraise in Hand 1, as my gut was telling me to. Hell, I suppose I could have folded to the first bet in Hand 2, since I did totally whiff the flop.

But I actually think that my choices in both cases were reasonably sound, given what I knew of the players. It didn't work out for me this time. At all.

Gah. Perhaps I just suck at teh pokerz.

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Blogger El Forrest Gumpo said...

Hi CG, pretty awful luck.

You played them by the book but at this kind of table maybe a better approach is:
- in early pos, limp then reraise 1/3 to 1/2 of your stack?
- in late pos, throw out 1/3 to 1/2 of your stack, or enough that it's clear you're not folding on the flop.

At tables where just about any pf raise gets called this strategy has worked for me. Whereas, the traditional raises ends up being a pot builder and gets you in really horrible spots.


9/12/08 1:21 AM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

Problem with strategy #1 is that we routinely have multiway limped pots with no raise at all. So then you're seeing a flop with AA and 5 or 6 other people.

Not a good scenario either.

I like the raise-a-third-of-your-stack approach, though, even OUT of position. I'll be trying that in this context next time.

9/12/08 5:27 AM  
Blogger PAPro_SandMan said...

RE Hand #1, I knew it was TJ when you told us what the flop was... For some reason, that's one of those hands people (donks) seem to LOVE and I find my Aces, Kings, and Queens going down to a lot. Tough position, crappy luck, but not much you could do... Maybe you lay it down if he's salivating and oozing "strong hand" from every pore, but, like you said, he could think that just as easily with AJ. *shakes head* This is exactly the typical crap that gets me on tilt, especially when they start explaining why it was such a clever move on their part.

RE Hand #2, you may not believe this, but I have nights like this on a regular basis. It seems to be the norm when I'm playing complete donks - they may not win, in the end, but I'm almost guaranteed to lose. As bad as was the first hand you posted, this one is much worse. I'd have to be restrained.

You'll go through patches like this, sometimes long streaks of patches like this... Sad but true. The trick, I think, is learning how to lose less when the other guys gets lucky and get more value out of your monster hands. It's something I'm still learning also, though multi-tabling FTP has helped a ton. Things happen at an accelerated pace, so it's easier for me to pick up trends and learn the typical rites of donk passage, skills that are translating to much more consistent success for me against bad players.

Keep at it, CG. You're as sharp as they come. If you can keep the emotions in check and approach this like a student taking their lumps from a wise but sadistic master, I think your potential has no limits.

9/12/08 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Board: 3s 5c Th

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 47.677% 47.68% 00.00% 472 0.00 { 4c2c }
Hand 1: 52.323% 52.32% 00.00% 518 0.00 { AhKh }

I think you over estimated your fold equity.

I think you are a TAG-fish.

From reading these entries, I think you need a lot of work on your mental attitude to the game.

9/14/08 9:53 PM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

Obviously I overestimated my fold equity, and it's especially easy to see why when you know what my opponent had for hole cards.

And of course I need to work on my mental attitude to the game. I believe I have said as much in pretty much every entry.

It's entirely possible that I'm a TAG-fish. (LOL. Love it.) In which case, all I need to do is lose the tail, and I'll be in great shape.

I welcome any constructive criticism or suggestions on how to improve. Teach me!

Or, you know, you could just lob the occasional grenade in the comments. Whichever.


9/14/08 10:04 PM  
Blogger El Forrest Gumpo said...

I learnt a new term today too.

According to 2+2, "tight preflop, bad postflop".


I do think you need to put more weight on the player and their hand range. I definitely had many TAGfish elements which I'm trying to eradicate.


9/19/08 1:34 AM  

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