Raise or Fold:  Learning (From) Poker

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Whole Lotta Nuthin Going On 'Round Here

I played in a tournament and a cash game last night. In the tournament, I lasted for more than 3.5 hours and didn't win a single pot. Not one. My three best starting hands were JJ, KQo, and A6o. I never had suited connectors or any other pocket pairs. I am quite sure that I've never before busted out of a tournament before without winning at least one hand somewhere along the way.

Below is a summary of the 100 starting hands I recorded in the cash game. The fact that it turns out to be an even hundred surprised me, I started keeping track about half an hour into my session, and had played no hands voluntarily to that point. The more than four-hour stretch (in two venues) prior during which I had essentially nothing playable was what prompted me to start taking notes.

2 Premium hands:
I won with Big Slick and lost with the Jacks.

4 Non-Premium Pocket Pairs:
I played all these hands and won with the 99. No sets.

3 Medium Aces:
I played both AJ hands in position and won once.

2 Suited connectors:
I played both of these hands and won with the 98.

14 Weak Aces:
I played 5 of these hands, suited and in position, and won with A9 and A2.

5 Two-Broadway:
I played KQ twice in position and won once.

70 Junk:
   K9 K7 K6x3 K5 K4 K3K2x2
   Q9x2 Q7x2 Q6x2 Q3x3 Q2
   J9x2 J8 J7x2 J6x4 J5 J4x2 J3
   T9 T7 T6x4 T5x3 T2x3
   98 96 95x2 94 93x3 92 86 84 83
   76 75 74 73x2 72x2
   43 42x2
I played 5 of these hands either out of the blinds or on the button, and won with K3s, Q6s, K7s and J9s.

We were eight-handed for about an hour, and fluctuated between seven and six the rest of the time. Over the course of 3 hours or so, I voluntarily played approximately 20% of my hands. Of the hands I played, I won just over half. Unfortunately, the pots I lost were bigger than the ones I won. The biggest pot I lost was with the pocket 7s; I'm quite sure I was ahead on the flop, but the board got ugly and my opponent persuaded me he had chased and made a straight on the river. I folded to a bet that would have put me all-in to call. (Had I not lost that pot, I would have made a modest profit in the game.)

For me, the impression of the evening was of having very little to work with, and winning very little with the few strong hands I did have. If I hadn't played any of the weak suited Aces, the suited connectors, or the junk hands, the outcome would have been virtually identical. I made two good calls when my opponents were trying to buy pots, and I semi-bluffed successfully once and bluffed outright once for a win. I guesstimate I was moved off a better (but not made) hand a couple of times myself.

Overall, it was far more frustrating than interesting; I had few difficult decisions to make, and rarely any occasion to do anything flarey myself that would put another player to the test.

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Blogger matt tag said...

things to do when your cards suck.

1) pick a player and watch him/her exclusively. See if you can pick up reads/tells/betting patterns.

2) Pick a favorable situation (position/opponent) and give yourself aces. Pretend to look at your cards, but don't. You now have aces.

3) Light 3 bet in position. Big fun. Very profitable in my home game - the preflop 3 bet usually means a very tight range (TT+/AK), so there is much money to be scooped up from people raising with A8 and then folding.

10/6/09 8:21 AM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

Four or five hours without winning a pot might seem bad to you, but, as you well know, it is far from a record. You and I both know of an unfortunate soul who has not won a single pot in 15 YEARS!


10/6/09 6:13 PM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

BTW, did you just refer to K9 as "junk"?

10/12/09 8:19 PM  

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